May 22nd, 2016

Spooky Tesla Spirit Radio

From Aetherforce:

“Tesla’s Spirit Radio uses a simple crystal radio circuit connected to a computer sound-in jack to generate spooky sounds from all kinds of electromagnetic sources. As you will see, it creeped the hell out of Tesla himself.”

“My first observations positively terrified me as there was present in them something mysterious, not to say supernatural, and I was alone in my laboratory at night.”
– Nikola Tesla 1901

“The sounds I am listening to every night at first appear to be human voices conversing back and forth in a language I cannot understand. I find it difficult to imagine that I am actually hearing real voices from people not of this planet. There must be a more simple explanation that has so far eluded me.”
– Nikola Tesla 1918

December 1st, 2013

Studley tool chest


Toolbox envy?

November 30th, 2013

Michio Kaku

Kaku tells a good story.

June 13th, 2013

the mechanism of moviemaking

An interesting look at how soundtrack production fits into the mechanism of moviemaking (in this case for Star Trek: Into Darkness).

May 4th, 2013

bad translator

I’ve been having more fun playing with this than I should really admit. You give it a sentence and it passes it back and forth through a selection of free translation services and then presents you with the übertranslated result.

In this way, my sentence

‘Within a few short years human translators will be obsolete’

becomes the rather more worrying

‘People will disappear’,

or with different settings, the rather poetic but undoubtedly true

‘In some years short human translators will aged be’.

Bad Translator.

April 27th, 2013

radio facsimile

1938-finch-machine-sm

I’m in love with this invention and the appearance of this prototype… It’s an elegant idea, probably too much before its time to really catch on. And now it’s pretty much obsolete as a concept. A newspaper delivered by radio as you sleep, printed in your home. And in 1938!

This invention of a wireless fax, as it were, was credited to W.G. H. Finch and used radio spectrum that was otherwise unused during the late-night hours when most Americans were sleeping. The FCC granted a special license for these transmissions to occur between midnight and 6am, though it would seem that a noisy printing device in your house cranking away in the middle of the night might have been the fatal flaw in their system. It wasn’t exactly a fast delivery either, as the article notes that it takes “a few hours” for the machine to produce your wireless fax newspaper.

The Smithsonian’s online magazine has a nice write-up on the invention here. And here’s a video of it in action (you need Quicktime to view it).

March 22nd, 2013

emotion produced by machines

This machine makes paper planes, but it also produces delight in certain people. Or is it the human innovation it represents that makes me smile? Hard to look at a machine like this and not see the person who made it.

February 24th, 2013

event partitioning

Don’t analyse me too much based on this comment, but I find it rather satisfying in a way to see a real-life system be broken down into its constituent functions, as in this system context diagram of a fictitious hotel. You could blow this diagram up to the size of a building and make ever smaller diagrams within the diagram to represent the functions within the functions within the functions within the functions…

In fact, I will do that one day. Ok, back to work.

(wikipedia link)

January 31st, 2013

infrasound pigeon navigation

He said: “The way birds navigate is that they use a compass and they use a map. The compass is usually the position of the Sun or the Earth’s magnetic field, but the map has been unknown for decades.

“I have found they are using sound as their map… and this will tell them where they are relative to their home.”

The pigeons, he said, use “infrasound”, which is an extremely low-frequency sound that is below the range of human hearing.

He explained: “The sound originates in the ocean. Waves in the deep ocean are interfering and they create sound in both the atmosphere and the Earth. You can pick this energy up anywhere on Earth, in the centre of a continent even.”

He believes that when the birds are at their unfamiliar release site, they listen for the signature of the infrasound signal from their home – and then use this to find their bearings.

However, infrasound can be affected by changes in the atmosphere.

BBC. (Related posts)

January 23rd, 2013

olive oil production

The fascinating traditional process of making olive oil.

December 22nd, 2012

choreographie

Via Public Domain Review:

Collection of Dances in Choreography Notation (1700)
Images extracted from the latter half of Choregraphie, a book first published in 1700 which details a dance notation system invented by Raoul-Auger Feuillet which revolutionised the dance world. The system indicates the placement of the feet and six basic leg movements: plié, releveé, sauté, cabriole, tombé, and glissé. Changes of body direction and numerous ornamentations of the legs and arms are also part of the system which is based on tract drawings that trace the pattern of the dance. Additionally, bar lines in the dance score correspond to bar lines in the music score. Signs written on the right or left hand side of the tract indicate the steps. Voltaire ranked the invention as one of the “achievements of his day” and Denis Diderot devoted ten pages to the subject in his Encylopdédie.

The diagrams really get my imagination going.

December 18th, 2012

what is colour?

Simple explanation of colour perception.

December 8th, 2012

mechanised birdsong

A mechanical singing bird mechanism. Made around 120 years ago in Paris, probably by Bontems. In the film I hope you can identify all the major parts and see them working together to make the sound. The mechanism was in a rusted and seized state and has been restored. Surpisingly the bellows are in good original condition. See our channel for more, much more.

If this is for real, it’s very impressive! Actually if it were not real it would be impressive too. See more at the house of automata. (via sciencedump)

October 26th, 2012

Lancelot Hogben

It turns out Lancelot Hogben was as impressive as his name promises.

I started reading about him after I found a copy of his 1938 book “Science for the Citizen”, illustrated by J.F. Horrabin. You can find this book on archive.org, but it doesn’t match the beauty of the printed version, in which text and diagrams melt into yellowed paper. It’s like a holy text. The attention to detail in the writing makes for educational luxury; it’s an educational text that actually has a soul and a sense of purpose.

From the Hogben’s introduction:

In the Victorian age big men of science like Faraday, T. H. Huxley, and Tyndall did not think it beneath their dignity to write about simple truths with the conviction that they could instruct their audiences. There were giants in those days. The new fashion is to select from the periphery of mathematicized hypotheses some half-assimilated speculation as a preface to homilies and apologetics crude enough to induce a cold sweat in a really sophisticated theologian who knows his job. With a few notable exceptions such as Simple Science by Andrade and Huxley and two volumes on British and American men of science by J. G. Crowther, this is a fair description of the state into which the writing of popular science has fallen hi contemporary Britain. The clue to the state of mind which produces these
weak-kneed and clownish apologetics is contempt for the common man. The key to the eloquent literature which the pen of Faraday and Huxley produced is their firm faith in the educability of mankind.

Apart from being a legendary zoologist, a writer, political activist and lecturer, Hogben was also a linguist. He invented Interglossa, an international language (‘a draft of an auxiliary for a democratic world order’).

Inimical to all traditional grammar, Hogben is certainly one of the most radical of all the interlinguists. He begins from the proposition that an international language is primarily of interest to scientists, and especially those from the East, who need an easy means of access to the conquests of Western science. All projects prior to his, which were always based on one or more European languages, were aimed solely at Western scholars. But of course the structure of the “Aryan” languages (that is, the Indo-Germanic and the Finno-Ugric languages) is not at all natural for a Japanese, a Chinese, or an African. In order to benefit these, an international language should be of the isolating, rather than the agglutinative, type, in contrast to all the previous attempts at universal languages.

More of that article here.

October 14th, 2012

anternet

Researchers at Stanford university compare the the networking of an ant colony to the mechanism of the internet. A lesson in harnessing the collective power of individual units! (via sciencedump)

October 9th, 2012

alternative scarecrow

What a mechanism! Now that’s resourceful. (via sciencedump)

September 17th, 2012

in aristotelian wars the combatants simply fight forever

He understands, as Darwin would, that there is a war of nature. But, where in Darwinian wars some species flourish while others go extinct, in Aristotelian wars the combatants simply fight forever.

A documentary exploring Aristotle’s biological investigations and comparing his understanding to our current knowledge.

September 14th, 2012

butterfly flame

What is a flame made of? (sciencedump)






Powered by Wordpress. Theme info.
Original content © MMIX Jonathan Beaton, all rights reserved.