Iron Man

Iron Man’s suit designer is now working on actual space suits

All space travel is fiction. Alright, it’s not fake in the “we didn’t go to the moon” sense of the term, but it necessarily involves the creation of tales to justify what remains a riotously expensive undertaking. “Major achievements in space contribute to the national prestige,” American Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara noted in 1961. “This is true even though the scientific, commercial or military value of the undertaking may … be marginal or economically unjustifiable.” In the years since the space race, this calculus is even more complicated. Much of what humans now do in space is quite tedious; waiting…

Tesla Model S

In-app purchases are coming for your car

Who among us hasn’t looked at a car and thought, “What if this complicated mechanical device operated a little bit more like the bestselling game, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood (2014)?” A version of this thought may have passed through the minds of Elon Musk and the people of Tesla, who announced on Thursday that their Model S would be able to unlock five additional kilowatt-hours from its standard battery pack for $3,000. It’s like in-game purchases, but the game is your car. This is not really a story about videogames getting there first. As with Ray J songs, that sort of parochialism is…


Here’s what happens when you click this sportscar into "Insane Mode"

As my Auto Shop teacher explained to us in high school, cars from the 1950s had powerful motors for two reasons: Highways and people socializing. A 1955 Chevy Bel Air might hold three couples on an outing, six adults—three across the bench in the front, three in the back—and when merging onto a highway, had to be able to quickly get all that weight up to 55 miles per hour. To a 1950s engineer, that kind of torque required lots of iron: V-8 engines, four-barrel carburetors and tons of gas. And back then a 13-second 0-60 time was reckoned respectable.…