A number of factors are causing the fires in Southern California to rage: the region has received nine inches less rain than normal, and climate change has led to warmer days and longer fire seasons. But experts also say that the US Forest Service's policy of stopping wildfires quickly contributed to the problem, too. This allowed the underbrush to survive, providing fuel for future fires. Basically, putting out one fire too quickly gave the next one a better chance to thrive. The Christian Science Monitor has an interesting piece on the various contributors to the problem.—Gregory Mone
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.