In September 1954, we compared the kitchen to a wife's workshop. This was the post-war era, after all. The 1950's are commonly referred to as America's favorite decade: a golden age of consumerism, economic prosperity, and conservative social mores. While engrossed in the Cold War, the media propagated how wholesome American housewives could enjoy superior household appliances as a reward for the country's endorsement of capitalism. In the spirit of domesticity, Popular Science published several features geared toward making kitchens as efficient, snazzy and high-tech as possible.
Although the issues of climate change and crude oil have received plenty of media coverage over the past decade, scientists have been working for over a century to develop technology capable of replacing conventional fuels with renewable energy.
You could even argue that society has attempted to harness renewable energy since ancient times. Over the past 138 years, Popular Science has seen engineers adapt Dutch windmills into wind turbines, water mills into commercial tidal power facilities, and Roman hot spring-powered underfloor heating systems into geothermal electric power plants.
For the past hundred years, we've been dreaming about flying cars. Transportation has come so far since the automobile's invention that flying cars seem like a natural part of what life should be by now. Who hasn't suffered rush hour traffic without imagining one's vehicle zipping above the congested highways? Flying cars would be fun to drive. Flying cars would eliminate the hassle of finding a ride to and from the airport. But, unhappily, flying cars have yet to achieve ubiquity.
It's not as if the automobile industry has lacked viable candidates for a mainstream f.c. We perused our archives to unearth a number of flying cars that we'd love to take for a spin.
Let's face it, sometime within the next century or so, overpopulation, the exhaustion of natural resources, an alien invasion -- or perhaps the optimistic spirit of adventure -- will force us to leave Earth in search of a new habitat. Earlier this week, NASA and DARPA announced a preliminary "Hundred-Year Starship" program for sending pioneers on permanent missions to Mars. To many, relocation from Earth sounds like a glorified exile, but some retro-futuristic eye candy from the Popular Sciencearchives will surely change their minds.
On October 16, more than 150 countries will observe World Food Day to raise awareness of poverty and hunger. The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations established the occasion in 1979 and held the first one in 1981 with the theme "Food Comes First." The October 16 date commemorates the founding of the FAO, which was born after President Franklin D. Roosevelt invited representatives of Allied Nations to Hot Springs, Virginia, to discuss the founding of an international organization dedicated to food and agricultural development.
Although World Food Day is only 29 years old, malnutrition has plagued our planet's citizens since the dawn of mankind. Feeding billions of starving people poses a daunting challenge, and many argue that industrialization has only drained the world of its natural resources. Convinced that that's not always the case, we consulted our archives to find ways that science and technology actually worked to fight the hunger crisis.
Ah, death and disease, mankind's greatest obstacles to reaching its full potential. Picture a future where people's bodies were healthy enough to withstand famine, drought, and mutant viruses. Imagine where our technology would be if great scientific minds like Albert Einstein or Nikola Tesla were still alive.
Over the last century and more, medical science has certainly tried to help people live longer -- if not forever -- but as Popular Science has witnessed, the greatest advancements in science have occurred only after some trial and error. Unfortunately for the human subjects of the error.
At the dawn of Prohibition, the future of happy hour looked bleak, but PopSci's archives reveal that within every speakeasy resides a science lab, and within every bootlegger, an unlikely inventor or chemist
The future of breweries looked dim on January 16, 1919, when the Eighteenth Amendment and the accompanying Volstead Act banned the manufacture, sale, and transportation of intoxicating beverages. Unsurprisingly, the black market was more than happy to help people drink without getting caught.
Popular Science had some ideas too.
Last May, we had the privilege of visiting Expo 2010 in Shanghai, where we got first looks at the inventive pavilions. Where else, other than at an international exposition, can you tour a spiny Seed Cathedral or make contact with a giant robotic baby?
Since their inception, World's Fairs have whisked millions of visitors to far-off places: Lisbon, Osaka, New York, and, of course, the future. The tradition of World's Fairs goes back to 1851, when London hosted the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park's Crystal Palace. Between then and Expo 2010, World's Fairs have evolved from industrial exhibitions to platforms for cross-cultural dialogue, to vehicles for promoting the host countries themselves.
It's hard to look at military spending without wondering what's behind the scenes.. For instance, in this month's issue of Popular Science, we investigate what exactly the Pentagon is getting for the $58 billion it has dropped on classified assassination weapons.
A peek in our archives revealed that Popular Science has a long history of investigating top-secret operations. We didn't hesitate to publish an expose on "loony gas" warfare in 1960, nor did we refrain from sending one of our reporters into Groom Lake's unofficial airfield.
We've heard it said that Rome wasn't built in a day. And while Popular Science isn't old enough to have witnessed the Colosseum going up, we have covered in our pages some of the 20th century's most important architectural achievements rise from nothing but a dream and a blueprint.
We've combed the archives to gather some of our most important first looks at the buildings and structures that went on to define skylines around the world.