5 Surprising Facts About America's Favorite Exploding Pastime

Firecrackers are essentially un-American, even though we associate them our most deeply patriotic celebration, the Fourth of July. The fact is that firecrackers are foreign-born novelties, and have been as long as Americans have lit them for a noisy salute to the nation's birth. As it turns out, firecracker history is… » 7/04/14 2:00pm 7/04/14 2:00pm

The Typo That Destroyed a NASA Rocket

On July 22, 1962, at 9:20 PM, the Mariner I sat idly on its platform, ready to make history. After investing years of construction, calculation, and funding, NASA had high hopes that its rocket would successfully conduct a flyby survey of Venus, thus shifting the Space Race's momentum back to the home front. In every… » 6/26/14 1:00pm 6/26/14 1:00pm

Maybe It's Time To Build a New Internet

Last month, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted to advance a plan that would strike down one of the core tenants of net neutrality, the principle that asserts that all internet traffic be treated equally. This act marked the latest move in a decade-long fight between internet users and large service… » 6/19/14 10:45am 6/19/14 10:45am

11 Machines That Exercise For You, From the Victorian Era to Today

Time was, humans didn't have to worry much about getting exercise. When we had to kill, gather, grow, or herd our own food, working out happened naturally. Of course, as soon as we figured out how to avoid those laborious chores, we did. Not long after, we had to come up with new ways of staying in shape; hence,… » 6/11/14 4:50pm 6/11/14 4:50pm

Sony SmartWatch v. Galaxy Gear 2: Which Smartwatch Screen Is Best?

The floodgates for the next major smart device revolution are opening. And unless you have been living under a rock you already know that this time it's a smart watch, a long overdue update to what is essentially 19th century wristwatch technology. There are already a fair number of early players in this new… » 6/11/14 12:00pm 6/11/14 12:00pm

Sexbot Slaves: How Sexbots Could Affect Actual Human Relationships

There is only one true sexbot that you can go out and buy today. Her name is Roxxxy, and she is a 'robot companion' intended to look human, or something very close. She's 5'7" and slender. She's got a wide range of hair and eye colors. And depending on the model you choose, she can 'hear' you, 'talk' to you, and… » 6/06/14 2:40pm 6/06/14 2:40pm

Why Life Before Anesthesia Made Doctors More Caring

In 1812, the English novelist Frances Burney described her mounting terror as she prepared to undergo a mastectomy without any anesthetic. Having two hours to wait until the dreaded event (her 'execution', as she put it), she wandered into the room where the operation was going to take place and 'recoiled'. In an… » 5/15/14 2:20pm 5/15/14 2:20pm

When Apple Damns Your Texts to iMessage Purgatory

I recently switched from an iPhone to Android, and discovered shortly thereafter that my phone number was still associated with iMessage, meaning that any time someone with an iPhone tried texting me, I'd receive nothing, and they'd get a "Delivered" receipt in their Messages app as though everything were working as… » 5/13/14 6:00pm 5/13/14 6:00pm

8 Bizarre and Painful Highlights From Two Centuries of Beauty Tech

Humans have been pursuing this elusive quality known as "beauty" long before the miracles of modern medicine. Inventors were always coming up with tools meant to help women—and men—achieve the wide-held physical ideals of their era. Eager test subjects would get hooked up to devices that looked like torture machines,… » 5/13/14 9:00am 5/13/14 9:00am

The Easy Trick to Drastically Increase the Life of Your Razor Blades

Today I found out how to drastically increase the life of your shaver razor blades, such as Gillette or Schick brand razors. This trick is incredibly simple and just as incredibly effective. It will also save you a nice chunk of change over time and make all your dreams come true. » 5/11/14 12:00pm 5/11/14 12:00pm

The Men Inside of R2-D2 and C-3PO Actually Hated Each Other

In 1975, George Lucas was casting for his upcoming sci-fi film The Star Wars (name later changed to simply Star Wars). After a joint casting session with Brian De Palma, who was looking to hire actors for his new horror movie Carrie, Lucas was able to cast many of his principal actors. He decided on two young… » 5/04/14 1:00pm 5/04/14 1:00pm

The Fascinating Untold History of War and Prosthetics

There's something undeniably beautiful about prosthetic limbs, designed to echo the physical grace and mechanical engineering of the human body. For most people, these objects elicit some combination of squeamish discomfort and utmost respect. But far fewer of us connect those feelings to the untold generations of… » 4/30/14 5:20pm 4/30/14 5:20pm