I've never really had a clear understanding of how mechanical computing worked, until today when I watched these US Navy training films from 1953. Part 1
focuses on shafts, gears, cams and differentials. Part 2
explains mechanical component solvers, integrators and multipliers. More information about ship gun fire-control systems here
posted by drmanhattan
on Feb 14, 2010 -
Audiophoolery: Pseudoscience in Consumer Audio
. You might think that a science-based field like audio engineering would be immune to the kind of magical thinking we see in other fields. Unfortunately, you would be wrong [...] As a consumerist, it galls me to see people pay thousands of dollars for fancy-looking wire that’s no better than the heavy lamp cord they can buy at any hardware store. Or magic isolation pads and little discs made from exotic hardwood that purport to “improve clarity and reduce listening fatigue,” among other surprising claims. The number of scams based on ignorance of basic audio science grows every day. Via.
posted by amyms
on Jan 11, 2010 -
The simulated brain
- "The scientists behind Blue Brain
hope to have a virtual human brain
functioning in ten years... Dr. Markram began by collecting detailed information about the rat's NCC
, down to the level of genes, proteins, molecules and the electrical signals that connect one neuron to another. These complex relationships were then turned into millions of equations, written in software. He then recorded real-world data -- the strength and path of each electrical signal -- directly from rat brains to test the accuracy of the software." Is it possible to digitally simulate
a brain accurately? Can it only be analog
? And are there quantum effects
to be considered
? (previously 1 2 3 4
) [more inside]
posted by kliuless
on Jul 18, 2009 -
Neurosecurity: security and privacy for neural devices.
"An increasing number of neural implantable devices will become available in the near future due to advances in neural engineering. This discipline holds the potential to improve many patients' lives dramatically by offering improved—and in some cases entirely new—forms of rehabilitation for conditions ranging from missing limbs to degenerative cognitive diseases. The use of standard engineering practices, medical trials, and neuroethical evaluations during the design process can create systems that are safe and that follow ethical guidelines; unfortunately, none of these disciplines currently ensure that neural devices are robust against adversarial entities trying to exploit these devices to alter, block, or eavesdrop on neural signals. The authors define 'neurosecurity'—a version of computer science security principles and methods applied to neural engineering—and discuss why neurosecurity should be a critical consideration in the design of future neural devices." [Via Mind Hacks]
posted by homunculus
on Jul 8, 2009 -
Imagine nature's most elegant ideas organized by design and engineering function, so you can enter "filter salt from water" and see how mangroves, penguins, and shorebirds desalinate without fossil fuels. That's the idea behind AskNature
, the online inspiration source for the biomimicry
community. The featured pages
are a good starting point. Cross-pollinating biology with design. [more inside]
posted by netbros
on Jun 5, 2009 -
- Manipulate LEGO TECHNIC gears, beams, conveyor belts and motors to complete the ten pre-built puzzles or create your own levels. [In my case - Then watch them crash in a heap when you test them.]
posted by tellurian
on Jun 4, 2009 -
Friday Flash Fun*: Конструктор: Engineer of the People
, in which you are an engineer working in a top-secret semiconductor facility called H3, designing top-secret integrated circuits based on specifications provided to you.
*For certain values of 'fun'
posted by daniel_charms
on Mar 27, 2009 -
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 -