12 Pieces of Tech That Turned the Tide At Normandy

The Allied Invasion of Normandy was one of the single most logistically and strategically complex maneuvers ever concocted by the US military. With a strike force numbering in the hundreds of thousands and the momentum of the entire counter-offensive hanging in the balance, there was simply no room for failure. » 5/20/14 9:00am 5/20/14 9:00am

The Inside Story of How the iPad Got Its Iconic Design

While Jony Ive's group was secretly working on the iPad, Steve Jobs was telling the public and press that Apple had no intention of releasing a tablet. “Tablets appeal to rich guys with plenty of other PCs and de- vices already,” he said publicly. But Jobs was dissembling. “Steve never lost his desire to do a tablet,”… » 11/14/13 11:00am 11/14/13 11:00am

How We Barely Beat Soviet Russia to Inventing the Laser

Russians were pioneers in the development of lasers, today a multi-billion dollar industry. Two of them, Alexander Prokhorov and Nikolai Basov, won the Nobel Prize in 1964, along with the American Charles Townes, for the invention of lasers and masers. Even much earlier, in the nineteen thirties and forties the… » 11/13/13 3:00pm 11/13/13 3:00pm

The Book of Bourbon: How the World's Best Whiskey Got Its Start

Just as gin in Britain and vodka in Russia, America's most renowned for its whiskey. This delicious amber liquor once helped turn the tide of the Civil War, it survived Prohibition, and is now once again finding its way into the tumblers of a thirsty public. In his new book, Drink More Whiskey, Daniel Yaffe explores… » 10/10/13 6:00pm 10/10/13 6:00pm

Build Your Own LEGO Sputnik to Commemorate the Start of the Space Race

Fifty-six years ago today, humanity entered the Space Age as a 23-inch radio-pulsing metal sphere dubbed Sputnik 1 entered LEO. As it sped around the Earth at 18,000 mph, Sputnik set off a firestorm of envy from the Americans which directly incited a Space Race that would last until we put a man on the Moon. » 10/04/13 2:00pm 10/04/13 2:00pm

How Human History Could Have Turned Out (And Probably Should Have)

In this infinite universe of ours, every event that occurs and every choice that we make continually split away into countless individual timelines—alternate realities, if you will. So who's to say that Bigfoot, Kraken, Martians, even Cthulu himself aren't perfectly real but simply residents of a now divergent… » 10/02/13 3:00pm 10/02/13 3:00pm

Why LEGO Architecture Is the Best Kind of Architecture

Why LEGO? It is a medium that offers instant gratification. No matter how large a project is, at the end of the day, I can look at the section I've built in its finished state. LEGO is a one-step process; there’s no gluey mess, sanding, or painting to worry about. I just build. This gives me the opportunity, after… » 9/23/13 4:40pm 9/23/13 4:40pm

Apple Juice: How to Charge Your Phone With Pocket Change and Fruit

Arthur C. Clarke wrote that "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic," but he was wrong. It's easy to tell the difference—technology works. For example, "remote-viewing" mentalists claim they can see events far away, yet they fail every test. In fact, remote viewing is simple: It's called… » 5/31/13 2:00pm 5/31/13 2:00pm

How Human Evolution Prepared Us to Survive Future Disasters

We may be in the early stages of a disaster so profound that it could kick off a mass extinction. Does that mean humanity is doomed? No. Scientific evidence suggests that humans will survive. Find out why, in this excerpt from Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive A Mass Extinction. » 5/13/13 12:52pm 5/13/13 12:52pm

Why You Never Hear About World-Altering Inventions Created by Committee

Modern corporate culture is in L-O-V-E, love with meetings (and any opportunity to engage in groupthink). But if you look back, history's real intellectual heavyweights weren't "team players." Intellectual giants like DaVinci, Einstein, and even Steve Wozniak, all developed their best works in near solitude. Quiet, by… » 3/01/12 11:00am 3/01/12 11:00am

What the Heck Happened to All of These Moon Rocks?

The astronauts who landed on the moon brought back incredible souvenirs: 842 pounds of moon rocks. Over the years many of those precious stones disappeared. Some were lost and others were sold for obscene sums of money on the black market. This is the story of the man who devoted his life to tracking them all down. » 2/25/12 9:00am 2/25/12 9:00am

How to Trust Your Neighbors in a Networked World

SARS, Bird Flu, terrorists, religious extremists, extreme religionists, DEMOCRATS—it seems that we find a new reason every week to mistrust those around us and yet our society has yet to implode in the orgy of fire and chaos that 24-hour-news networks would have you believe. Liars and Outliers by Bruce Schneier… » 2/23/12 11:00am 2/23/12 11:00am