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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You see light sticks everywhere during the holidays – especially Halloween. Have you ever wondered why these cool light sources glow? What's happening when you crack one? Take a look inside a light stick.

By Tom Harris

They dispense everything from hairspray to cleaning products to whipped cream. Without them, you'd be doing a whole lot of pumping.

By Tom Harris

Before digital cameras, you needed instant film to get instant pictures. With instant-film photography, you can watch the image slowly come together in a matter of minutes. While it seems like magic, the process relies on elements of science. Find ou

By Tom Harris

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Black lights look like normal lights, but they do something completely different. Switch one on, and fingernails, laundry detergent, highlighters, money and teeth will glow in the dark. Find out what why.

By Tom Harris

Remember "astronaut ice cream"? That was freeze-dried. You can find freeze-dried spaghetti and meatballs and even omelets. Find out what "freeze-dried" means and how such a state is achieved.

By Tom Harris

If you've ever tasted a Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut, you know there's something special to these melt-in-your-mouth treats. How do they make a doughnut that's crispy outside yet soft inside? Find out.

By Tom Harris

Sourdough bread tastes great, but have you ever thought about it as a technology??? Learn how this technology works!

By Pamela Nelson

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It's Thanksgiving Day and your waistband is groaning after dinner. Some say that tryptophan, an amino acid found in turkey, is the reason you want a nap, but is that really true?

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

Have concerns about the effects of aspartame? Wonder if it can really make you go blind? Find out the answer to your questions in this article.

Stout, lager, pale ale, pilsner and porter ... it takes a lot to produce a great beer. Take a tour through the brewing process from start to finish, barley to bottle, mash to keg and learn to brew at home!

By Karim Nice

I have been smoking for 50 years and have always wondered why cigarettes have filter tips. I can remember when none of the cigarettes on the market had filters, and now nearly all of them do. Does the filter do anything?

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How does chlorine work to clean swimming pools?

I live in California, where we are having a power crunch. I have a hypothetical question: Could I power my computer or my TV with a bicycle generator?

By Austin Henderson

This stimulant drink comes from beans that are roasted and ground and, for many of us, it's a staple of life. But do you know where coffee grows and how it gets to America? How a French roast differs from an Italian roast? What a coffee cherry is? Or how decaffeinated coffee is made?

By Debra Beller

Crayola crayons have nurtured childhood creativity and remained safely edible for over 100 years. Now learn their story- how they originated in the 19th century, how they've changed, and we'll even tell you how old that familiar label is.

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How can my glasses change from transparent, when I'm inside, to dark when I go outdoors?

By Austin Henderson

How do trick birthday candles work -- the kind that re-light themselves after you blow them out?

Whether you're hitting the surf or the slopes or just spending a day on the lake, sunglasses are a must-have accessory. Find out if the $10 sunglasses are as good as the high-cost ones.

By Jeff Tyson

Although technology is helping to make the world seem a lot smaller, there are still major differences between countries. Learn about electrical standardization around the globe.

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As you surf the Web, your mind is distracted by the thought of warm cookies floating in cold milk. Will this craving ever subside, or do you need chocolaty satisfaction ASAP?

By Cristen Conger

Pet microchips are supposed to ensure recovery of your lost animal. But these chips have received as much opposition as they have praise. Find out when the devices work and when they fail.

By Jane McGrath

Right now, you may be sitting on a chair or walking on a rug made of some type of fabric. Hopefully, you're wearing fabric in the form of clothes! But fabric is easily damaged. So what if there were a super fabric out there that stayed intact?

By Jessika Toothman

What if we could enjoy all of the pleasurable effects of alcohol, without having to worry about the harmful side effects? Learn about synthehol and other alternatives to alcohol.

By Stephanie Watson

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Unless you're in a particularly remote area, you can't go far in most developed countries without finding a fast-food restaurant. Learn how fast-food restaurants came to be and why they're so popular.

By Tracy V. Wilson

The ancient Chinese brought us many great innovations, including some that we take for granted in the modern world. Let's examine 10 of ancient China's greatest inventions.

By Josh Clark & Sascha Bos