InnovationNew ideas and scientific and technological advancements
Once upon a time, groceries made the journey between stores and consumers' cupboards wearing little more than a paper bag. But as packaging technology has taken off in the past 50 years, our food and beverage products have gained an extensive wardrobe—so extensive, it can get a little crazy.Accordi...
October 07, 2010 | By Amanda Bensen
In 2007, the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) was preparing to open the interactive Sant Ocean Hall exhibit when its Greening Task Force decided to investigate how the museum could care for the bodies of water closest to home.Washington, D.C. is flanked by the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers,...
September 08, 2010 | By Jess Righthand
Today, if you go to buy a new car, you'll find a sticker like the one on the right giving you a bunch of data on fuel economy: the miles per gallon you'll get on the highway and in the city and the estimated annual fuel cost (based on 15,000 miles driven over a year and gas costing $2.80 per gallon...
September 01, 2010 | By Sarah Zielinski
There's a lot of space junk—or, as NASA calls it, "orbital debris"—circling high above our heads: around 19,000 objects larger than 10 centimeters, 500,000 between 1 and 10 cm in size, and tens of millions of pieces smaller than 1 cm. Generally, all that junk isn't much of a problem. If it falls to...
August 05, 2010 | By Sarah Zielinski
In 2009, the Smithsonian Institution replaced some 15,000 outdated lighting ballasts (devices that turn on fluorescent lights) in the National Museum of American History and the National Museum of Natural History in an effort to improve energy conservation. Of course, all the energy-efficient light...
August 03, 2010 | By Jess Righthand
Looking ahead to the next 40 years, President Obama writes about our nature as Americans to dream big and solve problems
August 2010 | By Barack Obama
An entrepreneur hits the road with a new approach for an all-electric car that overcomes its biggest shortcoming
August 2010 | By Joshua Hammer
The director of the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum predicts how art will engage us as never before
August 2010 | By Richard Koshalek
The director of Avatar and Terminator talks about future sequels, 3-D television and Hollywood in 2050
August 2010 | By Lorenza Muñoz
Energy harvested from our bodies will make possible mind-boggling gadgetry
August 2010 | By Michael Belfiore
Solar technologies being pioneered in Spain show even greater promise for the United States
August 2010 | By Richard Covington
As digital screens proliferate and people move from print to pixel, how will the act of reading change?
August 2010 | By Kevin Kelly
This fall, a different kind of coral reef will be on display in the National Museum of Natural History's Ocean Hall. It's not made out of the calcium carbonate skeletons of living coral. It's made out of wool. And acrylic, and cotton, and whatever other fibers local yarn artists get their hands on....
July 29, 2010 | By admin
GM announced yesterday that their electric car, the Chevy Volt, will cost $41,000. The car can go 40 miles on its battery, after which a gas-powered generator will charge the battery and extend the vehicle's range another 340 miles. The Volt isn't the only choice for electric-car enthusiasts: the N...
July 28, 2010 | By Sarah Zielinski
If you're paying attention, there can be an awful lot of information encoded in a series of nose sniffs. In and out, long and short, strong and shallow. One sniff, two sniffs, three sniffs. Now engineers at the Weizmann Institute in Israel have capitalized on that variety of sniffs and created a de...
July 27, 2010 | By Sarah Zielinski
In the magazine's 40th anniversary issue, one of the 40 things you need to know about the future is both revolutionary and unreal: "A medical laboratory will fit on a postage stamp."The idea behind Google—boiling down vast stores of knowledge into an elegant little package—is also the idea behind t...
July 19, 2010 | By Sarah Zielinski
Every couple of years, it seems, there's an uproar over the cost of scientific journals. This time it's the University of California system objecting to a rate hike for access to journals from the Nature Publishing Group. In the past, it was people objecting to paying for articles in medical journa...
July 15, 2010 | By Sarah Zielinski
What events, ideas or developments have had the most significant impact in our lives since 1970?
June 2010 | By Terence Monmaney
For the first time, scientists have tracked the movements of tropical orchid bees using radio-transmitters. The bees, studied at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, fly up to 3 miles from their home areas and patrol up to 285 acres of rainforest in their hunt for food and mates.J...
May 27, 2010 | By Brendan Borrell
Water is something that's easy to take for granted, especially in a developed country where the taps run clean and clear. But the story is very different in the rest of the world, where nearly one billion individuals lack access to clean and safe water, and women and children can spend hours each d...
May 24, 2010 | By Sarah Zielinski