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techRivet


techRivet
techRivet is all about the balance, keeping tech topics in balance and the readers off-balance. The rivet will range from SEO, to NASA, to wetware. You'll get the variety you crave!
Articles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Articles

21 Leaf clover...does that mean it is 5.25 times as lucky as a 4 leaf clove
2008-06-09 14:34:00
21-leaf clover - World record. I'm not sure if this should count though as it was "discovered" by a food researcher in Japan who has been cross-breeding clovers as his hobby for years.  He held the previous record at 18 leaves also.
More About: Leaf , Times , Lucky
U.S. government keeps LORAN alive.
2008-06-07 02:21:00
This year, the Department of Homeland Security decided that a 30-year-old navigation system used by mariners will be upgraded to back up GPS. The decision preserves the Long-Range Aids to Navigation (LORAN) network, which has been teetering on the verge of forced retirement since the 1980s, according to the Coast Guard?s Navigation Center Popular Mechanics I remember back in the day, sailing around the Puget Sound before we had a LORAN system on the sailboat, charts and navigation and knowing your buoys and reading light signals etc.  Then we got a LORAN receiver and it was easy, none of that old fashioned navigation necessary: plug in a waypoint and go. Now of course GPS is even better.  But the LORAN system provides much the same capabilities...at least to shipping...on the coasts of the US...which is what matters to the Navy and the Coast Guard.  All the consumer products would still be crippled if GPS had a massive failure of some kind.  They'd be...
More About: Government , Alive
Poster of the Apollo 11 transcript
2008-06-06 05:13:00
Poster of the Apollo 11 radio transcript. The red line you see in the middle there?... Found over here at Baekdal.com.  He's gone through the whole thing and pulled out some interesting tidbits.
More About: Poster
Grid computing projects
2008-06-04 12:11:00
You've heard of SETI@HOME I'm sure.  In one sense it has been a resounding success, on the other it has been a abject failure.  It has been the most successful grid computing effort on record so far and yet it has essentially stuck a fork in the chance of there being technologically advanced aliens. People are now forced to hypothesize that a more advanced civilization will no longer use radio to communicate.  This seems somewhat far fetched to me because of the simplicity of using radio waves for said communication. Current Grid Computing Projects Anyways, here is a list [Grid Computing Projects] of other grid computing efforts you can participate in. Currently this one might provide the most value: Malaria Control Project.  Which illustrates the problem of what do you do with all the data that you generate? [update] If climate change floats your boat (it does NOT float mine) there is a distributed computing project for that: [linky] Future Grid Comp...
More About: Grid Computing
Off-topic...and insane: Escalator Skiing.
2008-06-03 20:45:00
> > The longest escalator in Europe, Angel Tube Station, London.
More About: Insane , Topic , Skiing
Near Earth Asteroids...the sky is falling.
2008-06-02 17:59:00
An interesting read here from Gregg Easterbrook regarding the risks from a major asteroid strike on the Earth .  Once thought to be a terribly remote occurrence, it seems the more the astronomers look at the issue the less rare it appears to be. The Sky Is Falling A generation ago, the standard assumption was that a dangerous object would strike Earth perhaps once in a million years. By the mid-1990s, researchers began to say that the threat was greater: perhaps a strike every 300,000 years. This winter, I asked William Ailor, an asteroid specialist at The Aerospace Corporation, a think tank for the Air Force, what he thought the risk was. Ailor?s answer: a one-in-10 chance per century of a dangerous space-object strike. Although from what I can glean from this table: Sentry Risk Table [NASA], there appears to be only one rock that is of any concern at this time. [this one - 2007 VK184] and that will happen June 3rd...2048. The whole point of the first article seems ...
More About: Asteroids
Lunar X-Prize Entrant, Team Cringely, pulls out and goes alone, telling X-P
2008-06-01 23:15:00
I haven't been following the Lunar X-Prize much except as part of the remarkable private space program genesis we are seeing right now.  But it appears from this discussion that the X-Prize Foundation (XPF) is doing a poor job in managing the contest. But I hadn't counted on the X Prize Foundation, which has done an extremely effective job of administering the contest to make it harder and harder to win. The XPF has apparently driven out one of the most innovative teams.  And one that had a good chance of winning.  Team Cringely is so confident of its mission plan and technology design that it is continuing full-speed ahead without the carrot of a $20MM prize for winning. Bureaucracy is as bureaucracy does.  pity.
Cam-Trax, use ANYTHING as a game controller.
2008-05-31 05:47:00
> > > All you need is a web cam and you're golden. Here's their blog...not much there.
More About: Game , Controller
Toilet Pump Flown to Cape Canaveral...astronauts told to "just hold it
2008-05-30 01:00:00
So.  heh.  Did someone have trouble reading the directions? The toilet is breaking up on the space station and there is only one.  There isn't a hardware store nearby where you can go buy a new wax seal you know,.  If you need a replacement for it, it's gotta be flown up there. CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - After being rushed in from Russia, a toilet pump was loaded into space shuttle Discovery on Thursday just in time for this weekend's liftoff to the international space station, where the lone commode is acting up. - [yahoo news] I wonder if it was small enough to be considered carry-on or if they had to check it. The toilet isn't completely broken luckily.  Just the urine pump. While the three space station residents are eager to see the Kibo lab, the bathroom situation has become a more pressing issue. For the past week, the two Russian and one American men have had to periodically manually flush the urine side of the Russian-built toilet. T...
More About: Astronauts , Toilet , Cape , Hold , Told
Boeing 777 - Put Together Quickly.
2008-05-29 21:39:00
> > > Time lapse video of the 777 being built.
More About: Boeing
Top 10 Amazing Chemical Reactions
2008-05-29 04:45:00
Anything that has explosions in it has to be cool. Go check it out: Top 10 Amazing Chemical Reactions.
Big Mars Phoenix Lander Roundup
2008-05-28 22:57:00
Here is a roundup of links regarding the successful landing on Mars of the NASA Phoenix Mars Lander . First of all there are several pictures taken of the lander taken from Mars orbit by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) [now THAT is a mouthfull]. Here is one of the Lander with its solar panels extended on the surface. And this one is remarkable, the HiRISE satellite captured the Lander during decent! This is remarkable.  Stop and think for a moment.  We have four eight probes looking at Mars at one time.  Scientists are experiencing a golden age of Martian exploration right now. Links: Phoenix Mars Mission Home: [U. of Arizona, Phoenix Mars Mission] Team blogs Mission charter and structure: [linky] Mission Goals Landing method: Entry, Descent, and Landing NASA Phoenix Mars Lander Home Page - [linky] The main components of the spacecraft: [Spacecraft and Instruments] Wikipedia entry ...
More About: Roundup
Blog Post Expand Contract Inline JS script.
2008-05-27 20:21:00
You've probably seen the functionality around at certain blogs where you can click on a link at the end of the post that lets you expand the blog entry to show more content. I like that functionality and dasBlog (my blog software) didn't have it so I wrote my own. With dasBlog you can have a description for the displayed text on the main blog page and then you can click through to the full blog post, but I wanted the ability to expand and contract dynamically right on the front page. Here is how I did it.  Feel free to take and use and modify whatever you want.  It's offered as is and public domain and yadda yadda. First, here are the elements you need to put on your page around the content you want hidden/expanded: <div  class="trHiderControl"> <span onclick="trReveal(this);"  trhidertoggle="false" trID="trRevealer" class="trHiderTopClick">reveal</spa n> <div class="trHiderContent" trID="trHiderContent"> <!--content he...
More About: Post , Script , Contract , Rivet
Fuel Usage Computer - ScanGauge II - the right technology at the right time
2008-05-23 19:37:00
I wonder how this companies sales have done over the past year...I would expect they have gone up a bit.   http://www.scangauge.com I'm going on a long car trip in June, maybe I'll pick one up. I'm not sure if I could save that much gas on a long highway trip but it might come in handy afterwards.
More About: Technology , Computer , Time , Fuel , Usage
TagGalaxy - cool way to see photos
2008-05-23 05:29:00
This is a great, fun, intuitive website that walks you through choosing a list of tags attached to Flickr photos and displays them to you in a neat globe like UI. [linky] Kinda feels a bit like Photos ynth-lite.  All online and well worth the visit.
More About: Cool
List of World Space Launch Facilities
2008-05-22 05:45:00
So this goes down as one of those "if-you-can-think-of-it, someone-has-already-made-a-website-for-it " things on the Internet. I wanted to put together a blog entry detailing all the locations of all the space launch facilities in the world and well wouldn't you know it someone has already done so. Check out this link. It's pretty cool.  Every Lat|Long listed is linked to a google map (I woulda used maps.live.com but no big deal).
More About: Space , World , List , Launch , Facilities
Is it time to start investing in US$$?
2008-05-21 15:54:00
There are a lot of indications that the little bump is over.  Is April 31 the bottom of the dollar's fall?  hmmmm... Bringing this post back around to technology: Finance.Yahoo .com is once again is an example of the ubiquitous presence of productivity improvements given to us FREE by the power of the law of accelerating change. Back when I was a kid, my dad handled our families investments on his own for a period of time.  This required research and reading and gathering of information.  He subscribed to Value Line which was [is] "...best known for publishing the The Value Line Investment Survey , a stock analysis newsletter that's updated weekly and kept by subscribers in a large black or green binder." [wikipedia link]. I don't know the cost, but I'm sure it wasn't free.  Apart from the fact it cost money it also had other constraints on distribution. Most people had never heard of it. It was mailed weekly, meaning that for any short term de...
More About: Time , Investing , Start
Beautiful image of the tree of life.
2008-05-21 05:16:00
Go over here and have a look. Print it out and show your kids.
More About: Life , Beautiful , Image , Tree
Mars Flyover
2008-05-19 21:49:00
Go over to the Astronomy Picture of the Day website and view the Mars fly over.  Most excellent. [linky]
Orson Scott Card - Intelligent Design, Darwin, Global Warming and Scientifi
2008-05-18 05:30:00
Orson Scott Card writes a very compelling article that navigates around the issue of intelligent design, Darwin 's theory of evolution, scientific dogma and global warming in quite a persuasive manner. His premise comes down to scientific dogma stifles true science.  Even science that seems "proven" isn't, or it no longer falls under the title "science".  He makes the point that intelligent design is HorseSwaggle, but uses it as a device to talk about the science community.  When it starts censoring new thought and stops the questioning of theories then it is no longer part of science. I am a skeptic of the global warming hysteria currently gripping the media and political class and eventually he addresses that as well. Faith in global warming is an orthodox religion, and anyone who questions it is being treated like a heretic, while fakery "in a good cause" is tolerated. The result? Science is over to the degree that the global warming orthodoxy succeed in s...
More About: Intelligent Design , Global Warming , Design
Two articles on NASA and the Private Space Industry highlight the future of
2008-05-17 03:41:00
There were two separate articles that are two sides to the same coin that came out this week. On the 12th Popular Mechanics had this article: NASA Makes Space U-Turn, Opening Arms to Private Industry which spoke of NASA changing its policy. NASA officials insist that the budding commercial spacecraft fleet represents the only way the United States can realize its dreams of solar-system conquest on schedule and at an affordable cost. Wow!  This is great news, it opens the door to the protagonist[s] in our second article from Aviation Week: SpaceX Claims Crew Transfer Ability By 2011. techrivet.com has reported in the past the business plan that SpaceX and it's principal Elon Musk are pursuing.  They want to be the private space delivery system for NASA and other customers.  Specifically the only ones capable of the heavy lifting needed to supply the ISS. It appears his plan is well on its way to fruition.
More About: Articles , Space Industry , Future
Learning English in China - Crazy English.
2008-05-15 18:54:00
Very interesting article over in the New Yorker about Li Yang, the founder, head teacher, and editor-in-chief of Li Yang Crazy English .  He's tapping into a strong urge on the part of many Chinese to learn English. Turns out he's quite the salesman and showman.  Some very interesting statistics jump out of the article. Linguists estimate the number of Chinese now studying or speaking English at between two hundred million and three hundred and fifty million, a figure that?s on the order of the population of the United States. This is somewhat ironic right now as I am going to be going on a business trip to China in July and will be working on learning some basic Chinese. Anybody have any good advice on learning some Chinese in 6 weeks?  I'm not looking for fluency, just some pleasantries and finding the toilet and ordering a beer, etc.  You know the important things.
More About: Learning
You! Yes You! Make this today!
2008-05-14 06:55:00
Unbelievable! Paper Toy Transformer ... - video powered by Metacafe
More About: Today , Make
Robotic sailboats and accelerating change
2008-05-14 04:27:00
The Microtransit Challenge. This is a testament to Moore's law. Ten years ago this was 100% science fiction.  Five years ago someone could talk about it.  2006 they held it on a lake. This year its across the Atlantic. ...and it's at hobby prices. One of the entrants, the Pinta, cost the competitors £2,500.  Umm...you could build it in your garage if you had the programming chops. Big deal you say, it's just a glorified model sailboat.  Well yes and no.  Yes they look like simple little sailboats but they've got: Solar power, automated sensors, GPS positioning and course navigation software.  They obviously have a much simpler algorithm than the DARPA Grand Challenge cars, but still need to get from point A to point B. Also this technology will be a boon to climate science.  At £2,500 a pop you can make hundreds and send them out into the oceans and go anywhere and report back anything you can imagine.  A mobile science buoy....
More About: Robotic , Change , Accelerating
WorldWide Telescope is here!
2008-05-13 18:50:00
Go Download It! Just so you know, you need a beefy machine. show requirements PC with Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 2 gigahertz (GHz) or faster, recommended 1 gigabyte (GB) of RAM; 2 GB RAM recommended 3D accelerated card with 128 megabytes (MB) RAM; discrete graphics card with dedicated 256-MB VRAM recommended for higher performance 1 GB of available hard disk space; 10 GB recommended for off-line features and higher performance browsing XGA (1024 x 768) or higher resolution monitor Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing and scrolling device Microsoft® XP SP2 (minimum), Windows® Vista® (recommended) Microsoft® DirectX® version 9.0c or later and .NET Framework 2.0 or later Required for some features; Internet connection at 56 Kbps or higher through either an Internet service provider (ISP) or a network. Internet access might require a separate fee to an ISP; local or long-distance telephone charges might also apply hide requirements But OMG is it co...
More About: World , Telescope , Worldwide
Green as Green gets - a weight powered light.
2008-05-13 02:08:00
Like a grandfather clock.  This is brilliant, but not produced yet. To "turn on" the lamp, the user moves weights from the bottom to the top of the lamp. An hour-glass like mechanism is turned over and the weights are placed in the mass sled near the top of the lamp. The sled begins its gently glide back down and, within a few seconds, the LEDs come on and light the lamp, That is very cool. The LED lightbulb should last a lifetime so you are looking at a family heirloom.  Kind of a 21st century candle. 
More About: Weight , Green , Light
Telescopes that can see Earth sized extra-solar planets coming next decade.
2008-05-12 18:32:00
SEE not infer. The technology does not use glass lenses nor reflective mirrors but an advanced form of a pinhole camera, the "pinhole" technique is called Fresnel zone plates. New Scientist article. The technical hurdles would be tricky but nothing unbelievable. Essentially we would need to launch two spacecraft.: one is the "lens" and one is the "receptor".  The focal point using the Fresnel method is kilometers away from the lense, ergo the two spacecraft solution. Go read the whole article, just fascinating. Feeds right into this post: Planet Hunting, The Next Generation - The Lyot Project
More About: Earth , Planets , Solar , Extra
Very cool: reverse Zip Code dynamic map
2008-05-10 03:35:00
Just type in a zip code number by number and watch it drive down to the specific location on the map. [linky] Example: 90210
More About: Cool , Code , Dynamic , Zip Code
The Gegenschein
2008-05-10 01:41:00
That's German for "counter glow". On the darkest nights, 180 degrees around from the sun there is a reflection of light from the sun called the Gegenschein.  This is a reflection of light off of dust particles in the asteroid belt.  Check it out. 
Stars like salt and pepper - The Pipe Nebula
2008-05-09 03:15:00
The black part in the middle of the picture is the Pipe Nebula .  It is not a dark window into the background, but a foreground BLACK cloud of dust. Info here: panther observatory
More About: Stars , Pepper , Salt
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