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Everyday Innovations

Have you ever wondered how black lights, or mirrors work? This collection of articles will explain the workings of some of the most common inventions and innovations you come into contact with everyday.


How do fireworks explode in specific shapes?

Nothing quite thrills like seeing fireworks for the first time. But while many of us have grown up taking these bright, booming wonders for granted, a lot of design and planning goes into creating the awe-inspiring shapes we've come to love. See more »

Is glass really a liquid?

Whether it's checking your look in a mirror or using a smartphone, we've come to rely on glass so much that it's nearly impossible to imagine life without it. But what exactly is this remarkable material? Solid, liquid or other? See more »

How Elastic Works

It holds your Skivvies up, secures your ponytail and generally keeps athletes, rock stars and the general public outfitted in stretchy comfort. Ready to learn about the elastic fantastic? See more »

Who invented sports drinks?

When you think of sports drinks, chances are Gatorade comes to mind. But was it the first one? Or just the beneficiary of clever marketing? See more »

Who invented the spork?

Behold the humble spork! Made of the cheapest plastic and seen mostly at public school cafeterias and fast food chains, it doesn't have an inspiring pedigree. But it's been around for a long time. See more »

How Paper Shredders Work

Despite a ho-hum name, paper shredders have an extraordinary (and juicy) history featuring the likes of Oliver North, Enron and all sorts of spies. What story will thrust this commonplace technology back in the limelight next? See more »

Who invented MP3s?

You probably listen to digitally encoded music on a regular basis, but have you ever wondered who pioneered the tech that allows you to carry thousands of songs in your pocket? See more »

How do erasers erase?

Ahhhh, the good old No. 2 pencil and its oft-used eraser. Have you ever wondered exactly what science is at work when that pink, rubbery lifesaver eradicates your blunders? See more »

How Adhesive Tape Works

In 1925, after an auto paint job gone wrong, a young research assistant was struck by the idea for adhesive tape. But how does tape actually stick, and how are we able to peel it off a roll? See more »

How Stethoscopes Work

Stethoscopes started as a way for 19th-century doctors to put some distance between themselves and grubby patients. Today though, this simple listening tool is one of the best ways to diagnose a range of problems. See more »