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Johan Norberg's New and Improved
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Cato Institute Senior Fellow Johan Norberg explores pioneering ecosystems that dramatically changed our world for the better. New videos every other week.
Wednesday, May 17, 2023
What tiny invention made out of sand operates the entire modern world? From toys to rockets, it’s found in the mundane and the cutting edge.
Wednesday, May 3, 2023
Mirror, mirror on the wall, what do solar plants, HD-TVs, and microscopes have in common all?
Wednesday, April 19, 2023
Language is celebrated as the medium for literature and poetry but its origins might surprise you.
Wednesday, April 5, 2023
Domesticated for milk and meat 5,000 years ago, horses quickly became an integral part of human history when humans learned to ride them.
Wednesday, March 22, 2023
Concrete - the world’s primary waterproof, stormproof, fireproof building material that can be made to take any shape has a long history of constant innovation.
The Assembly Line
Wednesday, March 8, 2023
Without Chicago’s meatpacking industry, America might never have developed a middle class or won WW2. Why? It inspired the assembly line and revolutionized modern manufacturing.
Wednesday, February 22, 2023
Whether by stars along a coastline or out on the open ocean, sea navigation tested the skill and courage of even the most intrepid explorers.
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Three in four Americans rely on vision correction, and the global economy would grow by $200 billion if everyone who needed glasses could afford them.
Wednesday, January 25, 2023
Europeans switched from writing on animal skins to cotton parchment and then paper, each time employing a new technology that could feasibly meet demand.
Wednesday, January 11, 2023
Democracy is complicated. Many consider it good while others urge caution. Is it the will of the people or a tyranny of the majority?
Wednesday, December 28, 2022
I was once condemned as unmanly and satanic, but centuries later I was so popular my use was limited by an American president? What am I?
Wednesday, December 14, 2022
Should we thank top-down planning or bottom-up problem-solving for the wonder that is today’s internet?
The Printing Press
Wednesday, November 30, 2022
What invention combined the tools of wine-making and the skills of goldsmithing?
Wednesday, November 9, 2022
Did you know that nearly every known society throughout history has prohibited theft?
Wednesday, October 26, 2022
“You can’t build a peaceful world on empty stomachs and human misery.” These were the words of Norman Borlaug, who is credited with saving millions of lives and liberating desperate nations using food.
Wednesday, October 12, 2022
How long do you have to work to pay to keep the lights on for 3 hours after dark?
Wednesday, September 28, 2022
What simple invention required many steps and ultimately took longer to develop than the airplane and electronic computer?
Wednesday, September 14, 2022
What's as strong as steel, flexible as rope, and thinner than paper? Without it, you wouldn't have modern health care, travel, or technology. And yet, it's condemned by many.
Wednesday, August 31, 2022
Even its fiercest enemies, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, admitted that it unleashed more wealth than all preceding generations put together.
Wednesday, August 17, 2022
What 19th-century invention did people think would make women infertile and leave users physically deformed?
Just In Time
Wednesday, August 3, 2022
What transformed a poor and desperate island nation into an industrial powerhouse competing on the world stage?
Wednesday, July 20, 2022
What three innovations were ingeniously combined to make 105-day-old steak safe and delicious?
Wednesday, July 6, 2022
What came first: a carry-on bag with wheels or the moon landing?
Wednesday, June 22, 2022
What invention led to the creation of 87 million jobs and serves over 850 million customers per year?
Wednesday, June 8, 2022
Can the collapse of a massive corporation represent something good?
Wednesday, May 25, 2022
What do gold, salt, and seashells have in common?
Wednesday, May 11, 2022
How did coffee help to usher in an unprecedented wave of discovery and innovation?
Wednesday, April 27, 2022
Why did countries go to war over bird droppings in the 1800s?
Wednesday, April 13, 2022
Can you think of a modern innovation without which thousands of others wouldn’t exist?
Wednesday, March 30, 2022
What do Uber and umbrellas have in common?
Control of Fire
Wednesday, March 16, 2022
How did mankind’s first social network start with a spark?
Wednesday, March 2, 2022
How did a doctor's decision to risk his life lead to the Declaration of Independence?
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
How long do you have to work to pay to keep the lights on for three hours after dark?
Wednesday, February 2, 2022
What is the relationship between stones and the color of human eyes?
Wednesday, January 5, 2021
What innovation recruits strangers as allies and recasts our opponents as guardians?
Wednesday, December 15, 2021
How did a business fiasco lead to a golden age of financial access and convenience?
Wednesday, December 1, 2021
Why was history's most useful invention once dismissed as good-for-nothing?
Wednesday, November 17, 2021
How did simple metal boxes contribute to history’s biggest reduction in poverty?