How Quicksand Works and How to Escape its clutches

You trek through a marsh, minding your own business, when all of a sudden *smooosh. Quicksand!

Got an exam coming up? Better start sketching

A new study found that drawing information you need to remember is a very efficient way to enhance your memory. The researchers believe that the act of drawing helps create a more cohesive memory as it integrates visual, motor and semantic information. “We pitted drawing against a number of other known encoding strategies, but drawing always came out on top,”

Autonomous mini-rally car learns to drift — this is more important than you think

When self-driving cars finally take off, these should be safe. But right now, there’s no guarantee they are. A small autonomus mini rally might help changed this.

A katana-armed industrial robot vs human samurai sword master

Machii Isao is an Iaido master and an expert sword wielder. He holds five Guinness World Records including “fastest 1,000 iaido sword cuts (36 min 4 sec)” and “most iaido sword cuts to one mat” (8), but you might know him as the real-life “fruit ninja” if you saw some of his stints up on YouTube. Check out how Isao fared against a robot.

Chinese scientist finds earliest known fossil of complex life, paper met with heavy criticism

A new discovery may place the first appearance of complex life on Earth a full billion years earlier than previously thought. The scientific community is divided on the value of the find, some hailing it as rock-solid evidence while others dismiss it as inconclusive.

Spider silk-inspired wire extends like a solid, but compresses like a liquid

. Perhaps the most impressive feature of spider silk is that it’s taut even when it’s been stretched to several times its original size. Inspired by the orb spider’s silk, researchers at University of Oxford and the Universit√© Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris made their own artificial spider silk thread that extends like a solid, but compresses like a liquid.

Synthetic wine can mimic classic vintages, for a fraction of the time and price

Ava Winery, a start-up based in San Francisco, wants to let you enjoy the best of wines for a fraction of their current cost. To this end, they’ll bypass the costly growing and fermentation processes; in fact, they won’t use grapes at all. Their wines will be synthetically produced, by combining aromatic compounds with ethanol.