Table of Contents September 2013

sept-cover-13

Served up in a fresh new design, this issue explores flexible electronics that could change the shape of medicine, grassroots efforts to beat cystic fibrosis, and how Hollywood is going transhuman.

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FEATURES

starting-point-opener

Cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin believes the Big Bang wasn't a one-off event, but merely one of a series of big bangs creating an endless number of bubble universes.

UB-Pigeon
We share our cities and suburbs with the furred and the feathered, but our understanding of them is fraught with misinformation. An excerpt from The Urban Bestiary provides a modern perspective on the wildlife we take for granted or even despise.
electronic-brain-monitor

Materials scientist John Rogers coaxes semiconductors into surprising new forms, allowing them to slip seamlessly into the soft, moist, moving conditions of the living world.

DEPARTMENTS

Chelyabinsk-meteor

While the government dithers, privately funded projects are stepping up the search for looming disaster.

Dextre

A plan to send fully automated robots to survey, fix and refuel satellites could prove revolutionary to space science.

hartsock-and-dygert

This excerpt from the book What Makes a Hero? explains that, though generosity may often be self-interested, true selflessness and compassion can also be taught.

fail

Next time you see the F-word, remember you're in good company.

THE CRUX

Construction of a new interstate in Arizona reveals a buried Native American village.

Fungi once thought to have caused 400 deaths in China have recently been exonerated.

The phenomenon of "solar braiding," hypothesized 30 years ago, has now been validated by images from an orbital telescope.

Crucial elements in people formed later in the universe's history than expected.

This slick solution allows limestone structures to repel water and pollutants.

Technique allows researchers to watch brain activity in a zebrafish as it pursues its prey.

Waste heat from power plants could be twisted into a nonpolluting source of energy.

HOT SCIENCE

uss-jamestown

A volunteer in the Old Weather Navy transcribes aged ship logs into useable climate data.

Neil-Blomkamp

District 9 director explains why he's confident his movie will satisfy the fanboy in us all.

Urban-Skygazer-Sept-13

The planet's glow is often mistaken for an airplane, satellite, or even an alien spaceship.

Douglas-Rushkoff

Rushkoff says the future is bright for those of us willing to live in the present.

Power to and by the People

An interactive museum exhibit lets museum-goers try their hand at designing future energy.

PureTemp

New vegetable-based materials absorb and release heat an unlimited number of times — with applications not just in beverages, but in keeping infants warm and soldiers cool.

shutterstock_116458489

Chow down on six-legged delicacies at Bugfest, and learn the science behind racecars at the American Chemical Society meeting.

hot-books-sept

Reviews of science reads that explore abominations, immortality and parasites. 

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