CeCe Moore Cracks Cold Cases with Genealogy

Genealogy has been around a while. So has DNA evidence. But what if you combined the two? What if you could use DNA from a crime scene, compare the unknown killer’s genetics with public databases of other people’s DNA, figure out who his relatives are, and thereby determine his identity? That’s the system that CeCe Moore invented five years ago. So far, she’s cracked over 270 cold cases using this method—and brought closure to hundreds of grieving families.More

What if Placebos ARE the Medicine?

We’ve known about the placebo effects for over 200 years. That’s where doctors give you a pill containing no actual medicine, but you still get better. Recent studies have uncovered a broader range of benefits from the including alleviated pain, nausea, heart rate, hay fever, allergies, insomnia, depression, anxiety, fatigue, and even symptoms of Parkinson’s.More

The Man Who Invented QR Codes

In 1994, Masahiro Hara, working at a Toyota car-parts subsidiary, got tired of having to scan six or seven barcodes on every box of parts that zoomed past on the assembly line. Why, he wondered, were we still using the standard barcode—a bunch of closely spaced parallel lines—that we’d been using since the 70s? Why couldn’t someone invent a barcode that used two dimensions instead of one… could work from any angle or distance…could work even if it got smudged or torn? More

Inside the Titanic Lost Sub: An Update

The lost OceanGate submersible has captured the world’s attention. In the summer of 2022, “CBS News Sunday Morning” correspondent and “Unsung Science” host David Pogue was invited to join an expedition to visit the Titanic wreck with OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, as well as Titanic dive veteran P.H. Nargeolet, aboard the one-of-a-kind sub. David covered his adventure in a two-part episode in December 2022. Today, we know that the sub and its creator met a tragic end. Pogue looks back at the experience, with his commentary in the wake of the loss.More

How Doug Lindsay Invented His Own Surgery

In his senior year of college, a monstrous ailment fell upon Doug Lindsay. His skin felt flayed. His heart raced. The room spun. He was so weak, he couldn’t sit up in bed, let alone walk. Worst of all, doctors had no idea what was wrong with him.More

The Power of an Empty Metal Box

We’ve been shipping stuff across oceans for centuries. But until 1956, we loaded our ships in the dumbest way possible: one at a time. Longshoremen carried boxes, barrels, crates, bags, onto and off of ships one piece a time, requiring massive manpower and wasting a lot of space. And then Malcolm McClean came along. He envisioned lifting the big metal box part off a truck, and setting it directly down onto a ship. Every one of these boxes would be identical and interchangeable, maximizing space and minimizing waste.More

The Million-Dollar Toothpaste Tube

We’re overrun with plastic. It’s in our oceans, our water, our food. Something has to be done—preferably by corporations, which churn out millions of tons of plastic every year. Enter: the toothpaste tube. It might seem like a minor player in the plastic problem, but we throw 20 billion toothpaste tubes into the landfill every year. Recycling plants can’t take them, because they’re made of plastic and metal foil bonded together. They all end up in the landfill.More

The Rewilded Farm

After 17 years of trying to prop up their failing farm outside of London, Charlie Burrell and Isabella Tree were stressed, exhausted, and $1.7 million in debt. They decided to stop farming—no more plowing, planting, irrigating, chemicals. They gave away the farm—to nature.More

NASA Redirects an Asteroid

65 million years ago, an asteroid struck the earth; in the ensuing planetary darkness, the dinosaurs went extinct. But the dinosaurs didn’t have a space program.More

How They Found the Shipwreck Endurance

In 1914, British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton’s historic expeditiontoAntarctica stalled when floating ice trapped, crushed, and finally sank his ship, Endurance. Shackleton’s men survived 21 months on the ice, alone and freezing,became one of the most incredible adventure stories ever recorded.More