On July 21th, 1969 Neil Armstrong
and Buzz Aldrin
waited within paper thin walls on the surface of the Moon. Hours ago they had made history by being the first humans to land and walk on its surface
. Now the only thing left to do was take off. All that entailed was performing the final test of the Lunar Module
: launching from the lunar surface with no on-site support or possibility of fixes if something failed. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher
on Jul 21, 2014 -
Soviet concept vehicles.
"GAZ-A-Aero, designed by Alexei Nikitin Osipovich, 1934" is the first in the line-up, but I like the "Cyclops-like ZIS-112 with a single headlamp and an experimental 6005 cc engine, that could run the car with 126 mph (204 kmh) in 1951," and the Moskvitch G2, which once reached the speed of 139 mph and looks like it will bite whatever's in front of it. [more inside]
posted by goofyfoot
on Jul 7, 2014 -
Landon "Dadhacker" Dyer reminisces about Patching the Newton
: "How do you fix bugs in a ROM, if you can’t change the image?"
The patches live in the battery protected low-power RAM of the Newton, and they’re theoretically immortal as long as power holds out. This is why the battery compartment has a wacky mechanical locking system meant to discourage people from simultaneously removing both the main and the backup batteries. It’s a byzantine contraption of sliders and buttons molded in Holy Shit Yellow, and it’s meant to scare people into being cautious. [more inside]
posted by We had a deal, Kyle
on Jul 4, 2014 -
Ian McClatchie, the Ambivalent Engineer, reminisces about his time on the Google Street View project.
"At the time I was hired, we had two copies of the first camera set, which I dubbed R1. These had been assembled by bolting five 11 megapixel CCD based book-scanning cameras (shown below) to a plywood board, and bolting that to the roof of a car, much of which was accomplished by Elliot Kroo when he was, if I'm not mistaken, 14 years old (youngest intern ever at Google). Neither R1 worked much, due to problems with the cameras, not Elliot!"
posted by daisyk
on Jul 3, 2014 -
HP scaling memristor and photonic computing
: "the device is essentially remembering 1s or 0s depending on which state it is in, multiplying its storage capacity. HP can build these chips with traditional semiconductor equipment and expects to be able to pack unprecedented amounts of memory—enough to store huge databases of pictures, files, and data—into a computer. In theory
, that would remove the need for a conventional slow disk/fast memory system. With the Machine's main chips sitting on motherboards right next to the memristors, they can access any needed information almost instantly..." [more inside]
posted by kliuless
on Jun 16, 2014 -
The United States Chemical Safety Board and Hazard Investigation Board, an independent agency of the United States Federal Government that investigates the cause of chemical accidents (About the CSB Video
(14 minutes), website
) has released a well-made animated video
(11 minutes) detailing the root cause of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, in conjunction with a two-volume draft report
about the disaster. This is just the latest in a series of informative and fascinating safety videos released by the CSB. [more inside]
posted by Small Dollar
on Jun 6, 2014 -
Following on the heels of Phonebloks
, a Google/Motorola formed a design group called Project Ara
. The Verge
recently interviewed Paul Eremenko
, the project lead, about progress made towards modularization of mobile phone components, overcoming engineering issues, and the group assigning itself an ambitious timetable to succeed in delivering a sellable product within two years, or disbanding.
posted by Blazecock Pileon
on Apr 25, 2014 -
Trip to Mars Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank
Just days after the launch of India’s Mangalyaan satellite, NASA sent off its own Mars mission, five years in the making, named Maven. Its cost: $671 million. The budget of India’s Mars mission, by contrast, was just three-quarters of the $100 million that Hollywood spent on last year’s space-based hit, “Gravity.”
“The mission is a triumph of low-cost Indian engineering,” said Roddam Narasimha, an aerospace scientist and a professor at Bangalore’s Jawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research.
“By excelling in getting so much out of so little, we are establishing ourselves as the most cost-effective center globewide for a variety of advanced technologies,” said Mr. Narasimha.
posted by infini
on Feb 18, 2014 -
: Aston Martin DB9
, Space Shuttle
: Art Plotter
, big! burny! mighty!
, DVD drive
, with lasers!
, old scanner
, Pedro & Sybil
, sand plotter
posted by scruss
on Jan 27, 2014 -
The Columbia Journalism Review interviews Evgeny Morozov: Evgeny vs. the internet
The entire Morozov aesthetic is in this sentence: the venom, the derision, the reverse jujitsu of his opponents’ sanctimony, the bald accusation that all the talk about a new age of human flourishing is nothing but an attempt to vamp the speaker’s consulting business. Tech enthusiasts channel hope. Tech skeptics channel worry. Morozov channels anger, and this can be a very satisfying emotion to anyone unconvinced that everything is getting better. Leon Wieseltier, who has published some of Morozov’s most acid criticism at The New Republic, compares him to the ferocious jazz musician Charles Mingus, who once responded to an interviewer who accused him of “hollerin’ ” by saying, “I feel like hollerin’.” I asked Morozov if he considers his Twitter feed, which spews a constant stream of invective and absurdist satire, to be performative. This was a bit like asking Mingus if he considers jazz performative. “Absolutely,” he said. “I consider it art.” [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Jan 13, 2014 -
The 2013 Lasker Awards were announced today
. Often called the "American's Nobels", they recognize the contributions of scientists, physicians, and public servants who have made major advances in the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, cure, and prevention of human disease. Included in today's crop of recipients are Dr. Graeme M. Clark, Dr. Ingeborg Hochmair, and Blake S. Wilson who were awarded their prizes for developing the modern cochlear implant. [more inside]
posted by scblackman
on Sep 9, 2013 -
The Adjustable Cosmos.
"In the fifteenth century, three worthies come together to tackle the Emperor's disastrous horoscope. They lift themselves to space in their medieval vessel, braving the terrors and wonders of the of the Ptolemaic universe, to reach for the stars..." [Via]
posted by homunculus
on Jun 8, 2013 -
The Forces Of The Next 30 Years - SF author and Mefi's Own
Charles Stross talks to students at Olin College about sci-fi, fiction, speculation, the limits of computation, thermodynamics, Moore's Law, the history of travel, employment, automation, free trade, demographics, the developing world, privacy, and climate change in trying to answer the question What Does The World Of 2043 Look Like?
posted by The Whelk
on Mar 27, 2013 -
has been mentioned a couple times
before, but I wanted to highlight the site entire, along with its sister site, 507 Mechanical Movements
. Both sites have animated diagrams of a huge variety of engines and (relatively) simple machines, the latter based on an 1868 book by Henry T. Brown
of the same name. While all of the engines are animated, the animated machines start on page 3
, and go on from there. And every diagram leads to a page that explains the machine's function — step-by-step in the case of the engines.
posted by cthuljew
on Mar 23, 2013 -
Alan Cooper and the Goal Directed Design Process The heart of the problem, he concludes, is that the people responsible for developing software products don’t know precisely what constitutes a good product. It follows that they also do not know what processes lead to a good product. In short, they are operating by trial and error, with outcomes like customer satisfaction achieved by little more than blind luck. By Hugh Dubberly, first published AIGA GAIN Journal, 2001
posted by infini
on Dec 13, 2012 -