John Oliver runs a regular segment called “How Is This Still a Thing?”, but he’s decided to turn it on its head. So “How Is This Not a Thing?” describes the things that Oliver would like see invented—preferably as soon as possible.
Legend says that brewing tea dates back to around 2737 BC, when tea leaves fell into water being boiled for Emperor Shennong of China. There does not appear to be any hard evidence of tea being discovered this way, but evidence we do have suggests that brewing tea did indeed likely start in China, first as part of a…
Not all inventions are born equal. Some spring from nowhere to create an entirely new class of technology; others assemble existing ideas to create useful new products. Now, researchers have shown that the past century’s seen a steady increase in invention by the combination of concepts—but less in the way of pure…
Ivory has been producing their uniquely floating soap for the well over a century now and in hat time they've become one of the most popular soap brands in the world. For many years, the company has maintained that the discovery of its trademark floating soap was a complete accident, but exactly how true is this?
Scotch has been referred to as "the water of life," and to many who know its allure today, they can understand why. Yet the chronicle of this sometimes, smoky, often nutty, occasionally fruity elixir is poorly known, and in fact, its precise origin is lost to the mists of time (or more likely, drinking Scotch).
The space tire is sitting useless most of the time in the trunk of all cars, but in the 50s a California inventor thought it could be put to good use to easily park cars in parallel. Why the hell didn't this invention become standard in every single car?
The origin of the television set was heavily shrouded in both spiritualism and the occult, writes author Stefan Andriopoulos in his new book Ghostly Apparitions. In fact, as its very name implies, the television was first conceived as a technical device for seeing at a distance: like the telephone (speaking at a…
Above is a close-up of what developers call a "superlens," a device that can focus low-energy magnetic waves over a distance. The result? Wireless power generation over nearly one foot of air between transmitter and receiver.
Here's the thing about chocolate chip cookies: they're delicious. Here's another thing: unless you're a professional baker maestro who bakes a batch everyday and tweaks their cookie recipe after every time to adjust the flavor, it's going to be hard to come up with the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. It's a…
A 13-year-old girl from Connecticut named Mallory Kievman has come up with a pretty clever cure for hiccups: vinegar lollipops! She developed the idea after researching various at-home remedies—a teaspoon of vinegar, hard candy, etc—as well as the physiological reason for a bout of hiccups.
Maybe when I take long walks through my neighborhood I want more than one beverage to quench my mighty thirst. As thirsty fellow, I'm excited to learn that soon I will no longer have to choose between beverages again. We are living in a two-drink minimum future people.
This American Life had an amazing story this past weekend about patent trolls. It was pegged to Intellectual Ventures, and various others who litigate rather than innovate. But the real patent trolls are being traded on the NYSE.
IBM's Centennial anniversary is fast approaching (as in TODAY), and their 100 years of hard work shouldn't go unnoticed. Behind every major technological advance, you're likely to find IBM's name floating around somewhere. Here are 9 of our favorite IBM-aided innovations.
There really is no such thing as a new invention. Turns out that even something as quintessentially 21st century as iTunes is just the updated version of what people were doing 109 years ago...well, more or less.
While the Boy Scouts might have their ballyhooed robotics badge, it is actually the Girl Scouts who struck first in this pee-wee tech war with a working prosthetic hand that has helped a 3-year-old Iowa girl write with her fingerless hand.
Steven Sasson is a pretty unassuming guy. But he changed the world. In this "video portrait" by David Friedman, Sasson briefly walks us through the birth of the digital camera, and muses about its implications since then.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology turns 150 this weekend! You're probably thinking—150? That's old! Who cares about something so old! What a geezer!—for shame. MIT's produced the brains behind some of the world's coolest stuff. [via FastCo]
We're pretty obsessed with the idea of a death ray. After all, we constantly see these weapons of mass annihilation in movies, read about them in books, and run from them in nightmares. But why haven't we invented one yet?