Kinect Cracked, Hands Wave and Craft Infinite Architecture

ofxKinect 3D draw 001 from Memo Akten on Vimeo. A man stands in a room waving his hands, artfully guiding the movements of gigantic machines on Mars.  Three days ago, they switched on, churning up the red iron-rich soil atop a carefully chosen seam of permafrost. On a six minute lag, the machines translate his motions into building unreal works of architecture, built for no one and only viewed from remote camera, on the ground and orbiting hundreds of miles overhead. In a week, when the story breaks and the world has seen the walls and plazas and walkways rising from the alien desert, he’s built a sprawling city that is equal parts Las Vegas and ancient Babylon. Again, I ask you to consider the Sci-Fi Now possibilities of linking embryonic technologies to express both the creativity and the darkness in the human soul.  With a bounty, they’ve cracked the […]

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Rip Off the Skateboarders From Hell

Dangerous Minds tipped me off to this particular piece of cinema history. (Oh, NSFW, by the way… there’s like, four nipples shown).  The trailer for Skateboarders from Hell is one piece of 1980’s Loose Shoes, a movie composed of genre spoofs filmed as trailers for nonexistent movies.  Kind of like a whole movie made out of the intermission of Grindhouse. What really grabbed me, though, was the motorized skateboarders these feral thrashers use to reach the podunk town they terrorize.  They give a quick closeup at about 0:19 in the video above.  They appear to be the lovechild of a weedwacker engine and a skateboard, complete with a handheld throttle and some kind of brake. Besides wracking my brains for a plan to make one, what struck me was the similarities to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle’s ride of choice: The Cheapskate.  (Image from Amazon) While the toy sports some […]

Robot A-10s, Just Chillin’

Your Countdown to Skynet news of the day: DARPA’s looking to wire up stock A-10s to fly by remote control to provide on-demand death from above. The Pentagon’s advanced research arm wants an aircraft 30 miles from a firefight to be able to attack within six minutes of a request by a JTAC. The airman would access the plane’s targeting sensors, enter coordinates to multiple targets and send ammo flying. Officials with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency expect to award a contract for the venture later this year; a live-fire demonstration is proposed for the last quarter of fiscal 2014. The contractor will modify an A-10 already in the fleet. Now I’m not saying that some AI will inevitably hack into the system and send squadrons of flying tanks hither and yon seizing power for the Roomba elite.  I’m just saying that we welcome our new robot overlords and […]

Space Shuttle Crew Operation Manual

The Space Shuttle Crew Operations Manual is available to anyone who wants to read. With the shuttle program retiring it you made need it if you are lucky to beat Space Center Houston, Seattle Museum, or numerous states vying for the Space Shuttle you might need this. Some of the pages are beautiful and you can download the PDF (41.2mb) or look at some samples below. It’s not the most interesting read at hundreds of pages, but some of the diagrams are beautiful.

Possible reason for Homo floresiensis (“Hobbit”) extinction

Remember the small species of humans Homo floresiensis (dubbed “Hobbits” by the media) discovered on the island of Flores in Indonesia in 2003? This possible species existed with modern man from 93,000 to 13,000. Interestingly, the natives had legends of small people in the jungle… Dr. H.J.M. (Hanneke) Meijer has some interesting comparisons between the estimated size of the short-statured, long-armed, and large-footed cousin of ours Homo floresiensis and aviary fauna. That bird at 1.8m look like it could eat 1.0m. Never underestimate man’s capacity to kill– even if he is a Hobbit. These might have been the delicacy of Homo floresiensis or even their only food source. According to this research the island of Flores in Indonesia (despite popular misconceptions from documentaries movies by Peter Jackson, hobbits are not from New Zealand) was for a period an oasis just 4,000 years ago. There was fresh water and if there’s […]

Machinimals to Protect the Rest from Us

A whale washed up on the beach in Washington state with a stomach full of trash.  Treehugger mentions that along with the usual assortment of algae and swallowable sea creatures there was “20 plastic bags, small towels, surgical gloves, sweat pants, plastic pieces, duct tape, and a golf ball” in its gut. I’ve speculated in the past on the utility of filling the ocean full of garbage-eating whales to clear up trash clogged gyres but the key difference is that those whales would be designed by us to process such junk.  No such luck for the dead juvenile gray whale. Seeing as that we can’t seem to help bilging out awful crap directly into the mouths of majestic but sorta dumb animals, isn’t it about time we put an actively protective layer between us and the natural world?  We’ve gotten pretty good at deploying low-cost semi-autonomous drones for distributing shrapnel […]