The immutable verities of grand physical laws

Galvanometer

“The design and manufacture of scientific instruments has undergone a radical transformation in the last 30 years, achieving what might be described as the democratization of accuracy. Levers, pinions, wheels, and linkages have given way to microprocessors that read data at exquisite levels of sensitivity and reveal it instantly on digital displays. This transformation has affected our lives far beyond the laboratory, but to my eye the gains have been accompanied by losses.”

Read: The engineer’s art, why a contemporary-art expert also collects old machines.
Picture: Einthoven’s string galvanometer.

Four wheels good, two legs bad

“Eurotunnel doesn’t take foot passengers, which is fair enough given you stay in the car on the journey. But if we hop up the road to the Eurostar passenger service from Ashford to Calais, the four of us will have to fork out at least £220. Different service, I know. But same tunnel. And more than three times as much. For not taking a car”. Fred Pearce again, on ferry and train fares. Previously: Only idiots travel by train / Life without airplanes.

Kiteboating

Kiteboating

Following kitesurfing, kite buggying, kite landboarding and snowkiting (no slope required); kiteboating:

Airplay Kitesailing, Kite For Sail, KiteCat, the pioneers.

Previously: kitesurfing for cargo vessels. Related: sailing at the touch of a button / Sailing Rockets.

Too many babies?

“It’s overconsumption, not population growth, that is the fundamental problem: By almost any measure, a small portion of the world’s people – those in the affluent, developed world – use up most of the Earth’s resources and produce most of its greenhouse gas emissions”. Read.

Bolides d’autrefois: vintage paper art

Paper art oldtimer

26 vintage cars, high resolution. Previously: download, print, fold, paste. Related: can cars.

Steampunk Magazine #5

Steampunk magazine

“Warning: The following procedure involves extremely hot fires, potentially dangerous fumes, and molten pools of liquid ranging up to 2,000 degrees F and beyond. You will burn at a much, much lower temperature than that, and your lungs are fragile things”. The fifth issue of Steampunk Magazine online.

Macho pedal power

Hennepin Crawler 5

Maybe artists and fantasy are a better foothold for the future than engineers and high-tech. The pedal powered Hennepin Crawler is capable of both street and railroad track cruising and can seat four people. It is comprised of approximately 90% recycled materials and has a sex appeal that can rival that of a Porsche or a Land Rover. Via Make 17. Related: Cycle Chics. More on railcars. More low-tech cars.

Temporocentrism

“A popular misconception exists that the builders of the pyramids or the cave painters of prehistory were somehow less intelligent than we are. This simply isn’t true – there is no evidence that the human brain has evolved at all in the last fifty thousand years at least. Modern people are merely benefiting from thousands of years of accumulated knowledge and experimentation, not from increased intellect. (…). This idea is part of a mistaken view of history best described as temporocentrism – the belief that our own time is the most important and represents a “pinnacle” of achievement. The temporocentric view is a hangover from nineteenth-century ideas of progress. (…). It is a kind of racism, in which our ancestors are looked down on simply because they lived in the past.”

Quoted from: Ancient Inventions, Peter James and Nick Thorpe (Amazon link).

Beyond Utopia

Beyond utopia 2

The Venus Project advocates an alternative vision for a sustainable new world civilization: “Many people believe that there is too much technology in the world today, and that technology is the major cause of our environmental pollution. This is not the case.”

Carville & Carzonia

Carzonia2

In the 1850s and 60s transit companies used horses to pull railcars on San Francisco streets. When the beasts gave way to progress in the form of cable cars and electric streetcars, the companies sought to dump the obsolete rolling stock. The Market Street Railway Company even placed a newspaper advertisement offering horse cars for $20 (without seats only $10). The result: Carville & Carzonia.