Tech

Library of Congress

Before Cities Had Street Lights, They Had Giant Towers That Mimicked the Moon

When electricity was new, town leaders looked to "moonlight towers" to provide mass illumination.

Shutterstock

The Smell of Nature Is Almost As Good As the Real Thing, As Far As Our Brains Are Concerned

Hard science is finally backing up centuries of aromatherapy wisdom.

Death Defying Video of the Day: Mountain Unicycling

They're not just for hippies anymore.

SERIES

City Makers: Global Stories

The people and ideas reshaping urban life

Denis Balibouse/Reuters

Not-So-Green 'Green' Car of the Day: The Ferrari Hybrid

Base price: $1.3 million.

CNR Istituto Nazionale di Ottica

New Firefighting Tech Could Save Lives, Scare the Heck out of People

This device to "see" people trapped behind flames also makes them look supremely creepy.

Just Think of All the Things You Could Do With an Affordable Infrared Scanner for Your Smartphone

The Mu Thermal Imager, which detects drafty doors and windows, aims to be an affordable device for improving your home's energy efficiency.

CityFixer
ILSR

Why Are There No Big Cities with Municipal Broadband Networks?

Publicly owned Internet infrastructure is luring jobs to smaller towns. Should big cities follow their lead?

Actually Worthwhile Advertising: a Water-Producing Billboard

The high-tech billboard transforms atmospheric moisture into drinking water for thirsty Peruvians.

CoffeeCar.org

Somebody Invented a Car that Runs on Coffee

The odd vehicle, which transforms old coffee grounds into hydrogen, recently set a Guinness land-speed record.

Amazingly Dull Municipal Video Games Are All the Rage on YouTube, for Some Reason

Should the title of Most Boring City Simulator go to garbage collection, toilet cleaning or European bus driving?

John Metcalfe

How NASA Scientists Are Turning L.A. Into One Big Climate-Change Lab

Studying the emissions of megacities like Los Angeles promises to be the next big thing in combating global warming.

Maps
Chris Herwig

Mapping Data-Dense Cities as if They Were Mountains

Contour lines borrowed from natural terrain can tell us much about life in the city.

CityFixer
Reuters

Europe's Emerging Consensus on Low-Emissions Zones

Critics of London Mayor Boris Johnson's ambitious air pollution plan may be missing the bigger picture.

Jacqueline Feldman

The Heated Terraces of Paris Are Safe, For Now

A ban on outdoor gas heaters from Parisian cafés doesn't look like it will be implemented anytime soon.

Maps
James Koval

Early Fruits of International Open Data Day 2013

Projects from Vancouver to Washington to Kathmandu.

The 8 Most Intriguing Finalists From the Bloomberg Philanthropies' Mayors Challenge

Five winners will be announced this spring, but these ideas stand out above the rest.

Maps

Twitter Data Use of the Day: Mapping the Languages of New York City

5 percent of Tweets out of the city are in a language other than English.

Introducing 'Riot,' the Video Game Based on Actual Violent Uprisings Around the World

Take on the role of violent agitators or the police in this atmospheric smartphone simulator.