By Martin Mann
Posted 06.14.2012 at 6:30 pm 5 Comments
This article originally appeared in the April 1961 issue of Popular Science. You can explore more of our archives--stretching back 140 years--here.
Git along, little hippo. The romantic days of the open range may come back--in Africa, and with a native twist. Great herds of elephants, hippopotamuses, and eland, rounded up by dark-skinned wranglers (hippoboys?), [2012 note: eeeeeep] could supply desperately needed meat for the fast-growing, hungry continent.
This little chameleon is one of four miniature lizards identified in Madagascar, adding to our growing list of amazingly teeny animals. The one on the match in this picture is a juvenile, but even the adults max out at 30 millimeters. They're the smallest lizards in the world, and some of the smallest vertebrates found to date.
Regular readers of this page are all pretty familiar with the latest generation of flying robots, from tennis-playing quadcopters to surveillance hummingbirds. But zebras, it’s fair to say, are not. So what happens when a drone buzzes a herd?
The German surveillance bot maker Microdrones took one of their md4-1000 quadcopters to the Masai Mara region of the Serengeti, and used it to capture video of all sorts of African wildlife. Here’s a preview of what their drone saw.
Like parents of twins, wildlife biologists can easily differentiate between similar-looking creatures by noting slight differences that an outside observer would miss. But in the wild, it can take some time to locate the right animals so they can be identified.
A new algorithm can scan zebra photos like they were bar codes, helping researchers track individual animals more easily.
To combat malaria, why not skip the step of genetically altering mosquitoes and try some transgenic fungus instead? In a new study, researchers sprayed mosquitoes with a fungus that had been modified to deliver compounds that target the malaria parasite. They found the treatment could reduce disease transmission to humans by at least five-fold.
The only mammals in the world that chirp like crickets — by rubbing body parts together — are these strange shrew-like creatures called streaked tenrecs. A BBC film crew has captured their stridulations on camera for the first time.
In a potential breakthrough in the prevention of AIDS, researchers are reporting today that a vaginal gel containing an existing AIDS drug can cut in half a woman's chances of getting HIV from an infected partner.
The women involved in the study used it only 60 percent of the time, and it was still effective -- meaning an even greater prevention rate is possible if it's used more frequently.
Reporting from the Gulf, an offshore oil rig worker finds mundanity, a complacent obsession with safety, and the doom beneath it all
By Jasper Collum
Posted 06.29.2010 at 2:00 pm 8 Comments
It's a recurring dream. I'm standing next to a machine, some giant warm Fritz-Lang-inspired monster. I live in it. I am a piece of it. But I know at any moment this machine could destroy itself and there won't be a thing I can do about it. What a mutinous thing when a machine, usually so faithful and repetitious, turns against us.
I'm afraid of this dream, and every morning I wake up in the Gulf and go to work on an offshore drilling rig the dream gets worse. Though it shouldn't.
Most robots covered on this site push the envelope of technology, by working in space or eerily replicating flesh-and-blood humans. But for Sam Todo, a student in the Togolese Republic in Africa, robotics is a way to put the outdated technology found in the garbage to new, innovative uses. In this video, Todo displays a humanoid robot he created almost entirely from discarded TV parts.
Even as some of the world moves into a future of unimaginably complex technology, many communities still lack the basic electrical infrastructure needed to power even simply electric devices like light bulbs. Unwilling to wait for the wiring to catch up to the demand, Danish researcher Frederik Krebs has created an LED lamp embedded within a flexible, printable solar panel that could replace the kerosene lamps still used around the developing world.
When it comes to viruses, especially the serious kind that can make you bleed from your eye sockets and wipe out entire villages, most people naturally prefer to keep their distance. Not Nathan Wolfe. The 39-year-old epidemiologist has spent the past 10 years hunting them down in the jungles of Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. By collecting thousands of blood samples from wild animals and the people who live in close contact with them, Wolfe and his team have uncovered new viruses related to HIV and smallpox. He's even documented how these animal-borne killers leap to humans, with blood serving as a vector in transmitting viruses from slaughtered animals to hunters.
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.