Dylan Thuras is a guest blogger on Boing Boing. Dylan is a travel blogger and the co-founder of the Atlas Obscura: A Compendium of the World's Wonders, Curiosities, and Esoterica, with Joshua Foer.
Riffing off of Xeni's excellent post about Omega Recoil I wanted to bring your attention to the Electrum, the world's largest Tesla Coil.
"Known as Electrum, the four-story (38-ft) Tesla coil was commissioned by a prominent New Zealand art patron Alan Gibbs, and set up on on his farm outside of Auckland, New Zealand in April 1998. Built by artist Eric Orr and high voltage engineer Greg Leyh, the enormous coil puts out over 3 million volts.
A particular delight of the Electrum Coil is the hollow spherical cage on top, where Greg Leyh would often sit during shows. While Leyh is safe within the Faraday cage created by the sphere, if he were to put his hand through the cage, he would be instantly electrocuted."
As interesting as the coil itself is Alan Gibbs, the art patron who commissioned it. Gibbs is one of New Zealand's wealthiest residents and is worth a third of a billion dollars. Called a "James Bond in Jandals" Gibbs has dabbled in everything from cars to telecoms, however the Bond reputation comes from Gibbs' recent project, the Aquada. The Aquada is an amphibious car that travels at over a 100km/h on land and smoothly transitions to 30km/h in water. Along with his other hobbies Gibbs owns what he calls "The Farm," an area rural in New Zealand where he collects and privately displays massive works of art such as the Electrum and Neil Dawson's "Horizons" pictured below.
There is more info on the Electrum on the Atlas, this is an interesting article about the Aquada, and a link to more pictures of the enormous art on found on Gibb's Farm.
As you may have noticed, a number of bird species have proven capable of mimicking snippets of sound they overhear, be it a melody, the wail of an ambulance or a dirty phrase taught to them by some drunk fella at a party. But here’s the thing: most mammals suck at it. Not so seals. […]
In the New York Times, Kenneth Chang reports that NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars has detected high amounts of methane, a gas that is commonly a signature of life. From the NYT: “Given this surprising result, we’ve reorganized the weekend to run a follow-up experiment,” Ashwin R. Vasavada, the project scientist for the mission, wrote […]
As part of research on how to make better prosthetic legs, Vanderbilt University engineers put people on a treadmill and made them stumble. Over and over. By better understanding peoples’ stumble reflex, they hope to improve the computer-controlled stumble response in prosthetics. But to learn how people catch themselves, they had to trip them first. […]
When it comes to large computer systems, not one of them is fully secure. Even with constant updates to the platforms that keep vital networks humming, there’s always a back door. And companies are willing to pay handsomely to effective bouncers that can keep an eye on them. Call them ethical hackers or white hat […]
So you’ve visited the Kennedy Space Center every year. You’ve watched “The Right Stuff” for the 95th time. There must be something to do while you’re waiting to join Space Force for the next manned mission to Mars or the moon. Here’s a combo that should raise a salute from any fan of space or […]
Looking for a new tablet? If you haven’t upgraded in a while, it might be time to check out the latest iPad Pro for two very good reasons. First, the 2018 model is a real workhorse. The 12X Bionic chip processor means it can handle any task you set out for it, and still have […]