When you take a look at it, the quickest and most efficient way to ‘get out of the well’ and go into space is by using a rocket that has real power. Sure, the Saturn V took man to the moon but it took days to get there and was done on the barest of economy. But what if you could launch a rocket that had so much power that your ship could built like a submarine and not like a flimsy soda can? Six months to Mars? Nope, more like two weeks. Sounds like a dream doesn’t it, true science fiction. Well at one time this very idea was being worked on by some of the smartest scientists in the US. It was called ‘Project Orion‘ and the craft was to use small nuclear explosions to propel the craft into space. It’s unfortunate that the project was canceled before its time. There is still a good argument for nuclear power in space. Nuclear power in the form of radioisotope thermoelectric generators have been powering space probes and satellites for years. In fact, the two Voyager probes are still sending back data 30 years after being launched. You cant to that with regular batteries and if you tried to do that with solar cells they themselves would have to be thousands of times larger than the craft they service in order to collect enough light to make electricity. But even if you can keep the lights on you still wont get your craft there much faster than you do now. Unless you use the mighty power of the atom to give it a kick in the pants. That is exactly what the guys at Nuclear Space would like everyone to know. And before you say ‘but you will fill space with radioactivity!’ just remember that space is full of it to begin with. The site is chock full of the latest news on the state of nuclear space power and sports an active users forum. Go have a look and feel free to ask them any questions you might have about going to the stars via the power of the atom.
Not that I’d ever want to lose a finger myself but if I did I’d want something at least as good as one of these.
Mechanical Fingers Give Strength, Speed to Amputees-Wired Magazine
Cats will always remain mysterious animals–but exactly where they came from is no longer a riddle. A genetic study has shown that the ancestors of all of today’s domestic cats prowled the Near East. The work bolsters the notion that cats became useful to humans when agriculture started–which scientists believe happened in the Near East–forcing people to protect grain stores from rodents.
Quite amazing. I hope he builds some more computer parts out of wood.
… a few months ago, I had an idea as to how the divide by two mechanisms from my first marble machine could be cascaded together to actually function as a sort of adder or counter. Once I had that idea, I knew I had to try it at some point, and recently, I finally got around to building my marble binary adding machine.
If you ever find yourself with a pile of wire and big transformers and can work with tools without killing yourself you might want to build a Tesla coil. What a Tesla coil does is transform low voltage low frequency (120V / 60 Hz) power into high voltage high frequency (5-1000 KV / 10-2000 KHz) power. It’s done by finely tuned coils and capacitors that resonate at the greatest efficiency. The results can be quite spectacular. The image I used for this entry is of a Tesla coil I shot a few years ago. It was pounding out a million volts of electricity and producing a dazzling display of sparks. The coil was about three feet high and the breeze made by the charge was downright amazing.
The guys at Deep Fried Neon have all the info that you will need to get started in the wonderful hobby.