10 Reasons the History of Science Matters
Heroic Reading for the Whole Family
Warren Elsmore Is Back With More <cite>Brick Wonders</cite>
Trying Out Made Eyewear at Home
The Animation Adventure — Become a Hero!
The Geek’s Dilemma: Breadth vs. Depth of Interests
How to Bring Deadly Poison into the Classroom
<cite>Game of Thrones</cite> Bow Ties
Yuri’s Night Is a Time to Celebrate and Reflect on Why We Must Go Into Space
Monopoly Sucks and This Will Make It Worse

The Internet Is Saving Me a Fortune in Appliance Repairs

Fixing the dishwasher

I often tend to think of the Internet as a time and money suck. I don’t even do the Facebook thing, but far too much of my day seems to involve being online. And too much of that time is taking advantage of the one-click, delivery-to-the-door shopping experience. It’s just way too easy to buy another hard drive, a better keyboard or — while we’re at it — a new computer, thanks to Amazon and others. However, much as the Internet has drained my time and resources, it also gives back. For example, I’ve saved a small fortune in appliance repairs. Continue reading

Free App for Young Scientists: Plum’s Photo Hunt

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 12.54.25 PM

I met my wife when I was a photographer. I’ve encouraged both of my daughters to take photos. And I have TEDx and TED Ed talks online about photography. And as part of my ongoing encouragement to take advantage of this ubiquitous tool, I’ve produced (with my team at WGBH) a free, photographic iPhone app. Continue reading

A Behind-the-Scenes Visit to Grey’s Anatomy Shows There’s a Geeky Side to Every TV Show


I was more than a bit skeptical about what kind of article I could get out of the visit to the set of Grey’s Anatomy that was part of the press junket I went on last month. What I hadn’t realized is that, behind every successful scripted TV show – regardless of genre – is a team of makers. Continue reading

When the World Ends, You’ll Need The Knowledge

The Knowledge

I’m not a sky-is-falling kind of guy. I don’t have a bunker behind my house and a decade’s worth of food stocked away for my family (although I do sometimes think about it). Every generation has had its concerns about the world ending, but I’m one of those optimists that hopes we’ll be able to solve our problems — water shortages, global warming, pandemics — and not be despised by our great-great-grandkids.

But who really knows? Asteroids are flying around our universe with sufficient mass and speed. New and scarier viruses seem to pop up every few years. So many countries seem to want their own nuclear bombs these days. Experts seem to think a major financial collapse lurks around the corner. Just how prepared are we if the world we know it stopped functioning normally for an extended period of time? How long would we last without the modern conveniences of electricity, medicine, clothing, food, and clean water? Continue reading

Scientifically Inaccurate Fun: Velociraptor! Cannibalism!

Velociraptor! Cannibalism!

Very few people know that velociraptors were capable of mutating in order to change their offensive and defensive abilities as well as their speed. It’s also not widely known that their diet consisted primarily of things like bunnies, baby seals, and cupcakes. The reason you didn’t know these things is, of course, that they aren’t actually true … unless you’re playing Velociraptor! Cannibalism!, a game which trades scientific accuracy for pseudo-scientific hilarity. Continue reading

Giraffes and Condors and Bears (Oh My!)


The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens is mere miles from the glamour and glitz of Hollywood, but you’d never know it from the inside: it’s clearly earned the second part of its name, with lush greenery and exotic flowers at every turn. And then, of course, there are the animals, many of which are remarkable. Continue reading

Tired of Cheap iPhone Holsters? Blacksmith-Labs Has Some Solutions

Blacksmith-Labs iPhone Bruno holster

I’ve had a few weeks to try out the Blacksmith-Labs iPhone holsters, and I may have found my new iPhone case. I’ve wanted a holster for a while now: I’m tired of my phone jangling around from pocket to pocket, so that I never know which one to look in. The Horween Signature holsters solve that problem, although not as perfectly as I would have liked. Continue reading

6 Things MIT’s Media Lab Knows – So You Should, Too

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MIT’s Media Lab in Cambridge is a powerhouse of innovation and is home to the origin stories for Lego Mindstorms, Guitar Hero, the XO One Laptop, the Kindle’s E Ink and many others. Housing a collection of self-described misfits and drop-outs, this eclectic band of designers, programmers, engineers, scientists, artists, and researchers remain on the forefront of new technology. Continue reading

One Rock, Two Birds — The TP-LINK WiFi Range Extender With HomePlug

HomePlug - WiFi Range Extender

I have a basement that is not wired for Ethernet, and I’m no mood to run any more cable. The WiFi signal strength down there has never been good, and I’ve had no luck with range extenders. My sons like to play video games and watch Netflix (on the Smart TV) down there, and I frequently join them and bring along my MacBook Air (with no Ethernet port) to do some writing. For my boys, I had previously installed an older TP-Link HomePlug system that worked great… but my laptop wasn’t able to take advantage of the connection. Fortunately, TP-Link has a new solution. Continue reading

Explore Middle-earth, Brick by Brick, in LEGO The Hobbit


In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. He was a very well-to-do hobbit with a next-gen console and a lot of free time, which was fortunate, because he couldn’t stop playing a new game about dwarves, and orcs, a dragon, adventure, and a lot of LEGO bricks. Read on to learn about the newest LEGO video game. Continue reading

10 Reasons the History of Science Matters

Camille Flammarion, L'Atmosphere, Meteorologie Populaire, Paris 1888  (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Studying the history of science allows you to have a glimpse into both the history of the world and into just how we discovered everything we know about the world. Those moments of discovery may seem anti-climactic to us now, but imagine not having discovered them at all. Imagine living without that knowledge. Continue reading