College Students Rejoice: Pizza For Every Meal

pizza 30% daily nutrition

In news that is sure to excite college students everywhere, a team of Scottish scientists announced the development of a pizza that is healthy enough to eat at every meal. Continue reading

Keep One Hand Free to Slap the Inventor

Bad ideas inventions fire alarm traps hand

We all know that pulling a fire alarm as a prank shows serious lack of judgment. When it comes a lack of judgment, however, few could surpass the inventor of the Fire Box Trap. Continue reading

Whether You Have ADD or Are an Introvert, the Isolator May be For You

Hugo Gersback The Isolator Science and Invention magazine
The above pictures were featured in the July 1925 issue of Science and Invention magazine.

Ritalin has only been available since the 1950’s, but people have had difficulty with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) forever. Inventor Hugo Gernsback offered his solution for highly-distractable people when he invented The Isolator in 1925. Continue reading

Close Doesn’t Count in Patent Race 

Alexander Graham Bell controversy Elisha Gray telephone invention patent
Elisha Gray (left) and Alexander Graham Bell (right)

February 14, 1876 was a big day for Elisha Gray. That was the day he filed his application for a patent for his revolutionary new invention. His device promised to unite the world as never before by allowing a person to speak to and hear another person miles away by sending the voices through a tiny electrical wire. That miraculous device would be called the telephone.  Continue reading

Letting the Dead Rest in Peace

coffin torpedo grave robbers body snatchers

Grave robbery was not something that just showed up in Frankenstein stories. In the last half of the 19th century, human corpses were in high demand by medical schools, and the body snatching market grew in response. No one’s remains were considered off limits. Extraordinary measures had to be taken to protect the body of President Abraham Lincoln.  One notable person whose body was stolen was John Scott Harrison, the only man who was both the son of a US President (William Henry Harrison) and the father of a US President (Benjamin Harrison). Outrage over the theft of his mortal remains sparked the first landmark legislation to address the growing problem. Continue reading

A Smile So Sharp It Will Split Atoms

German radioactive toothpaste quack medicine

From 1940 to 1945, if you wanted to acquire radioactive material in Germany, you didn’t have to engage in cloak-and-dagger shenanigans; you simply had to go to the nearest pharmacy and purchase a tube of Doramad toothpaste. 

Doramad was produced with small quantities of radioactive thorium. This wasn’t a manufacturing accident; it was an intentional marketing strategy. 

Translation: “Its radioactive radiation increases the defenses of teeth and gums. The cells are loaded with new life energy, the bacteria are hindered in their destroying effect. This explains the excellent prophylaxis and healing process with gingival diseases. It gently polishes the dental enamel so it turns white and shiny. Prevents dental calculus. Wonderful lather and a new, pleasant, mild and refreshing taste. Can be applied sparingly.”

Aside from being the poster child of quack medicine, Doramad played an interesting role in the race to develop the atomic bomb. U.S. intelligence agents were alarmed to learn that unusually-large amounts of thorium were being bought up by Germany. This suggested that German research toward the atomic bomb had progressed further than previously had been thought. 

It was only as the war drew to a close that investigators learned the real reason for the thorium shipments. Savvy German entrepreneurs were decades ahead of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” proposal. They were stocking up on radioactive material so they could make money selling a ground-breaking product. Their marketing slogan was, “Use toothpaste with thorium! Have sparkling, brilliant teeth—radioactive brilliance!”

Read more about toothpaste and the race for the Bomb here

Ben Franklin Needed a Sarcasm Sign

Benjamin Franklin proposed Daylight Savings Time as a joke

Benjamin Franklin is credited with some of the greatest ideas of all time. Not only was he the inventor of bifocal glasses, the Franklin stove, and lightning rod, but as one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, his ideas surpassed scientific inquiry and helped create a nation. In fact, so wide were his interests that he spoke into virtually every area of human interest, and the world continues to feel his influence today in the arts, medical science, economics, cartography, and much, much more.

For those countries that observe Daylight Savings Time, Franklin’s influence is often remembered with resentment twice each year as the nation adjusts to Daylight Savings Time. Remembering to change all the clocks is almost as bad as the feeling of jet lag for a few days as the body tries to catch up with the extra or missing hour. We have Franklin to thank for this phenomenon.

The problem is that he wasn’t really being serious.  Continue reading