Monday, June 30, 2008

Rare Clouds

Cool Stuff lives up to its name with a set of photos of unusual cloud formations.

House of Mystery

The New York Times has a story about a family who bought an $8.5 million apartment and had it thoroughly renovated. During this they had the architect hide puzzles in the apartment's structure. Make sure you look at the slide show to see pictures of the various strange features in the apartment.

The Guardian also has an article on the apartment.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Robotic Origami

Wired has a video of a robot folding an origami crane. Robots and origami! How many more of my buttons could they push?

Make sure you watch through to the end to see what is really happening.

P.S. I know it's not really a robot, it is a pair of remote manipulator arms.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Spacestation Grows Again

Astronomy Picture of the Day has a photo of the newly enlarged International Space Station.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tiger Hunter Extraordinare

Damn Interesting has a post about Jim Corbett a big game hunter of the late Victorian era who only hunted man-eating animals.

Factoid: US fuel use in Iraq

About 50 percent of the diesel that the military burns in Iraq is devoted to transporting more fuel. And about half of that gets poured into generators and stoves.
From an article on Danger Room about an experiment burning trash to generate power in Baghdad.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Making it up in volume

Wired has an article about a fellow who signed up for thousands of accounts with various brokerage houses and then kept the small amounts that the companies deposited in his account to verify the new relationship.

He opened 58,000 accounts and managed to accumulate over $50,000 before being arrested.

Lottery Factoid

Twenty percent of Americans are frequent players, spending about $60 billion a year. The spending is starkly regressive. A household with income under $13,000 spends, on average, $645 a year on lottery tickets, about 9 percent of all income.
That is from an op-ed piece in the New York Times about how American society has split in the investor class and the lottery class.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Last Pinball Factory

The New York Times has an article about the last factory that makes pinball machines.
Though pinball has roots in the 1800s game of bagatelle, these are by no means simple machines. Each one contains a half-mile of wire and 3,500 tiny components, and takes 32 hours to build — as the company’s president, Gary Stern, likes to say, longer than a Ford Taurus.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Dyson Airblade Hand Dryer

I always find it interesting when someone comes up with an innovation to a product that seems like it can't be improved (bagged lettuce is another example).

I encountered this hand dryer several times on my recent trip to the UK. Surprisingly it really is a superior dryer. It works differently from a regular dryer though. Instead of holding your hands under a stream of air, you insert your hands into the machine and then slowly pull them out through the "blade" of air. The air forces the water down your hands and eventually off the ends of your finger tips.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Old Fashioned Aerial Photographs

The Telegraph has a slideshow of some early aerial photos taken by Alfred G. Buckham. Some very nice pictures of London in the 1930s often with other biplanes in the background.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Fractal Furniture

I'm not sure why but I like the look of this fractal chest of drawers. It might be a bit difficult to build though.

Rubik's Cube Art

This site has some pictures of art made with Rubik's cubes. Much cooler than it sounds.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Historical Google Maps

Google Maps Mania has a post about a new set of historical maps that can be overlayed on Google Maps. The 1843 London map for example lets you see how the street layouts have changed (and remained the same).

Powered Exoskeleton Videos

Danger Room has a post with videos of powered exoskeletons that allow the wearer to carry much larger loads than they normally could.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Titanic was found as part of secret mission

The Times reports that the wreck of the Titanic was found as part of a secret mission to locate the wreckage of two sunken nuclear submarines.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Rotherforths in the US has a map of the distribution of Rotherforths in the United States in 1920. I think you can guess how this is going to turn out.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wall Climbing Robots

The IEEE has an article (with pictures) about small robots that can climb walls. One of them even looks like a gecko!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Phoenix landing

Astronomy Picture of the Day has some pictures of the Phoenix lander on Mars. One of the pictures is the first photo ever taken of a spacecraft landing on another planet.

Followup: Here is a picture of the view from Phoenix.