SUBSTITUTE EXES

Beijing

With every new piece of ‘talking without talking’ technology we adopt, the art of the break-up takes a new hit. Tears have been replaced by weepy emoticons and Dear John letters are now written by programs, but while most people draw the line at 140-character text messages, the Chinese have taken it one step further.
The newest trend to hit the dating scene in China is the outsourcing of breakups.…

Artificial (Un)Intelligence?

Freedom of Speech

From the day in 400 BC that a man in Alexandria built the first mechanical bird, robots have had a firm hold over our imaginations and research budgets. Over the years, we've taught our bots to milk our cows, fight our wars, and date men who would find it really difficult to talk to a non-robotic female lifeform. But perhaps our greatest achievement of all is that we have taught them to be…

The Big Fat Tax

Food

As two American ladies battle it out for the title of World’s Fattest Woman, and hot dog eating turns into a serious competitive sport – there is one country that is taking the obesity epidemic seriously.

Hungary has decided to introduce a ‘fat tax’ of 10 korint (0.37 Euros) on food with high fat, salt and sugar content, effective immediately. The logic behind the move is simple. According to…

How will we move, Sian?

Transport

As the 2008 Green Party candidate for Mayor of London, Sian Berry had to get her head around the problem of transportation in the British capital. Good for us, because her 50 Ways to Greener Travel became one of our bibles while we were compiling the Transport issue. Reading it was so useful that we decided to ask her a few more questions by email. Here are her answers.

Just to warm up, tell us at…

Nuclear Farmville

Money

As the secretive nation of North Korea continues to baffle and occasionally amuse, most of us can only guess about people’s lives behind the Great Wall of Pyongyang.  But there’s one thing we know for sure – they have computers, and they seem to be fantastic at using them.

Over the past few years, the United Nations has imposed sanctions on trade with North Korea in an effort to reduce their cash…

Planet Tiffany

Star City

Over the last 150 years, the diamond industry has spent billions of dollars (and a lot of good karma) trying to convince us that diamonds are one of the most rare substances known to mankind. It all started innocently enough, as until the mid 19th century, diamonds could only be found in a few secluded corners in India and Brazil. But when an expedition to South Africa in 1870 unearthed thousands of…