Issue: 20110201

Tuesday, February 1, 2011
FEBRUARY 2011
2
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278
Thursday, December 18, 2014

Articles
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POPULAR SCIENCE
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FORD.COM: THE NEW 2011 F-150
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FORD.COM
THE NEW 2011 F-150
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0002.xml
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BOSE: Blutooth headset
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BOSE
Blutooth headset
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0003.xml
tableOfContents
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CONTENTS
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popsci.com: New iPhone App
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popsci.com
New iPhone App
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0005.xml
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PROGRESSIVE.COM: 1-800-PROGRESSIVE
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PROGRESSIVE.COM
1-800-PROGRESSIVE
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0006.xml
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Nikon Corporation: Nikon D7000
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Nikon Corporation
Nikon D7000
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0007.xml
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Nikon Corporation: Nikon COOLPIX P7000
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Nikon Corporation
Nikon COOLPIX P7000
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0008.xml
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FROM THE EDITOR
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RECONSIDER THE BANANA
The Perils of Polarized Thinking
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MARK JANNOT
BEGINNING ON PAGE 62 of this issue, you will find an account of an alliance so rare and unexpected that it might strain your credulity, an alliance—a marriage, in fact!—between an organic farmer and a scientist working to genetically modify food plants.
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THE INBOX
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CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS
Falcon 9 Needs More Trunk Space
I’m Feelin’ It
A Very Brief Love Affair
A Plea for Practicality
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Our annual Best of What's New (BOWN) issue [December 2010] crowns 100 items as the premier innovations of that year— and winnowing the list is a process full of heartbreak, spirited argument and cruel choices. But for readers, the list is just the beginning of the discussion.
PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0010.xml
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Advertisement
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0011.xml
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PLUS: Pert Plus 2 In 1
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PLUS
Pert Plus 2 In 1
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0012.xml
article
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MEGAPIXELS
THE MUST-SEE PHOTOS OF THE MONTH
SURPRISE ATTACK
Scientists mine dormant bacterial genes for new antibiotics
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LIZZIE SCHIFFMAN
Streptomyces coelicolor, a soil-dwelling bacterium, has one of the bestunderstood genomes in its genus. Even so, a computational analysis of its genome has led researchers to a surprise: a new antibiotic compound. By tinkering with the bacteria, researchers at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands were able to awaken an inactive gene group that produces large quantities of yellow coelicolor polyketide and a new compound with antimicrobial activity.
PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0013.xml
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MEGAPIXELS
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POMPEII IN THE PACIFIC
A volcano’s fury overwhelms Indonesia
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LIZZIE SCHIFFMAN
Volcanic eruptions aren’t just violent; they're incredibly fast, often leaving people no time to flee. Here, a rescue worker walks among the dead in the white-gray ash of Argomulyo, a village in Indonesia. This eruption last November of Mt. Merapi, one of the most active volcanoes in the world, triggered a series of fast-moving pyroclastic flows, a combination of volcanic rock and gas that can reach temperatures of 1,000 degrees.
PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0014.xml
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HOMEPATROL: Uniden’s HomePatrol-1
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HOMEPATROL
Uniden’s HomePatrol-1
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0015.xml
review
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WHAT'S NEW
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TRICK SHOT
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CASIO TRYX
$250
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Camera makers are reimagining the boxy point-and-shoot. Shrunken sensors allow for crafty designs, while faster processors create shots old models can't match. Casio's slim TRYX is the first of this new breed. The TRYX is nimble, turning 180 degrees on two axes.
PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0016.xml
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WHAT'S NEW
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THE goods
Slight but Tough
Smaller Scrubber
Wrist Twist
Night Shooter
Data Dock
A dozen great ideas in gear
Camera One, Camera Two
Snooze Alert
Bubble Keeper
Track Back
Lighten Up
Bright Everywhere
Air Play
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This drill weighs under three pounds but can still bore holes in concrete. It’s powered by a first-in-class 12-volt lithium battery, which adds oomph without bulk. Milwaukee Ml2 3/8-inch Hammer Drill Driver $160; milwaukeetool.com About half the size of earlier models, iRobot’s new auto mop is able to wash in tight corners.
PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0017.xml
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0018.xml
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American Honda Motor Co., Inc.: Accord V-6
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American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
Accord V-6
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0019.xml
review
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WHAT'S NEW
COMPUTING TECH TREND
VIDEO POWER
Evolved graphics processing makes laptops HD-friendly
THE TREND
WHY NOW
HOW YOU’LL BENEFIT
PORTABLE POWERHOUSE
TEXT TWISTER
MEDIA MOGUL
hp.com
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hp.com
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Slim, light laptops that can play back high-definition video—and edit it—30 percent faster than before
hp.com
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Video is becoming harder to manage. The popularity of Bluray discs, 3-D video, and high-def camcorders and cellphones means PC users need portable power. So Intel and AMD are cramming graphics processors into the space that normally houses only the CPU. Each 1.5-inch chip can hold nearly a billion transistors, which move and render video data quickly, while a dedicated area handles moredemanding tasks, such as editing high-def footage.
hp.com
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Without a graphics processor hogging space and battery power, low-cost laptops, netbooks, all-inone desktops and even tablets can process high-def video and 3-D while still clocking up to 10 hours of battery LIFE.-JAMIE LENDING
hp.com
HP Pavilion dm1 (with AMD Fusion)
$450
The Pavilion is less than an inch thick weighs just 3.2 pounds. Its AMD dual-core processor with built-in graphics support easily streams and plays video on its 11.6-inch LCD, a task that used to cripple machines its size. HP Pavilion dm1 (with AMD Fusion) $450; hp.com
hp.com
Asus K53W (with Intel Core i3, i5 or i7)
$650;
Asus K53W (with Intel Core i3, i5 or i7)From $650; asus.com
hp.com
Acer Aspire 7745G (with Intel Core i7-2630QM)
$1,250
Even without a separate graphics processor, this Aspire can quickly edit all the high-def video you can fit on its 750-gigabyte hard drive-and then smoothly play it back on its 17.3-inch Acer Aspire 7745G (with Intel Core i7-2630QM)$1,250; acer.com
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IP Company, Inc.
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IP Company, Inc.
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0021.xml
review
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WHAT’S NEW
AUTOMOTIVE COMING SOON
HYBRID DRIVE, STANDARD
General Motors’s eAssist offers hybrid efficiency at no extra cost to the customer
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LaCrosse
$30,000
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"Mild” hybrids, with their puny batteries and weak electric motors, have largely failed in the marketplace. Next to "full” or "strong” hybrids such as the Toyota Prius—which has a sizeable battery pack and a powerful electric motor and can run under electric power for short stretches—cars like the now-discontinued Chevrolet Malibu hybrid were more expensive than the conventional model but provided only a negligible boost in fuel economy.
PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0022.xml
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Advertisement: 2nd Generation of Intel® Core™ Processors
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2nd Generation of Intel® Core™ Processors
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review
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WHAT’S NEW
RECREATION WHAT’S NEXT
THE AUTOMATIC COACH
A stamp-size sensor embedded in a basketball tracks and evaluates players
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InfoMotion Sports 94fifty basketball
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Practice only makes perfect if you know what perfect looks like. A successful free throw, for example, requires a precise arc spin and release point, and until now, only a good coach could really spot what was off about a shot. InfoMotion Sports Technologies has teamed with University of Michigan researchers to create a smart ball that assesses shooting skills and ball-handling mechanics.
PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0024.xml
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WHAT’S NEW
COMPUTING TECH REBORN
SNAP, DON’T SCAN
A new scanner borrows the brains of a camera for instant imagery
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Lexmark Genesis
$400
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For more than 20 years, flatbed scanners have used slow-moving sensor bars to copy an image by scrolling over documents a little at a time. In replacing that bar with a retooled camera sensor, the Lexmark Genesis captures the entire image in a flash.
PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0026.xml
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0027.xml
review
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WHAT'S NEW
FOOD TECH IT’S ABOUT TIME
HEALTHY AIR
A new delivery device gets vitamins into the bloodstream faster
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Le Whif Vitamins
$36
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The stomach may be the quickest way to a man’s heart, but it’s a roundabout way to anyone’s bloodstream. That’s why Harvard University biomedical engineer David Edwards invented Le Whif breathable vitamins, which get into blood faster than pills do.
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pompills
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pompills
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Digi-Key Corporation: Digi-Key Smartphone Applications
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Digi-Key Corporation
Digi-Key Smartphone Applications
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0030.xml
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HEADLINES
INFRASTRUCTURE
SQUEALING SAVIORS
Robots called PIGs keep gas lines from blowing up. This new little piggy goes where the rest can’t
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ELIZABETH SVOBODA
When a natural-gas line exploded late last summer in San Bruno, California, the ensuing firestorm raged for hours. The blaze, which took crews more than 12 hours to control, destroyed dozens of homes, injured more than 50 people, and killed eight.
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HEADLINES
INFRASTRUCTURE
PIGGING THE UNPIGGABLE
The Explorer-ll is a wireless, remotely controlled, wormlike robot that can cruise through miles of gas pipeline on a single charge, beaming image and sensor data back to its operator in real time. It’s narrow enough to squeeze through a six-inch-diameter pipe and flexible enough to wind around 90-degree pipeline bends. Here’s how it works.
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SONDE COILS Two sonde coils generate magnetic fields that allow operators to detect the robot's location so it can be retrieved if the system fails. DRIVE MODULE The robot’s two fist-size brushless motors, one at each end of the robot, let it move independently of the natural-gas flow inside the pipe.
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HEADLINES
DEFENSE TECH
SHOCKPROOF
Next-generation Army helmets draw inspiration from Nascar and Star Wars
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ANDREW ROSENBLUM
Improvised explosive devices are one of the biggest threats to soldiers in Afghanistan and across the world. They unleash a shock wave that can travel about 1,000 feet per second and hit with a pressure of 100 pounds per square inch. The U.S. Army’s standard-issue Kevlar combat helmet absorbs some of that force, but it isn’t designed to protect the soldier’s face from shock waves, which studies suggest can pass through the eyes, nose and mouth to the brain.
PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0033.xml
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Carbonite, Inc.: Carbonite™ Online Backup
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Carbonite, Inc.
Carbonite™ Online Backup
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HEADLINES
ENVIRONMENT
BAA, BAA BLAMMO!
To clean up explosives residue, go with these grazers
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JONATHAN PARKINSON
A team of scientists is feeding TNT to a flock of sheep. A. Morrie Craig, a veterinary scientist at Oregon State University, has found that the cudchewing mammals can efficiently clean up explosives-contaminated soil, of which there are 1.3 million tons throughout the U.S. TNT and other explosives from military munitions training and the remnants of old factories remain in the ground for decades.
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HEADLINES
MEDICINE
A HEALTHY GLOW
Fluorescent imaging helps surgeons cut more cancer cells
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AMANDA SCHUPAK
There’s too much guesswork in cancer surgery. Although a tumor is usually a different color or density than the healthy tissue around it, stray cancer cells near the tumor often blend in, so surgeons carve out an extra fraction of an inch surrounding it.
PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0036.xml
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Advertisement: Gravity Defyer shoes
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Gravity Defyer shoes
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HEADLINES
ANNOTATED MACHINE
BODY SNATCHER, LIFESAVER
A robo-sub helps rescue drowning victims in minutes
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Things get very bad, very quickly, for people in cold water. Just minutes after total submersion, heart and brain activity stop. But the cold also protects. If rescuers can reach a drowning victim in less than 90 minutes, it’s possible to resuscitate, often with no long-term ill effects.
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Takeda Pharmaceuticals America, Inc.: ULORIC
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Takeda Pharmaceuticals America, Inc.
ULORIC
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0039.xml
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Takeda Pharmaceuticals America, Inc.: ULORIC
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Takeda Pharmaceuticals America, Inc.
ULORIC
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HEADLINES
COMPUTING
BRAIN POWER
Building computers that work like a mind
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The most efficient computer in the known universe is a threepound blob with no user’s manual: the human brain, which in a day’s work requires no more fuel than the caloric energy in a BLT. In contrast, IBM’s Dawn supercomputer, which used 147,456 850-megahertz processors to run a simple simulation on the scale of a cat’s cortex, requires the equivalent of roughly 50,000 BLTs every 24 hours.
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1&1 Internet, Inc.: 1&1® WEB HOSTING
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1&1 Internet, Inc.
1&1® WEB HOSTING
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0042.xml
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UNCOMMON KNOWLEDGE
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1 FLYING HUMMERS
WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?
Seven scientific projects that strike us as ludicrous, dangerous or otherwise misguided—and how we can do better
HOW WE CAN DO BETTER
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TOM VANDERBILT
Last April, Darpa proposed a novel solution to the problem of IED-strewn roads and otherwise impassable landscapes in Afghanistan and elsewhere: fly over them. The Pentagon agency’s $50-million-plus exploratory program for the Transformer (TX) calls for a "robust ground vehicle” that can quickly transform into a vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) aircraft with a 1,000-pound payload capacity and a flying range of nearly 300 miles.
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UNCOMMON KNOWLEDGE
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2 BLOTTING OUT THE SUN
GEOENGINEERING COULD CAUSE MORE PROBLEMS THAN GLOBAL WARMING ITSELF
HOW WE CAN DO BETTER
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DAVID ROBERTS
Engineering the atmosphere to forestall the worst results of global warming was once considered too hubristic to seriously contemplate. The grim prospects for passing an international climate-change treaty have changed that. Last year the National Academies of Science in the U.S. and the Royal Society in the U.K. both convened meetings on geoengineering.
PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0044.xml
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UNCOMMON KNOWLEDGE
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3 INDUSTRIAL CYBER-SABOTAGE
STUXNET GIVES HACKERS A BLUEPRINT FOR SOPHISTICATED NEW MALWARE.
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BECKY FERREIRA
Computers already do so much of our work that it seems natural to let them take care of our sabotage, too. This might have been the line of thinking that led to Stuxnet. The first known malware worm designed to disrupt industrial processes, Stuxnet began spreading in early 2009.
PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0045.xml
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UNCOMMON KNOWLEDGE
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4 DEEP-DRILLING A SUPERVOLCANO
HOW WE CAN DO BETTER
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KARLA STARR
When Mt. Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79, the people around it had little warning, and more than 10,000 of them died as a result. Bad as that was, an eruption of neighboring Campi Flegrei could be worse. As a supervolcano, it’s in the same category as Indonesia’s Mt. Tambora, whose eruption in 1815 killed 92,000 people and caused the "year without a summer.”
PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0046.xml
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UNCOMMON KNOWLEDGE
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5 GENETICALLY MODIFIED MOSQUITOES
GENETICALLY ENGINEERED MOSQUITOES COULD SPREAD GENES TO OTHER INSECTS.
HOW WE CAN DO BETTER
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BECKY FERREIRA
As carriers for diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and yellow fever, mosquitoes are the deadliest creatures on the planet, responsible for millions of human deaths every year. And as the planet warms, the insects are broadly expanding their turf and bringing their diseases with them; thousands of cases of dengue, a tropical disease, have appeared in the U.S. in the past five years.
PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0047.xml
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UNCOMMON KNOWLEDGE
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6 AN INTERNET "OFF" SWITCH
HOW WE CAN DO BETTER
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PAUL FORD
The last time someone could shut down the Internet was probably in 1969, when it consisted of two computers. But in recent years, concerned with the possibility of a "cyberattack," Congress has been exploring such an option. In 2009, senator Jay Rockefeller sponsored a bill to give the president the right to "order the disconnection” of "critical infrastructure information systems or networks."
PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0048.xml
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UNCOMMON KNOWLEDGE
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7 IMMORTAL MICROORGANISMS
HOW WE CAN DO BETTER
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KARLA STARR
Leave it to Darpa, the Pentagon’s advanced-research arm, to bring synthetic biology to a new level of creepiness. For 2011, Darpa has dedicated $6 million to a new program called BioDesign, which according to the agency’s budget is an attempt to eliminate "the randomness of natural evolutionary advancement” and create synthetic organisms for specific functions— for instance, microorganisms that clean up oil spills or skin cells that an army medic could use to repair injuries.
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THE OBSESSIVES
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THE POWER BROKER
Arpa-E, a supercharged grant program, he must spark an energy revolution within 20 years, or it’s lights out for us all
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TDM CLYNES
THE MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITYEngine Research Laboratory is usually calm, but by midmorning on this August day, everyone is on edge. Then, a few minutes before noon, assistant engineering professor Norbert Müller gets the call they’re all waiting for:
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INSTANT EXPERT
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TRAINED CANCER KILLER
Medicine harnesses the might of the immune system to defeat prostate cancer
FAQs
HOW IS PROVENGE DIFFERENT FROM CURRENT IMMUNE THERAPIES FOR CANCER?
WHAT WILL BE THE NEXT CANCER VACCINE TO HIT THE U.S. MARKET?
WILL VACCINES EVENTUALLY PREVENT ZMIZZRl
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DOCTORS have been trying to enlist the immune system of patients in the battle against cancer since at least 1893, when physician William Coley of New York Cancer Hospital injected bacteria into a patient’s body in the hopes that it would spur the immune system to fight the bacterial infection and cancer cells alike.
PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0051.xml
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THE FUTURE OF FOOD
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The Second Green Revolution
A century of agricultural innovation has vastly increased the amount of food on Earth—and with it, the total population. But the first green revolution is proving unsustainable, and hunger is on the rise. Now keeping the world fed will require an unlikely alliance between genetic engineers and organic farmers
THE DOOR OF THE CONTAGION CHAMBER
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FREDERICK KAUFMAN
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.
PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0052.xml
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HOW 2.0
YOU BUILT WHAT?!
TOOLING AROUND
A drag racer that hits nearly 50 mph, powered by disc cutters
ENGINES
ELECTRONICS
BODY
HANDLING
THE RACE
5 THINGS THAT CAN HELP YOU DECORATE YOUR HOME
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Barry Lee was sitting at his desk one day when his boss at British retailer Toolstation stopped by with a new assignment. He had heard about a drag-racing series for vehicles propelled by power tools, and he wanted to win. "You're the man to do it,” he told Lee, an IT support manager.
PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0054.xml
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HOW 2.0
BUILD IT
VISE CAKES
The hosts of Food Jammers make a version of a multimillion-dollar commercial grain puffer—for about 50 bucks
HOW TO MAKE A GRAIN PUFFER
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The machinery that snack and cereal companies use to transform rice and other foods into puffed snacks is expensive and operates at extreme pressures and temperatures. Since you can buy the resulting cheese puffs, rice cakes and toasty oat cereals anywhere, why try to make them ourselves?
PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0056.xml
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HOW 2.0
ASK A GEEK
WHAT CAN I DO WITH DROPBOX?
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Plenty. At its core, Dropbox (dropbox.com) is a free service that allows you to store up to two gigabytes of data in a folder that resides on the company’s servers—and any other place you need it. The folder syncs to your computer, smartphone and other Web browser-equipped devices.
PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0057.xml
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ROCKAUTO
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ROCKAUTO
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HOW 2.0
TECH SUPPORT
A QUICK METAL LAPTOP STAND
An easy and inexpensive stand made from a metallic document holder that keeps your computer ventilated and at a comfortable angle for typing
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1. Bend the long sides of a metal mesh document holder so that one is lying flush on top of the other. 2. Cut two blocks of rubber, and glue them onto the end of the top side of the document holder. Next, attach three strips of 1.5-inch-wide shelf liner to the edges of that side of the document holder with double-sided tape.
PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0059.xml
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77
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Rosetta Stone Ltd.
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Rosetta Stone Ltd.
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0060.xml
article
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78,79,80,83
FYI
STUFF YOU JUST NEED TO KNOW
WHAT DOES SPACE SMELL LIKE?
How much can a human body sweat before it runs out?
When will we evolve out of our useless appendages?
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LIZZIE SCHIFFMAN
A The final frontier smells a lot like a Nascar race—a bouquet of hot metal, diesel fumes and barbecue. The source? Dying stars, mostly. The by-products of all this rampant combustion are smelly compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0061.xml
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79
79
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K&N Engineering, Inc.: K&N HIGH-FLOW AIR FILTERS
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K&N Engineering, Inc.
K&N HIGH-FLOW AIR FILTERS
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0062.xml
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80
80
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Gorilla Glue Company: Gorilla Tape
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Gorilla Glue Company
Gorilla Tape
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0063.xml
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80
80
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ESCORT Inc.: PASSPORT iQ
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ESCORT Inc.
PASSPORT iQ
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0064.xml
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81
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Advertisements
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3-1/2" SUPER BRIGHT NINE LED ALUMINUM FLASHLIGHT
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ELECTRIC CHAIN SAW SHARPENER
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0065.xml
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82
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BIE Health Products: HGH
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BIE Health Products
HGH
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0066.xml
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83
83
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Advertisement: FrogTape
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FrogTape
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0067.xml
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83
83
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Valentine Research, Inc.: The Radar Locator
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Valentine Research, Inc.
The Radar Locator
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0068.xml
masthead
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84
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POPULAR SCIENCE
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0069.xml
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85
85
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Hearing Help Express®, Inc.: Hearing Aid Catalog
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Hearing Help Express®, Inc.
Hearing Aid Catalog
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0070.xml
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86
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Advertisement: envi heater
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envi heater
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0071.xml
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87
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Advertisement
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0072.xml
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88
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Advertisement
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0073.xml
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89
89
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Smile Train
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Smile Train
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0074.xml
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90
90,91,93
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psshowcase
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0075.xml
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92
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AVID PRO MEDICAL: PRO+PLUS PILLS
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AVID PRO MEDICAL
PRO+PLUS PILLS
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0076.xml
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94
94,95
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POPULAR SCIENCE DIRECT
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0077.xml
article
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THE FUTURE THEN
FROM THE POPULAR SCIENCE ARCHIVES
JANUARY 1932 Second Wind
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LIZZIE SCHIFFMAN
When German ships outfitted with wind-capturing propulsion cylinders arrived on American shores in 1926, U.S.-based physicists were inspired, and tried applying the technology to generate electrical power. A "merry-go-round" power plant would have employed 20 spinning eight-story cylinders that traveled around a 3,000-footdiameter track and harvested wind power through something called the Magnus effect:
PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0078.xml
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97
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iRobot Corporation
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iRobot Corporation
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0079.xml
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98
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Advertisement: The All-New Nissan JUKE
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The All-New Nissan JUKE
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PopularScience_20110201_0278_002_0080.xml