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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The HiDyRS-X camera is a slow-motion, high-definition, dynamic range powerhouse built specifically for rocket science.

By Christopher Hassiotis

The practice of clapping to show our approval is an ancient one. But recent research suggests that applause actually spreads like a contagious disease.

By Patrick J. Kiger

It's melty, it's gooey, it's oozy, it's yellow, it's processed It's on your burgers and in your grilled cheese sandwiches. But, uh… what's it made of?

By Laurie L. Dove

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Researchers develop a gadget that lets winemakers hasten the fermentation process, experiment more.

By Kathryn Whitbourne

Very often, media coverage of scientific studies is misleading or just plain wrong. What do scientists think would make it better?

By Alia Hoyt

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

By Oisin Curran

Swedish researchers have figured out how to take the color out of wood and make it 85 percent transparent. It's part of a trend of new see-through materials.

By Patrick J. Kiger

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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

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

College students who volunteer to participate in academic experiments for extra credit don't exactly represent humanity. And that's a problem for research.

By Julia Layton

While it might seem like the home only of Martha Stewart wannabes, Pinterest has a political side too.

By Alia Hoyt

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In 1915, the great physicist predicted the existence of ripples in space-time called gravitational waves. A century later, scientists finally have detected them on Earth.

By Patrick J. Kiger

Inexpensive hand sanitizer (as well as antifreeze) can preserve insect DNA for several days, helping citizen scientists to easily send specimens to researchers.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Thousands of screaming fans. Thousands of beers. Thousands of visits to the bathroom. And a field that needs nutrients. You thinking what we're thinking?

By Jesslyn Shields

Dairy waste product gets second life as biogas in — where else? — France.

By Maria Trimarchi

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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

Sure, you've heard about the benefits of standing desks. But what about a "smart desk" that decides when you stand or sit?

By Chris Opfer

Do people born on the 13th of a month have a lifetime of bad luck? Researchers examined whether an “unlucky” birthdate could impact employment, earnings and marriage.

By Laurie L. Dove

You can find porta-potties at festivals, construction sites and concerts across the planet – but how do they work? Get a closer (non-messy) look here.

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Using a portable toilet at an outdoor concert or festival might be disgusting. But it sure beats going in a field! Now, imagine if your job were to clean out those suckers.

By Dave Roos

The genetic material from two parents combines to form a child. Can we throw a third set of genes into the mix?

By Patrick J. Kiger

You may have heard of Topsy the elephant and her sad demise at the hands of Thomas Edison. But what's the real story?

By Nathan Chandler

Some truly bizarre and troubling things have been done through the ages in the quest for scientific knowledge. The 10 experiments on this list all made humans into lab rats.

By Maria Trimarchi

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Nothing quite thrills like seeing fireworks light up the night sky. A lot of design and planning goes into creating the awe-inspiring shapes we've come to love.

By Karen Kirkpatrick

We tend not to want to think about where our food comes from. Picture a cow in a field, mentally skip the butchery part — voila, hamburger! Is a petri dish any different, really?

By Kate Kershner