Hartley Hoskins is a geophysicist and communications engineer who has worked for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute since 1958. Last month, he gave me a behind-the-scenes tour of the places where WHOI's maker/scientists build the research equipment they use from scratch. In this short clip, aboard the research vessel Oceanus, he talks about the special steel cables Oceanus uses to raise and lower scientific equipment, and how ocean research can push even the best tools to their limits.
You can hear more from Hoskins at WHOI's oral history website.
Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net. She writes a monthly column for The New York Times Magazine and is the author of Before the Lights Go Out, a book about electricity, infrastructure, and the future of energy. You can find Maggie on Twitter and Facebook.