Most of us consider airports an unglamorous, necessary evil. Between the inevitable delays, grumpy travelers, long lines, and lost baggage, we can barely summon the energy to appreciate our surroundings, let alone how they were conceived.
Like us, past generations have envisioned a future of efficient, aesthetically-pleasing airports, and our 137-year archive certainly yields a few fantastical gems.
Our annual How it Works issue is now available, wherein we strip 13 amazing machines of their skins to marvel at what lies beneath. For anyone interested in science and technology, it's a natural tendency, almost a reflex: let's open this thing up and see what makes it tick. Maybe we can put it back together, and then again maybe not.
Of course, we've been doing this here at PopSci for over a century. Here we've combed the archives for some of our favorite "How It Works" articles over the years. And there are some gems.
Since we launched our archive viewer last week, it's been a thrill to read emails with everyone's kind words and impressions. Particularly great was reader Michael Dixon's story involving salvaged scrap wood from ships arriving at the Port of Houston, a suburban backyard and the October 1969 issue of Popular Science.
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.