Intermission: “I’m a monster”

Play » No Comments

A frickin’ rotary with a frickin laser

Wankel Rotary Engine from Mazda RX 7 A frickin rotary with a frickin laser

Step 1: bash head on bathtub. Step 2: ??? Step 3: Profit! (img by J.Lyon)

One of the great discoveries of biology is that the engines of life are molecular motors–tiny machines that create, transport and assemble all living things.

That’s triggered more than a little green-eyed jealousy from  physicists and engineers who would like to have molecular machines at their own beck and call. So there’s no small interest in developing molecular devices that can be easily harnessed to do the job.

Today, Jin Zhang at the University of California Los Angeles and a few pals say they’ve identified a machine that fits the bill.

A couple of year ago, chemists discovered that groups of 13 or 19 boron molecules form into concentric rings that can rotate independently, rather like the piston in a rotary Wankel engine. Because of this, they quickly picked up the moniker “molecular Wankel engines“. The only question was how to power them.

The first–and only– engine I ever rebuilt was a 1200cc Mazda Rotary (Wankel). This story just sort of tickled me in a “let’s explain mind bending physics by referencing an engineering operation that almost no one really understands and is terrified of,” kind of way.

Do, Know, Live » 2 Comments

Life imitates WWZ

zombie 450x299 Life imitates WWZ

Why do these things always happen in China? (img from the Mirror)

If you haven’t read Max Brooks’ World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, this won’t ring bells for you. You should read it, and not just so that you’ll get the reference in this article. Brooks’ book is an excellent prescient retelling of a global zombie epidemic from start to finish… its inception in China, coverups and hard choices by governments and people, the restructuring of society, and the long slow denouement all seem very possible, due to the interview “oral history” flavor. Read it.

Anyway. Here’s the news:

A 95-year-old Chinese woman terrified her village by climbing out of her coffin after being ‘dead’ for six days.

It’s enough to make you want to go out and forge a lobo.

Live » No Comments

1,100 Year-Old Peruvian Grave Contains People, Dogs, and Horses

peru 1,100 Year Old Peruvian Grave Contains People, Dogs, and Horses

From the Daily Mail

A tomb containing the ‘perfectly intact’ remains of 60 people – who were slaughtered in sacrificial offerings more than 1,100 years ago – has been discovered in Peru.

Archaeologists found the mass grave, in an eight metre deep and 150 metre wide pit, in Lambayeque on the country’s northern coast.

They also unearthed the remains of dogs and horses at the site, which is next to a key Sican ceremonial centre, in the historical Pomac Woods, 500 miles north of Lima. (more…)

Headlines, Know » 1 Comment

Seatbelt charges against Pope Benedict XVI dropped

ThePopeMobile Seatbelt charges against Pope Benedict XVI dropped

By Niels C. Sorrells, Religion News Service

Pope Benedict XVI can cross an outstanding charge of failing to use a seatbelt from his list of worries.

The southern German city of Freiburg on Wednesday (Nov. 30) threw out charges against the pontiff for riding in his popemobile without a seatbelt during a September visit.

“There will be no fine for the pope,” city spokeswoman Edith Lamersdorf, told the daily Badische Zeitung. “The charges were quashed.” (more…)

Headlines, Know » No Comments

The Case of the Linked Round

x1000 450x675 The Case of the Linked Round

Decidedly has fight left in him.

Over yea on this gun forum, a debate is going on over the significance of the men with linked rounds attached to their AK barrels. I just think that picture’s pretty. There are a couple more. (more…)

Fight, Make, Play » No Comments