Technology making our lives easier

In the words of the poet and philosopher Homer J. Simpson “It’s funny ’cause it’s true.”

How much tech actually improves your life versus the devices that simply raise your blood pressure? About three years ago I culled as many of the Hulk-rage inducing items out of my life as I could. I don’t miss them at all, but my friends have since been denied the pleasure of seeing a grown man have a temper tantrum. So I guess there is some opportunity cost.

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image by Dan Fulano

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Accelerometer for yer bean

267167699 450x337 Accelerometer for yer bean

Beans. (img by Erich Ferdinand)

Gizmag does a nice job covering an accelerometer for helmets designed to help pinpoint competitors who may have just been concussed.

This is definitely something that would have been helpful in explaining to various coaches and parents that I was not, in fact, OK. I know I’ve had at least 5 concussions, and 4 other bonks to the noggin that are probables. A few were obvious, but after taking a play or two off, a visit from the trainer, maybe a thumbs up to mom and dad, I rejoined. Most of them, however, I did my best to hide.

I did this for two main reasons: I didn’t want to give the satisfaction of knowing I’d been lit up to the guy who’d done it to me, and I just don’t want to miss any of the game. Technology like this given to game officials could help protect teenage competitors like me from themselves.

I can say from personal experience that most players aren’t going to volunteer to leave the field of play. Nor can coaches of collision sports be relied upon to always make the best call for the player’s health. The macho element is just too prevalent. The decision to leave the field of play is so counter to the culture of these sports, and the pressure to show no pain so strong, that it is irresponsible to leave the decision hands of a kid; especially one who just had his molars rattled.

Equipping the officials with the ability to check the results on the accelerometer puts the decision in the hands of an impartial (hopefully) party.

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How to turn a shovel into an AK-47

01 450x600 How to turn a shovel into an AK 47

Time to shovel some bitches.

Some people are worried that you might be able to one day 3D print a gun. I wonder how they feel about this.

Because fo’ sho’, this dude turned a shovel into a rifle. This rifle:

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Vodka necessary for making rails look straight.

Now I have a couple of qualms, like it doesn’t have a real handguard and that’s gonna be a problem, and he didn’t heat-treat the shovelreceiver after he stamped it.

But seeing how he pretty much did it with an angle grinder and a hammer, I gotta cut slack where it’s due.

You can read the whole log here, it’s entertaining.

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Totally need a belt sander

Made by Hand / No 2 The Knife Maker from Made by Hand on Vimeo.

Made By Hand films did a series of short films profiling craftsmen and women and trying to shed light on the value of creating. You’re not going to become a master knife maker from watching this video, but it is cool to see the steps that go into making a really nice piece.

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The 217mph tow vehicle

banks sidewinder01 450x297 The 217mph tow vehicle

It’s no secret that land speed cars make my naughty parts tingle. I would cut off a (minor) body part for the opportunity to drive flat out for a speed record. But outside of the raw speed, I think what attracts me most to the whole thing are the characters involved: Burt Munro, Ab Jenkins, Andy Green, Sir Malcom Campbell, the list goes on and on. In October 2001 Gale Banks put himself firmly on that list with Project Sidewinder.

Banks combined three of my favorite things: big honking diesel engines, massive turbo chargers, and land speed record vehicles, into one awesome package.

“We want to drive the Sidewinder to the Bonneville Speed Trials, towing our racing gear, with great fuel economy,” said Gale Banks, President of the Azusa, Calif., company that bears his name. “Then we want to put on the proper wheels and tires and go racing. And we want to eclipse the current National Speed Record.

They towed the pits with the race truck, raced the truck, set a world record for pickups (and tow vehicles) at 217.314 mph, then towed the pits back home with that same truck. Gene Banks just has class.

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Ranger Medical Handbook 4th Edition

Ranger Medic Handbook 4th Edition 450x359 Ranger Medical Handbook 4th Edition

“What’s wrong with him?” “Oh, he’s deaf. My fault.” (img by KitUp)

You can get a copy of the latest edition of the Ranger Medic Handbook in a few days courtesy North American Rescue, purveyor of military medical equipment and Casualty Response (first aid) Kits. This pocket-sized and ruggedized reference is written by US Ranger combat medics to include handy information like:

Updated Trauma Protocols, Tactical Medical Emergency Protocols, Pharmacology, Casualty Operations and Planning, and Tactical Combat Casualty Care updates. This significant update provides an efficient medical reference, expanding on both Trauma and Medical Emergency Considerations for providers at various levels.

For forty bucks you can get two, one to keep with your first aid kit and one to keep on your toilet tank library for study. Any money made goes to the Sentinels of Freedom so hell, buy one for your car, too. ($40)

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