, former mining engineer, Godfather to Mad Magazine’s “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions,” cartoonist
for Boob McNutt and Mike & Ike (they look alike), is best known for the now eponymous machines
he started cartooning back in 1914 such as: how to not forget to mail a letter
. Or the reminder to take out the garbage.
Or the local government efficiency machine.
Or the oversleeping cure.
Or the German webserver wakeup device
(it’s got sound).
There are amateurs
making ‘Rube Goldberg machines,’ but there are also serious contests
, sponsored by serious engineers
. (There are even do it yourself plans
- y’know, for kids).
Goldberg’s influence can be seen in a variety
, but by the time he turned 80 he’d tired of cartooning and decided to begin sculpting. Needless to say he excelled and of course, influenced humorous
posted by Smedleyman
on Mar 15, 2006 -
Eighty years ago, William Mulholland
completed his final project: the St. Francis Dam,
which converted San Francisquito Canyon--about 5 miles northeast of what is now Santa Clarita, California
--into a 38,000 acre-foot reservoir for Los Angeles/Owens River aqueduct water.
You're probably familiar with Mulholland's name
--he designed and built the Los Angeles Aqueduct
and the beginning of the system with which Los Angeles is supplied water
from the Central Valley--and as a gesture of gratitude, the city named its most scenic highway
in his honor. Mulholland, the California Water Wars,
the aqueduct, and the dam were also referenced and alluded to extensively in Roman Polanski's Chinatown.
But the man
who helped build an immense metropolis by bringing water to the desert has only a small fountain
as a memorial to his legacy. Three minutes before midnight, on March 12, 1928...
posted by fandango_matt
on Mar 13, 2006 -
At BookFactory we understand the importance of documenting your work, research and inventions. Through innovation and technology we provide the highest quality books at economical prices without requiring large runs. We specialize in making custom Laboratory Notebooks, Engineering Notebooks, Journals, and Log Books with custom page designs, company logos, book numbers, and more, for less than you pay today.
posted by ColdChef
on May 2, 2005 -
All things 737
: aircraft systems
, pilots' notes
, deliveries and fleet movements
, production methods
, technical photographs
, blended winglets
, rudder news
, illustrated history
, accident reports
, Q's and A
's. Know it all? Take the quiz
posted by breezeway
on Apr 27, 2005 -
Necessity Is the Mother of Invention. (NY Times, reg. req.) Amy Smith
teaches MIT students about the politics of delivering technology to poor nations and the nitty-gritty of mechanical engineering and helped start the IDEAS competition
; she herself designed (among other things) a screenless hammer mill
suited to third-world conditions and using "materials available to a blacksmith in Senegal."
Smith's entire life is like one of her inventions, portable and off the grid. At 41, she has no kids, no car, no retirement plan and no desire for a Ph.D. Her official title: instructor. ''I'm doing exactly what I want to be doing. Why would I spend six years to get a Ph.D. to be in the position I'm in now, but with a title after my name? M.I.T. loves that I'm doing this work. The support is there. So I don't worry.''...
Likewise, the inventors who most inspire her will never strike it rich. ''There are geniuses in Africa, but they're not getting the press,'' she says. She gushes about Mohammed Bah Abba, a Nigerian teacher who came up with the pot-within-a-pot system. With nothing more than a big terra-cotta bowl, a little pot, some sand and water, Abba created a refrigerator -- the rig uses evaporation rather than electricity to keep vegetables cool. Innovations that target the poorest of the poor don't have to be complicated to make a big difference. The best solution is sometimes the most obvious.
A rare optimistic story for these downbeat times.
posted by languagehat
on Dec 3, 2003 -
The massive engineering feat of Stonehenge meets the conspicuous nature of fiercely gated communities. The resulting bastard child: The Palm
, a man made island community shaped like a palm tree off of the coast of Dubai, UAE. (warning: site entirely flash-based) (via willnot)
posted by Ufez Jones
on Jul 24, 2003 -
Anita Mk VII
the "A New Inspiration To Accounting" OR "A New Inspiration To Arithmetic" was the world's first electronic desktop calculator. Launched in 1961, the Mk VII and Mk VIII were the only commercial calculators available for a period of two years.
posted by riffola
on Apr 21, 2003 -
Synthetic Trees could purify the air
- "It looks like a goal post with Venetian blinds," said the Columbia University physicist...synthetic trees could help clean up an atmosphere grown heavy with carbon dioxide..."You can be a thousand times better than a living tree...There are a number of engineering issues which need to be worked out," he said. (BBC) Hurry up, then
- "Ice dams are blocking Latvian ports, winds and storms are battering Europe, Portugal is freezing, Vietnam has lost one-third its rice crop, and the cold has caused close to 2,000 deaths in usually temperate South Asia."
posted by troutfishing
on Feb 23, 2003 -
Shuttle "Achille's Hell"
According to this article, Shuttle has one. Curiously it's in the area in which that piece of insulation hit during launch.Were the astronauts warned ? Did they do some space walk to see what was wrong ? I would stop my car to go out and see if I heard a loud "thump" coming from somewhere.
posted by elpapacito
on Feb 3, 2003 -
A course that uses LEGO beams,
plates, gears, motors, a 68HC11 microcontroller board programmed in C, and various sensors to construct autonomous (i.e., self-contained, no direct human control) robots to hunt down and retrieve eggs. How come I never got to make things like this when I got my engineering degree?
There's video too
. Other cool projects are a walking machine
, a human powered sub
, or a future truck
. I wish the real world of engineering was as fun and creative as college.
posted by jonah
on Sep 27, 2002 -
UW sells out
-- for only $2.3 million. As part of the "Academic Innovation Alliance Initiatives" agreement with Microsoft, the University of Waterloo's Electrical & Computer Engineering department has agreed to teach C# to students. In addition to discussion on uwstudent.org, Slashdot thread
, press releases from MS
and a rebuttal release
from the UW Federation of Students.
posted by paulschreiber
on Aug 14, 2002 -
Fireproofing Faulted in Trade Center Collapse... Fireproofing failures -- rather the impact of the plane crashes -- probably caused the World Trade Center towers to quickly collapse, architects and engineers told a federal panel today.
"The insulation is going to turn out to be the root cause," said James G. Quintiere, a professor at University of Maryland's Fire Protection Engineering Department who analyzed the fireproofing in the two towers.
Also worth reading is NY Fire Chief Vincent Dunn's assessment, "Why the World Trade Center Buildings Collapsed
posted by zerolucid
on Jun 27, 2002 -
Why the towers fell.
PBS is airing a special episode of Nova
about the science behind while the World Trade Center towers collapse. Nova's reputation for converting esoteric science & engineering into understandable explanations for the layman should make the show something to watch. 7PM EDT/PDT on most PBS stations. Set your Tivos.
posted by Argyle
on Apr 30, 2002 -
is the amazing labor of love built solely by Ed Leedskalnin
, a man who claimed to have discovered the "secrets of the pyramids". Did he? We may never know, but this frail, tubercular, 100-pound man managed to quarry, transport, shape, and erect chunks of coral weighing up to 28 tons
by himself, using only the simplest of tools. The castle also includes a nine-ton gate
that is so perfectly balanced it can be opened by a child, and the world's largest valentine
, which weighs in at an incredible 5,000 pounds.
posted by mr_crash_davis
on Feb 14, 2002 -
Why Genetic Engineering Is So Dangerous
Environmentalist/biologist Barry Commoner's essay in the February issue of Harper's magazine warns about the unknown dangers of genetic engineering.
"...billions of transgenic plants are now being grown with only the most rudimentary knowledge about the resulting changes in their composition. Without detailed, ongoing analyses of the transgenic crops, there is no way of knowing what hazardous consequences may arise. But,
given the failure of the Central Dogma, there is no assurance that they will not. The genetically engineered crops now being grown represent a huge uncontrolled experiment; its outcome is inherently unpredictable.
Our project is designed to help develop effective public understanding of the dangerous implications of this critical predicament."
He asserts that the "Central Dogma", the basis for the Human Genome Project, was known to be flawed prior to the inception of the $3 billion program. Should we be amused/impressed or very worried when we read about pig/spinach crosses and the like?
Related article here
posted by martk
on Jan 25, 2002 -
became a reality, with the construction of the 100 meter bridge spanning the E-18 in the township of Ås, east of Oslo. The design of the bridge makes modern bridges seem old in comparison. It seems that many
of DaVinci's 500 year old ideas are coming to fruition.
posted by dancu
on Nov 1, 2001 -
This scares me silly
given the general skill level drivers display in my town. I'm imagining some idiot chatting away on a cell phone taking out my condo.
posted by rdr
on Mar 3, 2001 -
There's been a lot of talk of late about signal-to-noise ratios here on MeFi (er, Ashcroft who?...). Generally, we think of noise as something that always degrades the quality of a signal. Sometimes, however, the opposite can be the case. Here's a neat little demonstration
of a non-linear system in which noise can be used to amplify
a signal that would otherwise be too be faint to detect any other way. It exploits a phenomenon known as Stochastic Resonance
posted by lagado
on Jan 28, 2001 -