the differential gear

  The above is the most clear-cut explanation of ‘how a ↑differential gear works’ I’ve ever seen. The video below is complementary—↑Richard Feynman explains why a train car stays on its tracks when ‘going around the corner,’ although no differential gears are involved:  ↑differential gear and ↑feynman on trains via entries at boingboing … Continue reading

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african telecom reach

From ↑ITU statistics intac made some interesting infomap posters. The above one shows the ↑Internet usage around the globe (click the picture for full-size). The lighter a nation state is rendered, the lesser percentage of its population are using the Internet. As you can see a lot of Africa completely drops out, rendering the continent as a skeleton. The poster below takes ↑a closer look on Africa and gives both percentages and total figures of Internet users and mobile subscribers.  … Continue reading

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frankenrifle in mali

The above screencap from a BBC report on the conflict in Mali was made by @ByronDoerfer and sent to ↑C. J. Chivers, who gave a ↑first diagnosis: This gentleman, reportedly a Chadian soldier in Mali, is holding what appears to be a well-worn ↑AKM variant with a host of after-market add-ons, creating a cosmetic hybrid between the globally established Kalashnikov operating system and the modern Western military obsession with rails, sights, tactical grips and collapsing stocks. [italics emphasis mine]     [...] I haven’t had time to review the kit of Chadian soldiers generally. So I can’t say whether this … Continue reading

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wireless devices 1906

Kip W ↑unearthed the above wonderful, stunningly up-to-date ↑Punch cartoon (Williams 1955: 164) by artist ↑Lewis Baumer (1870-1963), which first was published in 1906! It’s great historical evidence for how early in the development of a given technology people not only speculate about the future trajectory of said development, but also think about possible social consequences of it. WILLIAMS, RONALD EARNEST. 1955. A century of Punch cartoons. New York: Simon and Schuster. via ↑entry at ↑boingboing … Continue reading

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the coming war on general computation

The copyright war was just the beginning  The last 20 years of Internet policy have been dominated by the copyright war, but the war turns out only to have been a skirmish. The coming century will be dominated by war against the general purpose computer, and the stakes are the freedom, fortune and privacy of the entire human race.     The problem is twofold: first, there is no known general-purpose computer that can execute all the programs we can think of except the naughty ones; second, general-purpose computers have replaced every other device in our world. There are no … Continue reading

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the witch reboot

  Last Tuesday the ↑Wolverhampton Instrument for Teaching Computing from Harwell (WITCH) was rebooted for the first time since the 1970s. For two and a half years volunteers had restaurated the machine, which was built in 1951, at Great Britain’s ↑National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park. via ↑article at ↑wired … Continue reading

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science as servant

A 1946 advertisement for the ↑Bendix Corporation, scanned and put online by Paul Malon—↑click for larger versions, in order to be able to read all of the small text, too. The slogan ‘Creative engineering makes science your obedient servant’ not only perfectly sums up the immediate post-war era stance of absolute belief in technological feasibility, but also unmistakingly voices where science’s proper place in society should be. I maintain that the understanding of said era is quintessential for understanding our contemporary world: In present day society, the term ‘science’ has great potency. Not only is ‘science’ more or less equivalent … Continue reading

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flippy floppy sim

A well-known carrier over here once advertised the iPhone 4 as featuring a ‘new ↑SIM card technology.’ ↑What they meant was the so-called ‘micro-SIM.’ Well, meanwhile we have reached the ‘nano-SIM’—yet another unbelievable leap of technology. But hold your breath, it gets even better. By investing five bucks you can be at the forefront of innovation yourself, by buying the ‘Nano SIM Cutter,’ which ‘takes any regular or micro size and trims the excess off to provide you a precision cut nano SIM. It’s simple, you insert your SIM card with the contacts facing downwards, push the SIM card all … Continue reading

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nand to tetris

  Two years ago I belatedly ↵reported on Shimon Schocken’s and Noam Nisan’s book ‘The elements of computing systems: Building a modern computer from first principles’ (2005). Since then quite some things have happened, and at the website ↑From NAND to Tetris you’ll now find a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC ;)—the whole course, including all the materials, has been put online open-source fashion. The idea is to lead you from the uttermost basics, in this case the logical NAND gate [Negated AND or NOT AND] to build a system on which you finally can program and run a Tetris … Continue reading

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