Vince Beiser(@vincebeiser) is the author of The World in a Grain: The Story of Sand and How it Transformed Civilization. His last feature for WIRED, in issue 29.03, was about a $500 billion biofuel scam.
The Quest to Trap Carbon in Stone—and Beat Climate Change
On a barren lava plateau in Iceland, a new facility is sucking in air and stashing the carbon dioxide in rock. The next step: Build 10,000 more.
Florida’s Condo Collapse Foreshadows the Concrete Crack-Up
Overreliance on the world’s favorite building material will lead to more crumbling towers, dams, bridges, and roads. And way more greenhouse gases.
5 Weird Concepts to (Theoretically) Supercharge Mask Fabrics
From diamonds to salt, researchers are exploring novel materials for face coverings. But don't expect to see these far-out ideas in stores anytime soon.
Concrete Is Awful for the Planet. Clever Chemistry Can Help
Without it, our civilization would be nowhere. With it, the Earth is suffering. But what if concrete could be used to store climate-warming carbon?
The War Vet, the Dating Site, and the Phone Call From Hell
Jared Johns found out too late that swapping messages with the pretty girl from a dating site would mean serious trouble. If only he had known who she really was.
The Super-Secret Sand That Makes Your Phone Possible
The processor that makes your laptop or cell phone work was fabricated using quartz from this obscure Appalachian backwater.
Fukishima’s Million Tons of Radioactive Water—and Counting
More than 1 million tons of radiation-laced water is already being kept on-site in an ever-expanding forest of hundreds of hulking steel tanks.
A Tactical Boot Made for Civilians That's Hard-Core Enough for Marines
Designed for every kind of terrain, these new boots are quick-drying, ultra-lightweight, super-grippy, and equipped with extras like titanium cleats and blade-resistant ceramic toe caps.
World's Fastest Guitarist Turns Classical Classic Into Blistering Blur
John Taylor claimed the Guinness-certified fastest guitarist title after blazing through "The Flight of the Bumblebee" at 600 beats per minute.
HBO's Luck Dives Deep Into Horse Racing
David Milch, of NYPD Blue and Deadwood fame, takes you into the world of thoroughbred racing through a new HBO series.
Crunching Data to Stop Baddies Before They Strike
From Minneapolis to L.A., law enforcement agencies are adopting a statistical approach to policing that can help predict when and where crimes are likely to occur.
Massive Biometric Project Gives Millions of Indians an ID
A massive biometric project in India aims to give millions of impoverished citizens a new form of ID.
Counterfeit Car Maker Cranks Out Porsches and Fauxraris
Pieced together from scavenged and scratch-built parts in Thailand, these sports car knockoffs look like the real deal, even if they don't run quite the same.
Boeing Teams Up With Baron of Inflatable Space Hotels
Meet Boeing, an aerospace giant all funded up with nowhere to go. The company has an $18 million NASA contract to build a spaceship for ferrying astronauts into orbit after the space shuttle is mothballed next year. Unfortunately, there’s only one destination — the International Space Station — and that’s not enough for Boeing. Now […]
The Just-Right Ride for City Bike-Sharing
From Paris to Minneapolis, the new must-have accessory for fashionably green cities is a bike-sharing program. It’s a simple idea: Go to a curbside station where a bunch of vèlos. are locked up, swipe your credit card, and ride merrily away. Drop off the bike at another station near your destination. Nice. What’s hard is […]
Digital Weapons Help Dissidents Punch Holes in China's Great Firewall
The curt knock on the door of his hotel room woke Alan Huang with a start. He looked at the clock: 5:30 am. Huang had been in Shenzhen, China, for only a few days; who could be looking for him at this hour? He groggily undid the lock—and found a half-dozen police officers in the […]
Motor: The Military's Incredible Hulk
US marine hate stupid land mine and IED! Assault Breacher SMASH! Assault Breacher 64-ton, 42-foot-long spawn of tank and bulldozer. RAAAWR! M1A1 Abrams tank chassis with modified turret and titanium-plated undercarriage. SLAM! Fifteen-foot armored plow with steel skis dig up land mine. Puny explosion only tickle! Humans drive Assault Breacher remotely if too afraid to […]