NEW YORK, NY– The summer 2018 issue of Popular Science is on newsstands and the iPad now.
Future Hand-Me-Downs Technology doesn’t age gracefully. Bricked phones and crapped-out hard drives retire to your junk drawer only a few years after emerging from their shrink wrap. A precious few of our worldly wants, however, do improve with time and use. Objects like the ones here satisfy the Japanese tenet of wabi-sabi, which values well-worn imperfection over what’s shiny and new. Here are some products that will only work better as you drag them along the rough road of life.
Life—What Is It? Life is a tricky concept. You’re alive. This magazine is not. What about something like the flu? The virus has many characteristics scientists and philosophers ascribe to life, yet researchers debate whether virulent agents truly live. Our conception of the state of “alive” is getting ever-more fraught: New forms of artificial intelligence on this planet and potential extraterrestrial beings might be vital in ways we don’t even know to look for.
Something Borrowed Pioneering surgeons have made it possible to transplant a human uterus that can bear children—offering hope to millions of infertile women who never thought they could give birth. A Swedish-led medical team has delivered seven babies via donated wombs since 2014, and they have helped two such births take place in the United States.
This Is How We Die The average baby boomer will live 20 years longer than their grandparents did. Now that modern medicine has a handle on infectious diseases, illnesses associated with aging (namely cancer and heart failure) will probably do most of us in. The rising percent of people dying from those ailments may seem ominous, but it really just means we’re living long enough to get them in the first place. Here’s what death looks like in modern America.
Carbon Emissions Are Sucking the Life Out Of Our Food You can try to avoid junk food, but our plants are getting junkier too. Fueled by sunlight, plants turn carbon dioxide and water into sugar and oxygen, which they use to grow stems, roots and leaves. As CO2 levels continue to rise, it might spur a greenery growth spurt, which actually comes with a downside. CO2-charged sprouts contain more starches and sugar, and fewer minerals and proteins.
Corpse Pose The Colorado Learning Center of Human Anatomy rents space in a local mortuary to give massage therapists, yoga teachers, acupuncturists and energy workers access to deceased and donated bodies. Each week, dozens of students gather to manipulate the soft tissue of cadavers, hoping to gain anatomical insight to apply to their own day jobs. Popular Science sent a contributor to class to seek anatomical enlightenment from a cadaver.