Meet the scientific accident that could change the world

Last year, researchers at UCLA made a rather fantastic, if serendipitous, discovery. A team of scientists led by chemist Richard Kaner had just finished devising an efficient method for producing high-quality sheets of the Nobel-prize winning supermaterial known as graphene... with a consumer-grade DVD drive. That… » 2/26/13 12:40pm 2/26/13 12:40pm

The first land plants pretty much ruined the entire planet

The first, moss-like plants emerged on land about 470 million years ago. In just 25 million years, they stripped the planet of vital minerals, wrecked Earth's carbon cycle, started an ice age, and caused a mass extinction of marine life. » 2/01/12 12:52pm 2/01/12 12:52pm

How to turn a box of girl scout cookies into 15 billion dollars

This video shows how, just by rearranging some carbon atoms, a $5 box of Girl Scout cookies becomes a $15 billion hunk of industrial material. In fact, rearranging the atoms of just about any old carbon source — including a standard pencil lead — into thin sheets of carbon atoms called graphene can turn a pretty… » 8/05/11 7:20am 8/05/11 7:20am

Nanotechnology: what is reality and what is magic?

Arthur C. Clarke famously said that "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." I always keep this quote in my mind when reading science fiction and try to spot where things become indistinguishable from magic. They always do. One of the most popular ways in modern sci-fi to get away with… » 2/13/11 6:00pm 2/13/11 6:00pm