September 18, 2014

7:45 PM | Throwback Thursday: Bullet Trains, Floating Toilets, And A Really Big Bridge
September 1964 Cover Popular Science On this Throwback Thursday, we go back 50 years to the Popular Science of September 1964.  What To Do When Your Brakes Fail "You start down a long, steep mountain grade at a fast clip, and suddenly find you have no brakes." Our September 1964 cover story explained what you should do in this nightmare scenario, as well as how to handle five other car crises.  The Verrazano-Narrows Was The […]

September 17, 2014

5:00 PM | Big Pic: A Texas-Sized Algae Bloom
The Arabian Sea's Algae Bloom, As Seen From From Space. Norman Kuring/NASA Lake Erie has gotten a lot of attention recently because of its toxic algal blooms, and all that attention seems to have made the Arabian Sea green with envy.  A paper in Nature Communications reports that a phytoplankton named Noctiluca scintillans has invaded a dead-zone off the coast of India, where it's threatening to disrupt natural foodchains as well as the local fishing […]

September 15, 2014

4:30 PM | Here's Where The Rosetta Lander Will Touch Down ... Or Crash
Look Out Below! Philae will attempt a landing at Site J, shown here, in November. ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA The European Space Agency has finally chosen a target for Rosetta’s lander. The Rosetta spacecraft arrived at comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August, after a 10-year journey. Since then the orbiter has been circling the comet, looking for the perfect spot to deploy a lander onto the surface of the […]

September 11, 2014

10:23 PM | Throwback Thursday: Musical Cakes, Windshield Wiper Fluid, And The End Of The World
On this Throwback Thursday, we go back 75 years to the Popular Science of September 1939.  The Magazine Cost 15 Cents But it was worth 25! (In 2014, each copy will cost you $5 on the newsstand.) September 1939 Popular Science Things We Take For Granted Now Were Brand New, Like... Cameras in Police Cars Movie Camera In Police Car Puts Evidence On Film. There's no arguing with the testimony of this movie camera. Popular Science And […]

September 09, 2014

9:30 PM | Crops Grow On Fake Moon And Mars Soil
Conceptual Rendering Of A Greenhouse On Mars. Maybe greenhouses on Mars wouldn't have to be hydroponic after all. NASA If humans ever set up permanent bases on the Moon or Mars, we'll need to be able to grow our own food there. To find out whether that’s actually possible, a team of scientists in the Netherlands planted 14 plant species in soils that simulate the Martian and lunar regolith. It turned out that the Martian soil simulant was better than some Earth […]

September 08, 2014

6:45 PM | WHO Endorses Blood Transfusions to Combat Ebola
Blood Transfusion El Avi via Flickr CC By 2.0 In the fight against the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the World Health Organization has declared that treating patients with the blood of Ebola survivors should be a top priority.   The latest count suggests that more than 3,700 people across five West African countries have been infected in the ongoing outbreak -- and 1848 have died. As the epidemic continues to grow, public health officials are resorting to more […]

September 05, 2014

2:00 PM | Remembering The Great War: The Outbreak
Three British soldiers in trench under fire during World War I Library of Congress This year marks the centennial of the start of the First World War. To honor it, Popular Science is combing through our archives to bring you the best of our original war coverage--from the emergence of tanks, airplanes, and other military tech, to essays examining the relationship between war and eugenics.  The first post in our "Remembering The Great War" series comes from the […]

September 04, 2014

10:41 PM | Throwback Thursday: An Adventure Down Under, And Scientists Ponder What Makes A Duck A Duck
A Map Of Maer Island In The Torres Straits. Popular Science In this edition of Throwback Thursday we travel 100 years into the past. In those days, Popular Science was called “The Popular Science Monthly.” It had no distinct sections. All the articles were written by scientists, and almost all of them were dozens of pages long with little to no pictures. There wasn't even a website! Still, there’s some good stuff in there. Here are the highlights from […]

September 03, 2014

5:20 PM | A Prosthetic Leg That Plugs Directly Into The Skeleton
Classic Leg Prostheses. If a new technique can prove its worth, it could send these clunky ball-and-socket prostheses the way of the dinosaurs. Cpl Richard Cave RLC (Phot)/MOD There are a lot of fancy, high-tech prosthetics out there. Some can read electrical signals from the nerves and muscles of the remaining tissue, while others even interface with the brain to read a person’s intentions when she, say, wants to reach for a chocolate […]

September 01, 2014

5:00 PM | Flying Foxes, Rococo Toads, And Other Creatures Of Darkness
After sundown, a completely different world comes to life.  Photographer Traer Scott writes that her journey into darkness started with moths, "the mysterious, moonlit cousins of the perky, sunny butterfly--flitting wildly and ever frantically near our porch lights but never coming quite close enough to be truly illuminated." Then she got to thinking about the bats that eat the boths, and an idea hatched. Her book, "Nocturne: Creatures Of The Night," calls itself the first […]

August 29, 2014

8:20 PM | Nautical Chimeras, Exploding Rockets, And Other Amazing Images Of The Week
Stunning Stinger The Portuguese man o' war is named after an 18th century warship. The creature may look like one organism, but it is actually a siphonophore -- a colony made up of different individual animals. That means each of its organs is composed of genetically distinct cells. National Geographic has more on the insane biology of these venomous creatures, as well as a collection of gorgeous photos. Aaron Ansarov
1:00 PM | Big Pic: Stunning Images From The Worlds Sharpest Commercial Satellite
Madrid From Space. DigitalGlobe The WorldView-3 satellite, which launched on August 13, has sent back its first images. They’re gorgeous, and kind of creepy. The new satellite can see to a resolution of 31 centimeters. That means each pixel of the camera captures one square foot of land, which is sharp enough to see home plate at Yankee Stadium, to map crops by pattern and type, to identify the type and speed of cars and trucks, and measure population density, all from […]

August 28, 2014

11:30 PM | Throwback Thursday: Flip Phones, The Baby Internet, And A Stephen Hawking Essay
Cover, August 1989 Popular Science As a magazine with 142 years of history, Popular Science sits on a treasure trove of vintage illustrations, perceptive predictions, obsolete technologies, essays by Nobel prize-winning scientists, and some seriously awkward advertisements. That's why we're using Throwback Thursdays as an excuse to dust off those back issues and share their stories with you, Dear Readers. Every Thursday we’ll bring you highlights from 25, 50, 75, or 100 years […]

August 27, 2014

4:05 PM | Where Does The Moon's Smell Come From?
What's That Smell? NASA In 1969, mankind got its first few whiffs of the lunar surface after astronauts tracked moon dust into the Apollo lander. In an article on, Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison “Jack” Schmitt describes the Moon’s scent as being similar to spent gunpowder. Buzz Aldrin of Apollo 11 says it smells like charcoal, or fireplace ashes sprinkled with water. And scientist Larry Taylor, director of the Planetary Geosciences Institute at the University of […]

August 25, 2014

6:45 PM | Sensorized 'Skin' Could Help Aircraft Detect Damage
Did You Feel That? A concept drawing of how a "smart skin" could work on aircraft. BAE Systems Engineers at BAE Systems have announced that they’re trying to develop a “smart skin” for aircraft. The coating would have tens of thousands of tiny sensors embedded within it to constantly measure wind speed, turbulence, temperature, damage, and more. If the engineers succeed in bringing the idea to fruition, the aircraft coating will be able to sense changes and report back […]

August 22, 2014

8:09 PM | U.S. Copyright Office Denies Monkeys Rights To Their Selfies
Smile Wikimedia Commons In 2011, British wildlife photographer David Slater was traveling through the jungle in Indonesian when a crested black macaque grabbed his camera and started snapping selfies. Somebody posted the images in Wikipedia Commons, meaning anybody could use them for free. A legal battle ensued, with Slater claiming the images belong to him, and Wikipedia countering that the images belong to the public since they weren't created by a human. The U.S. Copyright Office […]

August 21, 2014

4:43 PM | Russian Cosmonauts Report Sea Plankton On The Outside Of The ISS
Plankton In Space. Note: This isn't what it actually looked like. Popular Science/NASA/Nickelodeon Cosmonauts have apparently discovered plankton and other microorganisms on the outside of the International Space Station’s windows, according to an announcement from a Russian official.  NASA has not yet confirmed or denied the findings.  "As far as we're concerned, we haven't heard any official reports from our Roscosmos colleagues that they've found sea plankton," NASA […]

August 20, 2014

8:44 PM | Welcome To Mars. Here's Where You'll Be Staying
Martian Pyramid Rendering Valcrow NASA has plans to put humans on Mars in the 2030s or 2040s, and the private company Mars One is already interviewing applicants to for its one-way trip to the Red Planet. But a couple of crucial questions remain. One is, How do we get there? And another is, How the heck will we survive once we’re there? Mars is a pretty hostile environment. Astronauts who go there will need to contend with the lack of oxygen, high radiation levels, dust storms, and […]
5:17 PM | What Happens When A Volcano Erupts Under A Glacier?
A Glacial Lake Near The Eyjafjallajökull Volcano Paul Clement via Flickr By CC 2.0 When Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano blew up in 2010, the relatively small eruption belched out a 30,000-foot-tall plume of ash that shut down airports throughout most of Europe for six days. Now Iceland is warning airlines that another volcano named Bárðarbunga may be about to blow. On Monday scientists registered the area’s largest earthquake since 1996, and […]
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