MONOCHRON – Monochome display clock kit

Another very cool clock kit to lust after. I swear, if I had my way my room would look like Doc Brown lived in it…

The second clock kit from ladyada & Adafruit Industries, we present MONOCHRON!

We wanted to make a clock that was ultra-hackable, from adding a seperate battery-backed RTC to desiging the enclosure so you could program the clock once its assembled

  • 128×64 LCD (KS0108) – we special-ordered the black and white display
  • ATmega328 processor (we even stuck an ‘arduino’ stk500 bootloader on there too)
  • Laser cut enclosure in black acrylic
  • Beeping/blinking alarm with 10 minute snooze
  • Battery backed-up real time clock (DS1307) keeps time even when power is lost for years
  • European/US 12 or 24 hour time display as well as date
  • Completely open source hardware, all firmware, layout and CAD files are yours to mess with
  • Plenty of space for mods, a prototyping area for soldering stuff in
  • Soothing animation of retro arcade style table-tennis for two

MONOCHRON – Monochome display clock kit.

Airborne Laser Testbed Successful in Lethal Intercept Experiment

Spotted this real-world application of way cool technology today:

Airborne Laser Testbed Successful in Lethal Intercept ExperimentFeb. 11, 2010 – At 8:44 p.m. (PST)
A short-range threat-representative ballistic missile was launched from an at-sea mobile launch platform. Within seconds, the ALTB used onboard sensors to detect the boosting missile and used a low-energy laser to track the target. The ALTB then fired a second low-energy laser to measure and compensate for atmospheric disturbance. Finally, the ALTB fired its megawatt-class High Energy Laser, heating the boosting ballistic missile to critical structural failure. The entire engagement occurred within two minutes of the target missile launch, while its rocket motors were still thrusting.

ALTB video

[via Launch-Alert mailing list]
Airborne Laser Testbed Media Gallery

Soviet Star Wars

Not that the proliferation of weapons in space (or other places for that matter) is something to ever wish for but you have to admit that the idea has a ‘Buck Rogers’ kind of coolness to it.

“…a massive satellite, the largest ever launched, equipped with a powerful laser to take out the American anti-missile shield in advance of a Soviet first strike. It was real, though—or at least the plan was… …[The Soviets] funded two massive R&D studies in the late 1970s and early 1980s to explore how to counter imaginary American missile defense ideas,” he says. Two concepts emerged: Skif—a laser “cannon” in orbit—and another weapon known as Kaskad (Cascade), designed to destroy an enemy’s satellites with missiles fired from another craft in orbit.”

Soviet Star Wars

Your 2012 Questions Answered Here

2012 info graphicAs most people have herd, the Myans of ancient times predicted that the year 2012 would be the end of the world.  Earth’s poles would shift, ‘Planet X’ would return, solar storms will torch our planet and kill us all, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria… With it being less than three years before this fateful day (12/12/2012 or 12/21/2012, if you want to mark your calendar) it might be time to start stocking up on solar storm resistant seeds and laying in a supply of ammo to kill the other survivors, if there are any after we get our celestial clocks cleaned. Or… Maybe everyone should take a look at the ‘dire warnings’ and see if this anything to them. The nice people over at Information Is Beautiful has made us this handy chart to do just that. I’ll let you make up your own mind as to if the world is coming to an end in 2012, but I can tell you that I won’t be cashing in on my long term investments any time soon because it it.

[via Boing Boing]

2012: The End Of The World? | Information Is Beautiful.

How To Spot Chain E-mail FUD

Warning!Everyone gets email these days. Most of the time it’s stuff you want, confirmation of an order made online, notes from a friend, amusing photos from a coworker. Stuff you want and know that it’s on the level. But what about the chain emails that some people think are just so important they have an overwhelming need to share it with everyone in their address book? Generally it will be a message of some dire predicament that the government is going to put everyone in if they vote a certain way or some message of warning that some food will kill you faster than life normally would or even that our country is going to hell in an express hand basket because our cities don’t look as clean and neon lit as someone else’s city.  It’s filled with FUD. What is FUD? It’s a catch all term for ‘Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt’. It’s the monosodium glutamate of today’s information, sad to say… I personally don’t make a point of correcting the enormous fallacies the chain emails promote, but in the past I have done just that. It takes time and eventually I realize that I’m just shouting in the wind, it’s going to to little good to whomever sent me the rant. I now realize that a much better plan is to attempt to educate the general population as to how best to avoid bogus email in the first place.
In looking around the interwebs I found this gem from These are the folks that go to the trouble to verifying that what politicians say is how it actually is. It matters little what your political affiliation is because this place is an equal opportunity offender. They call it like it is saying yep or nope to the points in question. Handy site to refer to in these days of amazingly polarized opinion.

If there was ever a case where readers should apply a guilty-until-proven-innocent standard, this is it. We at ask the public to be skeptical about politicians’ claims. With these e-mails, outright cynicism is justified. Assume all such messages are wrong, and you’ll be right most of the time.

I like their style. ‘Question and verify’, words to live by if you read anything on the Internet or hear anything on the news. Even more so with chain emails. So have a nice sit down and read their how-to guide over a strong cup of tea and maybe you will think twice before you forward a chain email message.

That Chain E-mail Your Friend Sent to You Is Likely Bogus. Seriously. |

Steel ‘Velcro’

Need to keep something heavy stuck to a wall? Fire proof Velcro sneakers for Iron Man? Maybe you just want a better way to hang your solid rocket boosters off your space ship. Super industrial strength steel hook and loop to the rescue!

Hook and loop fasteners have become commonplace features of both industry and households. However, they have one snag: they are too weak for many applications. Hook and loop fasteners made of spring steel have now been developed at the Institute of Metal Forming and Casting of the Technische Universitaet Muenchen. These fasteners are resistant to chemicals and can withstand a tensile load of up to 35 tonnes per square meter at temperatures as high as 800°C.

It’s called “Metaklett” if you want to try and find some.

Extreme steel ‘Velcro’ – Physorg

Home page (translated from German by Google)