Issue: 20110701

Friday, July 1, 2011
JULY 2011
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Thursday, December 18, 2014

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POPULAR SCIENCE
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Samsung Electronics America, Inc.
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Samsung Electronics America, Inc.
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PopularScience_20110701_0279_001_0002.xml
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BRIDGESTONE: POTENZA
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BRIDGESTONE
POTENZA
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tableOfContents
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CONTENTS
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Goldman Sachs
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Goldman Sachs
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PopularScience_20110701_0279_001_0006.xml
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Nikon
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FROM THE EDITOR
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THE ANSWER IN YOUR SINK
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MARK JANNOT
I RECENTLY MOVED with my family from an apartment in the city to a house (well, a townhouse anyway, still in the city). In the process I acquired two things that relate, in one case quite unexpectedly, to this, our special issue on the future of energy.
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Nikon
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POPULAR SCIENCE
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OTHER STUFF
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THE INBOX
THE FUTURE OF TRAVEL
Railroaded
Sea Shock
Helium Deflation
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In the May issue, we inspected the next generation of trains, explored the limits of human comfort during travel, proposed a plan for saving the oceans, and looked at the dirigibles of tomorrow. Readers had plenty to say in response. Traveling across Europe by rail last summer showed me what an efficient form of transportation trains can be.
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MEGAPIXELS
THE MUST-SEE PHOTOS OF THE MONTH
HIGH AND DRY
Spiders take to the trees to escape floodwater
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JENNIE WALTERS
Last summer’s floods in Pakistan displaced millions of people—and millions of spiders. Although spiders rarely migrate to trees during natural disasters, the flooding was so heavy and prolonged, they had to climb trees and remain there.
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MEGAPIXELS
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BREAKING AWAY
Scientists discover filaments that could help cells separate
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CAITLIN KEARNEY
Biologists have studied cell division for decades, yet the mechanics of how cells physically separate from one another have remained largely a mystery. To better understand the mechanism, molecular cell biologist Daniel Gerlich of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, along with colleagues from Switzerland and Germany, scanned dividing cells at various angles with electron beams.
PopularScience_20110701_0279_001_0017.xml
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Samsung Electronics America, Inc.
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Samsung Electronics America, Inc.
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WHAT'S NEW
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LOOKING GLASSES
A pair of camera-equipped shades makes video-sharing as easy as walking down the street
Shots in Dark
Stash and Carry
zioneyez
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zioneyez
EYEZ
$150
zioneyez
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$150
Never mind low light—the NV-1 infrared camera is built for no light. Most cameras have a fixed infrared filter to maintain true-to-life color in daylight. The NV-1's filter retracts in night-vision mode to see more wavelengths of light. Midnight Shot NV-1 $150; thinkgeek.com
zioneyez
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$100
At nine millimeters, the GoFlex Slim is the thinnest external hard drive on the market. Its 320-gigabyte drive, borrowed from ultraportable laptops, is encased in durable aluminum. SeaGate GoFlex Slim $100; seagate.com
zioneyez
Measured Mug
$575
The perfect cup of java begins with the right amount of grounds. The Vario-E single-pot coffee grinder’s bin rests on a digital scale that’s accurate to within 0.2 grams. The machine stops grinding when it hits your preset weight. Baratza Vario-E $575; baratza.com
zioneyez
Light Foot
$130
In these sneaks, lightness is not at odds with support. At 9.8 ounces, Adidas’s kicks are the trimmest basketball shoes available. To provide ample ankle support, a one-millimeter-thin nylon upper is bonded to an equally thin, reinforced leather backing. Adidas adiZero Crazy Light $130; adidas.com
zioneyez
Safer Saw
$120
The JawSaw mini electric chainsaw tears through branches of up to four inches thick. Its jaw-shaped frame lets you hold wood firmly in place and shields your hands from potential accidents. Worx JawSaw From $120; worxyardtools.com
zioneyez
Gentle Glow
$13
To combat the eyestrain that happens when your monitor is brighter than the room, Antec mounts six LEDs to the back of your screen. The result is an eye-relaxing halo. Antec Soundscience Bias Lighting Halo 6 LED kit $13; antec.com
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Rather than let life pass you by, save it. With the camera-equipped Eyez glasses, users can share point-of-view video without the clunky cameras and nettlesome file transfers that rabid uploaders typically endure. The Ray-Ban-style shades capture an extra-wide 130-degree field of vision through a half-inch fisheye-like lens, which is masked NOW WEAR THIS At four ounces, Eyez are only slightly heavier than everyday sunglasses.
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WHAT'S NEW
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THE goods
A dozen great ideas in gear
Roundabout
iPencil
Speed Racer
Computer Capture
Green Gazer
Hard Shell
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Slide the Dot lens over your iPhone 4 camera and set it down on a table to shoot 360-degree video panoramas. The optical element includes curved plastic and reflects the entire scene down into the image sensor. An app recomposes the footage into a circular scene.
PopularScience_20110701_0279_001_0020.xml
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WHAT'S NEW
TESTED
THE ALL-WEATHER SUPERCAR
Ferrari engineers a novel, high-performance all-wheel-drive system
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The mere existence of a 208mph Ferrari wagon confounds expectations. But the $300,000 Ferrari FF also upends the conventional approach to all-wheel drive. And when we tested it in Italy’s Dolomites, we learned what cost-no-object engineering can build: the world’s fastest four-seater and the first foul-weather Ferrari.
PopularScience_20110701_0279_001_0021.xml
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Ashland Inc.
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Ashland Inc.
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WHAT'S NEW
FULLY LOADED
GARAGE HEROES
Easy-to-use, affordable recording tools that make even the most amateur cuts sound pro
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Synthesizer
$600
The Venom keyboard doesn't need a separate converter to connect to your computer. Instead, this synth has one inside that converts and pipes sounds directly to your music-editing software.M-Audio Venom from Avid$600 m-audio.com
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Effect box
$350
The 20 onboard effects on the Kaoss Pad can combine in nearly 1,300 ways. Mix four effects—such as looping and distortion—and you can adjust each one's speed, intensity and more on the pad's touchscreen. Tempo detection keeps effects in time with the music. $350 korg.com
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Video recorder
$300
What's the point of great concert footage if the sound sucks? Twin microphones on the Q3HD pocket camcorder face 60 degrees from center (the ideal angle for stereo) and record two separate soundtracks that merge with your high-def footage. $300 zoomfx.com
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Mixer
$450
Two devices in one, MOTU's mixer moonlights as an instrument-to-computer interface. Tethered to a computer over USB or FireWire, it converts riffs for digital editing. Untethered, it's a standalone four-channel mixer.MOTU Audio Express$450; motu.com
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Microphone
$250
More versatile than most USB mics, the Yeti Pro retunes to grab solos or the entire band.A knob changes the capture angle tO hear what's in front, on two sides, or all around.Blue Microphones Yeti Pro$250 bluemic.com
PETER KIRN
Building a home studio is now as simple as plugging in a few USB cords. The newest audio gear interacts directly with your computer, eliminating complicated setups and even a couple of pieces of hardware.
PopularScience_20110701_0279_001_0023.xml
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FUJIFILM North America Corporation: FUJIFILM
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FUJIFILM North America Corporation
FUJIFILM
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WHAT'S NEW
TECH REBORN
SLIP-ON SUPERPOWER
Camera-stabilizing tech takes a load off the everyman
IN RELATED NEWS: SVELTE SUPPORTER
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The Steadicam was originally developed to take the shake out of Hollywood chase scenes. Now a California company, Equipois, has given it a new purpose: to help line workers and file clerks. The x-Ar arm reimagines a Steadicam’s spring system to make arms and tools feel weightless, diminishing the risk of repetitive-stress injuries without motors, batteries or external power.
PopularScience_20110701_0279_001_0025.xml
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WHAT'S NEW
WHAT'S NEXT
FOCAL STRENGTH
A 40,000-lens camera that helps nail every shot, every time
FOUR MORE WAYS TO STAY SHARP
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ROBIN ROWE
For all its virtues, digital photography has yet to correct one age-old weakness: If you blow the focus, you’ve most likely lost the shot. An emerging lens system, known as plenoptics, will change that. The product of more than a decade of research from Adobe and institutions including Stanford and Indiana universities, plenoptic cameras capture multiple focal settings in one snap, so users can refocus after the fact.
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WHAT'S NEW
DREAM MACHINE
WATER WARRIOR
A speedboat, submarine and airplane wrapped in one
Tail fin
Water jet
Engine
Side fins
Cockpit
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KATHERINE BAGLEY
Outfitted with a 1500cc engine, a watertight cockpit and six dolphin-like fins, the Innespace Seabreacher redefines personal watercraft. The 17-foot vessel can reach 50 mph on flat water, cruise beneath the surface, and launch 18 feet into the air.
PopularScience_20110701_0279_001_0029.xml
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Hankook Tire America Corp.
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Hankook Tire America Corp.
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PEPTPLUS
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PEPTPLUS
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HEADLINES
SECURITY
SUN STROKE
A catastrophic solar storm isn’t a question of if, but when—and it looks like soon
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One of the biggest disasters we face would begin about 18 hours after the sun spit out a 10-billion-ton ball of plasma—something it has done before and is sure to do again. When the ball, a charged cloud of particles called a coronal mass ejection (CME), struck the Earth, electrical currents would spike through the power grid.
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HEADLINES
SECURITY
GLOBAL BLACKOUT
The sun belches, and a massive bubble of charged gas hurtles toward Earth. A direct hit, and the power grid goes down. Then all hell breaks loose. This is what would happen, and what's out there to warn us
DEFENSE SYSTEMS
AFTER IMPACT...
REVENTION
THE FALLOUT
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The sun regularly releases bubbles of gas particles called coronal mass ejections. Many CMEs hurtle harmlessly through space, but about 30 collide with Earth every year, many glancing off its atmosphere. A direct hit from a very large CME is a one-in-100-year event.
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HEADLINES
THE BIG FIX
SHARK-B-GONE
Repelling the fish with magnets and odor bombs
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In 2005, Eric Stroud, the managing partner of Shark Defense, a New Jersey company that specializes in sharkrepelling technologies, happened to be carrying a rare-earth magnet as he passed a tank full of sharks. The sharks fled, and Stroud took note.
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InterContinental Hotels Group
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InterContinental Hotels Group
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1&1 Internet, Inc
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1&1 Internet, Inc
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HEADLINES
ROUGH SKETCH
PET RAT
Building a rodent-sized, wearable brain-imaging device
THE SCALE
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I’m an instrument builder, mostly, and I work on positron-emissiontomography devices: PET. Doctors use them to look for cancer, but neuroscientists use them too. In studies with lab rats, they inject a mildly radioactive substance into the rat, and the PET scan measures the gamma rays the substance gives off.
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HEADLINES
HYPOTHESIS
COLOR BLINDED
Are tennis players gaining an edge by wearing yellow?
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Major League Baseball pitchers can't wear white gloves or wristbands because they obscure the ball, making it difficult for batters to gauge a pitch's path. Professional table-tennis players aren’t allowed to wear clothes that match the ball for similar reasons, but there are no such rules in tennis.
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1&1 Internet, Inc.
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1&1 Internet, Inc.
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HEADLINES
SPACE
ASTRONATICAL AUCTION
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ln April, NASA announced plans to "donate” four space shuttles to American museums for about $30 million apiece. That’s a bit steep for armchair astronauts, but a surprising amount of semiaffordable space stuff goes to auction each year.
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HEADLINES
SPACE
SUPER CARROTS
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Shining ultraviolet light on our food may make us healthier. This winter, Tara McHugh and other researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that carrot slices quickly passed under UV lights produced three times as many antioxidants as usual.
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iRobot Corporation
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iRobot Corporation
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Digi-Key CORPORATION
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Digi-Key CORPORATION
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HEADLINES
thermodynamics
THE NEW COOL
Three low-energy innovations to keep out the heat help scientists ship snowmen to Bahrain, chill beer with nanoparticles, and bring vaccines to the developing world
RADIATE
ABSORB
INSULATE
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Physicists led by Geoff Smith of the University of TechnologySydney have created a coating that allows heat to escape all the way into space. When an object radiates heat, some of it bounces off nearby molecules in the air, ending up right back on the object itself.
PopularScience_20110701_0279_001_0045.xml
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Bose VideoWave
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THE FUTURE OF ENERGY
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BRIDGING THE GAP
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A clean post-carbon energy economy won't happen tomorrow, and it won't be the result of a single big fix. But many small solutions—from better oil extraction to safer nuclear power plants to biogas made from kitchen scraps—will get us to the other side.
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THE FUTUR OF ENERGY
OIL
THE LAST DROPS
Oil threatens the environment, destabilizes nations, and is in dwindling supply. It also provides 35 percent of the power we use on Earth. Oil won’t run our world forever, but as we make the transition to a greener economy, it will need to run it for at least another few decades. What’s the smartest way to bridge the gap?
SAVE IT FOR LAST
BETTER FOR LATER
ULTRA-DEEP OFFSHORE
THE BEST BARRELS
ENHANCED OIL RECOVERY
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PAUL ROBERTS
For all our talk of an online future unbounded by physical limits, life in our increasingly global economy still requires the movement of actual people and things, often over long distances. And without a steady supply of prehistoric hydrocarbons, that movement would come to a halt. More than 95 percent of the vehicles on Earth—from cars to trucks to freighters to jumbo jets— run on oil products, and without them wed be hardpressed to commute to the office or import our gadgets, much less till our fields or get food from the farm to our kitchens.
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THE FUTURE OF ENERGY
BY THE NUMBERS
HOW POWER HAPPENS
TOTAL SUPPLY
POWER PLANTS
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The U.S. consumed 94.6 quadrillion BTUs of energy in 2009, more than any other nation. It also produced more energy than any nation but China: some 73 quadrillion BTUs. Fossil fuels (mostly coal) generate nearly 70 percent of the electricity we use.
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THE FUTURE OF ENERGY
CONCEPTS & PROTOTYPES
NEXT-GEN NUKES
Nuclear power is the most efficient emissions-free energy available. But can it be made safe? Two new reactor designs do just that
THE AP1000
Thorium-fueled MSR
Fuel loop
Fuel drain tanks
Small footprint
Power station
Containment vessel
Freeze plug
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KALEE THOMPSON
In the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster in March, the appetite for new nuclear power plants slipped to post-Chernobyl lows. Regulators from Italy to Switzerland to Texas moved to stop pending nuclearpower projects, and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) began to reevaluate the safety of all domestic plants.
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THE FUTURE OF ENERGY
CONCEPTS & PROTOTYPES
FUSION ENERGY
Scorching-hot plasma inside the world’s largest fusion reactor could yield an abundance of clean energy
INSIDE ITER
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BROOKE BOREL
The well-publicized failures of cold fusion may have tainted the field’s reputation, but physicists have been successfully joining nuclei with hot fusion since 1932. Today, research in hot fusion could lead to a clean energy source free from the drawbacks that dog fission power plants.
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THE FUTURE OF ENERGY
CONCEPTS & PROTOTYPES
SPACE-BASED SOLAR POWER
Satellites could gather energy from the sun and beam it down to Earth
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COREY BINNS
On the ground, solar power has its limitations. Solar cells are not especially efficient. It rains. The sun disappears at night. A spacebased solar panel can generate five times the energy of a similar panel on Earth by circumventing both weather and hours lost to darkness.
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THE FUTURE OF ENERGY
BIOGAS
THE LOW-HANGING FRUIT
Big oil? Big coal? Our dependence on big systems steers us away from the small but brilliant innovations—such as biofuel made from garbage—that we need to bridge the energy gap. Biogas is transforming communities in other countries. Could we bring it home?
HOW TO MAKE FIRE FROM FOOD WASTE
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HILLARY ROSNER
From the backseat of a beat-up Toyota taxi, Thomas Taha Rassam Culhane points out the passing sights. Fraying sacks of charcoal cut from nearby forests wait beside makeshift shops. Corrugated metal, cardboard and other scrap make up the ramshackle huts.
PopularScience_20110701_0279_001_0056.xml
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Progressive Casualty Ins. Co.: PROGRESSIVE
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Progressive Casualty Ins. Co.
PROGRESSIVE
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Bose Corporation
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Bose Corporation
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Hearing Help Express,Inc.
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Hearing Help Express,Inc.
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HOW 2.0
YOU BUILT WHAT?!
TAILGATE MONSTER
A drivable grill, complete with flat-screen TV, flame effects and remote-control cooler
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Lance Greathouse does not follow football. It wasn’t until last fall, at an Arizona Cardinals game, that the Phoenix dental-laser repairman, who harbors a severe DIY robot-building habit, was introduced to the art of tailgating. There, he spotted cars packed with grills, plasma screens, refrigerators and more.
PopularScience_20110701_0279_001_0062.xml
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HOW IT WORKS
MOBILITY
SECURITY
FIRE EFFECTS
ROBO COOLER
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To put the 350-pound tailgate rig into driving mode, Greathouse folds up a metal tray at the fridge end, which opens the recessed panel containing the joystick and releases a small platform at the bottom for the driver to stand on. The rig moves around like a standard electric wheelchair:
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Timepieces International Inc
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Timepieces International Inc
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PopularScience_20110701_0279_001_0065.xml
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5 WAYS
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TO EASILY GIVE TO CHARITY ONLINE
1 GOOD GAMES
2 SEARCH AND RESCUE
3 DIALING FOR DOLLARS
4 CRAIG’S OTHER LIST
5 GENTLE REMINDERS
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Feel better about wasting your day on Facebook. Games That Give posts custom games on the pages of businesses such as Domino’s Pizza and Dial Soap. The more time people spend playing and the better they do, the more the sponsoring company donates to charity.
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HOW 2.0
KIT OF THE MONTH
THE TUBE AMP, REMIXED
Bring modern and vintage technologies together in a sweet-sounding tube-amp iPod dock
A TUBE-AMP IPOD DOCK
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Half a century ago, vacuum tubes were very common in audio amplifiers. A small voltage applied to the plate of a vacuum tube controls a relatively large current that drives the electromagnet in a speaker, creating movement and thereby sound.
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HOW 2.0
THEME BUILDING
HE IS IRON MAN
A tinkerer emulates the superhero with a real-life laser weapon
TWO MORE INCREDIBLE LASER PROJECTS
Star Trek phaser
Spirograph
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ANDREW ROSENBLUM
On a rainy weekend last year, Patrick Priebe, a German lab technician and Iron Man fanatic who rewatches the film and its sequel every week, decided to build a compact yet powerful laser inspired by Tony Stark's repulsor-beam weapon. In the U.S., the maximum strength for consumer laser pointers is typically five milliwatts; Priebe's handheld laser is 1,000 milliwatts, enough to instantly blind anyone not wearing special safety glasses.
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FINISHLINE
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FINISHLINE
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HOW 2.0
ASK A GEE
WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR DIGITAL DATA AFTER YOU DIE?
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We’re just starting to figure that out. The companies that keep our data on remote servers have inconsistent, confusing or nonexistent policies for what happens after a customer passes away. As a result, many "digital estate” services are popping up that can help you plan ahead.
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HOW 2.0
TECH SUPPORT
MARSHALL'S PLANS
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VIN MARSHALL
I love surplus stores. They’re basically the tech version of a yard sale, with tons of stuff that would be nearly impossible to find or afford new. These are three of my favorites. Between them, you should be able to find just about anything you need, no matter how crazy the project.
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BOTTOMLINE
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BOTTOMLINE
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FYI
STUFF YOU JUST NEED TO KNOW
Q WHAT IS THE HOTTEST PEPPER IN THE WORLD?
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A It is very hard to say. In February, the editors of The Guinness Book of World Records announced that the Infinity chili, grown by Nick Woods, the proprietor of a hot-sauce company in Lincolnshire, England, was the hottest pepper ever—more than 250 times as hot as Tabasco sauce.
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GOODYEAR
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GOODYEAR
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Rosetta Stone Ltd.
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Rosetta Stone Ltd.
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PopularScience_20110701_0279_001_0080.xml
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Plasma CAM Inc.
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Plasma CAM Inc.
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Advertisements
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BELTRONICS
RX65
BELTRONICS
GX65
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envi: envi wall-mounted heater
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envi
envi wall-mounted heater
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HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS
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HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS
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Advertisement: Vitali-T-Aid
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Vitali-T-Aid
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SmileTrain
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SmileTrain
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psshowcase
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THE GREAT COURSES: Quantum Mechanics
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THE GREAT COURSES
Quantum Mechanics
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THE FUTURE THEN
FROM THE POPULAR SCIENCE ARCHIVES
Sunhenqe
Alternative Energy through the Years
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NAOMI MAJOR
After the 1973 oil crisis, interest in solar power grew intense. The potential benefits were obvious—the sun could, in theory, provide endless clean energy. But sunlight is spread so diffusely across the planet’s surface that it’s difficult to collect in meaningful concentrations.
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Allstate
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Allstate
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Apple Inc.: iPad 2
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Apple Inc.
iPad 2
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PopularScience_20110701_0279_001_0093.xml