Made by humans on Earth. Since 2003.
Cracked highway from subsurface coal fire

Pennsylvania Coal Fires

Heat under the street

When a fire gets started in a coal mine, it can be impossible to extinguish. Coal mine fires have been raging in Pennsylvania for over 50 years, with no end in sight.
Satellite image of Tierra del Fuego

Legends of Tierra del Fuego

The incredible shrinking southern continent

An untidy chain of islands that forms the southernmost tip of South America confounded explorers and cartographers for centuries. Magellan called it the Land of Fire.
Coffee beans

Coffee Decaffeination Processes

Less buzz for your buck

If you need your coffee but can't deal with the caffeine, you may reach for a cup of decaf. But just how did they get the caffeine out of it? The variety of techniques is astonishing.
Aerial view of the Athabasca sand dunes

Athabasca Sand Dunes

Saskatchewan’s shifting sands

In northern Saskatchewan, Canada, the Athabasca Sand Dunes look like a scene straight from the Sahara. Suprise: it's not a desert (look in southeastern British Columbia for those), but the work of ancient glaciers.
The Tactile Dome

The Tactile Dome

Getting the feel of the Exploratorium

San Francisco's Exploratorium, has an exhibit that's more than hands-on. The Tactile Dome is a full-body exploration of the sense of touch, in total darkness.
Figures from U.S. patent #4,680,856

Holophonic Sound

3D audio with just two speakers

Surround sound gives you immersive audio in a single plane, and requires several speakers to do so. But holophonic sound promises 3D sound that includes the up-down axis, and requires only two speakers altogether.
The Canonization of Saint John XXIII and Saint John Paul II

Becoming a Saint

The curious process of canonization

The process by which Roman Catholicism declares someone to be a saint is full of mystery, especially for non-Catholics. But the path to sainthood is becoming ever easier.
Patrons at an oxygen bar

Oxygen Bars

I’ll have an O…Make it a double.

If you want to get rip-roaring sober, head on over to the bar that serves fresh air, in your choice of soothing scents. Is this a healthy alternative or a dangerous fad?
A powder coating gun in action

Powder Coating

Paint’s shocking competitor

The brightly colored surfaces of metal objects in your home or office may not have come from paint, but from powder coating, a process based on technology similar to what a photocopier or laser printer uses.
Herrenchiemsee Castle

Herrenchiemsee Castle

King Ludwig II’s island retreat

Yet another of the ambitious (and never-finished) castles built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria is on and island in the Chiemsee lake in Germany. More lavish than Neuschwanstein, it features a dining room with a table that descends into the kitchen below.
A cemetery in New Orleans

New Orleans Cemeteries

Cities of the dead

Caskets buried underground in New Orleans had the nasty habit of floating back up to the surface. So cemeteries were built aboveground, with reusable tombs that act as ovens.
An example how a synesthetic person might associate a color to letters and numbers


Making sense of shared senses

People with synesthesia might experience a color when they see a certain number or a taste when they hear a certain sound, among many other overlapping senses.
Samples of Bahasa Indonesia books

Bahasa Indonesia

The complex story of a simple language

The official language of Indonesia has been called an artificial language, but that's not quite correct. Nevertheless, it has undergone several significant transformations, some of which were artificially guided.
A sinkhole in Duluth, Minnesota in 2011


Losing ground

Without warning, the ground can open up and swallow your car or your house. In this case, it's not an earthquake that's to blame, and predicting or preparing for such a disaster is almost a lost cause.
A Steadicam operator

The Steadicam

Professional film and video camera operators use a complex mechanical device called a steadicam to keep camera movement totally smooth, even when the photographer is walking, running, or climbing stairs.

Today is…

National New England Clam Chowder Day

A bowl of New England clam chowder
It's embarrassing that we have to spell out "New England Clam Chowder," which is redundant in the same way as "gin martini."

Popular This Week