I really enjoyed these mesmerizing videos demonstrating how many types of things are manufactured. Fascinating. Life would be so very different without our factories. Some would say for the better, but I don’t agree at all. I don’t want to spend the time to make my own food from scratch or create clothes. That would take immense amounts of time away from things I prefer to do.
This topic reminds me of Jared Diamond’s Germs, Guns and Steel, in which he describes a culture that spends most of every live long day harvesting, mashing and cooking their basic food substance. They can never get to libraries or any sort of technology because every day is a battle to gather enough food. Here’s a description from Wikipedia:
The first step towards civilization is the move from nomadic hunter-gatherer to rooted agrarian. Several conditions are necessary for this transition to occur: 1) access to high protein vegetation that endures storage; 2) a climate dry enough to allow storage; 3) access to animals docile enough for domestication and versatile enough to survive captivity. Control of crops and livestock leads to food surpluses. Surplus frees people up to specialize in activities other than sustenance and supports population growth. The combination of specialization and population growth leads to the accumulation of social and technologic innovations which build on each other. Large societies develop ruling classes and supporting bureaucracies, which in turn lead to the organization of nation states and empires.
Here is a stress analysis of a strapless evening gown. I just KNEW there had to be a scientific approach to this mysterious ability for nothing to hold up something. Here is the focus:
Effective as the strapless evening gown is in attracting attention, it presents tremendous engineering problems to the structural engineer. He is faced with the problem of designing a dress which appears as if it will fall at any moment and yet actually stays up with some small factor of safety. Some of the problems faced by the engineer readily appear from the following structural analysis of strapless evening gowns.
I’ve been trying out some headsets for my smart phone. Some of these are cheap, but got good reviews on Amazon. For instance, this Panasonic $9 headset (yes, I meant nine dollars), which requires a 3.5mm male to 2.5mm female adapter to use with a cell phone (as opposed to a cordless phone). I use headsets when talking on the phone at my desk to keep my hands free. I like the ones with microphones that wrap around right in front of my mouth, so that I need not disturb others when in my collaborative workspace.
I’ve tried some other headsets too, including a bluetooth set that people complained about constantly. I simply don’t want people staining to hear what I’m saying. I’ve found myself asking other how my voice is coming through when I speak on my cell phone (through the phone itself or using a headset). People will give vague answers, such as “It sounds OK.” I’ve been wondering what my cell phone really sounds like on the other end. I think I’ve found an answer. I found a phone number that plays back your voice: 909-390-0003 . That’s all this phone number does. When you call this number, you don’t even hear a phone ringing. But you can immediately speak into it and hear what you sound like. Excellent. Problem solved.
I’m going to recommend it to others. For instance, a friend of mine sounded all muffled. I told him about this a couple years ago. He eventually got a new phone and his voice quality immediately improved. I wondered whether fuzz or dirt got into his phone’s microphone. Now his new phone sounds muffled. I can’t hear his consonants. I’m going to give the test number to him, so he can hear it for himself.
It turns out that my Panasonic $9 headset “sounds OK.” No, really. It’s a keeper. It sounds great.
Users of the world’s most popular video sharing service upload 100 hours of video to the site every minute. That’s 6,000 hours of video every hour and a whopping 144,000 hours of video every day.
Wired has published an article that ties the present space program to the highly successful Apollo program many decades ago. We might be on the verge of recreating the F1 rocket engine. Lots of amazing facts and figures here:
There has never been anything like the Saturn V, the launch vehicle that powered the United States past the Soviet Union to a series of manned lunar landings in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The rocket redefined “massive,” standing 110 metres in height and producing a ludicrous 34 meganewtons of thrust from the five monstrous, kerosene-gulping Rocketdyne F-1 rocket engines that made up its first stage.
I hiked through some mud in north St. Louis this afternoon to capture this photo of the new Interstate 70 Bridge, which is almost spanning the Mississippi River. Due to open in 2014.[caption id="attachment_24814" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Image by Erich Vieth[/caption]