Sunday, 26 June 2016

What Happened Before History?

Humans. We have been around for a while now. When we think about our past we think about ancient civilizations, the pyramids, stuff like that. But this is only a tiny, tiny part of our history.

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The size of a small horse.

(via Bad Newspaper)

Sci-Fi Classics That Accurately Predicted The Future

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Did you know a kid's cartoon predicted 3D-printed food in 1962? Or that the first tablet device debuted in 1968 when computers were still the size of warehouses? For as long as we've acknowledged that there is a future, storytellers have been trying to predict it.

Okay, so there's still no cryonic resuscitation or a warp speed travel option. But some of these predictions are so spot on, it makes you wonder if time travel is actually real and how NASA paid Hollywood for filming the moon landing.


The Mill BLACKBIRD is the first fully adjustable car rig that creates photoreal CG cars - it's a car rig that can be shot at any time, in any location, without the need to rely on a physical car.

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(thanks Cora)

The World's Loneliest Species

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A tiny species of fish can claim some of the most unenviable of all records. The so-called Devils hole pupfish survives within one of the driest places in the world, in the heart of the Mojave desert in the US. Perhaps fewer than 50 individuals survive.

Even more remarkably, every member of this species has existed in the wild within an area no bigger than the living room in your house. Which makes the Devils hole pupfish perhaps the rarest of all fish, the world's loneliest species, and the most isolated animal species on Earth.

True Tales Of The Bearded Lady And The Dog-Faced Boy

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In the off-beat world of the sideshow there are few faces more recognizable than Annie Jones the bearded lady and Jo-Jo the Dog Faced Boy. Their unique physical characteristics made them superstars in a time when that actually meant something, and their work in the sideshow gave other folks with unusual features hope for the future.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Riding The Strandbeest Bike

The Strandbeest is a precisely proportioned wind-walking assemblage of PVC piping, wood, and fabric airfoils, created by Dutch artist Theo Jansen. Now, Blaine Eliott, a tech-wise guy in Santa Barbara, designed a strandbeest bike.

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(via Everlasting Blort)

20 Of The Most Beautiful Libraries In The World

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A library can be a second home for a bibliophile. They come in all shapes, sizes, and levels of embellishment. The nearly 300-year-old State Hall in Vienna, Austria, boasts carved wooden galleries, baroque-style statues, and frescos, while Taipei's Beitou Branch resembles a treehouse more than a shelter for books. Here are 20 of the most beautifully designed libraries around the world.

The World's First Electric Highway In Sweden

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Amid the rush of vehicles on Highway E16 - a few kilometres outside Gävle in central Sweden - Siemens and Swedish heavy vehicle maker Scania have powered up the world's first eHighway.

Running along a two-kilometre stretch of road the pilot project will test an electrified overhead wire system, or catenary, specially-designed to allow transport trucks to draw power from the grid.

Castles And Shepherds Of Abruzzo

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(thanks Cora)

14 Secrets Of U.S. Postal Carriers

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Yes, the post office lines can be long. Yes, your mail can occasionally arrive wet. But when you think about the fact that the United States Postal Service processes well in excess of 154 billion pieces of mail annually, you might be impressed at just how much they get right.

At the core of the USPS are its postal carriers, the men and women who run up and down porch steps, dodge unfriendly animals, and brave inclement weather to make sure your personal correspondence arrives on time. Learn more about the job, from their biggest fears to hidden surprises in mail receptacles.

(via Miss Cellania)

16 Accidental Inventions That Changed The World

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Some inventors work their entire lives to develop a radical solution to the world's problems. Other stumble upon a brilliant innovation purely by luck. We should all be grateful that the universe gifted us with these world-changing, accidental inventions.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Introducing SpotMini

SpotMini is a new smaller version of the Spot robot. SpotMini is all-electric and runs for about 90 minutes on a charge, depending on what it is doing. SpotMini is one of the quietest robots we have ever built.

It has a variety of sensors, including depth cameras, a solid state gyro and proprioception sensors in the limbs. SpotMini performs some tasks autonomously, but often uses a human for high-level guidance.

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The Valley Of Balls In Kazakhstan

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The valley of balls or Torysh, as it's called in Kazakh, is located close to the town of Shetpe in Western Kazakhstan. The area consist of numerous ball-like rock formations strewn across a wide range of steppe land.

The balls are believed to be concretions - a hard, compact mass formed by the precipitation of minerals. The phenomenon is not rare. What is rare, however, is the size these concretions have reached. Concretions as large as those in the Valley of Balls are found only at few places on earth.

There's A Mysterious Sound Coming From The Caribbean Sea That's So Loud It Can Be Heard From Space

In what sounds like a plot device from a science fiction movie involving sea monsters and aliens, a strange sound is coming out of the Caribbean Sea that's so loud it can be detected from space.

The University of Liverpool researchers who discovered the sound have dubbed it the Rossby whistle. The sound waves often vanish at the western end of the Caribbean basin and reappear on the eastern side, a phenomena known as the Rossby wormhole.

Hundredweight Of Heads

Hundredweight of Heads is an automaton created with hand tools by Dave Hall.

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Be Careful What You Sign For!

In a bid to highlight the importance of hidden price hikes in many broadband contracts, Relish UK set up shop in Soho Grind to surprise lucky Londoners with discounted coffee by simply signing their name on a cup.

The catch? Being unknowingly signed up to a 12 month 'coffee contract'. Watch to see some of the bemused responses!

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(thanks Mike)

The World's Largest Full-Rigged Sailing Ship

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At 439 feet in length, the five-masted, 42-sail Royal Clipper is the largest full-rigged sailing ship in the world. With 19,000 square feet of open deck and accommodations for up to 227 guests, the Royal Clipper is a sight to behold.

Inspired by the legendary tall ship Preussen, Royal Clipper has the proud distinction of being the largest and only five-masted full-rigged sailing ship built, since her predecessor was launched at the beginning of the 20th century.

Everything You Need To Know About How Light Affects Your Sleep

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Modern life is all about innovating our way out of our inabilities. We're not meant to be awake when the sun don't shine. If we've mastered anything, it's light. For the large part, this is good news; extra hours in the 'day' mean we can socialize longer and get more work done.

Trouble is, evolution has programmed the human body to equate light with wakefulness. Our eyes treat blue-heavy light - like the soft glow of an iPad - like the midday sun. So until we evolve beyond a light-regulated circadian sleep/wake rhythm we need to accept the relationship between light and sleep, and understand what we can do to help it along.