January 2013 issue

Date:1 January 2013 Tags:, , , , , , , , , ,

So that’s our future? Bring it on

Our cover story for the first issue of 2013 tackles the exciting and ever-changing subject of humanity’s future, addressing a host of exciting possibilities from holographic TV to bionic engineering, from farmscrapers (vertical farms) to advances in medical science that could equip humans for longer, healthier lives. In years to come, predicts our panel of experts, scientists will resurrect an extinct species, athletes will employ robotic trainers, and vegetarians and carnivores will dine together on synthetic meats. Bring it on, we say.

This month sees the introduction of PM Zone, a unique Popular Mechanics supplement aimed at curious, tech-savvy teenagers. If you fall into this category, we’ll assume you have not yet reached the stage where your life is dominated by mortgage instalments, arguments over whose turn it is to cook supper, and (Aargh!) a sense of responsibility. Good for you: now use your free time wisely by paging through our new supplement.

In our debut issue, you’ll encounter gadgets that make you go “Yeah, baby!”, meet two South African friends who created a cool video game, marvel at the work of a 14-year-old who fashions new faces for Facebook pages, and read about young South African scientists who have every intention of changing the world, one project at a time. When the future arrives, as it undoubtedly will, people like this – and like you, for that matter – will be better informed and ready to take it on.

Next up, an unusual safety deposit deep inside a cold mountain off the coast of Norway. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a critical element in a multinational bid to preserve the world’s biodiversity in the face of serious threats, thereby ensuring a reliable supply of food for the future. In essence, it’s a “central bank” for the world’s seeds – and it nearly didn’t happen.

Our cosmic photo album (“Somewhere out there”) reprises an earlier feature that obviously resonated with our audience, portraying some of the most striking nebulae – clouds of dust and gas – captured by terrestrial and space telescopes. Just in case you thought our planet was something special in the cosmic scheme of things…

– Alan Duggan (aland@ramsaymedia.co.za)