Smart News Ideas & Innovations | Smithsonian feed for Smart News Ideas & InnovationsenFri, 28 Apr 2017 20:16:08 +0000Check Out This Year's Entries to the RobotArt Competition teams have submitted almost 200 artworks painted by robots, many guided by artsy artificial intelligence Fri, 28 Apr 2017 20:16:08 +0000Times Square's Glitzy Look was One Man's Bright Idea Leigh's ability to imagine new kinds of advertising shaped the signs of the cityFri, 28 Apr 2017 13:20:00 +0000This Caterpillar Can Eat Plastic find could lead to new techniques for breaking down our ever-growing plastic wasteWed, 26 Apr 2017 16:08:39 +0000MIT’s ‘Treepedia’ Shows How Green Your City Grows data from Google Street View, researchers created an interactive map that measures tree density on city streetsTue, 25 Apr 2017 19:53:58 +0000A Civil War Colonel Invented Fracking in the 1860s first invention was an "oil well torpedo," but it was followed by others Tue, 25 Apr 2017 13:42:48 +0000People Have Been Using Big Data Since the 1600s humble hatmaker was among the first to compile data on how Londoners lived—and diedMon, 24 Apr 2017 16:02:39 +0000Watch the Causes of Death Change Across America patterns highlight key social and economic issues in the country Mon, 24 Apr 2017 13:00:00 +0000Although Less Deadly Than Crinolines, Bustles Were Still a Pain in the Behind“The woman with a bustle can never sit down in a natural position,” one 1880s doctor wroteFri, 21 Apr 2017 16:21:18 +0000A New Museum in Sweden Is All About Failure the many examples of products that were short-sighted, short-lived or just sillyFri, 21 Apr 2017 16:16:21 +0000Fire Poles Saved Time, But They Also Injured Firefighters fire departments across the country have phased out the poleFri, 21 Apr 2017 13:20:00 +0000This Frog’s Slime Kills Flu Viruses don’t go kissing frogs just yetWed, 19 Apr 2017 11:00:00 +0000Scientists Want to Freeze and Pulverize Your Old Computers is a growing problem worldwide, but a new method could help take a byte out of the issueTue, 18 Apr 2017 16:22:12 +0000Ancient Architectural Science is Coming to a Renowned Indian Engineering School of alignment with the sun and magnetic fields in vastu shastra stretch back 8,000 yearsTue, 18 Apr 2017 15:02:41 +0000“Are Women Animals?” Asked One 19th-Century Letter Writer women couldn't have the rights of full human beings, "An Earnest Englishwoman" asked, could they at least have as many legal protections as animals?Mon, 17 Apr 2017 16:00:00 +0000The Story of Hollywood's Most Famous Lion, there have been five of themMon, 17 Apr 2017 14:52:08 +0000This Free Laundromat Has a Famous Sponsor: the Pope’s homeless people will be able to do their laundry on the Vatican’s dimeThu, 13 Apr 2017 20:43:11 +0000Fashion Made From Cow Poo Wins Innovation Award looks to manure to produce bioplastic, paper and fashion-forward textilesThu, 13 Apr 2017 17:45:04 +0000Digital Tombstone Brings the Dead Back to Life is eternal—but cemeteries are changing with the timesThu, 13 Apr 2017 14:30:00 +0000This Artificial Neural Network Generates Absurd Pickup Lines the technology probably won't be able to land you a date anytime soonWed, 12 Apr 2017 16:28:07 +0000The First Manned Space Flight Was the Rocket Designer’s Victory as Much as Yuri Gagarin’s Korolev designed the entire Soviet rocket program. But nobody knew his name until after he diedWed, 12 Apr 2017 13:10:00 +0000One Million Internet Users Created This Piece of Art range from the juvenile to bizarre to strangely beautifulTue, 11 Apr 2017 20:44:48 +0000The Bizarre Story of Saddam Hussein’s Failed “Supergun” was called “Big Babylon” and it was originally supposed to fire satellites into orbitTue, 11 Apr 2017 14:00:00 +0000This Swashbuckling Botanist Changed America’s Landscapes always for the betterFri, 07 Apr 2017 15:11:15 +0000Once Upon a Time, Exploding Billiard Balls Were An Everyday Thing was a side effect of no longer making them from ivoryThu, 06 Apr 2017 14:41:25 +0000Your Alaskan Cruise is Possible Because Canada Blew Up an Underwater Mountain predicted tsunamis and an earthquake, but nothing particularly bad happenedWed, 05 Apr 2017 17:45:56 +0000Watch SpaceX's Recycled Rocket Stick Its Landing reused Falcon 9 booster rocket may usher in an era of cheaper and more frequent trips into spaceWed, 05 Apr 2017 15:38:02 +0000Now Everyone Can Track Yosemite’s Bears Online park is displaying delayed GPS data on a new website to stop curious humans from scouting out the creatures in real timeWed, 05 Apr 2017 12:00:00 +0000A Second Doomsday Vault—This One to to Preserve Data—Is Opening in Svalbard as the Arctic World Archive, it will store copies of books, archives and documents on special filmWed, 05 Apr 2017 12:00:00 +0000Brief Vending Machine Delay Helps People Make Better Snack Choices a vending machine withheld junky snacks for 25 seconds, people were slightly more likely to choose a healthier optionTue, 04 Apr 2017 15:07:30 +0000Before Velcro’s Patent Expired, It Was a Niche Product Most People Hadn’t Heard Of hook-and-loop tape's moment in the sun came after others were free to copy itMon, 03 Apr 2017 16:00:00 +0000There’s a New World’s Blackest Black it’s really blackFri, 31 Mar 2017 17:11:40 +0000Nanocars Will Race Across (a Very, Very Tiny Bit of) France and gentlemen, start your moleculesFri, 31 Mar 2017 15:27:44 +0000Happy 159th Birthday to the Modern Pencil patent for this supremely convenient invention didn't last longThu, 30 Mar 2017 18:04:15 +0000Coca-Cola’s Creator Said the Drink Would Make You Smarter the wine and cocaine drink that preceded it, Coca-Cola was first marketed as a brain tonicWed, 29 Mar 2017 17:52:21 +0000Norway Proposes World's First Mile-Long Tunnel for Ships tunnel would help ships and ferries avoid rough seas around the Stadlandet Peninsula where 33 people have died since World War IIWed, 29 Mar 2017 17:03:50 +0000 Before 1929, Nobody Thought the President Needed a Telephone in his Office Hoover got a phone in the Oval Office over fifty years after the White House first got a switchboardWed, 29 Mar 2017 14:00:00 +0000How Detroit Went from Motor City to the Arsenal of Democracy already had car manufacturing capability: that turned into war production capability in the early 1940sTue, 28 Mar 2017 16:00:00 +0000Your Monthly Menstrual Cycle, Reenacted on a Microchip are complicated, but they’re no match for persistent bioengineersTue, 28 Mar 2017 15:42:20 +0000The Guillotine's Namesake Was Against Capital Punishment contrary to popular myth, he died of natural causes, not by beheadingTue, 28 Mar 2017 13:20:00 +0000San Diego Breweries Experiment With Recycled Water and Ballast Point Breweries both created beers made from highly purified waste waterMon, 27 Mar 2017 20:21:31 +0000Researchers Turn Spinach Leaves Into Beating Heart Tissues living leaves could eventually become patches for the human heartMon, 27 Mar 2017 17:36:01 +0000Another Use for Viagra: Curing Hamster Jet Lag works—but only for hamsters (and maybe people) traveling eastMon, 27 Mar 2017 13:00:00 +0000This New Man-Made Sun Is 10,000 Times More Intense Than Sunlight on Earth’s a bright idea that just might help humans create solar fuel Fri, 24 Mar 2017 17:42:20 +0000India's Ganges and Yamuna Rivers Are Given the Rights of People few days after a New Zealand river gained the rights of personhood, an Indian court has declared that two heavily polluted rivers also have legal statusThu, 23 Mar 2017 19:03:13 +0000This Innovator Thought Elevators Should Be Round Cooper thought that round would be the most efficient shape for elevators, and requested an elevator shaft designed accordinglyThu, 23 Mar 2017 15:43:49 +0000Mathematician Emmy Noether Should Be Your Hero revolutionized mathematics, and then was forgotten because she was a womanThu, 23 Mar 2017 14:00:00 +0000The First Saxophone Was Made of Wood The instrument was patented by–you guessed it–Adolphe Sax, on this day in 1846Wed, 22 Mar 2017 14:00:00 +0000This Game Turns James Joyce’s Most Notorious Novel Into Virtual Reality will it make you want to finish <i>Ulysses</i>?Tue, 21 Mar 2017 14:38:09 +0000Chef Boyardee Was A Real Person’s more: Hector Boiardi was a respected chef who even helped cater Woodrow Wilson’s second weddingMon, 20 Mar 2017 16:00:00 +0000The World’s First Solar-Powered Satellite is Still Up There After 59 Years tiny grapefruit-sized satellite will still be up there well into the 2100s if we don’t take it downFri, 17 Mar 2017 16:00:00 +0000The Idea of Surgeons Washing Their Hands is Only 150 Years Old world of surgery before that was much grosser and less effectiveThu, 16 Mar 2017 16:00:00 +0000This Patent Was the Hallmark of an Aerosol Whip Cream Empire “Bunny” Lapin had already made Reddi-Wip a national concern when he finally received the patent for the aerosolizing whip cream nozzleWed, 15 Mar 2017 16:00:00 +0000Scientists Successfully Grow Potatoes in Mars-Like Soils potatoes grow on the red planet? The International Potato Center is on the caseWed, 15 Mar 2017 15:40:54 +0000The First-Ever Blood Bank Opened 80 Years Ago Today inventor also coined the term "blood bank"Wed, 15 Mar 2017 15:00:00 +0000NASA Spots India's Long-Lost Lunar Orbiter had been missing for eight yearsTue, 14 Mar 2017 17:20:31 +0000Getting Married on Pi Day is a Thing, there are indications that couples who get married on special dates might not have the same chance of succeedingTue, 14 Mar 2017 13:30:00 +0000The Teenager Who Patented Earmuffs Kept His Town Employed for 60 Years Greenwood became an earmuff tycoon whose factory kept his hometown in businessMon, 13 Mar 2017 18:00:00 +0000Take a Virtual Trip to the International Space Station VR simulation turns you into an orbiting astronaut Mon, 13 Mar 2017 17:08:34 +0000Don't Judge the Book-of-the-Month Club By Its Cover today you might associate its name with staid offerings, the club’s first book was by an openly queer authorFri, 10 Mar 2017 17:00:00 +0000During (and After) WWII, Some States Had Year-Round Daylight Saving Time 1963 'Time Magazine' article called it "a chaos of time"Fri, 10 Mar 2017 15:00:00 +0000Germans Invented the Autobahn. Now They’re Building a Superhighway for Bikes cyclist’s dream will soon be reality in BerlinThu, 09 Mar 2017 16:25:52 +0000Here Are All The Discoveries That Had To Happen Before Two Scientists Could Find DNA’s Structure and Crick weren’t the only ones working on the problems of humanity's genes, by a long shotTue, 07 Mar 2017 16:00:00 +0000The First Breakfast Cereal, Granula, Had to Be Soaked Before Being Eaten by a doctor and health reformer, the brittle cakes were not an instant successTue, 07 Mar 2017 13:10:00 +0000Happy 80th Birthday to the First Woman in Space spent almost three days in space on her first flightMon, 06 Mar 2017 13:45:00 +0000A Pound Cake Was Originally Made With Four Pounds of Ingredients Americans today don't bake using pounds and ounces, but cups and teaspoonsFri, 03 Mar 2017 16:31:29 +0000Why Stamps Cost the Same Anywhere in the Country Postal Act of 1845 was just the beginning of a process of postal standarization that took many yearsFri, 03 Mar 2017 15:20:00 +0000