INTERESTING.JPG is an AI trying its hardest to describe the contents of random news photos. Sometimes it does quite well. Sometimes it thinks ice is sheep. See also: Novice Art Blogger. See also, if you're daring: the super duper completely not-safe-for-work porn-analysis robot @NSFW_JPG. Via mefi's own cmyr on Projects.
A demonstration of several geometric lathes, which produced anti-counterfeiting patterns for banknotes, plus a reducing lathe to make coin and medal dies. (SLYT)
Who knew structural engineering could be so sweet? Justina Yang is the "paper engineer" behind Fiber Lab, a design studio located in her sunroom. She creates paper art, décor, bracelets, bowties, and lamp shades. In her short videos, she demonstrates how to make your very own dodecahedron; a whimsical carousel that produces beautiful waves and teaches you about wave interference; a mesmerizing interactive kinetic wave sculpture; a string art geometric love story; and a delicious-looking paper croissant.
A recent workshop on Analyzing Animal Vocal Sequences provided some illuminating views of what we know and what we don't know about animal communication. In particular one notes the increased use of Machine Learning algorithms that are currently used to make sense of human interactions on the web. Talks at the workshop included:Unraveling dolphin communication complexity, Singing isn't just for the birds, Automated identification of bird individuals using machine learning, A receiver's perspective on analyzing animal vocal sequences, Animal communication sequence analysis using information theory, Machine learning for the classification of animal vocalizations and Information theoretic principles of human language and animal behavior
Meet Bertha, the world's largest underground tunnel boring machine that will soon begin digging a controversial roadway underneath downtown Seattle, similar to Boston's Big Dig
If you like watching other people work, you are going to love the YouTube channels of Myfordboy, Keith Fenner and Tubal Cain. [more inside]
120 years ago, in Paris, Blaise Bontems made a mechanism for reproducing birdsong. More recently, Michael Start restored it to working condition and recorded a video. [more inside]
Flash cards are an effective study aid because they are founded on the principles of rote and memorization. With Flashcard Exchange | Study Stack and Flashcard Machine, you can use web-based flashcard makers to create, share, export and print flashcards to assist your studying.
FaceTracker is an example of a complex technique that builds on top of a series of computer vision, image processing, and machine learning functions in order to achieve its result. Here's an interview with Kyle McDonald, artist and researcher in New York with a background in computer science and philosophy. He released FaceOSC, a tool for prototyping face-based interaction. Kyle has a growing body of work that uses face tracking in an artistic context, notably Face Substitution.
The ternary calculating machine of Thomas Fowler. And electromechanical calculating machines from the 1960s.
Hear how popular music has changed from 1940 to today with the Radio Time Machine. Choose a year and hear samples of songs from the top of the Billboard 100 (or full songs if you're logged in to Rdio).
Orbiter Autopsies "What NASA will learn from dissecting Space Shuttles Atlantis, Discovery, and Endeavour" before they transition into retirement. (From the May 2012 issue of Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine.)
As you can see, the [Chinese] typewriter is extremely complicated and cumbersome. The main tray — which is like a typesetter's font of lead type — has about two thousand of the most frequent characters. Two thousand characters are not nearly enough for literary and scholarly purposes, so there are also a number of supplementary trays from which less frequent characters may be retrieved when necessary. What is even more intimidating about a Chinese typewriter is that the characters as seen by the typist are backwards and upside down! [more inside]
Machine guns still firing, 70 years later. The BBC's Dan Snow joins in an dig in Ireland to uncover a Spitfire mk2, hoping to find one o the machine guns in reasonable conditions. They find six, and then it's time to see if they still work. Okay so they stripped the six to rebuild just one good one, and used modern .303 calibre ammo as opposed to the ammo in the ground, but hey. 70 years and still spitting fire. Of course the WWII in me will point out that the mk V's Hispano cannons were far more effective, but hey, that's not romantic enough for a modern news bulletin.
Here's a really cool presentation on how Google's self-driving car works: Part 1, History. Part 2, Implementation. Part 3, Use Case [more inside]
If you live in New Jersey, you can see what your home and the surrounding area looked like from above in the year 1930.
More recently, Wilson has drawn fan and media attention for his thick, black beard and eccentric behavior. There's a relatively strange baseball player called Brian Wilson. [more inside]
A polargraph is a drawing machine that uses a dual-polar coordinates system. It was created by programmer, designer, and maker Sandy Noble. See the webcame here. More pictures on Computerlove.
Henning Lederer's Machinatorium features art and animation of pictograms and other abstractions of the human form. Lederer is also known for animating Fritz Kahn's classic poster Der Mensch als Industriepalast.
Kevin Kelly describes how a clock designed to run for 10,000 years will function and the efforts behind its creation and building.
This week in love: the winning submission of the NYT's now-annual college Modern Love essay contest, the 2011 US pole dance champion (probably NSFW), and a Japanese kissing machine in development.
Lego Great Ball Contraption. (YouTube). Not enough balls? Try this one. (YouTube) More about Great Ball Contraptions: one two
The IOWEYOU project. You can't go to a shop and buy these clothes. Because each textile is unique they have an app that allows you to trace your garment right back through the production process to the actual weaver that hand-wove the fabric. You can see some of the delightful people involved in the project at their YouTube channel.
From the Pentagon to the private sector - In large numbers, and with few rules, retiring generals are taking lucrative defense-firm jobs [more inside]
Various harvesting machines: Plum. Cucumber. Potato. Chicken. Green bean. Cherry. Asparagus. Tree. Sugarcane. Tomato. Coal. Carrot (another view.) Grape. Onion. Pecan. Watermelon. Chestnut.
The Menstruation Machine: an invention created by artist Hiromi Ozaki. "As a female designer I had one big problem I wanted to solve. "It’s 2010, so why are humans still menstruating?" "Fitted with a blood dispensing mechanism and lower-abdomen-stimulating electrodes, the Menstruation Machine is a device which simulates the pain and bleeding of an average 5 day menstruation process of a human (As a female designer I have done my best to simulate my own, at least)." Also: Menstruation Machine - Takashi's Take is a music video about a boy ‘Takashi’, who builds the menstruation machine in an attempt to dress up as a female, biologically as well as aesthetically, to fulfill his desire to understand what it might feel like to be a truely 'girly' girl. He determinedly wears the machine to hang out with his kawaii friend in Tokyo, but…"
Steve Durnin's D-Drive is a fascinating new infinitely-variable transmission that doesn't use friction components or a clutch of any kind. Video of a prototype with detailed explanations is included.
Andrew Levy reviews a lot of food in a little time. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Inhuman Eating Machine!
Dog and cat washing machine (SLYT)
Are you using the full potential of your dog? Dog-powered cars, then and now. Dog-powered scooters, bikes, and skateboards (previously). Churn butter. Drive sewing machines. Turn roasting spits. Power your home or vehicle with dog poop biofuel. Pull a cart with your dog. Ride your dog. Monkey riding a dog.
Let's start the year off right with The Most Useless Machine Ever!. AKA The BEST Machine Ever! via [more inside]
Top 10 Food-Based Rube Goldberg Machines (videos) If this type of food preparation is too elaborate for your tastes, the Super-Fast Pancake-Sorting Flexpicker Robot might be more to your style.
In the Netherlands somebody has removed an ATM card skimmer and examined it in detail. This site is in Dutch only, but appears to show high resolution photos of an ATM card skimmer with integrated PIN-capturing video camera.
Felix's Machines look like someone took a sledgehammer to a player piano. They thump and plink out electronic compositions, embodying Felix Thorn's concept of musical performance without a performer. Perforations is a free album of machine performances put together by Eileen Simpson and Ben White of the Open Music Archive, based on out-of-copyright piano rolls. (also available)
One of the classic arguments against evolution by natural selection is "what good is half an X?" where X is an eye, a wing or some other complex body part or system. Directly responding to the implicit challenge some researchers have been not just figuring out how X could have evolved, but actually evolving new complex machines (previously). The basic ideas are so simple that web versions (explanation and discussion) have been popping up.
Incredibots. Make crazy machines! Solve puzzles! Share with your friends! And that's just the beta. Similarly [more inside]
Database Machine Drawings - Early modern machine drawings from the late Middle Ages up to 1650. Traced by engineers (or by their order), some are inscrutable, others Escherian.
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