The past often points the way forward, even in technology. In Scientific American’s November Advances Clay Dillow documents the return of the turboprop airplane in response to demands for regional flights and better fuel efficiency. As a result, new blade designs and layouts are on the way.

But some windows into the past can disappear forever: Climatologists are scrambling to excavate melting cave ice that holds clues about ancient Earth’s climate. Lucas Laursen talks with the scientists who are wringing their hands over losing these records.

Whereas some researchers work in caves, others are about to conduct their experiments in a souped-up concert hall built to study the science of performance. Imagine rocking out to a concert while sensors measure your brain activity and how much you sweat. That is one of the scenarios that scientists may test in the new LIVELab at McMaster University in Ontario.

Sports have never looked so strange as with the Hover Ball, a quadcopter–ball hybrid that thwarts the rules of physics. As Larry Greenemeier reports, this new ball could transform sports for children, the elderly or people with disabilities.

Also in November’s Advances section: