Isaac Newton assured his place in scientific history by shaping our understanding of gravity. But even geniuses have bills to pay. And for quite some time, this was how Newton paid his. »
What’s your car made of? There was a time that the answer to that question was pretty simple, at least for most parts of it: iron. But, today, the answer is just as likely to be something else. Here, a steelworker explains how that transition happened — and why it might swing back.
Though SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket hasn’t quite mastered the trick of showing us just what a reusable rocket can do, it’s certainly shown us some impressive launch moves. Its latest launch attempt, though, had us looking at the rocket a little closer and wondering, “Just what is that?” »
We love real-life spy stories. The gadgetry! The clandestine meetings! The coded messages! But thus far, most spy stories have glossed over the role of butterfly-collecting. That was a terrible mistake. »
The shape of Missouri mostly makes sense: It’s bounded by straight lines and river routes, except for one deviation, where suddenly the state’s shape juts out randomly. It’s called Missouri’s bootheel — and it owes its creation to just one guy. »
The Joker, the Penguin, the Riddler, Harley Quinn, Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze. Batman has always had the most compelling set of criminals for our hero to fight against — and if you look at them all as a group, the reason why they’re so much more interesting than any other villains out there becomes pretty clear.
Knife, fork, spoon: This is the holy trinity of silverware and (while the occasional spork may jostle for inclusion), in general, these are all you’re likely to see. There is, however, another hybrid utensil you may not know: The Knork. And its creation owes as much to modern medicine as to dining habits. »
Sometimes magical events and characters can really push a story into a much more interesting place, but sometimes their appearance seems to stop things in their tracks. What makes the difference? Remembering that even magic has to follow the rules. »
From our smug (though extremely temporary) perch atop history, we can safely say that we know exactly where the U.S. city of Toledo is: It’s in Ohio, of course. But in the 1800s, the answer wasn’t so easy — and the resulting battle was incredibly bitter. »
What makes Alien such a classic? Is it the iconic monsters? The story? The way it was shot? Sure, it's all of those. But there's also another reason it became a classic in the '70s — and it's not one of the reasons we still think of today. »
Batman does a lot of things well: hand-to-hand combat, spelunking, brooding. Here's something Batman does not do well: vacations. »
Whether exploring the difficulties of setting up a surprise party for a hivemind or sending us to a future where debt collectors have gotten deadly serious about the whole payment plan issue, these stories have plenty to say about life beyond Earth — and they do it all in just six words.
This looped and knotted section of cords is not only beautiful, it's also a 500-year old mathematical tool. »
The life of a minifig seems pretty sweet: You've got a rotating cast of cool gigs to choose from, a decent selection of shrunk-down monuments within easy walking distance, and all the cube houses you can snap together. But is there a darker side to minifig life, that we've failed to see? »
Much of the information we've gleaned about the Martian surface is based on the idea that we can explain some of what we see using Earth-based parallels. But how often do the two really line up? »
Usually, the focus of space photography is on letting us see close-up views of far away things we could never see otherwise. But what happens when the focus of the camera is turned onto the tools of the trade themselves?
Batman's characters have been pretty well represented on-screen over the years, and yet Batman's most long-standing adversary, the Joker, has never had his own solo flick. But there's one very good reason it hasn't happened yet — and it's the same reason we hope it never does. »