Sunday Things - aeronautical aedition

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Sunday January 29 2017

It continues. Somehow.

Excuse the random arm in shot
Photos: An Inside Look of an Antonov An-124 - while recently walking to the bus in Seattle, I heard an apocalyptic rumbling noise from above. Looking up, I saw a big, many-wheeled bugger flitting through gaps in the low cloud - hang on, I thought, that looks familiar. No, it wasn't the utterly massive Antonov An-225 Mriya I'd seen at Farnborough in 1990 (this new interloper had four engines, not six, along with a more conventional tail and no Buran-carrying bumps on its back) - instead it was its little brother the An-124, likely delivering aircraft parts for Boeing. The interior looks like the second cousin to an old Soviet submarine. Bonus video!
Woe betide any vandals tagging these particular vehicles
Delivery - speaking of Boeing, deliveries and Seattle, one gets to see all sorts of things while riding one's bike round here. I thought they were peculiar, oversized fuel tankers from a distance. No, they were something much more interesting.

Flapping around in the breeze

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EEVblog #854 - B52 Bomber Automatic Astro Compass Teardown - enthusiastic Australian Dave Jones hammers his way into an analogue mechanical guidance computer, then somehow avoids losing his fingers in the intricate mechanisms within.

Bonus Antiquated Recording Media corner:

Sunday Things - mostly retro edition

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Sunday January 22 2017

Old hardware, new techniques. Or something. It's almost as if I choose the theme after throwing some random links together.

Serene Saturn (or the “Glutton for Punishment” mosaic) - gorgeous amateur reprocessing of Cassini imagery, and some notes on its reassembly. Make sure to click through a few times to get the Saturn-sized version. More of this sort of thing.
Moc moc-a-moc
The Teletext Salvagers: How VHS is bringing teletext back from the dead - Americans probably won't know what Teletext is. Or was, which would be a better description. A digital information system hidden away in otherwise unused lines of a television signal and decoded with hardware included in TV sets, it began in the early 1970s and was only relatively recently shut down for good in the UK. Consisting of many hundreds of pages per TV channel, rendered in gloriously colourful 40-column text and pseudographics, decades of transmissions were assumed to be lost for good - the original distribution systems being weird old mainframes with long-obsolete storage media and few if any content backups. But - fuzzy, indistinct echoes of those hidden signals were inadvertently included in people's video tape recordings of television programmes - and with GPU-assisted processing software, glimpses of this obsolete system filled with news, views and ephemeral trivia are finally coming back into view. Also, Digitiser has returned!

We wanted vacuum tubes for everything, but we got transistors instead

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The Art of Making a Nixie Tube - how to deal with dwindling stocks of these quirky little numerical display components? Reverse engineer their construction and start making your own, of course. Not a simple process. See also: home-made valves, or 'tubes' as Americans would call them. I have a number of old valves on my desk at work. Few people get the joke.

Bonus Teletext Design Corner:

  • edit-tf - fully authentic Teletext frame editor. Fill your nostalgic recreations / low-fi pixel art / anachronistic somethings with visual verisimilitude!
  • Enhanced Teletext specification - describes a futuristic upgraded Teletext, but also explains how those elusive held graphics work in older Teletext versions. I still can't get my head around them.
  • Horsenburger's Textworks - hipsters get excited about '8-bit' pixel art which looks nothing like actual 8-bit hardware capabilities. True artists do it with Teletext. Also, completely insane.

Sunday Things - delving too deep edition

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Sunday January 15 2017

So yes, the Sunday Things is back.

Surprised yet? I definitely am. Now, to rummage through some of the masses of links I've been building up...

The exciting bit of the Bullet Time stuff in the Matrix was the background.

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The Campanile Movie - all-seeing prophet of computer graphics, Paul Debevec, made a little video back in 1997 - which proved highly influential in various ways. I first watched it when I was at university many aeons ago, and it must have been lurking in the back of my mind when doing more recent things. Great to see how the technology of capturing and recreating the real world in a computer has advanced. For a start, we have digital cameras...
Nothing to do with The Thing. Wrong end of the planet.
Greenland's receding icecap to expose top-secret US nuclear project - a decidedly cold Cold War base buried beneath the Arctic ice, with chemical, biological and nuclear waste that was assumed to be hidden for a frozen eternity.

There's a terrifyingly claustrophobic roomscale VR game in this somewhere.

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Abandoned Shale Mine - a little while ago I watched a fascinating BBC Four documentary on the Scottish oil shale industry. It included a few segments filmed by a gloriously mad, pink-haired urban explorer who'd been delving deep into some of the long-abandoned mines. This is one of her videos - dark, damp, corroded, mineralised, rotted and plain terrifying, with remnants of machinery and tools chemically and physically returning to the rocks. The regular beeps are from an air quality monitor indicating that it's still safe to breathe...

Bonus Winter Holiday in your Own Home corner:

Yet more non-photos

posted in Virtual Reality by Cargo Cult on Sunday January 8 2017

It's 2017? Crikey. Have some more non-photos on Destinations:

Raufarholshellir Lava Tube, Iceland - or a close simulation thereof
Raufarholshellir Lava Tube, Iceland - as seen in The Lab, only reprocessed from scratch in Reality Capture for generally improved improvedness and much less manual cleanup.

Includes an accidentally captured heap of horse manure
Country Lane, Derbyshire, UK - some extra photos shot at the beginning of 2016, then processed in late 2016. It was decidedly odd seeing the place again recently over Christmas.

I might point a camera at bits of Seattle eventually. As soon as I find myself a castle.

Bonus Not Scanned By Me But Awesome corner:

There's loads more stuff on the Workshop to go exploring - this brief list was by no means exhaustive. Also, this was a covert Sunday Things. IT BEGINS!

Colourful post-apocalyptia

posted in Media by Cargo Cult on Friday November 11 2016

In a bit of a post-apocalyptic mood lately, for potentially obvious reasons. Ciclope, a beautiful little animation made for the opening of a film festival, cheered me up a bit:


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Anyway, I'll be ready with my camera again. Although I'm seriously considering upgrading sooner or later...