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magazine has been around for a really long time; I remember reading
it as a kid. A couple days ago while waiting in a doctor's office, I
spied a few editions laying on the children's play area table and decided
to walk over and take a look - just for kicks. I expected to find the
remembered entertainment items like the Hidden Picture with a dozen
or so objects cleverly buried in it to find, Goofus and Gallant demonstrating
good manners and cooperation skills, and the Timbertoes family (I never
have understood them). Everything is still there just as I remembered.
What I did not remember being there, but was very please to see,
were some extremely well-done articles on many topics of science and
engineering. Having begun my engineering studies way back in 1976 in
the field of architecture, reading the piece on Frank Lloyd Wright's
house in Pennsylvania was a welcome distraction while enduring the doctor's
waiting room experience. Designed in 1935, it was and still is an engineering
marvel. At the time, reinforced concrete construction was just gaining
acceptance in the world of large commercial buildings, and Wright exploited
the techniques to construct multiple cantilevered platforms that jut
out over the waterfalls over which the house is built. Primary structural
beams are anchored in the natural boulders surrounding the waterfall.
In the same issue was a story on aviation pioneer Glenn L. Martin.
Martin was only a short distance behind Orville and Oliver Wright in
development of powered flight. Indeed, he sought after and obtained
a lot of cooperation from the Wrights. Martin is credited with designing
and flying the first successful monoplane. He went on to found Martin
Aircraft Company, which has since merged to become part of Lockheed
Martin. The article covered both the scientific aspect of his life and
the personal side, including the encouragement he received from his
sister. Interestingly, the Wrights also received major encouragement
from their only sister during their own pursuits.
edition had a great article that covered the development of microsensors
to detect electrical sparks, while yet another explored the ecosystem
of the Great Lakes. The variety of topics was impressive, and the depth
of coverage was shallow enough to not discourage young readers, while
deep enough to keep me enthusiastically searching for new stories to
the extent that I was almost disappointed (almost) when Melanie finally
emerged from the doctor's examination room an hour after going in. The
time spent perusing Highlights actually made the wait tolerable.
If you have children in the 5-16 year-old age range, I definitely recommend
signing up for a subscription to Highlights - you will probably
find yourself reading it, too.