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This Clock Uses Gravity Instead of a Mainspring

A gravity clock slowly rolls down an inclined plane. The turning motion powers the clock. To reset it, move it back to the top of the platform. Physics Fun explains:

As the clock rolls down the incline (here 12 hours are captured in time-lapse of 24 seconds), gravitational potential energy is translated into the kinetic energy of the moving clock gear train and oscillating balance wheel. The clock face and mechanism hang suspended with a counterweight that keeps them upright- although you might notice the mechanism of this vintage clock sticks a little at 7 o’clock. The clock unit is also quite heavy, weighing in at 2.7kg (6lbs). After some research I believe this clock was produced in China about 50 years ago. 

-via reddit


Discussing Skateboarding with Filmmaker Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog has never used a skateboard, but he agreed to an interview with Ian Michna of the skateboarding magazine Jenkem. Herzog's thoughts on skateboarding delved into philosophy: failure vs. achievement, the sport as an art, and how it should be filmed. This brief but fascinating exchange shows how all worlds intersect when you take a look at what's really going on. -via Metafilter


This Pterosaur Supported its Giant Neck with Bones Built like Bicycle Wheels

Pterosaurs have always seemed like an anomaly among ancient reptiles. They were huge- the azhdarchid pterosaur had a wingspan of up to eight meters (26 feet), plus it had a long neck and long beak. How does such a big animal fly and carry prey large enough to feed on?

To learn more about their bones, researchers examined the internal structure of a well-preserved azhdarchid pterosaur vertebra; it was nearly 100 million years old, and had been found in the Kem Kem beds, a fossil-rich region near the border of Morocco and Algeria. Using x-ray computed tomography and 3D modeling, the scientists found the vertebra was filled with dozens of 1-millimeter-thick spikes, called trabeculae, crossing each other like the spokes of a bicycle wheel in cross section, and forming a helix along the bone. The spokes surrounded a central tube where the animal’s spinal cord would have been. “We just could not believe it,” says Cariad Williams, a paleontologist at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, who first looked at the scans. “We have never seen anything like it before. … It was really impressive.”

To test whether the spokes provided extra support to the bones, the researchers did some mathematical modeling. They found that as few as 50 trabeculae almost doubled the vertebra’s ability to carry weight, they report today in iScience. The researchers also calculated that the neck of their specimen could lift prey weighing between 9 and 11 kilograms, roughly the size of a large turkey. “It’s a real feat of biological engineering,” Ibrahim says.

Read more about the research at Science magazine. -via Damn Interesting

(Image credit: Mark Witton and Darren Naish)


Man Who Shot An Elephant Seal Has Been Sentenced To Prison After Two Years

Justice is served! Jordan Gerbich shot an elephant seal in California with a handgun back in September 28, 2019. Two years later, Gerbich was sentenced to three months in prison, according to prosecutors. The man’s attorney stated that the killing of the poor mammal was so ‘unusual and troubling,’ as NBC News detailed: 

He cited a past history of substance abuse and childhood physical abuse and neglect that left him with a need for approval.
Gerbich shot the seal after an intoxicated friend, "as a kind of grotesque test," demanded he kill an animal, according to that document.
Prosecutors wrote that the killing "did not happen by accident or on a whim," that they drove to a place where they knew elephant seals haul out, and that Gerbich brought a handgun.

Image via NBC News


What Went Wrong With NASA’s Mars Helicopter?

NASA delayed the first flight of its Ingenuity helicopter after receiving some messed up data from the aircraft. At first, the reason behind the confusing data wasn’t determined, therefore causing the delay. NASA has figured out the source of the error and will be able to fix the issue, but there’s a catch: 

As you can probably imagine, the software that runs an autonomous aircraft built to fly on another planet is, well, pretty complicated. NASA says that it can build the update easily, but sending it to Mars and going through all of the vital checks will take some time.
While the development of the new software change is straightforward, the process of validating it and completing its uplink to Ingenuity will take some time. A detailed timeline for rescheduling the high-speed spin-up test and first flight is still in process. The process of updating Ingenuity’s flight control software will follow established processes for validation with careful and deliberate steps to move the new software through the rover to the base station and then to the helicopter.
The good thing about all of this is that the helicopter has a friend alongside it as it gets its new smarts. The Perseverance rover, which is hanging out in the area where it dropped the chopper off, acts as a base station that will receive the software update and then push that new program to the helicopter itself. It’s a slick little process that NASA believes will work well, and we’ll get to see it in action for the first time.

Image via BGR


Here’s Some Visual Proof That Your PS4 Is In Trouble

PlayStation 4 owners, beware! Some players have discovered that if the console’s battery dies, it will make all games unplayable. Ouch. The  claim  was initially made by media preservation account Does It Play, and YouTuber Hikikomori Media decided to test this claim. The results, sadly, prove the statement to be true: 

In a lengthy video posted to the channel, Hikiko tested out a few of the games that had been purchased digitally on his PS3 console, which has a dead CMOS battery. Hikiko then adjusted the system's internal clock to several years in the future and restarted the console. As he did so, he warned Playstation users, "Your paid content is on borrowed time."
When Hikiko attempted to fire up the same games he had previously started on the system, he could no longer do so. Instead of being able to play Okami, he was greeted with an error that told him, "This content has a time limit."

In addition to Hikikomori Media, Twitter user @Forest_Reviews tested the claim with a slim model PS4. The results were also similar:

Sure enough, after removing the CMOS battery from the PS4 and disconnecting from PSN servers, Forest was unable to play any games. Instead, as can be seen in a photo posted to Forest's Twitter account, he received an error message that read, "Forest Reviews will be logged out of the PS4 because an error has occurred."
Forest explained, "I took out the battery to see if I could replicate the issue and well, It does not play any physical or digital games without connecting online. error CE-30391-6 appears." 

Image via SVG 


Banksy Vandalized This Painting To Highlight Climate Change

Now that’s a power move! Expected to bring in between £3 million and £5 million, Banksy’s new parody painting, Subject to Availability, offers a climate-conscious take on the image. The artwork features a different version of an 1890 oil painting by Albert Bierstadt, depicting Mount Rainier National Park. The artist added an asterisk with the note: “Subject to availability for a limited period only:”

“Banksy’s witty dialogue with the art historical canon brings the painting sharply into the current context of the global climate crisis,” says Katharine Arnold, co-head of postwar and contemporary art at Christie’s, in an interview with Artnet News. “Ten years on from its creation,” she adds, “the idyllic park it depicts has already been closed to the public since February 2020 due to severe flooding and landslides.”
Subject to Availability is expected to bring in between £3 million and £5 million via Christie’s, though this was also the estimated value of the Monet piece before it was surpassed on the day. Just last month, the artist’s Game Changer — an artwork dedicated to NHS staff — exceeded estimates of £2.5 million to £3.5 million to sell for a staggering £14.4 million (or £16.7 million with fees).

Image via Dazed 


True Facts: Trap Jaw Ants

From a human perspective, trap jaw ants are just plain weird. Ze Frank presents them by following an ant named Mildred, a mentally-ill daughter of a dysfunctional family. Of course, that lifestyle is just normal for her species of ant. Her jaws snap so hard that it throws her body backwards, a side effect that these ants have harnessed for survival purposes. We also get a look at other trap jaw ant species and how they differ in strange ways.


Mocapping Cats

Talk about dedication to your craft! The artists at Hungarian animation studio DIGIC Services did a study in which they enlisted the help of quite a few oddly calm and cooperatives cats. They outfitted the cats with sensors and filmed them in motion capture to learn exactly how cats move. This will help in rendering animated cats in a more realistic manner. As impressed as I am with the animators, I am more impressed with these chill kitties. -via Laughing Squid


Amazing Model Train Diorama Pops up out of a Coffee Table

Peter Waldraff's N gauge scale model railroad diorama is a masterpiece of precision craftsmanship, electrical engineering, furniture making, and creative problem solving. The result of his inventing and labors is a tabletop that converts into a three-season display of a train moving through the mountains.

And Waldraff isn't done yet! He plans to make the device WiFi-enabled so that he can control it from a phone. That will make demonstrations even more amazing.

-via Gizmodo


Do You Know These Keyboard Shortcuts?

If not, then there’s always time to learn new things! Keyboard shortcuts can save you some time, especially if you’re in a rush to finish a deadline for work or school. Lifehacker shares eleven keyboard shortcuts that every computer user should know. Check the slideshow here! 

Image via Lifehacker 


So, What Do You Do With Your Old Smartphones?

With the speed technology has been improving, we keep replacing our current gadgets with new and improved versions that are sold at stores. Almost every year, a new phone is introduced, and some willingly set aside the old phone they’re using for a new model. But what do we do with the old gadgets in our home? If you haven’t sold or discarded your old smartphone, check out PC Magazine’s piece on how to reuse your old gadgets. 

Image via PC Magazine 


The Bloodiest Civil War You’ve Never Heard Of

This civil war is largely forgotten in the West, despite the involvement of officers from multiple western countries. The Taiping Rebellion broke out in 1850, thanks to the evident corruption within the ruling power and the influence of American and European nations on Chinese shores. After decades of social discontent, economic strain, and increasing subjugation, the rebellion lasted for fifteen years and set the Chinese empire of that time on the path to collapse. Check out the Collector’s full piece about this bloody rebellion here

Image via The Collector 


This Is What Imitation Crab Meat Is Made Of

Is it made with some percentage of crab meat or artificial flavor? Regardless, imitation crab meat is good, whether eaten as is or added to your sushi or kimbap. Imitation crab is actually made of surimi, a paste that is basically mashed-up fish. Surimi is a combination of different fish such as such as Alaskan pollock or Pacific whiting fish that have been put through a complicated manufacturing process and turned into a gel-like substance, as Mashed details: 

A seafood paste might not exactly sound all that delicious, so in order to create the right taste and texture that you'll find in your California roll, manufacturers add in starches, sugars, artificial flavorings, and sometimes MSG (via SF Gate). All of these additives significantly decrease the nutritional value of imitation crab and it can become a menu item that those who are gluten-free should stay far away from. 
For starters, real crab meat is simply healthier than imitation crab, as it has more Omega-3 fats, less sugar, and more protein, and vitamins such as B12 and zinc (via Healthline). When you dine on imitation crab meat, you will ingest less sodium than if you have a plate of the real thing in front of you, so if that's something you're trying to watch in your diet, then you may want to consider this seafood alternative. 

Image via Mashed 


Seal Wheels and Other Amazing Wax Seals from the Past

Once upon a time, wax seals were an important form of identification. Messy Nessy Chic introduces us to some of the more elaborate and elegant seal making tools from past centuries, such as this Victorian wheel that allows a user to choose from a variety of symbols to press into wax. Each intaglio--the carved gem--conveys a different sentiment to the reader.

Perhaps, like letter writing, sentiment could move us moderns to experiment with this ancient, deeply personal practice.

Photo: Antique Boutique

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