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iD (Ideas & Discoveries)iD (Ideas & Discoveries)

iD (Ideas & Discoveries) March 8, 2019

iD (Ideas & Discoveries) is an intriguing science and technology magazine that delves deep to help readers discover answers to questions about science, nature, psychology, history, current events and more. With captivating photography and design and engaging editorial content, iD will have readers thinking about the world around them in a whole new way.

United States
Heinrich Bauer Publishing, L. P.
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6 Issues


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reader feedback

WHO’S AFRAID OF THE BIG BAD WOLF? I have always been intrigued by wolves, so I eagerly read your report about wolves returning to the German forests in the January 2019 issue. Among the many fascinating insights and items of information, the article says the wolf actually poses little danger to humans. Is that really true? Have there been deadly wolf attacks? Janice Euler, Rosemount, OH In Europe nine people have been killed by predatory wolves in the past 50 years. Five fatalities were the result of animals that were rabid, and the other four were children in Spain who were playing near a village where the wolves had been fed by humans. In comparison, attacks by cows claim the lives of dozens of people each year there. In general, attacks carried out…

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by putting it in a 30-ton “ snowmobile”

“The common question asked in business is: ‘Why?’ I ask: Why not?’” JEFF BEZOS Data are the raw material of the Information Age—and the need to collect and store all these data has created a 21st-century gold rush. Many companies have accumulated such gigantic quantities of data that they don’t know what to do with it—or how to get it back to their customers, when necessary. One such example is DigitalGlobe, which describes itself as “the world’s leading provider of high-resolution Earth imagery, data, and analysis.” We’re all familiar with the images: They’re used by Google Maps and Google Earth as well as Apple Maps and are found in many GPS systems—even the U.S. military uses them. Every day DigitalGlobe’s satellites collect images of well over 1 million square miles, thus…

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the wardens of winter

HUNTING ATOP THE SNOW As soon as the first snow covers the countryside with its mantle of white, the time of the lynx is at hand: The surefooted cat with the tufted ears becomes something of a deftly agile forest ninja. Okay, it’s not an altogether difficult job: All Lynx lynx has to do in winter is let physiology and the climate do their thing. While the deer that a lynx pursues will become slowed down significantly by having to carefully lift their hooves to traverse the frozen snow, the lynx, which may weigh up to 44 pounds, spreads its wide paws and effectively uses them as snowshoes. Unlike its ruminant prey, a lynx does not run through the snow but rather on top of it—and thus it captures quarry considerably…

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how can a subway terror attack be prevented?

WHICH DESIGN FEATURES MINIMIZE THE LIKELIHOOD OF INJURY? The latest Paris Metro line, the M14 (shown here), is designed to permit the least amount of injury possible if it were to come under attack. The safety measures include reducing the number of objects that could be hurled through the air in an explosion. The greatest danger posed by a detonation, however, is the resulting pressure wave, which is intensified in an enclosed space such as inside a Metro car. Another important measure: removing anything that could block the way of rapid evacuation of the station. HOW DO YOU DIMINISH THE FORCE OF A PRESSURE WAVE? When a bomb is detonated, the surrounding air pressure rises so quickly and intensely that it ruptures the body’s pulmonary alveoli. And then there is also the danger…

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how can we detect when and where an attack has occurred?

Scott Kempf of the Fraunhofer Institute for High-Speed Dynamics in Freiburg, Germany, helped develop SenSE4Metro, a sensor system that detects and monitors serious incidents automatically. Another member of the project consortium is the Fire Department of Berlin, which is responsible for the security of the city’s subway system—the most extensive in Germany and the third largest in Europe. Possible Scenarios The sensor system was developed to react to a number of different possible crisis situations, which may include terrorist attacks as well as natural disasters. Power Supply The sensor system provides its own electricity, using energy from the vibration of the rails or wind power. Wireless Sensor Network The sensors immediately sound an alarm if they detect smoke or an abrupt rise in air pressure, indicating that an explosion has taken place. This alerts rescuers to…

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can a subway weather report save people’s lives?

Professor Andreas Pflitsch, a geologist at Germany’s Ruhr University, has been working for years in the field of subway climatology. With a team of chemists and engineers he developed a warning system that can identify 14 highly toxic gases—including sulfur dioxide and CS (tear gas). Using computer models, they can calculate how the wind will disperse the gas. “A subway is a dynamic system with its own prevailing weather,” says Pflitsch. Tests have shown that wind direction and strength are constantly changing in a subway tunnel. But the warning system can also predict when a cloud of poison gas is likely to enter the next station; then it can calculate the best escape route. A “subway weather report” makes it possible to evacuate the system more efficiently. By the way:…