Science & technology

#989 The wizard of plastic recycling

Akinori Ito and the Blest machine

Ingenuity and dismay are the driving forces behind an invention that is turning plastic into oil. Recycling plastic will never be enough. We have to reduce. But that is much easier said than done, which is why we need people…


#985 Dan Dolderman’s Unstoppable Snowball

Dan Dolderman

Dan Dolderman started his TEDxUofT (University of Toronto) talk with a story he says broke his heart. His daughter was filling containers with snow. When he asked her what she was going to do with the snow, she said: “I’m…


#977 The world in a drop of blood

Elizabeth Holmes

A 19-year-old university drop-out had something more urgent to do than continue her studies. Elizabeth Holmes was determined to change health care. She dropped out of Stanford to start doing it. As she told Dr. Eric Topol in an interview…


#976 Maybe science can make us wiser

Useful Science logo

Scientists shine a light on questions that make a big difference in our lives. But much of the reporting is in arcane language that makes no sense to most of us. To counter that, an international group of bright young…


#954 From bombs to lightbulbs

Megatons to Megawatts turned bombs to electricity

As a child I used to have vivid nightmares about a Russian invasion. The Soviet Union had exploded its first atomic bomb three years after my birth. The Cold War was in full swing. People were building bomb shelters. Schools…


#928 A company that builds in joy

Menlo Innovations employees

Would you be more eager to go to work in the morning if you did not have to spend time in boring meetings, had a 40-hour cap on your work week (and no work on weekends), had no flood of…


#919 They turn pollution into plastic

Mark Herrema

Mark Herrema and Kent Kimmel have moved onto my list of visionaries to watch, thanks to an article in USA Today. They know how much we rely on plastic. They also know carbon emissions are a major problem. They put…


#867 Reaching for life on other planets

Kepler range superimposed on Milky Way

When I was a child, I gazed at the stars and wondered who lived there. I feel that same sense of wonder reading about the findings from a team of scientists who studied data from NASA’s Kepler spacecraft and the…

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