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September/ October 2016

THE UNBREAKABLE GENIUS OF

PLUS!

MARK ZUCKERBERG

CHINA’S RACE FOR SPACE DOMINATION INSIDE TESLA’S HIGH-TECH FACTORY MINING A KILLER ASTEROID I WISH SOMEONE WOULD INVENT…

INSIDE THE MIND OF THE GLOBE - CONNECTING , EMPIRE - BUILDING , EDUCATION - REFORMING , DISEASE - ERADICATING CREATOR OF

FACEBOOK

EXC LUS I V E

BUSTING SEX TRAFFICKERS ON T H E DA R K W E B


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Contents

SEPT / OCT 2016

FEATUR ES 40

The Most Social Man on the Planet Inside the brain of the world’s globe-connecting, disease-fighting CEO. DAVE GERSHGORN

47

The Brilliant 10 The top young scientists driving their fields forward. VERONIQUE GREENWOOD AND CASSANDRA WILLYARD

54

64

The Genius List The hackers, technologists, scientists, and celebrities who have bestowed genius on us so far this year.

China’s Race to Space Domination To try to gain an edge here on Earth, China is pushing ahead in space. CLAY DILLOW, JEFFREY LIN AND P.W. SINGER

68

The Tesla Factory An up-close look at the robots, lasers, and stampers that assemble Elon Musk’s work-of-art cars. COBY McDONALD

PAGE

56

76

Tracking the Traffickers Innovative new tech designed to disrupt and dismantle wildlife crime. MILLIE KERR AND COREY MUELLER

The Man Who Lit the Dark Web Sex-trafficking rings have found comfortable homes in software-protected sites online, but one man’s datamining tools are now helping cops bust them open. CH AR LES GR AEB ER

PH OTOGR AP H BY

The Voorhes

On the Cover F. Scott Schafer visited Facebook HQ to photograph CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

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Volume 288 No. 5

DEPARTMENTS FEED 08 Words of Genius 10 PopSci on the Web

NOW 13 Arm your battle stations for work and play 16 No ordinary acoustic guitar 17 10 great ideas in gear 18 An air purifier that destroys pollutants 19 Goldilocks’ workout shirt 20 Do TVs need a billion colors? 21 A helmet to protect your neck

37

26

22 The tech industry needs a diversity upgrade

NEXT 24 The world’s longest and highest glass bridge opens 26 Werner Herzog talks AI 30 Two top minds debate machine learning 32 The Arctic Ocean gets its own garbage patch 34 Testing an unlikely drug to treat Down syndrome 35 Smarter on-the-spot triage 37 Coal waste could replace rare metals in smartphones 38 Visiting a killer asteroid

24

MANUAL 80 Annoy co-workers with this DIY sky puppet 82 A mini medieval siege weapon 84 Build a fog machine in a mug 86 Listen with your skin 88 The art of artificial limbs 90 A chopper-pontoon racecar 92 Lab-grown bones on display 93 Your hyperlocal radio station

88

END MATTER 94 Ask Us Anything: Why does garlic breath take so long to go away? 110 I Wish Someone Would Invent...

21

32 I

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The other guy.

Helping people since 1936

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The choice is yours, and it’s simple. Why enjoy just one chicken wing when there’s a whole plate in front of you? The same goes for car insurance. Why go with a company that offers just a low price when GEICO could save you hundreds and give you so much more? You could enjoy satisfying professional service, 24/7, from a company that’s made it their business to help people since 1936. This winning combination has helped GEICO to become the 2nd-largest private passenger auto insurer in the nation.

Make the smart choice. Get your free quote from GEICO today.

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Some discounts, coverages, payment plans and features are not available in all states or all GEICO companies. Customer satisfaction based on an independent study conducted by Alan Newman Research, 2015. GEICO is the second-largest private passenger auto insurer in the United States according to the 2014 A.M. Best market share report, published April 2015. GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company, Washington, D.C. 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. Š 2016 GEICO


Ever Sat in a Room Full of Geniuses? Find out what it sounds like in our pages this month P.22

“YOU CAN ABSOLUTELY BE W H AT YO U CA N’T S E E . T H AT’S W H AT INNOVATORS AND DISRUPTORS DO. –Kimberly Bryant, in “Coding Diversity into Silicon Valley”

P.40

“WE CAN MANAGE ALL DISEASES BY THE END OF THE CENTURY. —Mark Zuckerberg, in “The Most Social Man on the Planet”

P.26

“The deepest question I had while making this film was whether the Internet dreams of itself.” —Werner Herzog, in “Geeking Out”

P.56

“SOME OF THE BEST MINDS OF OUR G E N E R AT I O N ARE USING THE INTERNET ADVERTISERS R I C H E R .” —Chris White, in “The Man Who Lit the Dark Web”

“ W H AT HAPPENS WHEN THE REST OF THE WORLD WAKES UP AND REALIZES CHINA IS THE LEADER IN S PAC E ? —James Lewis, in “China’s Race to Space Domination”

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EDITORIAL Editor at Large Cliff Ransom Acting Features Editor Jen Schwartz Senior Editor Sophie Bushwick Technology Editor Xavier Harding Assistant Editor Dave Gershgorn Editorial Assistant Grennan Milliken Copy Chief Cindy Martin Researchers Ambrose Martos, Erika Villani Editorial Interns Meaghan Callaghan, Thom Leavy, Ryan Mandelbaum, Coby McDonald, Corey Mueller ART AND PHOTOGRAPHY Photo Director Thomas Payne Digital Associate Art Director Michael Moreno Associate Art Director Russ Smith Acting Production Manager Paul Catalano POPULARSCIENCE.COM Online Director Carl Franzen Senior Editor Paul Adams Social Media Editor Jason Lederman Assistant Editors Sarah Fecht, Claire Maldarelli Contributing Writers Kelsey D. Atherton, Mary Beth Griggs Video Interns Scott Brown, Jamie Leventhal CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Brooke Borel, Tom Clynes, Clay Dillow, Nicole Dyer, Daniel Engber, Tom Foster, William Gurstelle, Mike Haney, Joseph Hooper, Corinne Iozzio, Gregory Mone, Adam Piore, P.W. Singer, Erik Sofge, Kalee Thompson, James Vlahos, Jacob Ward Group Editorial Director Anthony Licata Group Design Director Sean Johnston

TO MAKE

P.64

Executive Editor Kevin Gray Deputy Design Director Mike Schnaidt Managing Editor Ken Gawrych

P.86

“WE HAVE THIS GIANT INPUT CHANNEL CALLED OUR SKIN, AND WE AREN’T USING IT.”

—David Eagleman, in “Listen with Your Skin”

BONNIER LIFESTYLE GROUP Vice President, Publishing Director, New York Gregory D. Gatto Associate Publisher Jeff Timm Financial Director Tara Bisciello Northeast Advertising Office Matt Levy (Manager), Frank McCaffrey, Chip Parham Midwest Manager Doug Leipprandt West Coast Account Manager Stacey Lakind Detroit Advertising Director Jeff Roberge Advertising Coordinator Nicky Nedd Digital Campaign Managers Amanda Alimo Digital Campaign CoordinatorJustin Ziccardi Group Sales Development Director Alex Garcia Senior Sales Development Manager Amanda Gastelum Sales Development Manager Charlotte Grima Creative Services Director Ingrid M. Reslmaier Marketing Design Directors Jonathan Berger, Gabe Ramirez Marketing Design Manager Sarah Hughes Digital Design Manager Steve Gianaca Group Events & Promotion Director Beth Hetrick Associate Directors Eshonda Caraway-Evans, Lynsey White Consumer Marketing Director Bob Cohn Public Relations Manager Molly Battles Human Resources Director Kim Putman Group Production Director Michelle Doster

Chairman Tomas Franzén Head of Business Area, Magazines Lars Dahmén Chief Executive Officer Eric Zinczenko Chief Financial Officer Joachim Jaginder Chief Operating Officer David Ritchie Chief Marketing Officer Elizabeth Burnham Murphy Chief Digital Revenue Officer Sean Holzman Vice President, Integrated Sales John Graney Vice President, Consumer Marketing John Reese Vice President, Digital Operations David Butler Vice President, Public Relations Perri Dorset General Counsel Jeremy Thompson

This product is from sustainably managed forests and controlled sources.


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Hey Genius, PopSci is now on Apple News.* Get your daily smarts on with the latest in science, tech, and space.

But Wait... There’s More

SHOW US WHAT YOU GOT Each year, Popular Science teams up with the National Science Foundation for the Vizzies, a competition to visualize a scientific concept or story in an arresting way. If you have a great visual idea, submit it at nsf.gov.

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THE SCIENCE OF SCISHOW YouTube star Hank Green and his team at SciShow do their best to explain the science all around you. Now, Popular Science goes behind the scenes to see how the explainers do their explaining, from pitches to postproduction.

BRINGING BACK BIGGIE For rapper Biggie Smalls, there’s life after death—as a hologram. This fall, Toronto-based ARHT Media will put a high-fidelity digital creation of Biggie onstage. Popular Science reveals how a legend gets brought back to life.

I L LUST RAT I ON BY

R. Kikuo Johnson


How to cut your cell phone bill in half.

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”Cut Your Cell Phone Bill in Half” is based on a comparison of the average cost of the $45 Straight Talk Service Plan plus average sales tax and fees when purchased in Walmart and the average total monthly cost reported by top two carriers’ postpaid customers on a 2-year service contract individual plan with unlimited talk, text and comparable high speed data. Plan costs include all taxes, fees and overage charges. Source: Nationwide survey conducted February 2016. †To get 4G LTE speed, you must have a 4G LTE capable device and 4G LTE SIM. Actual availability, coverage and speed may vary. LTE is a trademark of ETSI. *At 2G speeds, the functionality of some data applications, such as streaming audio or video, may be affected. Straight Talk’s Bring Your Own Phone plan requires a compatible, unlocked phone, activation kit and Straight Talk service plan. User may need to change the phone’s Access Point Name settings. Please note: If you switch to Straight Talk, you may be subject to fees from your current provider. A month equals 30 days. Please refer always to the latest Terms and Conditions of Service at StraightTalk.com.


E D ITE D BY X AV IER HA RD I N G + DAV E G ER S H G O R N

LG 34-INCH ULTRAWIDE Wage war on your term paper with a screen large enough for writing, research, and Netflix—all without a pixel of overlap. The monitor’s 3,440by-1,440 resolution isn’t full 4K, but you’re not skimping on definition either.

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PROP STYLING BY LINDA KEIL

by DAVE GERSHG O R N

ARM YOUR B AT T L E S TAT I O N P H OTOGR AP H BY

Jonathon Kambouris

WHETHER COPY-PASTING A TERM PAPER OR hunkered down to a life of code-jockeying, your desk is sacred space. It’s where you wage a daily battle against your to-do list, your fantasy-football research, and your online work—trashing friends in League of Legends. This gear prepares you for conquest on all fronts.

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First Look

1/ ALIENWARE AURORA Your best weapon against drudgery should be strong and easy to repair. The Aurora is customizable to house Nvidia’s flagship GTX 1080 GPU, and was designed for tool-free upgrades.

2/ SYNOLOGY DS416PLAY Music and 4K movies quickly clog any hard drive. Store everything in the DS416play, and access it from anywhere you have an Internet connection.

3/ BOSE QUIETCOMFORT35 Bose’s legendary noise-canceling headphones have finally gone wireless. They simultaneously connect to both your computer and phone, so you’ll never toggle with a cord again.

4/ LOGITECH G810 ORION SPECTRUM Most mechanical keyboards look like a Klingon weapon—the G810 packs fast Romer-G switches and RGB lighting into a sleek keyboard you’ll actually want on your desk.

5/ STEELSERIES RIVAL 700 Information is power, and the Rival 700’s OLED display makes it the most powerful mouse on the market. Game stats arrive in the palm of your hand, or just personalize your mouse with a moving GIF.

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Thank you for being a subscriber! Our iPad edition is now included in your print subscription.

How to claim your iPad subscription: 1. Download the free Popular Science app from the iTunes app store if you have not done so already. 2. Open the app and tap the “My Account” button on the bottom of the front page. 3. Tap the bar that says “Current Print Subscribers – Digital Access”. 4. Use one of the 3 options to enter the information associated with your subscription, as requested. 5. You will receive a password sent immediately to your e-mail address. 6. Press the Rotary symbol in the upper right corner of the app front page to sign in using your e-mail address and the password you were just sent. You will be able to access your digital issues immediately. You may change your password as you choose after signing in.

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Standout

TURN THE REVERB TO 11 YAMAHA TRANSACOUSTIC GUITAR >> $1,600 Available Fall 2016

THE ACOUSTIC guitar rarely gets a makeover. There’s just no need. The intimate distance between good wood and an appreciative ear is all that’s required. But for the polished effects we hear out of the studio, like reverb and chorus, acoustic guitarists have to route their sound through effects pedals. Yamaha’s TransAcoustic is the first to naturally re-create those effects, no wires required. An actuator—seated in the base of the guitar’s body— vibrates due to the movement of the strings, delicately disrupting the sound naturally carried out of the guitar. Let your “Wonderwall” wail. by DAVE GERSHGO RN

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PHOTOGRA PH BY

Jonathon Kambouris


FROM TOP LEFT: COURTESY FREEWRITE; COURTESY LO GIT ECH; COU RT ESY K NOCK I; COURTESY THINCHARGE; COURTESY SAMSUNG; COU RTESY VA P OR COMMU NICAT IONS

Goods

HIT LIST

1

3

2

5

6 Great Ideas in Gear by DAVE GERSHGORN

1/ FREEWRITE Tap away without distraction on this digital typewriter, then upload your analog opus to the cloud.

2/ LOGITECH ZEROTOUCH Take calls and change tunes in the car with a wave of the hand so your eyes stay on the road ahead.

4

3/ CYRANO Deploy this gizmo for all of your aromatherapy needs: soothing coconut and guava scents during rush hour, or energizing citrus at work.

6

4/ SAMSUNG ICONX WIRELESS EARBUDS IconX earbuds track your heart rate and hold up to 4GB of music so you can go for a run phone-free.

5/ THINCHARGE CASE The Thincharge iPhone case protects your phone and adds 100 percent more battery life.

6/ KNOCKI This puck translates knocks into commands. Knock a surface twice to turn on smart lights or call an Uber.

CRIME FORECASTING

CHALLENGE INNOVATIONS IN FORECASTING HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE COMMUNITIES SAFER. We’re looking for the brightest minds in data science to advance place-based crime forecasting. Are you up for the challenge? Enter your forecasts for a chance to win prizes totaling $1.2 million. NIJ.gov/CrimeForecasting


PURFIY YOUR AIR WITH LIGHT

Reinvented

by SUSMITA BARAL

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MOLEKULE AIR PURIFIER, >> $799 Available Early 2017

WE SPEND 90 percent of our lives indoors. So the air we breathe inside is hugely important. Unfortunately, enclosed spaces are where pollutants stockpile. Cleaning products and contaminants from pets and plants can lead to pollutant buildup. Air purifiers combat these invisible threats (as do proper ventilation and correctly storing indoor chemicals). But many filters can’t catch volatile organic compounds. Meanwhile, captured compounds can escape filters and recirculate. Enter Molekule: a 23-inchtall, app-controlled air purifier whose makers say it delivers air that is cleaner than any other purifier. Instead of trapping pollutants, Molekule destroys them—purifying a 600-square-foot room in an hour. The driving force is photoelectrochemical oxidation: using light to trigger a chemical reaction producing hydroxyl free radicals—the same compound that kills cancer cells in radiation therapy. The radicals break down molecular bonds, reducing particles to harmless elements.

PHOTOGRA PH BY

Jonathon Kambouris


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©2016 The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. All Rights Reserved. NASCAR® is a registered trademark of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. © 2016 Hendrick Motorsports, LLC

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Materials

  


O U R T E L E V I S I O N OV E R LO R D S — T H O S E B OX ES T H AT hulk on our walls—are an insidious lot. Not happy to stay relevant for more than two years, their makers constantly beckon with new features, each more complicated than the last. The newest princeling is high-dynamic range, or HDR. These televisions display more than 1 billion colors, with ultimate control over every possible combination thereof, from the blackest black to the whitest white (if the content is HDR compatible). That means you see a more vivid movie, or a more textured video-game shootout. But do you really by need HDR? Don’t ask the clerk at Best Buy. Our COREY chart has your answer. MUELLER

Charted

DO I NEED AN HDR TV? What do you use your current TV for?

Your local news stations don’t use HDR-capable cameras. No full HDR here.

Just cable TV

TV, but I stream too.

Both have yet to announce if they will have HDR content.

Hulu/HBO Go

What services?

NO. You will see few, if any, benefits of HDR TV.

Only on weekends; I never binge-watch on a weekday.

How much do you watch?

HDR content is limited (for now), you may not even come across it.

WAIT. You already may have seen the content that will be remastered and rereleased.

I live for Netflix Originals.

Netflix/ Amazon Prime

You’ll see some benefits now, but wait for more HDR content.

I play video games, AND I stream.

You’ll definitely appreciate the enhanced colors, the 2x to 3x brightness increase, and the decrease in motion blur for gaming and streaming.

SAM SU NG K S8 50 0 F ro m $1 ,4 00

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My controller gathers dust every few weeks.

How much do you play?

I’ve spent too many nights at GameStop.

L G 6 5UH9500 f r o m $2,800

HDR reduces blur by supporting 120 fps. But you might not notice.

The increase to 10- to 12-bit color depth will allow you to find your enemy hiding way before he can see you.

YES. You will benefit from an HDR TV in more ways than one.

VIZIO P-SERIES FROM $1,300

LEFT TO RIGHT: COURTESY SAMSUNG; COURTESY NETFLIX; CO URTESY LG; CO URTESY WARN ER BRO S. ; COURTESY VIZIO

Video games


In the Know

S A F E T Y AT 220 MPH A HEAVY HELMET IS THE LAST THING A motorcycle racer needs when going 200 mph. The speed alone can drag you backward or snap your neck in a turn. So Bell has designed a helmet that minimizes the toll of high-pressure rides. It’s the lightest motorcycle road helmet to meet U.S. safety standards, and still protects the brain in high-, medium-, and low-speed impacts.

LIGHT, BUT FIRM The helmet is reinforced with an ultrathin carbon-fiber weave that weighs 125 grams. As strong as normal carbon fiber, it’s 20 percent lighter. Flat fibers that offer less room for resin buildup result in a lighter, stiffer body.

by BER NE BRO UD Y

PH OTOGR AP H BY

BRACE FOR IMPACT The liner handles impact like a suspension system. Three layers—expanded polypropylene, soft polyolefin and stiff polystyrene—work independently to absorb energy and protect the head.

Jonathon Kambouris

ROCK AND ROLL Crushed jade inside the liner keeps the head cool. Jade dispels heat quicker than any other fabric additives, reducing skin-surface temperatures up to 10 degrees F. And jade is permanent—it won’t wash or wear out.

BATTLE•TESTED @GoodyearRacing


CODING DIVERSITY INTO SILICON VA L L E Y

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T H E W H I T E - M A L E - D O M I N AT E D T E C H I N D U S T R Y

is sorely in need of a diversity upgrade. So Kimberly Bryant founded Black Girls Code in 2012 to add a few shades to Silicon Valley’s color palette. Her nonprofit is dedicated to teaching girls K-12 how to code. Some 6,000 girls have enlisted, from San Francisco to as far away as Johannesburg, South Africa. Many others have taken note, from President Obama to the folks at Google, who this summer gifted the group $2.8 million in office space inside their Manhattan headquarters. Bryant, the group’s CEO, talked to Popular Science about the importance of inclusion—and how diversity benefits us all.

PHOTOGRA PH BY

Cody Pickens


Why is inclusive hiring important in tech?

by XAV IE R HAR DI NG

The people we serve—our students, our customers, our markets—are themselves diverse. Technology can be biased in how it’s developed if coders aren’t careful. There are apps that are clearly made by companies with no people of color on their team. In Oakland some residents have taken issue with racially charged comments made in the neighborhood safety section of the local social network, Nextdoor. The product itself isn’t necessarily inherently biased. Unconscious bias in the app is recognized by other types of folks, which could then be perceived as prejudice by users. But there are no built-in anti-bias tools in it. If women or people of color were included at the creation table, these issues would be noticed.

Are there tech companies that are doing it right, that are hiring inclusively?

+STATS

NAME Black Girls Code MISSION Train 1 million girls by 2040 NUMBER OF CHAPTERS 13 worldwide

It’s not just hiring, but also including people of color and women on all levels: as middle managers, in leadership positions, even as founders. Slack, Pandora, and Pinterest—Pinterest especially—have really high numbers of women. If we aren’t seated at the table, the product, policies, and whole strategy has the potential to come from a narrow lens. For me, it was important to see

folks like me on every level, as both an incentive and as having someone to mirror my career path after. 

Why do white males dominate tech in the first place? If you look at schools with a high population of students of color like African-American or Hispanic, they tend to be in highly populated urban areas. And there’s not a strong pipeline for STEM study. Not being properly prepped for learning these fields during K-12 puts them at a disadvantage when they reach college. If you do go into engineering in college, you’ve never seen code, and you have to learn Java. Not to mention impostor syndrome: Where, because of your background, you feel like you don’t deserve to be there. So we’re losing girls all along the pipeline: losing them before they graduate high school, losing them the first couple of years of college, and absolutely losing the ones left who aren’t even offered jobs.

What does the Black Girls Code curriculum look like? We teach HTML, CSS, Java, some Javascript, some Python. Also proprietary languages associated with robotics—which are some of our most popular classes—and we’re looking into adding Ruby and Swift. During the school year, workshops

EVERYTHING WE LEARN MAKING TIRES FOR DALE JR. INSPIRES WHAT WE ROLL INTO YOURS.

©2016 The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. All Rights Reserved. NASCAR® is a registered trademark of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. © 2016 Hendrick Motorsports, LLC

The Platform

are held after school and on Saturdays. There’s also summer camps like ones happening in New York and Washington D.C. We started in 2012, so many of our students are still in school. But we’ve had girls continue coding education with other programs like Game Heads and Make School for app development and students with apps on the market. My daughter Kai has created the app She 2 You, which allows female high school athletes to be recognized by recruiters. Kai is the one who inspired me to start Black Girls Code. She had always been interested in video games, and when I enrolled her in a summer class at Stanford to learn game design, there were few girls and even fewer people of color. So I decided to change that.

Some people say you can’t be what you can’t see. What do you believe? I really hate that saying with a passion! It’s true that not having those images makes it much more difficult because you don’t have anyone who’s walked a similar path. But you can absolutely be what you can’t see. That’s what innovators and disruptors do.


Next

EDI TED BY MATT G I LES

The Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge was inspired by America’s own Grand Canyon Skywalk in Arizona.

WHEN IT OPENS NEXT YEAR, THE WORLD’S LONGEST and highest glass bridge will stretch 1,400 feet across China’s Zhang jiajie Grand Canyon, a setting that helped inspire the fictional world, Pandora, in James Cameron’s Avatar. To build it, engineers installed four support towers into the quartz sandstone of the canyon walls. A steel frame was fitted with more than 120 glass panels, which will allow up to 800 tourists to walk—and gawk—nearly 1,000 feet above the national park’s floor. Because durability is critical, each panel is a three-layered, 2-inch-thick slab of tempered glass; if one layer cracks, the others will hold. Adrenaline junkies will be able to dangle from the bridge’s underbelly on three long swings. But the real draw is by an 870-foot bungee jump—the GRENNAN highest in the world. MILLIKEN


VISUAL CHINA GROUP/ GETTY IM AGES

25

Number of volunteers who repeatedly jumped on a cracked panel to test its durability

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Geeking Out

On the Intersection of Humanity and Artificial Intelligence

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VITTORIO ZUNINO CELOTTO/ GETTY IM AGES

WERNER HERZOG

OVER THE COURSE OF HIS 50-YEAR FILMMAKING CAREER, DIRECTOR

and documentarian Werner Herzog has often explored humanity’s complicated relationship with nature. His newest release, funded by an internet security company —Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World—examines the changing roles technology plays in our lives. Herzog says he rarely uses the Internet himself, and didn’t make his first phone call until the age of 17. It’s this outsider’s perspective that imbues the film with both curiosity and concern: Here Herzog muses that artificial intelligence has the potential to enhance society, as but that a consequence could be losing touch told to with the very things that makes us human. MATT GILES


Rise of the Machine A robot named Chimp stretches its limbs in Herzog’s new film.

Geeking Out

AN AI PRIMER

T

THE FIELD OF ARTIFICIAL intelligence research is a beautiful one. I’m not surprised by how far it has come, but I am surprised by the speed with which it has come upon us. Photography had long years of predecessor technologies, and cinema had almost a century of predecessors. It’s too primitive to say that the Internet and artificial intelligence are evil. The reality of how it works is not how it’s portrayed in the world of movies. But what I think isn’t good is that people lose themselves

28 PO PS C I. CO M  S E PT /O CT 2 016

in it if they don’t read every day and develop critical and conceptual thinking: Your examination of the real world happens through these tools. Overdependence on the Internet is not a healthy thing. We should indeed develop our own intelligence and not rely on artificial intelligence, because it will never really replace human interaction. In West Virginia, people will still gather at a campfire to play bluegrass music and sing. You cannot match this kind of community with anything else, and it cannot be replaced. Rather, artificial intelligence will augment. At its very best, it will create tools that assist us with our everyday chores. It will replace certain jobs,

like how mechanical weaving machines replaced all the hand weaving, and the bulldozers replaced the horses. Yes, it replaces human beings, only for very specific things, and at the same time, it creates many other jobs. The deepest question I had while making this film was whether the Internet dreams of itself. Is there a self of the Internet? Is there something independent of us? Could it be that the Internet is already dreaming of itself and we don’t know, because it would conceal it from us? There is a lot of terra incognita out there. My instincts tell me that it will reach such a complexity that it might become self-reflective.”

“The deepest question I had while making this film was whether the Internet dreams of itself.

READ John Markoff’s Machines of Loving Grace. The author examines robots’ roles in our lives throughout history.

LISTEN Ethical Machines podcast. Experts debate ethics in technology— beyond just the shallow hype.

WATCH Alex Garland’s Ex Machina. An egotistical tech billionaire builds a sentient robot. What could go wrong?

FROM TOP LEFT: COURTESY MAGNOLIA PICTURES; TOM PILSTON FOR THE WASHING TON POST VIA GETTY IMAGES; EVERETT COLLECTION; COURTESY A24 FILMS

WATCH Nick Bostrom’s 2015 TED Talk, What Happens When Our Computers Get Smarter Than We Are?


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Conversation

HOW WILL ROBOTS LEARN?

For artificial intelligence to progress, machines must learn to teach themselves by DAVE GERSHGORN + MATT GILES

I

“We’re all in this together, in that we’re trying to build a better society using AI.”

30 POPS C I. CO M  S E PT /O CT 2 0 16

F THE INTERNET WAS THE BIRTH OF THE DIGITAL

revolution, then today’s artificial intelligence is its first baby steps toward maturity. 1 Today, AI researchers feed an algorithm data and painstakingly help it learn. But to make AI that’s knowledgeable on a grand scale—like learning the idiosyncrasies needed to translate every human language— the software needs to learn on its own. However, researchers don’t agree on how to make that happen. One camp thinks that if we correct algorithms when they make the wrong decisions, they’ll learn to avoid bad choices and choose only the right ones. 2 In other words, we parent our AI until it reaches the ability to thrive on its own. The other camp believes learning is also informed by self-awareness, which lets humans make decisions based on their limits. They say artificial intelligence would also benefit from reflecting on its decisions. 3 Algorithms could avoid bad decisions by understanding their limited abilities, as some have proved. 4 But there aren’t hard feelings on research differences—the field is idealistic and collaborative, 5 and competitors often share progress through open-source code. It’s important that they do because the entire industry will need to answer larger questions about the impact of their selfaware software—like where will humans still fit into a world run by AI? 6

PHOTOGRA PH BY

Brad Wenner


Andrew Ng

Eric Horvitz

C H I EF SC I EN TI ST AT BAI DU

TECHNICA L FELLOW A ND MA N AGI N G D IRECTO R, MICRO SO FT RESE A RCH

1/ “Somehow children have an amazing ability to soak in the world and learn tons of things about the world without needing someone to provide the output. The technical term for this is unsupervised learning. It’s basically just learning from A without needing B for every single input. We think a lot of humans learn just from A and not much from B. Children learn speech just by listening to speech.”

3/ “No matter how poor the pieces are, at least if you have a really good layer of reflection, the system would know its limitations. It would know how good it is, and it would be bound by rationality. It would be able to understand how it’s meant to employ itself in different situations, so it would be helpful even if it weren’t perfect.”

5/ “There is that attitude in the AI community today that we’re all in this together, in that we’re trying to build a better society using AI. This has led to an open sharing of ideas and even software. We do what we do because fundamentally we think it will make the world a better place, so we really want to share our discoveries with other people rather than keep things secret.”

2/ “Today, we create our speech recognition systems on 45,000 hours of audio data— about five years of continuous talking. I’m in awe that we can actually build supercomputers that can process five years’ worth of audio in a couple of weeks. But I’m also slightly embarrassed that our algorithms need so much data. No human brain needs five years of continually transcribed audio to learn English.”

4/ “This evolving AI assistant I’ve built weaves together vision, natural dialogue ability, and generation of facial expressions that captures uncertainty at various levels. Plus a set of services that can predict— based on 10 years of data—where is Eric going to be in 10 minutes? How long will he be in his office until he leaves? Which meetings will he not attend, even though they’re on his calendar?”

6/ “What are the implications for people who might be out of the kind of jobs they’re trained for? Can we plan for that? Can we solve it? We might have to come up with ways to redistribute wealth because we know these technologies will generate more wealth. We really need to start being proactive about this and think these things through.”

PH OTOGR AP H BY

Michael Clinard

“What are the implications for people who might be out of the kind of jobs they trained for?”


TRASH REACHES ARCTIC WATERS

Currents

The birth of another ocean garbage patch

AS SEA ICE SHRINKS, HUMAN activity in the Arctic increases. As a result, trash is seeping into our northernmost ocean, and seems to be creating a new garbage patch in the Barents Sea. Previously, scientists identified five major garbage patches, which collectively contain millions of tons of trash too buoyant to sink. “It’s like a turd that just won’t flush,” says Erik van Sebille, oceanographer at Imperial College London. The five patches are in mostly barren regions where the water is depleted of nutrients. But this new patch is forming amid an ecosystem with hundreds of creatures off the coasts of

Norway and Russia. Researchers tested local wildlife and found plastic in 88 percent of sampled seabirds. So far, attempts at cleanup have been superficial, and studies suggest the seafloor holds more trash than what floats on the surface. Van Sebille’s research suggests that plastic removal could be 14 percent more effective if it happens close to shore. “Cleaning up in the middle is like mopping up a leaking tap without fixing the tap itself,” he says. “It’s much better to do it as close to the source as possible, before it has a chance to interact with marine life.” by LAURA KRANTZ

VOCAL-CORD SALVATION 32 PO PS C I. CO M  S E PT /O CT 2 016

Surgeon Steven Zeitels saves the voices of singers like Adele (left). But mere mortals also endure vocal-cord stiffness that can lead to strain and voice loss. Instead of treating it with costly surgery, Zeitels—director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Voice Center—is creating a 45-cubic-millimeter gel implant that will be injected under the vocal membranes to restore pliability. It’ll be ready for human trials in 2018. “This is a way to bring back what had been thought of as lost forever,” Zeitels says. —MATT GILES PHOTOGRA PH BY

Jonathon Kambouris

PR OP STYLING BY LINDA KEIL; INSET: G ARETH CATTERM OLE/GETTY IMAGES

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Rubicon

FROM CHAT ROOM TO CLINICAL TRIAL BY AGE 7, TERESA CODY’S SON, NEAL,

How Parents Pushed to Test a Down Syndrome Treatment

had yet to say his first word. He has Down syndrome, a disorder caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21, found in 6,000 babies by every year in the U.S. There’s no A L L I S ON cure, and most people with the W I L L I A MS diagnosis have an IQ about 50 points below average and a shorter life expectancy. Desperate to improve her son’s cognition, Cody gave him supplements, vitamins, and medication, which led her to an unlikely treatment: Prozac. She found studies that claim the antidepressant—also known as fluoxetine—could stimulate the growth of new neurons in mice. She convinced Neal’s pediatrician it couldn’t hurt, so he added the drug to Neal’s supplement regimen. Cody believes the drug sped Neal’s development, and

Insane Study

REDEFINING EMERGENCY RESPONSE 34 POPS C I. CO M • S E PT /O CT 2 0 16

When first responders enter the scene of an active shooting or chemical spill, they must rapidly decide how to prioritize patient care. The current triage system uses color-coded tags corresponding to the seriousness of a patient’s injuries. The problem is, first responders don’t

always have the medical expertise to accurately identify who needs the most pressing attention. “During disasters, emergency rooms typically get overwhelmed,” says Peter Chai, an emergency medical physician at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. “So when


although there’s no way to prove causation, Cody created the Changing Minds Foundation in 2006 to promote the drug protocol she gave to Neal. Parents hoping for treatments that will improve their children’s lives often grasp at anecdotes like Cody’s without waiting for scientific proof. This tendency can do real damage, as when the false claim that vaccines cause autism led parents to refuse shots, causing outbreaks of preventable diseases like measles to occur. To see if Cody’s claim could possibly be true, Paul Watson, who also has a child with Down syndrome, approached University of Texas Southwestern in 2015 to conduct a proper study. This past spring, UTSW researchers began administering either fluoxetine or a placebo to 21 pregnant mothers whose fetuses have been diagnosed with trisomy 21. After birth, the children will remain on the drug for two years. The researchers think that the fluoxetine might spur new neuron growth and steer the

growing brain’s development. “We’re predicting that we’ll get a faster and higher magnitude of brain growth with the fluoxetine, and get better cognition at the end of two years,” says Carol Tamminga, the study’s primary investigator. Not everyone is optimistic. Michael Harpold, chief scientific officer for the LuMind Research Down Syndrome Foundation, thinks a 21-person study is extremely small. “I would question whether you’d really get meaningful results out of this,” he says. (In 2007, Harpold and 20 other experts signed an open letter saying the Changing Minds protocol had significant risks and unknown results.) Tamminga, however, says if this small trial shows that fluoxetine is associated with a statistically significant uptick in cognition, it’s a promising start that will prompt more research. If the study shows a negative association, she thinks it’ll discourage parents from using Prozac. “Either way, this kind of study is a big win or a big loss,” Tamminga says.

ILLUSTRATIO N BY WILL SCOBIE

“We’re predicting that we’ll get a faster and higher magnitude of brain growth.”

truly injured patients show up later, we have nowhere to put them.” Enter Google Glass: The augmented-reality headset that failed as a consumer product is getting a second life as a tool that turns paramedics and emergency medical technicians

I L LUSTR ATI ON BY

Cristiana Couceiro

into walking telemedicine suites. Wearing it while assessing patients allows them to consult with surgeons and other doctors back at the hospital in real time. This fall, UMMS will host an active-shooter drill and outfit dozens of first responders with

Google Glass to see if it improves emergency assessment. For extra ground support, UMMS will also deploy a drone equipped with heat sensors to help find patients and determine which ones need the most urgent attention. —KELSEY D. ATHERTON


Dec ode d

CALLING ON COAL

CIVILIZATION AS WE KNOW IT WOULDN’T EXIST without rare earth elements. No smartphones, LEDs, wind turbines, or even car batteries. REEs, such as cerium and scandium, are scattered throughout the earth’s crust. China alone produces nearly 90 percent of the world’s supply, and the U.S.’s only mine closed this year. But researchers could help break that Turning energy waste into monopoly with something we already have in coal and its byproducts. ingredients for new tech abundance: “Everything that’s in the earth’s crust is also present within the coal,” explains Evan Granite, a chemical engineer at the U.S. Department of Energy. The DOE recently funded a wave of research to boost U.S. REE production to cope with demand, which is rising about 5 percent every year. Each step of coal production—mining, cleaning, and burning—creates REE-enriched material. The goal is to use that waste, now sitting in landfills and storage ponds, in a way that’s cheap and environmentally friendly. U.S. coal-fired power plants, for example, produce 130 million tons of coal ash each year. A recent study from Duke University identified billions of dollars worth of REEs within coal burned from coal mined in the Appalachian Mountains and Wyoming’s Powder River Basin. The challenge now is extracting the metals, says Sarma Pisupati, a professor of energy and mineral engineering at Pennsylvania State University. His research focuses on rinsing raw shale with an ammonium-sulfate solvent to collect REEs early in the coal-production process. by Within a few years, DOE-funded projects will enter pilot testing at U.S. coalCORINNE processing facilities. Perhaps locally sourced smartphones won’t be far behind. IOZZIO

I LLU ST RAT I ON BY

Michael Brandon Myers

S E PT /O C T 2 0 1 6  P O P S C I .C OM

37


Primer

VISITING A KILLER ASTEROID DESPITE ITS SMALL SIZE, 101955 Bennu is one of the most dangerous asteroids in the solar system. In 2135, it will fly within about 186,000 miles of Earth, at which point, the odds of it striking us are an unsettling 1-in-2,700. Based on impact calculations, University of Arizona Lunar & Planetary Laboratory staff scientist Bashar Rizk estimates that if a person were within 5 miles of the asteroid’s impact, he or she would likely not survive. If Bennu were to hit a city, “civilization would be wiped out; most buildings would collapse or ignite, or both,” Rizk says. “The fireball would be about 1,500 times as bright as the sun.”

That’s why this month NASA is sending a solar-powered spacecraft to rendezvous with the asteroid. The OSIRIS-REx ( Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer) will fly about 1.2 billion miles to Bennu, then collect samples from the carbonaceous rock and measure how heat from the sun changes the asteroid’s trajectory. Understanding this effect will help to determine where the asteroid is headed, and it also might provide a method of defense: Scientists could use the sun’s heat to by deflect Bennu from a colliSARAH sion course with Earth. FECHT

2016

SEPTEMBER 2016 Launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

2023

AUGUST-OCTOBER 2018 Spacecraft cameras power up and try to locate Bennu—from about 1.3 million miles away. The cameras will assess the asteroid’s shape, spin rate, and whether it has any moons.

38 PO PS C I. CO M  S E PT /O CT 2 016

DECEMBER 2018 Rendezvous with Bennu. From a distance of a few miles, the spacecraft will map the asteroid in unprecedented detail, identifying areas that might be easy to sample (as well as hazardous craggy rocks to avoid).

JULY 2020 The spacecraft’s arm reaches onto Bennu’s surface and sucks up 60 grams or more of asteroid material, which it stows in a sample-return capsule.

MARCH 2021 OSIRIS-REx leaves Bennu, carrying the sample-return capsule back to Earth.

SEPTEMBER 2023 The spacecraft delivers the sample, which parachutes for a soft landing in Utah. OSIRIS-REx will then bypass Earth and retire in a permanent orbit around the sun.


NASA; ILLUSTRATION BY PETE SUCHESKI

+BY THE NUMBERS

20X8X10

Size, in feet, of OSIRIS-REx, wings

200

Miles from Earth, in millions, that OSIRIS will meet Bennu

1

Total cost, in billions of dollars

1,600

Approximate diameter, in feet, of the asteroid

OSIRIS-RExâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 11-foot arm will suck up dust and pebbles from the surface of the asteroid 101955 Bennu, then place the sample in a muffin-shaped capsule for its return journey to Earth.


ON E H T


THE GENIUS ISSUE

In just 12 years, Mark Zuckerberg built an empire of 1.71 billion followers. His goal: to friend the rest of humanity.

BY DAVE GERSHGORN PHOTOGRAPHY BY F. SCOTT SCHAFER P. 41


DOWN HALL THE FROM ZUCK MAR ERBE K R D E S K G ’S S A VIR ITS T U A REAL LITY heads of state and other dignitaries have been known to lose themselves here in games of zero-gravity PingPong and the real-seeming experience of firing virtual fireworks at each other. Such are their number, and frequency, that on an early summer morning Zuckerberg is at a loss to remember—or perhaps too diplomatic to divulge—one of their names. He does, however, recall the anecdotal nugget of the man’s visit. “He wouldn’t leave,” says Zuckerberg, sitting in a glass-walled conference room in Facebook’s cavernous and almost factorylike headquarters in Menlo Park, California. “His aide was like, ‘Mr. Prime Minister, you have to take off…you’re two hours late for your flight.’”

42 PO PS C I. CO M • S E PT /O CT 2 016

That is exactly the reaction that Zuckerberg—the 32-year-old, still jeans-and-tee-clad creator and CEO of Facebook—wants to elicit from millions of people he hopes will strap on his Oculus Rift headset. But there’s way more to it than a feeling of presence with PingPong opponents. Zuckerberg wants Oculus, or some future iteration of it, to replace our laptops, our smartphones, our televisions, the art on our walls, and, in some cases, seeing our friends in the flesh. So instead of owning a bunch of devices, you will swipe your emails and favorite shows into virtual view and go at it. The point isn’t living in solitary work or game mode, but rather connecting even more frequently with people through a technology that tricks your mind into thinking it’s somewhere else, without actually having to be there. Or letting you hold and flip through digital files at your desk as if they were physical, with augmented reality. Having brought together 1.71 billion people on a social-media network that began just 12 years ago in his dorm room—a network that now comprises the largest global audience in human history—Zuckerberg wants all of us to start connecting in his new realities. As he sees it, in just 10 years’ time, “VR will be a mainstream-computing platform.” And just as we saw an explosion of apps for our smartphones, an entire ecosystem of activities will be built up around it. “You can bring these objects into any space,” he says. “I’ll be able to say, ‘OK, we’re here together, let’s play chess.’ Now here’s a chessboard, and we can be in any space. We can play chess on Mars.” Zuckerberg’s long game isn’t the chessboard, or even building out a virtual Mars—though he plans on being a part of that too. His driving vision is to connect our entire planet. For that reason, he pushed Facebook to buy Oculus for $2 billion in 2014—when everyone else thought it was just another screen for gamers—seeing it as a means to socialize in immersive technicolor from across the world. For that reason too he’s working to beam the Internet, via DIY transmitters, or drones and lasers, to the billions on the planet who do not yet have online access. And in this larger pursuit of connecting people and technologies, he has pledged nearly the entirety of his fortune (99 percent of his Facebook shares, valued at some $45 billion) to his Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, named for him and his wife, Priscilla. Its stated goals are “advancing human potential and promoting equality.” And he plans to do that, in part, by improving education and trying to cure the world’s most intractable diseases—by giving scientists access to engineers,


PREVIO US SPR EAD: ILLUSTRATIONS BY SUPERTOTTO, ICON BY M IC HAE L BRANDON MY ERS. THIS SPREAD : ILLUSTRATIO N BY SUPERTOTTO ; FRO M TO P: COURTESY FACEBOOK (2)

whose work could include artificial intelligence. It’s safe to say that no one is doing more, in so many fields, to bring about this singular vision of connectivity. “I certainly would not underestimate him,” says Ben Horowitz, whose venture-capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz, is a Facebook investor. “He is totally determined, willing to fail and try again, has the resources, and he’s a genius. If he can’t lead the way, then I’m not sure who can.” THAT WAS HARDLY SILICON VALLEY WISDOM two years ago when Zuckerberg urged Facebook to purchase Oculus. “Everyone really scratched their heads and said: ‘VR, is that really a thing? And, Facebook? Why is Facebook doing it?’” says Mike Schroepfer, the company’s chief technology officer, referring to the idea of Facebook getting into the hardware business. At the time, Oculus didn’t have the necessary hand- and head-positional tracking that would make it feel immersive, or real to life. “It was sort of a one-demo thing,” says Schroepfer.

Inside Immersion Oculus’ design team tests hardware at Facebook HQ.

Beaming Internet The Aquila drone made its first test flight on June 28.


THE GENIUS ISSUE

1

In the past two years, a number of important advances have occurred: higher-quality, pixel-dense LED screens; faster processors; and improved sensors. And during that same time, others have followed Zuckerberg’s lead. Google backed Magic Leap, an augmentedreality platform that overlays objects onto the real world. (It also rolled out the $15 Google Cardboard, which offers a VR experience via your smartphone.) Microsoft unveiled its HoloLens (also AR). And Apple is reportedly developing its own headset. What Zuckerberg is proposing—and working to create—is a radical rethinking of our relationship with our personal technology, which he doesn’t see as all that personal right now. “It’s kind of crazy to me that we’re here in 2016 and the defining relationship we have with computers and phones is apps, not people,” he says. “It feels very unnatural and overly technical to me.” His goal is to help build out the nextgeneration computing platform, in which, he says, “people are the foundational element.” His end goal is a seamless integration of our digital and analog lives: augmented reality, also known as mixed reality. Not a full virtual zone like in VR, but one based in the real world, in which you call up the things you need, and the people you need, when you need them. “If you look around the room,” he says, gesturing around the nearly empty conference room, “how many of the things here need to be physical?” It turns out, not much. Not the laptops on the tables, not the TV screens on the walls. “Instead of buying these things for hundreds of dollars,” he says, “you’d buy it for like a dollar in an app store and use it whenever.” In addition to the social apps he expects to find in the virtual world (attending a lecture across the globe, for example, or standing inside a 360-degree live stream of a street protest in a foreign capital), Zuckerberg sees this technology usurping our solitary moments. Instead of binging on eight hours of Netflix, with our brains in a zoned-out state, Zuckerberg sees some of us choosing the interactive brain-on experiences of AR and VR. “I think a lot of time people frame the question like this: ‘Is it weird that people will be spending time in something like VR when they could be interacting with people instead?’” says Zuckerberg, who notes that he has teams doing studies on the mental effects of VR exposure. “I think that misses the point on a couple of fronts, the main one being that what is actually being replaced are other modes of technology like TV, where I think we’re more passive. …You want to be in a personalized experience where you’re making decisions. You want to be interacting with other people. And VR is a natural extension of that.” So in Zuckerberg’s augmented future, we all become more social, not less.

44 POPS C I. CO M • S E PT /O CT 2 016

LET THERE BE LIGHT Zuckerberg verbally commands his bot to illuminate the house.

2

HUNGER, AVOIDED His “assistant” can predict when Zuckerberg will want to eat breakfast on any given day, and time the toaster accordingly.

Mark’s Virtual Pal

3

BARRIER TO ENTRY It sounds simple: Zuckerberg says, “open the gate.” But getting a dumb gate to talk with a smart bot was a challenge.

4

A ROBOTIC GREETING Facial-recognition AI sees that Zuckerberg is home, unlocks the door, and swings it open.


8

BETTER BABY MONITOR The bot could also capture audio and video in his daughter’s room and send him alerts.

7

WORK FROM HOME You’re not the only one trying to avoid piles of spreadsheets. Zuckerberg’s bot will help organize his data in virtual reality.

Even off the clock, Mark Zuckerberg is still working. His obsession this year? Building a personalized virtual assistant to control the devices in his home. Here’s how the chatbot might help Zuckerberg hack his day.

6

CRANK THE MUSIC One of Zuckerberg’s primary reasons for hooking up his house with AI was being able to control the music from any room.

5

PERSONALIZED CLIMATE Because the bot responds to only his voice, Zuckerberg enjoys wresting control of the thermostat from his wife.

I L LUSTR ATI ON S BY

Supertotto

E H T N O FACE, R U S IT’S EASY TO DISMISS ZUCKERBERG’S EFFORTS to connect the planet as solely self-interested. After all, Facebook is a public company that makes money by selling ads against its user. And his Internet-access program called Free Basics, which makes a limited portion of the Web available for free, has been accused of a Facebook bias. When India rejected it in February, the criticism centered on Facebook acting as gatekeeper, deciding what would and would not be accessible. Yet Zuckerberg argues the Internet has the power to lift people out of poverty and promote education, which explains why he’s made connectivity the cornerstone of his $350 billion company. As Horowitz puts it: “Mark has a mission much larger than himself, and he won’t stop until he achieves it.” Within Facebook, large swaths of resources tackle complex tasks like automatic language translation. That way, people can eventually communicate with nearly all of humanity, with fewer barriers to understanding. While India was a major setback—“There are a billion people in India who are not on the Internet, so that’s a big one,” Zuckerberg says—he has a track record of proving naysayers wrong. Today, Facebook has launched Free Basics in 42 countries, bringing 25 million people online for the first time. Zuckerberg slots the unconnected of the world into three categories: 1 billion who can’t afford the Internet, 1 billion without access because they are out of reach of Wi-Fi, and 2 billion who don’t know why they would want or need to buy a data plan in the first place. For the billion who want it but can’t afford it, Facebook is designing plans for cheaper infrastructure, and aiming to cut the costs for the telecommunication companies. In July, Facebook introduced another hardware product to improve connectivity in rural areas: OpenCellular, a shoebox-size transmitter that’s attachable to existing infrastructure and can broadcast 2G to LTE cellular service as well as Wi-Fi, and can support up to 1,500 users within 6 miles. Facebook is


46 PO PS C I. CO M • S E PT /O CT 2 016

$45 Billion Bet Mark Zuckerberg, right, and Priscilla Chan are banking that software can fix the world’s issues.

“WE C MANAAN DISEA GE ALL BY T H S E S E N D OE CENT F THE I BELIURY. WE C EVE A N .”

C FLANIGAN/FILMMAGIC/GETTY IMAGES

making the schematics free, encouraging telecom companies or entrepreneurs to build wireless infrastructure off the OpenCellular platform. For people in remote areas, Facebook is planning to launch drones to transmit Internet from the sky. Named Aquila, the drone has the wingspan of a Boeing 737—113 feet—but weighs just 880 pounds and consumes the wattage of a large microwave. It’s essentially one big wing, laden with Internet-beaming lasers. These drones might eventually stay aloft three months at a time, using solar power and gravitational energy. On its inaugural test flight, the drone stayed airborne for 96 minutes—three times longer than planned—before being grounded due to a structural failure. Aquila’s lasers will send signals to towers and dishes over a 31mile radius, delivering enough bandwidth to support thousands of users. The last 2 billion, those unconvinced of the Internet’s purpose, are the most difficult. Zuckerberg puts it like this: “You’ve never used the Internet, and someone comes up to you and asks, ‘Do you want to buy a data plan?’ You’re like, ‘Why?’” Why indeed, if you’ve never sent an email? The commitment is enormous, and the venture is full of prickly political and cultural issues, as the India blowback showed. Yet this goal is crucial to Zuckerberg’s belief that the Internet makes the world a better place. “If we are trying to give every person the power to share and connect to everyone,” he says, “then it’s hard to do that when more than half the people are not on the Internet.” Others too want to see this happen. Elon Musk and SpaceX are taking this on via Internet-beaming satellites, as is Facebook’s fiercest competitor, Google, with its inflatable balloons and drones. So why should Zuckerberg be the one to succeed? “I think anyone could do it,” he says sincerely. “But I think often the question is, ‘Who cares the most to get it done?’”

IN 2015, WHEN ZUCKERBERG AND CHAN’S daughter, Max, was born, Zuckerberg wrote an open letter to her, pledging to commit—within their lifetimes— 99 percent of their wealth to education reform and fighting disease, among other things. Zuckerberg has long cared about education. In 2010 he donated $100 million to the Newark, New Jersey, school system—a venture that left him frustrated due to the bureaucracy and politics. This time around, he’s focusing on reforming education with something he understands: software. In January 2014, Zuckerberg toured a school in Sunnyvale, California, which is part of Summit Public Schools, a charter-school system started by a software engineer. The classrooms were set up like a startup, with no walls between them, and computers on every shared table. Most compelling to Zuckerberg, though, was that they were experimenting with personalized education. Each student learned at his or her own pace. Groups worked together on more complex problems. Zuckerberg asked the program’s founder to meet the school’s engineering team that had built the initial personalized education platform. “Her response was, ‘Yeah I’ll introduce you to him,’” Zuckerberg said. Zuckerberg, surprised that the “team” was a single person, made her a deal. He’d give her more engineers (which will number 30 from his own troops by the end of the year) as long as the software remained free for other schools to use, thus connecting educators and propagating knowledge. She accepted. This school year, about 120 schools will use the personalized education software. In the next decade or so, Zuckerberg hopes to get half the country on board. To Zuckerberg, education is just another engineering problem. So is medical research. So is anything. That’s the heart of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative as it progresses: the idea that engineers can scale progress in any field. A researcher studying cross sections of the brain to understand neuron pathways, or to look at the growth of cancer cells, could take years, and even a lifetime, of physical scanning and study. But applying AI (and its ability to sort information exponentially faster than humans) to this process could reduce that time by orders of magnitude. “If top scientists had the firepower of a world-class engineering organization behind them,” says Zuckerberg, “I’m pretty optimistic we could help build some tools that can unlock a lot of new understanding.” Not one to lack vision, he’s willing to go so far as to say that science can, through AI and machine learning, one day manage or cure the main diseases that kill humans, such as cancer. “I really want to convince the world that it is possible,” says Zuckerberg, “to get to a place where we can manage all diseases by the end of the century. I believe that we can.” And no one has yet gone wrong betting with him.


THE GENIUS ISSUE

The Brilliant 10

For the 15th year, Popular Science launched a nationwide search to seek the 10 most innovative young minds in science and engineering. These researchers bring creative solutions to some of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most pressing problems. Here, we celebrate their game-changing ideas. BY VERONIQUE GREENWOOD + CASSANDRA WILLYARD TYPE ILLUSTRATION BY LEON DIJKSTRA


THE GENIUS ISSUE

TURNS ANIMALS INTO FIRST RESPONDERS

John Gunnar Carlsson

Reroutes the World with Geometry

PORT RA I T BY

Leon Dijkstra


FIELD Industrial and Systems Engineering AGE 33 INSTITUTION University of Southern California

ILLUSTRATIO NS BY RADIO

FIELD Nanomedicine + Chemical Engineering

WHILE THE SAN FRANCISCO 49ers’ new 68,000-seat stadium wa s u n d e r co n s t r u c t io n , a team executive went to Stanford University with a stumper: We want to deliver hot dogs to fans’ seats. So how many servers should we hire? What routes should they take? How fast will the food arrive? The answer: “Talk to John Gunnar Carlsson.” Carlsson, who’s since moved to USC, has made a specialty of solving computationally tough questions—from how to route 1,000 delivery trucks most efficiently to getting airplane parts to the correct hangars around the world in the right order— using the power of math. These types of distribution problems are legendary in their difficulty. Solving them is so demanding that strategists tend to fall back on trial-and-error solutions. But Carlsson formulated an elegant new approach that uses geometry to reframe the question. So a problem such as, In what order should a parcel service make drop-offs? becomes, What shapes should the delivery area be divided into, and what should the perimeters be? Then couriers can be directed according to the most efficient solution. Asking geometrical rather than conceptual questions is a tactic that can be applied to all kinds of scenarios. So it’s not surprising that Boeing, Oracle, and even the U.S. Air Force have tapped Carlsson to solve their most complex challenges.

AGE 36 INSTITUTION University of California, San Diego

Liangfang Zhang DISGUISES NANODRUGS FOR EFFECTIVE TREATMENT

TINY, MAN-MADE SPHERES ca l l e d n a n o pa r t icl e s ca n shuttle medicines to diseased tissues with incredible precision. But they all face a common challenge: The immune system sees the virus-size particles as threats, and eats them before they can reach their target. Previously, researchers had tried to dupe the immune system, with only limited success. So Liangfang Zhang borrowed a design from nature. He removed the membrane

from a red blood cell and snipped it into pieces that he used to envelop nanoparticles. Because the membranes come pre-loaded with proteins that tell the immune system to back off, the cloaked particles slip past the body’s defenses. But Zhang still needed to steer the medicine to the site of injury or infection. To do that, he upgraded red blood cells for platelets—cells that congregate where wounds occur. Zhang and his colleagues shrouded nanoparticles in platelet skins, loaded them with antibiotics, and then injected them into mice infected with a drugresistant staph infection. They saw dramatic effects. Although the nanoparticles contained just a sixth of the standard dose, they proved far more effective than a conventionally delivered antibiotic.“That shows the power and the promise of targeted delivery,” Zhang says.

DANIELLE BASSETT

REIMAGINES HOW THE BRAIN WORKS TO ELEVATE LEARNING

FIELD Network Neuroscience AGE 34 INSTITUTION University of Pennsylvania

Danielle Bassett launched her career by challenging a central tenet of neuroscience: Studying the brain by dividing it up into regions that each handle specific tasks fails to capture the wild variety of what the organ can do. In her view, brains aren’t so much a collection of unchanging divisions as they are a dynamic network of neurons— morphing over time and often changing function depending on our experiences. Her theory helped spawn an entirely new field—network neuroscience—that incorporates her

background in physics and complex systems theory. Bassett is now using her model to study why some people learn quicker than others, and how to improve our ability to learn. In recent experiments, Bassett and her team have people learn a new skill—such as playing a keyboard—while inside an MRI machine. They watch how the network of active areas in subjects’ brains shift as hand-eye coordination recedes into muscle memory over a period of six weeks. What they discovered is that slow learners tended

to use brain networks associated with conscious control for much longer. The takeaway? People might be trying too hard, Bassett says. “We think it’s hampering the learning process.” She also found that the brains of the quickest learners were incredibly “flexible”—meaning their regions had very changeable patterns of communication. But promising news for people with less-pliable brains: Research from Bassett and others suggests that being fed, caffeinated, and well-rested can each boost brain flexibility.

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THE GENIUS ISSUE

SIDDHARTH GARG DEFENDS HARDWARE FROM HACKERS

FIELD Electrical and Computer Engineering INSTITUTION New York University

AGE 34

IT MIGHT SOUND LIKE THE premise of a bad supervillain flick, but it’s all too feasible: Hackers can tweak a microchip so when a certain trigger occurs, it throws open the gates for attackers to commandeer—or destroy—the device in which that chip is embedded. All it takes is one saboteur at the factory, and you’ve got the kind of scenario no one (particularly the Department of Defense) wants to consider. What’s worse: After chip companies send their designs to manufacture, it’s almost impossible to tell if the final product has been tampered with. So Siddharth Garg came up with a solution: Strategically divvy up the chip’s fabrication among many manufacturers.

That way, nobody can know they’ve got the piece that hackers could take advantage of. Though the idea of breaking a chip’s manufacture into pieces already existed, Garg’s method does it using high-level math rather than doing it randomly, which guarantees a far greater level of security without spiking the cost of production. It also helps stem counterfeiting. Typically, chipmakers attempt to prevent rip-offs and foil corporate espionage simply by disguising crucial areas of the chip. But without a complete, intact chip to steal from, there’s no blueprint for a fake. Now some of the biggest players in the business—Boeing among them—are using his method to protect their chips.

All it takes is one saboteur at the factory, and you’ve got the kind of scenario no one wants to consider.

I L LUST RAT I ON BY

Radio


WILLIAM RATCLIFF SOLVES THE

MYSTERIES OF EVOLUTION

ILLUSTRATIO NS BY RADIO

FIELD Evolutionary Biology INSTITUTION Georgia Tech

AGE 35

One of the greatest mysteries of life is how single cells came together to form multicellular organisms. From an evolutionary perspective, it’s deeply odd: The cells would have to sacrifice their own fitness for the sake of the group. But in a series of experiments, William Ratcliff revealed surprising insights into what might have been necessary for this transition to occur. Ratcliff works with single-celled yeast. Sometimes those cells make copies of themselves that don’t separate but stay attached, forming lacy multicellular structures called snowflakes. In his initial tests, Ratcliff put the yeast cells under pressure by selecting those that fell fastest to the bottom of a test tube—a race that snowflakes tended to win—and discarding the rest. Over time, a strange thing happened: Instead of favoring genes that improved individuals, the yeast began

to turn down the expression of some genes and turn up the expression of others, in ways that made it harder for cells to split off from the group. That allowed the snowflakes to grow larger and evolve into greater complexity. “That shift is the heart of the whole transition to multicellularity,” says Ratcliff. “That’s what you need in order for groups to evolve to be more complex.” Now Ratcliff is investigating whether snowflake members can develop different talents to aid the group, which is the next step toward evolving specialized structures like organs. He and a colleague are also testing a new scenario: When predators (such as single-celled paramecia) prey on individual algae, will the algal cells start to evolve into clusters that are too big to eat? Ratcliff thinks the results could offer more clues into the mystery of evolution.

PO RTR AI T BY

Leon Dijkstra

TURNS ANIMALS INTO FIRST RESPONDERS

Cigall Kadoch

FIELD Cancer Biology AGE 31 INSTITUTION Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

CIGALL KADOCH LIKES TO ferret out the processes that cause cancer cells to proliferate. “I’m a hunter for biochemical mechanisms,” Kadoch says. That diligence helped her identify a new suspect—a complex of proteins called BAF— whose link to the disease was previously unknown. Scientists used to think that BAF was little more than a molecular custodian—an entity that motors alongside DNA and maintains its structure, turning some genes on and others off. But then researchers noticed that BAF genes are often mutated in cancers. Kadoch knew that a protein called SS18 is mutated in 100 percent of patients with a rare type of cancer called synovial

Targets the Mechanisms That Cause Cancer

sarcoma that occurs in muscle tissue. Then she discovered that SS18 is a subunit of BAF. “We were very excited,” says Kadoch. “This gave us a direct way to link BAF to cancer.” Upon investigating further, she found that the mutation appeared to have broken BAF’s guidance system, turning the wrong genes on and off in the genome, causing malignant cells to multiply. What’s more, Kadoch found that such BAF defects exist for more than 20 percent of human cancers—so her discovery could possibly help a lot of people. For every cancer type that they’ve studied, Kadoch found that restoring the normal form of BAF (or inactivating the abnormal form) caused cancer cells to stop growing.

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THE GENIUS ISSUE

TURNS ANIMALS INTO FIR

Suchi Saria Alex Halderm FIELD Health Informatics + Machine Learning AGE 33 INSTITUTION Johns Hopkins University

SUCHI SARIA ALWAYS LOVED designing algorithms. She grew up writing and debugging code, even doing so on paper when a computer wasn’t readily available. “But I wanted my work to more directly impact people’s lives,” Saria says. In 2007, a pediatrician who specializes in newborns told Saria that doctors collect sheaves of data on premature births that largely go unanalyzed. So Saria began designing algorithms that can classify and make sense of the thousands of petabytes of messy data contained in electronic health records. The goal is to find patterns that could better predict the medical future for any given patient. Last year, Saria and her team developed an algorithm to serve as the first-ever earlywarning system for septic s h o c k , a n o f te n - s u d d e n response to infection that can

FIELD Wearable Robotics AGE 34

Conor Walsh DESIGNS SOFT SUITS FOR SUPERHUMAN STAMINA

INSTITUTION Harvard University

In college, Conor Walsh became interested in the growing field of battery-powered exoskeletons— the robotic, wearable suits that can allow disabled people to

walk, or help troops move faster and carry heavier loads with less fatigue. So he pursued robotics and began building exoskeletons himself. But the metal frames of the bulky suits never perfectly aligned with the body. “You can’t move in a totally natural way,” Walsh says. And there’s no point in feeling like Iron Man if you have to move

like the Tin Man. So he bought sewing machines, recruited apparel designers, and began fabricating soft robotic suits. Recently, Walsh and his team demonstrated a nylon-andspandex suit that straps onto your legs to make walking easier. The force comes from a series of cables and pulleys driven by battery-powered motors worn at the

waist. Walsh says the suit is so comfortable that some testers forget they’re wearing it. When his team evaluated it on seven people carrying loads equivalent to 30 percent of their body weight, it reduced the amount of energy required to walk by about 7 percent, on average. That might not sound like much, but it’s an enormous boon for soldiers who

PORT RA I T BY

Leon Dijkstra


RST RESPONDERS

Mines Health Records to Predict Patient Outcomes

man

ILLUSTRATIO NS BY RADIO

cause organ failure, accounting for more than 200,000 deaths in the U.S. every year. Early symptoms are difficult to spot. So Saria’s team examined the records of 16,234 patients at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and identified 27 variables, from urine output to whiteblood-cell count. These routine measurements, analyzed together, accurately predicted septic shock 85 percent of the time; in most cases, before the infection had harmed any organs. The idea is that the tool would alert doctors—who can’t continually monitor each patient—when patients cross a certain risk threshold. “What this is really allowing doctors to do is scale themselves up,” Saria says. Septic shock is just one use of Saria’s algorithms. She also created a system for predicting which premature babies will require the most medical attention. Now she’s developing an algorithm to help patients with autoimmune disorders. Her work suggests that the best answers might already be out there; they just need to be decoded.

often have to carry heavy equipment and traverse long distances quickly. He hopes to reach the 25 percent threshold soon. Next, Walsh wants to build suits that can be slipped under clothing for civilians with mobility issues. Most people, after all, don’t need superhuman abilities. “You just want to give them a little tap,” Walsh says.

SHYAM GOLL AKOTA MAKES WI-FI THAT PRODUCES ITS OWN POWER

FIELD Computer Science + Engineering AGE 31 INSTITUTION University of Washington

Wi-Fi chips in devices such as smartphones and laptops communicate by generating radio signals, an act that requires a substantial amount of power. Shyam Gollakota uncovered a way to create Wi-Fi signals without radio transistors. And here’s the real payoff: These “passive Wi-Fi” devices use 10,000 times less power than a typical Wi-Fi chip, and 1,000 times less

power than the most efficient Bluetooth, thereby significantly reducing the need for battery power. He then saw an opportunity to actually harness power from the invisible world of those signals themselves: What little power these wireless devices still require can be delivered over Wi-Fi. Gollakota and his team devised a way to send power over the unused channels of a traditional Wi-Fi

FIELD Planetary Astrophysics AGE 30 INSTITUTION Caltech

Konstantin Batygin PICTURES THE MOVEMENTS IN OUR SOLAR SYSTEM

THIS YEAR, THE WORLD learned that there might be a ninth planet in the solar system: immense, distant, but nonetheless following its own orbit around our sun. That was thanks to Konstantin Batygin and his collaborator, Mike Brown. They were studying the movement of objects in our solar system’s debris belt just beyond Neptune, trying to find a reason for some offkilter orbits. Their explanation sent waves through the scientific community: a distant ninth planet that took 20,000 years to make it around the sun. It solved other oddities in the debris belt as well, such as why certain objects were clustering. “This is what you want out of a good theory,” Batygin says: It should solve multiple problems for the price of one.

network. The team demonstrated that they could power battery-free sensors and tiny cameras at distances of up to 20 feet, and recharge batteries 28 feet away without significantly slowing down data rates. “Now you can have completely battery-free devices,” Gollakota says. This is what computer science is all about, he says, “trying to understand and solve actual human problems.”

Not bad for a guy who, in college, saw astrophysics more as a plan B—just in case, he says, his band didn’t become the next Metallica. (He still hopes they will.) “The clockwork of the orbits seems like pretty much the most immutable thing possible,” he says, “but the solar system has rearranged itself multiple times in its long and dramatic history.” Even before college graduation, Batygin and his adviser had calculated that there is a 1 percent chance—which is not negligible—that before our solar system runs its course, Mercury will be flung off its orbit and into space. Batygin paints dramatic pictures of how we see planets, and that’s a direct result of his insightful approach. Sifting through mountains of existing data, he seeks out the outliers—anomalies and quirks that defy current explanation—to formulate theories that don’t just solve the mystery, but also suggest the presence of new phenomena yet to be discovered.

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Russian billionaire Yuri Milner backs a science-fiction plan to send tiny probes to Alpha Centauri via lasers, cutting the interstellar commute from 30,000 years to four.

Turkey’s president uses FaceTime to fight off a military coup.

Microsoft partners with the marijuana industry to offer its seed-to-sale tracking software. Which maybe explains why it bought LinkedIn at 3 a.m.

The leaked Panama Papers prove that the global 1 percent are indeed guilty of tax evasion and kleptocracy.

Amsterdam gets a 3-D-printed bridge with robotic arms.

An AI algorithm studies Donald Trump’s speeches, then sends eerily Trump-like tweets: “I love the states. I win them. Ohio is beautiful, I buy it.”

Harvard researchers create a bionic leaf that produces energy through artificial photosynthesis.

Tesla sells its cars to the masses... at Nordstrom.

A federal appeals court upholds net neutrality.

Finally, a vegan burger “bleeds” like the real thing.

Larry Page says cars can so fly; invests accordingly.

Scientists confirm Einstein’s gravitational wave theory; suddenly find themselves without a purpose.

“Delete your account.”

Facebook Live begins to crush cable TV news.

Chef José Andrés cooks a paella for 5,000 people in Washington, D.C. It’s made entirely of food waste.

Syrian refugees in Lebanon build a robot that wins a spot at the international Vex Robotics competition in the U.S.

Twitter trolls the trolls with a block button that actually blocks.

After 17 years of construction and 28 million tons of rock moved, the Gotthard Tunnel—the world’s longest—opens in the Swiss Alps.

The hackers, technologists, scientists, celebrities, and just plain average folks who have bestowed genius on us so far this year

THE GENIUS LIST

Disneyland designers in California use virtual-reality goggles to test rides at their new theme park— in Shanghai.

Elon Musk combines Tesla, home batteries, and SolarCity— turning our homes into closed-loop energy giants.

Pokemon Go (Minus the muggers.)


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= STUFF THAT FLIES = BREAKTHROUGHS = ELON MUSK

ILLUSTRATIO N BY PETE SUCH ESKI; FOR PHOTO CR EDITS, SEE PAGE 10 2.

= SOCIAL = POP CULTURE = BOTS

KEY

A 10-year-old from Finland hacks Instagram; considers deleting Justin Bieber’s comments.

Facebook hires former DARPA director, Regina Dugan. The weaponization of social media is so on.

China’s Ehang drone taxi gets greenlit for tests in Nevada, where things sometimes go boom.

In India, 800,000 people plant 49.3 million trees in a single day, crushing the previous Guinness World Record by 48.4 million.

San Diego college kids fly a rocket with a 3-D-printed engine. NASA’s still testing theirs.

A robot stingray— made of rat muscle, gold, and silicone— swims when zapped with light.

Snapchat gets its first feature-length film, Sickhouse. And the disappearing Oscar goes to...

ISSUE

THE GENIUS

A Czech man creates an augmentedreality tool that scans a Rubik’s Cube and tells him how to solve it. Wouldn’t it have just been easier to...

Elizabeth Holmes’ blood-testing company, Theranos, goes from $9 billion unicorn to a $0 donkey. Then word comes that she’ll get to watch Jennifer Lawrence re-enact her failure on the big screen!

The year of VR finally arrives. (So why is my headset stuck in production?)

Inky, a basketball-size octopus, slips his New Zealand aquarium tank, squeezes through a 6-inch-wide drainpipe, and escapes into a nearby bay, becoming a hero meme to millions of cubicle captives.

Volvo teases its latest car on Snapchat, choosing millennials over soccer moms.

Walmart tests warehouse drones to speed distribution. (Insert greeter joke here.)

New York City proposes an East River Trolley. Meanwhile, Elon Musk tests his Hyperloop.

For four days, Portugal powers itself entirely on renewable energy.


CHRIS WHITE WENT FROM HARVARD SCIENCE TO MILITARY INTELLIGENCE.


POPULAR SCIENCE_ 5 7

NOW HIS TOOLS ARE HELPING BUST SEX-TRAFFICKING RINGS.

BY CHARLES GRAEBER / PHOTOGRAPHY BY THE VOORHES


B BEFORE CHRIS WHITE COULD

HELP DISRUPT JIHADI FINANCE NETWORKS, CRUSH WEAPONS MARKETS, AND BUST UP

SEX-SLAVE RINGS WITH SEARCH TOOLS THAT MINE THE DARK WEB, HE FIRST HAD TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO STOP HIMSELF FROM PLUMMETING THROUGH THE OPEN GUN DOOR OF A BANKING BLACK HAWK HELICOPTER.

¶NO HAND-HOLDING IN A WAR ZONE, HE THOUGHT. ¶ IT WAS SEPTEMBER 2010. WHITE WAS ON HIS WAY TO A FORWARD OPERATING BASE OUTSIDE KABUL HEADQUARTERS, AS PART OF A SECRET INTELLIGENCE CELL TO HELP CONFRONT THE TALIBAN

and al-Qaida, smash their encrypted online money stream, and win over the hearts and minds of the Afghanistan population. Slight and lanky and 28, White felt Dukakis-ridiculous in his unwieldy body armor and bulbous helmet with “Dr. White” scrawled in marker on duct tape across the front, and with the dust from liftoff, he was finding it hard to breathe. He was still struggling with the unfamiliar seat straps when the pilot hit the stick, sending White sliding toward the hot square of the door and the desert 200 feet below. Down there, Afghanistan was a messy, dangerous place for pretty much everybody. After nearly a decade of U.S.-led war, the American body count had hit 1,000, and civilian casualties were beyond calculation, as President Obama’s 30,000-troop surge intensified the fighting that spring. Many feared the situation was only going from bad to worse. The U.S. was escalating drone strikes across the border in Pakistan. And U.S. command was under assault after Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the surge’s architect, found himself without a job after he and his staff made disparaging remarks about the commander in chief in some music magazine. It is hard to imagine that only a few weeks earlier, White had been just another impossibly young-looking Harvard postdoc in flip-flops looking forward to a Cambridge summer. Helicopter gunships and war zones weren’t on the radar; there were lattes in the square and rock climbing, and on the other side of campus, a


COURTESY CHRIS WH ITE

prestigious fellowship in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, where he was working at the intersection of big data, statistics, and machine learning. He had earned academic pole position and had every expectation it would continue that way forever—becoming a professor, building a lab, and sniping out white papers from a tenured ivory tower. But then his mentor asked him to attend a weekend conference at DARPA. White knew it as the alphabet soup that spelled out Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon’s scientific-innovation department, the folks who brought you bionic exoskeletons, night vision, the M16, agent orange, GPS, stealth technology, weather satellites, and the Internet. DARPA projects combined smart people, big ideas, and big government dollars. Their goal was to help the nation prevent technological surprise, and every five to 10 years, wheel out world-changing tech with a strategic edge. White had gone grudgingly,

expecting a PowerPoint presentation, a recruiting speech, “and maybe some theoretical question like you’d expect from DARPA—you know, see if we can build some giant laser,” White says. Instead, he got a top-level briefing on the world at war. He learned there were dark forces out there. Their acts were brutal, but their tactics and bureaucracy were sophisticated. They were killing and terrorizing, growing and winning. He also heard there was an opportunity to use big data to counter those ON THE GROUND forces; his country was eager to seize that Chris White, in advantage as quickly as possible. Afghanistan, By the end of a full day, White the wunin 2010, part of a data-mining derkind postdoc felt humblingly naive. nerd A-team. I don’t know anything about war, he thought. White had never been privy to the details from a practical, operational perspective. Increasingly, that perspective involved a need to make sense of gargantuan icebergs of raw and seemingly unconnected data, to pull plans and policies out of frozen mountains of intel. America, it turned out, could use a guy

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like White in a war zone. But first, he had to stop himself from plummeting through that chopper door. White scrabbled back to his seat, grabbed the straps, and held on as gunners slouched in the open door, watching for ground fire. These veteran warriors were like characters out of Mission: Impossible, White thought. White was on their team but with a different role, as part of a nerd A-team in a classified DARPA program called Nexus 7. For nearly a decade, the U.S. military had been collecting intel in Afghanistan, reportedly courtesy of the CIA, the National Security Agency, GPS satellites, cellphone records, battlefield reports, digital financial streams, surveillance cameras, foreign intercepts, and fire-hose streams from every online social network out there. While this intel had been useful—for, say, a targeted drone strike—it mostly amounted to a data dump. And there was even more that the U.S. wasn’t utilizing in its quest to understand what Afghanistan’s citizens wanted and needed. These overlooked clues were, as Maj. Gen. Michael Flynn, then-head of U.S. intelligence in Afghanistan, put it, a “vast and underappreciated body of information.” To fix that, DARPA had sent in White and a dozen other geeks to embed with fighting units and make better use of this data trove. Some of the geeks would fuse things like satellite data and on-the-ground surveillance to visualize how traffic flowed (or didn’t flow, indicating a nearby Taliban checkpoint or a roadside bomb). White’s team mission was to target the digital trail of the Taliban and al-Qaida’s financing. Their data-mining tools were specific to the needs of the war, and successful enough to garner him promotions, medals, and citations. Eventually, White would take these tools and the lessons he learned back home, where they would help revolutionize criminal investigative work, lend a hand to the journalists probing massive downloads like the Panama Papers, and shine light into the dark data realm where drugs, guns, and human beings are bought and sold, and where illicit bitcoin billions flow freely. One day soon, they might even help pave the way for a more informed democracy. Sliding toward that Black Hawk’s open door, White assumed it was the end. It was only the beginning.

WHITE IS NOT A STUTTERING, BEAUTIFUL MIND TYPE OF genius. He’s more of a stealth nerd. I first met up with him this past November in the lobby of a hotel in downtown Seattle. The lithe and darkly handsome Oklahoman I found in a bright blue Patagonia windbreaker by the front desk came across as something like a smaller, quieter hipster Carl Sagan. Which is to say he’s not just bright and passionate, but he’s also nice and strangely normal—qualities that might seem at odds with his role as anointed visionary whiz kid. But apparent contradiction is White’s secret sauce: He’s an accomplished Ashtanga yoga practitioner who has been to war, a former government employee on a first-name basis with celebrity Buddhists and legendary hackers, and a practiced martial artist who’s dedicated to the solitary sit-down science of staring at computer screens. These apparent contradictions have allowed White, now 34, to bridge worlds between experts. He’s not the genius cranking out code, the analyst looking for the next big IPO, the hand-shaking CEO, or the wartime general turning a pile of intel into a plan. He’s the guy who can talk to all of those people, understand them, and combine their strengths into a matrix none individually would have imagined. Currently, that matrix has to do with making the Internet a more interesting, useful, and democratic tool for exploring our data universe. And it turns out, that’s not a career he could plan for. Post high school, White had surprised classmates by veering into the hard sciences. He then surprised his family and himself by abandoning a pre-med track for electrical engineering. He continued to surprise them with his facility for statistics and computer science, leading to a rarefied academic byway where machine learning and big data intersected with human language. “Some of the best minds of our generation are using the Internet to make advertisers richer,” White says. “But the connectivity of the Internet is also an unprecedented CONTRADICTION IS mechanism for compassion, for understanding each other, ourselves, and our world. What could be more WHITE’S SECRET interesting than that?” SAUCE: HE’S A FORMER But by the time White traveled from his Harvard postdoc to that DARPA briefing, he had already GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE parlayed an electrical engineering degree from Oklahoma State University into a fellowship from ON A FIRST-NAME the Department of Homeland Security, and earned BASIS WITH CELEBRITY his Ph.D. at the Center for Language and Speech Processing at Johns Hopkins University. He’d also BUDDHISTS AND worked with Microsoft, MIT, IBM, and Google. And, he says, none of that had prepared him for what he calls LEGENDARY HACKERS.


the “no-kiddingness” of the mission in Afghanistan. “I was blown away,” says White. “It was scary, and it was stressful, and I was really intensely focused on the work. I knew I was contributing to something important. But I had no idea that I was making a radical life change.” At the time, DARPA was changing too. Its new director, Regina Dugan, had shepherded Nexus 7 through the Pentagon bureaucracy. She believed in the power of crowdsourcing complicated problems and wanted DARPA to take on a more active wartime role, rather than blue-skying technologies that might remake the military 10 years down the road. As she had told a Congressional panel, she wanted military leaders to know DARPA was in the fight. /THE DEEP, THE DARK , Nexus 7 would be the tip of the spear. The effort was designed by AND THE DIRTY_ DARPA project manager Randy Beneath the Web’s candy coating—the Garrett, overseen by Dugan, and 5 to 20 percent accessible to Google—is greenlit by Gen. David Petraeus. the deep Web, a sea of content hidden The teams were split into two from search engines, much of it for legroups totaling about 100 computgit reasons. Inside that is the dark Web, er scientists, social scientists, and a world of encrypted content inhabited intelligence experts. The larger by hackers, criminals, and terrorists. group remained stateside, writing code and mashing up military data sets; White was in the smaller group, looking over shoulders in daily visitors to the dark Web military HQ tents in Afghanistan. The Taliban and al-Qaida were military organizations commitpercentage of dark Web occupied by ting atrocities in the name of illegal content, Allah, but increasingly they opersuch as child porn, ated like criminal organizations drugs, terrorist that ran not on religion, but moncommunications, ey. That money paid for every and counterfeit bullet and bomb, kept troops tocurrency gether and villages friendly, and bought information and protection, vehicles and fuel, hearts and sometimes minds. estimated number of dark Web pages Like any criminal operation, most of that money came from criminal activity: physical theft, or billion dollars in the sale of wares such as weapons, total sales by the drugs, and, increasingly, human dark-Web illicitdrug site Silk Road beings for ransom, slavery, or sex. in the two years Those transactions, and the before it was shut profits from them, were hidden down by the FBI and laundered through legitimate businesses and shell corporations. Some of this happened in the physical world—real drugs, real people, real wads of cash money. But increasingly, that criminal price of a stolen Visa or Mastercard activity—everything from the on the dark Web

2.5 MILLION

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buying and selling of wares via the dark Web and social media, to the filtering of proceeds through bitcoin transactions and encrypted accounts—could be carried out more easily online, in the same digital world White had spent his career studying. The coalition generals in Afghanistan had known this for years, but that didn’t mean they knew all the details. Nexus 7’s larger role was to find useful needles in the haystack of U.S. intelligence—including anything that could help the generals better understand the needs of the Afghan people. White’s team focused on the source of the money, the guns, the drugs, and the human sex-traffic, figuring out where and why these transactions took place and who was involved. White played middleman between the DARPA teams coding stateside and the needs of the military commanders in Afghanistan. “Unfortunately, that meant a lot of cold calling, a lot of asking for meetings from these big commanders. It was really stressful,” White says. “I’m not really sociable. But I knew I had to just swallow that because that was the job.” Getting into conversations with people in a war zone who didn’t know or care why White was interrupting their job was a learning curve steeper than a Black Hawk’s takeoff, and a waking anxiety nightmare. White didn’t talk crap or sports—or, frankly, particularly like people at first. Worst of all, he was a civilian. He had no military uniform, military training, or military rank—the shorthand on the collar or sleeve for who needs to make time for whom. “One thing about war,” White says, “is people are really busy.” He didn’t even have a particularly military bearing. While other guys pumped iron, the lithe little yoga dude they called Dr. Spaghetti Man was stretching and breathing on the wrestling mats, an Ivy Leaguer downward-dogging in a world of booyah. Gradually, as he extended his stay from nine days to 90, and then signed on for more stints in the country over the next year and change, he became DARPA’s senior in-country lead in charge of Nexus 7, and a citizen of this military world. He learned to invoke the “Dr.” early and often, learned that the embarrassingly fancy watch his dad had given him worked like stars and bars in the government dress code. And he learned that using martial-arts skills to put big guys on their asses during rec time made a positive impression, and turned fighting men into friends. It also helped White and his team do their jobs. The specific metrics are classified, but the presidential reports and citations are clear: Nexus 7 made a meaningful contribution to the war for hearts, minds, and lives. By the end of his time in Afghanistan, Nexus 7 had earned the respect of the commanders too, and Dr. Spaghetti Man held a DARPA rank equivalent of

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a one-star general. Nexus 7’s efforts also gained citations and medals from the Department of Defense and the Department of the Treasury. Among other things, White’s team was commended for creating the “large data analytic framework” that provided “unique and valuable insights against key strategic and operational questions.” White personally was cited as a credit to the agency. But all the lacquer and ribbon came at a cost. Chris White was no longer the same wide-eyed postgrad who had boarded a jet to Kabul. “By the end, I’d dropped out of Harvard and lost my long-term girlfriend,” White says. But most changed was his view of the world. White wouldn’t say he was shell-shocked. He hadn’t been battering doors and stepping on strange earth loaded with explosives. But for the first time, he’d seen what the enemy—what people—were capable of. The job was over; it was time to move on from the war. But White felt he wasn’t ready to leave every battle behind. He would soon get the chance to take one battle beyond the boundaries of war. The data White had helped track had led the people who risked their lives toward places where women and children were traded as commodities, and White had seen firsthand how vulnerable those women and children were. He also learned that those crimes didn’t exist in Afghanistan alone. And it didn’t take a plane to find them; it took a modem.

HE INTERNET YOU KNOW IS NOT THE Internet. Or not all of it. To start, there’s the Internet of Bing, Google, Firefox, and Siri—the places where your Gmail and bookmarks live, where you find cat litter and football scores. That’s said to represent over 200 terabytes of data, more than if you digitized all the printed material in the Library of Congress. That’s a lot of reading, but it’s not the Internet; it’s just the surface. Estimates vary, but the “surface” Web, or open Web, represents between 5 and 20 percent of what’s out there. The rest resides in places that most crawlers can’t reach or index. Some data are “deep,” in password-protected places like social media and message boards, or in increasingly common dynamic T


websites—which are more like apps than pages from a book, and change when you interact with them, like Kayak. The rest of the Web is “dark.” But the dark Web isn’t a road you’ve neglected to drive down on your way to amazon.com. The main tool of access is Tor (originally an acronym for The Onion Router). Onion routing was first developed by the U.S. Naval Research Lab to ensure secure intelligence communication. It bounces encrypted information through a series of anonymized nodes, rendering it virtually untraceable, letting you browse a Web you wouldn’t want cookies and targeted ads to track—and creating a haven for those who fear surveillance and authoritarian control. The dark Web does not discriminate among government users, savvy cyber libertarians, planning boards for ISIS, whistleblowing hacktivists, or Arab Spring planners. Its free markets are unregulated, and specialize in goods that need to be bought and sold anonymously. In the dark, you’re always only three clicks from the illegal, repulsive, or violent, or, more often than not, from sharing a jail cell with Jared from Subway. You can probably find China White heroin, fake E.U. and U.S. passports, nonsequential supernote Benjamins, Peruvian flake, DMT, Hard Candy, Pink Meth, and dump sites for hacked nude celebrity selfies. If you’re one of the estimated 2.5 million daily visitors to this

dark world, you’re laughing unkindly (or trashing this description online). No dark-Web catalog can ever be complete or correct. This game of Whac-A-Mole is liberating for some, frustrating for others. It’s also a perfect landscape for criminal organizations and terror groups to communicate, advertise, or buy or sell anything, including human beings. As you read this, an estimated 21 million people are being trafficked around the planet. More than half are women and girls. More than 1 million are children. Nearly one-quarter are bought and sold as sex slaves. Only 1-in-100 victims of human trafficking is ever rescued. It’s a booming business. High profits and low risk make human trafficking one of the fastest-growing and most lucrative crimes on the planet; the U.N. recently BLACK MARKET estimated that trafficking Among the many nets $150 billion a year. things for sale And as a business, it differs on the dark Web negligibly from the sale of are guns, drugs, and sex. kitty litter or crew-neck sweaters; in order for consumers to buy your product, they have to be able to find it. While the makers of Tidy Cats can take out a billboard, human traffickers need to be visible enough that their customers can find them, but hidden enough that they can’t be tracked down by authorities. Not surprisingly, that puts the majority of sex-traffic data in the deep or dark Web, or hidden in plain sight in the terabytes of the surface Web, in ways quite different from legal businesses that want to be found by consumer Web-search engines. The exact formula for how search engines like Bing and Google rank results is governed by secret algorithms mere mortals aren’t allowed to know. But two factors dominate: Pages linked by other pages are ranked higher, as are pages with keywords matching the search terms. That’s what puts Wikipedia pages at the top of most Google searches—they cite, and are cited by, numerous other lesser sources (such as blogs). But sex traffickers don’t want to be found via Web search. To throw off the index, they advertise through one-off ads, unlinked to others. They hide deep in chat rooms or uncrawlable social-media posts. They avoid search-engine optimization. Instead of keywords, they use photos and code words. At this moment, there are likely hundreds of thousands of active ads for sex for sale on the Internet. Detectives using regular search engines have an extremely difficult time finding these or making cases against criminals who don’t play by Google’s rules. Chris White was given the chance to change the rules. Continued on page 98

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SPACE STATIONS MOONWALKS AND SPY-PROOF SATELLITES â&#x20AC;&#x201D; CHINA LEAVES NO DOUBT ABOUT ITS SOARING AMBITIONS By Clay Dillow, Jeffrey Lin, and P.W. Singer Illustration by Yuko Shimizu PAGE

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Before this decade is out, humanity will go where it’s never gone before: the far side of the moon. This dark side—forever facing away from us—has long been a mystery. No human-made object has ever touched its surface. The mission will be a marvel of engineering. It will involve a rocket that weighs hundreds of tons (traveling almost 250,000 miles), a robot lander, and an unmanned lunar rover that will use sensors, cameras, and an infrared spectrometer to uncover billion-year-old secrets from the soil. The mission also might scout the moon’s supply of helium-3—a promising material for fusion energy. And the nation planting its starry flag on this historic trip will be the People’s Republic of China. After years of investment and strategy, China is well on its way to becoming a space superpower—and maybe even a dominant one. The Chang’e 4 lunar mission is just one example of its scope and ambition for turning space into an important civilian and military domain. Now, satellites guide Chinese aircraft, missiles, and drones, while watching over crop yields and foreign military bases. The growing number of missions involving Chinese rockets and taikonauts are a source of immense national pride. “China sees space capability as an indication of global-leadership status,” says John Logsdon, founder of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University. “It gives China legitimacy in an area that is associated with great power.” China’s estimated space budget is still dwarfed by NASA’s, which is $19.3 billion for this year alone. But China’s making the most of its outlay. This past year, it had 19 successful space launches—the second-highest number behind Russia’s 26, and ahead of America’s 18. The decades ahead will see a range of Chinese missions that will match—and maybe even surpass—previous NASA exploits, including quantum communications satellites and a crewed mission to the moon in the early 2030s. By landing on the moon, China isn’t just joining an exclusive two-nation club. It is also redefining what space means—militarily, economically, and politically—in the 21st century. There are plans for heavy-lift rockets, manned space stations, and one of the world’s largest satellite-imaging and -navigation networks. Meanwhile the U.S.—particularly where human spaceflight is concerned—is hardly moving at all. “I don’t worry about China suddenly leapfrogging us,” says James Lewis, a director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a D.C. think tank. “I worry about us being distracted and waking up to realize that they have a much more powerful position in space.”

As in the U.S. space marketplace, China relies on many state-linked aerospace companies working with its China National Space Administration (CNSA) to perform a dual role of supporting its military. There’s the Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (the primary contractor for building spacecraft), its Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology subsidiary (which helps design the nation’s so-called Long March rockets), the Academy of Space 66 PO PS C I. CO M  S E PT /O CT 2 016

Technology (designing many of China’s satellites), and the Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation, a defense contractor that builds items like the atomic clocks on navigation satellites. Such interconnectedness goes back to the beginnings of China’s rocket age and, ironically, to American soil. The man considered the father of Chinese rocketry is Qian Xuesen. A Chinese national, Qian had attended MIT in 1935, went to work on the Manhattan Project, and later became a co-founder of Caltech’s famed Jet Propulsion Laboratory. But during the Joseph McCarthy era, he was accused of being a communist sympathizer, put under house arrest for five years, and, in 1955, he returned to China. There he was greeted as a hero. He later developed China’s ballistic-missile and space-rocket programs. In fact, China still relies on the Long March rockets he helped develop to launch its space systems. Starting in the ’80s, China put up sophisticated communications and intelligence satellites, and offered cheap satellitelaunch services to other nations. It began a taikonaut (a mashup of the Mandarin word for “outer space” and “naut,” which is Greek for “sailor”) training program, and started building out manned mission capsules and space planes. With the launch of its manned Shenzhou 5, which carried taikonaut Yang Liwei into space for 21 hours in 2003, China’s space race began to hit its marks. From there, China made rapid leaps: multiple crewed missions, spacewalks, and, in 2011, the launch of Tiangong-1, a two-person space lab. Early next year, it will launch its first-generation


I L LUSTR ATI ON BY

Todd Detwiler

BIGGER BLASTOFFS In June, China launched its Long March 7, the latest addition to an emerging fleet of massive rockets.

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cargo ship, Tianzhou-1, which means “heavenly vessel.” The ship will dock with an existing Chinese space lab and bring supplies for science experiments. If any of this sounds like a repeat of feats already accomplished decades ago by others (U.S. and Soviet Union), that glib observation falls to pieces when you consider technologies like China’s QUESS satellite—which will likely be orbiting overhead by the time you read this. Short for Quantum Experiments at Space Scale, QUESS marks a first-of-its-kind attempt to beam quantum-encrypted information between an orbiting satellite and ground stations below. By encoding that information into the quantum states of particles like photons, such security schemes ensure that any attempt to intercept or tamper with the transmission alerts both sender and receiver, making quantum encryption theoretically unbreakable. In an era of global electronic surveillance, a quantum-communications network could sidestep even the best cyberintelligence operations, allowing Chinese military and intelligence assets to swap information while keeping potential adversaries or spies in the dark. As long as China is the only nation bouncing quantum communications around the atmosphere, it will enjoy scientific and strategic security advantages, as well as a boost to economic security: QUESS researchers say that a long-term goal is the protection of financial communications. China’s rising space prowess has, predictably, come with geopolitical friction between Beijing and Washington. While the nations have deep levels of trade with each other, they also eye one another as a security threat. In fact, China’s space program is repeatedly cited in U.S. security reports with a growing sense of unease. As the U.S. and Soviet Union learned in the 1960s and ’70s, showcasing capability in space often translates to influence on the ground. The military benefits of going to the moon are zero, but the geopolitical effects are real. “China’s going to get back to the moon before we do; they’re going to have people walking around on another body, and we’re not,” Lewis says. “Right now the U.S. is seen as the leader in space, but we’re kind of resting on our laurels. So what happens when the rest of the world wakes up and realizes that China is the leader?” That means China’s heavenly rise could realign partnerships in space. With its steady drumbeat of near-term mission milestones and concrete objectives (as opposed to a vague trip to Mars), the CNSA “gives a lot of countries a nice opportunity

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to develop new partnerships to stay active in space exploration,” says Alanna Krolikowski, an expert in Chinese technology policy and a visiting professor at the University of Göttingen in Germany. China is also playing geopolitics with nation states that aren’t always willing to be aligned with Washington’s selfinterests. It has been offering cheap and easy access to space, launching satellites for countries like Venezuela, Laos, Nigeria, and Belarus. Pakistan has used China’s military-grade satellite-navigation system, suggesting that China will also allow use of space-derived intelligence as part of future alliance building. And if it continues its pace, China will launch its experimental Tiangong-2 space lab later this year, followed by a crew that will dock there and test technologies critical for building a permanent manned outpost in orbit. The first module of that outpost—Tiangong-3—is China’s highestprofile project. It is expected to lift off in 2022, marking a new era of Chinese space research. Tiangong-3 will be able to support three taikonauts, in addition to a bevy of scientific research. Notably, CNSA has already rolled out the welcome mat to other countries, offering the opportunity to place experiments, and astronauts, aboard. Given a Congressional ban that prohibits NASA from cooperating with the CNSA in space, it’s unlikely the U.S. will be among them. But many of America’s current partners in space very well might. After all, if the U.S. and co-owners shutter the expiring International Space Station in 2024 as planned, China will be the only country up there. Just as in the Cold War, there is also the possibility that space activities could yield more peace, not less. As China’s military and civilian dependence on space begins to mirror that of America’s, the hazard-filled nature of space operations creates an incentive for both nations—along with other space actors—to a maintain at least an uneasy cooperation. Global reliance on the space-based communications and navigation that power our digital age means that America and China will have to work together to draw up the rules for the crowded new space age. After all, the solar system is our communal turf. At least for now.

1. The CARGO area brings supplies, like satellites, into orbit. 2. STAGE TWO holds tanks of liquid oxygen and kerosene. 3. Four ENGINES use 71.7 tons of propellants. 4.The BOOSTERS detach via pyrotechnic separation. 5.The total LIFTOFF THRUST is 7,080 kilonewtons.


INSIDE THE


FACTORY

Elon Musk doesn’t shy away from grand statements. He recently released his Master Plan for Tesla’s future, which calls for cars with solar roofs, full autopilot, and even the ability to make money for their owners when they’d otherwise be in the garage. Musk’s high-minded vision is already a hightech reality at Tesla’s 5.3 million-squarefoot facility in Fremont, California.

BY COBY McDONALD PHOTOGRAPHY BY SPENCER LOWELL


SMART MOVES (PREVIOUS PAGE)

FRESHLY PRESSED

A robot cart follows magnetic strips on the floor to move this Model S down the production line. Such electric, selfcharging robots load and unload cars at each stop, making them key to the factory’s efficiency. Here, the Model S—with its body panels attached to an aluminum-andsteel skeleton—nears the end of its general assembly.

A Model S fender begins its life as an aluminum sheet snipped from a 20,000-pound coil. A laser-cutting robot then slices it into the desired shape before a press—with 1,000 tons of force—stamps it into a three-dimensional fender. It’s then mounted to a measuring board where engineers examine it for flaws.


TESLA FACT

.08

Time it takes, in seconds, to cut each fender sheet

RUNNING THE GAUNTLET German-made Kuka assembly robots piece together the aluminumand-steel bones of the Model S into skeletons, or what Tesla calls “uni-bodies.” Powerful and precise, the robots use high-definition 3-D cameras to see as they drill, weld, and rivet together the body. All told, the factory is “staffed” by some 200 robots, many named for X-Men characters such as Wolverine, Xavier, and Storm.

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TESLA FACT

92

Number of football fields that could fit inside the Tesla factory


STAMPING ITS FLEET In the stamping center, raw aluminum becomes hoods, bumpers, fenders, and panels. (Lightweight parts are key to the Model S 90Dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s industry-leading 294-mile range.) This past year, Tesla spent a reported $1.6 billion on factory expansion to prepare for production of the Model 3, a mass-market sedan with an estimated baseline price of $35,000. Tesla has already received nearly 400,000 preorders.

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A FINAL (HUMAN) TOUCH Humans—not robots—put the finishing touches on this Model X by attaching seats, door handles, and instrument panels. Tesla aims to deliver 60 to 80 percent more cars this year than last, Musk says. If the company meets its production goals—and who can doubt Musk that it will?—Tesla will roll out its 190,000th vehicle by the end of the year. For 2018, Musk pegs the output target at a half-million.

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TESLA FACT

140K Number of Tesla vehicles on the road worldwide


TRACKING THE


T R A F F I C K E R S

by Millie Kerr and Corey Mueller / Illustration by Tim Enthoven / P.77


32 Percentage of all seafood imported to the U.S. that is likely illegal SOU R C E: MARINE POLICY

H AWA I I

AQUARIUM APP YELLOW TANG Aquarium enthusiasts often unknowingly stock their tanks with illegally caught fish. They can now use a free app that identifies captive-bred fish (good) from wild-caught ones (bad), 90 percent of which are illegally captured using cyanide. The chemical harms fish and kills coral.

U N I T E D S TAT E S

E-COMMERCE ENFORCEMENT SCARLET MACAW Many of the vendors that sell illegal wildlife—from monkey taxidermy to live macaws—do so online. A Web crawler developed by researchers at New York University will mine the Internet for sketchy merchandise, then use algorithms to cross-reference those animals and products with endangered-species databases. By spotting social-media posts and e-retailers offering suspicious merch, law enforcement will use the interface to investigate those sellers. The platform could be available as early as this fall.

N I C A R AGUA

TRACKABLE “EGGS” OLIVE RIDLEY SEA TURTLE Wildlife researchers have long tagged animals to study their natural movements. Now a Central American environmental NGO is planting trackers in synthetic turtle eggs to trace trafficking routes. Using 3-D-printed molds, the NGO builds silicone eggs (with a tiny GPS transmitter inside) that mimic those laid by sea turtles, which poachers covet. This October, the eggs will be buried amid real turtle nests. “We want to see how many eggs are leaving the country, and where they’re going,” says program scientist Kim Williams-Guillen. MEXICO

FORENSIC DATABASE RED-EYED TREE FROG Early next year, the Mexican conservation group Bosque Antiguo plans to offer lawenforcement agencies a forensic database that will contain DNA bar codes of such endangered species as Central American macaws and tree frogs. Agents will then have the tools to prove that animals and products sold by businesses were procured illegally, and use that information as evidence in criminal prosecutions.

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SOUTH AFRICA

PORTABLE DNA SEQUENCER WHITE RHINO Authorities have no quick way to prove that a suspicious material— the bloodstained clothing of a suspected poacher or a shady product at a bush-meat market—is connected to illegal activity. Traditional DNA sequencing uses expensive lab-based machines, and results can take up to a week. Enter the palm-size MinION, the world’s first portable DNA sequencer. Used with a converter that preps biological materials for analysis, the device syncs to a database of more than 20,000 species to accurately determine the sample’s origin. The MinION, which was developed by Oxford Nanopore Technologies in England, can provide on-the-spot evidence of illegal activity. It will be used in Kenya and South Africa.


1,000 Estimated number of wildlife rangers killed by poachers in the past decade S OURCE : WORL D W I L DL I F E F E DE RAT I ON

M YA N M A R

INDIA

SMART SURVEILLANCE BENGAL TIGER India has nearly 10 million acres of protected tiger habitat, home to 70 percent of the world’s tigers. But the borders are porous, rangers are few, and pelts are prized. The government recently erected towers equipped with hidden cameras and long-range thermal sensors. Software processes footage in real time, picks out suspicious activity such as an illegal human presence, and sends an alert to a central control room where staffers dispatch law enforcement. “We wanted to create technology that would generate an alert before a crime takes place,” says Ravikant Singh, a co-creator of the project.

Tons of ivory—from 6,500 poached elephants— that Kenya burned in April 2016, thereby diverting it from illegal trade SOU R C E: K EN YA WI LDLIFE SERVICE

GLOBAL CRIME MAP PANGOLIN To avoid detection, poachers and traders rely on shifting trade routes and corrupt law enforcement. Agents can’t catch what they can’t find. Using algorithms and Google’s deep-learning tech, a new, open-source map constantly sifts through news reports on illegal incidents—such as smuggling endangered pangolins—to create a nearly real-time map of global activity. “For the first time, the public, the media, and law-enforcement agencies will see the spatial and temporal patterns of trafficking in their regions,” says creator Kalev Leetaru, of George Washington University.

PHILIPPINES

REAL-TIME INVOICES BANGGAI CARDINALFISH In busy cargo ports, inspectors have to manually review paper invoices of big shipments of fish. It’s easy to miss illegal species and fudged data. But a new digital-invoice system will deploy algorithms to more easily and effectively spot suspicious cargo. For example, if the actual weight of a shipment is different from what was reported on the invoice, border agents will investigate.

TA N Z A N I A

ELECTRONIC NOSE AFRICAN ELEPHANT Each year, smugglers bring $10 billion worth of forest and savanna animals and parts, such as elephant tusks, through international ports. The electronic nose, a portable screening tool that sniffs luggage, would let customs “rapidly identify and seize wildlife at the point of detection,” says Shari Forbes, a forensic scientist at the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia. Forbes and her team are building a database of hundreds of the most trafficked animals and identifying their odor signatures. The e-nose could be ready as early as fall 2017.

INDONESIA

BIRD-MARKET MONITOR BLACK-WINGED STARLING Every year, some 600,000 birds, such as the black-winged starling, are illegally trapped and traded in poorly regulated pet markets in Indonesia. A bird-market monitoring app, slated for release in 2017, turns civilians into activists. Snap a photo of an illegal bird, share it to a database, and help the government pin down where illegal activity takes place.


80

PO PS C I. CO M  S E PT /O CT 20 16

P HOTO GR AP H BY J O N AT HAN KA MB O U R IS

by WI L LI AM GU R ST EL L E

DIFFICULTY w ww ww

COST $25

TIME 2 hours

TWENTY YEARS AGO, THE WACKY, WAVING INFLATABLE TUBE— also known as a sky puppet or air dancer—made its debut as a decoration at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Since then, its become most famous as an advertising gimmick at used-car lots. Goofiness aside, there’s a lot of science going on inside that tube. In 1883, British scientist Osborne Reynolds developed a theory that predicted how fluids, such as water or gas, would flow through pipes and ducts based on the ratio of speed to viscosity. Blow air through the flexible tube of a sky puppet, and it will flow smoothly, up to a certain point. When the air speed increases enough, the flow becomes turbulent and chaotic, turning the cylinder into a dancing decoration. Once you’ve found the ideal tube dimensions to achieve turbulent air flow, you can craft your own sky puppet. Popular Science’s version is 5 feet tall, and it takes only an afternoon to build.

Annoy Coworkers with This DIY Sky Puppet

E DIT E D BY SO PHI E B U S HWI C K

Manual


Safety glasses

Scissors

Hot-glue gun

Hammer

TOOLS

long nails

minute or

¾-inch long

blower with opening

packing tape

3/ Cut the garbage bag into two pieces, each 3 inches

2/ Build a stand by nailing the end of one board to the center of the other. Use the screws to attach the blower to the vertical board so the PVC fitting points up.

1/ Connect the outlet of the electric blower to the wide end of the PVC reducing fitting using hot glue and packing tape.

+INSTRUCTIONS

pieces

by-¾-inch

r 2 12-by-12-

6/ Give your tube personality—tape or glue ribbons, googly eyes, or

5/ Connect one end of the tube to the 1.5-inch opening of the PVC fitting.

4/ Use the adhesive tape to connect the pieces into one longer tube. Leave both ends of the tube open.

wide and 2.5 feet long. Seal each piece into a skinny tube with the adhesive tape.

power supply

r Battery or

test leads

r 2 alligator

adhesive tape

r 2-inch

of clear

fitting

r ¾-inch roll

garbage bag

plastic

reducing

1½-inch PVC

r 3-inch to

r 30-gallon

wood screws,

DC electric a 3-inch

round-head

to 18-volt

r 2 No. 10

feet-perlarger 12-

of wood r 2 1½-inch-

r 130-cubic-

+MATERIALS

8/If the tube isn’t waving enough, change the voltage to decrease or increase the air flow. You can also try adjusting the tube’s length or width.

7/Don safety glasses. Use alligator clips to connect the positive and negative terminals of the power supply to the appropriate wires on the blower.

other decorations to the top.


History Strikes Back

A Boy and His Trebuchet The author aims his DIY version of a giant medieval siege engine.

DIY TREBUCHET’S RANGE

25 FT

A Mini Medieval Siege Weapon AROUND THE TURN OF THE 14TH CENTURY, ENGLAND’S KING EDWARD I

led his soldiers north to battle Scottish rebels. Eventually, he cornered his foes at Stirling Castle in central Scotland. Outside the castle walls, his English engineers built a phalanx of huge trebuchets. A trebuchet uses the force of gravity to fling projectiles. Its power comes from a counterweight—often a box that’s filled with stones or sand—connected to a lever arm. The other end of the arm is attached by to a sling that holds a missile, such as a large WILLIAM rock. By raising the counterweight into the air GURSTEL LE 82 PO PS C I. CO M • S E PT /O CT 2 016

100 FT

with a pulley system and then letting it drop, the lever sends the boulder flying with great precision. Edward’s trebuchets, perhaps the most powerful ones ever made, even had their own names, such as the Forester and the Vicar. The biggest was erected last. Called Ludgar, also known as Warwolf, it had enough power to fling 300-pound projectiles. By the time it was completed—four months after the siege began—the Scots were ready to surrender. But Edward was eager to test his new weapon. Unwilling to waste the time and effort spent on his deadly toy, Edward ordered the Scots back inside the castle and continued the siege. With its first toss, Ludgar broke down an entire 12-foot-thick castle wall, according to 14th-century chronicler Peter Langtoft. By the time Edward was ready to accept surrender, only 50 of the castle’s 120 defenders remained to crawl out of the rubble. Inspired by Ludgar, I decided to make my own trebuchet. For this miniature version, I built a framework of plastic piping mounted on a stable wooden base. For a counterweight, I repurposed a pair of 5-pound barbells. A wood prop holds the weights in place and also acts as a trigger: When I pull it out of the trebuchet, the weights slide down a pair of guide rails, causing the throwing arm to flip from one side of the trebuchet to the other. To throw a projectile—a golf ball or small water balloon—I attach a string to my missile, tie a loop in the other end, and slip the loop over the trebuchet’s arm. When the arm flips, it hurls the projectile high and far—toward an imaginary castle.

For instructions on building your own mini trebuchet, visit popsci.com/ludgar.

PHOTOGRA PH BY

Ackerman + Gruber


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Hackertainment

Build a Fog Machine That Fits in a Mug TIME 15 mins COST $30 DIFFICULTYY wwwww

+TOOLS & MATERIALS r Wire strippers r Two 23A battery boxes r Soldering iron

HALLOWEEN FALLS ON A MONDAY THIS YEAR, GIVING YOU an excuse to celebrate it in the office—with a mini fog machine that fits in a coffee mug. This project, inspired by a water-only fogger from DIYer Brian Clarke, employs sound waves to turn distilled water into a spooky haze. The tiny cauldron gives you all the boil and bubble by THOM LEAVY of a witch’s brew for a lot less toil and trouble.

r 5.5 mm-by-2.5 mm male plug for DC power r Two 23A batteries r Empty, dry 16-ounce plastic water bottle r Etree ultrasonic fogger r Duct tape r Mug r Distilled water

+INSTRUCTIONS

1/Strip the ends of the battery box wires. Solder the negative wire from one box to the positive wire of the other. Solder the free wires of the battery boxes to the power plug. Then insert the batteries. 2/Cut off and discard the top of the water bottle, leaving a bottom half that is about four inches tall. Place the fogger inside the bottom half with the power cable folded over the rim. Secure and waterproof it with duct tape. 3/Plug in the fogger, place the batteries in the bottom of the mug, and set the bottle on top. Tape the bottle to the inside of the mug around the rim. 4/Add distilled water to activate the project. It will begin spewing fog, which you can control by adjusting the water level.

5-Minute Project

84 PO PS C I. CO M  S E PT /O CT 2 016

a hole in the plastic where the beam of light exits; water will spill out in an arc. (Use a bowl to catch the runoff.) The laser light will appear to bend along with the water. How is this possible? According to Snell’s law, a ray of

light will change its angle when it hits the boundary between one medium (water) and another (air). So the light is actually bouncing back and forth in straight lines within the stream of water, as if trapped in a hall of mirrors. –T.L.

ILLUSTRATION BY +ISM

Bend a Laser Beam

Want to defy physics? This experiment makes a straight laser beam appear to bend into a curve. Fasten a laser pointer to a flat surface, positioned so it shines horizontally through a full plastic water bottle. Poke

PHOTOGRA PH BY

Jonathon Kambouris


a comb.

Recycle me.


Deconstructed

Listen withYour Skin “With the VEST, we would no longer be limited by our bodies or our senses. A New Way to Hear The VEST could let deaf people understand audible conversations. Unlike a cochlear implant, it’s noninvasive— and costs only a fraction of the price.

WHAT IF OUR BODIES HAD A NEW WAY—OTHER “There is no theoretical reason why this can’t be than our eardrums—to hear the world around us? almost as good as the ears,” says Eagleman. That’s what neuroscientist David Eagleman wonSo far, he has trained deaf people to recognize single dered five years ago. He looked at the body for answers words through the VEST. He hopes to eventually help and saw a huge sound jack. “We have this giant input them understand sentences, and then full conversachannel called our skin,” he says, “and we aren’t using it.” tions. Just like with language, Eagleman discovered, So Eagleman, along with Scott Novich, his then-grad children—whose brains are more malleable—learned to student at Baylor College of Medicine, created the interpret the VEST more easily than adults did. Versatile Extra-Sensory Transducer, or VEST. The VEST Eagleman says his device could one day be desystem is worn like it sounds. Through 32 tiny motors, ployed in dozens of professions to better understand it translates sound waves into vibrations on your back. complex environments. A pilot could interpret a First, a computer or smartphone picks up sounds from plane’s status through the VEST’s vibrations. An astroyour surroundings and breaks down the audio sample naut could literally feel the health of the Internainto a set of specific frequencies. Each frequency band in tional Space Station. Eagleman and Novich’s startup, the set triggers one of 32 motors in the VEST. Neosensory, plans to develop the VEST for With time and practice, your brain learns all kinds of uses so someday we all can expeto unconsciously interpret the series of rience this sixth sense. “The possibilities are by CLAIRE vibrations as sound—and individual sounds endless for the kind of information we could MALDARELLI as words in a language. be streaming in,” says Eagleman.

1

+HOW IT WORKS

3

1/ A computer or smartphone picks up sounds from as far as 20 to 30 feet away. An app then translates each sound into distinct vibrations based on its component frequencies. 2/ The phone, via Bluetooth, triggers a series of the VEST’s motors to vibrate. Each motor is calibrated to a single frequency band so a word feels exactly the same each time it’s spoken.

2

86 POPS C I. CO M • S E PT /O CT 2 0 16

3/ At first, the vibrations feel indistinguishable from one another. But over time, the brain learns to match each vibration pattern to its corresponding word.

I L LUST RAT I ON BY

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Meet a Maker

PHANTOM LIMB James Young sports one of de Oliveira Barata’s most audacious projects: the Phantom Limb, inspired by the video game Metal Gear Solid. Young and de Oliveira Barata worked with 11 artists and engineers to craft an arm that boasts lights, USB charging ports, a 3-D-printed hand, and a drone that docks on the shoulder, among other features. Young says he did lose some functionality for the cool factor, but tinkering with the limb has involved him in maker culture. “I’ve learned about LEDs and coding,” he says.

The Art of Artificial Limbs

A Leg Up De Oliveira Barata also makes hyperrealistic limbs like this one.

88 PO PS C I. CO M • S E PT /O CT 2 016

PHOTOGRA PH BY

Omkaar Kotedia

IN SET I MAGE: N ADAV KAN DER/TRUNK ARCH IVE

and a leg that resembles porcelain covered FOR EIGHT YEARS, PROSTHETIC in a painted floral vine. She makes about sculptor Sophie de Oliveira Barata creatsix limbs per year, always incorporating clied realistic-looking limbs for amputees ents’ ideas so that they receive a personal who wanted to blend in. But she longed piece they can celebrate rather than hide. to work on more whimsical designs that Of course, a limb covered in feathers or would stand out. Then she met Pollyanna Swarovski crystals won’t suit everyone. Hope, a young amputee. Each prosthesis must satisfy a trifecta “She wanted something a little different of comfort, aesthetics, and functionality, on her leg: pictures of a cartoon she loved, and pushing too hard in one direction can Peppa Pig,” said de Oliveira Barata, who is compromise other areas. But for amputees based in London. So she designed a unique who appreciate novelty, de Oliveira Barata leg covered in tattoo-like images of Peppa has some outrageous ideas. and other pigs riding a bicycle and eating “I’d really like to make a candy-dispenser ice cream. Working with Hope made de leg with a vintage feel and Gobstoppers Oliveira Barata realize there was a market inside it,” she says. “Or a cuckoo-clock leg for limbs with flair. with a brass bird that pops out every hour.” Since then, de Oliveira Barata founded Her goal is to craft a limb so strikthe Alternative Limb Project ing, it transforms the prosthesis to make artistic prostheses. by from an elephant in the room into a Her work includes an arm RYAN F. conversation piece. wrapped in sculpted snakes MANDELBAUM


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Enviable Project

A Custom ChopperPontoon-Racecar LAST YEAR, THE DENTED BODY OF A 1969 BELL OH-58 Kiowa helicopter sold at auction for $3,101. Previously, it had served in the Vietnam War, flown missions for a federal drug task force, and been chopped up for parts in Nashville, Tennessee, before floating away during a flood. Instead of landing in the junkyard, it got a second lease on life—as an amphibious car. That’s because the helicopter’s new owner was Jeff Bloch, a novelty-car builder and D.C. police officer. Bloch, who had dreamed of making a helicopter racecar for years, received the chopper as a donation and immediately recruited 16 friends and family members to help make it drivable. They mounted the helicopter on the chassis of a mid-’80s Toyota van wagon and added by a lightweight rear suspension A NDREW from a Mazda Miata. R OSENBL UM

The gear shift is made from the helicopter’s repurposed Vietnam-era stick for firing machine guns.

But Bloch wanted his racer to look like a drivable helicopter, not a sloppy mix of mashed-together parts. So he affixed pontoons to the seam between copter and car, hiding the mismatched body. He reasoned that they could act as bumpers when races got heated—and then he realized they could make the vehicle amphibious. “If I’m going to use pontoons to hide the chassis, it might as well float,” Bloch says. Which means the vehicle can now do everything except fly. In May, Bloch’s “Racecopter” won the Organizer’s Choice award at the 24 Hours of LeMons race in Millville, New Jersey, even though the Audi engine dropped a valve after two laps. In the water, that same engine runs a 7,000 rpm four-blade propeller harvested from a parasail boat. James Bond’s submersible Lotus might look a bit sleeker, but the Racecopter is 100 percent DIY—and has actual combat experience.

80

Speed, in mph, at which the Racecopter has driven on dry land

The 3-liter, 210horsepower engine came from a wrecked 2002 Audi A6 that cost Bloch $450.

90 POPS C I. CO M • S E PT /O CT 2 0 16

PHOTOGRA PH BY

Elliott O’Donovan

ICO NS BY MICHAEL BRANDON MYERS

Bloch harvested pontoons from a 1988 Sun Tracker boat and reinforced them with steel.


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Biohacks

Lab-Grown Bones on Display

Amy Karle The artist aims to connect the body and technology.

NEW-MEDIA ARTIST AMY KARLE HAS always been enthralled by science. She grew up around her mother’s medical research lab and studied genetic engineering in college. Now Karle, who previously performed an art piece where a computer mapped her biofeedback as she meditated, is growing a skeletal human hand. In the first step of the creative process, Karle and a team of experts scanned the bones of a female hand as the basis for a digital model. Then they gave the model pores and other microstructures that make it mimic bone. Karle 3-D-printed this scaffolding out of a biodegradable, nontoxic hydrogel. Finally, the team seeded

the hydrogel with human stem cells and placed it in a bioreactor—a container to keep the project alive. Over the next two years, Karle wants the cells to grow over the frame and develop into bone. “We’ll see if the cells have a mind of their own,” she says. “I like to step back and let the artwork take over.” Karle hopes her work will inspire scientists who are growing bone for medical use. “I have an opportunity to bring attention to this type of research,” she says. The hand also raises questions about growing body parts in a lab. “We are at an exciting time where we no longer need to turn to inanimate materials to make an object,” she says.

0.45

The size, in millimeters, of pores in the scaffolding of the hand

LE FT TO RIGHT: COURTESY AMYKARLE.COM; CHARLIE NORDSTROM

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IS THERE A CURE FOR COLORBLINDNESS? Short answer

It could be in sight.

THE COLORBLIND DON’T just suffer limited career choices (pilot is out). They also miss some of life’s biggest pleasures— vibrant sunsets, autumn foliage, the ability to determine if a tomato is ripe. “Nobody chooses a black-and-white TV over color,” says University of Washington ophthalmology professor Jay Neitz, who has devoted his career to studying color deficiency. “Color makes us happy.” Cone cells in the retina normally help the brain translate lightwaves into what we perceive as colors. When those cells lack red or green photopigments, it causes the most common colorblind disorder, one that afflicts 1-in-12 men in the U.S. and

A

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1-in-230 women. It’s the most common single-gene defect in the population. So far, there’s no cure. Soon that may change. Neitz and his wife, Maureen, with other scientists, have successfully tested a gene therapy on male squirrel monkeys, all of which are colorblind. First, they packed a normal human photopigment gene into a harmless virus, then surgically inserted it—via needle—under the monkeys’ retinas. Five months later, the moneys passed a color test in which they were awarded treats for picking colors on a computer. Sticking a needle deep in a human eye, however, is risky. Among other things, it could cause blindness. So the Neitzes are working on a safer gene-delivery method, a shot that is delivered into the vitreous— the clear substance between the eye’s lens and retina. Such vitreous shots are already in wide use to deliver medication for conditions like macular degeneration. One problem, though: There’s no certainty that genes introduced into the vitreous will get where they need to go. “The virus itself will have to penetrate the retina,” to get to the cone cells, says Neitz. “We don’t have that working perfectly yet.” Human clinical trials are years away. Until then, a new company, EnChroma, makes glasses that enhance color perception for some types of deficiencies.

ANSWERS BY

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WHY IS IT SO HARD TO GET RID OF GARLIC BREATH? Short answer

A You can tell your partner ate a garlicky meal a full day after the fact, even though he swears he brushed his teeth—twice. That’s because minced or crushed garlic (the manner in which we normally eat it) releases four volatile sulfur compounds to which our olfactory systems are particularly sensitive. The biggest culprit is

It’s volatile.

allyl methyl sulfide, which metabolizes more slowly than the others, keeping it at a higher concentration in the body for a longer period. After ingesting garlic, the potent compounds are absorbed into the bloodstream, then become vaporized while going through the lungs. The result: bad breath. Doctors reported on this phenomenon for the first time in 1936. A patient given garlic soup through

a feeding tube had garlic breath hours later, even though the food never touched his mouth. “Twenty-four hours after consuming garlic, you can still smell it,” says Sheryl Barringer, a professor of food science at Ohio State University and author of a 2014 Journal of Food Science paper on how various foods react with sulfur volatiles. You can also sweat out the garlic aroma because the

volatiles are excreted through pores. (The same thing can happen with strong spices and other alliums that are volatile and metabolize slowly.) To mitigate the strength and duration of the offending compounds, munch

on an apple or raw mint after a garlicky meal, Barringer says. The polyphenolic compounds in both are proven to neutralize the garlic volatiles. Eating parsley or drinking milk, especially with your meal, will also help

tame garlic breath, as will green tea and lemon juice. But flossing and brushing your teeth are just as important. “If there are still tiny particles stuck back there, you will continue to have garlic breath,” Barringer says.


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NCE UPON A TIME, WHITE HAD traded a safe academic track for an intellectual military adventure. Two years later, both were over, and at 30 years old, he had to make a new path. From the outside, his life might have seemed a logical progression. But to White, it was as if he’d fallen down a rabbit hole and come out the other side. And then DARPA offered him the position of program manager. He’d found his Wonderland. “Once, I’d wanted to ‘be a thing,’” White says—a respected position like a doctor or a primary investigator. “But now I realized I wanted to ‘do a thing.’” As a DARPA program manager, White could name his project. And the “thing” he wanted to make was a new breed of search engines, capable of mining the entirety of the Internet. In Afghanistan, there were few offthe-shelf tools for mining big data or visualizing the results; they were built mostly for experts and for specific projects. But what if they could build off-the-shelf pieces and make them available to everyone? A sort of Erector Set of O

super-search-engine pieces that you could assemble any number of ways. The result was initially a three-year— and reportedly up to $50 million— project to construct that search-engine Erector Set: a suite of perhaps 20 new super-search-engine parts, coded by 17 different units from private industry and universities, and dedicated to providing better ways of interacting with and understanding the data available on the whole Internet, in ways farther reaching and more transparent than anything possible with Firefox, Safari, Google, or Bing. They called it Memex—a name combining “memory” and “index”—borrowed from a 1945 article by the visionary former director of the Office of the Scientific Research and Development, Vannevar Bush. Memex would be a tool to visualize connections between ideas and facts. If it worked, it could empower human researchers with superhuman insights. As White explains, data on the Internet is essentially descriptions of what happened in the real world—photos, emails, blogs, phone calls, GPS trails, and social-media posts. “The goal of an investigator is to dig through the descriptions

and work backward,” White says, “to understand that real-world event.” With a traditional Web browser, that’s no easy task. Type a search term—such as a phone number—into Google, and you might get 20,000 results, links to pages from the surface Web, ranked in order of keyword hits and the number of hyperlinks each page has to and from other pages. Your only option is to click through those results one by one, checking each page for the single answer you are hoping to find. That’s fine for discovering facts such as “What is the capital of Montana?” But for complicated investigations, White likens it to using a push mower to mow a golf course. “It’s sequential and prone to error,” he says. “There are better ways.” White’s Memex project would be a portfolio approach. Some tools would dive into the dark Web and present all the hidden onion sites to be found there as a list, something previously considered too difficult to bother with. Others would index and sort the enormous flows of deep and dark Web online forums (which are otherwise unsearchable). Others would monitor social-media trends, connect photos, read

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handwritten information, or strip out data from Web pages and cross-index the results into data maps. In theory, White’s search-engine Erector Set could be useful for any number of real-world applications; as a DARPA project, they needed to prove it could be effective for at least one. Ideally, that test application would attack a real-world data-rich problem that could help investigators make the world a better place, and the country safer. White decided to focus the Memex test application on helping American law enforcement target a crime he’d been shocked to learn about in Afghanistan and found “inherently horrible”: the buying and selling of human beings. On a computer screen in the Memex lab in Arlington, Virginia, Wade Shen, its current program manager, demonstrates how some of the Memex tools have been tweaked for sex-traffic investigating. The first is Datawake. Normally, a detective following a lead (for example, an email associated with a prostitute) plugs that info into Google, gets no exact matches but perhaps 25,300 results, and might open only a few of those before spotting

a potential new clue and plugging that into the search bar instead, and moving on. Searching the entire 25,300 hits this way would take a detective two weeks of 12-hour shifts. Datawake combs those same Google results, pulls the information off the pages, and organizes it visually. On-screen, the results appear as a series of circles. Lines between the circles indicate connections between data—names, phone numbers, and photos that might appear repeatedly alongside that email. The detective gets a peek into all 25,300 results—and can start chasing down the most promising leads without leaving behind any of the other results. Tools such as these have allowed district attorney’s offices to go back to the case files of their successfully prosecuted sex cases, and reuse the phone numbers, names, emails, and physical addresses already established as evidence. The Memex tools allow these old cases to provide search terms to build new cases and prove criminal conspiracy, linking guys in prison to sex rings still operating. One of the most useful tools is TellFinder, which pulls and organizes

co-referenced information from sex ads. By finding commonalities in ads—the author’s “tells”—it can group together ads from the same author or organization, giving investigators a greater insight into the scope of the business. In one demo, Shen pulls up 869,000 current ads represented like population-density bubbles across the states. He zooms in to towns and jurisdictions and scrolls backward through dates, revealing where ads were posted and faded away over time. The map also shows phone numbers, emails, and physical addresses the ads have in common, and even photos with the same background (the same motel drapes and wallpaper in the background can lead detectives to a sex-trafficking site). With a few clicks, Shen shows how ads for one woman moved across the country, demonstrating the probable track of her being trafficked. Another tool, called Dig, takes that co-referenced information and sorts it into a list that looks a bit like the results of an Amazon search. Along the side, key categories and terms allow investigators to filter the results down to just the information they’re looking for. Dig also takes TellFinder’s image-search capabilities and


THE MAN WHO LIT THE DARK WEB

kicks them up a notch. “It’s just another way of looking at the same problem,” Shen explains. “And these are just examples— there’s no one way to use these tools.” Some Memex tools have been specialized to perform similar tasks in the dark Web, crawling the otherwise unsearchable sites for specific information types. White showed me another tool back in Seattle: Aperture Tiles. It makes formerly unmanageable amounts of information— think billions of moving data points on a map—manageable. To demonstrate, he combined motel addresses associated with sex trafficking, and the location information attached to online posts made near those addresses. (“Most people have no idea that when they’re accepting the permissions on a free app, it’s them and their data that’s the commodity,” he notes.) Often, patterns emerged: The people posting the ads would drive from city to city around the U.S., deciding every few days to get out of Dodge, likely as a way to stay under law enforcement’s radar. Some people who posted frequently in the U.S. also posted frequently in Southeast Asia. What that means, White says, is a question only a full investigation can answer, but

it’s reasonable to assume it indicates a connection with international sex trafficking. N DECEMBER 19, 2014, FROILAN Rosado sat in an idling van outside a midtown Manhattan sex hotel, a pregnant 16-year-old in the passenger seat. In his late 30s, Rosado was the kind of guy who liked to post Facebook photos of him and his family dressed like convicts for Halloween, and selfies in mirrored shades with his hair braided into cornrows, a pencil goatee framing a scowl. Rosado was a pimp. Inside the hotel was his 18-year-old prostitute, “Flora.” Undercover cops had picked her up in a runof-the-mill prostitution-sting operation. But really, she was the victim. Flora told investigators she’d been kicked out of her foster home and had nowhere to go. Rosado took her in, then started pimping her out. Investigators soon learned that Rosado had become an expert at luring girls and women into the street trade over social media; getting young woman already under his sway to contact girls on Facebook as young as 15. Once lured in, he kept them in line with violence, drugs, and promises of money. In one instance, he choked a girl who refused to obey. In a text, he referred to a O

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girl as “fresh meat.” He put their photos in Backpage sex ads with a contact number. He’d take the call, book the dates, and wait outside to get his cut. To build a stronger case against Rosado, the Office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. wanted to track more girls. Flora didn’t know their full names, phone numbers, or whereabouts. And she didn’t really know the details of how Rosado covered his digital tracks. She didn’t know, for example, that he routinely deleted or changed his girls’ online ads, or changed their names, or switched out burner phones. And so the investigators had nothing that could connect Rosado to a larger prostitution ring, even while he ran his business over the phone from New York City’s Riker’s Island jail. They turned to Memex, which started collaborating with their offices in 2014. Analysts used early versions of Dig and TellFinder to mine Rosado’s invisible traces across deleted and current sex ads, and instantly linked photos, names, emails, phone numbers, and more girls. As Rosado continued his business from jail, investigators listened in as he mentioned new phone numbers, which they could then plug in to Memex and connect to the others. Soon they identified and located even more victims, building the evidence that linked Rosado to a prostitution ring, including 10 teenagers ranging from 15 to 18 years old, and a case that would stick. On September 15, 2015, nearly a year after Rosado was arrested, he was sentenced to seven-to-14 years in prison on charges of sex trafficking and promoting prostitution. Today, the Manhattan District Attorneys office employs Memex in all of its human-trafficking investigations— having screened 4,752  potential cases in the first six months of 2016 alone.

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walls covered in equations. White had left DARPA in May 2015, just before his appointment there ended (the organization employs its researchers for only a limited amount of time in order to keep new ideas flowing and the talent pool fresh). But again, White felt that he’d been popped out of a rabbit hole and faced a crossroads. At f irst he considered starting a company that would use automation and artificial intelligence to allow companies to do their own data analysis and online-security work. The idea was good enough to get interest from venturecapital groups. But then White thought about life as a startup CEO, the toll on his life with his fiancée (White married this past March), and the limited impact it would have on the world. And so, instead of burning a decade being a CEO, White opted to make a thing—and an existence—that he considered simpler, yet bigger. As a principal researcher in Microsoft’s Special Projects division, he gets to build on his work with Memex—making affordable, user-friendly, data-exploring and visualization tools for businesses (and journalists, and everyone else). “The bar is even higher,” he says. “The question is no longer ‘Can we make something that works?’ It’s ‘Can we make something that works for a billion people?’” White hopes his new project will, among other things, change people’s relationship with big data, and each other. It could also impact our democracy in ways no one has ever imagined. Before I left, White flipped open his Lenovo ThinkPad X1 and opened a tool called Newman, a data-visualization tool that shows patterns in an email history— in this case, Jeb Bush’s email from eight years as Florida’s governor. In seconds, Newman sorted 250,000 emails into a nodal flower, showing who Bush had emailed and how often, who was CC’ed, where those were forwarded, and how quickly those emails were responded to. It was, in effect, an interactive map of influence and decision-making, the guts of democracy made transparent. White easily could have run the program over time to show relationships with lobbyists or donors, turning the candidate’s record round and round, like an apple in the hand.

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“In a knowledge economy, this is power,” White says. “Right now there are only a few browsers, and they’re the only interface to the world’s information. With Memex, we thought we could really do something about that.” Memex tools can show the movements of ISIS recruits or propaganda; links between shell companies and money laundering; the flow of illegal guns or labor; and heat maps showing the frequency of social-media mentions for words and ideas, and the intention around them, live across the map. They’ve been sought out to track an Ebola outbreak in West Africa, to understand how people moved in and out of hot zones, and to help the White House determine how to respond to the outbreak. They can also track and map moods and public sentiments as they ripple and change across the planet. It’s not difficult to imagine how such transparency might inform our understanding of global opinions far beyond our limited views of Twitter or our personal Facebook feed. Even easier to imagine is the threat such transparency poses to the current Internet power and profit model—the advertisers who depend on paid experts to rank or review their product, or use SEO tricks or money to steer Internet searches toward their goods, and search companies that make their money selling access to that influence. Or dictatorships using those same techniques to influence and control citizens. Or even a democracy, where a handful of tech companies control the information flow—making it hard for even the most benevolent corporations to avoid an invisible bias in what tech users see, the information on which they base their choices and opinions. If White is correct, Memex is just the beginning of a generation of tools that can help save the Internet from becoming a glorified shopping mall. That’s good. It’s much better than what we have now. But will it be profound? Will it make us better citizens, or more-realized human beings? White watches me a moment, then almost smiles. “These are very interesting and very important questions,” he says. And ones he has only begun to shine his light on.

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comp at

$399

$13999

LOT Customer Rating 61969/61970 69684 shown

12" SLIDING COMPOUND DOUBLE-BEVEL MITER SAW WITH LASER GUIDE

SAVE

R PE ON SU UP CO

LIMIT 5 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 12/23/16. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

Customer Rating

LOT 63066 62314 66383 shown

comp at

$2199

SAVE 56%

• 580 lb. capacity

26", 4 DRAWER TOOL CART LOT 95659 shown 61634/61952 Customer Rating

$319.01

R PE ON SU UP CO

SAVE 70%

8

$ 99

Customer Rating

LOT 95588/60561 69462 shown

3 PIECE DECORATIVE SOLAR LED LIGHTS

LIMIT 5 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be LIMIT 3 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 12/23/16. Limit one coupon per customer per day. must be presented. Valid through 12/23/16. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

R PE ON SU UP CO

SAVE $209

comp at

$10999

At Harbor Freight Tools, the "comp at" price means that the same item or a similar functioning item was advertised for sale at or above the "comp at" price by another retailer in the U.S. within the past 180 days. Prices advertised by others may vary by location. No other meaning of "comp at" should be implied. For more information, go to HarborFreight.com or see store associate.

LIMIT 4 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be LIMIT 8 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 12/23/16. Limit one coupon per customer per day. must be presented. Valid through 12/23/16. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

• HarborFreight.com • 800-423-2567

LIMIT 5 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 12/23/16. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

FOLDABLE ALUMINUM SPORTS CHAIR

LIMIT 1 - Cannot be used with other discount, coupon or prior purchase. Coupon good at our stores, HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Offer good while supplies last. Shipping & Handling charges may apply if not picked up in-store. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 12/23/16. Limit one FREE GIFT coupon per customer per day.

LOT 69031/69030 shown

VALUE

$ 97

4

1" x 25 FT. TAPE MEASURE

FREE

SUPER COUPON

QUALITY TOOLS LOWEST PRICES SUPER COUPON

20%

ANY SINGLE ITEM

OFF

9 PIECE FULLY POLISHED COMBINATION WRENCH SETS SAE METRIC

LOT 63282/69043/42304 shown

SAVE $459

Limit 1 coupon per customer per day. Save 20% on any 1 item purchased. *Cannot be used with other discount, coupon or any of the following items or brands: Inside Track Club membership, Extended Service Plan, gift card, open box item, 3 day Parking Lot Sale item, automotive lifts, compressors, floor jacks, saw mills, storage cabinets, chests or carts, trailers, trenchers, welders, Admiral, Badland, CoverPro, Daytona, Diablo, Earthquake, Franklin, Grant’s, Holt, Jupiter, Lynxx, Maddox, Portland, Predator, StikTek, StormCat, Union, Vanguard, Viking. Not valid on prior purchases. Nontransferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 12/23/16.

R PE ON SU UP CO

SAVE

Customer Rating LOT 63171 42305/69044

YOUR CHOICE

5

comp at $ 99$19.97

99

14" ELECTRIC CHAIN SAW

LIMIT 7 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be LIMIT 3 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 12/23/16. Limit one coupon per customer per day. must be presented. Valid through 12/23/16. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

LOT 61592 67255 shown

WOW SUPER COUPON

SAVE 43%

comp at

$79.97

On All Hand Tools

• 650+ Stores Nationwide • Lifetime Warranty

be calling 800-423-2567. Cannot or HarborFreight.com or by 30 days from original purchase LIMIT 4 - Good at our stores coupon or prior purchases after sferable. Original coupon used with other discount or good while supplies last. Non-tran per customer per day. with original receipt. Offer 12/23/16. Limit one coupon must be presented. Valid through

• 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed • Over 30 Million Satisfied Customers • No Hassle Return Policy

SAVE 71%

Batteries included.

R 27 LED PORTABLE PE ON WORKLIGHT/FLASHLIGHT SU UP LOT 67227 shown CO Customer Rating 69567/60566/62532

2

comp at $ 99$10.41

LOT 61258 shown 61840/61297/68146

Customer Rating

LIMIT 8 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 12/23/16. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

SAVE 100

R PE ON SU UP $ CO

2500 LB.

comp at

$159.99

5999

WITH WIRELESS REMOTE CONTROL

$

LIMIT 4 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 12/23/16. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

WOW SUPER COUPON

SAVE 70%

$49.99

LOT 62279 62302/62866 68861 shown

comp at

$1499

MULTIFUNCTION POWER TOOL

Customer Rating

8 Functions: Sanding, Remove Grout, Cut Metal, Cut Flooring, Cut Plastic, Plunge Cut,Scrape Concrete, Scrape Flooring

SAVE $228

6.5 HP (212 CC) OHV HORIZONTAL SHAFT GAS ENGINES

with original receipt. from original purchase purchases after 30 days last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be Offer good while supplies12/23/16. Limit one coupon per customer per day. presented. Valid through

LIMIT 4 -

ON UP CO

LOT 60363/69730 LOT 68121 69727 shown CALIFORNIA ONLY

comp at

$328

$9999

LIMIT 4 - Good at our stores or HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 12/23/16. Limit one coupon per customer per day.


The incredible Five-Star Opal Anniversary Ring fulfills one of our long-held commitments, and celebrates yours.

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Your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed. Slip this rainbow on her finger. If she’s not absolutely delighted simply send it back within 60 days for a complete refund of the item sale price. The stud earrings are yours to keep. See if your jewelry store can match that! The Five­Star Opal Ring is one of Stauer’s fastest sellers. Supplies are limited. We can’t seem to keep this ring in stock. Don’t miss this rare opportunity. Plus, call today and receive the matching opal stud earrings FREE! You’ll want to catch this radiant rainbow before it’s gone!

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“The play of color in opals is so gorgeous they sometimes don't even seem real and yet they are.” — from 2015 Couture Show

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ong ago, we made a vow: We would not produce a five-opal anniversary ring until two very specific conditions were met. First, the opals had to be of superior quality, with the joyous iridescence to delight all who saw the precious stone’s colors dance in the light. Second, the price had to be right. So when The New York Times style section called Ethiopian opal the “undisputed winner” of the 2014 Gem Show, we decided to pounce. The result is the astoundingly beautiful Five-Star Opal Anniversary Ring. All five of these exotic beauties possess the radiant rainbow of color we’ve been looking for. Arranged in a sterling silver setting finished in lustrous gold, this ring is a beautiful tribute to your lasting love. So how about our price promise? We want you to know there is absolutely no reason to overpay for luxury gemstones. The big name jewelers have been deceiving the public long enough, charging as much as $16,000 for an Ethiopian opal ring. We won’t trump up the EXCLUSIVE price to make you think it’s luxurious. This ring is just as Five Star Opal luxurious (if not more) Stud Earrings -a $199 value- than the big designer name rings, AND it’s with purchase of Five Star Opal Ring yours for under $100. I think it’s safe to say we more than met our price promise. We exceeded it...by about 16,000%!

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Finding Studs Just Got A Lot Easier

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BIOLOGIST'S AFTERSHAVE ADDITIVE INCREASES AFFECTION from WOMEN · Highest Accuracy Stud Finder · Triple-Accuracy Technology · One-Step Operation ♥ Dirk (FL) “I earned my PhD in physics and taught college for 27 years. After I retired from University life I decided to take a job teaching physics in the local high school. Academics has always been exciting for me. Anyway, about the 10X. The interesting thing is that, just after I began using it at the school—which had 36 women teachers—I was called into the principal’s office. She said, “You are affecting the women teachers. There is something about you that affects them. Can you tone it down?” It also did not hurt the attention my wife gave me. She has sort of become ravenous. Normally, I am not attacked in trains and elevators, but she has been AT me and I am enjoying it enormously. Thanks, Dr. Cutler!”

The Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710+ has innovative technology that analyzes data from 13 sensors working simultaneously to accurately locate hidden studs. You just press a button, and LED lights immediately indicate the center and width of the stud. No sliding required. The ProSensor 710+ is the fastest, most accurate stud ƂQGHURQWKHPDUNHW,WőVWKHHDV\ZD\WRƂQGVWXGV

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athenainstitute.com Athena 10X is designed to enhance attractiveness. Vial of 1/6 oz. added to 2 to 4 oz. of your cologne or aftershave lasts 4 to 6 months, or use straight. Contains synthesized human attractant pheromones. Effective for 74% in 8 week published scientific study. Not guaranteed to work for all, since body chemistries differ, but will work for most. Cosmetics not aphrodisiacs. REJECT CHEAP IMITATIONS. Not in stores. Call (610) 827-2200 - Order online or send to: Athena Institute, Dept PS, 1211 Braefield Rd. Chester Springs, PA 19425 FREE US SHIPPING

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14101 Southcross Drive W., Dept. RCK161-01 Burnsville, Minnesota 55337 www.stauer.com


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LOT 95275 shown 60637/61615

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I WISH SOMEONE WOULD INVENT... ...CORDS THAT SELF-UNPLUG @scooterhead Instructables’ Becky Stern says that adding remote-controlled robotic “legs” around an outlet could pry the plug out of the socket. But there’s a fire hazard: “You might need a battery supply to keep it kicking until the plug is entirely clear from the wall so you don’t get any AC arcing,” Stern says.

...A ROBOT DOG WALKER @chaugh Maybe in a decade says Ross Hatton of Oregon State University’s Laboratory for Robotics and Applied Mechanics, “The big challenges would be making a bipedal robot that can withstand the dog’s pull,” stay balanced, and know when to pick up Fido’s “gifts.”

...A DIAGNOSTIC HOSPITAL BED @lpiciacchia We’re about three years from seeing a Star Trek-style bed, says Grant Campany of XPrize. Teams are developing portable pads that can measure all five major vital signs. “There are biosensors that measure electrocardiograph signals through clothing,” Campany says. Want to know if your fantasy invention could become a reality? Tweet it to us @PopSci. POPULAR SCIENCE magazine, Vol. 288, No. 5 (ISSN 161-7370, USPS 577-250), is published bimonthly by Bonnier Corp., 2 Park Ave., New York, NY 10016. Copyright ©2016 by Bonnier Corp. All rights reserved. Reprinting in whole or part is forbidden except by permission of Bonnier Corp. Mailing Lists: We make a portion of our mailing list available to reputable firms. If you would prefer that we not include your name, please write to POPULAR SCIENCE, P.O. Box 6364, Harlan, IA 51593-1864. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to POPULAR SCIENCE, P.O. Box 6364, Harlan, IA 515931864. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY, and additional mailing offices. Subscription Rates: $19.95 for one year. Please add $10 per year for Canadian addresses and $20 per year for all other international addresses. Canada Post Publications agreement #40612608. Canada Return Mail: IMEX Global Solutions, P.O. Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2. Printed in the USA. Subscriptions processed electronically. Subscribers: If the post office alerts us that your magazine is undeliverable, we have no further obligation unless we receive a corrected address within two years. Photocopy Permission: Permission is granted by POPULAR SCIENCE® for libraries and others registered with the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) to photocopy articles in this issue for the flat fee of $1 per copy of each article or any part of an article. Send correspondence and payment to CCC (21 Congress St., Salem, MA 01970); specify CCC code 0161-7370/85/$1.00–0.00. Copying done for other than personal or reference use without the written permission of POPULAR SCIENCE® is prohibited. Address requests for permission on bulk orders to POPULAR SCIENCE, 2 Park Ave., New York, NY 10016 for foreign requests. Editorial Offices: Address contributions to POPULAR SCIENCE, Editorial Dept., 2 Park Ave., New York, NY 10016. We are not responsible for loss of unsolicited materials; they will not be returned unless accompanied by return postage. Microfilm editions are available from Xerox University Microfilms Serial Bid Coordinator, 300 N. Zeeb Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48106.

110 POPSCI. CO M  S E PT /O CT 20 16

I L LUST RAT I ON S BY

Mark Nerys


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