Watch a master optician work at his craft

A master optician sounds like some form of wizardry but that’s basically what Peter Thelin, master optician at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, is. He can make telescopes and microscopes and pretty much turn and shape and hand-polish any and all optical materials in his lab. It’s fun to hear him talk about his… » 5/15/15 1:27am 5/15/15 1:27am

Blackboard Chalk Isn’t Really Chalk at All

Ubiquitous in many classrooms since the 19th century, chalk and chalkboards are familiar to most of us. White, powdery and prone to sticking to those surfaces where it is put (and just as easy to wipe away), chalk and its accompanying board are excellent instructional aids. Notably, however, most chalk today isn’t… » 5/04/15 3:31am 5/04/15 3:31am

A Compound From Plants Could Replace Bitumen to Make Roads Greener

Construction teams around the world rely on bitumen—an incredibly sticky by-product of crude oil production—as the main binding agent for asphalt. But a team of scientists reckon that a compound found within plants could help replace it, making road-building a greener, more sustainable practice. » 3/23/15 5:20am 3/23/15 5:20am

Why Old Paper Turns Yellow

When I was a kid, my parents had a collection of historic old, yellowed newspapers. For example, I distinctly remember an oldWashington Post newspaper sitting on a bookshelf from July 21, 1969 with the headline "The Eagle Has Landed – Two Men Walk on the Moon." Or a fading, brownish-yellow one from August 8, 1974 with… » 3/18/15 7:06am 3/18/15 7:06am