January 31, 2004



Factory Farms. Animals confined in close quarters. Antibiotics. Community pollution. Corporate Profits. Ruined communities.

This is the Meatrix.

Check out this animation now and see the real world of meat production.

Posted by answerguru at 09:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 29, 2004

Robotic Graffiti: Brilliant


Hektor is a robotic spray paint graffiti artist that is capable of huge mural-sized paintings. The premise is simple, as it uses only 2 motors and lines to control the 2 dimensional motion of the spray can....lots of pictures, a very well written PDF on it's design, and a movie clip of it in action.

Nicely done.

Posted by answerguru at 01:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Comment Spammers Die!

Well, when I checked my email yesterday instead of the usual 40 or so email messages I was deluged with well over 200! My guy thought was, "Wow, this new virus (McDoom) is really doing it's thing".

Alas, no. Instead I found that I had almost 200 spam comments posted on this blog! All advertising some Black Jack casino website. Occasionally I would get a single one or three comments that were lame, but this was ridiculous and called for immediate action.

Step one: Upgrade to version 2.661 of my blog software, Moveable Type. This has some features to help prevent spam comments.

Step two: Install a blacklist program that really prevents spam commenting and posts via some clever PERL scripting. It also allowed me to automatically de-spam the whole site including those new comments.

Take that you script kiddies!

Posted by answerguru at 10:15 AM | Comments (0)

Up on Pikes Peak: Barr Camp

Welcome to Barrcamp

The Barr Camp was built in the early 1920's by the builder and designer of the Barr Trail, Fred Barr. This trail starts about a 1/2 mile from my house here in Manitou Springs and winds 12.6 miles up 7500 feet to the summit of Pikes Peak.

At 10,200 feet is the Barr Camp where hikers can rest, refill their water, and possibly camp for the night. Reservations are recommended for the cabin or lean-to's, but tent space is usually available...of course then you have to lug your tent, too.

I'm sure I'll summit at least once this coming year (maybe more if I'm lucky) - so a further report will come then.

Posted by answerguru at 10:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 28, 2004

Serpentine Robotic Arm

Macro Snake Projects | Sensor Based Planning

Multi-joint articulated arm. How many Degrees of Freedom does this thing have?

Also some nice videos of it in action.

Posted by answerguru at 10:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 26, 2004

Dishonest Dubya: The Action Figure

"Dishonest Dubya" Lying Action Figure

George W. Bush animated action figure! Get one today -

14 Authentic Quotes Included! Hear them all!

Posted by answerguru at 06:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 23, 2004

Video: See a Real Shockwave

Exponent- Multimedia Plant Explosion

Not a cinema movie, but a video clip of a shockwave emananating ammonium perchlorate plant that exploded in Henderson, Nevada. Root cause: fracture in a 300-psi natural gas transmission line that ran underneath the plant.

Who videotaped this? A radio tower engineer and his crew, who were on a
peak several miles away, servicing a radio tower. Lucky video.

The plant made and stockpiled ammonium perchlorate for
use as an oxidizer in solid rocket motors, in particular the SRM's made
by Morton Thiokol for the space shuttle.

At the time of the blasts, nearly 9 million pounds of the chemical
that PEPCON workers referred to as "AP" or "product" was consumed by
flames or explosions. 2 people died, $70 million in damages to the surrounding community.

Posted by answerguru at 01:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cheap PCB Prototypes

BareBones PCBs

Really cheap PCB prototypes. 50 cents / sq. inch + $25 per lot. Nice. I think I'll try them out next time I need one etched...

Posted by answerguru at 12:35 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Mathmos: Modern Lighting Toys


Mathmos is the original manufacturer of lava lamps, but have expanded their line with some great new items. These include Tuba, a sleek color changing light panel, Color Tumbler which changes its color characteristics as you move it around, and the Space Projector, which is an oil wheel projection system -- basically projecting trippy images on your wall.

Posted by answerguru at 11:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 22, 2004

Cheve Cave Expedition: Bill Stone

Online Extra: Bill Stone @ National Geographic Magazine

National Geographic online extra about Bill Stone and his expedition to Cheve Cave (Sierra de Juárez, Mexico) and how they are aiming to break a record and become the world's deepest cave.

Posted by answerguru at 09:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Trusted Computing: Scam 101

Against TCPA | TCPA would TAKE your FREEDOM | This is NO FAKE

Some article quotes, just to get you going:

TC provides a computing platform on which you can't tamper with the application software, and where these applications can communicate securely with their authors and with each other.

TC will also make it much harder for you to run unlicensed software. In the first version of TC, pirate software could be detected and deleted remotely.

TC can also implement fancier controls: for example, if you send an email that causes embarrassment to your boss, he can broadcast a cancellation message that will cause it to be deleted wherever it's got to.

The second, and most important, benefit for Microsoft is that TC will dramatically increase the costs of switching away from Microsoft products (such as Office) to rival products (such as OpenOffice).

First, some well-intentioned police force will get an order against a pornographic picture of a child, or a manual on how to sabotage railroad signals. All TC-compliant PCs will delete, or perhaps report, these bad documents. Then a litigant in a libel or copyright case will get a civil court order against an offending document; perhaps the Scientologists will seek to blacklist the famous Fishman Affidavit. A dictator's secret police could punish the author of a dissident leaflet by deleting everything she ever created using that system - her new book, her tax return, even her kids' birthday cards - wherever it had ended up. In the West, a court might use confiscation doctrine to `blackhole' a machine that had been used to make a pornographic picture of a child. Once lawyers, policemen and judges realise the potential, the trickle will become a flood.

Posted by answerguru at 08:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 14, 2004

Prevent Internet Electrocution!

How Can I Prevent Internet Electrocution?

Are you teaching your children about the dangers of the Internet? What steps are you taking to ensure your family is safe? It is important to be aware of the risks because the threat of Internet electrocution is more probable than you realize.

What most people don't realize is that the Internet runs on electricity....

Emergency Manual (2004 Edition)

Posted by answerguru at 08:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 11, 2004

Autopsy of a Magic 8 Ball

The Inscrutable 8-Ball Revealed

What's really inside of a Magic 8 Ball. No other sensible explanation necessary.

Posted by answerguru at 05:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 05, 2004

Halliburton = Success!

Reconstruction Zone 12/17/03

Another great animation by Mark Fiore who I've mentioned before. Maybe Dick Cheney should look for another line of work....other than getting an inside track for government contracts...

Posted by answerguru at 07:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bush in 30 Seconds

Bush in 30 Seconds

Bravo! This contest sponsored by MoveOn.org is trying to stimulate some fresh viewpoints and creativity when it comes to political advertising. They received over 1000 entries and have culled that down to these 15 ads. I watched all of them and can honestly say they were all worthy of inclusion - thought provoking, angering, humorous.

Also, a few of the ones that didn't make the cut have generated a media stir as well.

Hitler / Bush Ad 1
Hutler / Bush Ad 2

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has condemned the ads.

Text of one of the Hitler / Bush Ads:

GRAPHIC: Pictures Of Hitler
HITLER: (Speaking In German)
CHYRON: We have taken new measures to protect our homeland,

GRAPHIC: Pictures Of Hitler
HITLER: (Speaking In German)
CHYRON: I believe I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator,

GRAPHIC: Pictures Of Hitler
HITLER: (Speaking In German)
CHYRON: God told me to strike at al-Qaida and I struck them,

GRAPHIC: Pictures of President Bush
HITLER: (Speaking In German)
CHYRON: and then He instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did.

BACKGROUND: Cheering German Crowd

Posted by answerguru at 07:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 04, 2004

Trigonometry Master Class

Trig Lesson

Paul has written a nice summary of "need to know" trig stuff. If you're an engineer (or physicist, math guru, etc), you can probably skip all this....otherwise, read up on it. Maybe even do a practice problem or two.

Need help or a problem to work on? I'd be happy to help out...

Posted by answerguru at 11:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pic Projects: Sample set of fun stuff

Electronics projects with PIC, sensors, LCD, USB, US , IR & wireless radio modules.

Wireless Data modules
Mini-graphics LCD
Ultrasonic Rangefinder
Real Time clock
Electronic Compass

Posted by answerguru at 10:57 PM | Comments (0)

DIY Portable MP3


The title says it all.

Posted by answerguru at 10:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 03, 2004

DIY Scanning Electron Microscope

Schüler STM

Build your own SEM / STM! Full plans and design notes in an open-source-ish format to build a Scanning Tunneling Microscope. I'd like to sit down and do a quick cost estimate - just to know how much it would realistically take.

Posted by answerguru at 10:55 PM | Comments (0)

Spirit Landing Reports

Spaceflight Now | Destination Mars | Mission Status Center

Follow along with a minute by minute description of the Spirit (Mar's explorer mission). Reading makes me think of old coverage of lunar missions....

The following is an excerpt that highlights the very important landing sequence - you'll surely be sitting on the edge of your seat.

(well, ok, maybe not exactly, but it's still cool)

Read from the bottom up for the best effect!

0453 GMT (11:53 p.m. EST)
The Mission Control room is a wild place at the moment with handshakes, screams and some very happy tears.

0452 GMT (11:52 p.m. EST)
SPIRIT IS ALIVE ON MARS! A "very strong signal" is now being received from the Spirit rover from the Gusev Crater on the surface of the Red Planet!

0451 GMT (11:51 p.m. EST)
The radio telescope at Stanford University reports it may have received signal from the lander at the time it would have been on the surface.

0450 GMT (11:50 p.m. EST)
Meanwhile, the controllers for the Mars Global Surveyor orbiter report they may have received data from Spirit after the planned landing time. The orbiter was flying over the landing site at the time of descent and touchdown.

0448 GMT (11:48 p.m. EST)
Spirit is scheduled to begin transmitting tones from the surface in one minute.

0445 GMT (11:45 p.m. EST)
Now 10 minutes after the touchdown on Mars, officials are still waiting for some signal from Spirit. The lander should have rolled to a stop by now.

0440 GMT (11:40 p.m. EST)
The wait is underway at the control center to hear further information from Spirit to confirm it has survived all of the bounces and come to a safe position on Mars.

0437 GMT (11:37 p.m. EST)
Now there is no signal from Spirit. Controllers received an initial indication that the craft was on the surface and bouncing. But that link has now been lost.

The bounces will continue for a few minutes and then the craft will roll up to a kilometer from its initial touch down point before coming to rest.

0436 GMT (11:36 p.m. EST)
Mission Control has received indications from the spacecraft that it is bouncing on the surface inside its airbags.

0436 GMT (11:36 p.m. EST)

0435 GMT (11:35 p.m. EST)
Spirit should have inflated its airbags and fired retrorockets before impacting the Martian surface.

Airbags will cushion the landing that occurs at any moment.

"This is the fun part," Manning says. "The vehicle is designed for bouncing. The airbags do a great job of protecting the vehicle, coconing it over lots of complicated surfaces -- complicates rocks and terrain shapes. We are very confident these airbags will do a great job."

0434 GMT (11:34 p.m. EST)
"The heat shield has protected us but now we don't need it," Manning says "We have to undress ourselves. So the lander is now free to rappel down a 20-meter bridle. Once we are in this configuration, this is a great configuration to be in for the lander to both see the surface with a camera and to use a radar to detect its altitude.

"When we get to the right altitude, the airbags are inflated. Now we are ready to fire the retrorockets to bring the system to a dead stop from about 180 mph to zero about 12 meters above the ground.

"At this point we bounce and bounce and bounce. Just like Pathfinder, we will bounce maybe as much as a kilometer or more from where we let go of the bridle."

0434 GMT (11:34 p.m. EST)
No longer needed, the heat shield has been jettisoned, exposing the lander inside the descent module.

0434 GMT (11:34 p.m. EST)
Chute is out! Mission Control has detected indication of parachute deployment.

0433 GMT (11:33 p.m. EST)
Having slowed to 1,000 mph, the spacecraft will deploy its supersonic parachute at this point in the descent.

0431 GMT (11:31 p.m. EST)
Deceleration continues as the spacecraft plunges through the atmosphere.

0431 GMT (11:31 p.m. EST)
"The temperature just outside the heat shield gets very close, if not more, than the temperature of the surface of the Sun. It is very hot! Inside it stays relatively cool, it barely gets above room temperature," Rob Manning says of what the spacecraft should be experiencing during the entry.

0431 GMT (11:31 p.m. EST)
The Spirit lander is now transmitting a tone that tells Mission Control is it decelerating at one-to-three g's.

0430 GMT (11:30 p.m. EST)
Entry is a bit shallow, Mission Control reports. But that is "nominal."

0430 GMT (11:30 p.m. EST)
The navigation team reports they detect entry into the atmosphere. Altitude is 46 miles, traveling at Mach 27 at 12,175 mph.

Posted by answerguru at 10:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack