The Leap: The Improbable Transformation of a Punk Pioneer (mp3) - "James Williamson is a successful tech executive who's been working in Silicon Valley for decades. But it turns out Williamson had a secret, something that no one working with him knew. He was a pioneer in a type of music that is about as far from the tech world as you can get." [more inside]
Dr. Dave Southall is an engineer who makes things, like monowheels, mini-monowheels, water bottle jetpacks, racing mowers, racing bars stools, uniboards, and other fun things.
Tatjana Joelle van Vark [previously] creates beautiful and sophisticated devices, like this recreation (including a "hypothetical planetarium") of the Antikythera Mechanism. In this video she walks us through some of her constructions: Mythe van een Magistra
Coding Like a Girl - sailor mercury at Medium:
"Apparently, presenting as feminine makes you look like a beginner. It is very frustrating that I will either look like not a programmer or look like a permanent beginner because I have programmed since age 8. I have basically always wanted to be a programmer. I received undergrad and grad degrees from MIT. I’ve worked as a visiting researcher in Honda’s humanoid robotics division on machine learning algorithms for ASIMO.[more inside]
"I don’t think that any of these things make me a better programmer; I list them because I am pretty sure that if i were a white man with these credentials or even less than these credentials no one would doubt my programmer status."
Samantha Cristoforetti is an European Space Agency astronaut, Italian Air Force pilot and engineer and polyglot, fluent in Italian, English, German, French and Russian. She is also the first Italian woman in space and cheerfully tweeting and taking photos from the International Space Station.
Studio engineer Matt Ross-Spang wasn't even born when most of Sun's most famous records were cut. Nonetheless, he's thought a lot about what makes them sound the way they do (transcript). Matt has been buying up old gear for a few years, returning the Sun Records studio to a vintage state (with a few exceptions), and he is still practicing "sonic archaeology," trying to figure out how Sam Phillips made records sound like Sun Records. There's more to it than the Sun tape echo. [more inside]
The hero responsible for the exploding whale video has died. The video is one of the first links I remember sending to people because of its awesomeness and still makes me laugh. Talk a little walk back through Internet history.
"In life, things happen twice if you're lucky. There's the father you get and the father you choose." [more inside]
The US has lost a quarter of its high-tech jobs since 2000, the number declining by 687,000. A veteran headhunter opines on the causes: The technical jobs in Silicon Valley are hard to fill with Americans...I get email every day from new grads, asking for help finding jobs, but honestly, most are Indian or Chinese, not many Americans. He cites a NYT article which claims that the reason iPhone manufacturing doesn't happen in the US is that Apple’s executives believe the vast scale of overseas factories as well as the flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers have so outpaced their American counterparts that “Made in the U.S.A.” is no longer a viable option for most Apple products.
Donald Thomas "Tom" Scholz (born 10 March 1947) is an American rock musician, songwriter, guitarist, pianist, inventor, and mechanical engineer, best known as the founder of the hard rock band Boston. He is also the inventor of the Rockman guitar amplifier. [more inside]
Kevin Kelly describes how a clock designed to run for 10,000 years will function and the efforts behind its creation and building.
Law enforcement authorities are in awe of the new wave of narco "supersubs" that are being found in the jungles of Colombia. [more inside]
The veteran recording engineer and seven-time grammy winner Roger Nichols lost his battle with pancreatic cancer and passed away April 9th at age 66. Though not a household name, you've undoubtedly heard at least one album he did the sound for. Some of the artists he engineered recordings for were Stevie Wonder, Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, Frank Zappa, Donald Fagen, John Denver, the Beach Boys, Crosby Stills & Nash, Al Di Meola, Roy Orbison, Andy Laverne, Plácido Domingo, Gloria Estefan, Diana Ross, Rickie Lee Jones, Kenny Loggins, Mark Knopfler, Michael McDonald, and Toots Thielemans, among others. He also invented the first functional drum sampling machine WENDL (.pdf file), first used on the 1979 "Gaucho" album. He is likely best known for the amazing pristine sound he achieved for every album done by Mssrs. Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, aka Steely Dan. He was a giant in his field, a real innovator, and it is a sad loss for the industry.
Did you know that there's an art museum on the moon? A tiny, tiny one. The Moon Museum features works by Forrest "Frosty" Myers (the instigator), Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg, Andy Warhol, David Novros, and John Chamberlain, inscribed on a little chip of silicon and surreptitiously transported to the moon's surface on the Apollo 12 mission. But of course there's a mystery, in this big of a secret: who is John F., the engineer at least partially responsible for smuggling the chip onboard the lunar lander? Related: other stuff people have left on the Moon (!)
Trouble started soon into Hayabusa's treacherous round-trip journey to Itokawa when she lost her companion, Minerva. On arrival, she stumbled and dropped the sample she was sent to retrieve, and we thought the worst when she stopped calling. One accident left her disoriented and unable to find her way, and another reduced her progress to a slow limp. But on Sunday, with unfailing help from home, Hayabusa returns, three years late and seven years after she departed.
Meet Barbie the Computer Engineer... Barbie, the favorite of little girls everywhere, has been a teenage fashion model, concert pianist, astronaut and even a Miss America. But now there’s a new Barbie, with glasses and a Bluetooth earpiece, and boasting of being a computer engineer. Oh... and five things to make her more realistic.
Producer/engineer Iain Burgess played a vital role in defining the Chicago punk sound in the 80's with his work with Naked Raygun, Big Black, and the Effigies. Burgess passed away on Thursday from a pulmonary embolism, a complication of the pancreatic and liver cancers he'd recently been diagnosed with. Although British, he is best known for his years in Chicago, where he helped create a distinctive large sound with a live-centered recording style and served as a mentor to Steve Albini. He also worked with Didjits, Ministry, Mega City Four, the Cows, Pegboy, Shellac, Jawbox and many others.
Acko.net is the web home of Steven Wittens, designer of AVS presets for WinAmp, as well as the current Bluebeach theme at Drupal.org. Steven also dabbles in programming; for instance his Farbtastic jquery color picker. Be sure to watch his blog for development jewels like Projective Texturing with Canvas.
For 150 years or more, the locomotive engineer has held a special place in American history. [more inside]
Today is R. Buckminster Fuller's 113th birthday. Visionary, designer, inventor, engineer - 'Bucky' continues to inspire us. Known as the grandfather of sustainability, even today we discover that we've barely scratched the surface of his thinking and still have far to go and much to learn about managing Spaceship Earth. [ previously]
Today is the 202nd birthday of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, one of the world's greatest engineers and a personal hero. I gaped at the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol when the shock of recognition dawned on my jetlagged brain. This was the man that laid the foundation for Britain's global economic might, built the first underwater tunnel, Paddington Station and inspired engineers everywhere. His legacy lives on in his works, a university, a museum or two among others.
When I grow up I want to be an environmental engineer. I want to work on projects that can provide potable water for people. I want to clean the polluted Mother Ganga [Ganges] who provides life giving water from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal. Or the Nile, both blue and white, spilling fertility from her bunds on a regular cycle. I want to design products that use the least amount of energy and fuel, from recycled materials and are biodegradable. I want to seek alternative sources of energy, such as using biofuel to power cellphones. I want to design with maximum constraints. Call her mother earth, gaia, demeter, ceres or inanna, our planet is on the brink of no return. Or is it all just a matter of perspective?
A Dutchman at Google. His blog has some gems: a glimpse into life as an Google engineer, and a brief history of searching (going a short way into the future). Some of his projects are neat: Google talks, Google tells you the best time to visit any place. And he has a little Google joke: type "bush's foreign friends" into Google and click [I'm Feeling Lucky]