It’s natural to think about the processes that produced the food in your daily sack lunch, but have you ever stopped to consider the manufacturing techniques behind the sack itself? The flat-bottomed brown paper bags we encounter constantly—in the lunch context, at grocery stores, in gift shops—are as unassuming as they are ubiquitous, but the story underlying them deserves recognition. At the center of it is a precocious young woman, born in Maine on the heels of the Industrial Revolution and raised in New Hampshire. Her name is Margaret Kni
Continue reading Meet the Female Inventor Behind Mass-Market Paper Bags →
For the first time ever, scientists have 3D-printed an array of light sensors onto an eyeball-shaped surface. Eventually, a scaled-up version of the device could restore vision to the blind, or even improve the vision of sighted people. Continue reading New Research Takes Us One Step Closer to a Bionic Eye →
Over the weekend, China’s army, navy, and air force conducted a wide range of naval exercises in the Yellow Sea, close to North Korea.
Continue reading As a drill and potential warning, China’s navy just fired dozens of missiles near North Korea →
For decades, the pipes that brought water to LeAnne Walters’ house did their job unnoticed and safely. But in summer 2014, that changed.
Continue reading Scientists Now Know Exactly How Lead Got Into Flint’s Water →
Tall buildings often have tuned mass dampers hidden inside their structures to stabilize them against the wind. Those tuned mass dampers are huge and heavy and help limit a building’s movement by swaying in the opposite direction of the building. That is, if the wind is making a skyscraper sway to the right, the damper will sway to the left to dissipate the kinetic energy, and reduce the, um, swaying. What’s interesting is that the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, doesn’t have that.
Continue reading How Skyscrapers Are Being Built Higher and Higher →
The history of civilization is really a tale of data storage. We’ve come up with an endless list of solutions for passing along culture and knowledge—from cave paintings to hard drives. But each solution is imperfect: books can burn (though we have learned how to decode some charred scrolls), monuments weather away and even magnetic tape or discs will eventually fail. While DVDs seem like a long-lasting solution, they’re not. And they can only hold a few terabytes of information, but the world’s technology produces exabytes and zettabytes of data every year.
Continue reading New Method Could Store Massive Amounts of Data in Diamond Defects →
Last year, Chris Borland of the San Francisco 49ers announced he was quitting football because of the high risk of concussion and long-term brain damage, despite protective helmets. And he’s not alone: it’s a growing concern, particularly for teenaged athletes. But a new collar inspired by the humble woodpecker may help protect athletes from such trauma in the future .
Continue reading This Woodpecker-Inspired Collar Could Protect Athletes from Concussion →