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The Google Maps of 1917

Before Mapquest and Google, there was the “electric directory.”


Thinking Cap

Never worry about distractions again.


The First Audiobook: an LP for the Blind

Before they started playing music, LPs were used to play books for those who couldn’t see.


The Dream Recorder (of 1926)

Scientists are getting closer than ever to capturing the contents of our dreams, a goal since at least the 1920s.


Nikola Tesla and the Myth of the Lone Inventor

We like our inventors to be lone geniuses, but it’s almost always the case that today’s giant is standing on the shoulders of yesterday’s.


Will California Build an Earthquake Warning System?

We’re a long way from being able to predict temblors, but what if we had even a few moments of warning before the shaking started?

A Santa Monica apartment building destroyed by the Northridge earthquake in 1994 (PHOTO: SPIRIT OF AMERICA/SHUTTERSTOCK)

Adding a Horse to the Horseless Carriage of Yore

Nostalgic for the nostalgia of yesterday? Popular Science had a thriving enterprise in the 1930s that looked back at wacky inventions from earlier years.

Horse attachment as depicted in the 1937 Popular Science film "Horse-Friendly Auto Attachment"

Your Granddaddy’s TiVo

Inventors have been trying to find a way to silence ads since way before Spotify, Pandora and Grooveshark


Visions of Futuristic Air Travel (And Plenty of Leg Room!) in 1946

The vision of post-war air travel isn’t all that different from what well-heeled fliers can get today, but what a long, strange trip it’s been.


An X-Ray a Day Keeps Diamond Smuggling at Bay

One mine in 1919 South Africa had a foolproof way to see whether its miners were smuggling out raw diamonds: it gave them a radiation-laden scan at the end of every shift.


Distracted Drivers Are Nothing New

Forget cellphones. The real danger from distracted driving is the car radio—according to observers in the days before Sirius, in-car DVD players, and even web browsers.

Illustration of a radio being installed in a car in the June 1933 issue of Radio-Craft magazine [Source: Novak Archive]

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Quick Studies

When a Romance Is Threatened, People Rebound With God

And when they feel God might reject them, they buddy up to their partner.

How Can We Protect Open Ocean That Does Not Yet Exist?

As global warming melts ice and ushers in a wave of commercial activity in the Arctic, scientists are thinking about how to protect environments of the future.

What Kind of Beat Makes You Want to Groove?

The science behind the rhythms that get you on the dance floor.

Pollution’s Racial Divides

When it comes to the injustice of air pollution, the divide between blacks and whites is greater than the gap between the rich and the poor.

Hunger and Low Blood Sugar Can Spur Domestic Quarrels

In an experiment, scientists found a correlation between low blood glucose and higher levels of spousal frustration.

The Big One

One state—Pennsylvania—logs 52 percent of all sales, shipments, and receipts for the chocolate manufacturing industry. March/April 2014