Sunday Things - catchup edition

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Thursday October 3 2013

Oh hello. This still on? Apologies for the extended silence - no real excuse, beyond being busy with loads of stuff at work and in my spare time. Working on a personal Flickr-replacement for one. With that vague justification, have some links!

Box. Not a companion cube. Box.

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Box - some kind of Aperture Laboratories space-folding super-experiment? Effectively an advert for some super-fancy motion control robotic arms. Possibly used on Gravity.
NOT A PUNCTURE NOT A PUNCTURE
Yes, there seems to be a hole in Curiosity's left front wheel, and no, that's not a problem - absolutely nothing to worry about. That Mars Science Laboratory robot can run just fine on oval wheels, square wheels or just the titanium spokes, thanks to some seriously torque-y motors. It's really been motoring recently. Also, while NASA is partially closed, JPL's still going!

The Stones of Muncaster Cathedral

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Digital Grotesque - 3D printed architecture. Giger meets gothic, pretty much.
Please don't switch the ASAS off again!
Real-life Jebediah Kerman - most definitely in possession of the Right Stuff, sadly he never made it to orbit due to a severe back injury.

Bonus Buran Corner:

  • The life and death of Buran, the USSR shuttle built on faulty assumptions - nice summary of the one-flight Soviet marvel. Why did the USSR need a Shuttle? Well, the Americans had one, and presumably they knew what they were doing. (Spoilers: they didn't.)
  • Buran - nice compendium of Buran, Energia and Polyus footage. With inexplicable techno. unf unf unf unf unf
  • Energia: The Last Big Rocket - Buran was just a payload. Giant wall of text about the underlying launch system, including why it was so important to the aforementioned MSL Curiosity...

Sunday Things - Monday edition

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Monday September 9 2013

Is this Sunday Things late - or exceptionally early? You decide. I still have four minutes left of Monday. So there!

In media news, go see Upstream Colour, from the creator of Primer. People claim it's inscrutable and overly mysterious; I found it fantastic and pretty straightforward to follow. Probably because I've already been fascinated by slightly-spoilery stuff on Wikipedia.

I wonder if today's technology will ever look this strange.
Stalin's Rope Roads - the mining town of Chiatura, Georgia (no, not that one) is laced together with elderly, Soviet-era cablecars. Lovely.
Nuclear suburbia.
The Cold War Bunker That Offered Subterranean Suburbia Below Las Vegas - like something straight out of Fallout, this bunker would allow its occupants to live out the apocalypse in style. The British approach was far less luxurious.
Coming soon to BBC Four - Danish sci-fi?
Rocket Shop - eat your heart out, Kerbal Space Program - Copenhagen Suborbitals is here, and making their own spacesuits. I've yet to decide if this inexpensive suborbital space programme is amazing or terrifying. Possibly both. via phuzz

Bonus Analogue Video corner:

  • Scan Processor Studies - whatever a 'Rutt-Etra Scan Processor' is, I want one.
  • Synaesthesia - 'a Grass Valley video switcher console with input from a studio camera aimed at a monitor' - again, I don't think it's supposed to do that...

Sunday Things - glory to Arstotzka edition

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Sunday September 1 2013

Been busy simulating US border control, thanks to the glorious Papers, Please. Anyhow. Sunday things!

Clever girls.
Use of location (relative direction and distance) information by jumping spiders (Araneae, Salticidae, Phidippus) during movement toward prey and other sighted objectives (PDF) - in other words, a huge paper on quite how clever jumping spiders are, and how they might be using their decidedly nifty visual systems. Their prey-following abilities seem distinctly reminiscent of computer game NPC AI for a start. BBC News Online recently claimed jumping spiders' "adjustable silk tension" could provide "biological inspiration" for future manoeuvrable robot design'. Oh yeah.

Claustrophobia, anyone?

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How to put on a space suit - great footage of Russian Orlan spacesuit training. I love the wood panelled corridors and the Soviet-era instrument panels. Star City!
As terrifying as it looks.
Remember the NAR Lunar Flying Unit from last week? Yeah, I built it in Kerbal Space Program. Ridiculously dangerous, but I managed to fly it 50km-plus across the Mün before safely landing near to another lander. Wahey! I've been getting pretty good at landing things up there...

Bonus Death and Gravity corner:

  • Gravity - "I've Got You" - small, terrifying smidgen of Alfonso Cuarón's upcoming space-o-matic film. May be considered vaguely spoilery.
  • Gravity - "Detached" - more space! It probably says something that I discovered the existence of these new videos via an ESA blog.

Sunday Things - what-if space edition

posted in Space by Cargo Cult on Sunday August 25 2013

SPAAAAAACE!

PPD-11 Hitchhiker Storage Container

What might have been: Visiting Mars and Venus with Apollo-era hardware
- expecting a wave of public enthusiasm following the Apollo landings, NASA began thinking about manned missions to Venus and Mars. Never getting beyond the theoretical stages, these long-term missions would have observed the planets from orbit - never actually landing. (In the case of Venus, that's just as well.) Instead, we got robotic exploration of almost the entire Solar System. A worthy trade?
I am so building this in KSP.
Beyond Apollo - speaking of imagined space missions, this long-running blog is full of weird and wonderful things that never happened. How did I never see this before? It's great!

ATTEMPT NO LANDINGS THERE

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Europa Report - people claim this is a science fiction film with a degree of actual science in it. Anyone want to, erm, report back? I may have to watch it.

Bonus Demonstrating How Fantastic Unmanned Spaceflight Is corner:

Sunday Things - guess what more links edition

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Sunday August 18 2013

A quick selection this week:

A hideous artefact intruding into our world from a separate universe.
The Art of 3D Print Failure - Flickr group chronicling 3D printers' less successful attempts, with some peculiarly baroque geometry.
Mars! Digitally!
Martian Terrain Tutorial - fellow Valve Britisher Tristan Reidford converts some Martian terrain models into something more accessible to high-end 3D software. See also: my Seattle LIDAR experimenterings.
All silver suits, Googie architecture and atomic everything.
The Glamour of Spaceflight - whizzing through photos from this NASA account, I spotted this particularly mundane example of spaceflight's impact. At least try to smile, people!

Bonus Misusing Scientific Imaging Hardware corner:

  • All Eyes on ISON - so, there's a newly found comet approaching the sun that, with luck, could well be the comet of the century. But it's hard to see from the Earth right now, so monitoring its activity is tricky. Good news: there's the stunning HiRISE camera (see above) orbiting Mars. Of a design really not suited for distant astronomical observations...