Editor's note

Every morning, kids across the country ride the bus to and from school. Planning those routes is a headache for school districts – and, at up to US$100,000 per bus, often costs them big. But new computational models can quickly calculate more efficient routes, write Ali Haghani and Ali Shafahi at the University of Maryland. This could be an easy way for schools everywhere to cut down on cost and emissions, while still serving all of their students.

When all those pupils get dropped off at the end of the day, they may be hankering for a hot snack. Chances are they’ll turn to a ubiquitous appliance in American kitchens: the microwave. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the home microwave hitting the market. Celebrate by reading about its origins in radar technology during WWII.

And American University historian Eric Lohr takes us through three centuries of Russian interference in other people’s elections.

Aviva Rutkin

Big Data and Applied Mathematics Editor

Top story

Got to get to school on time. Cropped from deanhochman/flickr

School bus routes are expensive and hard to plan. We calculated a better way

Ali Haghani, University of Maryland; Ali Shafahi, University of Maryland

Every year, school districts across the U.S. try to plan out a bus schedule that works for all students while keeping costs and emissions low. Our mathematical models can help.

Science + Technology

  • Hot food, fast: The home microwave oven turns 50

    Timothy J. Jorgensen, Georgetown University

    It's been five decades of microwave popcorn and piping hot leftovers in home kitchens. A serendipitous discovery helped engineers harness radar to create this now ubiquitous timesaving appliance.

Politics + Society

Arts + Culture

  • Debunking the 'gaydar' myth

    William Cox, University of Wisconsin-Madison

    Previous studies have shown that people possess gaydar, the ability to discern who's gay and who isn't. But this research falls prey to an error that, when corrected, leads to the opposite conclusion.

Ethics + Religion

Health + Medicine

Economy + Business

Environment + Energy

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