Deceptively fascinating, cut away images of day to day objects

Thursday, 9 July, 2015

Cut away mechanical calculator

Bowling balls (you’ll never guess what lies within), petrol stations, radial engines, electric motorcycles, and Apollo spacesuits, are among thirty-one objects that are dissected, or cut in half, to reveal something of their inner workings.

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Imagining a world where you no longer really have to work

Wednesday, 8 July, 2015

The impact of emerging technologies on the workplace, and what it means for employment in the coming decades, has been a pet topic of mine for years, as regular readers will know. The question is, once all, or most, of the jobs have been automated, what will everyone do with the would-be spare time they’ll have on their hands?

The answer is not all that straightforward, even though you might think most people would grasp the notion of not having to work anymore with unbridled enthusiasm. While still being, in a fashion, paid. Why? Because there is, it seems, only one thing people dislike more than working, and that is not working.

An occupation gives a person a sense of identity and purpose, so take that away, and confusion and disorientation may be all that remains. It could be though such a state of affairs would be short lived, as people become aware of alternatives, such as the pursuit of humanitarian, and artistic endeavours:

Artisans made up the original American middle class. Before industrialization swept through the U.S. economy, many people who didn’t work on farms were silversmiths, blacksmiths, or woodworkers. These artisans were ground up by the machinery of mass production in the 20th century. But Lawrence Katz, a labor economist at Harvard, sees the next wave of automation returning us to an age of craftsmanship and artistry. In particular, he looks forward to the ramifications of 3‑D printing, whereby machines construct complex objects from digital designs.

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A day surfing the waves as filmed by a friendly drone

Monday, 6 July, 2015

Who needs a selfie-stick when a drone will do a better job? Hawaiian surfer Malia Manuel takes to the waves off the coast of Western Australia, and the action is filmed from several perspectives, by a series of drones, by French filmmaker Steven Briand.

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A bigger picture would help when it comes to overtaking big trucks

Tuesday, 30 June, 2015

It happens to me all the time, especially on the freeway, I find myself stuck behind a large lumbering truck. Usually there’s the option of eventually overtaking it by moving into another lane going in the same direction.

But what about situations where there is only one lane available in your direction of travel, and an overtaking manoeuvre requires moving into the on-coming traffic lane?

A clear view of the road ahead, before attempting to move into the other lane, would be useful, to say the least, but sometimes such chances are far and few between. How about then attaching a widescreen monitor to the back of large vehicles, that projects an image of what lies ahead? Sounds like an idea worth looking into.

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What are the chances of your job being automated in the future?

Monday, 29 June, 2015

Robots powered by artificial intelligence, and other similarly “smart” machines, stand to deprive many of us of jobs at some point in the future. The question for many then is, how long could I continue in my current line of work, before I need to re-skill?

Planet Money has put together a guide that estimates the likelihood of a particular role becoming automated over the next twenty years. Provided I continue working as a writer, there remains about a four percent chance that my job could be automated.

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Recreate your own photos and paintings with LEGO bricks

Friday, 12 June, 2015

Marco Sodano is one artist who creates artworks, based on well known portrait paintings, using LEGO bricks. If you’d like to have a try, Legoizer could be for you. Upload a photo that you wish to recreate with LEGO bricks, and Legoizer will return a list of the sorts of bricks, and their colours, that you’ll need.

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There’s pinball, then there’s pinball, of like, galactic dimensions

Tuesday, 9 June, 2015

There’s pinball, then there’s pinball of galactic dimensions, such as this machine, located in the Phæno science centre, in Wolfsburg, Germany, that features a playfield measuring six metres long, by three metres wide.

Via prosthetic knowledge.

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Can Moore’s Law continue acting in accordance with Moore’s Law?

Thursday, 4 June, 2015

Gordon Moore, a co-founder of Intel, once noted that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit has doubled almost every two years, over the history of computing hardware. That observation may be more familiar to you as Moore’s Law. But the question is, for how much longer can such a trend continue?

To answer to that question though, perhaps a better understanding of what Moore’s Law stands for, is necessary:

It is a mistake, however, to view Moore’s law as a prophesy based on scientific phenomena that are doomed in the face of immutable laws of physics. If truth be told, Moore’s law was never anything more than an economic rule of thumb that morphed into a self-fulfilling axiom about process engineering. Essentially, it was more a way of scheduling manufacturing targets than a means for forecasting the performance of future processors. As such, Moore’s law has served as a metronome that lets Intel set the tempo of product announcements – and thereby encourages computer makers to keep coming back every couple of years for ever-more-powerful processors. Like it or not, the rest of the semiconductor industry, usually a node or two behind, has been obliged to follow Intel’s lead.

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It was twenty years ago today that Jeffrey Zeldman taught us to code

Tuesday, 2 June, 2015

Influential New York City based web designer, I don’t believe that title has yet been deprecated, Jeffrey Zeldman launched his website twenty years ago last Sunday. I’ve been reading it for almost all that time, something I may have pointed out before. Twenty years, that’s a long time, but I’ve said before as well.

And then there’s this:

I wanted to launch a redesign on this 20th anniversary – in the old days I redesigned this site four or five times a year, whenever I had a new idea or learned a new skill – but with a ten year old daughter and four businesses to at least pretend to run (businesses that only exist because I started this website 20 years ago today and because my partners started theirs), a redesign by 31 May 2015 wasn’t possible.

I may not be anywhere near as busy as Zeldman, but so far it hasn’t been possible to update the design here, that has been in place eighteen months now. Those days of five redesigns a year are truly a distant memory.

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I couldn’t decide what to wear today so I just printed something out

Tuesday, 2 June, 2015

An in development fabric printer, dubbed the Electroloom, would make it possible to design and produce your own clothes, on the spot, in the comfort of your own home.

The Electroloom Developer Kit is a tool for designing and manufacturing custom 3D fabrics. When interacting with our machine, there is no need for thread, needles, or sewing. Instead, our users need only some simple CAD skills to design their patterns, and the Electroloom does the rest. Behind the scenes, our technology reduces the traditional textile manufacturing process into a single step. Instead of sending raw material through factories where it undergoes numerous processing steps to create a traditional textile, we are able to directly convert raw material to finished good.

The Electroloom is still in Kickstarter, or fund raising mode, but could be a game changer – to say the least – for the apparel industry, were it to ever catch on.

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