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Thomas Edison was once asked if he had any rules in his laboratory. "There ain't no rules around here," he responded. "We're trying to accomplish something!" We like this idea. Pizzametry is ultimately about food, but we've spent so many years in our own lab thinking through technical matters that we can't deny a warm spot in our hearts for people who push the limits of invention. Innovation in medicine, engineering, and computing has reshaped modern life, of course, and it's easy to marvel at the many crucial breakthroughs in those fields. But we also love that a UC Berkeley Ph.D. student believed enough in the idea of a robot that could fold laundry to make one, or that one company sells "rocket belts." So, from time to time, we'll post links here to recent inventions—big and small, frivolous and consequential—that catch our interest.

On our radar:

Raincatch: A Water Purification Rain Coat
Two Danish students designed this interesting raincoat that converts rainwater into drinkable water.

Next stop, Alpha Centauri
China Daily
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has announced that it plans to award an organization roughly half a million dollars to begin studying what it would take to send human beings to another star.

Infographic: How Email Got Its Name
A look back at the origins of email.

Carnovsky: Innovation in design
The Washington Post
Check out this cool wallpaper. It changes its appearance depending upon the quality of light in the room.

French Baker Creates 24-Hour Baguette Vending Machines
OC Weekly
Here's an idea we can appreciate.

No driver needed: Firm in Iowa develops 'autonomous' tractor
The Des Moines Register/USA Today
A company that "uses guidance communications systems to allow tractors to run without human operators." Here's a video of what they have been working on.