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Discover July/August 2019

Discover Magazine will amaze you, enlighten you, and open your eyes to the awe and wonder of science and technology. Discover reveals secrets, solves mysteries, and debunks old myths. Discover shares new findings and shows you what makes our universe tick.

United States
Kalmbach Publishing Co. - Magazines
Read More
$8.32(Incl. tax)
$27.70(Incl. tax)
10 Issues

In this issue

2 min.
life at the edge

When day-to-day life grinds along in its own way for each of us, it can feel like we’re rolling through in the muddled-up middle. No clear definition, not much stark contrast. But slow down and look a little closer, and it’s apparent that life is full of extremes. Often, they’re just too big or small to catch our eye. Some of these extremes we take for granted. For others, we aren’t even aware they’re chugging along, invisible to us. A theme of extremes runs through this annual special issue — consider it the Everything Worth Knowing section on life at the edge. Take the sun, certainly an extreme environment. Or the moon, which is extreme in a much different way. Or the nature of flight, and how it manifests in all kinds…

1 min.

BECKY LANG Editor In Chief DAN BISHOP Design Director EDITORIAL GEMMA TARLACH Senior Editor BILL ANDREWS Senior Associate Editor ELISA R. NECKAR Production Editor LACY SCHLEY Associate Editor ANNA GROVES Assistant Editor DAVE LEE Copy Editor Contributing Editors TIM FOLGER, JONATHON KEATS, LINDA MARSA, KENNETH MILLER, STEVE NADIS, COREY S. POWELL, JULIE REHMEYER, STEVE VOLK, PAMELA WEINTRAUB, DARLENE CAVALIER (special projects) ART ERNIE MASTROIANNI Photo Editor ALISON MACKEY Associate Art Director DISCOVERMAGAZINE.COM ERIC BETZ Digital Editor NATHANIEL SCHARPING Assistant Editor MEGAN SCHMIDT Digital Content Coordinator Bloggers ERIK KLEMETTI, NEUROSKEPTIC, COREY S. POWELL, SCISTARTER, AMY SHIRA TEITEL, TOM YULSMAN Contributors BRIDGET ALEX, RONI DENGLER, KOREY HAYNES ADVERTISING STEVE MENI Advertising Sales Manager 888 558 1544 smeni@discovermagazine.com Rummel Media Connections KRISTI RUMMEL Consulting and Media Sales 608 435 6220 kristi@rummelmedia.com MELANIE DECARLI Marketing Architect BOB RATTNER Research DARYL PAGEL Advertising Services KALMBACH MEDIA DAN HICKEY Chief Executive Officer CHRISTINE METCALF Senior Vice President, Finance NICOLE MCGUIRE Senior Vice President, Consumer Marketing STEPHEN C. GEORGE Vice President, Content BRIAN J. SCHMIDT…

2 min.
print feedback

Moral vs. Material (“The Happiness Dilemma,” March 2019) Maybe what evolution is telling us is that we are looking for happiness in all the wrong places. The examples used in von Hippel’s article — the next mastodon, the new car, the next raise, winning the lottery — all play into the fallacy that true happiness resides in the material, the ephemeral. Ask Buddha, Aristotle or even Thomas Jefferson. They would probably tell us that happiness is the result of a moral, well-lived life. Stuart Lynn Worcester, Mass. Lidar’s Past (“A Lost World Emerges,” March 2019) This story was very enlightening and illustrated how light detecting and ranging (lidar) is used to look through vegetation and reveal details invisible to explorers. However, I was surprised the author didn’t mention previous uses of this technology. In 2015,…

1 min.
the crux

RAISING THE HEAVENS FROM THE SEA In 1503, a storm sank the Portuguese ship Esmeralda off the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, taking the lives of the crew. In 2014, divers and archaeologists returned to the wreck to retrieve what remained. That included this metal disk, thought to be an astrolabe — an instrument that mariners used to navigate by measuring the height of celestial bodies above the horizon. Two features of the Portuguese flag — the coat of arms and an armillary sphere, a pattern of rings meant to represent the heavens — affirmed its provenance. Likely constructed between 1496 and 1501, the astrolabe was certified this year as the oldest example known.…

3 min.
cloudy with a chance of lava

IT WAS 1975 on the Caribbean island of Basse-Terre, part of Guadeloupe. Beyond a green stretch of jungle, the volcano La Soufrière de Guadeloupe loomed. The island’s capital, also called Basse-Terre, lay nestled between the ocean and the towering peak, which hadn’t had a major eruption since around 1530. But that July, La Soufrière began showing signs of life. Debate ensued among seismologists over the chances of a major eruption; some saw evidence that molten magma below the Earth’s crust was rising. By November, authorities were scrambling to craft an emergency plan for the city and the surrounding area, then home to roughly 75,000 people. In August of the following year, at least 72,000 residents were evacuated. But no magma came. The evacuation itself proved more destructive, costing $342 million at the…

1 min.

FOR MOST OF US, WHEN THE SUN’S UP, WE’RE UP. Other critters are nocturnal, operating mainly at night. But not everything falls into those two camps. Many creatures are crepuscular — most active at dusk and dawn — including some species of butterflies, bees, deer, rabbits, even house cats. The trait can allow these animals to avoid extreme temperatures, predators and competition with others over resources. Meteorologists also use the term to describe some types of light rays from the sun, such as the ones that pierce through clouds like spotlights.…