republished

A Brief History Of Beer

Beer brewing and drinking are activities that have been part of the human experience seemingly since the dawn of civilisation. Around 10,000 years ago, mankind began to move away from living life as nomadic hunter gatherers, and began settling down in one spot to farm the land. Grain, a vital ingredient in beer making, was cultivated by these new agricultural societies.


Impoverished Kids Love The Lamp-Powering Soccer Ball -- Until It Breaks

Across the globe, even in impoverished communities where families can’t afford electric light, there is something you will almost always see: children kicking balls. What if you could harness that youthful energy to generate electricity?


Can Eating Poppy Seeds Really Cause You To Fail A Drug Test?

When Elaine on Seinfeld failed a drug test after eating a poppy seed muffin back in the 1996 episode “The Shower Head”, the idea that you could fail a drug test after eating poppy seeds took off. Turns out this wasn’t yet another Hollywood writer invention — you really can potentially fail a drug test if you eat poppy seeds.


How A Simple Design Error Could Have Toppled A NYC Skyscraper

When it was built in 1977, Citicorp Center (later renamed Citigroup Center, now called 601 Lexington) was, at 59 stories, the seventh-tallest building in the world. You can pick it out of the New York City skyline by its 45-degree angled top.


Your Baby's Klout Score Is In The 25th Percentile

As you know, we took a lot of measurements this morning — height, weight, head circumference — and your baby is doing great. There’s just one thing, and it’s not necessarily something to be concerned about, but we do need to talk about it: Your baby’s Klout score is in the 25th percentile.


The Untold History Of Where Barcodes Come From

When George Laurer goes to the grocery store, he doesn’t tell the check-out people that he invented the barcode, but his wife used to point it out. “My husband here’s the one who invented that barcode,” she’d occasionally say. And the checkout people would look at him like, “You mean there was a time when we didn’t have barcodes?”


Why Is My Laptop On?

Why is my laptop on? To answer this question sufficiently, I found a four-year-old boy, and now every time I think I have the answer to the question, he’ll ask “Why?” — because that’s what four-year-olds do — and that will force us to get to the real answer. We’ll call him George. Everyone say hi.


That Time The Whac-A-Mole Inventor Accidentally Blew Up His Warehouse

It was lunch time on a muggy late September day in 2013 when an explosion shook downtown Orlando, Florida. A warehouse on west Jefferson street was the casualty. Police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks were already on their way by the time Tim Roth, a good Samaritan, was on the scene. As he searched through the rubble and debris for injured humans, what he found was something else entirely.


Why Roller Coaster Loops Are Never Circular

Many extreme roller coaster these days have vertical loops. Have you noticed that these loops are never circular? Why is this?


The Untold History Of Ugliness

We’ve all had that moment while perusing a flea market or junk store when you stumble across an item and have to yelp, “Good lord, that is ugly!” So ugly, in fact, you have to marvel that it even got made in the first place.