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In the Middle Ages, women in labor could ask for a special birthing stone to help reduce the pain. While this was likely ineffective, pain reduction techniques and the midwives who practiced them were often suspected of witchcraft. We’ve come a long way since then but when it comes to pregnancy and labor but, just as in the past, there are still ma…
 
Since the 1970s, people have been using digital tech to share information and connect with others. As times changed and more people gained access to computers and the internet, social networking technology changed too. Now, social networking has been replaced with social media and networks with large corporate platforms. Despite the ubiquity of the…
 
Throughout the world and throughout history, you can find evidence of cultures enjoying cold desserts—precursors to the ice cream we love today. The desire to keep food cold led to the creation of European wine slushies in 1558 and to the transportation of ice from New England to the Caribbean in 1806. Soon enough, advances in production, serving a…
 
In 1753 a Scottish doctor named James Lind published Treatise of the Scurvy where he named oranges and lemons as cures for the disease. However, it wasn’t until 1912 when researcher Casimir Funk published The Etiology of Deficiency Diseases, introducing the concept of illness as a result of something lacking in the body, a concept unknown during Li…
 
Ashes, burnt eggshells, stale toast and chalk. These are just some of the ingredients used to make toothpaste throughout the centuries. And though civilizations have always been concerned with oral hygiene, the methods they used to treat dental problems weren’t always so effective and were often very painful. With the introduction of dental schools…
 
Though evidence of tattooing exists worldwide in the remains of many Indigenous cultures, it was only in about the 18th century when sailors brought tattoos to Europe. The practice spread as sailors who learned to tattoo on ships began to open storefronts on land. Now, tattoos have sailed into the mainstream thanks to the efforts of many. Tattooist…
 
Video replay, tracking technology and new software in sports have the power to make calls quickly, eliminate arguments between players and officials and add speed and excitement back into centuries-old games. As officiating technology continues to evolve, professional leagues and officials weigh the potential for improvement and accuracy with the s…
 
Over four days in 1969, more than half a million people gathered on a dairy farm in Bethel, New York for what would become known as one of the most legendary music festivals of all time—Woodstock. Though festivals had been celebrated since antiquity, Woodstock helped cement the music festival as an important part of North American culture and a thr…
 
Until the middle of the 20th century, most American workers didn’t have the opportunity to plan for a long and fruitful retirement. But as life expectancy increased, government and employer policies changed and retirement communities developed, retirement at age 65 became another ritual of American life. Now as Americans live even longer, healthier…
 
Since ancient times, humans have balanced the risks of settling in hazardous places with the benefits of the resources and opportunities they provide. Though we’ve created thriving communities all over the world, we’re still threatened by floods, fires, earthquakes and more. Thanks to climate change, these risks are expected to increase over time. …
 
Many believe humans were born to run. It’s our evolutionary advantage over other mammals. But were we really meant to run over 25 miles in a single race? Though the modern marathon got its start in 1896, almost a century passed before long distance running really took off in the mainstream. It took athletes willing to push their bodies to the limit…
 
The first recorded evidence of weddings comes from ancient Mesopotamia around 2350 B.C. In those days, marriage was a strategic, political alliance that expanded a tribe’s circle of trust and resources. Later, marriages became so economically important that they needed to be recognized publicly—often by throwing a huge party. As the middle class gr…
 
The world’s first cities sprung up around 6,000 years ago in ancient Mesopotamia. Since then, many men and women have influenced their planning and design. William Penn believed a grid of wide streets with intersecting right angles would help prevent overcrowding, fire and disease. Norman Bel Geddes and Robert Moses imagined and planned cities shap…
 
For centuries, people have relied on coffee to fuel innovative ideas, revolutionary movements, and everyday morning routines. But how did we go from foraging coffee cherries in ancient Ethiopian forests to standing in line at a hipster café ordering a triple venti, half sweet, non-fat, no foam caramel latte? And is the next big disruption to this $…
 
If you spend your day listening to music on Spotify while you work and then go home and relax with a movie on Netflix while perusing what meal kit you'll order for dinner tomorrow, then, whether you know it or not, you're participating in the subscription economy. What many newspaper and magazine publishers have struggled with for centuries is now …
 
Humanity's connection with pets goes back thousands of years. In fact, evidence indicates we've been keeping dogs for at least 14,000 years. Today, more than two-thirds of American households own a pet. We love our fluffy companions and the technology we've developed to adopt, relocate, resurrect and communicate with them is proof that the value of…
 
The electrical grid is the most important innovation of the 20th century. What started out as a series of micro grids powering small areas eventually grew into what is now widely considered the world's biggest machine. But this machine needs a tune-up. Our energy demands are on the rise and severe weather events caused by climate change are becomin…
 
You’ve probably heard the proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” That's because for most of human history, when it came to child-care, people had the daily support of family, friends and neighbours. Today, that's not the reality for many young parents. Not only that, parents are raising their kids in a much more technologically complex wor…
 
Take a look in your pantry. Chances are, there are at least a few different snacks in there right now. Sweet, savory, salty, we all love them all. From the invention of the potato chip bag to high-tech machine-learning algorithms that predict the flavors of the future, snacking and science are deeply intertwined. We talk to experts to find out why …
 
Vaccines are headline news all over the world these days. The rapid development of several COVID-19 vaccines during the last year has save countless lives. From smallpox and polio to ebola and HPV, scientists have done amazing things to prevent the spread of lethal viruses. But recent advancements in vaccine technology might just change the way we …
 
Vision problems have always affected humanity, but until the invention of eyeglasses, there wasn't much that could be done. Now, with lasers, retinal implants, AR, gene therapy and more, we may have the technology it takes to permanently solve many vision problems. Featuring innovators like Mike Marmor, Lisa Nijm, Mark Humayun, Drew Perkins and Jea…
 
Poverty is a challenge facing over one billion people across the globe so, as far as challenges go, this is a big one. So big, it will take a multi-faceted, multi-dimensional set of solutions involving banking, food production, internet access and more. All across the developing world, inspired trailblazers are finding innovative ways to use techno…
 
Before the internet, we largely depended on professional reviewers to tell us what movies to see and products to buy. But consumer review sites and social media changed that. Now we seek out the opinions of other customers. It's almost impossible to buy anything today without seeing thousands of ratings and reviews. But fake reviews are muddying th…
 
As long as there have been sports, there have been sports injuries. Sports medicine is relatively new, but the high stakes nature of athletics and the profitability of professional leagues are catalyzing technological innovation in the field. Meet the doctors, scientists, educators and innovators helping predict, prevent and repair injuries so athl…
 
CRISPR gene-editing technology has been all over the news lately, and not just because of its application in coronavirus detection and vaccine development. Walter Isaacson's new book, The Code Breaker, tells the story of CRISPR and Nobel Prize winning scientist Jennifer Doudna who helped developed this revolutionary new technology. In this special …
 
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