Archive for category rocket-science

did you know that the marriage rate in Ohio correlates with legal executions? Spurious Correlations!

I took notice of a website called “Spurious Correlations“. It seems that it collects all sorts of correlating statistics to proof the point of how important context is to statistics. Enjoy!

Bildschirmfoto 2014-05-18 um 17.56.20

Source 1: http://www.tylervigen.com/

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How many space missions are exploring our solar system right now?

The number is 27!

20130425_solar-system-missions2013-05_big

CC-BY-SA Olaf Frohn

Right now there are 27 different missions ongoing to explore our solar system. A high number for something that is not part of our daily news cycle. Those missions currently concentrate on the sun, mars, mercury, venus, the earth moon and some asteriods.

Source: http://www.raumfahrer.net/news/raumfahrt/01052013213936.shtml

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A lot of Whisky videos – and a tutorial how to cut videos on the command line

For just shy of 2 years I am a fan of whisky. After I got the hang of the processes, tastes and smells around this spirit I started collecting them – collecting to drink them eventually.

Now there are a number of shops you can buy good quality whisky from anywhere in the world. One of which happens to be located in germany. This shop is not only offering a huge choice but also a cross-sellers dream: tasting and explanation videos beneath many of the whiskys in which a very talented Mr. Horst Lüning tastes and explains all things whisky.

Now this shop hosts all videos on YouTube. Since I am a big fan of podcasting and internet based entertainment it’s a great thing that because if my little tool called “YouTubeFeast” all new episodes and tasting videos get downloaded automatically. Till today this way I’ve got well over 650 whisky tasting and explanation videos downloaded.

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As a matter of fact this is a really entertaining and educating series I even would pay to get access to. But that aside every video which got automatically downloaded usually looks like this (german audio):

As you can see there’s a short intro (8 seconds) and an outro (29 seconds) which every single video starts and ends with. Under normal circumstances there are two occasions when I have those videos played.

  1. When I want to look for a particular whisky and get an overview of how it’s going to be like.
  2. For over 12 years I happen to have a “nights playlist” – a playlist of things that are played back during the night – every night. For this it’s important that it’s mainly speech, very normalized audio and of course it needs to be interesting.

So for the second reason it’s important that there are not too many audio bumps and breaks. Unfortunately as much as I like the intro and outro music it’s actually very bass heavy and as such sleep interrupting sometimes… So just like when a good newmake spirit is distilled the start and end run need to be separated by the heart that makes up the spirit.

Every 4-6 months I take all newly added videos and cut them down and add them to the nights playlist folders. The process is like this:

  1. Rename them: Remove the following things from the filenames
    “Whiskey Verkostung – “, “Whiskey Likör Verkostung “, “Whiskygläser “, “Whisky-Verkostung – “, “Whisky Vorstellung “, “Whisky Verkostung “, “Whisky Verkosten “, “Whisky Tasting – “, “Whisky Tasting “, “Whisky Likör Verkostung “, “Whiskey-Verkostung – “, “Whiskey Verkostung “, “Whiskey Tasting – “, “- ”

    To rename the files I am usually using the freeware tool Rename Master – it’s awesome!

  2. Cut the intro away.
    This best done with a simple ffmpeg command:

    ffmpeg -i $inputfile -ss 00:00:08.0 -acodec copy -vcodec copy $output

  3. Cut the outro away.
    Using a little shell script it’s fairly easy to first get the full length of each video file and then using another tool to substract 29 seconds from each length and cut the heart out until that length is reached.

    To get the length the following short line is doing a great job:

    ffmpeg -i “$1” 2>&1 |grep Duration | cut -d ‘ ‘ -f 4 | sed s/,//

    In order to then cut the video before the outro starts it basically is a another call to ffmpeg:

    ffmpeg -i $infile -t $calculatedlength -acodec copy -vcodec copy $output

That way you get just the tasting videos without intro and outro – ready to be enjoyed. For the end of this article I want to stress the fact how awesome I think those whisky videos from Mr. Lüning are. It’s awesome to watch and learn. I hope that those videos will be available for more years to come! Cheers!

Source 1: http://www.joejoesoft.com/vcms/108/
Source 2: http://www.whisky.de

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International Space Station (ISS) live stream

Ever wondered what earth looks live from orbit? Well there are several cameras in the ISS which stream (when ISS is over daylight-territory) an live image to earth for you to see.

 

Bildschirmfoto 2013-02-24 um 17.49.01

If you want to know where the International Space Station currently is you can always click here.

Source 1: http://www.dlr.de/next/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-7444/12517_read-30741/
Source 2: http://www.lizard-tail.com/isana/tracking/

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Black Marble: the earth at night

Behold the beauty of the earth by night from orbit:

Source 1: https://earthbuilder.google.com/10446176163891957399-13737975182519107424-4/mapview/

 

 

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Open Source for Space

Everyone is excited about the Mars Science Laboratory cruising on Mars. NASA/JPL pulled an unbelievable stunt to get that almost-a-ton Rover on that planet. Well done!

Alongside with the landing some source reported that NASA/JPL now has started to provider source code access to some of it’s internal projects. And beside being right this is not the first time they’ve provided source code access. They got a whole page with all their projects open sourced. Some of those are quite huge projects – big like those you would fly to Mars with.

Even more interesting from a historical perspective are the older open sourced projects. Like the complete manuals and source code listings of the gemini and apollo projects.

It’s a great read overall and it let’s you wondering with how little you can achieve great goals.

Source 1: http://ti.arc.nasa.gov/opensource/
Source 2: https://github.com/nasa/
Source 3: http://www.ibiblio.org/apollo/links.html
Source 4: http://code.google.com/p/virtualagc/

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der letzte Flug des Space Shuttle Endeavour

Am kommenden Freitag soll das Space Shuttle Endeavour zum letzen Mal und ein Space Shuttle zum vorletzten Mal abheben. Da will man dabei sein 🙂

Ich habe glücklicherweise gerade die Herren (und Damen?) von SpaceLiveCast entdeckt. Offenbar machen die schon eine ganze Weile Livestreams zu den verschiedenen Raumfahrt-Events.

P.S.: Wenn ich einen Wunsch frei hätte, wäre das, dass die Seite einen Video Podcast Feed anbietet….(wird Hilfe benötigt?)

Source 1: http://spacelivecast.de/
Source 2: http://www.raumfahrer.net
Source 3: http://spacelivecast.de/2011/04/29-04-ab-1900-uhr-sts-134-letzter-endeavour-flug/

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winter 2011 hacking project: Home Automation

In the last 10+ years I was fiddling with different home automation concepts. Mostly without broad use cases because at that time no one seemed to be interested in having sensors and actors like crazy at home. In fact not that many people seem to care these days.

Having more and more hardware and software around us creates the use cases for a broader audience people like me have for 10+ years. Mainstream is a bitch for nerds Smiley

That said I found a nice plastic box I want to use in a winter project. This plastic box is called “EzControl XS1”. It comes with several visible and “invisible” interfaces.

The visible and obvious ones are: power, 100 mbit ethernet, sd card slot. So it takes some power and does something on the network. The not so obvious and therefore “invisible” interfaces are the most interesting ones: the EzControl XS1 comes with the ability to send and receive on 433 Mhz and 868 Mhz.

ezcontrol_xs1-200

Yes that are the ranges used by switchable and dimable power sockets, temperature sensor and AMR. The EzControl XS1 is not that cheap (coming at 189 Euros for the base version and additional 65 Euros per upgrade option). I do not own one yet so it’s the plan to acquire at least one and start of with dimable power sockets and add more sensors and actors on the way

One great feature of the EzControl XS1 is the embedded WebServer with which the users application (the one I want to write) can interact using a HTTP/JSON Protocol. Oh dear: Sensor data and Actor control using JSON. How great is that!

There is some example code available (even a proprietary iPad/iPhone client) but since I want to have some custom features I do not currently see to be available in software I am going to write a set of tools which will get and protocol sensor data and run scripts to controls actors. Oh it’ll be all available as open source (license not yet chosen).

P.S.: If some one from Rose+Herleth is reading this and wants to help – send me a test unit Smiley

Source 1: http://www.ezcontrol.de (in german though)
Source 2: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatic_meter_reading
Source 3: http://www.ezcontrol.de/content/view/12/31/

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137 years of Popular Science is available now

That’s great news for everyone interested in science and history. As it turns out Google and PopSci just made their entire 137-year archive available online… good times!

“We’ve partnered with Google to offer our entire 137-year archive for free browsing. Each issue appears just as it did at its original time of publication, complete with period advertisements. It’s an amazing resource that beautifully encapsulates our ongoing fascination with the future, and science and technology’s incredible potential to improve our lives. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.”

137years

Source: http://www.popsci.com/archives

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Hail Eris! All Hail Discordia!

pope

I was in desperate need for an DDate equivalent running on Windows. DDate is an unix implementaion of date accoridng to the erisian calendar described in the principia discordia.

I only found some C Implementations. And since it’s fun to do I ported the original Discordian Date C code to C#.

You can download the C# sourcecode, licensed under CC-BY-NC here.

I also created a web page which displays the current discordian date and offers you to convert any gregorian date into discordian date representation.

This page can be accesses here. You can call another page with parameters and you only will get the ddate output back:

for example: http://ddate.schrankmonster.de/DiscordianDate.aspx?year=2009&month=6&day=9

Source 1: http://ddate.schrankmonster.de/
Source 2: http://dropbox.schrankmonster.de/dropped/SharpDDateLib.zip

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Clue #1 @ gone fishing

We just arrived in Munich.

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SpaceX’ Falcon 1 reaches orbit

On September 28th the Falcon 1 rocketship reached orbit:

orbital2

“In an era when most technology based products follow a path of ever-increasing capability and
reliability while simultaneously reducing costs, launch vehicles today are little changed from those of
40 years ago. SpaceX aims to change this paradigm by developing a family of launch vehicles and
spacecraft which will ultimately increase the reliability and reduce the cost of space access by a factor
of ten. Coupled with the emerging market for private and commercial space transport, this new model
will re-ignite humanity’s efforts to explore and develop space.”

faclon1

Source: http://www.spacex.com/webcast.php

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Building Earth

Steffi and I made our own version of earth some years ago using 3D Studio and NASA Images – we even made an animation. But this guy does a way better job – creating a photorealistic earth:

“For some time now, I’ve been studying how to build Earth in Blender. I’ve read quite a few tutorials, studied NASA’s Blue Marble images, and received critique from other Blender enthusiasts. I now have some satisfactory results, which I’d be happy to share.

I’ve put together a 21-page tutorial which explains how I achieved my Earth renders. I know there are already a lot of Earth tutorials out there – but none that I found helped me get quite the effect that I wanted. My tutorial combines what I gleaned from all the other tutorials, with what I learned on my own through hours of experimenting. I’m sure it’s not perfect – but I think it will be helpful for anyone interested in the subject.

The tutorial focuses on three different models of Earth – a photographic-style Earth, a Blue-Marble-style Earth, and a night Earth. It demonstrates how to render details such as proper specular shading and ray-traced cloud shadows.”

There’s a free pdf tutorial available that shows how to create these 3D renderings with blender.

Earth Poster

Source 1: http://chamberlinproductions.110mb.com/mappedearth.html
Source 2: “what’s the size of the earth compared to”
Source 3: http://web.olp.net/wildernesslodge/Earth%20Tutorial.pdf

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Indlebe Radio Telescope made by students detects (natural) radio signal

“Last week, the Indlebe Radio Telescope, situated on the Steve Biko campus of the Durban University of Technology, successfully detected its first radio source.
The Indlebe Radio Telescope is a transit instrument that operates at the Hydrogen Line frequency of 1420 MHZ and uses a very sensitive radio receiver to detect extraterrestrial radio signals.
Stuart MacPherson, project leader in Electronic Engineering at the university, said he and his students were amazed when they realised the telescope had picked up a signal.
“We had made significant changes to the receiver to increase its sensitivity. When we went in that morning to check the data, we found that it had detected a source,” he said.”

It’s unlikely to be from an unnatural alien source but if you take in account that all the equipment was built by students on the campus of Durban Universit… that is just astonishing.

skyeyes

Source 1: http://www.thirdeyeconcept.com/forums/index.php?page=258
Source 2: http://indlebe.dut.ac.za/

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NASA opens it’s picture library

It’s just great to see more and more big archives are getting available online. This time the National Space Agency of America opened it’s picture library:

“NASA Images is a service of Internet Archive ( www.archive.org ), a non-profit library, to offer public access to NASA’s images, videos and audio collections. NASA Images is constantly growing with the addition of current media from NASA as well as newly digitized media from the archives of the NASA Centers.
The goal of NASA Images is to increase our understanding of the earth, our solar system and the universe beyond in order to benefit humanity. “

nasa

Source: http://www.nasaimages.org/

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TVR is back in business and they just presented the 2008 Sagaris 2 *drool*

That’s the best news for months!! After TVR being out of business for some time they seem to be back in business now – they even presented the new Sagaris 2008 modell yesterday.

“Announced this morning by TVR Managing Director, David Oxley, at an exclusive preview event held at the new TVR development works in Lancashire, England – TVR Production has resumed!

Upon the momentous occasion, which included invited members of the TVR Car Club, TVR staff presented the TVR Sagaris model year 2008. Exterior design has remained the same except for new 5 spoke wheels, while the interior receives a new center console with satellite navigation.

As promised back in 2006 by TVR owner, Nikolai Smolenski said “My intention is to expand the sales and distribution of TVR cars throughout Europe, the rest of the world and USA markets is a key part of the business strategy of the company.” Built as a left hand drive model, the 2008 Sagaris confirms it will be exported internationally.

Preliminary pricing puts the 2008 TVR Sagaris just below 85.000 Euros.”

So now the only thing I need is the money to buy one of these beasts… I’ll have one in black or white 🙂

IMG_1956-1024
the re-designed interior included satnav…touchscreen…

back3
…and re-designed exhausts… I actually liked the side-exausts better…

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the new bonnet … and the gorgeous speed six…*raaawwr*

Source 1: http://www.worldcarfans.com/9080710.012/page1/tvr-production-restarts—2008-sagaris-presented
Source 2: http://www.tvr-car-club.co.uk/tvrpreviewevent.asp

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german Citizens’ band radio over the internet…Freies Funknetz!

The internet makes things possible some people dreamt of for years. One of these things is the possibility to stream live-voice-chat over the internet. Many people used the citizens’ band radio – CB radio – for the last decades:

Citizens’ Band radio (CB) is, in many countries, a system of short-distance, simplex[1] radio communications between individuals on a selection of 40 channels within the 27 MHz (11 meter) band. The CB radio service should not be confused with FRS, GMRS, MURS, or amateur (“ham”) radio. Similar personal radio services exist in other countries, with varying requirements for licensing and differing technical standards. In many countries, CB does not require a license and, unlike amateur radio, it may be used for business as well as personal communications.”

For several years now there is a group of people from virtually everywhere in germany who connect their CB radios to the internet – they link their “gateways” together using a software normally used by online gamers called “TeamSpeak”. All you have to do to take a look is to read this short how-to and follow the steps.

Here’s a sneak-peak at the current status of the server:

There’s even a livestream available (but sometimes not working):

Source 1: http://www.freiesfunknetz.com/
Source 2: http://www.goteamspeak.com/

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watch NASA TV live streams at higher bitrates (quality)

They landed on the mars again…and they will launch a space shuttle within the next 22 hours if everything works out as planned. So maybe you, just like me, are interested in getting some live-information about that.

There’s NASA TV but on the NASA website you only get low (150kbit) bitrate streams. If you want better quality, just try these links:

Of course you can always go with the standard website livestream…

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how about 16.8 Terabytes of Mars? (the planet!)

You do realise that, despite that fact no mass media is talking about it, there are still robots around and on Mars doing research for the last years? Yeah you’re right: Spirit and Opportunity are still well and alive on Mars. There were several other missions and this newly released 9.9 Tbytes of data (adds up to 16.8 Tbytes) is just fantastic stuff.

See an avalanche on Mars:

PSP_007338_2640

“How much data was released? 2422 observations, making up 9.9 terabytes “in over 225,599 standard PDS and extras products” according to our database specialist. This was for data between orbit ranges 4400 and 6999, or between July 05, 2007 and January 23, 2008 (which is a lot of loops around the Red Planet!)

We have now released a total of 16.8 TB worth of data, or nearly 500,000 image products. Please check out the latest images on the HiRISE website on the “March 2008: New HiRISE Images Released to the Planetary Data System” page.”

Source 1: http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/HiBlog/?p=147
Source 2: http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/PSP_007338_2640
Source 3: http://pds-imaging.jpl.nasa.gov/
Source 4: http://hirise-pds.lpl.arizona.edu/PDS/
Source 5: http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.html

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On my way to Cambridge…

Since two of my colleagues wrote about their work at Microsoft Research I wanted to write at least something about it…just like Andreas said:

“One reason I recently don’t blog too much is the fact that I am a bit restricted in what I can tell. Being involved in some exciting projects, the confidentiality of these projects does not allow much publicity.”

So really the only thing I can write about is that I am honored to work with these great people and being part of the process of creating great software.

So – for now I am on my way back to Cambridge – the next article will be written from there…

a320

Of course I will write about all the things when I am allowed to do so…

Source 1: Martin Calsyn
Source 2: Andreas Heil
Source 3: http://research.microsoft.com/ero/

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the end of planet earth is near…or something

Oh well, there’s this “Current Map of The Solar System” by the Armagh Observatory:

“The image below is an up to date map of the solar system displaying the orbits of the terrestrial planets and the estimated position of thousands of known asteroids. This diagram is missing comets, space probes and, of course, the undiscovered asteroids. Even conservative estimates would suggest that for every asteroid on a dangerous Earth-Approaching orbit there are hundreds more which have yet to be discovered. There are over 300 known objects on Earth-crossing orbits, the majority of which are potentially capable of causing death and destruction on a scale unheard of in human history.”

neostorm

To make this clear: red and yellow = (possibly) EVIL! ZOMG!

“Small green points mark the location of asteroids which do not approach close to the Earth right now. This does not exclude the possibility that they will do so in the future but generally we can consider the Earth to be safe from these for the near future. Yellow objects (with the exception of the one in the middle which we astronomers call the Sun 😉 are Earth approaching asteroids which are called Amors after the first one discovered. Amors have orbits which come close to the Earth but they don’t cross the Earth’s orbit. However, their orbits are close enough to the Earth that they could potentially be perturbed by the influence of the planets and begin to cross the Earth’s orbit in a short time. There are over 300 known objects on such orbits.

Finally the red boxes mark the location of the Apollo and Aten asteroids. These cross the Earth’s orbit and are the most directly identifiable astronomical threat for the near future.”

Source: http://szyzyg.arm.ac.uk/~spm/neo_map.html

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missile above?

It looks to me just like something that might explode….

thanks do #blogs.de irc channel for the link.

Source: Google Maps

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private space mission (the one with 20 megapixels…)

It just seems like make is going to get some interesting pictures tomorrow:

“We’re using weather balloons to go up to approximately 100k feet armed with 4 cameras… 20 megapixels of camera! We’ll be taking shots every 7 seconds for two hours and measuring the temperature with the Make: controller and thermistors!

It took 16 people working on this, countless cases of mountain dew, lots of take-out food, and a lot of sleepless nights, and we intend to fly Sunday!

Cloud cover, snow, and mechanical failure may postpone the launch, but we’re ready to give it our best shot this weekend.

In this Make: Video Podcast, you’ll learn all the details of how to put a weather balloon up into space! The weather balloon will make it up to about 100,000 feet. That’s almost 20 miles up and more than twice the height of being in an airplane. It’s high enough that the sky is black and you can see the curvature of the earth.”

So be sure to check back if you’re interested.

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behold the scientify beauty! one of the ten worlds best webcams.

Oh well it’s no big deal really :-). The theory behind it was discoverd in 1851 and it proofs that the earth rotates under the pendulum. Uh, of course you can grab some more sophisticated theory insights here. So what’s up with that thing? It was voted to one of the ten best webcams on earth. Go and have a look.

Source: EarthCam.com Top Ten
Source: Webcam

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be informed when a nuke detonates next to you…

Thank god there’s a small device available that informs you when gamma or x-ray radiation is currently killing you.

Good to know that after you got killed by the radiation someone else (probably doing the job you did previously) can use your NukAlert for another 3 months-years…

Source: http://nukalert.com/

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quasi live feed from planet earths orbit…

“MIRAVI stands for MERIS Images RApid VIsualization and it’s a data-driven system for real time image rendering and quality analysis. Those images, though fascinating, are not suitable for scientific use. Scientists usually prefer to work with MERIS data products, which fully exploit the 15 spectral bands of the instrument, and which are generated with sophisticated algorithms.

MIRAVI generates the images directly from the MERIS raw data (i.e. the Level 0 data), usually available within 2 hours from data acquisition, depending whether the raw data have been transmitted directly to ground stations, or first recorded onboard then transmitted to ground stations.

The MIRAVI image processing does not intend to provide a very accurate geolocation or calibration. The high geolocation accuracy is achieved within the standard MERIS data products (less than ½ pixels).

MIRAVI generates the images using the MERIS Full Resolution (FR) mode (resolution about 260 m) which is activated systematically over land and coastal areas of Europe, Africa and Asia, and non-systematically over America. In its Reduced Resolution (RR) mode (resolution about 1200 m), MERIS operates systematically along its orbit illuminated by the sun.”

Source: http://miravi.eo.esa.int/en/

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granny in space, what’s it to live 10 times longer than supposed?

Do you remember the landing of the two mars exploration vehicles calles Spirit and Opportunity in 2004? Well I think you do. They were built to last 90 days. But it’s now more than 1000 days – more than 10 times the timespan.

Well well, the two sneaky space travellers are kind of tattered – ones wheel isn’t working anymore and the other one had to get his brain “reformated” several times…but all over all they are in good shape for very old fellas.

Source: http://marsrovers.nasa.gov/home/

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Go,Go, Gadget-o-Power-Suit!!

Everybody will need one of these when the guardians attack zion…

“In 1990, we started to develop a Wearable Power Assist Suit, and in 1991 we fabricated a Powered Arm constructing the master and slave system in one unit by utilizing a rubber tube air actuator and sensing cuff, [ref. 1]. In 1994, we developed a Wearable Powered Suit constructed with powered arms, a powered waist, and powered legs [ref. 2], and finally in 2002, we developed a Stand Alone Type Wearable Power Assist Suit [ref. 3]. This suit was composed of newly developed air bag actuators driven by micro air pumps, newly developed muscle hardness sensors, and an embedded micro computer. The muscle hardness sensor was developed for detecting the muscle force driving joints. The micro computer was for calculation of the necessary joints torques to lift heavy objects. The calculation equations was derived by body mechanics. This suit could run continuously 20 minutes with 12 volts Ni-Cd portable batteries. The latest power assist suit can generate higher assist power, and is composed of compact body, a compact embedded micro computer, small and flat rotary sensors, and has newly designed muscle sensors which are embedded in 3-D mesh [ref. 4].”

Source: http://www.we.kanagawa-it.ac.jp/~yamamoto_lab/pas/index.htm

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why not take 13 displays and…

…build yourself a “just-like-the-original” power consuming flight simulator. I am not sure what would be more expensive. This setup or the ultra-light aircraft which is currently simulated…

Follow the link and see other home-cockpit-setups.

Source: http://www.shorttext.com/z0gv5

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get me a Cerbera or a Sagaris…you decide

I do like two car manufacturers (well, their cars to be precise) more than all the others. One of them is Mercedes-Benz and the other is…TVR. Yes, the brits.

They make great looking powerful sports cars and I hope one day one will be mine 😉 They are quite affordable compared to other supercars – for example you can get a brand new TVR Sagaris (4l V6) for 80k EURO…a pre owned 2004 Cerbera (4.5l V8) comes for about 48k EURO…did I mention they do not come below 380 bhp and weigh as much as two packs of chewing gum? (I’ll have to pay royalties to Jeremy Clarkson for that…damn!).

The fact is that the Cerbera has gone out of official production in 2004. But now TVR is auctioning the last made Cerbera on the Internet:

Yes, you can get that brand new, pepper white, 420 bhp supercar…just sign up and bid…well if you have the money (which I don’t)…

Beside the Cerbera I fell in love with the Sagaris…look how gorgeous it is:


raaawwrrr!!

I just found the sagaris video:

If you want to buy me one…contact me 🙂

Source 1: http://www.thelastcerbera.com/
Source 2: http://www.tvr.co.uk/overview_sagaris.php

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how Google Map/Earth works…

I want to share with you a fantastic page where Pascal Buire discusses his investigations on Google Earths tiling and algorithms:

“This is my analyse about how google map works, et specially how the tiles are encoded. Google map uses pre-rendered tiles that can be obtained with a simple url. This article explains how to build the url for a tile from its geo coordinates (latitude/longitude)”

Google Earth mirroring anyone?

Source: http://www.codeproject.com/useritems/googlemap.asp

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Planets flyby in 720p…

I told you that there will be a 720p movie of the planets rendering available soon. And here it


It’s also available through the podcast or directly linked here.

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panoramic moon

“Taken by Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong, this pan shows lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin unpacking the EASEP which stands for the Early Apollo Scientific Experiments Package, from the side of Lunar Module ‘Eagle’.”

This is only one of several other panoramic views of the moon.

Source: http://moonpans.co.uk/vr/

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revisited: what’s the size of the earth compared to…and why earth needs a haircut…

A couple of days ago I wrote about a website that has some interesting pictures of the planets of our solar system compared to each other in size. The idea was great but the quality of the pictures was bad. So we decided to push our knowledge about 3D tools a bit and render our own high-quality version.

But first a before-after comparision:


before

Aaaaaand:


after

Tell us what you think of it!

We will add some more pictures in the next hours, beside that a short movie in 720p is in the rendering process at the moment.

Last time I worked with 3D tools they were called “3D Studio Max 3.0″…which is quite a while ago. 3D Studios current version number is 8… You can grab your own trial version here.

We actually experimented a lot with the tools…look what earth became after just seconds of play:


yes,we even hair-styled earth!

Source 1: original article and picture
Source 2: 3D Studio MAX trial

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spot the IIS…the space station not the web server…

“A number of amateur astronomers and Space Station enthusiasts regularly take photos as ISS rises above the horizon in westerly direction and sets towards the East. In response to a recent article on this website, you sent us some of your ISS images. A selection of your photos is presented below.”

Source: http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMY46XAIPE_index_0.html

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what’s the size of the earth compared to…

…well… any other planet and star…

Yeah I know…the picture is shabby…I’ll maybe create a better looking version…

Source: http://www.rense.com/general72/size.htm

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cracking galileo positioning system and talking about it…

The americans managed to crack…well they call it different but the fact remains that they cracked the PRN codes of the european global non-military positioning system called “Galileo

“Because GPS satellites, which were put into orbit by the Department of Defense, are funded by U.S. taxpayers, the signal is free — consumers need only purchase a receiver. Galileo, on the other hand, must make money to reimburse its investors — presumably by charging a fee for PRN codes.”

Source 1: http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/521790/?sc=rsla

Source 2: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_positioning_system

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what can you tell in 141 minutes what you can’t in 33?

“2001 seconds is a complete re-edit of Stanley Kubrick’s original Space Odyssey from 141 minutes to 33 minutes 21 seconds.”

Source: http://swith.gazaxian.com/2001seconds.htm

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meet the Jetsons: a new type of elevator

Have you ever seen the Jetsons? If so, you might remember the vacuum elevators. Well. If you ever wanted to have one of those, you can now:

“It is our self-supporting vacuum elevator; a light and resistant structure built with aluminium and polycarbonate. By simple principles of physics; the difference in air pressure above and beneath the vacuum elevator cab literally transports you by air. It is the vacuum pumps or turbines that pull you up to the next Floor and the slow release of air pressure that floats you down.

Pneumatic Vacuum Elevators are easier to install, maintain, and operate than traditional elevators. They are especially ideal for existing homes due to their compact design because excavating a pit, and hoistway are not required. Air pressure above and beneath the elevator cab are the key to transporting.

The reliability and safety of these vacuum elevators are unsurpassed due to the physics behind the design; it is virtually impossible to get stuck between floors, or freefall.”

Source: daytonyelevators

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the quiet revolution

“An elegant vertical-axis wind turbine, quietrevolution has been designed and developed by XCO2, an established low-carbon energy consultancy and engineering practice.

Virtually silent and vibration free, quietrevolution is ideally suited to both urban sites and exposed locations.

The simple and robust design (patent pending) has just one moving part, maximising reliability and minimising maintenance requirements.”

Vertical-axis wind turbines not only look very sci-fi, but when you add LEDs to the border of the turbine you can use them as a display:

So I leave you with a patent pending revolution which produces power and is virtually silent…whatever that means.

Source: http://www.quietrevolution.co.uk/

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how to have fun with mentos and cola…

If you not have known yet: Mentos and Cola is a great combination for some explosive fountains.

There’s a short video you shouldn’t miss on that:

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One Small Step for Man … historical sound collection…


Great historical speeches and sounds for free download. Including Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein,Robert Frost,…


Source: http://www.freeinfosociety.com/site.php?postnum=460

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PS3 and all the fuss about it



Despite focusing on the lies we were told about the PS3 in the last year and months here are the hard facts with the source of the information for backup:




  • You won’t get HDMI and Wireless LAN with the “cheap” EURO 499,- version which means you even won’t get BlueRay-HDTV movies with this SKU.


  • 32,5 cm x 9.8 cm x 27,4 cm and 5 kg is HUGE compared to:



    • The Xbоx 360 weights 3.5 kg and is 30,9 cm x 8,3 cm x 25,8 cm
      or even


    • The Xbоx weight 4 kg and is 32,0 cm x 10,1 cm x 26,0 cm


  • you won’t get a controller with rumble/vibration… because of the innovative motion sensors…


  • you get GigaBit ethernet… for what purpose?

stay tuned for more tales of interest…


Source 1: PS3 press release
Source 2: PS3 controller press release

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the new TopGear season started


Hurray!




“This week on Top Gear, the show got a thrilling new look, and so did we. Plus, the boys made a people carrier into an exciting convertible, James enjoyed a new Honda, Jeremy enjoyed a Swedish supercar, and Richard didn’t enjoy a Micra. At all.”


Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/topgear/

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astronomy

If you did not know: You can have a great astronomy picture each day…

“Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.”


Source: http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html

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BMW 320i touring on the road…

Sixt gave me a brand new BMW 320i touring. What a great car! It could use some more bhp but it was fun to drive in every way: Fast and Slow.


Since my GPS logging tool is not working at the moment I just made a picture of the timer that comes with BMWs iDrive. So it’s 9 Minutes 25 seconds for the complete racetrack…very nice.

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water can actually flow uphill

You were told that water does never ever flow uphill. But now this is proven wrong…and who did it? A german engineer working for americans…


“When a liquid drop is placed on a surface held at a temperature much higher than the liquid’s boiling point (such as a drop of water in a very hot pan) it hovers on its own vapor cushion, without wetting the surface. This phenomenon is called film-boiling and occurs beyond a surface temperature called the Leidenfrost point (about 200 – 300 ºC for water on flat surfaces, depending on surface quality).”

“This method uses heat to pump liquid, and could therefore be used in pumps for coolants, for instance to cool microprocessors. Such a pump would need no additional power (it’s run by the heat that needs to be removed anyway), it would have no moving parts, and it wouldn’t require a thermostat. Whether this method will actually be powerful enough for applications in, say, a laptop, is not yet known.”

Source: http://www.uoregon.edu/~linke/res_droplets.html

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Question: how many people can you squeeze on 9 square meters?

Answer: Nine.

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flow – a flash game that really relaxes

What a game! It’s one of the most relaxing games I’ve played in the last months… going to sleep now

How to Play?

What am I suppose to do?

  • Dive deep into the space eat and evolve

Control

  • Use Mouse Cursor to guide your creature
  • Hold on Left Mouse Button to accelerate

Tips

  • Red makes you dive down
  • Blue brings you back up
  • Filling up your body to grow longer
  • + makes your current body segment evolve
  • Move slowly to make smaller turns



Source: http://intihuatani.usc.edu/cloud/flowing/core.html

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AIM…oh well not the Instant Messenger…but Accurate Image Manipulation…

When it comes to washed-out colors…or green/red/blue tinted displays… try to calibrate them with the help of this great site. Thanks to Kiesow.

“Accurate Image Manipulation for Desktop Publishing (AIM) is devoted for the best possible quality in the desktop publishing workflow. This calls for accurate calibration and correct choice for the working space.

Very accurate monitor gamma calibration charts, CGI simulations for Kodak Q-60 and Agfa IT8 calibration targets, Photoshop plug-ins and much more are available for download. Many evaluations are provided.

The calibration setup that is in use in high-end professional digital imaging, the linear workflow, is explained here in detail as well as the issues of CRT gamma.



this is NOT usable for calibration…go to the site…

Source 1: http://www.kiesows.de/blog/2006/03/11/kalibrieren

Source 2: http://www.aim-dtp.net/aim/evaluation/cdg/cdg.htm

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