Innovation

Do you know how common everyday items, such as mirrors, fireworks or sunglasses work? This collection of Innovation articles explores the workings of objects you may come into contact with on a regular basis.

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After surveying thousands of published genetics papers, researchers found nearly one-fifth had errors caused by Microsoft Excel in their supplementary files. Uh-oh.

By Jonathan Strickland

Ever wonder what's happening as your hair changes color? Permanent hair dyes physically and chemically change each hair, whether it's mermaid blue or bleach blonde.

By Laurie L. Dove

He had patents and pigeons galore. His role in history books could be more. So come ye science fans, and read up on your Tesla facts, myths and lore.

By Nicholas Gerbis

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Although many still remember Nikola Tesla, his name doesn't carry the weight it once did during his famous battles with Thomas Edison. What was this eccentric genius like?

By John Kelly

On its good days, science is incredible and enlightening. On its bad days, science can be anywhere from gross to downright bizarre. What are some of science's craziest questions? (And why did anyone want to answer them?)

By Jessika Toothman

"Objects in mirror are closer than they appear." That little line appears so often and in so many contexts, it's almost lost all meaning -- but why is it there, and what does physics have to do with it?

By Julia Layton

Why is the sky blue? What's relativity all about? If you're thinking, "something to do with light and physics and stuff," we have some short explanations for you.

By Patrick J. Kiger

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If this were trivia night, your team could probably summon this answer without breaking a sweat. But in true polymath style, Engelbart's signature invention is only part of his computer genius. Meet him.

By Nicholas Gerbis

If you step on a crack, you'll break your mother's back. Surely you know this jingle from childhood. It's a silly example of a correlation with no causation. But there are some real-world instances that we often hear, or maybe even tell?

By Nicholas Gerbis & Melanie Radzicki McManus

Solar energy is an up-and-coming field, but did you know that it owes much of its growth to NASA? Discover how NASA's research and development of solar power for space has trickled down to the Earthly realm.

By Nathan Chandler

If you thought that all NASA did was send shuttles into space, prepare to think again. Whether in the doctor's office, hospital or home medicine cabinet, you probably don’t go a day without bumping into some NASA technology.

By Linda C. Brinson

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You might be familiar with space blankets -- those lightweight blankets worn by marathon runners or spectators in a football stadium. The technology was invented by NASA and is just one spinoff in the area of insulation. What are some others?

By John Kelly

NASA's technological innovations haven't just gotten us to the moon and beyond -- some have also helped make life a little greener here on Earth. What are five surprisingly grounded technologies spearheaded by NASA?

By Jessika Toothman

You think you really know an invention until -- whammo -- someone comes up with a new use for it. Ointment that soothes tired cow teats and treats baldness? Who would have thought?

By William Harris

These days, remote controls seem to, well, control our lives. Most people tend to have piles of them strewn about their living rooms. But where did this ubiquitous technology come from? Where is it headed?

By Nathan Chandler

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The World Wide Web is bursting with information, so much so that it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of data available to us. How can we sort through and make sense of it all? That's where Web mashups come in.

By Nathan Chandler

We're used to bar codes saving us time in the grocery store, but some applications of this handy technology might actually save your bacon. What are some potentially life-saving applications of bar code tech?

By Stephanie Crawford

2-D bar codes are being used in some interesting ways. Visit HowStuffWorks to learn everything about 2-D bar codes.

By Jonathan Atteberry & Austin Henderson

Gravity dictates the structure of the universe, from the way cosmic bodies form to the way they orbit more massive planets or stars. Has it always played such a starring role in our cosmic history?

By Robert Lamb

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Gravity is great, but if we could figure out how to selectively reduce its effects, we could cut the energy demands of travel and transportation. Don't cheaper airline tickets sound pretty good?

By Robert Lamb

Sure, novelty foods can seem gimmicky sometimes, but color-changing ice cream is a treat that's fun for your taste buds and your eyes. Learn the chemistry behind the confection — it's sweeter than you think.

By Nicholas Gerbis

Science is forever uncovering the mysteries of our universe, but some questions remain elusive. What topics have us still scratching our heads?

By Nathan Chandler

Animal testing has a long, gruesome history, but it's also saved countless human lives.

By Oisin Curran

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Ice sculptures can range from small tabletop pieces to entire buildings. In this fundamentally temporary medium, art and engineering combine to form sparkling, breathtaking effects.

By Nathan Chandler