A glance will show / Why Phoebe Snow / Prefers this route / To Buffalo.
And Phoebe's right / No route is quite / As short as Road / of Anthracite.
In 1908 the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad began work on the New Jersey Cut-Off
to make its New York to Buffalo mainline (the Road of Anthracite so liked
by Phoebe Snow
) even shorter and faster. It was to have no grade crossings, and was to be as straight and level as possible — through hilly terrain. The 28-mile Lackawanna Cut-Off
, as it is now known, was built over three years, cost $11 million, and was an engineering marvel
of massive reinforced concrete bridges, enormous cuts, and the largest railroad embankment in the world. All of this has been abandoned
for years, though there are plans afoot to restore the Cut-Off for commuter rail
. [more inside]
posted by parudox
on Dec 24, 2008 -
The coming memristor revolution in electronics and how it works.
The newly created memristor, only the fourth fundamental fundamental type of passive circuit element, has the promise of computing advances both prosaic (faster, cheaper and "bigger" flash drives) and momentous (relatively effortless mimicry of brain cells and their activity). This is the story of the memristor's genesis, told by R. Stanley Williams, the leader of the team that created the device. [more inside]
posted by NortonDC
on Dec 7, 2008 -
Flawless Aircraft Emergency Landings
(QLYTP). Breatheless reporting aside, it looks like when a pilot can control the landing, these aircraft are tough enough that no one need be hurt. Many more excellent videos in the post-video links, too.
posted by five fresh fish
on Oct 21, 2008 -
In a single 1931 document
, electrical engineer Alan Blumlein
patented stereo records, stereo movie sountracks and surround sound. His equipment was used to make some of the first stereo recordings
at EMI's Abbey Road studios - several decades before the technology came into popular use. Blumlein went on to pioneer 405 line TV
(the first wholly electronic format which won out over John Logie Baird's rival system) and to produce the equipment that made the first outside TV broadcast
possible. At the outbreak of World War 2 he was a key architect of the secret H2S
radar project. Unfortunately he was killed in a plane crash while testing the technology and the whole incident was kept secret. Hence he remains an obscure figure despite his achievements. A recent BBC Radio 4 program
contains a lot of the archive stereo footage and tells his story.
posted by rongorongo
on Aug 7, 2008 -
Later this year, geophysicist Dan Lathrop's DIY Planet Earth
will be filled with liquid sodium, weigh in at 26 tons, and will be spun-up to 80mph at its equator in an effort to discover how the earth's magnetic field is generated. Currently undergoing tests, even those can be pretty impressive
posted by Kronos_to_Earth
on Jun 4, 2008 -
When programmers kill.
[pdf] In 1982, Atomic Energy Canada, Limited, introduced the now-infamous Therac-25, a solely software-driven successor to its earlier medical linear accelerators. Six patients
received massive amounts of radiation, and three died, before AECL was compelled to supplement the (faulty) software-only error-checking with hardware interlocks to prevent overexposure. [more inside]
posted by enn
on May 20, 2008 -
Where the Engineers Are
- "To guide education policy and maintain its innovation leadership, the United States must acquire an accurate understanding of the quantity and quality of engineering graduates in India and China."
posted by Gyan
on Aug 24, 2007 -
"The difference between BJ and AJ, Before and After Jobs, is not the process," [Don Norman] continues. "It is the person. Never before did Apple have such focus and dedication. Apple used to wobble, moving this way and that. No more.
posted by Blazecock Pileon
on May 8, 2007 -
are the names of four artificial islands immediately off the Southern California port of Long Beach. From the shore
, they each look like an inhabited island paradise
, complete with waterfalls, interesting buildings, many palm trees and crazy nighttime party lighting
. In fact, they are offshore oil wells
, built on 10 acre Dubai-esque man-made islands created for the purpose of housing the oil wells
, and disguised so as to comply with local aesthetic standards.
posted by jonson
on Apr 11, 2007 -
For years, MDI
has been developing a car that runs on compressed air. Last month, they signed an agreement
with Tata Motors to produce the MiniCat - a zero-emissions vehicle that will travel up to 180 miles on $3 worth of fuel. See it in action here
posted by Afroblanco
on Mar 19, 2007 -
The Beer Launcher.
From the starry eyed minds of the students of Duke University comes the next great innovation in humankind's continued struggle to stay sedentary.
posted by parmanparman
on Feb 26, 2007 -
You've heard of ScummVM
, but harvest time is approaching in the field of reverse-engineered open source re-implementations
of other classic games too:
(Transport Tycoon), LinCity
(Sim City), Advanced Strategic Command
(Battle Isle), Freeciv
(Quake 3), Spring
(Total Annihilation), JJFFE
(Frontier First Encounters), Vega Strike
(Master of Orion), Pingus
(Warcraft II et al.), CloneKeen
(Commander Keen), Exult
(Ultima VII), FreeCNC
(Command & Conquer), REminiscence
(Panzer General), Pioneers
(Settlers of Catan), and Freedoom
posted by hoverboards don't work on water
on Feb 1, 2007 -
All the episodes
of The Secret Life of Machines
are available online. Created by engineer, artist, tinkerer and cartoonist Tim Hunkin
, the show took a look at the science and mechanics behind common household objects, with a bit of social history, homemade laboratory experiments, and downplayed humor. The series grew out of a long-running strip, which Hunkin has now offers as his own cartoon encyclopedia
. You can also try some experiments
of your own, marvel at the coin-operated contraptions
he made for the Under the Pier Show
in Suffolk (don't miss the film
), and read his thoughts
about his brief foray into the fine art world and his ruminations
about how art and engineering mix.
posted by hydrophonic
on Jan 5, 2007 -
Peter Watts on Vampire Domestication (embedded Flash video, must click to start).
The mythical corporation FizerPharm ("Trust. Profit. Deniability.") share their detailed research into the evolution and possible commercial applications of Homo sapiens whedonum.
You will learn: How and why the "crucifix glitch" came about. Why you should run from a blushing vampire. How many kilograms of human are needed to make one kilogram of vampire. How vampires resemble two year old humans, domestic shorthaired cats, and lungfish. And why "survival of the fittest" should be reconceptualized as "survival of the least inadequate". [more inside]
posted by maudlin
on Dec 24, 2006 -
, known also as The Ten Books of Architecture, is an exposition on architecture by Marcus Vitruvius Pollio. Originally in Latin, here it is translated into English.
posted by nthdegx
on Nov 9, 2006 -
of the “jobs of the future” rhetoric surrounding the eagerness to end shop class and get every warm body into college, thence into a cubicle, implicitly assumes that we are heading to a “post-industrial” economy in which everyone will deal only in abstractions. Yet trafficking in abstractions is not the same as thinking...
posted by Kwantsar
on Sep 7, 2006 -