Our Best Explainers of 2013

From death by micrometeorite to living without gluten, Gizmodo has explored more than 50 everyday scientific mysteries throughout this year. Here are our ten best.


Our Best Explainers of 2013Why You Might Want to Rethink Going Gluten-Free

Going gluten-free is all the rage these days. It's the diet of choice for Hollywood starlets and health nuts alike; supermarket aisles are packed full of products touting their lack of the stretchy protein. But for a lot of people, the gluten-free lifestyle may do more harm than good.


Our Best Explainers of 2013

Can Humans Breathe Liquid?

Deep water and the unprotected human body don't play well together—like, at all. But what if there were a way to get around the body's chemical limitations, a means of deep diving without the bends or lengthy decompression? Actually, there is. And we've almost figured out how to do it without killing ourselves in the process.


Our Best Explainers of 2013

What Happens When You Stick Your Head Into a Particle Accelerator

Today I found out what happens when you stick your head into a particle accelerator. Exhibit A: Anatoli Petrovich Bugorski, a Russian scientist who has the distinction of being the only person to ever stick his head in a running particle accelerator. Shockingly, he also managed to survive the ordeal and, all things considered, came out without too much damage.


Our Best Explainers of 2013

How Sunscreen Works (And Why You're Wrong About It)

Your skin shouldn't look like a package of pork cracklins after spending the day outdoors; that's why we invented sunscreen. However, there's a right way and a wrong way to slather on your protection—screw it up and you could get burned.


Our Best Explainers of 2013

How Much Would It Cost to Build the Starship Enterprise?

So you want to build the Enterprise. Don't we all! Well good news: according to some quick, messy, napkin math, it's possible. Kind of. The bad news? It's going to be stupid expensive. But not unfathomably so! Start scrounging up your space-pennies.


Our Best Explainers of 2013

Why Android Updates Are So Slow

Android updates have taken forever to reach most phones for years. So what the hell? Why hasn't the problem been fixed? And who's to blame here? We asked Android manufacturers, carriers, and Google what the hold-up was. And what a tangled web we found.


Our Best Explainers of 2013

The Suit Won't Save You: Four Ways Space Can Kill You Dead

Turns out, being blown out of an airlock and turning into a meat popsicle after succumbing to hypoxia isn't so bad. At least, not when compared to the multitude of other deadly maladies that await you in the depths of space. Here are just a few ways that interplanetary exploration is conspiring to kill us all.


Our Best Explainers of 2013

Why Power Outlets Look So Weird in Other Countries

Getting foreign gadgets to play nice with the local power grid is a nightmare any time you travel internationally. Here's why every country on the planet (except yours) totally screwed up indoor wiring.


Our Best Explainers of 2013

What's the Deal With Creatine?

Creatine has been wildly popular since the 1990s. It's touted as a shortcut to gaining lean muscle mass, and packed into everything from supplement pills and powders to sports drinks. But how does it work, if at all? Is it even safe? Allow us to demystify this strange chemical beast.


Our Best Explainers of 2013

The History of the Weird Keyboard Symbols You Never Knew You Needed

Before the age of the internet, you likely never noticed some of the keyboard symbols that you now use all the time. Most of us still don't know the actual history behind these now-ubiquitous symbols, the reasons they exist, or how they ended up in your email addresses and URLs. It's actually fascinating once you start digging. It turns out that type itself dates back to the early days of civilization. So even in cyberspace, there are a few paleolithic surprises.