A dream or a nightmare? Either way, it’ll very likely never happen …
Artwork by Stephen Byrne

A dream or a nightmare? Either way, it’ll very likely never happen …

Artwork by Stephen Byrne

Nathan Yau at FlowingData has created a world map using stats from the United States Geographical Society that shows every earthquake registering above 5.0 on the Richter scale during the previous 100 years. Each one of the 72,000 quakes is shown as a single white dot and the ten strongest ones are named and marked in green. Unsurprisingly the outlines of the tectonic plates become clearly visible.

Nathan Yau at FlowingData has created a world map using stats from the United States Geographical Society that shows every earthquake registering above 5.0 on the Richter scale during the previous 100 years. Each one of the 72,000 quakes is shown as a single white dot and the ten strongest ones are named and marked in green. Unsurprisingly the outlines of the tectonic plates become clearly visible.

Artist Justin Gershenson-Gates takes apart old watches and other discarded objects and turns them into recycled mechanical sculptures and jewellry. Online he is better known as A Mechanical Mind with dedicated followings on deviantART.

Artist Justin Gershenson-Gates takes apart old watches and other discarded objects and turns them into recycled mechanical sculptures and jewellry. Online he is better known as A Mechanical Mind with dedicated followings on deviantART.

How about controlling a flying dragon that actually shoots fire and reaches airborne speeds of up to 70 mph (112.6 km/h)? It has a head that rotates into the direction of turns and an impressive wing span of nine feet (2.7 m). The miniature turbine engine in the chest that thrusts out the rear of the mythical beast at 500 mph (804.7 km/h). Materials used in its construction include two layers of epoxy glass and internal structures of high-grade plywood. It’s powered by jet aircraft fuel or kerosine, and its half-gallon tank can keep it airborne for about 10 minutes before it will need to be landed and refuelled. All of this is controlled via a 2.4 GHz remote control.When shooting fire, the propane-fueled flame blast can travel three feet (0.9 m), but it can only do so while on the ground.This beast, created by Rick Hamel is actually for sale via Hammacher Schlemmer, with a staggering US$60,000 price tag.

How about controlling a flying dragon that actually shoots fire and reaches airborne speeds of up to 70 mph (112.6 km/h)? It has a head that rotates into the direction of turns and an impressive wing span of nine feet (2.7 m). The miniature turbine engine in the chest that thrusts out the rear of the mythical beast at 500 mph (804.7 km/h).
Materials used in its construction include two layers of epoxy glass and internal structures of high-grade plywood. It’s powered by jet aircraft fuel or kerosine, and its half-gallon tank can keep it airborne for about 10 minutes before it will need to be landed and refuelled. All of this is controlled via a 2.4 GHz remote control.
When shooting fire, the propane-fueled flame blast can travel three feet (0.9 m), but it can only do so while on the ground.
This beast, created by Rick Hamel is actually for sale via Hammacher Schlemmer, with a staggering US$60,000 price tag.

Action Bill: William Shatner versus William Shakespeare - A LEGO stop motion short film)

These Tests Can Prove Whether You Are in the Fourth Dimension

These Tests Can Prove Whether You Are in the Fourth Dimension

A famous astronomer, Johann Zöllner, came up with a number of different tests designed to show that a person has the power to go into four-dimensional space. See if you can pass one:

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A Nation of Slaves – by Charles Stross

George Osborne has committed the Conservatives to targeting “full employment”, saying that tax and welfare changes would help achieve it.

Firstly, this is impossible. Secondly, explaining why is … well, George Orwell coined a word to describe this sort of thing, in 1984: Crimestop

The faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction.
Today, in the political discourse of the west, it is almost unthinkably hard to ask a very simple question: why should we work?

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"Each winter, as the southern seas grew rough, the Kodran fleet would migrate north to spend the stormiest months in the safe harbor of the Gilbrecht Sound. But this year, tensions in Toll delayed their journey by two weeks"

Wonderful painting by Tyler Edlinart
Does anyone know if this belongs to a book or game? Can someone hold this in Philip Reeve’s face to make it clear that he simply NEEDS to write further volumes in the “Mortal Engines” (aka “Predator Cities”) series!?!

"Each winter, as the southern seas grew rough, the Kodran fleet would migrate north to spend the stormiest months in the safe harbor of the Gilbrecht Sound. But this year, tensions in Toll delayed their journey by two weeks"

Wonderful painting by Tyler Edlinart

Does anyone know if this belongs to a book or game? Can someone hold this in Philip Reeve’s face to make it clear that he simply NEEDS to write further volumes in the “Mortal Engines” (aka “Predator Cities”) series!?!

“Bovril holds the unusual position of having been advertised with a Pope. An advertising campaign of the early 20th century in Britain depicted Pope Leo XIII seated on his throne, bearing a mug of Bovril. The campaign slogan read: The Two Infallible Powers – The Pope & Bovril.” (re-blogged from Retronaut)

“Bovril holds the unusual position of having been advertised with a Pope. An advertising campaign of the early 20th century in Britain depicted Pope Leo XIII seated on his throne, bearing a mug of Bovril. The campaign slogan read: The Two Infallible Powers – The Pope & Bovril.” (re-blogged from Retronaut)

Why Asimov’s Three Laws Of Robotics Can’t Protect Us

It’s been 50 years since Isaac Asimov devised his famous Three Laws of Robotics — a set of rules designed to ensure friendly robot behavior. Though intended as a literary device, these laws are heralded by some as a ready-made prescription for avoiding the robopocalypse. We spoke to the experts to find out if Asimov’s safeguards have stood the test of time — and they haven’t.

First, a quick overview of the Three Laws. As stated by Asimov in his 1942 short story “Runaround”:

1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Later, Asimov added a fourth, or zeroth law, that preceded the others in terms of priority:

0. A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.

In Asimov’s fictional universe, these laws were incorporated into nearly all of his “positronic” robots. They were not mere suggestions or guidelines — they were embedded into the software that governs their behavior. What’s more, the rules could not be bypassed, over-written, or revised.

More at the source, the excellent io9; text by George Dvorsky, painting supreme for Asimov’s ‘Robots of Dawn’ by Michael Whelan

Where the F-Word Came From

In its various incarnations, the F-word can be a noun, verb, adjective, and even an infix. The Crescent wrench of the English language, the F-bomb has been adding emphasis, vulgarity and spice to our conversations for longer than anyone can remember.

Early History

Because fuck is the type of word that “wasn’t written in the kind of texts that have survived from Old English and Middle English,” it is difficult to trace it’s origins, although experts believe it is “ancient.”

Some claim that a man went by the name John le Fucker, as early as the 13th century, although the printed version that is generally ascribed as being first, is an attack on the piety of Carmelite friars from the 1400s:

Non sunt in coeli, quia fvccant vvivys of heli…  [translated “They are not in heaven because they fuck the wives of Ely … ]

William Dunbar, the Scottish poet known for his satirical works, is credited with first printing the F-word in English, sometime in the early 1500s:

Yit be his feirris [behavior] he wald have fukkit-

“Ye brek my heart, my bony ane [one].”

Given Scotland’s early adoption of the word, and its distinct, initial spelling, many think it may be Scandinavian in origin:

Perhaps from a word akin to [the] Norwegian dialectical fukka “copulate,” or Swedish dialectical focka “copulate, strike, push,” and fock “penis.”

Others point to the Middle English words fyke and fike, which meant “to move restlessly” as well as “flirt.” Another possible source is the Low German, ficken, which originally meant to scratch an itch, but later took on the vulgar sense.

BothFornication Under Consent of the King” and “[booked] for Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” have been put forward as the inspiration for the F-bomb, but, this is extremely unlikely as prior to the mid-20th century, while abbreviations were prevalent in text, pronouncing them as words was not something people typically did, being something of a very modern phenomenon. In fact, according to linguist David Wilton,

More (and re-blogged from) Today I Found Out 

Asteroid Found with Rings! First-of-Its-Kind Discovery Stuns Astronomers

Scientists have made a stunning discovery in the outer realm of the solar system — an asteroid with its own set of rings that orbits the sun between Saturn and Uranus. The space rock is the first non-planetary object ever found to have its own ring system, researchers say.

The pair of space rock rings encircle the asteroid Chariklo. They were most likely formed after a collision scattered debris around the asteroid, according to a new study unveiled today (March 27). The asteroid rings also suggests the presence of a still-undiscovered moon around Chariklo that’s keeping them stable, researchers said.

More at (and re-blogged from) Space.com; article by Nola Taylor Redd

Wood pulp extract = stronger than carbon fiber or Kevlar

Cellulose structures in trees from logs to molecules

The Forest Products Laboratory of the US Forest Service has opened a US$1.7 million pilot plant for the production of cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) from wood by-products materials such as wood chips and sawdust. Prepared properly, CNCs are stronger and stiffer than Kevlar or carbon fibers, so that putting CNC into composite materials results in high strength, low weight products. In addition, the cost of CNCs is less than ten percent of the cost of Kevlar fiber or carbon fiber.

more (w/plenty of illustrations) at Gizmag; text by Brian Dodson

Myth: Helicopters will drop like a rock when the engine shuts down.

You have a better chance at surviving in a helicopter when the engine fails than you do in an airplane. Helicopters are designed specifically to allow pilots to have a reasonable chance of landing them safely in the case where the engine stops working during flight, often with no damage at all.  They accomplish this via autorotation of the main rotor blades.

Further, when seeking a helicopter pilot’s license, one has to practice landing using this no-power technique.  When practicing, instead of actually shutting the engine off completely though, they usually just turn the engine down enough to disengage it from the rotor.  This way, if the student encounters a problem during a no-power landing, the helicopter can be throttled back up to avoid an accident. Given that this isn’t an option during actual engine failure, it’s critical for helicopter pilots to practice this until they have it down pat.

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The robots are coming - the invasion’s already in progress
What does the word ‘robot’ bring to mind for you? There’s a good chance it’s some character from science fiction. C3PO from Star Wars, maybe, or, if you’re more pessimistically minded, the killing machine from the Terminator movies.
Re-blogged from aeon, written by Michael Belfiore

The robots are coming - the invasion’s already in progress

What does the word ‘robot’ bring to mind for you? There’s a good chance it’s some character from science fiction. C3PO from Star Wars, maybe, or, if you’re more pessimistically minded, the killing machine from the Terminator movies.

Re-blogged from aeon, written by Michael Belfiore

(via t-leafd)