Vaclav Smil

Vaclav Smil is the author of more than 30 interdisciplinary books. His website is

  • The Myth of the Innovator Hero

    Every successful modern e-gadget is a combination of components made by many makers, and it all begins with the story of how the transistor became the building block of modern machines


Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.


The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air


The Origins of Bungee Jumping

"We had this old potato sack and I filled it up with rocks and dropped it over the side. It just hit the water, split, dropping all the stones. And that was our test."


Is Trading Stocks for Suckers?

If you think you’re smarter than the stock market, you’re probably either cheating or wrong


I Spent Half My Life Making a Video Game

How a childhood hobby became a labor of love