You can arrange 128 tennis balls in 10^250 ways. A seemingly impossible problem solved

tennis balls

That’s not one million or one billion, but roughly on unquadragintillion — a number so big it exceeds the number of particles in the Universe. So, why is this important?

How to check if a 22,338,618 digits long number is prime

prime-numbers

A supercomputer checked if a 22,338,618 digits long number is prime in less than 3 days. Here’s how.

A pocket-sized gadget uses spectroscopy and tells you what’s inside food

Image: SCiO

One of the most exciting gadgets we’ve seen at CES this year comes from a French startup called DietSensor, which collaborated with an Israeli company called Consumer Physics. Their latest product called SCiO is a pocket-sized device that uses near-infrared spectroscopy to tell you how many carbs or calories are found inside your food.

The weirdest book in the world: Codex Seraphinianus

codex_serafini

In 1981 Italian artist, architect and industrial designer Luigi Serafini published what has since remained in popular view as the weirdest book in history: Codex Seraphinianus.

How 2016 Presidential Candidates See Space Exploration

US presidential candidates 2016 space exploration

I know you don’t like it, but the truth is science is politicized since, ultimately, serious research depends on funding. That doesn’t mean, though, that politicians aren’t sympathetic or that they do not understand the importance of science. Some seem to do, anyway. But perhaps the most vulnerable area of science to politics, however, is space exploration. Year after year, it seems like NASA’s budget keep thinning. Although NASA is still the most resourceful space agency in the world and despite some amazing achievements (Curiosity rover on Mars or New Horizon’s flyby past Pluto, just to name a few), things could be a lot better. Arguably, if NASA kept its stellar budget during the Apollo era, we would’ve likely been on Mars by now, maybe even with a permanent outpost.

Matter and antimatter have the same properties, experiment suggests

A new measurement by RHIC's STAR collaboration reveals that the force between antiprotons (p with bar above it) is attractive and strong--just like the force that holds ordinary protons together within the nuclei of atoms. Credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory

All models of particle physics are based on the mundane assumption that matter and anti-matter are indistinguishable, but we can’t be sure. Luckily, an experiment at Brookhaven National Lab seems to confirm this basic caveat of particle physics after it found the attractive forces between antiprotons are the same as those seen in regular matter.

Hackers find a way to hijack Siri and control your phone from a distance

siri hack phone

Combining machine learning and data analytics, Siri – the personal assistant for millions of Apple users – is a very powerful tool. Simply by voicing commands, Siri listens and obeys, whether you want to know how many calories are in your soda can or how many planes are flying above your head this very instant. But what if someone commanded Siri without your permission? A group of ethical French hackers recently showed it’s possible to hijack Siri from up to 16 feet away using hardware that can fit in a backpack and satisfy any whim.

Indian airport is the first in the world 100% powered by renewable energy

india airport

India is one of the most polluted countries in the world, but for what it’s worth local authorities acknowledge this and are trying to balance their energy mix, currently heavily reliant on fossil fuel. More than 90% of India’s energy needs are met by coal, oil and gas. In all this ocean of dirt, particles and toxic fumes, the Cochin International Airport (CIAL) shines like jewel – the first international airport in the world that is 100% served by solar energy.

This simple device helps teenage girls living in poverty cope with having a period

Flo

For girls about to have their first period in rural India, menstruation can change their lives for the worst. Unable to afford disposable pads and tampons, girls often use rags which they reuse risking all sorts of health complications due to lack of sanitation. Many also decide to drop out of school out of fear that their rags might show or leak blood. “A fear of staining their clothes and being teased or humiliated about it by their male classmates seems to be a major reason of girls themselves choosing to miss their classes,” Maria Fernandez Ruiz de Larrinaga, communications specialist at UNICEF India says.

The world is on the brink of a sixth massive extinction

The rate of extinctions on Earth has grown tremendously following the industrial revolution.

The world’s next massive extinction will most likely be caused not by an asteroid impact, volcano activity or alien invasion, but by us humans. A study that looked at the past and present rates of extinction found that plants and animals are going extinct 1,000 times faster than they did before humans walked on Earth’s surface. So, is it clear