Goats and Soda STORIES OF LIFE IN A CHANGING WORLD

Solar sponge: The top layer of graphite soaks up the sun's energy in tiny holes. When drops of liquid fill the holes, the water quickly evaporates. (The beaker looks hot, but the water below the sponge is cool as a cucumber.) Courtesy of George Ni/MIT hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of George Ni/MIT

All folded up and ready to magnify: The Foldscope weighs less than two nickels, is small enough to fit in your back pocket and offers more than 2,000-fold magnification. TED/YouTube hide caption

itoggle caption TED/YouTube

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Clear and clean, bubble wrap is well-suited to serve as an array of tiny test tubes. Here a dye solution is injected into the bubbles to measure the hemoglobin concentration in blood. American Chemical Society hide caption

itoggle caption American Chemical Society