A Powerful Chemistry Tool Inspired by Music Boxes Only Costs $5

Stanford University's Manu Prakash, Ph.D., loves coming up with cheap, rugged scientific equipment, like his 50-cent microscope made of folded cardboard. Now he's followed that up with another ingenious chemistry tool: A $5 device that uses the guts from a music box to control chemical reactions with super precision. » 4/08/14 12:40pm 4/08/14 12:40pm

13 Unexpected Sources of Energy that Could Save the World

If humans are going to keep living in the style to which we're accustomed, we need to find alternatives for fossil fuels. Partly that's because we need to reduce pollution — and partly because those fossil fuels are going to run out. But alternative forms of energy may look a lot weirder than you think. » 3/31/14 6:11pm 3/31/14 6:11pm

This Pretty Gel Is a Smart Tag That Changes Color When Food Spoils

Thanks to what looks like a little square of jello, you could tell your milk has gone bad without even opening the (gross-smelling) container. The gel is actually a nanorod-embedded smart tag that changes from red to green, mimicking the growth of bacteria in milk without touching it. » 3/19/14 5:40pm 3/19/14 5:40pm

Why Toothpaste Makes Things Taste So Awful

You may think it might be the common mint flavor of toothpaste clashing with other flavors, but in the case of orange juice and many other things, this isn't actually what's going on. The culprit here is thought to be two compounds almost universally added to toothpastes -sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium lauryl ether… » 3/11/14 6:00am 3/11/14 6:00am

Plants Engineered To Produce Insect Perfume Could Act As Pesticides

Swedish and American researchers have successfully engineered plants to produce chemical attractants like those released by insects to find mates. They say their plant factories could be used to lure and trap nuisance bugs as an environmentally friendly alternative to pesticides and synthetically produced attractants. » 3/06/14 6:40pm 3/06/14 6:40pm

Witness the Birth of a Snowflake

One of the more technically creative time lapses we've seen in a long while, Snowtime is a 2-minute "microscopic time-lapse" by Vyacheslav Ivanov that captures the mesmerizing bloom of budding ice crystals in all their hexagonal glory. » 2/22/14 6:55pm 2/22/14 6:55pm

Climb Higher Than Mt. Everest, Without Leaving Manhattan

Who knew such extraordinary altitudes could be found, hidden inside the towers of Manhattan's Flatiron District? But, behind the nondescript door of a 5th-floor office on 21st Street, heights as great as the Himalayas are waiting to be scaled. Gizmodo took a deep breath and visited the atmospheric wizardry of Hypoxico, … » 2/13/14 5:00pm 2/13/14 5:00pm