Today is the 103rd birthday of the late Earl Tupper, a tinkerer who set out to be a 20th century-version of Leonardo da Vinci. In the fashion of Leonardo,Tupper kept an elaborately illustrated notebook of his own myriad inventions, which included pants with a permanent crease, a fish-powered automobile, a convertible top for rumble seats, and a dagger-shaped comb that could be clipped to a person’s belt. Alas, none of these innovations caught on, but after World War II, Tupper did manage to start his own small plastics company, which eked out a profit making inexpensive beads and soap containers. But then Tupper convinced a reluctant DuPont to give him some pure polyethylene pellets. After tinkering with his machines, he devised a way of molding the pure plastic into what he called the “wonderbowl,” a revolutionary new container for keeping leftovers fresh. Sales were slow until a housewife named Brownie Weis pitched him on an ingenious social marketing scheme, in which Tupper’s containers would be peddled directly to consumers at neighborhood gatherings. The rest, of course, is history. And with that, here are the amazingly well-preserved, juicy stories of the day.
New type of computer super-memory on the horizon? Stanford scientists have devised a way to use slight changes in magnetic fields to dramatically alter the electrical resistance of certain materials. It’s complicated, but this could be really, really big.
Penn State scientists develop air conditioning that won’t warm the planet. The breakthrough technology utilizes helium gas instead of HFCs. Plus, we love to give PSU a recognition for something besides Joe Paterno.
Researchers solve mystery of how the eye evolved. They’ve discovered the Pax family of genes, which seem to be common to all sighted creatures.
Taste of food on mission to Mars may be problem for future astronauts. NASA is having trouble finding preserved foods that don’t start tasting terrible after a year in space.
Apple’s Magic Trackpad eliminates need for mouse. You just use your fingers. It’s as easy as gobbling down a bucket of KFC wings, but not nearly as messy.
Spread of deadly tropical disease in U.S. Pacific Northwest is linked to global warming. It’ll be fascinating to hear how Lord Monckton tries to explain away the recent rise of Gryptococcus gattii infections, which attacks the brain and lungs, in places outside the tropics.