Weird Universe


A Robot That Parks Cars

No, not Marvin (ref.), this one is from the Computer Science Department of Stanford University and it not only parks cars, it does so awesomely!

The only disappointment is that it doesn't come with a little row of strobing red lights on the front.
Posted By: Dumbfounded | Date: Thu May 13, 2010 | Comments (10)
Category: Daredevils, Stuntpeople and Thrillseekers, Robots, Science, Technology, Computers, Cars

Weird Science - Towel Folding Robot

Judging by the huge response to what I thought was a fairly large and obscure post about a tiny coincidence, the Hitchhiker's Guide and cutting-edge science is obviously a winning combination.

So here is a super special Douglas Adams bonus, a robot folding towels! Okay so that's a bit of a stretch, but it is still quite cool.

Note that this video has been speeded up 50x, in real time it took the robot over an hour and a half to complete this one task. Perhaps it was feeling a little depressed?
Posted By: Dumbfounded | Date: Sat Apr 17, 2010 | Comments (25)
Category: Boredom, Futurism, Inventions, Robots, Science, Experiments, Technology

Just Imagine!

I can almost believe that I myself, starting from scratch and given several years, might be able to handcraft the 433 parts of a 1940s phone and assemble them into a working unit.

But how could I build the billion-dollar computer-chip fabrication plant in order to create one chip or hard-drive for an iPhone?

Posted By: Paul | Date: Fri Mar 12, 2010 | Comments (14)
Category: Technology, Cartoons, Documentaries, 1940's

A Little Light Weirdness – 9

First up, apologies if this post contains more typos than usual, I'm sending it from my new ultra-small netbook and I'm still getting used to its itty-bitty keyboard. Which brings me nicely to my first story. That according to a survey for satellite channel SKY-HD, British consumers waste £52 billion a year on hi-tech features they don't use. For example, half of the people polled did not know their high definition television also required a hi-def signal source such as a blu-ray player or HD satellite receiver – like the ones sold by SKY-HD perhaps (Telegraph).

And it's not just the the British, military officials in Russia recently discovered 100 front-line battletanks parked and forgotten by the side of the road near Yekaterinburg in the Urals. Locals say the tanks, which were unguarded and unlocked, have been there for several months and lack only ammunition and the all important starter keys (Reuters).

Someone who might have had a use for those tanks were guests at a wedding in New Delhi in India recently. The Hindu ceremony was somewhat marred when an elephant hired for the event went on a rampage after becoming aroused by the smell of a nearby female in heat. The amorous pachyderm then proceeded to crush 20 limousines, smash through a nearby mall and mount a truck before it could be tranquilised (Orange).

Also losing it this week was the man on the RyanAir flight who found he had won 10,000 euros on a scratchcard he bought on the budget flight from Poland to the UK. Furious that the airline had not seen fit to equip all their planes with the requisite amount of cash onboard, hence he could not be given his prize there and then as he demanded, the unnamed passenger ate the winning card rather than wait to claim it at his destination (BBC News).

More >>

More Theremin

Posted By: Paul | Date: Thu Feb 25, 2010 | Comments (3)
Category: Music, Technology, Outsider Art

The Internet, 1937-style

Posted By: Paul | Date: Sat Jan 02, 2010 | Comments (2)
Category: Technology, 1930's

Follies of the Mad Men #80

Nothing says Xmas like....?
Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Dec 23, 2009 | Comments (7)
Category: Holidays, Sexuality, Technology, Toys, Advertising

Ahead of its Time #1

Of course, not everyone had bad ideas in those old issues of Popular Science. Many of the ideas for new products were quite brilliant. This series will look at ideas that were ahead of their time. Today's lesson: In Car Tape Deck.

(from the March 1954 issue of Popular Science)

For a little background, the modern tape recorder came about in 1939, but it wasn't refined enough for commercial use until the late 1940s. Reel to reel tape recorders started to become common home recording machines in the mid 1950s and as a professional home audio format in the late 1950s. The first automobile tape player was the Muntz Stereo-Pak of 1962 which evolved in the Lear Jet Stereo 8 (better known as 8 Track) in 1964. Even so, 8 track players didn't become common in cars until the late 1960s, so unfortunately A. P. Sabol had another fifteen years to wait before his request was answered...
Posted By: Salamander Sam | Date: Thu Nov 12, 2009 | Comments (7)
Category: Technology, 1950's, Cars, Yesterday's Tomorrows

Game Over

PES is an animation company that makes, well, "unique" stop motion short films, most of which feature only every day objects. Check out their other videos at their website

If the video above doesn't work, click here.
Posted By: Salamander Sam | Date: Thu Nov 05, 2009 | Comments (8)
Category: Technology, Surrealism, Stop-motion Animation
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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2008 by the author of the post, either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.