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Thor Benson

Thor Benson

Thor Benson is an independent journalist who has contributed to Digital Trends, The Atlantic, The Daily Beast, NBC News and many other publications.

Hedy Lamarr, inventor of frequency hopping.

How Hedy Lamarr built the foundations of Wi-Fi 80 years ago

Hedy Lamarr is best known for her work as an actress, but she also co-invented a radio communication technique that laid the foundation for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
Bolden on the flight deck of Discovery during STS-60.

These Black pioneers were pillars of the U.S space program

Black scientists, engineers, and pilots have had a huge impact on the U.S. space program and NASA, and in this article we look back on their lasting legacy.
autonomous race car

CES is hosting a high-speed autonomous car race today. Watch it here

CES is hosting an autonomous car race this year -- and you can watch it live! Here's how to watch the second round of the Indy Autonomous Challenge
solar shingles being installed

New nail-on solar shingles offer an affordable alternative to Tesla’s solar roof

GAF Energy has developed an innovative new nail-on solar shingle that's allegedly cheaper and easier to install than Tesla's solar roof system.
whill model f electric wheelchair

This ultraportable electric wheelchair can fold up to fit in the trunk of a car

Most electric wheelchairs aren't designed with portability in mind, but Whill's new Model F can collapse down for easy transport when not in use.
web tool estimates renewable potential wind turbines

The future of sustainability: A look at the next evolution of environmental tech

Sustainable energy tech has come a long way in the past decade, but we've still got a long road ahead if we hope to slow climate change. Here's what's next
flow batteries california powerlines

Cailifornia has a blackout problem. Could giant flow batteries be the solution?

In an effort to address the state's summer blackout problem, California energy officials are investing in big, building-size batteries that can power cities
Scientists Working in The Laboratory

Genetic research has a whiteness bias. H3Africa is trying to fix it

African DNA is grossly underrepresented in genetic research, but a number of organizations have sprung up to address the problem.
women with byte vivienne ming adjusted

Women with Byte: Vivienne Ming’s plan to solve ‘messy human problems’ with A.I.

As a theoretical neuroscientist and A.I. expert, Dr. Vivienne Ming is on a mission to solve what she calls messy human problems with the help of A.I.
anti solar power night generation energy panels at

Harnessing darkness: The race to solve solar power’s greatest problem

Solar panels can't produce energy when the sun isn't shining. But what if they could? As it turns out, scientists all over the globe are working on the problem.
amtrak proposes a 94 minute train ride from new york to dc next gen high speed rail

It’s high time for the U.S. to build a high-speed rail network

High-speed rail practically doesn't exist in the United States, but if there's ever been a time where that could change, it's now.
brain with computer text scrolling artificial intelligence

Meet the man on a controversial mission to preserve and digitize your brain

Robert McIntyre is on a mission to preserve human brains so they can be uploaded in the future. Outlandish? Sure. But aren't most groundbreaking ideas?
robot law enforcement normalization nypd digidog

Robotic police officers are slowly being normalized, whether we like it or not

Robotic police officers are a rare novelty right now, but as law enforcement agencies across the world buy them, they're quickly becoming normalized.
brain network on veins illustration

Digitizing your brain: Sci-fi pipe dream, or scientific possibility?

Hooking your brain up to a computer and digitizing your consciousness has long been a staple of science fiction -- but is such a thing possible in real life?
spacex starlink gps earth satellites

How SpaceX could transform Starlink into an ultraprecise GPS network

SpaceX is building the Starlink satellite network in hopes of blanketing the globe in broadband, but it could also be used for a second purpose: GPS
air scrubbing plant begins operations climeworks

The plan to suck CO2 out of the atmosphere and use it to rebuild Earth’s coasts

Carbon capture and sequestration isn't necessarily a new idea, but scientists are currently mulling over a clever new way of doing it
planet buster nuclear weapon earth explosion

Planet busters: We asked a physicist what it would take to obliterate Earth

The planet-busting nuclear bomb is a classic science fiction trope. But is it really possible to build a nuke big enough to obliterate the globe?
CBP drone

Despite obvious dangers, autonomous killer robot tech is charging ahead

Thanks to the proliferation of lethal autonomous weapon tech, the world's military powers are now engaged in an arms race that's increasingly difficult to stop.
solar radiation management geoengineering

We could slow climate change by dimming the sun. But should we?

Geoengineers say we could slow global warming by spraying reflective particles in the stratosphere — but doing so could also have unintended consequences.
forest fire season prevention

We have the tech to make wildfires less severe. Deploying it is the hard part

A revolutionary new fire retardant gel could help choke fires out before they happen -- if only we could deploy it widely enough
nuke the moon project a119 200921

The time we almost nuked the moon

Near the middle of the Cold War, in the early days of the space race, the U.S. hatched a plan to detonate a nuclear bomb on the moon.
Hurricane Florence 2018

There’s a way to weaken hurricanes, but scientists say it’s too crazy to try

There's a weird natural phenomenon that helps to weaken hurricanes destined for the United States. What if we could re-create that phenomenon ourselves?
gamer supplements illustration

I took ‘gamer supplements’ for a week to see if I’d become a gaming god

Can gamer supplements really boost your performance, or are they just snake oil? I took them for a week straight and tracked my skill stats to find out.
pandemic automation jobs economics amazonemployee

Pandemic-fueled automation is gobbling up jobs, and we’ll never get them back

The automation of jobs was already happening before 2020, but now the COVID-19 pandemic has kicked the trend into high gear.
nero gum

I chewed ‘brain-boosting’ nootropic gum for a week straight. Here’s how it went

The science behind most "brain boosting" nootropic drugs is foggy at best, so instead of assessing them objectively, I just dove in and tried them myself.