Mars Science Labratory edges closer to “Seven Minutes of Terror”

The Mars Science Laboratory is on final approach to the planet. Once inside the Martian atmosphere, the Mini Cooper sized Curiosity rover will be lowered to the surface by rocket powered crane on August 5th. Curiosity’s mission objectives will be: measure surface radiation, search for organic compounds in the Martian soil, determine the state and cycle of water and carbon dioxide on the planet.

I totally want a rocket crane.

Gear, Know » 1 Comment

The fun starts at one millionth of a second

High Speed Photography by Alan Sailer 37 The fun starts at one millionth of a second

Img by Alan Sailer

Have you ever wondered what a raspberry looks like when shot by a pellet gun? Or a Christmas ornament filled with jelly beans? Alan Sailer did, so he built his own millionth of a second flash and trigger and got to work in his garage. The results are simply amazing.

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Station Ident: This is Die < Less

We’ve been busy building big things, and not many of them are for you unless you’re local.

So instead of hitting f5 here every few minutes, watch this thing and tell me what you’re working on:

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Overland adventures as self improvement

Emb frontend1 450x300 Overland adventures as self improvement

History rarely happens in convenient places; unfortunately for most historians there is a great deal of value in actually being on the ground. It’s one thing to imagine the desolation and hardship of the Oregon Trail. But your imagination pales in comparison to the experience of actually going to the middle of nowhere Wyoming in June; watching a hail laden thunderstorm bear down on you, and knowing it is impossible to outrun and there is nowhere to find shelter. That kind of experience allows you to empathize with the settlers in a way that is simply not possible from the comfort of a reading chair. I think this is why so many of my motorcycle trips revolve around historical places or events. I am trying to place those into a context.

It appears that the same is true for historian/adventurer Emily Lethbridge. After converting a Landrover ambulance into an RV, the Cambridge based researcher embarked on a year-long research project in Iceland studying medieval Icelandic sagas.

While the history is interesting, I was impressed by Emily’s approach to the whole endeavor. Before her trip she was neither a mechanic, nor experienced off-road driver. Her earlier posts describe the process she undertook to address those issues. To me, that self evaluation and education process is the essence of Die Less.

Do, Gear, Live » 1 Comment

Gymkhana 5 is here!

If you haven’t ripped a few donuts in a snowy parking lot, you haven’t lived. Ken Block is apparently trying to live for several hundred of you. The only American competing in the World Rally Challenge, made a name for himself amongst gear heads with his rip snorting, tire smoking, rev limiter pounding Gymkhana videos. If you can’t appreciate a well executed four wheel drift jump, well, you should go see someone who wears a white lab coat.

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Kickstart a realistic sword fighting game!

1824624145 e1e9578f35 450x228 Kickstart a realistic sword fighting game!

Not like this. I said “realistic”. (img by Kit MacAllister)

There is no minute like the last minute, which is why Die < Less is right now pointing you at Kickstarter right the fuck now so you can help Neal Stephenson and his zany author and sword-fighting friends make a game based on realistic sword fighting.

Let Stephenson explain:

With 48 hours left, they’re still a little short of their goal. Back the project. Because it’s a little lower risk (and lower cost) than finding battle-ready swords and beating on your friends and figuring out techniques without dying or being maimed.

Actually. That sounds like fun. I’ll have to forge me a sword

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