Evacuated Solar Collectors

Mind explosion. Get the basic principle first:

OK, now we’ll see a more sophisticated version with a heat pipe inside:

So what is that copper heat pipe all about?

Genius old-guy puts it all together (skip to 1:10-2:15):

[via Marshall Brain @ How Stuff Works]

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September 28, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Smarts. Leave a comment.

The William

Future stove!

Do want.

[via Marshall Brain @ How Stuff Works]

August 31, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Smarts. Leave a comment.

Don’t Get Assassinated

When I tell my wife to be careful, it’s almost automatic. Thinking about it more, I think I seek to communicate the following things:

  • Drive defensively
  • Pay attention on the road
  • Keep your phone about
  • Don’t leave your belongings unattended

These days, people are saying “be careful” to Julian Assange at every opportunity. Of course, I’m talking about the head of WikiLeaks. One of the most recent examples of this commen was during a TED talk a few weeks ago just after the infamous Afghanistan leaks.

Marshal Brain from How Stuff Works weighs in:

Clearly Assange is making waves. He runs a site that exposes secrets kept by powerful people, and he is unlikely to stop exposing those secrets.  […]

What is the next logical step in a chain of escalation? In cases like this, where a person is doing something that powerful people do not like, the next step can be assassination. It is the ultimate way to silence someone. There is no judge or jury, and there is no way to reverse it.

When people tell Assange be careful, they do so with pure earnestness in their eyes. They’re almost pleading. They of course, mean something entirely different than when they say the same words to their spouses. They seek to communicate:

  • Check under your car from bombs
  • Stay away from windows
  • Use a pseudonym at hotels
  • Travel with accessible weapons
  • Be very wary of airplanes
  • Know who prepared your food

August 27, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Reading. Leave a comment.

Positive Thinking? Get Real

Here, with the help of the geniuses at RSA Animate, Barbara Ehrenreich argues that the relentless promotion of Positive Thinking in corporate America is a puffed-up form of good old-fashioned Willful Ignorance.

10 minute video, but with the animation it feels like a fraction of that.

Bonus. PZ Myers weighs in:

The real secret is that the universe doesn’t give a goddamn about us, doesn’t dream, doesn’t wish, doesn’t hope. The real power is that science gives us the tools to wrench the pointless detritus of reality into the shape that we dream of, to impose our wishes on the substrate. We don’t achieve that by lying abed and hoping really hard, though — we do it with work and real knowledge.

[via Marshall Brain @ How Stuff Works]

August 23, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Video. Leave a comment.

Shave with Diamonds

Real ballers shave with diamond crusted blades.

Or they will anyway.

Simple: coat a carbide blade with synthetic diamond film then plasma-sharpen.

[ecoutture via Marshall Brain @ How Stuff Works]

August 18, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Video. 1 comment.

Glass Roads.

Stop. Making too much sense.

[via Marshal Brain @ How Stuff Works]

August 12, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Video. Leave a comment.

1st Person Tetris.

You’re not the tetris god you think you are.

1st person Tetris. The moment you realize just what the hell is going on is pure adolescent gaming bliss.

[via Marshall Brain @ HowStuffWorks]

[image via aram sinnreich]

August 10, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Art. 2 comments.

The Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale

An alternative scale to measure earthquakes. Instead of measuring seismic energy like for the better known Richter Scale, this scale is informed by a (surviving) participant’s emotional reactions and observations after the shaking stops.

I think this scale also works well for arguments. Two of the ratings:

V. Felt by nearly everyone; many awakened. Some dishes, windows broken. Unstable objects overturned. Pendulum clocks may stop.
VI. Felt by all, many frightened. Some heavy furniture moved; a few instances of fallen plaster. Damage slight.

[USGS.gov via Marshall Brain @ How Stuff Works]

[photo via dvhardware]

July 26, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Smarts. Leave a comment.

3 Billion insects overhead Right Now.

Well, not exactly. According to measurements made by a British scientist, there are 3 billion bugs overhead:

  • In a square kilometer
  • In Britain
  • Over the course of a month
  • During Summer

I did some math and figured that directly over a square foot over the course of a day, there’s about 9 insects. Maybe just a few more than that since we’re closer to the equator. Still, fun to think about.

Watch this excellent animation from NPR for details and delight.

[NPR via Marshall Brain @ How Stuff Works]

July 22, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Smarts. Leave a comment.

Protect your inflated self image by Procrastinating

Another good article from Psychology TodayDelay as a self-handicapping strategy: I can protect my self-image by procrastinating?

“By finding or creating impediments that make good performance less likely, the strategist nicely protects his [or her] sense of self-competence”

[Timothy A. Pychyl @ Psychoology Today via Marshall Brain @ How Stuff Works]

July 11, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Reading. Leave a comment.

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