"Flyger devoted himself to studying squirrels because, as he explains it, they weigh less than a deer and don't bite like a polar bear. He used to smear a tree behind his Silver Spring home with a mixture of peanut butter and Valium and then tattoo the squirrels that he found passed out below."
science can be a bit squirrelly
I, for one, welcome our new buzzing robotic overlord hive-mind swarm
"Researchers at the University of Essex are using Linux and tiny embedded computer modules to build fleets of unmanned aircraft that fly in flocking formations like birds, while performing parallel, distributed computing tasks using Bluetooth-connected Linux clustering software. [...]
The Gridswarm branch will use model aerobatic trainers equipped with auto-pilot systems and capable of flying at speeds of 120mph. The UltraSwarm branch, meanwhile, will work on an 'indoor' version, based on small helicopters with co-axial rotors.
PhD candidate Renzo de Nardi recently completed a prototype UltraSwarm device, a craft the project believes to be the smallest flying web server in the world."
"Graphics Demo is a modified Commodore CBM 3032 computer. Its inner life was replaced by a mechanics. A wireframe model of a teapot, soldered out of silvered copper wire, is gimballed inside the monitor cabinet. The model is varnished with green uv-active paint and lighted by four blacklight tubes, which are installed invisible inside the cabinet. The teapot can be rotated in any direction by using the numeric keypad. During the rotation, you can hear the electric motors and feel their vibrations."
You must watch
the video. The whirring noises are what really make it.
space-age cargo cult
Space Launch Scraps Providing Sustenance For Russian Villagers
Since the Plesetsk Space Center began operations in northern Russia forty years ago, tons of man-made debris - first stages of rockets mainly - have fallen to earth, generating both a cash opportunity for local villagers, and a source of danger, RIA Novosti recently reported.
Some villages survive only on this cosmic garbage, unable to find other ways to make ends meet.
The neighboring space center outlines the regions that have the highest risk of being exposed to space debris several days before every launch. Hunters, mushroom pickers, fishermen and reindeer breeders are all emphatically warned of the dangers of being in the area.
They do leave, but afterwards scores of local residents, some equipped with tractors, get into the area to reap little-damaged Soyuz first stages.
Soyuz carrier rockets are propelled by kerosene and oxygen, and their parts have a reputation for safety.
Older Tsiklon and Rokot carriers propelled by poisonous heptyl leave scraps that people avoid for a few years, until "self-cleaning" (as locals have coined the process) makes it safe for people to extract the metals.
Scrap metal collectors generally will not comment on how much they collect in a year but fragmented data for 2003 alone indicated that about 20 tons of "space metals" was collected.
Lesser-damaged parts are used in households: electric batteries are connected to lamps, metal sheets made of stainless alloys are used to build basements, garages, fences, water tracks and long, slim boats, much like canoes.
The Northern Medical University has studied the effect of liquid propellant components on human health - particularly where heptyl was used - and have warned that the death rate in mentioned affected areas has risen by 30%, mostly due to liver, blood and genetic diseases.
However, it has so far failed to draw a direct link from the launches to the deaths. Experts say additional studies are necessary to come to any definite conclusions.