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Popular Science October 2015

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United States
Camden Media Inc.
4 Issues

in this issue

2 min
the revolution will be green

“FOOD, ALONG WITH WATER AND ENERGY, WILL BE ONE OF THE DEFINING ISSUES OF OUR TIME. In the waning days of World War II, a plant biologist named Norman Borlaug went south to Mexico. Ostensibly, he arrived there to teach modern farming methods at the behest of the Rockefeller Foundation. But Borlaug, described by most as a highly determined man, did much more than that: He started and led perhaps one of the most profound revolutions the world has known. The Green Revolution is a catchall that describes advances in plant breeding, chemical fertilization, pest control, and irrigation, particularly from the late 1940s to the early 1970s. Those innovations— including Borlaug’s contribution of high-yield short-stem wheat —helped grow agricultural productivity more quickly than the global population. And over a few decades that…

1 min

Clay Dillow Each time Clay Dillow reports from the Pentagon or a massive agency like the FBI, he’s surprised to find the place “made up of real people,” he says. While reporting “To Catch a Bombmaker” (page 54), a scientist explaining the nuances of roadside bombs excused herself to go retrieve her puppy from the vet. The juxtaposition— from bomb tech to dog lover—says Dillow, was “humanizing.” Ilima Loomis Taking on “The Search for Dark Matter” (page 26), was a no-brainer for journalist Ilima Loomis. “That a quarter of the universe can’t be accounted for is irresistible,” she says. Finding the stuff that holds our universe together is no easy task, but Loomis says they’re getting close. In fact, she’s already geared up for the next great piece of the puzzle to figuring…

2 min
peer review

FOR THE THRILL Last month, we asked readers which type of transportation they would take to the edge of space if offered a seat: spaceplane or stratospheric balloon? Looks like we’ve got some adrenaline junkies out there. ADHIRAJ MATHUR I would choose the spaceplane because it’s closer to the experience a real astronaut might have. STEPHEN BEETS Spaceplane. It’s WAY faster and more flexible in terms of mission capabilities than any balloon. ELYSE DORM Balloon, but preferably if it’s done like that first guy did it, floating up by yourself in a space suit, and then catapulting back to Earth when you’re done. That would be fantastic! JOB INSECURITY My grandfather, retired U.S. Air Force Col. Dan Delton Fulgham, was an Air Force master balloonist in the 1950s. He would take balloons to the upper limits…

1 min
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Our perspective on science is unique. Like you. Sign up for the Popular Science editorial newsletter and each week you’ll get the latest and greatest in tech reviews, science news, video, photography, and special offers. GET THE LATEST CONTENT FROM OUR DIGITAL EDITIONS THE FUTURE NOW PopSci.com’s news-reader app delivers all the content from PopSci.com in an easy-to-read format on the go. Get up-to-the-minute news on cutting edge scientific research, gadgets and green tech. Save the stories to read, even when you’re not connected, and filter them by your favorite topic. Sign up today: POPSCI.COM/NEWSLETTER…

1 min
a bit about us

ZOMBIE SCIENCE Excited for season six of The Walking Dead? We are too. Actor Ross Marquand (you know him as Aaron) will talk all things zombie apocalypse this month at popsci.com. KEEPING COOL LEGO brought the Technic Wall of Fans to the Popular Science office this summer. The motion-activated fan wall is built with Mindstorms motors and sensors and Technic blocks. It’s more work than AC, but more gratifying. Find us on Tumblr! popsci.tumblr.com HEAR THE FUTURE In July, we launched a podcast called Futuropolis. This month we wrap up our first season. If you’ve ever wondered what finding love, communicating, or buying a sandwich will be like in the future, be sure to check it out on iTunes, SoundCloud, or your favorite podcast app. TIME WARP Students at Friendswood High School in Friendswood, Texas sealed a time capsule…

1 min
a drone that flies and films for you

3DR SOLO DRONE Price $1,000 Weight 3.3 pounds Flight Time 25 minutes Max Speed 55 mph Max Range of Live Video 0.5 miles Shooting aerial footage from a drone is tricky. Pilots have to worry about throttle, pitch, yaw, and roll of the drone. When filming, they also need to consider camera focus and gimbal axis. The 3DR Solo Drone automates those chores, leaving you free to take killer shots of any scene. With more than a dozen presets, the drone can fly in a circle, glide between two points, follow a person on the ground, and loop away from you for a selfie—all from its app and all with the push of a button. It is also the first drone to stream HD video from a GoPro camera, letting you monitor the live feed from any…