My second grade teacher had a pair of supermagnets. She wowed us with them one day, lifting a metal barstool by just holding onto the tiny silver nub. We were allowed to play with them only when closely supervised. Apparently, a couple years back, a girl had pointed one magnet at the other from across a table, and it had zipped up and hit her in the face.
We spend a third of our days asleep, and a good portion of the rest of them talking about it. We had a good night's sleep, a bad night's sleep, we stayed up too late, got up too early, now we're exhausted, last night we wrote a perfectly coherent essay in our sleep... well, maybe not. But Dr. John D. Quackenbos did, or so says a Popular Science article from 1919.
The quest to understand, explore, and protect the amazing animals
By Laura GeggelPosted 06.22.2012 at 4:00 pm 0 Comments
It's no surprise that Popular Science has long been obsessed with coral--it houses up to one-third of all sea life and researchers use its fluorescent green and orange proteins in biomedical research. During the past 100 years, PopSci reporters have covered coral reefs from Australia to the American Museum of Natural History. We've written about how coral can help divers find oil fields and how to collect it--you know, for kicks--using submarines. Back in the day, coral was more of a given, a novelty.
Coral bleaching, first reported in PopSci in 1995, changed attitudes to one of worry. As climate change warms the oceans, the single-celled dinoflagellates that live in the coral leave it behind, taking with them the sugars they photosynthesize and cutting off the corals' food supply. But there's hope – as we reported last year, a bacteria found in the Red Sea appears to prevent coral bleaching in some coral.
Now that Food Tech week is winding down here at PopSci, it's time to sit back, rest our hands on the shelves of our full bellies and listen to the old timers tell us a few yarns about back in their day.
The periodic table of elements, organized thoughtfully from hydrogen to ununoctium, is a tribute to the accomplishments of modern chemistry and physics. Since Dmitri Mendeleev developed an early version of the now-ubiquitous layout in 1869, discovering a new element has been a surefire way for a scientist to grab a place in the history books--and in the pages of Popular Science.
Despite having a readership made up mostly of men, Popular Sciences of old knew their way around a beauty parlor. Especially from the 20s to the 40s, PopSci offered makeup tips and advice to female readers, saying in effect "Look! We've got incredibly detailed cutaways of how things work AND beauty knowhow! What more could you want?"
When scientists take a break from studying, researching or inventing to devise a practical joke, the stakes are sky-high, sometimes literally. Who else can dangle a car off a bridge, or pull out a monster mask on a space station? A look into our archives finds an abundance of wild prankery.
By Ryan BradleyPosted 04.24.2012 at 11:59 am 61 Comments
The complete back issues of this magazine—all 1,680 of them—are stored in a walk-in closet in our New York offices. We don’t often visit the place. It’s musty and locked, and only one person keeps a key. But to put together our May issue on the Future of Flight, which arrives the same month that Edward L. Youmans founded Popular Science Monthly in 1872, we spent many hours there. During our sojourn, things took a turn for the strange.