Why Fire Hydrants Don’t Freeze and Burst During Winter

The fire hydrant that we know today traces its origins back to fire plugs. Water mains that transported fresh water in a city or town used to be made of hollowed out logs buried beneath the streets. Whenever there was a fire and firefighters needed water, they dug up the cobblestone street and drilled a hole into the… » 8/12/14 5:40am 8/12/14 5:40am

Why do ice cubes crack when you drop them in drinks?

The sound of summer is ice cracking as you pour yourself a cold drink. Hearing that snap and pop cools everybody down. But why does ice crack? Periodic Videos explains the reason why ice straight from freezer suffers that sudden crack versus how ice left on a tray will just melt instead of crack. » 7/02/14 12:47am 7/02/14 12:47am

The Trick That Lets You Set Your Hotel Thermostat to Any Temp You Want

Just like "close door" elevator buttons and press-to-walk street signs, hotel thermostats are a notorious public placebo. You see the rig on the wall and get to feel like you have some modicum of control, but in reality, that thermostat will only let you go to 72, maybe 70 if you're lucky. But after that, it's… » 11/12/13 12:20pm 11/12/13 12:20pm

How Much Global Warming Will Happen Before You Kick The Bucket?

On Friday the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change put its collective foot down about global warming. It's happening and it's our fault. But as with any issue that affects all of humanity, the most important question is what's gonna happen to you? Will you have to give up air conditioning? Will the song "White… » 9/29/13 10:18am 9/29/13 10:18am

Tiny Diamond Thermometer Can Take the Temperature of a Single Cell

Turns out diamonds have powers beyond bringing bling-happy jewelry enthusiasts and hopeful lovers to their knees. Harvard researchers have figured out how to make the shiny little pebbles into the world's tiniest thermometers. How tiny? Small enough to take the temperature of an individual cell. » 8/02/13 10:40am 8/02/13 10:40am

How Hot Does It Get Inside a Parked Car? (Spoiler: SO FREAKING HOT)

It's summer. It's stinking hot. And for any silly person who leaves their pets (or any imbecile who leaves their kids) inside a parked car, watch this video where a doctor traps himself inside a parked car to see how how it gets. Even with all four windows cracked down a bit, the car temperature reaches 117 degrees… » 7/03/13 1:00am 7/03/13 1:00am

Can Humans Really Feel Hot and Cold?

If you compare the feeling of touching a piece of metal versus a piece of paper, the metal will always seem cooler, even if both objects are actually the same temperature. So what gives? It turns out that what we're really feeling as cold when we touch something is actually an object's increased ability to conduct… » 5/30/13 12:20pm 5/30/13 12:20pm

Climate Controlled Seats Could Make Flying Coach Considerably Less…

In an effort to make flying in the cheap seats a bit more comfortable, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics have completely redesigned airplane seats giving passengers control over their individual climates. So one day fiddling with a vent might not be the only futile way to get comfy. » 8/31/12 4:40pm 8/31/12 4:40pm