Science and Technology

  • Blogs

    October 13, 2014

    Texas is Terrible at Energy Efficiency, According to Study

    Houston is the energy capital of the world. We practically bathe in oil around here. So, it should come as no surprise to anyone that a recent study from Wallethub found Texas to be near the bottom of the list of states in energy efficiency. According to the study, Texas ranks 45th out of the 48 sta ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 19, 2014

    Requiem For the iPod

    The year was 2002, and I was in the back of my mom's Chevy high-top. She was driving my brother to Sam's Club to pick up his new blue iPod 1st Generation. For months, I watched him listen to Papa Roach and moody pop-rock queen Avril Lavigne as he sat in his bedroom lifting his 8-pound dumbbells -- t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 17, 2014

    SpaceX, Boeing to Launch Humans Under NASA's Watch

    For the first time in American history, commercial spaceflight companies will send astronauts to the International Space Station. SpaceX and Boeing have been awarded NASA contracts to pursue the technology necessary for sustaining human life in space. Pending certification by NASA, American astrona ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 16, 2014

    5 More Crazy Things in Texas' New Textbooks: Climate Change Edition

    If you were already disturbed by what we've already told you is in the proposed social studies textbooks soon to (most likely) be in a Texas classroom near you, you probably don't want to know what the books say about climate change, since a lot of it is about as accurate as The Day After Tomorrow. ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 9, 2014

    Texas Oil and Gas Regulators Warn of Russian Conspiracy to Fund Anti-Frackers

    The drilling revolution brought on by hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" - the process of shooting millions of gallons of chemical- and sand-laden water underground to coax oil and gas out of massive shale formations - has led to a long, serious debate in Texas. What that debate has largely been abo ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 25, 2014

    SpaceX Rocket Explosion Keeps Space Community on Edge

    A SpaceX rocket exploded in the skies above McGregor, Texas, during a test flight on Saturday. Though a nonchalant Elon Musk waved the mishap with a short tweet acknowledging that "Rockets are tricky," the fact remains that explosions are scary and tend not to reflect well on companies. SpaceX is a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 23, 2014

    Hurricane Season 2014: Tropical Depression No. 2 Not Long for This World

    The tiny tropical depression -- the second of the 2014 hurricane season -- continues to speed westward towards the Caribbean, but with each passing day it is losing the characteristics of a storm rather than gaining strength. Despite having some relatively good conditions, No. 2 is looking pretty ra ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 28, 2014

    Hurricane Season 2014: Predictions Call for Below Average Year

    To borrow and mangle a quote from Groundhog Day, "Well, it's hurricane season...again." Beginning June 1, anyone who lives along the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea or Atlantic Ocean starts to cast a wary eye on the tropics. As the temperatures warm up through summer, so does most of the Atlantic Basi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 21, 2014

    NASA Quite Possibly Contaminated Mars

    Ray Bradbury once said that Mars is the future for mankind, so we have to wonder what the the science fiction genius would have to say if he knew that we've already (possibly) managed to contaminate our future with Earth bacteria. Yep, the Mars Curiosity Rover landed on the red planet in 2012, and ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 14, 2014

    Apollo Astronaut Space Suits For Sale

    There was a point in time - Hair Balls is reasonably sure -- when every kid wanted to be an astronaut when he or she grew up. And why not? They were watching on TV as astronauts were launched into space and walked on the moon. It was the age of the space race and the men (because of course it was al ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 5, 2014

    New NASA Spacesuits Have Been Chosen: Buzz Lightyear Would be Proud

    Last month, NASA asked the people to help pick the design of the next spacesuit. The people have spoken and they have decreed that NASA astronauts should look like chrome versions of Buzz Lightyear. In other words, the astronauts are going to look extremely cool. If they manage to get to Mars whil ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 2, 2014

    App Showcasing Nazi Salutes, Boobs, Bullying and Hate Speech Under Fire in Katy

    It's a school administrator's worst nightmare, technology used to help educate gets confused with a popular app kids are using to promote drug use, nude photos, and hate speech. It used to be that leaving the porn websites unblocked was a bad move in family households, now teachers in Katy are askin ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 25, 2014

    Remembering the Day Hubble Was Launched

    Mark Carreau covered NASA for the Houston Chronicle for more than 20 years. He started on the day the Challenger exploded - the editor told everyone on the metro desk to write a NASA story - and he stayed on the beat until he was laid off from the Chron a few years ago. Until then, he watched launc ... More >>

  • News

    April 24, 2014

    Houston's Space Problem: Johnson Space Center Has Lost Its Identity and Purpose

    With a rudderless NASA in charge, JSC has been lost in the shuffle.

  • Blogs

    April 23, 2014

    Cover Story: When the NASA Love Is Lost

    SpaceX completed another successful mission toting cargo to the International Space Station on Sunday. The launch was livestreamed from Cape Canaveral, but it was all focused in Florida and Johnson Space Center was never mentioned. There was a time this would have been unthinkable. Check out our co ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 16, 2014

    Houston Spaceport, Still in Planning Stages, Has Its First Customer

    If you thought trying to get app-based transportation approved here in Houston was tough, it'll be interesting to see how smoothly it goes developing a plan for commercial space flight. Space travel is higher on the list, we think, especially since a project --- a planned public-private partnership ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 3, 2014

    NASA Broke Up With Russia's Space Agency, Now What?

    The United States has ended things between NASA and Russia's space agency. While the U.S. has yet to issue a Taylor Swiftian pop ballad about the breakup, a memo on the split did get leaked. We can't say we didn't see this coming. Things have been, shall we say, tense between the two countries sinc ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 18, 2014

    Appeals Court Will Hear First Arguments Under New "Junk Science" Law Wednesday

    The state Court of Criminal Appeals will hear arguments Wednesday in the curious case of Neal Hampton Robbins, convicted in Montgomery County in 1999 of killing his girlfriend's 17-month old daughter, and sentenced to life in prison. It's the first time the CCA will hear arguments under a 2013 statu ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 14, 2014

    There Could be a Supernova in the Sky, NASA Says

    While pottering around the universe, the Hubble Space Telescope recently clicked a photo of a dying star. The image sent back to Earth looks like a giant lidless eye peering back at the telescope, as described in unexpectedly poetic terms in a NASA release. At the center of the nebula is a giant sta ... More >>

  • Calendar

    December 26, 2013
  • Blogs

    November 28, 2013

    What's in a Space Station Thanksgiving?

    Way up there in outer space, the International Space Station crew is being deprived of the traditional Thanksgiving we're all enjoying -- you know, that complicated dance of balancing gobbling turkey, stuffing, pie and enough booze before someone you're related to brings up either politics or religi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 13, 2013

    Still Awaiting the Keystone Decision, Oil Moves On

    Oil industry types and environmentalists alike have been arguing about the Keystone XL Pipeline for years now. Oil people wanted the Transcanada line put in because it would tote barrels worth of bitumen, the sticky black tar sands crude, thousands of miles from Canada to the Gulf Coast. But now, de ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 29, 2013

    Texas is Still On Top in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    Across the nation, greenhouse gases actually declined last year, according to a federal report, but Texas still managed to stay on top. Even Texas decreased in carbon dioxide emissions, but the Lone Star State still produces double the carbon dioxide of any other state, according to Associated Pres ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 8, 2013

    Gravity Hits NASA: Shutdown as "Nonessential" NASA Turns 55

    Last week was NASA's 55th birthday. However, the folks over at NASA didn't have a giant cake or some crazy party to celebrate 55 years of the space program. Instead, 97 percent of NASA employees were deemed "nonessential," sent home without pay and told to wait and not work until the government fina ... More >>

  • News

    August 29, 2013

    The Dark Wall: Legendary Tornado Chaser Tim Samaras's Last Ride

    The story of Tim Samaras and the largest tornado ever documented.

  • Blogs

    August 5, 2013

    Attack of the Frankenfish!

    It's not available yet, but once the FDA finalizes its assessment of AquAdvantage salmon, the genetically engineered fish may find its way to your grocery store fish counter. And you may have no idea that the fish you're eating has been modified with growth hormone regulating genes. These genes al ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 5, 2013

    EPA Says Fracking Is Safe But An Internal Report Says Different

    It must be a tricky thing being the Environmental Protection Agency, especially when it comes to the political minefield that is fracking. Hydraulic fracturing - the process of shooting sand, water and chemicals into an oil well to get the oil and natural gas trapped in the formation flowing - is a ... More >>

  • Film

    August 1, 2013

    Europa Report: A Found-Footage Failure of Form

    Ersatz space doc Europa Report only looks realistic.

  • Blogs

    July 29, 2013

    George Mitchell, 'Father of Fracking,' Dies

    George Phydias Mitchell was the kind of oilman other oilmen tell stories about. Decades before the Galveston native became known as "The Father of Fracking," he was the son of Greek immigrants who'd come up from nothing and made good millions of times over. Mitchell died Friday at the age of 94, a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 27, 2013

    We Don't Get an Actual Shuttle, but We Get a Chance to Name a Fake One!

    Houston has long maintained a kind of inferiority complex. Even now after publications from coast to coast have proclaimed our surprising hipness, we still get things stuck in our craw. Case in point, not getting a space shuttle for Space Center Houston. Plagued by the insipid overuse of "Houston, w ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 19, 2013

    NASA's New Astronauts: Half Women, None Alive for the Moon Landing

    There was a generation of kids who grew up idolizing the astronauts. The men of the Mercury missions, the Apollo crews -- the guys who risked everything, put it all on the line to beat the Russians and launch into outer space. John Glenn, Alan Shepard, Neil Armstrong -- these guys were national he ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 29, 2013

    Texas Leads in Carbon Emissions, Environmental Group Tries to Tie Them to "Monster" Tornadoes

    The Environmental Defense Fund sent out a press release detailing the fact that Texas leads the nation in carbon emissions according to information provided by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. According to their report, Texas emitted 652.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2010, ne ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 20, 2013

    NASA Budget Cuts Could Hit Johnson Space Center (First No Shuttle, Now This?)

    In recent years, NASA has been hit pretty hard, and another hit may be coming. We're a long ways off from the days when JFK told the nation that the United States would put a man on the moon, and in recent years, what with the Great Recession, space exploration seems to have taken a backseat. Hell, ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 13, 2013

    App of the Week: What Is the Deal with Vine Anyway?

    If you don't follow social media closely (hey, good for you!), you may be wondering what the hell a Vine is and why it has been in the news lately? Good question. Vine is another free social media app for smartphones built to share super short videos in much the same way Instagram shares videos but ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 1, 2013

    "Feds Order 1.6 Billion Bullets" -- New Spam E-Mail Goes After FEMA Conspiracy Theorists and Sports Fans?

    Spammers don't care about your political causes or your beliefs. They prey on the innocent and the naive, which is why a recent spate of e-mails I've received using conspiracy theory scare tactics does not surprise me in the least. I am not a "prepper," nor do I fear the end of the world or being j ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 25, 2013

    Spotify Launches Traditional Television Ad Campaign This Week

    Spotify is launching its first-ever advertising campaign this week, with an ad debuting tonight during NBC's premiere of its new season of The Voice, hoping to capitalize on music fans who haven't yet made the leap to streaming music services. The three initial ads are heavy on emotion and slow-mo ... More >>

  • Film

    March 14, 2013
  • Blogs

    February 27, 2013

    Ten Ways the Smartphone is the Swiss Army Knife of Technology

    Growing up, I loved the Swiss Army knife I got from my dad. They came in what seemed like a million variations. Mine had several knives including the one that looked like a saw as well as a corkscrew (not sure why dad thought I needed that one), combination bottle opener/flathead screwdriver, a toot ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 1, 2013

    The 10th Anniversary Of The Shuttle Columbia Disaster: Worst Hoax Ever

    Today is the 10th anniversary of the explosion of the space shuttle Columbia, which blew apart as it was gliding across Texas to a Florida landing. All seven crew members died, and Texans were poking around the Piney Woods for weeks looking for debris. NASA is keeping a low profile for the anniver ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 23, 2013

    500px Mobile App Pulled from Apple Store Over Boobs, Victim of Apple's Bizarre Double Standard When It Comes to Nudie Pics

    The Apple App store has an incredibly byzantine set of rules that make it almost impossible for app developers to navigate. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that the approval process is often random and unevenly applied. Take for instance the case of 500px, a mobile photo-sharing app not that ... More >>

  • Film

    January 10, 2013

    Promised Land's Hard Sell

    For Matt Damon and company, the message is the message.

  • Blogs

    December 20, 2012

    Nerd Humor: NASA Gets Clever With "Why the World Didn't End" and Gangnam Style Parody Videos

    Nerds have a sense of humor and when those nerds also have cool toys and a desire to get people more interested in their world, they can come up with some pretty damn clever concoctions. In this case, the nerds in question are at our own Johnson Space Center where they have created a couple of video ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 5, 2012

    A Local Venue With an App? Mucky Duck Has One... and It's Good

    Survival in the hospitality business is rough. The vast majority of restaurants fail. Bars are an even tougher go, and nightclub success is even slimmer. That puts live music venues on the lowest rung of the success ladder. So, it is understandable when a live music venue, struggling to get by, is ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 28, 2012

    Internet Scam from DNS Services Sends Solicitation That Looks Like an Invoice

    I've worked as a web developer for 15 years and I've seen a lot of scams related to domain names. At least a couple times a month, one of my clients will forward an e-mail to me with some sort of "request to verify domain name" or "domain name registry" service. Scams like that are pretty commonplac ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 26, 2012

    Eater National's Talia Baiocchi Joins Wine Spectator Team

    UPDATE AND CLARIFICATION: We received word from Talia Baiocchi that this post has caused some confusion. She is not leaving her position as wine editor at Eater National. She is picking up a weekly column for the Wine Spectator in addition to her current job with Eater. New York-based, twenty-some ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 19, 2012

    Houston Wine Blogger Community Grows

    One of the things that I love the most about wine blogging is the community it creates and the way it brings together people from different corners of society and all walks of life. After all, I fell in love and decided to move to Texas after I met my wife Tracie P through wine blogging. The Housto ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 16, 2012

    Almost There: My Digital ACL Festival Experience

    Knowing what's happening at a major music festival is easier than ever. Bloggers post daily recaps, people tweet updates round the clock, and Instagram provides a world of images for those that can't afford to make the trip. Rewind: ACL 2013: What's Next For Texas' Other Big Music Festival? Rocks ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 3, 2012

    Cover Story: Is Biomedical Testing on Primates Still Necessary?

    On October 24, scientists from around the world will come to San Antonio to discuss how testing on monkeys might one day lead to an AIDS cure. They'll be talking baboons, macaques, and vervets at the 30th Annual Symposium on Nonhuman Primate Models for AIDS, not chimpanzees. Once thought to be the ... More >>

  • News

    September 20, 2012

    New Cracks in the Frack

    Pesky little complaints like pollution, flaming water and abandoned homes continue to cast doubt on the argument that drilling into shale will benefit all.

  • Blogs

    September 19, 2012

    5 Things The Shuttle Endeavour Needs To Do In Its Houston Layover

    NASA is trying to make a big PR splash with its crosscountry trip, of the retired shuttle Endeavour, including a nose-thumbing stopover of Houston, the city who didn't get a shuttle despite being the home of NASA. See Also: - Retired Shuttles: Houston Even Finished Behind McMinnville, Oregon - Eigh ... More >>

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