Issue: 20120401

Sunday, April 1, 2012
APRIL 2012
4
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280
Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Articles
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POPULAR SCIENCE
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0001.xml
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Ford: F-150
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Ford
F-150
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0002.xml
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2
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Chevron U.S.A. Inc.
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Chevron U.S.A. Inc.
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0003.xml
tableOfContents
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contents
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0004.xml
article
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A WORD FROM THE EDITOR
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The How and the Who
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MARK JANNOT
THIS ISSUE FEATURES our seventh annual “How It Works” dissection of complex and awe-inspiring machines. I’m always dazzled by the engineering prowess on display once we’ve opened these things up, as well as by the skill and ingenuity that our editors, designers and illustrators bring to the task of opening them.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0005.xml
masthead
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POPULAR SCIENCE
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0006.xml
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5
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GEICO
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GEICO
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0007.xml
article
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6,7
PEER REVIEW
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After the Storm
ATTENTION WAS PAID
Ranking
A QUESTION OF MOTIVATION
EVEN HANDED
GOOD MEDICINE
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Thank you for the excellent article about climate change and last year's tornado in Joplin, Missouri ["Did Global Warming Destroy My Hometown?" by Seth Fletcher, February]. Climate change is caused by pollution. People are responsible for pollution.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0008.xml
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6,7
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Symantec Corporation.: Norton 360
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Symantec Corporation.
Norton 360
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0009.xml
article
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8,9
MEGAPIXELS
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Too Much Monkey Business
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Rose Pastore
A rhesus macaque awaits a vasectomy at a wildlife rescue facility in Himachal Pradesh, India. The state's estimated 319,000 monkeys frequently ransack garbage cans and harass citizens. Last year, the state government announced a bounty of 500 rupees ($9.50) to anyone who captured and transported a monkey to a sterilization center, and program administrators estimate that they will neuter 200,000 monkeys, at 25 sterilization centers statewide, by June.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0010.xml
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10
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TD Ameritrade IP Company, Inc.
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TD Ameritrade IP Company, Inc.
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0011.xml
article
11
11
what's new
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Auto Tuned
Compact sensors power the first truly smart headphones
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Corinne Iozzio
Despite the landslide of smart devices in recent years, headphones have remained decidedly dumb, lacking the multitude of sensors found in everything from phones to watches. The ZIK Parrot is the first pair of headphones with the intelligence of a smartphone.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0012.xml
article
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12,13
WHAT'S NEW
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the goods
A Dozen Great Ideas in Gear
Sound Out
Killer Chiller
Custom Control
Deep Impact
Mode Shifter
Tune Towers
CLEAN CAFFEINE
Super Soaker
Light Music
Power Play
Full of Hot Air
Mobile Home TV
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Most noise-canceling earphones contain their audio processing circuitry in a small box strung onto the cable, adding heft to otherwise lightweight pairs. Sony engineers downsized the drivers in the new XBA-NC85D earphones, leaving extra space for a silicon microphone and a quarter-inch noise-canceling processor in each bud.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0013.xml
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14
14,15
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Chevrolet: Volt
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Chevrolet
Volt
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0014.xml
article
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16
WHAT'S NEW
DREAM MACHINE
Sweetest Sound
How THX's new audio engine makes every seat the best one in the room
Housing
Speakers
Amplifiers
User interface
Signal processor
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Bryan Gardiner
An audiophile can spend thousands of dollars on one speaker—a multi-driver tower that can produce a broad range of frequencies clearly at high decibel levels. But even the best speaker, or an entire home theater full of them, will typically sound its best in only one spot: the sweet spot.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0015.xml
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17
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Schick: HYDRO 5
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Schick
HYDRO 5
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0016.xml
review
18
18
WHAT'S NEW
TESTED
Wheel Wars
Can the scooter be improved?
THE TEST
THE RESULTS
MORE NEW WAYS TO MOVE
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Sbyke
$250
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Rockboard Descender
$120
Snowboarders can ride slopes year-round on the Descender. Designers equipped the 31-inch deck with rubber treads instead of skateboard wheels. More rubber means even more traction on grass. Riders steer by leaning, as they would on a snowboard. Rockboard Descender $120
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Solowheel
$1,800
The Solowheel propels riders perched on platforms on either side of the 26-pound device. When moving, a gyroscope-based motor helps keep them upright, similar to the way a Segway works. Riders tilt forward to accelerate up to 10 mph, stop by rocking backward, and steer by leaning. Solowheel $1,800
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CycoCycle by Dynacraft
$119
When seated on top of the CycoCycle's 20-inch front wheel, riders pedal and steer as on a unicycle, with balance provided by its two 12-inch rear wheels. To move along more quickly, users can stand on the 18-inch bar between the rear wheels and push off as on a kick-scooter. CycoCycle by Dynacraft $119
Brett Zarda
Since the Razor came out in the U.S. in the late '90s, inventors have tried, with varying success, to create the next generation of kickpowered conveyance. Now a Nevada start-up aims to beat the Razor in both maneuverability and stability.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0017.xml
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SIGMA
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SIGMA
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0018.xml
review
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WHAT'S NEW
TIMELINE
Invasion of the Body Trackers
Personal fitness monitors designed to encourage healthy habits typically involve uncomfortable gear, such as chest straps and armbands, that can discourage people from wearing them. As sensors shrink and software improves, health-tracking systems are becoming Less intrusive and capable of collecting more biometric data. One day, users may not have to don any equipment at all.
LATER
NOW
SOON
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Basis band
$200
Susannah F. Locke
The Basis band is the first continuous health tracker that measures heart rate at the wrist, rather than the chest or arm. An LED on the underside of the watch shines green Light (which blood absorbs particularly well) onto the wearer's wrist, and a sensor detects how much light bounces back.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0019.xml
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1&1 Internet.
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1&1 Internet.
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0020.xml
article
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WHAT'S NEW
OUTLOOK
The Revolution Will Be Boring
The electric-car movement enters a quiet, crucial phase
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Seth Fletcher
EARLY THIS YEAR, when it became clear that the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf had missed their 2011 sales targets, critics declared the electric-car revolution over. Yet at Detroit’s annual North American International Auto Show in January, plug-in cars abounded.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0021.xml
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1&1 Internet
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1&1 Internet
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0022.xml
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PROGRESSIVE
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PROGRESSIVE
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0023.xml
article
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25,26
HEADLINES
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The Net Goes Local
The path to a better Internet begins with engineers rethinking its networks
Andrew Blum
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WHEN THE soon-to-be-defunct government of president Hosni Mubarak shut off Egypt’s Internet early on the morning of January 28, 2011, it proved the U.S. State Department’s working theory: that the arc of history bends toward democracy, but it needs Internet access to get there.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0024.xml
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DRYLOK
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DRYLOK
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0025.xml
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Timepieces International Inc
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Timepieces International Inc
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0026.xml
article
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HEADLINES
THE ANNOTATED MACHINE
Petite Particle Accelerator
A proton gun for killing tumors
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Spencer Woodman
Since 1990, doctors have been regularly treating cancer patients using proton beams, which work similarly to radiation. Proton therapy is more precise, however, causing less harm to healthy surrounding tissues. Unfortunately, generating a proton beam requires a particle-accelerator facility that's the size of an airplane hangar and costs more than $100 million to build.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0027.xml
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Advertisement
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0028.xml
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Tempur-Pedic Management, Inc.
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Tempur-Pedic Management, Inc.
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0029.xml
article
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HEADLINES
ROUGH SKETCH
Harpooning a Comet
"We plan to retrieve the primordial ooze of the solar system"
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Don Wegel
HOW DO YOU GET a core sample from a comet? There’s so little gravity that if you used a scoop or a drill, you’d push yourself right off the surface. To solve this problem, we came up with a harpoon that collects samples. The concept is that the spacecraft flies next to the moving comet and fires from about 30 feet away, we would use a dampening system and propulsion to counteract the recoil.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0030.xml
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Advertisement
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0031.xml
article
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HEADLINES
WORK SPACE
Breaking Blades
Where wind-power props get built to be snapped
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Peter Andrey Smith
To demonstrate what the Advanced Structures and Composites Center's new lab will do to wind blades, Larry Parent, an engineer at the University of Maine, takes out his bifocals and begins bending them. The 230-foot-long fiberglass composite blades will suffer greater strain; most will be bent until they begin to break.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0032.xml
article
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HEADLINES
FUTURE FORM
Space Mountain
Building the world's biggest indoor ski run
SKI, SCHUSS, SHOOT, SLAP, SALCHOW
MINIMAL SUPPORT
LOW POWER
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ANDY ISAACSON
Stockholm, Sweden, has plenty of cold, but not much in the way of snow or hills. So the members of a Stockholm ski club convinced architecture/firm Berg/C.F. MØller to construct the most energy-efficient indoor ski park in the world. Skipark 360° will be powered by sun, wind, water and heat from the EARTH.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0033.xml
article
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HEADLINES
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ELECTRIC ANIMALS
That aren't eels
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ROSE PASTORE
Deep-sea microbes: At the bottom of the ocean, these "living batteries" move electrons across the metals on which they live. Oriental hornet: Brown pigments in the hornet's exoskeleton trap sunlight, while its yellow tissues convert the sunlight into electricity.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0034.xml
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HEADLINES
LOW TECH
THE VIKING SUNSTONE
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FLORA LICHTMAN
A thousand years ago, Vikings navigated with a sunstone, which they used to locate the sun on cloudy days [1]. The stone—a calcite crystal called Iceland spar—funnels light into two beams. When the beams appear equally bright, the rock is facing the light, even if it's obscured [2].
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0035.xml
article
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HEADLINES
Q & A
The Quest for a Male Pill Is... Hard
John Amory, a doctor at the University of Washington, has been developing a male contraceptive for 15 years
THE SCALE
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Jennifer Abbasi
Why is it taking so long to produce a birth-control pill for men? Women make one egg a month, but men make 1,000 sperm every second of every day, from puberty until the day they die. Turning that off is difficult. How does hormone contraception work?
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0036.xml
article
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HEADLINES
GAMIFIED
Money in the Mirror
What can a videogame tell us about how economies work?
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Jamin Warren
ON OCTOBER 3, 2008, President George W. Bush signed the Troubled Asset Relief Program bill into law, delivering $450 billion to failing banks on the premise that it would prevent their collapse and stimulate a faltering economy. Like millions of Americans, Dmitri Williams, an associate professor of communications at the University of Southern California, found TARP troubling— not because the bill provided too much or (as many economists argued) too little, but because it was unscientific.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0037.xml
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ESCORT
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ESCORT
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0038.xml
review
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37,38,39
HOW IT WORKS
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20-Yard Shootout
AMMO
MAGAZINE
TRIGGER LOCKOUTS
LAUNCH MECHANISM
BARREL
MYSTERIES OF EVERYDAY LIFE
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Nerf Vortex Lumitron
$30
Bryan Gardiner
Since Nerf introduced its first dart gun, the Sharpshooter, two decades ago, the company's engineers have struggled to find ways to significantly advance their toys' range beyond the original 35 feet. They repeatedly refined the firing mechanism and even added motors, but even their best improvements only added about 10 feet.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0039.xml
review
40
40,41
HOW IT WORKS
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Airport Fire Truck
LIGHTWEIGHT BODY
HULL-PIERCING BOOM
FIVE-PERSON CABIN, SINGLE-PERSON OPERATION
FOAM TURRETS
DRY CHEMICAL AGENT
CROSSLAYS
INFRARED CAMERAS
UNDERTRUCK NOZZLE
POWER DIVIDER
MYSTERIES OF EVERYDAY LIFE
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Airport Fire Truck
$600,000-to-$800,000
Andrew Rosenblum
Aircraft fires pose unusual challenges for first responders. Extinguishing jet fuel requires thousands of gallons of flame-smothering foam, and the fuel burns so hot (up to 2,500°F) that firefighters typically have only three minutes to respond before passengers would be overcome by heat and smoke inhalation.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0040.xml
article
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42,43
HOW IT WORKS
[no value]
Two-in-One Turbocharger
1 CAPTURE
2 SPIN
3 VENT
4 COMPRESS
MYSTERIES OF EVERYDAY LIFE
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Lawrence Ulrich
Carmakers are responding to high oil prices and strict fuel-economy standards by replacing large gasoline engines with smaller, more-efficient ones. And frequently, they are using turbochargers to make the switch without sacrificing power.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0041.xml
review
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44,45
HOW IT WORKS
[no value]
Dual-Blade Buzz Saw
MYSTERIES OF EVERYDAY LIFE
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Ridgid TwinBlade Saw
$149
Max Fischer
To saw different materials, users often need to switch blades. A blade with big teeth, for example, cuts wood quickly because it scoops out a lot of material with each tooth. But those same big teeth make the saw kick back toward the user if applied to a harder substance such as steel.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0042.xml
article
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46,47
HOW IT WORKS
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175mph Electric Car
MYSTERIES OF EVERYDAY LIFE
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Gregory Mone
Before Electric Blue sped across Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats at 175 miles an hour late last year, no one had made an official attempt to set a speed record for battery-powered racecars weighing less than 1,100 pounds. Other groups have been racing on the Salt Flats for years in electric cars with heavier batteries and larger motors.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0043.xml
article
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48
HOW IT WORKS
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World's Fastest Elevator
MOTOR
BRAINS
AERODYNAMICS
VIBRATION DAMPING
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Lauren Aaronson
The first commercial passenger elevator, installed by Otis Elevator Company in 1857, climbed 40 feet a minute. The elevators that Mitsubishi Electric are installing in China's 2,000-foot-tall Shanghai Tower travel 59 feet a second. When construction is complete in 2014, the elevators will whisk passengers straight from the basement-level entrance to the observation deck near the top of the tower, a 1,855-foot journey, in less than a minute.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0044.xml
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49
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SunSetter
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SunSetter
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0045.xml
article
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50
HOW IT WORKS
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Salmon Transport
1 COLLECT
2 SORT
3 COUNT AND TAG
4 TRANSPORT
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Katharine Gammon
At the turn of the 19th century, up to 16 million salmon and steelhead trout migrated up the waterways of the Columbia River Basin to spawn. Today, about one million salmon and an equal number of steelhead return, in large part because the rivers have been dammed.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0046.xml
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51
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gravity defyer
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gravity defyer
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0047.xml
review
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52
HOW IT WORKS
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Powered Gear Shifters
1 INITIATE
2 TRANSMIT
3 4 SHIFT
5 POWER
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Shimano Ultegra Di2
$2,280
Berne Broudy
In 1938, Simplex released the first cable-based bicycle gearshifts. Riders would move a lever near the front of the frame that tugged a metal cable attached to a chain derailleur. The shifts were often imprecise and, as debris collected on the cables, moving the levers could become difficult.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0048.xml
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53
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ZOYSIA FARM NURSERIES
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ZOYSIA FARM NURSERIES
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0049.xml
review
54
54,55
HOW IT WORKS
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Recycled-Air Scuba System
MYSTERIES OF EVERYDAY LIFE
THE ESSENTIALS
1 EXHALE
2 OXYGENATE
3 SCRUB
4 MONITOR
5 INHALE
FAIL-SAFES
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Sentinel
$5,400
Brooke Borel
Conventional scuba systems have some major limitations. Divers using them must carefully monitor the depth and time they stay underwater and endure a series of lengthy decompression steps during resurfacing. Rebreathers recycle air, allowing divers to go deeper and remain underwater for longer, with shorter decompression on ascent.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0050.xml
review
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56,57
HOW IT WORKS
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Underground Robot Library
THE ESSENTIALS
1 REQUEST
2 RETRIEVE
3 DELIVER
4 RETURN
MYSTERIES OF EVERYDAY LIFE
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Mansueto Library, University of Chicago
$10 million
Kalee Thompson
Research libraries are facing an unexpected challenge: too many books. Despite digitization, bound collections continue to grow. Some libraries house their stacks offsite, which can create multi-day delays between request and retrieval.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0051.xml
article
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58,59,60,61,62,63,64,65,85
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SWIMMING ON THE HOT SIDE
AN ELITE TEAM OF NUCLEAR DIVERS ARE RISKING THEIR LIVES TO HELP SAVE A TROUBLED INDUSTRY
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DAVID GOODWILLIE
I first heard about nuclear diving while I was getting my hair cut in downtown Manhattan. My stylist seemed out of place in an East Village salon, so I asked her where she lived. Brooklyn? Queens? Uptown? "Upstate," she answered. "I commute two hours each way a few times a week"
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0052.xml
article
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66,67,68,69
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A MODEL DISASTER
Have engineers learned anything from the loss of the unsinkable Titanic? Will they ever?
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EDWARD TENNER
THE HUNDREDTH anniversary of the wreck of the Titanic on April 15 provides a welcome moment to celebrate the many great strides made by engineers. In 2012, people move around the world more quickly and more safely than ever before. But the fate of the Costa Concordia, the cruise ship that ran aground off the coast of western Italy in January, reminds us that no matter how much progress we make, disasters still happen.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0053.xml
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70
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ARDUINO
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ARDUINO
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0054.xml
review
71
71,72,73
HOW2.0
YOU BUILT WHAT?!
Road Hawk
A street-legal three-wheeler that runs on nearly 2,000 batteries
HOW IT WORKS
STEERING
BRAKES
PERFORMANCE
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electric trike
$24,000
Gregory Mone
NAP PEPIN HAD been waiting on the side of the highway near his Alberta, Canada, home for more than hour when the tow truck finally pulled up. The driver looked at the stranded electronics technologist and his homebuilt electric trike and asked, “Ran out of juice, eh?”
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0055.xml
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72
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K&N Engineering, Inc.
[no value]
K&N Engineering, Inc.
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0056.xml
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73
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THE IRON SHOP
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THE IRON SHOP
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0057.xml
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73
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Advertisement
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0058.xml
review
74
74
HOW2.0
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Rec-Room Cockpit
How one reader built his own flight simulator
Two More Brilliant Projects
3-D Projector
Cocktail Mixer
[no value]
Rec-Room Cockpit
$1,200
[no value]
3-D Projector
$935
[no value]
Cocktail Mixer
$2,500
Andrew Rosenblum
Clint Fishburne, a regional-airline pilot based in Atlanta, wanted to help his children develop the body movement and muscle memory necessary to fly and land a plane. With the cost of commercial flight simulators starting at $25,000, though, Fishburne, a longtime POPSCI reader, decided to make one from scratch.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0059.xml
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75
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Consumer Cellular
[no value]
Consumer Cellular
[no value]
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[no value]
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0060.xml
article
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76
HOW2.0
GRAY MATTER
Change Agent
When there's not enough heat for a chemical reaction, add a catalyst
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[no value]
Theodore Gray
THE COPPER EARRING you see here had already been glowing bright orange for half an hour when we took the photograph. There is no flame under it, no electric current through it. Underneath is a pool of volatile and highly flammable acetone, but the liquid is not on fire.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0061.xml
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77,78
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VIAGRA
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VIAGRA
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0062.xml
article
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79
HOW2.0
SIMPLE PROJECT OF THE MONTH
Hoverpuck
A fan-powered puck for playing giant-size air hockey
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1 Cut a hole in a smoke-detector case. Make sure the hole is Large enough to mount the propeller and motor from a remote-controlled plane or helicopter. 2 To protect the entire outer surface of the smoke detector, cover it completely except for the bottom rim with a coat of PLasti Dip.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0063.xml
article
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HOW2.0
INVENTION OF THE MONTH
Conductive Ink
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Don't wire a circuit—doodle it. To connect batteries to devices such as resistors and LEDs, a newly developed ballpoint pen uses silver-based ink that conducts electricity through lines drawn over paper, wood, plastic and even some textiles.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0064.xml
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79
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Woodland Power Products, Inc.
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Woodland Power Products, Inc.
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0065.xml
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80
HOW2.0
MARSHALL'S PLANS
Interface the Music
An introduction to electronic instrument control
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Vin Marshall
I'm no musician, but lately I've been experimenting with MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) in my projects. MIDI is a standard for controlling instruments that works by passing messages between pieces of connected equipment.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0066.xml
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80
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DR POWER GRADER
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DR POWER GRADER
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0067.xml
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81
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Advertisement: envi
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envi
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0068.xml
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81
81
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WeatherTech
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WeatherTech
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0069.xml
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82
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i Page
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i Page
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0070.xml
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82
82
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Scientific Edge LLC
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Scientific Edge LLC
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0071.xml
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83,84
fyi
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Q WHY DOES SOME FOOD TASTE BAD TO SOME PEOPLE AND GOOD TO OTHERS?
ARE YOU A SUPERTASTER?
Q Why do kids hate Brussels sprouts?
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Emily Elert
Ryan Bradley
PEOPLE WHO HAVE a lot of papillae—the bumps on our tongue, most of which house our taste buds—often find flavors overwhelming. They’re “supertasters,” and as such they add cream to their coffee and order food mild instead of spicy. Subtasters, on the other hand, have low papillae density and prefer their chicken wings “atomic.”
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0072.xml
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84
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ROCKAUTO, LLC
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ROCKAUTO, LLC
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0073.xml
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85
85
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Valentine Research, Inc.
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Valentine Research, Inc.
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0074.xml
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85
85
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Advertisement
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0075.xml
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85
85
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EdgeCraft
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EdgeCraft
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0076.xml
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86
86,87
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HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS
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HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0077.xml
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88
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Smile Train
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Smile Train
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0078.xml
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89,90,91,92,93,94,95
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psshowcase
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0079.xml
article
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96
FROM THE POPULAR SCIENCE ARCHIVES
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Mad Props
A novel idea for all-terrain driving
JUNE 1975 THE PROTO-ELECTRIC
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Naomi Major
The air-powered car on the cover of our December 1932 issue didn't look particularly rugged, but it was built for off-roading—climbing icy hills, traversing muddy roads, and generally driving on any surface where a conventional car would be unable to gain traction.
PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0080.xml
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97
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Allstate Insurance Company
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Allstate Insurance Company
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0081.xml
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98
98
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amazon
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amazon
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PopularScience_20120401_0280_004_0082.xml