The Hardest Part of Making a Nuclear Bomb

Nuclear bombs are easy to make, right? Find some uranium, shove in some explosives and—BOOM!—you're quite literally done. Umm, sorry, nope. The big problem in making a nuclear bomb is that you need enriched uranium, and that's actually a real pain in the ass to make. In this video the engineering guy Bill Hammack » 6/19/12 7:55am 6/19/12 7:55am

How the Most Accurate Clocks in the World Work

Atomic clocks are super accurate, but do you know how they work? Probably not! Well, unless you know about quartz vibrations regulated by Cesium energy states at the atomic level, which are separated by magnets and ovens. But assuming you don't know that stuff, here's the engineerguy Bill Hammack explaining how… » 6/12/12 3:20pm 6/12/12 3:20pm

So How Exactly Are Lasers Created?

They're the bane of pilots and moviegoers, but lasers have become an essential part of everyday life. They facilitate everything from high-speed communications, to vision-saving surgeries, to super-villain plots for world domination. But how in the hell do they get that beam of light so intense and so focused? » 6/05/12 8:44am 6/05/12 8:44am

How Apple Uses Rust to Make MacBooks and iPods Tough and Colorful

You probably own a ton of gadgets made from aluminum and titanium. Lot of 'em by Apple. But did you know that the smooth, brushed finish on the surface of your MacBook or iPod is actually made with a thin level of rust? » 5/29/12 8:33am 5/29/12 8:33am

So How Does Your Smartphone's Accelerometer Know Up From Down?

You probably take for granted the fact that turning your phone on its side automatically puts the display into landscape mode. But do you really know how the tiny accelerometer inside your device can detect those changes in orientation? After watching this video you will. » 5/22/12 8:50am 5/22/12 8:50am

How Digital Cameras Actually Work—And Why They're So Cheap

Chances are you've got a digital camera of some sort in your pocket or bag, but you've never given too much thought how it really works. Pictures go on computer, not film. Right, well, here's a simple and straightforward explanation of how that happens, exactly. » 5/15/12 9:40am 5/15/12 9:40am

Seven Reasons Your Phone Looks Like It Does

Technology has blessed us with landline phones that look like footballs and Mickey Mouse ears for decades. So why do all of our mobile phones look basically, in the grand scheme of things, the same? Here are seven good reasons. » 6/14/11 11:20pm 6/14/11 11:20pm

The Secret Lives of Hard Drives

I'm going to go ahead and guess that the computer component you take most for granted is your HDD. No longer! Bill the Engineer Guy—our favorite uncreepy uncle geek since Bill Nye—unfolds its many mysteries. [TDW Geek] » 6/08/11 9:37am 6/08/11 9:37am

The Best Explanation of How Your LCD Screen Works

Relax! Turns out the LCD screen that makes your monitors, phones, and televisions worth watching isn't powered by wee goblins after all. Here's the most straightforward explanation to the goings-on underneath the glass that you'll find, compliments of Bill the Engineer Guy. [YouTube] » 3/17/11 12:40pm 3/17/11 12:40pm

Scientific Proof That the Other Line Probably Is Moving Faster

As your frustrations with waiting in line mount this holiday season, it may be some comfort to know the scientific trappings of why, exactly, you're stuck for 20 minutes behind the lady who insists on a dozen price checks. » 12/21/10 10:20pm 12/21/10 10:20pm