Most talked about Popular Science stories

Watch A Rocket Blast Off Into An Aurora [Video]

popsci.com — Please enable Javascript to watch this video A few weeks ago, we wrote about an experiment that would launch a probe through an aurora, to try to unravel the Northern Lights' mysterious electrical structure. The Aurora Spatial Structures Probe (ASSP) blasted off yesterday on a 70-foot rocket, and the visuals from the launch are downright gorgeous.

Bill Gates Fears A.I., But A.I. Researchers Know Better

popsci.com — Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Bill Gates to the AI panic of 2015. During an AMA (ask me anything) session on Reddit this past Wednesday, a user by the name of beastcoin asked the founder of Microsoft a rather excellent question.
Jan 30, 2015

Today on Zero Moment: Bill Gates fears superintelligence, but A.I. researchers know better pops.ci/xXiLuQ @PopSci

How To Build A Cannon That Shoots Wiffle Balls At 50MPH [Video]

popsci.com — Chances are, your leaf blower is collecting dust in a garage right now--and it will until this fall. So rescue that yard-clearing device for a far nobler purpose: blasting lightweight projectiles at top speed. Channeling the air from the leaf blower through a simple assembly of PVC pipes turns it into a Wiffle ball pitcher.
Jan 31, 2015

Your leaf blower has a higher calling: as a cannon that shoots wiffle balls at 50mph [video]: ow.ly/IfmmB @sophiebushwick @popsci

Evidence Of Expanding Universe May Have Been Just Dirt

popsci.com — It was a huge win for Big Bang supporters when, in March 2014, a team of astronomers claimed they had found direct evidence to support the concept of cosmic inflation-the super-rapid expansion of the Universe that occurred just fractions of a second after it exploded into existence.
Jan 31, 2015

RT @PopSci: The scientists who found evidence of cosmic inflation now say they got it wrong pops.ci/xicPby pic.twitter.com/g3VO5QjLGb

How 3D-Printing Rocket Engines Could Win Back The Space Race

popsci.com — In the mid-1960s, NASA's Marshall Spaceflight Center, outside of Huntsville, Ala., was a hive of rocket-engineering activity, ground zero for America's efforts to establish herself as the world's dominant space power. Following the 1957 launch of the Soviet satellite Sputnik, the prevailing Cold War mentality of the era presented engineers there with a single strategic goal propelling them quickly through myriad challenges: build better rockets than the Russians.
Jan 30, 2015

To break US dependence on Russian rocket tech, engineers are recreating Apollo-era rocket engines via 3D printing. popsci.com/how-us-3d-prin…

To Keep Airplanes On The Map, Track Them From Space

popsci.com — Two commercial airplanes vanished from radar in 2014. Although the wreckage of AirAsia QZ8501 has been recovered, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is still missing, with and search-and-rescue efforts coming up short. With all the tracking technology at our disposal in the modern age, it seems incredible that planes can still disappear.
Jan 31, 2015

RT @PopSci: After two aircrafts disappeared in 2014, the NTSB says it’s time to track planes from space pops.ci/1r2JMG pic.twitter.com/SwyZ0KrX7J

The Month In Plague: Measles In Disneyland, Guinea Worm Eradication, And More

popsci.com — Your monthly roundup of infestations, contagions, and controls from around the web: In outbreak news A measles outbreak at Disneyland has now infected a reported 100 people in several US states-mostly California-as well as in Mexico. Some experts say the spread is directly related to the anti-vaccine movement, although others point out that it's a little more complicated.
Feb 01, 2015

ICYMI: The Month In Plague: Measles In Disneyland, Guinea Worm Eradication, And More pops.ci/vksC6G via @PopSci

Jan 30, 2015

The Month In Plague: Measles In Disneyland, Guinea Worm Eradication, And More pops.ci/CgFyFi via @PopSci

We Computer-Simulated The Deflategate Football Scandal

popsci.com — Last week, after the New England Patriots destroyed the Indianapolis Colts by a whopping 38 points, the Colts accused their opponents of under-inflating footballs. Thus "Deflategate" was born. With the Patriots set to play the Seattle Seahawks this Sunday at the Super Bowl, the Deflategate controversy hangs heavy in the air.
Jan 30, 2015

"Could the deflated balls explain how the Patriots managed to wipe the floor with their opponents?" popsci.com/simulations-re…

Jan 29, 2015

How does @popsci approach #DeflateGate? Team up with @ANSYS_Inc to apply a multiphysics model, of course. ow.ly/Ibl4u

How We Used To Talk About Measles

popsci.com — These days, the happiest place on Earth isn't so cheerful. In December, a large number of people started coming down with measles after visiting Disneyland in California. So far, about 80 measles cases have been reported in the state, an unusually large number for a virus that has long been under control.
Jan 30, 2015

RT @PopSci: Before the measles vaccine, the disease was "greeted with smiling relief.” Now, not so much pops.ci/6bSIuA pic.twitter.com/7eWDtMHYAf

Did An Armed Chinese-Made Drone Just Crash in Nigeria?

popsci.com — As the brutal Boko Haram insurgency has entered its 7th year in Nigeria, the relationship between the government and China has deepened. In many ways it is a match of needs. The Nigerian military has a pressing need for counter-insurgency (COIN) equipment, such as drones, MRAP vehicles and smart bombs (many of which the US has been unwilling to provide the government due to human rights concerns).

Humans, Not Climate Change, Caused Caribbean Bat Extinctions

popsci.com — About 25,000 to 3,000 years ago, land mammals died out in massive numbers from the Arctic to the Caribbean, which scientists have attributed variously to climate change and human activity. Bats weren't as susceptible as their non-flying cousins - in the Caribbean, about 18 percent of bat species died out, compared to about 80 percent of land mammals - but still, several species disappeared from entire islands.
Jan 29, 2015

Humans, not a warming climate, killed off Caribbean bats as Earth tilted toward the Holocene. On EEK SQUAD @PopSci popsci.com/humans-not-cli…