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They did WHAT?


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#1 Orpheus

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 06:37 PM

When I saw this, I suddenly knew: "This is how Stonehenge got started."

Wall of Death: the building process

#2 Julianus

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 04:43 PM

:lol: Soak it in an accelerant and they can have a spectacular celebration of the winter solstice, cremate the remains of riders who didn't survive the ride, and toast marshmallows. And they can get rid of another pile of used pallets by building another one next year.
Does the National Health take this kind of behavior into account?
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#3 D.Rabbit

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 04:51 PM

Seems to me to be a lot of work, just to court death.

Boys and their toys!

#4 Orpheus

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 07:21 PM

Some young men have an instinctive drive to court death. It's the only possible training for courting strong women later.

#5 Orpheus

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 01:26 AM

What do you get when you add two lads--one desperately without a girlfriend-- a fancy camera phone with automated smile recognition, and the oldest trick in the book?

Oddly, you get an experiment on which puppy breeds attract the most smiles from girls, and their comparative hotness.

Or so the co-authors of this submission claim. I say they mostly proved that some guys can't handle science OR women. [And that some fancy camera phones seem to mistake cleavage for smiles]

Puppy Pulling Power -- the film

-- Orpheus "who, from the title, honestly expected some sort of experiment involving weighted carts"

#6 Orpheus

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 01:44 AM

Last year, the photos below were making the rounds of the specialty construction blogs, and there was much speculation on whather they could possibly be real, or if they simply had to be photoshopped.

q.jpg

Well, as it turns out, this was a genuine publicity stunt by Liebherr (well known to many EtUers as the manufacturer of the the T-282B, the world's largest truck), showing off the strength of an arm retrofit on their R312 excavator. They were apparently miffed enough by the skepticism that they repeated it at night, on an Austrian TV show whose name translates idiomatically to "Wanna Bet?"

I must admit that as impressed as I am by that feat (and even more by the engineering of the tower, even if they clearly must've removed the excavator's counterweight to reduce its weight by more than half), it does make me wonder a bit about the sanity of what I'd always considered a staid, highly competent Swiss company...

... but sanity is a relative quantity in a world where Carnegie-Mellon is working to make "the world's largest trucks" into autonomous robots. Does no one heed the warnings of schlocky 70's movies or even the (fairly) recent news? Actually, despite the article's title, I'm not sure that it's the Leibherr T282B that's being converted. If Caterpillar is doing the work, they may be converting the *former* world's largest truck (as of ~5 years ago) made by Caterpillar -- Liebherr trucks are marketed in the US under the John Deere label). Or it may mean that DARPA wants to develop a truly domestic industrial skill set -- or it may mean anything, knowing journalists. I'm hoping it isn't T262Bs -- we may need those to fend off the Robots.

--Orpheus "T-262B vs. the Giant Robotic Trucks -- sounds like a Terminator/Transformer crossover"

#7 Orpheus

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 01:47 PM

After this guy, I don't want to hear any more complaints about my unconventional cooking!
[Though I must admire the hardcore bachelordom of a married guy whose only cooking device is an expresso-maker]

#8 Raeven

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 04:44 AM

That's inspired - I am impressed....seriously I am.


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#9 Orpheus

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 08:14 PM

This RC-controlled lawnmower project was the winner of an Arduino hack contest a couple of months ago.

We've become inured to long disclaimers, but he's right: his project is a potential deathtrap, both to operate (you're not going to see that rock or broken bottle way across the yard until your run over it and it becomes a projectile, and he did have a runaway mower in testing -- is granny going to be able to chase it down if the electronics short?) and to build (installed as drawn, his some of his high power semiconductors could explode). Kudos to him for persistence and initiative, but whether due to drafting errors in  his original posted schematics, or  (e.g.) anti-kickback circuits inside his motor cases, unbeknownst to him, in a few spots, he seems to have succeeded rather blindly by luck.

More to the point: why RC? He begged the question himself by riding the mower while using the RC control. Why strip the motors out of an electric wheelchair, when the wheelchair has even better control electronics, fully rated for the specific motors, and already hooked up to a single joystick controller (vs dual L-R "tank style" controls)

The real take home lesson, in my book, is that today's electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters can easily maneuver a lawnmower -- or something else (I have one of each in my garage, for future project use: I'd considered using them to e.g. tow a garden cart). Having owned a riding mower in the past [they are fun!], I seriously suspect that someone will make a mint on "Rascal" add-ons in the coming decade as the Baby Boomers continue to age.

(I just hope they have their incorporation papers drawn up carefully to shield them from personal liability: rider mower lawsuits against manufacturers aren't uncommon, especially when the operator is "impaired" and there's little difference between mowing while drunk, and mowing while impaired by multiple medication and age-diminished senses. I'm not saying it's a menace; I'm just saying that it only takes one incident out of 10K customers to take your business under.)

#10 Orpheus

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 09:11 PM

The Wii is sorely tempting me.

It seems that everywhere I look, I see new examples of scientists taking this game platform, and its peripherals to conduct research. Just down the road from me, the company that brought you the Roomba robot vacuum cleaner is selling a Wiimote to control its bomb disposal robot, and iphones to provide video from its autonomous "Packbot"  (its little brother, a Johnny Five knock-off with a shotgun and other optional weapons, is delightfully named "the Negotiator"). A company in Australia is using Wiimotes to control 15-ton grappling cranes -- the kind you'd dream about installing on your Mega-bot.

They're being used all over medicine, too, but one I just read about really struck me, because I did a brief stint in school doing neuromuscular research on gait analysis in recovering workman's comp injuries. It seems the Wii Balance board compares very favorably to a $17,500 force platform in assessing balance and stance in the elderly or injured. This is great news for the many thousands of physiotherapy clinics (probably tens of thousand around the world) that desperately need a force platform to do the best assessment and treatment plans, but can't afford to purchase and maintain one.

I think we'll be reading a lot about Wii-novations on these pages in the near future. They seem like the perfect controls for the manually operated T-282Bs that may be our best or only defense, come the robot revolution.

#11 Orpheus

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 10:12 AM

It may sound like a joke, but Nathan Myhrvold, former Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft has demonstrated that it is possible to shoot down mosquitos in mid-flight, using a peripheral made from parts used in common household items like digital cameras, printers, scanners or projectors at a potential cost of under $100 (for tinkerers), and possibly under $50 in mass production.

At last year's TED conference, Myhrvold was brainstorming with Bill Gates (who released mosquitos into the conference hall during his talk on the global cost of malaria, and the need for mosquito control) about innovative techniques, and this year, Myhrvold returned with a device that shot down hundreds of mosquitos in flight, as the audience watched. Though run at a low speed for the demo, Myhrvold said the system can shoot down 50-100 mosquitos per second at full speed.

It's not random or scattershot: the system acquires a target, identifies is species (no butterflies, ladybugs ...or humans) and targets the insect with a brief laser pulse, too weak to affect humans. Myhrvold notes that the system could even distinguish between male and (biting) females, which beat their wings at a different frequency.

I dunno about you, but I might take my mind off frigid February by focusing on preparations for spring/summer. I love the smell of burning chitin in the evening. It smells like ... victory



Downloadable high res videos are available at Myhrvold's Intellectual Ventures Lab

#12 SparkyCola

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 10:45 AM

:o That is amazing, and so cool!

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#13 Enkephalen

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 11:32 AM

Looks like it plucks the wings off the 'skeeter and whatever is left of the wing(s) continues to flutter. I thought it would target the body and instantly kill the creature.  

It's an interesting bug zapper.
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#14 Orpheus

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 02:15 PM

They do target the body, but it often hit the wings, fluttering around the body, first. The diaphanous wings would usually be the first part to burn, even on a visibly direct body hit, but I've hits on the body where it flares or bursts.

Studies on bug zappers are equivocal at best, and often quite critical of their effectiveness. Zappers don't work well on mosquitos (despite anecdotal accounts) because skeeters are attracted to animal carbon dioxide and aromas, not light.

#15 D.Rabbit

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 02:22 PM

Rabbit hides video from her pet mosquito.
Poor thing will go into shock!

They don't bite in the winter months and the occasional hibernating one comes in with the fire wood and wakes up.
It's very adept at avoiding my swats!

Sounds like a great invention, Id like one to set  up next to my neighbor's mosquito ranch.
As long as it does no harm to the dragon flies, and it sounds like it won't, I'm all for this type of bug control.

#16 Orpheus

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 03:00 PM

Now this is the true hacker spirit!

A plane spends most of its time on the ground, and depending on the airport, it may have to be moved around more often than you'd like -- for hangar storage during a big blow, for maintenance, to get it out of someone's way so they can reach the flight line, and maybe even for fresh fuel, if you didn't put it away properly before a long hiatus. Sure, you could just rev 'er up and drive her like a car, but that's not just wasteful, it's tricky. Cockpits are designed for an excellent forward view, and maybe even decent side views, but your wings are behind you , sticking out maybe 20 feet to either side, and you'll be navigating a maze of other planes with wing sticking out different distances, at different angles, at different positions relative to their nose or tail -- which may be all you can see, no matter how you crane around.

When you hear "aircraft collision", you probably think of a midair calamity, but damaging another guys wing or chainsawing some poor dude's tail with your prop while trying to *avoid* wrecking another plane's wing -- well that's probably more common. Every airport has the "funny" (as in laughing through the rears) photos of the expensive results

Usually, you try to grab a couple of pilot friends, and move it manually for short hall, or get a tow from the airport's truck, but there isn't always anyone around to help you, especially at an unattended field.

Paul Plack of Redline Aviation had been working on various solutions from towbars to modified manual forklifts to hydraulic systems, but none of them were small, simple, and light enough to pack in a Single Engine Light, especially with passengers and luggage aboard. Then he saw a Milwaukee 28v Lithium cordless drill, and had an idea. It provided a powerful motor, a charger and a power pack in a package a carpenter can drill over-the-head holes with, all day long.

But with even a Cessna 152 weighing in at 1670 lbs (757 kg), could a cordless power drill do the job? Well, Paul did the math and decided it could, if you geared it down from 700 rpm to the slow rotation of a airplane nosewheel rolling at the cautious walking speed of a cautious owner. The result? a device that can be carried by a child but can allow a pilot to pull an entire airplane with one hand -- simple and elegant.



#17 D.Rabbit

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 12:03 PM

That could put a lot of even more expensive moving equipment out of business.
All one would need is a 3 wheeled skid to pile the stock on.
A little slower then a fork lift, but what you spend in time you make up for in maintenance fees saved.

#18 Orpheus

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 04:00 AM

I almost put this in the "Alternative Rides" forum, but I thought it would be more fitting here. This 17 minute video is not just a short take on the only man to design, build and fly his own rocket pack (Actually, eight rocket packs for his own use, and as of April 2009, and since then I've heard he's building them for sale, at $100-120K) -- no, to me, anyway, it's a look into the heart (and garage) of a true tinkerer.

Besides, as we see later in the video, he doesn't just build rocket packs, he builds Rocket Bicycles, motorcycles, go karts, cars...  That's just might be too much "Alternative" for the baby Alternative Rides forum to handle!

Dell Motherboard's video embedding screws up the thread formatting -- I guess I'll just have to link the video. *sigh*

#19 Orpheus

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 09:53 AM

Meanwhile, los gringos locos del Estado Unidos are working on some crazy art, including rocket-powered carnival rides. Again, it's not the project, but the Tinker Spirit that counts.

Again -sorry!- Motherboard (that's the name of Dells' video site) embedding messes up some skins, so here's a link

#20 D.Rabbit

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 03:40 PM

Does one needs to harbor a healthy death wish to play with those ideas?

It does make me wish I had more time to tinker with the scraps and motors I had collected.
At my age, I really don't want to be nursing anything broken or torn away temporarily from my body. It takes too long to heal.
Good xyzt to you, = a web greeting that includes all time zones and planets.
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