Jason Torchinsky is a guest blogger on Boing Boing. Jason has a book out now, Ad Nauseam: A Survivor's Guide to American Consumer Culture, that he hopes you'll want to buy. He lives in Los Angeles, where he is a tinkerer and artist, started a webcasting company, and writes for the Onion News Network. He lives with a common-law wife, five animals, too many old cars, and a shed full of crap.
As I'm sure you're all aware, today is the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. I adore pretty much everything about manned space exploration, so to commemorate this hallowed date I'd like to share a fascinating piece of Apollo-era NASA history: the Bioastronautics Data Book
The Bioastronautics Data Book is a reference for people who design manned spacecraft. It's essentially an amazingly detailed description of the peculiarities of the particular cargo they're designing for: people. You see, as contents of a spaceship, people are probably some of the messiest, drippiest, most fragile, and out-gassingest things you can possibly imagine. Luckily, you don't have to imagine, as the researchers of this book break down every single thing a person can possibly ooze, excrete, pass, spit, fart, hack up, you name it.
It's absolutely fascinating. Ever wonder what's in a fart? It's all here. How about the tolerances of people to g-forces, or temperature, or vacuum?
Many of the charts are quite funny in their scientific detachment. The chart that basically describes all the ways you can be broken and crushed by large falls or crashes is called "Impact Experience." There's a chart labeled "Radiation Damage to Male Gonads."
It's easy to picture some harried, nervous, dead-eyed young intern that they've been using for these tests. There's cold exposure charts with "pain zone" clearly delineated, a carbon dioxide effects chart with 4 zones: No effect, minor perceptive changes, distracting discomfort, and dizziness, stupor, unconsciousness. Even seemingly simple tests like saliva generation have the faint hint of a sadist at the helm: to get more saliva, they mention using "Paraffin-activated" collection. It would have killed them to give out gum?
This book is fascinating from both a perspective of appreciating how truly daunting the task of making workable spaceships really was, and as an owner and operator of a human body, it's like finally finding the factory shop manual. Special thanks also goes out to T.Mike, who is my man in the field for finding good crap.
On Thursday May 26, Red Nose Day will return for the second year. It’s all about giving to children to fight hunger, sickness, and homelessness. In the video above, the most famous magician in the world, David Copperfield, has his own magical way of asking you to get involved. There’s going to be a two-hour TV show on […]
Facebook gets a bad rap, but where I live, it has brought neighbors together, and it started because of the things I didn’t want to share.
When the Congressional Science committee wants to talk about the cold weather, and when NASA has to defend their budget by explaining why NASA is important, it can make people who believe in facts… a bit tense.
Some people say magic tricks are nerdy and best left to your 12-year-old asthmatic cousin. But others see value in perfecting the slight of hand and showmanship associated with a perfectly executed routine. We’re firmly in the latter camp. And now, we’re giving you the ability to put a few parlor tricks up your sleeve with the Penguin […]
Bluetooth speakers may be convenient to use, but many of them just aren’t that powerful. Sure, it may be fine if you’re seated in front of the speaker. But move across the room, and you may strain to hear what’s coming from those tiny drivers.There’s a reason why the G-BOOM Wireless Bluetooth Boombox (now $79.99 in the Boing […]
If you’re working to build your web programming knowledge, you know you have a lot of ground to cover. With literally dozens of languages, platforms and environments available to coders, mastering all those technologies can be a daunting task.Up-and-coming coders can start learning some of the most fundamental programming study areas with this Web Hacker course bundle – and […]