Self-heating drinks cans set for a relaunch—here’s how they work

A US technology firm is hoping to make a very old idea finally work by launching self-heating drinks cans. HeatGenie recently received US$6m to bring their can design to market in 2018, more than 15 years after Nestle abandoned a similar idea. Yet the principles behind the technology go back much further to 1897, when Russian engineer Yevgeny Fedorov invented the first self-heating can. So how do these cans work, why no one has managed to make them a success, and what’s HeatGenie’s new approach? To answer that, we have to go back to World War II.

Guatemala has lived in the shadow of volcanoes for centuries

When the Fuego volcano near Antigua, Guatemala erupted on June 3, it wasn’t immediately apparent to the people living on its slopes quite how dangerous this event would be. The explosive nature, speed and direction of the eruption were all unexpected. Entire villages were destroyed, and houses covered in thick ash. The death toll stands at at least 99, hundreds of people are missing, and further volcanic activity is hindering rescue efforts.

Wildfire risks are high again this year – here’s what travelers need to know

Memorial Day marks the traditional opening of the summer travel season. This year the American Automobile Association projects that more than 41.5 million Americans will hit the road over Memorial Day weekend, nearly 5 percent more than last year and the most in a dozen years.

A brief history of immersion, centuries before VR

Immersive experiences are fashionable at the moment, as virtual reality finally emerges into the mainstream with headsets now commercially available. But immersion is a technique much older than technology. It is the key to storytelling, in literature, film, videogames, even in the spoken stories told by our ancestors around the campfire. We are taken in by the experience: we become so involved with a character that we share their emotions, or build expectations about their progress in the story – and react when these expectations are either fulfilled or thwarted.

Discarded cigarette butts—the next high-performing hydrogen storage material?

Discarded cigarette butts are a major waste disposal and environmental pollution hazard. But chemists at the University of Nottingham have discovered that cigarette butt-derived carbons have ultra-high surface area and unprecedented hydrogen storage capacity.