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Alternate History Thursday – Spys

SR-71 photo

In our current reality, air supremacy is the most important part of warfare.  And while the SR-71 might not play much of a role in the supremacy part of the air-force, it does play an important part in the knowledge part.


Here you can have a virtual tour inside the cockpit of that iconic plane.


And now for something, completely different:

In an alternate version of our alternate history, the SR-71 was never constructed, because it was never needed.  Air supremacy was something that was only used in the closing days of World War II.  Soon after the war ended, space became the next frontier, just like in real reality.  However, in AV-AH, space was conquered.  The Communist State of the American Continents (C-SAC) was first to launch rockets into low earth orbit, (just like in RR, those damn commies beat the democracy & freedom loving people to space).  However, their solo reign didn’t last too long.  Soon, the United Countries of Europe (UCE), manager to launch their own unmanned probes into low earth orbit.  Within years humans from both sides were circling the globe, waving at each other as they passed in private, but shooting at each other in public.

By the early 1970s semi permanent bases had been established in low earth orbit by both global forces.  No one had yet landed on The Moon, but that would soon happen.  Experts, and pundits across the globe were calling for The Moon to become the Switzerland of Space.  The one common neutral ground that didn’t belong to anyone.  The Commies wouldn’t have it, and neither would the UCE (which, unsurprisingly, Switzerland was not a member of).

UCE ships landed on The Moon first, establishing a permanent base in one of the craters.  C-SAC had a dilemma now though, land their own ships somewhere else and claim ownership of that part of The Moon, take the Swiss up on their offer of neutrality for the Heavenly body, or start a war?  Can you guess what C-SAC did?

Tune in next time to find out.


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Seeing Air Move

There’s nothing computer generated here, this is all part of science! It’s something called Schlieren photography. It’s a very old system, but is commonly used to visualize airflow around planes. Above we see some of the not so scientific purposes of this, just the cool, let’s get the public to give us money, uses of this technology.
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FPV Drones

Say what you want about Episode I, the Pod-Racing was amazing.  Unfortunately, there’s nothing quite like that available to us humans just yet, and not only because we’re not Jedi and can’t react quick enough, mostly because we don’t have the technology.  However, attaching GoPro cameras to drones, and piloting them in through the camera’s perspective, that’s pretty darn close.

MAKE has put together a list of some of the best First-Person Video of Drone racing, and tricks.  I’ve posted it before with the French Drone Racing, and I gotta say, they are pretty fun to watch.

This video by Carlos Puertolas is probably the closest we can get to Star Wars type Pod Racing.  Could do without the tricks, but hey, everyone has to show off:


a stumble awesome science

online Silk

INK Blots

There are an infinite number of useless online tools and proofs of concepts.  Silk is one of them, it even has an iPad app.  It is a cool abstract drawing tool.  But it’s very ink-blotty.  I wonder if they save some/all of the pictures made to a giant database somewhere so that they can figure out what’s going on with people.  I’m sure they do, or someone does.  I’m not sure what you will get out of it, but he, data storage is cheap.

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annie96 is typing…


Creepypastas used to be good, they used to be interesting and new, now they’ve all turned into strange repeats.  Slender-Man used to be freaky, now it’s sad that people.  Well with the internet, new things come and go, and there’s a new way to read stories, stories for your screen.

I stumbled to this one, annie96 is typing.  I like interaction involved, it’s not just a wall of text, there’s a conversation going, and you see it in real time.  It’s cool, I like it.  It reminds me of Ted’s Caving Page, unfortunately, I don’t think anything can ever top that suspense trip.

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Super Fast 3-D Printing

There’s a new type of 3D printing about to come on the market.  It’s more in line with injection molding, as opposed to the current 3D printing process of “drawing” one layer at a time.  The video of the process looks pretty cool, especially since you can make some involved items, but then again, current 3D printing is able to make the same things too.

It uses UV light to turn special liquid solid, something called Photopolymerization it’s a neat process, and watching the video is mesmerizing to see the Eiffel Tower get pulled up out of magic.  I think some cool things could be made with this, hopefully the technology will become cheaper soon, this way us regular people can make things.


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Public Space


Thanks to Twitter, Space will continue to remain free.  Or at least awesome photos of rocket launches, and the aftermath of said launches.  Following NASA’s lead, SpaceX has released all of the photos of their launches into the Public Domain.

SpaceX recently launched a Flickr stream of their photos of the launches, and processes, and rockets and stuff, originally the photos were licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license, but NASA being a US Government agency, all of their photos are a part of the Public Domain, which means that you can do whatever you want with them and not worry.  Originally you had to credit SpaceX somewhere if you wanted to use their photos making it not so fair.  But, since Elon Musk is frekin ACE, he just up and decided he was gonna Public Domain those bitches cause someone asked him nicely.

You can thank Twitter user Pandoomic for it, he suggested it to Elon Musk.

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Wooden Waves

Jennifer Townley creates elaborate three dimensional works of spinning art.  It’s actually a pretty neat marvel of engineering work to spin the shafts at the correct speed in order to get the desired effect.

This second video is even more elaborate than the first, and in my opinion, much nicer too.



Wood Carvings

Reddit user spiderpark, is an avid wood carver.  A pretty talented one too.  He’s made some very detailed, small wood carvings:

Wood Highways

That one is hard to see at first, but once you realize it, it’s right there.  That is a very complicated highway intersection exchange.  Viewing those from above is pretty cool, design your own though is even cooler I think.  It allows you to vent all those frustrations you get when you’re sitting in traffic on the beautifully designed annoyance

Wood Appartments

That’s pretty easy though, an apartment building, or office building, but a building in general.  Complete with two elevator shafts, one a service elevator it looks like.

He has an Imgur album with more photos of those two I posted, as well as a few other items, it’s pretty neat stuff.


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LEGO National Park Service

LEGO idea user LegoRanger16 has come up with a great LEGO Idea project – United States National Parks.  He has made representations of 3 (of the currently 59) National Parks.

  • Everglades, located in Florida, known for their alligators and vast wetlands
  • Katmai, located in the southern part of Alaska, the famous Brown Bears catching spawning salmon at a waterfall takes place in this park
  • Saguaro, located in Arizona, what you would call the traditional Cactus grows in this park

Everglades NP LEGO
Katmai LEGO NP
Saguaro NP LEGO

His choice of parks is weird, they’re not what the average person would think of.  Normally I think of The Big Three, The Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, & Yosemite.  While those aren’t necessarily the first three National Parks, they are the most widely known, at least in my opinion. However, part of the LEGO Idea is to educate the public about the vast lands set aside for their unique natural beauty, and choosing some of the lesser known parks does a good job at that.

The sets themselves are very simple, and I think that’s what helps them alot.  There’s no over-complication to it, just the single most famous thing that this park is known for.  I like it.  I think there might be a problem representing the other 56 parks though.  They all have famous scenes, and amazing vistas, but how can you do The Grand Canyon justice when you’re limited to a 10×16 base plate?

  • Yellowstone would be easy, – Old Faithful erupting, with a Bison, this is pretty much a given
  • Joshua Tree could/should/would be similar to Saguaro above
  • Hot Springs you could do a pool like thing
  • Arches would be self explanatory, probably Delicate Arch
  • Bryce Canyon, The Hoodoos

But what about the remaining 51?  Wind Cave, The aforementioned Grand Canyon, Gates of the Arctic?  Those will all be difficult to represent in LEGO form.  But I guess, maybe with professionals, and 10,000 other people thinking about it, it could get done.

This is all done in preparation of The Centennial celebration of the National Park Service next year.  In 1916, the Organic Act created the National Park Service, since then the Service has grown to over 400 individual units of various different designations ranging from Memorials, to Monuments, to the most prestigious, the National Park.

This LEGO Idea project needs to hit 10,000 votes in order for The LEGO Group to take alook at it and consider it for widespread production.  It’s kind of like Kickstarter, but for LEGO sets, and official.  There’s still a year left to go, hopefully it will get the over 9,000 votes it still needs.