Flooding, Anti-Vaxxers, Museums: What's Ruining Our Cities This Week

Flooding in Pakistan has stranded hundreds of thousands of people, an anti-vaccination movement trending in L.A.'s most affluent neighborhoods is causing a whooping cough epidemic, and one broken air conditioner could destroy Rome's most priceless art. Hope you're comfortable, this week's What's Ruining Our Cities is… » 9/14/14 3:00pm 9/14/14 3:00pm

Bad Cell Phone Calls Could Actually Be Tracked to Detect Rainfall

Despite the many wonders of our modern cell phones, using them to call a real live human can kind of suck. The sound is fuzzy, the calls drop randomly, and a simple rainstorm can make it all even worse. But there is surprising upside to all this: we can monitor the quality of cell phone calls to track rain and floods… » 7/25/14 3:23pm 7/25/14 3:23pm

San Francisco's Sights Reflected Upside-Down In Perfectly Clear Puddles

San Francisco's got a beautiful skyline, but Angela May Chen prefers looking towards the pavement for a crystal clear view. The designer and photographer captured some of the city's iconic (and lovably hyper-local) sights reflected perfectly in puddles after good hard rains then flipped the pics, resulting in a series » 5/31/14 11:08am 5/31/14 11:08am

What Causes the Smell After It Rains?

There are three primary sources of smells that commonly occur after rain. The first, the "clean" smell, in particular after a heavy thunderstorm, is caused by ozone. Ozone (scientifically known as trioxygen due to the fact that it is comprised of three oxygen atoms) is notably pungent and has a very sharp smell that… » 5/27/14 11:20am 5/27/14 11:20am

This Vacuum Brewer Infuses Your Tea (or Booze) With Almost Anything

With mixology and DIY designer beverages on the rise, it's no wonder that users want more control. Enter BKON's new Craft Brewer, an impressive piece of machinery that infuses liquids in a perfect vacuum. Gizmodo recently got a hands-on demo at the iconic Counter Culture in Soho—and this thing can brew. » 5/22/14 5:20pm 5/22/14 5:20pm

Don't Drive 1,000 MPH: Raindrops Will Destroy Your Windshield

Rain hitting your windshield can mean dicey road conditions and traffic snags. According to XKCD's What If, the force of those drops hitting your windshield can also destroy your car's windshield. Lesson learned: don't drive at speeds of Mach 1.5 in a downpour if you want your glass to survive. » 4/26/14 10:00am 4/26/14 10:00am

Finally, Someone Made a Visor For Your Car's Side Mirrors

Most cars have wipers on the front and back windshields, and some even on the the headlights. But you'll be hard pressed to find a vehicle with wiper blades on the side mirrors which get just as wet and obscured when it's raining. So instead of just crossing your fingers and hoping you're not cutting someone off when… » 8/26/13 1:14pm 8/26/13 1:14pm

The Rainmakers: How Human Beings Control the Weather

Humans have been trying to control the weather since the day we traded in our spears for shovels. Cultures from every corner of the globe have worshipped rain-granting deities, and our sci-fi villains have been obsessed with flood and drought. But in the modern era, we no longer have use for the old water gods. We've… » 7/09/13 2:46pm 7/09/13 2:46pm

Facebook's Data Center Humidity "Challenge" Was Indoor Rain

In 2011 Facebook reported that their first data center in Prineville, OR had a high humidity issue. Probably not the best condition for servers, sure. But it turns out that wonky temperature controls were actually causing condensation in the data center. Like indoor rain. Like it was literally raining in the server… » 6/09/13 12:00pm 6/09/13 12:00pm

Inside the Rain Room: Walking Through a Downpour Without Getting Wet

The first thing you notice about Rain Room, the sure blockbuster installation that opened at MoMA on Friday, is the tropical humidity. The second thing is the sound from hundreds of gallons of water pouring from an artificial ceiling. Finally, after your eyes adjust to the darkness, you actually see it: Rain Room, a… » 5/13/13 12:52pm 5/13/13 12:52pm

The Last Umbrella You'll Ever Buy Can Easily Survive a Wind Tunnel

Taking inspiration from a motorcycle helmet, which protects riders from the elements without hindering their line of sight, Stephen Collier created the Rainshader to be the next generation of umbrellas. And given it can survive Gale Force 7 winds up to 40 miles per hour, it could be the last brolly you ever buy. » 5/09/13 11:29am 5/09/13 11:29am

The World's Smallest Automatic Umbrella: Drench Protection That Fits in…

The Weather Channel reporters, with all their talk of Doppler radars and satellites and fear mongering weather graphics, are, in the end, just a bunch of liars. They may say you're in for sunny skies, but just hours later you'll find yourself beneath a torrential downpour, umbrella-less and unprepared. Hammacher… » 3/07/13 11:16am 3/07/13 11:16am