In a high-tech kitchen laboratory in Seattle, Nathan Myhrvold is putting the finishing touches on Modernist Cuisine, his obsessive 2,438-page cookbook documenting the future of food. I recently visited for a futuristic breakfast
Recently, in a laboratory outside Seattle, I ate a piece of buttered toast that I will remember for the rest of my life. The bread itself was not extraordinary, but it was spread thickly with the brightest-green butter I've ever seen. It was not true butter, but rather an extract of pure green peas. Fresh peas are blended to a puree, then spun in a centrifuge at 13 times the force of gravity. The force separates the puree into three discrete layers: on the bottom, a bland puck of starch; on the top, vibrant-colored, seductively sweet pea juice; and separating the two, a thin layer of the pea's natural fat, pea-green and unctuous. A standard pea yields about three percent fat, so the half-ounce of glistening viridian on my toast was the equivalent of perhaps a pound and a half of peas condensed into a single bite.
I was eating with Dr. Nathan Myhrvold, in the rather amazing kitchen at the heart of his 20,000-square-foot laboratory outside Seattle.
Here in New York City, we've just been hit with yet another round of snow, and it got us thinking: There must be somebody working on a way to get rid of this fluffy white menace. As it turns out, there are lots of people working on it! Here are some of our favorites.
2011 is shaping up to be a great year for science. Here's what to look forward to
By Corey Binns and Amanda SchupakPosted 01.26.2011 at 11:00 am 0 Comments
We at PopSci love to find the biggest, coolest, most interesting science and technology innovations. This year promises much to love, including an artificial heart that looks and beats just like a real one, and 3-D entertainment without the goofy glasses--plus, judging by the State of the Union, our president seems bullish on science and tech. So, what else will make 2011 awesome?
ST. LOUIS — In a nondescript basement lab, jeans-clad engineers clutch blueprints, scrape stepladders across the unfinished floor and chat about the Cardinals as they tighten bolts on a new prototype device. At first glance, it could be any machine shop in the country.
But then you notice the wispy strands of soybean seedlings curling to life, their root tendrils bunched into test tubes lightly packed with soil, and you remember — this place is all about seeds.
Constructing the cosmos isn't easy. There are a lot of moving parts to keep in mind, ranging from the astronomically large to the infinitesimally small. But in a plain campus building on the northern fringe of the University of Illinois, Robert Patterson hurtles through a galaxy he and his colleagues created, checking and re-checking his path to account for both physics and physiology. After all, he wants to create an authentic voyage through the universe, but he doesn't want to make anyone's stomach turn.
A century of agricultural innovation vastly increased the amount of food--but with it came an increased population, and now hunger is on the rise. Fixing it will require an unlikely alliance
By Frederick KaufmanPosted 01.20.2011 at 4:30 pm 0 Comments
Among the tree-lined bike paths, automated livestock pens and darkened lecture halls of the University of California at Davis, a tiny room holds a weapon of mass destruction. Here, behind locked doors, sits a chunk of Xanthomonas, a bacterial blight that has decimated rice harvests in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and West Africa. Since the passage of the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, the U.S.
Sometimes the safest way out of a dangerous situation is to burn everything to the ground. From a house full of explosives to 134 tons of Mexican marijuana, here are nine instances when the best solution is controlled calamity
By Juliet LapidosPosted 01.19.2011 at 1:54 pm 15 Comments
Last November, Mario Garcia was walking toward the backyard of the Escondido, California, home where he worked as a gardener when he stepped on what looked like white powder and heard a boom. The substance, it turned out, was hexamethylene triperoxide diamine (HMTD), a compound that reacts violently when exposed to heat and friction. Badly burned, Garcia was rushed to the hospital, and when the San Diego hazmat squad searched the house, they found one of the largest caches of homemade explosives in U.S. history, with several pounds of HMTD and grenades recovered, plus 25 gallons of sulfuric acid, nitric acid, and two guns.
Today at IBM's headquarters in Yorktown, New York, an historic battle was staged. Two superstar Jeopardy! alums (Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter) faced off against IBM's supercomputer Watson in a preview round of America's most challenging trivia game, and we were there to see the thrilling man-on-machine action first-hand.
Last August, U.S. Navy operators on the ground lost all contact with a Fire Scout helicopter flying over Maryland. They had programmed the unmanned aerial vehicle to return to its launch point if ground communications failed, but instead the machine took off on a north-by-northwest route toward the nation's capital. Over the next 30 minutes, military officials alerted the Federal Aviation Administration and North American Aerospace Defense Command and readied F-16 fighters to intercept the pilotless craft.
For the first time since the auto industry raced off a cliff two years ago, the Detroit auto show was mobbed. Back were the sold-out hotels, the lavish parties, the teeming masses of reporters. The sensible plans that carmakers—particularly those from Detroit—had been talking about for the past three years had finally yielded fleets of solidly built, attractive, efficient production cars. In the absence of a few more stunning concepts and surprising debuts, however, the confidence felt a little tentative.