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Popular Science Australia November 2018

This is the most exciting time to be alive in history. Discovery and innovation are reshaping the world around us, and Popular Science makes even the most complex ideas entertaining and accessible. By taking an upbeat look at today's most revolutionary science and technology, we forecast what tomorrow will be like. We deliver the future now!

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accept obesity, but don’t celebrate it

Oh yeah? Well how about not using the term “fat people” for a start, University of Otago? The issue of obesity in Western societies (and emerging in others now too) is a big huge important one. A few decades from now, I suspect researchers will refer to it as a pandemic, another great scourge that impacted the lives of hundreds of millions of people. First there was the Black Death, then there was the Spanish Flu (see p.36), then HIV/AIDS, and now obesity. Does this sound over the top? To call obesity a plague or a pandemic?Before I go further, let me deÿne terms. The University of Otago wants to end “fat stigma”, but I’m not talking about being a bit fat, full-on-fat, or even fat-as. I’m talking about…

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digging the rare earth

Australian mining is about more than iron ore, coal, gold, diamonds, and uranium. And this drone shot of the Mt Marion lithium mine proves it. Lithium prospecting is a big deal in Western Australia right now, with test drilling and new mine sites popping up every year. Currently operated by Mineral Resources Limited, the Mt Marion mine is projected to produce up to 60 million tonnes of Lithium over its operating life. That’s a lot of mobile phones. ■…

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the minerals are in the rocks!?

To most of us, this looks like a rather messy bit of maybe-quartz. To a geologist, this is spodumene, a lithium aluminium inosilicate. To a mining company, it’s big bucks. Spodumene is fused in acid to produce lithium in a form useful for phones, medicine, ceramics, and more. ■…

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the future of cars (that will never be built)

CONCEPT CARS ARE ALWAYS FUN. SURE, NONE OF these amazing vehicles, all of which made recent appearances at the 2018 Paris Motor Show, will ever sit in an ordinary person’s driveway. Yet each of them will contribute a styling or functional element to the future of cars, in some way. Or maybe that doesn’t even matter. Maybe they’re just art for art’s sake. 1 PEUGEOT E-LEGEND  This electric muscle car stole the 2018 Paris Motor Show, acting as a design showcase for the future of Peugeot and also showing what a future fully autonomous car could look like on the inside. A throwback to the long-running Peugeot 504 coupe, the exterior design is breathtaking — while the interior is crazy enough to remind you that the…

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moving pictures

ONE OF THE GREAT IRRITATIONS OF LIVING IN THE FUTURE IS WHEN someone says “oh oh let me show you this awesome video I took” and then you have to stand politely for 20 seconds while they swipe around their phone muttering about how they were sure they had it etc. Now there’s a cure: the LifePrint hyperphoto printer ($279). It creates instant-print photos that use an augmented-reality app to show those video clips as soon as you point your own phone at them. Here’s how. 1. SHOOT Take a short video with a smartphone, just like everyone does these days. No problem. 2. SELECT Open the Lifeprint app and select a video clip. Swipe to choose directly from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and GoPro. 3. PRINT…

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Like most compact insta-printers, the LifePrint uses ZINK “zero ink” technology. Like old-timey Polaroids, each ZINK cartridge contains sheets that already have all the pigments sandwiched into three layers - cyan, magenta, and blue. The printer essentially fuses different parts of the sheet to mix the colours and create an image. They’re small - only 7.5 cm by 11.5 cm - but crisp and clear. The LifePrint printer works over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, so what it lacks in poster-size printing, it makes up for in speed and convenience. ■…