Q: Why do chemists enjoy working with NaOH?

A: Because it's so basic!


Smoke detectors - the tiny life-saving device

Smoke detectors are one of those amazing inventions that, because of mass production, cost practically nothing. And while they cost very little, smoke detectors save thousands of lives each year. In fact, it is recommended that every home have one smoke detector per floor.

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Microwave ovens - the magic of cooking in minutes

The microwave oven is one of the great inventions of the 20th century -- millions of homes have one. Microwave ovens are popular because they cook food in an amazingly short amount of time. They are also extremely efficient in their use of electricity because a microwave oven heats only the food, and nothing else!

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How NASA accidentally discovered baby food.

When you think of baby formula, you probably don't think of NASA or a space craft. The lead scientific team that invented the original baby food formula spent time as researchers for NASA, and it was there that they first conceived of a nutritional supplement that is now called Baby Formula all over the world.

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LCDs - Liquid crystals that glow

You probably use items containing an LCD (liquid crystal display) every day. They are all around us -- in laptop computers, digital clocks and watches, microwave ovens, CD players and many other electronic devices.

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The Magnetic Tape. The original backbone of the electronic age.

Remember the cassette tape? They were the most popular way to listen to music till the CD was invented. In fact, the magnetic tape used in cassettes was instrumental to the development of virtually every electronic device we now use.

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Aerogel - The Guinness Book of Records champion material

Aerogel holds 15 entries in the Guinness Book of Records, more than any other material. It may be the most unique substance on Earth. It's the lightest solid in existence according to the Guinness Book.

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LASIK surgery. Quick correction of short sight.

Poor vision is one of the most common physical ailments in the world. The eye is a complex organ that requires a very exact arrangement of components to function properly. If even one of these components is not precisely shaped, then light that falls on the eye will not be focused correctly.

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The magnetic stripe on your credit card

The black stripe behind a credit card contains important information about your bank account in magnetic code. Anything that de-magnetizes the stripe can wipe out the code and make the card unusable. Some common "de-magnetizers" are magnetic clasps on a purse or wallet, televisions, and stereo speakers.

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Tropoelastin: the elastic that never gives up

If you look at an old pair of pyjamas or Bermudas, you might notice that the elastic has given way, and does not snap back into shape anymore. What if there was an elastic that never went out of shape? Well, there is, and it's right in our bodies!

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Meet the new plastics

Things made of plastic, from credit cards to spoons to bags, have become so common in our lives that we can hardly think of life without them. Yet all plastics are made from petroleum, which will run out in a few decades. What do we do next?

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