March 9, 2012 |
Spanx inventor Sara Blakely is a billionaire at 41 years old, according to the annual Forbes magazine list of billionaires. Blakely, the creator and owner of the line of women's and men's slimming, smoothing undergarments, is the youngest woman ever to make the list as a self-made billionaire, meaning she didn't inherit or marry into the money. She's one of several billionaires who appear on the cover of the latest Forbes issue. According to Forbes, Blakely was 29 when she was looking for something flattering to wear under her white slacks.
January 18, 2012 |
Calling all inventors: Wal-Mart Stores Inc. wants you to parade your stuff. The nation's largest retailer is holding a contest, called Get on the Shelf, for a chance to snag a spot on its stores and website for your product. Think of it as American Idol: Retail Edition “That's uncovering the next great singer, this is uncovering the next product,” said Chris Bolte, vice president of @WalmartLabs, the retailer's social media and e-commerce arm. “This is a way for us to really provide our consumers with a voice on the kind of products that Wal-Mart carries.” That's because the contest will be determined by the public, who will vote on videos created by contestants and posted onto http://GetOnTheShelf.com . Aspiring businesses and individuals have until Feb. 22 to upload a clip about their product onto the site.
January 15, 2012 |
Four years ago, Drew Houston was just another super-smart hacker with ambitions of starting his own company. He'd strap on headphones to block out everything but the endorphin rush as he cranked code late into the night on a new service that instantly syncs all of your files on all of your devices. Houston, who played guitar in a '90s rock cover band at Boston bars and college parties, dubbed it "Even Flow" after one of his favorite Pearl Jam songs. On a white board in his Cambridge, Mass., apartment, he calculated that he'd need several hundred users to "not feel like an idiot" quitting his $85,000-a-year job as a software engineer.
December 25, 2011 |
The gig: A 95-year-old sailor, inventor and entrepreneur, Stanley A. Dashew is probably best known for his invention of credit card embossing and imprinting machines in the 1950s that helped give birth to the plastic credit card industry. He has also invented other devices in such fields as shipping, mining and marine recreation. He personally holds 14 U.S. patents. Dashew and his late wife, Rita, were world travelers who supported efforts to strengthen international ties and promote peace.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 12, 2011 |
While running through the slick streets of Minnesota on a particularly cold and wet winter day in 1975, cross-country skier Ed Pauls was moved to wonder: Could he come up with an exercise machine that would allow him to practice skiing indoors? Trained as an engineer, he invented NordicTrack, which employed wood slats, pulleys and wires — and allowed the user to imitate the movement of gliding on skis through snow. On the advice of a family friend, Pauls decided that his creation had commercial potential.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 30, 2011 |
While building an oscillator to record heart sounds, Wilson Greatbatch made a fortuitous mistake in the late 1950s. After he grabbed the wrong resistor from a box and plugged it in, the unit gave off a startlingly familiar, uneven electrical pulse. "I stared at the thing in disbelief and then realized that this was exactly what was needed to drive a heart," he wrote in his 2000 memoir "The Making of the Pacemaker. " The accidental discovery propelled the electrical engineer to handcraft the first practical implantable pacemaker.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 20, 2011
Dave Gavitt Coach led organization of Big East Conference Dave Gavitt, 73, one of basketball's most influential leaders in the last three decades, died Friday in a hospital near his hometown of Rumford, R.I., after a long illness, his family said. Gavitt coached Providence College to the NCAA tournament five times, including the Final Four in 1973. He was the driving force behind the formation of the Big East Conference and was its first commissioner.
July 28, 2011 |
A Southern California man who invented the cold treatment gel Zicam has agreed to plead guilty to marketing an unapproved drug that he claimed could prevent and treat flu. Charles B. Hensley of Redondo Beach was indicted in May on 12 felony charges related to sales of an influenza treatment product called Vira 38 without Food and Drug Administration approval. Hensley will plead guilty to one of those charges under an agreement with prosecutors. Free on $5,000 bond, Hensley is scheduled to appear in federal court in Los Angeles on Aug. 8 to enter the guilty plea.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 23, 2011 |
Elliot Handler, a pioneering toy maker who co-founded Mattel and invented Hot Wheels, has died. He was 95. Handler died Thursday from heart failure at his Century City home, according to his daughter, Barbara Segal, after whom the Barbie doll was named. In 1945, Handler and his wife, Ruth, founded Mattel out of a garage workshop in Los Angeles with their friend Harold "Matt" Matson. They called it Mattel, a name fashioned from Matson and Elliot. The first Mattel products were picture frames, but Handler soon developed a side business making dollhouse furniture out of picture frame scraps.
July 11, 2011 |
A bill making its way through Congress calls for a significant change in the way patents are awarded. It would switch the U.S. from a system that favors the first person to invent an item or process to one that would instead give preference to the first person to file for the patent. It's a change that has independent inventors worried that it would make the process more complicated and expensive, and thus give an advantage to large firms. "It does add to the anxiety, it does make it feel like more of a race" to the patent office, said Minna Ha of Arcadia, who has a patent application pending for a cosmetic case designed to hold makeup refills.