Start the Countdown There's no shortage of history on firearms themselves, but what about the projectiles they fire at such breakneck speeds? See more gun pictures. iStockphoto/Thinkstock When people talk about guns, they often focus on the weapon itself -- its magazines, buttstocks, scopes, trigger guards, compensators and suppressors. They also tend to discuss variables related to a gun's operation, like trigger pull, muzzle flash and recoil. Any gun, though, is a means to an end, and that end is hurling a projectile, at high velocity, toward a target. Today, almost everyone refers to such a projectile as a bullet, a word derived from the French boulette, meaning "small ball." And that's what early bullets were -- lead balls fired from smoothbore weapons -- although they evolved into cylindrical, pointed objects launched from rifled barrels. As soon as those developments took place, things got interesting. Gunmen became better shots, their bullets traveled farther and … [Read more...] about 10 Innovations That Led to the Modern Bullet
Start the Countdown Image Gallery: Sports Cars The wraparound windshield is just one of Harley Earl's many innovations. See more pictures of sports cars. Harley Earl, generally considered the father of American automotive design, was born in Los Angeles, California, in 1893. In the late 1920s, Earl's design talent caught the eye of General Motors Chairman Alfred Sloan, who offered him a position directing the styling of all GM car lines. Earl accepted, moved to Detroit, and soon wielded unprecedented control over GM's new product development. During Earl's 31-year career with the company, General Motors reigned supreme as an industry leader. Under his direction, designers and stylists pioneered countless innovations which propelled the company to the forefront of automotive design. … [Read more...] about 11 Design Innovations of Harley Earl
The film '12 to the Moon' depicted a moon landing by an international crew -- which back in 1960 seemed like pure science fiction. Now, it's history. Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty images It can be overwhelming to make this realization, but we're now actually living in the future that science fiction books and films have been telling us about for so long. And for the most part, these authors and filmmakers did a pretty decent job of predicting what the future might hold for us -- technologically speaking, anyway. For every laughably off-base sci-fi prediction (flying cars, memory implants, alien interaction, the list goes on), there's one that's almost eerily on the mark (the dead-on iPad prototype in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"). Even fairy tales and fantasy stories from centuries ago will get it right every so often. It's a stretch, but you could call the magic mirror in "Beauty and the Beast" an 18th-century predecessor of FaceTime and Skype. The magic … [Read more...] about Does science fiction predict tech innovations?
Start the Countdown What have been some of the best innovations in winemaking? Zoonar/Thinkstock Winemaking is an 8,000-year-old tradition, and the first wines tasted ... well, terrible. People added ash, resin and even lead to "enhance" the flavor [source: Lukacs]. Luckily, most wines today are pretty darn tasty on their own, thanks to modern fermentation techniques and innovations in packaging that help your wine stay fresher longer, and you certainly don't have to worry that a wine-maker used lead to improve his product's flavor! We've also seen a big shift in where we produce wine. Once considered a hoity-toity European beverage, wine is made and drunk all over the world, and you're as likely to find a decent glass of red at your neighborhood pizza joint as at a fancy French restaurant. Winemakers have also gotten more conscious of their environmental impacts. Since a good wine starts with the grape, and good grapes start with good soil, the wine industry has stayed on … [Read more...] about 10 Innovations in Winemaking
Start the Countdown What new features on devices enhance social networking? See more popular web site pictures. ©iStockphoto/mattjeacock Today, all media is social media. You no longer simply watch a TV show, read the news, go to the movies or listen to a song. You tweet about the unrealistic plot twist of the TV show. You share a link to the news article with your Facebook friends. You edit together your own sarcastic movie trailer and post it on YouTube. And you share your music playlist through Spotify. It's no great secret that we are no longer just "consumers" of content, but commentators, sharers, creators and re-mixers. Gadget-makers recognize this trend and are creating devices that have social aspects built into their digital DNA. The latest smartphones and tablets are advanced social media tools, taking the pictures and videos we edit and post online, providing the virtual keyboard for our 140-character insights, and giving us 24/7 access to our favorite … [Read more...] about 5 Innovative Social Devices