tech e blog

Wow! Signal

The Wow! signal was essentially a strong narrowband radio signal detected by Jerry R. Ehman on August 15, 1977, while he was working on a SETI project at the Big Ear radio telescope of Ohio State University. It lasted for the full 72-second window that Big Ear was able to observe it, but has not been detected again. Amazed at how closely the signal matched the expected signature of an interstellar signal in the antenna used, Ehman circled the signal on the computer printout and wrote the comment "Wow!" on its side. This comment became the name of the signal. Continue reading for more strange mysteries.

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Gift of Nothing

Gift of Nothing is exactly like it sounds...a nice pre-packaged half sphere of just air. While the oxygen we breathe is free, this particular item will set you back $8.98, though shipping is free. According to the packaging: "Congratulations! You have received the gift of nothing. Absolutely nothing. This is the ultimate in minimalism. Less is more, more is less. Nothing is precious. Nothing is simple. Nothing is sacred. Open the pack and be enthralled when nothing happens. Allow nothing to flow through your mind and calm your soul. Savor the moment. Soon you'll discover that nothing really is so much better than something." Product page. Continue reading for more.

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Floppy Drive Songs

Yes, these are the 3.5-inch floppy disk drives computers used to have, but now they can be used to play entire songs, thanks to a special circuit that vibrates a floppy disk head at particular frequencies to make music. In the early 1980s, a number of manufacturers introduced smaller floppy drives and media in various formats. Companies eventually settled on a 3.5-inch floppy disk, similar to a Sony design, but improved to support both single-sided and double-sided media, with formatted capacities generally of 360 KB and 720 KB respectively. All 3.5-inch disks have a rectangular hole in one corner which, if obstructed, write-enabled the disk. The HD 1.44 MB disks have a second, unobstructed hole in the opposite corner which identifies them as being of that capacity. Continue reading for more.

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Vesuvian Fire Ammonium Dichromate

Ammonium dichromate is commonly known as Vesuvian Fire, because of its use in demonstrations of tabletop "volcanoes". In today's world, it's used in pyrotechnics, but previously, photography. In this compound, as in all chromates and dichromates, chromium is in a +6 oxidation state, commonly known as hexavalent chromium. It is a salt consisting of ammonium ions and dichromate ions. Continue reading for five mind-blowing videos.

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Avenue of the Baobabs

These trees may look like they are straight from Disney's upcoming live-action Jungle Book movie, but it's just Avenue of the Baobabs, which line the dirt road between Morondava and Belon'i Tsiribihina in western Madagascar. Its striking landscape draws travelers from around the world, making it one of the most visited locations in the region. Baobab trees, up to 800 years old, known locally as renala (Malagasy for "mother of the forest"), are a legacy of the dense tropical forests that once thrived on Madagascar. Continue reading for more.

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Cancun Underwater Museum

The Cancun Underwater Museum MUSA (above) is a Non Profit Organization based in Cancun Mexico devoted to the Art of Conservation. There are currently a total of 500 sculptures in three different galleries submerged between three and six meters comprise its collection, as of 2013. This project began in November 2009 with a hundred statues placed in the shallow waters of the Cancun National Marine Park, which had been previously damaged by storms. Continue reading for more awesome interactive Google Street View maps you never knew existed.

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The Writer Automaton

The Writer automaton (self-operating machine or robot) was the inspiration for the principle character in the Martin Scorsese's Hugo movie. This 240-year-old machine, comprised of 6000 parts, works by using a crank to wind up the mainsprings before the head as well as eyes start moving for life-likeness, following its own hand movements as it writes. That's not all, the automata even dips its quill into an ink bottle between words. What makes all of this possible are 40 cams with three cam followers that read their shaped edges and translate them into movements of the boy's arm. Controlling them is a large wheel or 'system disk', made up of letters that could be removed, replaced and programmed. The Writer is able to write any custom text up to 40 letters long, spread over four lines.

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Kitoko Paris Apartment

Living in central Paris can be quite pricey to say the least, but this tiny apartment home, measuring 86-square-feet, didn't skip on the amenities. Designed by Kitoko Studio, this living space was inspired by the Swiss Army Knife, complete with stairs, a closet, bathroom w/shower, and even a small dining table hidden behind floral embossed panels. Continue reading for more cool micro homes.

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False Sunrise

What you're looking at above is not a real sunrise, but rather a dawn sundog, which refers to particular kind of ice crystal halo. This atmospheric optical phenomenon is associated with the reflection or refraction of sunlight by small ice crystals making up cirrus or cirrostratus clouds in the very particular case when the sun is still below the horizon. The spread light of a false sunrise has less power than that of a real sun, but sometimes is amazingly similar in its visual behavior at distance. It is similar to a subsun, except that in a false sunrise the sun is below the horizon and the ice crystals are above it. Continue reading for more.

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Lie Detector

Kokoro Scanner Lie Detector Headset by Takara Tomy looks like a toy, but the company says this gadget can tell if a person is lying. It works by reading the changes in one's pulse when asked certain questions. The only confusing part is that there's a yellow light, which indicates you're not telling the whole truth. Product page. Continue reading for more.

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