Seth Goldstein's Why Not machine is a glorious Rube Goldberg device that can tie (and untie) a necktie. It's a kinetic sculpture, slow and beautiful and inefficient in a way that can only be called artistic. It's headed for exhibition at the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia. Its inventor, a retired engineer, revels in its unuselessness: "That's not something you can economically justify, but if you're a retiree, you don't have to worry about that anymore. I'm free!"
The Contraption That Can Really Tie One On
After earning four degrees at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and working more than 40 years as a mechanical engineer -- including three decades at the National Institutes of Health designing biomedical instruments -- Goldstein decided to create Why Knot "for the hell of it."
Others have more lofty explanations, however. Tom Perry, managing director of education for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, whose foundation provided $30,000 for the project (including $10,000 for the development of educational materials) and arranged its permanent exhibition at Sir Isaac's Loft at the Franklin Institute, believes that Why Knot forces people to confront the complexity of the human body.
"Just the mechanics it takes to reach up and scratch your forehead" is amazing, says Perry. Then you look at Goldstein's machine, and all those infrared lights and optical sensors and the 10 electric motors that propel a series of 350 laborious movements to tie and untie one standard knot -- all that shaft rotation and energy conversion, all that controlled motion and heat.
[Vanessa de la Torre/Washington Post]
(via Laughing Squid)
The Science Fiction Writers of America has released the ballot for this year’s Nebula awards, nominated for and voted upon by the organization’s members; the ballot lists novellas, short stories, novelettes, YA novels (the Andre Norton award), dramatic presentations (the Bradbury award), and novels — including two debut novels I reviewed in 2016: Nisi Shawl’s […]
Having successfully invented the paperclip-bending machine, engineer Elis F. Stenman set out to build a new summer home for himself in Rockport, Mass in 1922, entirely from paper.
Install the Emotional Labor extension and it will automatically add social niceties to your outbound mail — phrases like “Hey, Lovely! I’ve been thinking of you.” (via 4 Short Links)
Python is immensely popular in the data science world for the same reason it is in most other areas of computing—it has highly readable syntax and is suitable for anything from short scripts to massive web services. One of its most exciting, newest applications, however, is in machine learning. You can dive into this booming […]
Learning new skills is a great way to improve your resume and stand out from other candidates. Especially in a workforce in which many job-seekers have a wide variety of qualifications. With lifetime access to Virtual Training Company, you won’t have to choose a specific focus. You can pick up new expertise whenever you deem it […]
Instead of throwing out all the empties after your next party, why not transform them into some new DIY glassware? Cut back on waste and add some home ambiance with the Kinkajou Bottle Cutter and Candle Making Kit.The Kinkajou is designed as a clamp-on scoring blade to make precise cuts. Just slide a bottle in, tighten […]