New Broadband Speed Record

Researchers in Germany have achieved the fastest-ever data transmission on a single laser beam, and it just might carry your high-definition 3-D streaming movies of the future.

What's the Latest Development?


Researchers in a German lab have just increased broadband capabilities—by a lot. "The data rate is 26 terabits per second, 260 times faster than the 100-gigabit cabling used in broadband and equivalent to beaming 700 DVDs worth of data in a single second. While only the most data-intense scientific project today might find use for the new optical technology, Jürg Leuthold, a physicist at Karlsruher Institute for Technology, said it won’t be long before neighborhoods will have the need for such speed: "Commerce will find a way to fill the space," he said.

What's the Big Idea?

The development of faster data transfer speeds will run parallel to the emergence of cloud computing. As more and increasingly complex data is stored on remote servers, better transfer technology will be necessary to access it. The next developments must occur in hardware: "While there may be no practical limit to the data bandwidth glassy fiber-optic cabling can handle, the devices sending and receiving information on either end of the line do have limitations. 'Electronic computers can’t keep up. Above 100 gigabits, which is the industry standard now, processing gets difficult,' Leuthold said. 'To handle it, you would need fast processors that don't exist.'"

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
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Why is 18 the age of adulthood if the brain can take 30 years to mature?

Neuroscience research suggests it might be time to rethink our ideas about when exactly a child becomes an adult.

Mind & Brain
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  • Although the human brain matures in size during adolescence, important developments within the prefrontal cortex and other regions still take pace well into one's 20s.
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Apparently even NASA is wrong about which planet is closest to Earth

Three scientists publish a paper proving that Mercury, not Venus, is the closest planet to Earth.

Strange Maps
  • Earth is the third planet from the Sun, so our closest neighbor must be planet two or four, right?
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  • Three scientists ran the numbers. In this YouTube video, one of them explains why our nearest neighbor is... Mercury!
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Mini-brains attach to spinal cord and twitch muscles

A new method of growing mini-brains produces some startling results.

(Lancaster, et al)
Surprising Science
  • Researchers find a new and inexpensive way to keep organoids growing for a year.
  • Axons from the study's organoids attached themselves to embryonic mouse spinal cord cells.
  • The mini-brains took control of muscles connected to the spinal cords.
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