Smart News Ideas & Innovations | Smithsonianhttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/rss/smartnews-ideas-innovations/RSS feed for Smart News Ideas & InnovationsenFri, 24 Mar 2017 17:42:20 +0000This New Man-Made Sun Is 10,000 Times More Intense Than Sunlight on Earthhttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/new-man-made-sun-10000-times-more-intense-sunlight-earth-180962667/It’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 Peoplehttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/ganges-and-yamuna-rivers-given-rights-people-india-180962639/A 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 Roundhttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/first-passenger-elevator-was-built-four-years-after-first-elevator-shaft-180962598/Peter 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 Herohttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/emmy-noether-should-be-your-hero-180962591/She revolutionized mathematics, and then was forgotten because she was a womanThu, 23 Mar 2017 14:00:00 +0000The First Saxophone Was Made of Woodhttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/first-saxophone-made-of-wood-180962541/ 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 Realityhttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/game-turns-james-joyces-most-notorious-novel-virtual-reality-180962596/But will it make you want to finish <i>Ulysses</i>?Tue, 21 Mar 2017 14:38:09 +0000Chef Boyardee Was A Real Personhttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/chef-boyardee-was-real-person-180962514/What’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 Yearshttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/worlds-first-solar-powered-satellite-still-there-after-59-years-180962510/This 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 Oldhttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/idea-sterilizing-surgical-instruments-only-150-years-old-180962498/The 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 Empirehttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/patent-was-hallmark-aerosol-whip-cream-empire-180962455/Aaron “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 Soilshttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/scientists-successfully-grow-potatoes-mars-soils-180962528/Can 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 Todayhttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/first-ever-blood-bank-opened-80-years-ago-today-180962486/Its inventor also coined the term "blood bank"Wed, 15 Mar 2017 15:00:00 +0000NASA Spots India's Long-Lost Lunar Orbiterhttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/nasa-finally-found-lost-lunar-orbiter-180962521/Chandrayaan-1 had been missing for eight yearsTue, 14 Mar 2017 17:20:31 +0000Getting Married on Pi Day is a Thinghttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/getting-married-pi-day-thing-180962456/Unfortunately, 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 Yearshttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/chester-greenwood-invented-earmuffs-or-did-he-180962434/Chester 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 http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/take-virtual-trip-international-space-station-180962501/New 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 Coverhttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/dont-judge-book-month-club-its-cover-180962382/Although 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 Timehttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/some-states-stayed-war-time-after-wwii-ended-180962376/A 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 http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/germans-invented-autobahn-now-theyre-building-superhighway-bikes-180962446/A 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 Structurehttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/here-are-all-discoveries-had-happen-two-scientists-could-find-dnas-structure-180962327/Watson 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 Eatenhttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/first-breakfast-cereal-granula-had-be-soaked-being-eaten-180962340/Invented 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 Spacehttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/happy-80th-birthday-first-woman-space-180962319/She 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 Ingredientshttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/pound-cake-was-originally-made-four-pounds-ingredients-180962308/Most 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 Countryhttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/stamps-have-cost-same-anywhere-country-march-3-1845-180962314/The Postal Act of 1845 was just the beginning of a process of postal standarization that took many yearsFri, 03 Mar 2017 15:20:00 +0000As “Dord” Shows, Being in the Dictionary Doesn’t Always Mean Something’s a Wordhttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/brief-history-dord-180962266/Even dictionaries can make mistakes, although Merriam-Webster maintains this is their only oneTue, 28 Feb 2017 17:30:00 +0000This Eighteenth-Century Robot Actually Used Breathing to Play the Flutehttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/eighteenth-century-robot-actually-used-breathing-play-flute-180962214/It was one of a trio of automata that had functions like living creaturesFri, 24 Feb 2017 17:00:00 +0000You Can Still Buy Pig-Hair Toothbrusheshttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/you-can-still-buy-pig-hair-toothbrushes-180962216/There's an argument for it, given all the environmental destruction causes by plastic onesFri, 24 Feb 2017 16:00:00 +0000Tootsie Rolls Were WWII Energy Barshttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/tootsie-rolls-were-wwii-energy-bars-180962202/The candies were included in rations because they stayed fresh for a long timeThu, 23 Feb 2017 14:24:23 +0000How Do You Pick a Lemur Out of a Lineup? This Software Makes the Leaphttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/how-do-you-pick-lemur-out-lineup-software-makes-leap-180962251/Facial recognition software can identify individuals, helping researchers conserve the endangered primateWed, 22 Feb 2017 18:15:19 +0000Four Things That Happen When a Language Dies http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/four-things-happen-when-language-dies-and-one-thing-you-can-do-help-180962188/This World Mother Language Day, read about why many say we should be fighting to preserve linguistic diversityTue, 21 Feb 2017 17:30:00 +0000The Inventors of Upcycling Published Their Manifesto In a Plastic Book. Why?http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/inventors-upcycling-published-their-idea-plastic-book-why-180962182/You might have heard the term in relation to crafting, but it means a lot moreTue, 21 Feb 2017 17:05:00 +0000The First Telephone Book Had Fifty Listings and No Numbershttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/first-telephone-book-had-fifty-listings-and-no-numbers-180962173/It came out less than two years after Alexander Graham Bell invented the deviceTue, 21 Feb 2017 16:11:07 +0000Old Particle Accelerator Tech Might Be Just What the Doctor Orderedhttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/old-particle-accelerator-tech-might-be-just-what-doctor-ordered-180962175/Shortages of important supplies for nuclear medicine has researchers looking for answers on how to produce technetium-99Mon, 20 Feb 2017 14:00:00 +0000This Wooden Running Machine Was Your Fixie’s Great-Great Grandpahttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/wooden-running-machine-was-your-fixies-great-great-grandpa-180962152/The draisine was invented as a potential replacement for the horse during a shortageFri, 17 Feb 2017 14:10:00 +0000The Pioneer of Graphic Adventure Games Was a Womanhttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/1980s-roberta-williams-brought-graphic-adventure-games-home-180962160/Mystery House was the first home computer game ever to include graphics as well as textThu, 16 Feb 2017 17:00:00 +0000Nick Offerman’s Character in “The Founder” Is Based on This Real Historical Figurehttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/nick-offermans-character-founder-based-real-historical-figure-180962147/Richard “Dick” McDonald’s story in the film is true — to a degreeThu, 16 Feb 2017 17:00:00 +0000“9-1-1” Has Meant “Help, Please” For 49 Yearshttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/9-1-1-has-meant-help-please-49-years-180962143/The first 911 call ever placed came from the small town of Haleyville, AlabamaThu, 16 Feb 2017 14:20:00 +0000New Self-Sustaining “Wheat” Could Change the Farming Industryhttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/new-self-sustaining-wheat-could-change-farming-industry-180962101/It’s called Salish Blue, and it’s more than a science experimentMon, 13 Feb 2017 16:23:51 +0000Fly Through Space With This “Mixed Reality” Coasterhttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/fly-through-space-six-flags-newest-mixed-reality-coaster-180962141/The park promises it won't give you motion sickness—well, more than on a regular rollar coaster, that isMon, 13 Feb 2017 13:59:00 +0000Computers Are Great at Chess, But That Doesn't Mean the Game Is 'Solved'http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/what-first-man-lose-computer-said-about-chess-21st-century-180962046/On this day in 1996, the computer Deep Blue made history when it beat Garry KasparovFri, 10 Feb 2017 16:00:00 +0000The Brief 1930s Craze for 'Tom Thumb Golf'http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/american-inventor-mini-golf-called-it-tom-thumb-golf-180962026/Miniature golf courses had been around before, but Garnet Carter gave it a roadside attraction spinThu, 09 Feb 2017 15:33:39 +0000Watch the Original 1959 Ad for the First Office-Ready Xerox Machinehttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/watch-original-1959-ad-first-office-ready-xerox-machine-180962012/When the Xerox 914 entered offices, the working world changed foreverWed, 08 Feb 2017 16:25:50 +0000Mutiny in Space: Why These Skylab Astronauts Never Flew Againhttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/mutiny-space-why-these-skylab-astronauts-never-flew-again-180962023/In 1973, it was the longest space mission — 84 days in the stars. But at some point the astronauts just got fed upWed, 08 Feb 2017 16:00:00 +0000Japan Plans to Make Olympic Medals Out of Electronic Wastehttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/tokyo-will-make-olympic-medals-out-recycled-electronics-180962036/Organizers hope to reclaim gold, silver and copper from the used electronics for the 2020 gamesTue, 07 Feb 2017 18:02:47 +0000Why the Military Is Investing in Paper Airplaneshttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/why-military-investing-paper-airplanes-180962033/Disposable drones could save lives—and moneyMon, 06 Feb 2017 17:02:25 +0000The Long Shadow of the 1976 Swine Flu Vaccine 'Fiasco'http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/long-shadow-1976-swine-flu-vaccine-fiasco-180961994/Some, but not all, of the hesitance to embrace vaccines can be traced back to this event more than 40 years agoMon, 06 Feb 2017 17:00:00 +0000Mary Leakey’s Husband (Sort of) Took Credit For Her Groundbreaking Work On Humanity’s Originshttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/mary-leakeys-husband-sort-took-credit-her-groundbreaking-work-humanitys-origins-180961991/Leakey and her husband, Louis Leakey, were a paleoanthropology power coupleMon, 06 Feb 2017 14:00:00 +0000LiDAR Scans Reveal Maya Civilization's Sophisticated Network of Roadshttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/lidar-scans-maya-network-roads-180961995/Detailed aerial images reveal a remarkably ambitious transportation network consisting of 17 roadsFri, 03 Feb 2017 19:39:38 +0000This Robotic Silver Swan Has Fascinated Fans for Nearly 250 Years http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/robotic-silver-swan-has-fascinated-fans-nearly-250-years-180962024/It preens, fishes and impressesFri, 03 Feb 2017 15:59:21 +0000The Father of Canning Knew His Process Worked, But Not Why It Workedhttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/father-canning-knew-his-process-worked-not-why-it-worked-180961960/Nicolas Appert was trying to win a hefty prize offered by the French armyThu, 02 Feb 2017 17:00:00 +0000Scotch Tape Can Create X-Rays, and More You Didn't Know About The Sticky Stuffhttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/what-you-didnt-know-about-scotch-tape-180961914/People have used it to repair everything from curtains to ceilingsTue, 31 Jan 2017 16:21:26 +0000A Picture History of One of the World’s Greatest Hot Air Balloonshttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/picture-history-one-worlds-greatest-hot-air-balloons-180961908/Designed by Charles Green, the Great Nassau was big enough to capture the imaginations of an entire countryTue, 31 Jan 2017 15:05:00 +0000In One 1968 Presentation, This Inventor Shaped Modern Computinghttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/one-1968-presentation-inventor-shaped-modern-computing-180961904/Douglas Engelbart’s career was about seeing the possibilities of what computing could do for humanityMon, 30 Jan 2017 16:17:16 +0000Take a Rare Look Inside FDR’s WWII Information Center: The Map Roomhttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/take-rare-look-inside-fdrs-wwi-information-center-map-room-180961900/Long before Google Earth, this was how the president saw the worldMon, 30 Jan 2017 15:00:00 +0000‘Aspartame Causes Cancer' Was a Classic Internet Hoaxhttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/aspartame-causes-cancer-was-classic-fake-news-180961880/The aspartame myth goes back to a letter circulating on the '90s internetFri, 27 Jan 2017 14:45:44 +0000Happy(?) Birthday to the Father of the Nuclear Navyhttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/happy-birthday-father-nuclear-navy-180961879/Hyman G. Rickover pushed to nuclearize the Navy's submarines, but admitted he’d rather ‘sink them all’ to protect humanityFri, 27 Jan 2017 14:03:00 +0000The LBD Gets an Update With the Debut of the First Dress Made with Graphenehttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/the-first-dress-made-graphene-debuts-180961928/Partially made from the world's thinnest, strongest material, lights on the dress change color based on the wearer's breathing rateThu, 26 Jan 2017 20:58:53 +0000Why Did People Think Steam-Powered Cars Were a Good Idea? http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/why-did-people-think-steam-powered-cars-were-good-idea-180961872/In the early days, steam cars were as common as gas ones. Why aren’t we driving them today?Thu, 26 Jan 2017 14:30:00 +0000