Retired naval mechanic José Manuel Hermo Barreiro makes incredibly intricate models of engines like the V-12. (via Devour)
Demonstration of a DIY device to turn plastic bottles into plastic string/ribbon. (Thanks, Rick "Under The Weather" Pescovitz!)
These 2.5 gallon ball lock kegs have reinvigorated my homebrewing hobby. I now have 6 of them in rotation and bottling is no longer a giant, messy pain.
The upsides to kegging, for me, are myriad. No more clumsy bottle filler. No more sanitizing cases of empty glass bottles. No more stinky, sticky bug filled bottle collection waiting to be cleaned. At its simplest, you siphon your beer from your fermenter into the keg and seal it up.
The only nuance is carbonation. You can bottle/cask condition in the keg, but you need less sugar (about 1/2-1/3 of what you'd normally use.) If you'd rather, it is also very easy to force carbonate your beer with CO2 and skip the entire bottling sugar step.
Refrigerate a keg for 24-36 hrs before serving. It takes a while to cool them down!
Kegging was a major step in simplifying my homebrew process. Without the mess of bottling this hobby became fun again.
Jim Munroe sez, "Ten years from now, videogames are so immersive that teenagers learn lethal skills just by playing. They're called hapheads. The folks I made Ghosts With Shit Jobs with made this trailer I adapted from a book-length story I'm working on. Don't know if we can honestly call what we do lo-fi sci-fi anymore -- with fight scenes and full-on special effects, it's way more in the mold of traditional action sci-fi. I'm thinking what'll set it apart is the characterization of the father & daughter (my emotional entry into the story, thinking about my relationship with my daughter in 10 years) and the subcultural millieu that'll emerge."
Jesse Pesta has a wonderful, colorful piece in the Wall Street Journal about a form of transportation unique to Cambodia: bamboo trains, known locally as "norry." Snip:
In Cambodia, real trains are almost as rare as bamboo trains anywhere else. The impoverished country has a network of tracks left over from French colonial days, but there are hardly any actual trains running anymore. Only one line is in service. The railway never recovered from the horrors of Khmer Rouge murder and war decades ago.
Don't miss his great photos and videos accompanying the article online A six-year-old girl photographed just before her first norry ride is told by her mom that it would be like riding "a bat."
BB pal Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Technology and Innovation at the White House, sends word of the first White House Maker Faire taking place later this year. From the White House Blog:
Inspired by “Joey Marshmallow” and the millions of citizen-makers driving the next era of American innovation, we are thrilled to announce plans to host the first-ever White House Maker Faire later this year. We will release more details on the event soon, but it will be an opportunity to highlight both the remarkable stories of Makers like Joey and commitments by leading organizations to help more students and entrepreneurs get involved in making things.
Meanwhile, you can get involved by sending pictures or videos of your creations or a description of how you are working to advance the maker movement to firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter using the hashtag #IMadeThis. Take Joey’s advice – don’t be bored, make something. Maybe you, like Joey, can take your making all the way to The White House.
Joel Murphy (co-creator of the nifty PulseSensor, an Arduino sensor that detects pulse) teamed up with Conor Russomanno to create the OpenBCI, a Bluetooth-enabled, Arduino-compatible, 8-channel EEG platform that gives you access to high-quality, raw EEG data. What can you do with it? Biofeedback, DIY sleep research, creating art, controlling systems, and more.
Five years ago this month, my pal, BB contributor, and IFTF colleague Ariel Waldman created Spacehack, a directory of projects through which anyone can participate in space exploration. It was a very influential endeavor, igniting many people's interest and excitement in space research and how we can all get involved even here on terra firm. Today, Ariel has launched Seahack, a similar site to spur participation in sea exploration! From DIY underwater robots to crowdsourced analysis of deep-sea videos to a project aimed at decoding the language of whales, Seahack is a great way to get your feet wet (sorry) in ocean science even if you're a landlubber like me. Congratulations, Ariel!
Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab: A kids' mystery novel with electromagnets, burglar alarms, and other gadgets you can build
Nick and Tesla are a couple of teenagers who get themselves into trouble and must build MAKE-style projects to save the day. There are two books in the series, aimed at ages 9-12, and they contain a number of fun DIY projects. The publisher, Quirk Books, kindly gave us permission to run a lengthy PDF excerpt from Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab that includes plans for making a compressed-air water rocket.
The forthcoming followup title is called Nick and Tesla's Robot Army Rampage: A Mystery with Hoverbots, Bristle Bots, and Other Robots You Can Build Yourself.
To celebrate their 110th anniversary, our friends at Popular Mechanics assembled a collection of 110 tips from their archives.
The August 1955 issue told a farsighted person to punch a pinhole in cardboard and peer through it to read small type. It still does the trick!
This year, my husband, Chris, and I made a baby and a costume to put her in. Here, Althea Koerth Baker, 4 days old, shows off her Halloween costume and her ability to tolerate parental shenanigans.
The Skinner Box, as applied to human infants, was not what you think it was. Psychologist B.F. Skinner did not raise his daughter inside a box without human contact. Nor did she later grow up to be crazy and commit suicide because of said lack of contact. In fact, just a few years ago, Deborah Skinner Buzan wrote a column for The Guardian debunking those powerful urban legends herself.
Instead, what Skinner did was build his daughter the sort of crib that you might expect a scientist raised in the era of mid-20th-century Popular Science-style scientific futurism and convenience to build. He called it the "Air-Crib" and it was designed to maintain a perfectly comfortable temperature, provide baby Deborah with built-in toys to keep her entertained, be simple to clean, and make it easier to stick to the "cry it out" and heavily regimented feeding/sleeping schedules that were, at the time, standard parenting advice.