Albert Michelson is a name known to anyone who has taken
(and paid attention during) a course in physics for his being the first
person to accurately measure the speed of light in air. Born in 1852 to Jewish parents in Poland, his
family emigrated to America in 1855 initially settling in Virginia City, Nevada. That happens to be
where the fictional TV family of the Cartwrights owned their sprawling Ponderosa ranch in the series
Bonanza. Screenwriters for the show took a bit of historical liberty in depicting young Michelson
as having attending primary school in ...
Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio is a quite interesting
documentary about the struggle that Edwin H Armstrong - inventor of the superregenerative and superheterodyne
circuits, and of wideband frequency modulation (FM) - had with Lee DeForest - inventor of the Audio
amplifying tube - and David Sarnoff - CEO of Radio Corporation of America (RCA). Extensive legal battles
ensued between Armstrong and DeForest over vacuum tube patents, and Sarnoff's transition from biggest
cheerleader to biggest thwarter of Armstrong's efforts are epic. A huge amount of historical information
and vintage film clips ...
Mjölnir's Secret: Microwave Oven Magnets - Who Knew?
The secret of Mjölnir,
Thor's hammer, has finally been revealed. As it turns out, being found 'worthy' of lifting Mjölner requires
having the right thumbprint. Well, at least inventor / maker Allen Pan's version of the hammer does.
The July/August issue of Popular Science ran an article on Pan's cleverly converted toy Mjölnir
wherein he buried four lead-acid batteries to power a scrounged microwave oven transformer for duty
as an electromagnet. An Arduino Uno-driven sensor detects Pan's unique thumbprint and disables
Morse Code vs. Texting Contest on the Jay Leno's "The Tonight Show"
On the May 13, 2005 episode of The Tonight Show, Jay
Leno held a speed contest between two Ham Radio operators using
Morse code and two Millennials
using their smartphones for texting (SMS). At least one member of the
audience thought texting would win. Mr. Chip Margelli (K7JA) did the sending.
He declares, "Let me assure you that we never saw that message before I flipped the blue card over.
Each message, in rehearsal, was different. The character count was the same as the one during dress
FPV Drone Tour of the Russian Duga-1 OTH Radar Antenna
Radio controlled drones have gotten a bad name, mostly due to
moronic operators that have no regard for other people's privacy or safety. I would like to be able
to say those types are in the minority, but unfortunately they probably do make up the majority of drone
owners. That is because unlike with R/C airplanes and helicopters that require at least a modicum of
skill and common sense to fly successfully, even the cheapest drones incorporate stability systems that
are so good even a caveman could fly one. At the opposite end of the drooling loser contingent of the
drone pilot spectrum is the rapidly growing number of highly skilled pilots that advance not just
Explosive Charges Bring down 48 VOA Towers in North Carolina
This item appeared on the ARRL news website. It links to a video
showing an engineered demolition of a shortwave antenna farm in North Carolina commissioned by the Voice
of America (VOA) in 1963, during the Cold War. The video provides an aerial view of the entire line
of towers collapsing as the precisely timed charges go off. The most impressive aspect is that explosives
are detonated only on every other tower in such a way that the falling tower takes out the one next
to it almost in a dominoes manner (see yellow circle). 25 pounds of explosives
were used rather than possibly 50 if every tower's guy lines had been
Old vs. New Car Design - Video
while watching a 1960s era TV show I asked myself a question I've asked many times before: If one of
those heavy, bulky vintage cars constructed of thick pressed sheet steel body components, full steel
tube frames, and cast iron 8-cylinder engine blocks was to have a head-on collision with a modern car
built with light-weight materials of composite construction and minimal structural bulk, which would
be the victor? My gut reaction was to think that the result would be like a
sledge hammer and a Coke can colliding; I'd rather
be the sledge hammer. I know cars are engineered to sacrifice the car to preserve the passenger compartment
"Marble Machine" by Wintergatan
Maybe you are one of the more than 11 million people who have
already viewed this incredible "Marble Machine" video,
by Swedish musician Martin Molin. Molin designed and built his wooden music machine using aircraft plywood,
ball bearings, Lego blocks, pressure transducers, plastic tubing, lengths of wire, springs, and a host
of other off-the-shelf components, none of which appear to have required custom metal machining. The
huge wooden gears were designed on his computer, ut out on a band saw, and assembled with glue and screws.
2,000 metal marbles are the lifeblood of the instrument which, by function, must be classified as percussion.
Even the integrated base guitar is ...
iPhone 6 Plus vs. Samsung
Galaxy Note 3 - "Will It Blend?"
There is no denying
Blendtec founder Tom Dickson has earned the title of überBlendermeister with his online "Will It Blend?" series of videos.
Using his company's Total Blender, Tom has over the years inserted, among many other things, popular
and often expensive high-tech devices, and then pressed the appropriate button on the machine to start
the action. Since its beginning in 2007, "Will It Blend?" videos have documented in a combination of
full speed and slow motion the pulverizing of iPhones, iPads, Galaxy phones, Windows phones, Kindles,
laser pointers, wii remote controls, Xbox 360 Kinect, a hearing aid, a video camera, magnets, and even
a cassette tape. In the most recent episode, Tom hosts a
might recall seeing the video of Boston Dynamics' "Big Dog" robot that is part of a DARPA project developing
battlefield automatons capable of carrying heavy loads at a swift pace over rugged terrain. Their newest
humaniod, called "Pet-Proto," is enough to
give you nightmares. Add a few lowpass filters on the joint mechanics and this boy would look like it
came straight out of the Transformers or Terminator movies. One big hurdle that has to be overcome is
the power source. Big Dog has an internal combustion engine driving a hydraulic pump (electronics probably
work on batteries), and this Pet-Proto dude has hydraulic lines from an external supply. The robots
are capable of autonomous decision making and are guided and motivated by GPS, LIDAR, ground sensors,
gyroscopes, and other super-sophisticated devices.
Crystals Go to War
thanks to Kevin, of Roanoke, VA, for sending me a link to this documentary video covering the entire
production chain for radio crystals as filmed
by Reeves Sound Laboratory, in New York, NY. It was produced during World War II so the methods
used are not anywhere near what is common today. What is the same, fundamentally, is the ingenuity and
hard work that goes into developing a new technology, and particularly the effort needed to move to
high volume production. As with most of these vintage factory films, a few aspects of normal practices
of the era are immediately apparent. First is the near utter lack of personal safety devices on machinery
and accessories for workers. Fingers run perilously close to diamond-impregnated crystal dicing blades,
unprotected hands and arms are submersed in oils and cleaning solutions, no ear protectors
Videos of automated
factory fabrication and assembly lines are awesome. Watching the robots sling metal panels around for
presses using hundreds of thousands of pounds of pressure to stamp out body panels for the Tesla Model S
electric car is an inspiring reminder of how ingenuous and capable our fellow homo sapiens can be in
spite of politicians' best efforts to enslave an underclass voting bloc of slackers. Think of the amount
of knowledge required to conceive of and execute the processes show in this video - metallurgy, robotics,
software, production planning, material sourcing and handling, factory environment, structural
analysis, safety, testing, budgeting, training, union demands, human concerns, massive governmental
regulation, surface finishing, marketing, work flow, and a host of other issues. That doesn't even include
the brainpower necessary to plan, design, test, and build all the electrical and electronics parts of
the vehicle. Utterly amazing. It takes 3-5 days from beginning to end to build a Model S.
Even back in the 'old days' when most of the labor was manual, film reels showing masses of humans working
together to make a complex piece of machinery like a Ford Model T will bring a tear to the eye
of any self-respecting tech aficionado.
Turn Your Smartphone into a 3D Hologram
How does anyone even think of this stuff? This video demonstrating
how to turn your smartphone into a holographic projector
was posted by Mrwhosetheboss on August 1, 2015 and has over 10 million views already - and it's no wonder.
He doesn't mention on the video what inspired the idea. A clear plastic CD jewel case cover it used
to make the projection surface and specially created videos that project onto the four faces are used
to create the holographic effect. The concept reminds of a little multi-faceted mirrored device that
used to be sold which sat in the middle of a record player and turned flip-book
OK Go - "I Won't Let You Down"
OK Go is
perhaps best known for sophisticated videos that require extremely high levels of choreography. Their
I Won't Let You Down video
was posted on YouTube just yesterday and it has nearly 2.5 million views a day later. Back in 2010 I
posted their Mousetrap-like
This Too Shall Pass video; it now has more than 45 million views. Two major aspects of high
technology are featured here: Honda's UNI-CUB β robotic unicycle and the use of a remote control
drone for filming the video. Honda is not selling the UNI-CUB β yet, so Honda must have been
involved in the effort; the OK Go video is featured on the