08/11/2010 10:21 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Smart Grids, Smarter H2O, and Mad Science

As IBM works towards smarter cities and a smarter planet, they've got to cover all of their bases: this means factoring in everything from water conservation, to health care, to energy and smart grids.

But what is a smart grid anyway? While it sounds good to us we're not entirely sure what it is, so we checked in with IBM's resident mad scientist, John Cohn, who did some simple experiments to explain why smart grids make sense, how cities can consume less energy (cities consume a whopping 75% of the world's energy), and how micro-forecasting can save on water and air cooling costs.

To bring these concepts back down to earth, check out these videos. (Note: beware of exploding garbage cans and tie-dye lab coats. Oh, and don't try this at home.)