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


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!


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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...

Sunday Things - Sunday edition

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Sunday August 11 2013

Links! On Sunday!

Gelatinous socialism. Be afraid, Daily Mail readers.
12 Reasons Pyrosomes Are My New Favorite Terrifying Sea Creatures - giant coordinated colonies of tiny invertebrates. The next step up from multicellular creatures? The colony pictured above is a small one...

The right stuff, part 16

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Apollo 16: Nothing so Hidden - documentary on Apollo 16. Humans were getting the hang of landing on the moon, the incredible almost becoming routine... Ignore the blithering idiot hoax-fanatics in the comments. Actually, ignore all YouTube comments ever!
Ekranoplans yeah!
The Ekranoplans Showcase - Dark Roasted Blend on everyone's favourite Soviet ground-effect vehicles.

Bonus Curiosity Mars Science Laboratory corner:

Sunday Things - catchup edition

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Sunday August 4 2013

It's still Sunday here! Just...

Try wearing this through a TSA checkpoint.
Behold, the Innards of a Spacesuit - spacesuits are an incredible mix of flexible textiles and hard engineering - individual-sized spacecraft part-made with sewing machines. Glimpse inside their hidden internal structures with some X-rays...

The Secret Life of Machines (also on YouTube) - I was reminded of Tim Hunkin's work the other day, having grown up on a healthy diet of the aforementioned television series and The Rudiments of Wisdom. Right now he's operating a gloriously insane amusement arcade in Southwold - go explore his vast website for obsolete photographic processes, Victorian nanotech and miniaturised holidays.

Not the Shipping Forecast

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3D Point Cloud of the Shipping Galleries - I once found this forgotten maritime wing of London's Science Museum purely by accident - on a hurry to get somewhere else, this huge collection of models took me entirely by surprise. Now recently closed, it's been captured for posterity with Lidar...

Bonus Contributed Linkage corner:

  • Oak Island - location of the so-called Money Pit, a presumably natural feature declared by many to be the site of buried treasure, with a range of fantastical origins. Akin to false clues in an ARG, the assumption that the site is special has inexplicably persisted over the years. Fascinating! via Pace
  • Experimental Aircraft - Imgur gallery of peculiar aircraft, always a favourite on this 'ere blog-thing. via proogs
  • Modern Ruins of Abandoned Detroit - I have a copy of the book this article is based around. It's positively splendid in its dereliction. via 'Beat Darwin'