The 110 Year-Old Light Bulb That's Never Been Turned Off

The oldest lightbulb in continuous use was installed before the Wright Brothers took flight, is 110 years old, and is still as beautiful as the day she was born. In fact, it's likely the oldest electrical device in continuous use period. Take a moment and consider just how much the world has changed around this one,… » 11/17/14 11:04am 11/17/14 11:04am

What Actually Goes Down on the International Space Station

The main purpose of the International Space Station is to provide an international laboratory for experiments within the space environment. Which, despite all our technological advances, is nearly impossible to replicate here on Earth. Because for many of those experiments, the key parameter is—you guessed… » 11/07/14 4:46pm 11/07/14 4:46pm

How Astronauts Use Laptops on the International Space Station

When the ISS was being designed, its architects wisely concluded that installing physical interfaces into the structure of the ISS was not a good idea. It's very hard to upgrade and/or repair interfaces that are part of the vehicle, whereas if laptop computers are used, upgrading or repair is as simple as launching a… » 11/05/14 11:24am 11/05/14 11:24am

What to Do if the Pilot Passes Out and You Have to Land a Plane

So—your pilot passed out. The good news is the plane will probably have a sophisticated autopilot that can take care of most of the flying for you. The bad news is you will still probably have to land the damn thing. And since every aircraft cockpit is going to be different, it's not like you'd know exactly where to… » 10/29/14 2:30pm 10/29/14 2:30pm

What Would Happen If You Peed Into a Particle Accelerator?

I have visited CERN and they have sections of the accelerator you can look at. It's a mess—to you and me—wires and tubes. This has not been built for consumers. There's no pink model; there will not be a thinner and lighter 2.0; and Nike is not sponsoring a limited edition line. In other words—no safety measures in… » 10/27/14 4:00pm 10/27/14 4:00pm

How NASA Deals With Odor Inside the International Space Station

Space may be a vacuum, but at least aboard the International Space Station, smells still have plenty of room to waft. And considering the ISS has 6 living, breathing, excreting human beings living in such close proximity, some of those smells could get to be a major problem. Fortunately, NASA's accounted for that. » 10/21/14 4:00pm 10/21/14 4:00pm

What Would Happen If the 20 Biggest US Cities Were Wiped Out With Nukes

Wiping out an American city, much less the largest ones, requires either blast yields well beyond the capability of any terrorist organization, or numbers of nuclear weapons that would make the terrorist organization one of the largest nuclear powers on the planet. This is particularly true of major cities such as… » 10/14/14 1:10pm 10/14/14 1:10pm