flight

The Science of Dune: Technology

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Frank Herbert's "Dune," the game-changing 1965 sci-fi novel full of space-age feudalistic intrigue, rampaging sandworms and prescient mind drugs on a desert world. Even today, the work resonates with scientific wonder and philosophical intrigue, so join Robert and Joe for a two-part exploration of the science of "Dune." First up, consider the real-life possibilities of water-recycling stillsuits, the Holtzman Effect and the war against thinking machines.

Wind Beneath My Surgical Wings, Part 2

Can science give us the wings we've always envied in birds? Can plastic surgery elevate us to a higher human form? In this episode, Robert and Julie discuss Joseph Rosen's posthuman philosophy and ponder what we'd have to do to transform arms into wings. Learn all about it in this classic episode of STBYM.

Wind Beneath My Surgical Wings, Part 1

Can science give us the wings we've always envied in birds? Can plastic surgery elevate us to a higher human form? In this episode, Robert and Julie discuss Joseph Rosen's posthuman philosophy and ponder what we'd have to do to transform arms into wings. Learn all about it in this classic episode of STBYM.

Up in the Air

Up in the Air: How long can a bird stay in the air? How about an airplane? From human flight to the future of laser-powered drone aircraft, the answers may surprise you in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. And be sure to click here for a mini-gallery of birds and planes featured in this episode.

Mini-Gallery: Up in the Air

See the birds and planes from our podcast "Up in the Air."

Why don't airplanes have flapping wings?

Why don't airplanes have flapping wings? That design seems to work just fine for birds, insects and bats. Leonardo da Vinci sketched numerous flapping aircraft and "Dune" author Frank Herbert envisioned a distant future in which humans sailed the winds of a desert planet in flapping ornithopters. Yet more than a few inventors have tried to flap their way into the sky only to plummet like a stone. What gives?