Saturday, May 31, 2014

Google's Self Driving car


They're a lot further along on this than I realized.

The innovation taking place at Google is amazing!

Doorway to Hell, Turkmenistan

I just learned of this awesome thing a few days ago.


"While drilling in 1971 geologists accidentally found an underground cavern filled with natural gas. The ground beneath the drilling rig collapsed, leaving a large hole with a diameter of about 50-100 meters. To avoid poisonous gas discharge, it was decided to burn the gas. Geologists had hoped the fire would go out in a few days but it has been burning ever since. "'

This is in Darvaza, Turkmenistan.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Phantom Spillway

I saw a website one time where people could upload creepy looking doors that looked like they could be a doorway to hell.  The picture above is a pretty good contender.  That or a portal to another dimension.  Maybe an entrypoint to the center of the earth.

It's actually the spillway to the Monticello Dam in Napa County, CA.

It's such a striking picture, I had to share.

Kudos to the engineers.  They win the award for "Freaky Spillway Design."


It's a sign of maturity when you can drink something awful and enjoy it.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Homemade Steam Engine on ebay

I spotted this engine posted on ebay under the title "Homemade Steam Engine."  What I love about this is the simplicity of the components used.  It's so rough.  It's built out of scraps.  It's almost built from junk.  There's a certain charm to that.  It shows how simply a running engine can be built.  Nothing about this engine is outside the reach of the common man if he's willing to scrounge a little bit.  That really appeals to me.

And you can see it run here.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The 1971 Suzuki TS 185

I sold this 2 days ago.  It was a cool, vintage motorcycle.  Easy to start, fun to ride.  But I just didn't have anywhere to ride it.

I love things like this, but after you've had them for a while and aren't really using them and don't have the space for them (and your wife's bugging you to make room in the shop so she can do some woodworking), you realize it would be more practical to sell them.  And you realize you can get some money to buy different toys!  So farewell, blue Suzuki.  We had fun.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Paper Clip Motor

I know I just did a post on solenoid engines a couple of days ago, but I found this video and really like this little engine.

I've had it in the back of my mind for a while that I'd like to do something cool with paper clips.  Now that I've seen this, I may have to build one of these.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Redistribution of Wealth...since the 50's

In a previous post I mentioned that I was reading physicist Richard Feynman's book, "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!".  In one of the stories near the end, titled "Is Electricity Fire?", he talks about a conference he was invited to in the fifties on "the ethics of equality".

He describes a speech given by a particular individual at the conference.  See if this reminds you of anyone.

"It was a good speech, and he was a very good speaker, so while it sounds crazy now, when I'm telling about it, at that time his main idea sounded completely obvious and true.  He talked about the big differences in the welfare of various countries, which cause jealousy, which leads to conflict, and now that we have atomic weapons, any war and we're doomed, so therefore the right way out is to strive for peace [is] by making sure there are no great differences from place to place, and since we have so much in the United States, we should give up nearly everything to the other countries until we're all even.  Everybody was listening to this, and we were all full of sacrificial feeling, and all thinking we ought to do this.  But I came back to my senses on the way home."
The next day, when someone else from the conference asked him about the speech, he says,

"I started to say that the idea of distributing everything evenly is based on a theory that there's only X amount of stuff in the world, that somehow we took it away from the poorer countries in the first place, and therefore we should give it back to them.  But this theory doesn't take into account the real reason for the differences between countries - that is, the development of new techniques for growing food, the development of machinery to grow food and to do other things, and the fact that all this machinery requires the concentration of capital.  It isn't the stuff, but the power to make the stuff, that is important.  But I realize now that these people were not in science; they didn't understand it.  They didn't understand technology; they didn't understand their time."
Finally he gets around to the real crux of the problem.

"There were a lot of fools at that conference -- pompous fools -- and pompous fools drive me up the wall.  Ordinary fools are all right; you can talk to them, and try to help them out.  But pompous fools -- guys who are fools and are covering it all over and impressing people as to how wonderful they are with all this hocus pocus --  THAT, I CANNOT STAND!  An ordinary fool isn't a faker;  an honest fool is all right.  But a dishonest fool is terrible!  And that's what I got at the conference, a  bunch of pompous fools, and I got very upset.  I'm not going to get upset like that again, so I won't participate in interdisciplinary conferences any more."

This "redistribution of wealth amongst countries" argument from the 50's sounds just like the "redistribution of wealth amongst individuals" prattle that the left ( including the President ) is trying to foist up the American people in our current day.

 It is an equally flawed idea and equally foolish.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Solenoid Engines

I stumbled across these 2 videos of solenoid engines and thought they were pretty cool.

The sound is what's really appealling.  I love how much they sound like a real gasoline engine.

The first engine is a V8!

This next one is a single cylinder, but still very cool.

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Bloody Benders

I recently re-discovered something I had seen a long time ago, but had forgotten where it was.

It's an interesting historical marker at a rest stop in Kansas, just north of Cherryvale on Hwy 169.

Most roadside markers tell about some battle that happened nearby or a famous person from the area.  This one does that too, but I've never seen a historical marker like this one.

This one reads like a Stephen King novel.

(click the picture to see it large enough to read)