This Is The World's Smallest Magnifying Glass

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This Is The World's Smallest Magnifying Glass

If you've ever used a magnifying glass in bright sunlight, you're familiar with its impressive focusing power. The ability of a magnifying glass to focus sunlight into a laser-like pinpoint is exactly what makes it magnify images, just in the opposite direction: light waves travel from an object to the glass, where they're bent in a way that make the object look as big as the glass itself. The simplicity of a magnifying glass is what makes it possible to build optics as big as telescopes and as small as microscopes, but for centuries, there had been a limit: you couldn't focus light any smaller than its wavelength (that's just smaller than a millionth of a meter). Until now, that is: researchers led by the University of Cambridge have created a magnifying glass that can do just that.

The Array Of Things Is A Fitness Tracker For Your City

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The Array Of Things Is A Fitness Tracker For Your City

What's the air quality like in your city? Chances are good that lots of different people are asking that question at this very moment, from city officials and hospital managers to environmental activists and parents of kids with asthma. Each of those people might answer the question on their own with the tools they have available. But what if one resource answered the question for all of them? Even better, what if it answered the question for each block in the city? That's what the Array of Things (AoT) project hopes to do.

LuminAID Lanterns Are Solving The Natural Disaster Problem You Didn't Even Know Was A Problem

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LuminAID Lanterns Are Solving The Natural Disaster Problem You Didn't Even Know Was A Problem

When natural disasters strike, there are countless needs that require attention. Medical emergencies, of course, but infrastructural ones too, like clean water, warm blankets, and safe shelter. One vital need that isn't often considered? Light. Enter LuminAID. These solar-powered, durable and sustainable lanterns (which were featured on a 2015 episode of Shark Tank and got an investment from Mark Cuban) have provided light in the wake of disasters like Hurricane Sandy, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal.

How Did Parents Flaunt Their Kids Before Facebook? Baby Shows.

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How Did Parents Flaunt Their Kids Before Facebook? Baby Shows.

Regardless of how you feel about the Facebook friends who fill your newsfeed with photos of their babies, one thing is for certain: parents always want to show off their offspring. Always have, always will. No, really: before the advent of social media, parents took part in baby shows. The first baby show occurred at an Ohio county fair in 1854 with 127 infants competing for prizes—way before "Toddlers and Tiaras."According to a 2008 paper by Northwestern University professor Susan Pearson, these shows became commonplace in the 18th century at "agricultural and mechanics' fairs, urban theaters, exhibition halls, and fundraising events." Atlantic City hosted an annual baby show on its boardwalk, and the trend eventually made its way overseas to a few European cities. However, most of the world considered these shows as "a distinctly American, if slightly vulgar, novelty."

This Low-Cost Paper Can Be Erased And Reprinted Dozens Of Times

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This Low-Cost Paper Can Be Erased And Reprinted Dozens Of Times

These days, we send email instead of snail mail, read e-books instead of paperback books, and make announcements via Facebook instead of fliers. But if you think ink and paper is obsolete, you are very mistaken. According to Paper Life Cycle, paper production is still growing by 2.8 percent each year, and the EPA estimates that in 2013, the amount of paper that was recycled averaged 275 pounds per person in the U.S. Clearly, paper is still important. But in a perfect world, we'd never need to dump paper into a recycling bin in the first place. That's the hope for a new development by researchers Ting Wang, Dairong Chen, and their colleagues: they created a low-cost, nontoxic material that can be printed and erased up to 40 times before any decline in quality.