Meet Jennifer Daftari’s fifth-grade class at Jay Elementary School in Jay, Oklahoma. They don’t know it yet, but they’re going to save the world.
I got an e-mail not long ago from Ms. Daftari in which she made a compelling (and ego-satisfying) case that her students are PopSci’s greatest fans. Every month when she announces the arrival of a new issue, she wrote, “they wildly applaud, sitting on the edge of their seats to see what new ideas, technology and inventions their eyes will behold. You and your staff are ‘rock stars’ to my students.”
What makes investors do the wrong thing, all together, pretty much all the time?
By Robert Armstrong and Jacob WardPosted 02.19.2008 at 4:54 pm 2 Comments
There's just no nice way to say it: You're stupid with your money. You may fancy yourself a shrewd investor, but if you have normal human instincts—if you stand up and cheer at sporting events, if you follow the crowd toward the exit at the theater—then you have the instincts that make investors alternate between delirious greed and inconsolable fear. Like most of your peers, you are wired to buy high and sell low, and that's why Richard Peterson is about to become one very rich psychiatrist.
By Danny FreedmanPosted 02.06.2008 at 5:01 pm 0 Comments
Carnivorous plants generally stick to a diet of bugs that they ensnare. On rare occasions, though, tropical pitcher plants—which drown and break down prey in vase-shaped traps that can be smaller than a little finger or larger than a football—have been found holding the skeletal remains of frogs, geckos and even small rodents. But what about human flesh?
Unlock your Canon digital camera's hidden features by replacing its firmware with a hacked version
By John MahoneyPosted 02.05.2008 at 11:48 am 2 Comments
Displaying the alternate main menu.
Camera makers love the incremental update: selling a new model with just enough enhancements that you'll be tempted to trade up. But if you own one of several Canon point-and-shoots, you can get new features, such as shooting in high-quality RAW format, measuring accurate exposures via a live histogram, and even running simple applications like games or a calendar, without having to pay for an upgrade. All you need to do is replace your firmware, the computer code embedded in the camera's memory that serves as its operating system.
Environmentalists and everyday air travelers alike are growing increasingly aware of the airline industry's greenhouse-gas problem. As demands for greener air travel grow, will technology come to the rescue of the jumbo jet?
By Dennis GaffneyPosted 02.04.2008 at 5:13 pm 3 Comments
Last summer, more than 1,000 environmentalists in the U.K. staged a weeklong protest in a "Climate Camp" at Heathrow Airport, where about 70 people were arrested. Their immediate purpose was to block a planned expansion of Heathrow, but the protests highlighted a growing complaint in Europe—that the ride to global-warming catastrophe is being fueled not only by coal-fired power plants and SUVs, but also by the ever-rising number of commercial jets. Now governments are starting to listen.
For astronauts on the ISS, a new robot means fewer risky spacewalks
By Gregory MonePosted 02.04.2008 at 12:14 pm 2 Comments
Replacing a circuit breaker in a dark basement is one thing. But what if you had to climb around the outside of a spacecraft orbiting hundreds of miles above the Earth to do it? This kind of dangerous maintenance work has become fairly common for astronauts aboard the International Space Station, where they spend as much time fixing the $100-billion-plus orbiting science lab as they do performing actual research.
A paper-thin GPS unit that could help the postal service put an end to mail delays
By Gregory MonePosted 01.31.2008 at 3:22 pm 5 Comments
Even snail mail is getting a tech upgrade. This month TrackingtheWorld, a California-based GPS developer, expects to begin mass-producing Letter Loggers—small GPS-equipped envelope inserts that could help the U.S. Postal Service spot bottlenecks in the system. The insert is durable enough to shoot through sorting machines without crushing the circuits. A high-gain antenna pulls info from a satellite every few minutes and records the letters location to a memory card (to prevent interference with other devices, it wont transmit data in real time).
Or at least keep your teeth cavity-free. A growing chorus of medical researchers say our bacteria-killing zealotry is misguided. Instead of fighting bugs, they argue, we should train them to do our bidding and then set them loose in our bodies. The trouble is keeping them there
By Jessica Snyder SachsPosted 01.31.2008 at 1:24 pm 10 Comments
It's a drizzly morning on New York's Upper East Side, and Rockefeller University microbiologist David Thaler is sipping a double espresso amid the retro-hippie pillows and dangling paper stars of Java Girl, a favorite haunt of the neighborhood's brainiac Nobel laureates, aging poets and famous entertainers. Thaler somehow manages to embody all three—a long, graying ponytail curling down the middle of his back, wire-frame glasses askew over expansive brown eyes, and a schnozz to rival an Einstein, Ginsberg or Allen. Thaler is one of the leading cheerleaders for a new field of biotechnology aimed at engineering the bacteria inside us to deliver drugs, destroy tumors, actively fight infection, and even vaccinate against their disease-causing kin.
Precious metals in your car burn up the dirty exhaust, with no flame to be seen
By Theodore GrayPosted 01.29.2008 at 1:14 pm 2 Comments
More Than Meets the Eye
Invisible propane gas flows, unlit, from a torch. On hitting the rhodium-studded ceramic honeycomb from a catalytic converter, it burns without flame, heating the ceramic red-hot.
To a chemist, burning means the rapid combination of a fuel with oxygen, called oxidation. You might say, for instance, “Oh, no, we didn’t have a fire at the nuclear power plant, we just had a ‘rapid oxidation event,’ ” a phrase that won officials at Three Mile Island the Doublespeak Award in 1979.