A too-brief encounter with Arthur C. Clarke, the grand old man of science-fiction visionaries.
By Matthew TeaguePosted 08.19.2004 at 5:00 pm 4 Comments
In 2004, Matthew Teague traveled to Arthur C. Clarke's Sri Lankan home for a Popular Science profile. They candidly discussed Clarke's incredible legacy as well as his insatiable thirst—even at age 87—for the next Big Idea. Here we present again this feature in tribute to a man whose visions still continue to profoundly influence the world of science and technology today.
The gate to Arthur C. Clarke's compound stood tall, white and blast-proof. We ran our hands over its surface, poking around for some secret doorbell. "Hello? Can anybody hear us?"
I wasn't trespassing—I'd called ahead, and Clarke agreed to see me, apparently curious why an American would track him down to this doorstep in Sri Lanka, the tiny, troubled island nation off the coast of India. But the place spooked Thilac, my Sri Lankan driver. "Maybe wrong house," he said, looking around. "OK?"
Nine myths and misconceptions, and the truth about why hydrogen-powered cars arenâ€™t just around the corner
By Michael BeharPosted 03.24.2006 at 2:00 am 1 Comment
In presidential campaign of 2004, Bush and Kerry managed to find one piece of common ground: Both spoke glowingly of a future powered by fuel cells. Hydrogen would free us from our dependence on fossil fuels and would dramatically curb emissions of air pollutants, including carbon dioxide, the gas chiefly blamed for global warming. The entire worldwide energy market would evolve into a "hydrogen economy" based on clean, abundant power. Auto manufacturers and environmentalists alike happily rode the bandwagon, pointing to hydrogen as the next big thing in U.S. energy policy.
The little gadget was bootleg gold, a secret treasure I'd spent months tracking down. The miniOne looked just like Apple's iPhone, down to the slick no-button interface. But it was more. It ran popular mobile software that the iPhone wouldn't. It worked with nearly every worldwide cellphone carrier, not just AT&T, and not only in the U.S. It promised to cost half as much as the iPhone and be available to 10 times as many consumers. The miniOne's first news teases-a forum posting, a few spy shots, a product announcement that vanished after a day-generated a frenzy of interest online.
Controversial theorist Aubrey de Grey insists
that we are within reach of an engineered cure
for aging. Are you prepared to live forever?
By Joseph HooperPosted 01.01.2005 at 2:00 pm 1 Comment
On this glorious spring day in Cambridge, England, the heraldic flags are flying from the stone towers, and I feel like I could be in the 17th century—or, as I pop into the Eagle Pub to meet University of Cambridge longevity theorist Aubrey de Grey, the 1950s. It was in this pub, after all, that James Watson and Francis Crick met regularly for lunch while they were divining the structure of DNA and where, in February 1953, Crick made his breathless announcement that they had succeeded.
The Navy's new little SWARM drones will survey, report, even possibly attack-working as an intelligent group.
By Frank VizardPosted 07.29.2002 at 8:10 pm 0 Comments
Something about the way the brown pelicans flew in formation over the waves transfixed Vince Castelli. He was on vacation at the Outer Banks of North Carolina, but the movement of the birds took him back to discussions he and his engineering colleagues at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in West Bethesda, Maryland, had had in a brainstorming session. The team had hatched the idea of small, inexpensive, unmanned aircraft that would fly in formation, cooperatively conducting surveillance, reconnaissance, and other operations against an enemy.
A new understanding of brain chemistry could usher in an age of biologically enhanced humans
By James VlahosPosted 07.31.2005 at 2:00 am 0 Comments
June 6, 2025, 7:30 a.m.The alarm is going off, and I feel great. Thanks to Reposinex, I´ve had a full four hours of deep, restorative sleep. My head hit the pillow, and boom! I was right into slow-wave delta sleep. In the car, driving to work, I sip an Achieve latte. I love these things-they sensitize my dopamine receptors, shift my MAO levels, and send my noradrenaline levels soaring. I have no jitters, and my concentration is tack-sharp. Driving used to freak me out, actually. I was involved in a bad accident a few years back.
David Keith never expected to get a summons from the White House. But in September 2001, officials with the President's Climate Change Technology Program invited him and more than two dozen other scientists to participate in a roundtable discussion called "Response Options to Rapid or Severe Climate Change." While administration officials were insisting in public that there was no firm proof that the planet was warming, they were quietly exploring potential ways to turn down the heat.
They look like lawnmowers on steroids, but superkarts can keep pace with million-dollar Ferraris—150 mph on the straights and crazy Gs in the turns. The best value in racing is starting to get respect.
By Preston LernerPosted 02.02.2004 at 1:55 pm 0 Comments
Ken Frankel is a mechanical engineer whose company machines implausibly complex aerospace components to improbably precise tolerances. So it’s surprising to find him in the paddock of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca wrenching on an earthbound vehicle whose puny wheels wouldn’t look out of place on a clown car and whose engine is no bigger than the ones powering garden mowers. He carefully maneuvers the vehicle onto a set of scales—one for each low-profile tire—that have been leveled with a laser to within 30 thousandths of an inch.
Yesterdayâ€™s computer hackers are todayâ€™s "security professionals". But when the worldâ€™s top geeks descend on vegas for a 34-hour battle of the brains, the black hats come out
By Robin MejiaPosted 04.11.2005 at 2:00 am 0 Comments
It's July in Las Vegas, and the relentless midday desert sun has already pushed the outside temperature into three digits. But here inside the Alexis Park Resort, it's cool and dark. The bar is open, and the room is beginning to fill up. It's 1 p.m., the big game has just begun, and, as you'd expect in the world epicenter for sports gambling, the room glows with the light from dozens of screens catching every nuance of the action.But these aren't television screens, they're laptops. And the motley assortment of guys peering into them and busily clicking away at keyboards aren't gamblers looking to score some last-second intel on the game, they're hackersand this is the game.Welcome to Def Con, the self-proclaimed "largest underground hacking event in the world."