In his follow-up to Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari envisions what a 'useless class' of humans might look like as AI advances and spreads - "I'm aware that these kinds of forecasts have been around for at least 200 years, from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and they never came true so far. It's basically the boy who cried wolf, but in the original story of the boy who cried wolf, in the end, the wolf actually comes, and I think that is true this time." [more inside]
A robot will soon be asking you if you want fries with that. In response to the rising minimum wage, the fast-food chain Wendy's is following through with threats to to start automating all of its 6000 restaurants because of plans to raise the minimum wage in some US states. Carl's Jnr is also looking at the idea. Robots also might soon take over parts of the education system. [more inside]
An animated explanation for how newer vending machine detect fake coins and keep your treat from getting stuck.
Hobart® Mixer - Learn The Basics About Hobart Mixers | Making maple icing for donuts using a Hobart H-600 T commercial mixer | A200 Hobart Service | An upstart: Ferneto Planetary Mixer
My statistical analysis shows patterns indicative of vote manipulation in machines. The manipulation is relatively small, compared with the inherent variability of election results, but it is consistent. [...W]e have a serious pervasive and systematic problem with electronic voting machines. [more inside]
How he can move gigantic marble blocks, but his own movements are light? An excerpt from Il Capo by Yuri Ancarani, which follows a foreman at a marble quarry.
"Hi, Marc... You seem to think everyone's worried about robots. But what everyone's worried about is you, Marc. Not just you, but people like you. Robots aren't at the levers of financial and political influence today, but folks like you sure are. People are scared of so much wealth and control being in so few hands... Unless we collectively choose to pay for a safety net, technology alone isn't going to make it happen." [more inside]
Brad DeLong, recently installed at Equitablog, lays out a future (wonkish) where the returns to capital keep increasing relative to labor: "What do we people do to add value? Eight things... [more inside]
Nobel laureate's campaign calls for pre-emptive ban on autonomous weapons. As our technology advances, it becomes more and more feasible to give more and more autonomy to our drones. A new campaign led by 1997 Nobel laureate Jody Williams calls for an international ban on the design of autonomous weaponized drones. [more inside]
Do you need some gaskets, but aren't sure where to get the kind you need? Industrial Gasket Resource can help. And it's just one part of The Industrial Resource Network. [more inside]
How NASA brought the monstrous F-1 "moon rocket" engine back to life - "The story of young engineers who resurrected an engine nearly twice their age." [more inside]
Animated Engines 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.
Braiding machines can be used to create automobile parts, wiring harnesses, and art, among other things. It turns out watching them is pretty hypnotic.
The Post-Apocalypse Survival Machine Nerd Farm. The goal: "... to create a completely self-sufficient community that produces not only its own food, but also energy, tools, and raw materials for making those tools. "
Terrorism as art: Mark Pauline's dangerous machines. Robots, rebellion, and the post-apocalyptic performance art of Survival Research Labs.
For decades the Golpa-Nord open-pit mine was scoured by gigantic machines day and night. When the coal ran out, the enormous steel constructs - with names like Mad Max, Big Wheel, and Medusa - were left in place. Today, the abandoned machines form the remarkable city of Ferropolis. Much more at Urban Ghosts.
Dub machines. Tristan Shone, aka Author & Punisher, builds and plays his own drone metal instruments.
When the machines take over, how will people make a living? Paul Allen: Futurists like Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil have argued that the world is rapidly approaching a tipping point, where the accelerating pace of smarter and smarter machines will soon outrun all human capabilities. They call this tipping point the singularity, because they believe it is impossible to predict how the human future might unfold after this point. Once these machines exist, Kurzweil and Vinge claim, they'll possess a superhuman intelligence that is so incomprehensible to us that we cannot even rationally guess how our life experiences would be altered. Vinge asks us to ponder the role of humans in a world where machines are as much smarter than us as we are smarter than our pet dogs and cats. Kurzweil, who is a bit more optimistic, envisions a future in which developments in medical nanotechnology will allow us to download a copy of our individual brains into these superhuman machines, leave our bodies behind, and, in a sense, live forever. It's heady stuff. [more inside]
Building a Computer 1: Numerals - recently my kids have been asking me about how computers work. I like to give in-depth answers to such questions, so we set out on a quest to understand how they work... Follow-up parts 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15.
"Tanks Are Mighty Fine Things!" And Other Tales Of Truthiness... At the end of World War II, Chrysler sent small hardbound books to shareholders chronicling ways the company had contributed to the war effort. Two have now been placed online at the Chrysler Imperial Club's website: "Tanks are Mighty Fine Things" and "A War Job 'Thought Impossible' (The story of the Chrysler-Sperry Gyro-Compass)" (Via) [more inside]
This machine destroys EVERYTHING. (SLYT)
Chris Eckert is an artist who makes sculptures and... machines: Auto Ink, Auto Masochist, Auto Rosary
Haven't had your fill of creepy machinery? Watch John Nolan Films' 2010 animatronics showreel video (quicktime version). [more inside]
They slice. They dice. They make tempura shrimp. I'm not exactly sure who or what PF Max Company is, but this collection of YouTube videos -- featuring factory machines designed to cut, slice, sort, and do unspeakable things to fish -- is fascinating to watch. There are dozens of videos; these were selected for their toe-tapping (rolling out imitation crab & scallop) musical accompaniment (shredding fish to make Surimi). ⚠Warning: these videos depict bad things happening to (dead) fish so if that upsets you, don't watch. [more inside]
Once home to the Naval Shipyards, L'Ile de Nantes now houses the workshop of Les Machines de l'Ile. The 12m high Elephant made its debut last year (although a predecessor was spotted 3 years ago) and is the first of 3 major projects to be undertaken. [more inside]
The Museum of Unworkable Devices, (posted previously) contains an excellent link to a history of perpetual motion machines.
It takes something truly exceptional to be both impressive and completely useless, simultaneously : Let's face it, smoke rings are cool and sometimes mysterious. (Maybe just not 5 min. and 31 seconds worth of cool and mystererious). Amaze the kids and without lighting up! (zerotoys.com YouTube video) Naturally occuring vortex rings are even cooler. The inventor in the first link, (Aussie Peter Terren of the previously mentioned tesladownunder.com) shows more on vortex ring launchers) and has also recently discovered both YouTube and MeFi. Keep up with his latest geekiness on his What's New page.
An' all the hot cats on the block have been doing it too - c'mon now, honey, I wanna do it with you. Anyone hoping to build their own Death Probe without dismantling the vaccum cleaner or floor waxer can rejoice. The creators of Roomba and Scooba have released a barebones version. Add-on software from Microsoft is available, should more ambitious types decide to pair iRobot's tech with LEGO MindStorms pieces.
All the episodes of The Secret Life of Machines are available online. Created by engineer, artist, tinkerer and cartoonist Tim Hunkin, the show took a look at the science and mechanics behind common household objects, with a bit of social history, homemade laboratory experiments, and downplayed humor. The series grew out of a long-running strip, which Hunkin has now offers as his own cartoon encyclopedia. You can also try some experiments of your own, marvel at the coin-operated contraptions he made for the Under the Pier Show in Suffolk (don't miss the film), and read his thoughts about his brief foray into the fine art world and his ruminations about how art and engineering mix.
Her vote went smoothly, but boss Gary Rudolf called her over to look at what was happening on his machine. He touched the screen for gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis, a Democrat, but the review screen repeatedly registered the Republican, Charlie Crist. ...A poll worker then helped Rudolf, but it took three tries to get it right, Reed said. ... Broward Supervisor of Elections spokeswoman Mary Cooney said it's not uncommon for screens on heavily used machines to slip out of sync, making votes register incorrectly. ... Early voting problems already in Florida.
Kirk Rademaker makes sand sculptures that look like whimsical, steampunkesque machines (among other things).
Rube Goldberg, 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 of media, 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 kinetic sculpture.
Vintage Projects do it yourself plans, vintage reprints and building ideas from the 40's, 50's and 60's for farm, workshop, woodshop, machineshop, kids and camping. Includes plans for a pop-up camper, toy excavator, snow blower, and concrete block machine.
Machine by SymmetryLab: fixed points, spinners, pistons, elastics, and connectors. Dig the frictionless world.
SymmetryLab's other stuff is noteworthy as well.
SymmetryLab's other stuff is noteworthy as well.
Knight's American Mechanical Dictionary Containing over 3000 pages the Knight's American Mechanical Dictionary was billed as A description of tools, instruments, machines, processes and engineering; history of inventions; general technological vocabulary. Published in 1876 it is a great resource for those trying to figure out how things were done in the time of our great (great?) grand parents. Ilustrations, upwards of 5000 engravings, include a ride inside monocycle, trestle bridges, compound microscope, clod crushers, washing machines, spoke driver, hydraulic wagon-tipper, and a farmers tool-house. Warning: the book has been scanned in and all the item links are to 100-150K images.
Vending Machines of Japan PhotoMann recently decided to 'collect' images of unique vending machines found in Japan. They are everywhere. Estimates suggest there are 5.6 million vending machines which works out to be one for every 20 people in Japan. Sales from vending machines in 2000 totaled $56 billion! The most common are drink and cigarette machines followed by machines with pornography
Draft machine parts, not people! The Industrial Art Gallery is a collection of vintage engineering drawings. Perfect cover art for all you emo/math rock types. [via mimi smartypants]
Before there were videogames... an archive of old penny arcade machines.
The steam-powered drum machine - an astonishing extract from the journal of Charles Franklin, the founder of the London Museum of Techno. Written in 1894, Franklin describes a steam-powered drum machine and what may have been the world's first rave. "Driven by the thunderous rhythms of Hoovenaars tremendous "drum machine" the crowd - academics and dockers, architects and cobblers - were whipped into a frenzy, dancing and screaming like savages until sunrise, when the Machine finally ground to a halt with a suffering hiss."
The museum of unworkable devices... Gravity -- it's not just a good idea, it's the law. Perpetual motion, and other wonderful things.
The Chuck Hagel voting machine ownership story gets even scarier. In today's Best of the Blogs, Jerry Bowles reveals more bizarre details about the Chuck Hagel/voting machine story, including the fact that the majority ownership stake in the voting machine company that counted Senator Hagel's upset victory in 1996 (and his reelection in 2002) is held by a man long associated with the radical organization Christian Reconstruction, which believes in overturning democracy and replacing it with a Christian theocracy. This is really weird and frightening stuff, if it checks out.
Who Counts your Votes? This book published back in 1992 is a good launching pad to begin the quest regarding elections and election fraud in America. Joseph Stalin had a saying: ``Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.'' When I voted on November 5, I was handed a little card stuck it in to a Diebold voting machine and presto all the votes I submitted were counted correctly right? Well I'm not sure after I read the article Diebold: The face of modern balloting at http://www.bartcop.com/110702otter.htm and some of the articles at http://www.votefraud.org/. Perhaps we Americans have handed a bit to much over to computers and the people who own the companies that make the computers and that write the code. Perhaps to restore faith in our Democracy its time to to go back a simple hand counted system, with observers from multiple parties stationed in the local precincts counting the paper ballots.
Florida Machine Records Votes for Wrong Candidate. OK, I know Matt Drudge isn't exactly a venerated news outlet, but he is in South Florida. And he's reporting that a West Palm Beach voter called in to a South Florida radio talk show to report that when he voted for McBride this morning the machine counted his vote for Bush. After he'd tried three times, the voter said, an observing poll worker finally acknowledged that the machine would have to be reprogrammed, since earlier voters had experienced the same problem. There is no official confirmation of this problem, but calls to the same radio show two years ago evidently foreshadowed the 2000 election debacle. I'll be keeping an eye on sites like Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo as the day wears on. In the end, what should the electorate do (in addition to initiating lawsuits) if outcome-determining irregularities surface in yet another Florida election?
Does "Tiktok Easy Shop Big Box" remind anyone else of something from a Phil Dick novel? The deli-size vending machine comes to DC's "raffish" Adams-Morgan neighborhood. Will Your Town Be Next?