Archive for ‘Technology’

June 11, 2019

Rio PMP300

PMP

The Rio PMP300 is one of the first portable consumer MP3 digital audio players, and the first commercially successful one. Produced by Diamond Multimedia, it was introduced in 1998 as the first in the ‘Rio’ series of digital audio players, and it shipped later that year. The Rio retailed for US $200 with the ability to hold around 30 minutes of music at a bitrate of 128 kbit/s.

It shipped with 32 MB of internal memory and has a SmartMedia slot, allowing users to add additional memory. It is powered by a single AA battery, which provides between 8 and 12 hours of playback time. Connection to a personal computer is through the computer’s parallel port, with a proprietary connector on the Rio’s edge.

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May 30, 2019

Splinternet

Great Firewall

The splinternet (also referred to as ‘cyber-balkanization’) is a characterization of the Internet as splintering and dividing due to various factors, such as technology, commerce, politics, nationalism, religion, and interests. China erected a ‘Great Firewall’ to restrict the informational sources its citizens have access to. The U.S. and Australia, are discussing plans to create a similar systems to block child pornography or weapon-making instructions.

Clyde Wayne Crews, a researcher at the Cato Institute, first used the term in 2001 to describe his concept of ‘parallel Internets that would be run as distinct, private, and autonomous universes.’ Crews used the term in a positive sense, but more recent writers, like Scott Malcomson, a fellow in New America’s International Security program, use the term pejoratively, describing a threat to the internet’s status as a globe-spanning network of networks.

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May 10, 2019

Frankfurt Kitchen

Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky

The Frankfurt kitchen was the first unified concept kitchen. It was designed to enable efficient work, maximize the usable area of a small space, and to be built at low cost in 1926 by Austrian architect Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky for architect Ernst May’s social housing project ‘New Frankfurt’ in Frankfurt, Germany.

German cities after the end of World War I were plagued by a serious housing shortage. Various social housing projects were built in the 1920s to increase the number of rental apartments for working class families subject on tight budget constraints. As a consequence, the apartments designed were comfortable but not spacious.

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April 30, 2019

Bubblegram

Focus

bubblegram (also known as ‘laser crystal,’ ‘3D crystal engraving,’ or ‘vitrography’) is a solid block of transparent plastic that has been exposed to intersecting laser beams in appropriately to induce a chemical reaction via heat or photonic excitation, creating bubbles or nodes where the plastic has a different index of refraction.

A complex or highly detailed image occupying a 5 cm cubic volume typically requires the creation of tens of thousands of such points.

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April 25, 2019

Dooring

Dutch Reach

Dooring is a traffic collision in which a cyclist rides into a car door or is struck by a car door that was opened quickly without checking first for cyclists by using the side mirror and/or performing a proper shoulder check out and back.

The width of the door zone in which this can happen varies, depending upon the model of car one is passing. The zone can be almost zero for a vehicle with gull-wing doors or much larger for a truck. Dooring can happen when a driver has parked and is exiting their vehicle, or when passengers are exiting from cars, taxis and ride shares into the path of a cyclist approaching from the rear.

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April 1, 2019

Smart Contract

Nick Szabo

smart contract is a computer protocol intended to digitally facilitate, verify, or enforce the negotiation or performance of a contract. Smart contracts allow the performance of credible transactions without third parties. These transactions are trackable and irreversible.

Proponents of smart contracts claim that many kinds of contractual clauses may be made partially or fully self-executing, self-enforcing, or both. The aim of smart contracts is to provide security that is superior to traditional contract law and to reduce other transaction costs associated with contracting. Various cryptocurrencies have implemented types of smart contracts.

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February 19, 2019

Enchroma

Color blindness

Enchroma lenses are glasses designed to improve and modify some aspects of color vision deficiency for color blind people. Glass scientist Dr. Donald McPherson invented Enchroma glasses by accident. He originally invented this type of lens to protect surgeons during laser operations. In 2002 at the Ultimate Frisbee tournament in Santa Cruz, California McPherson lent a pair to a friend who was color blind. His friend saw colors he had never seen before.

McPherson started studying color blindness, and with Andrew Schmeder founded the company EnChroma Inc. in 2010 to sell glasses that compensate for color vision deficiency. Enchroma glasses target people with difficulties in distinguishing reds and greens. The first pair of commercial glasses were released in 2012.

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January 4, 2019

Penny-farthing

Penny-farthing

The penny-farthing, also known as a ‘high wheel,’ ‘high wheeler,’ and ‘ordinary,’ was the first machine to be called a ‘bicycle.’ It was popular in the 1870s and 1880s, with its large front wheel providing high speeds (owing to it travelling a large distance for every rotation of the legs) and comfort (the large wheel also provides greater shock absorption). Although the trend was short-lived, the penny-farthing became a symbol of the late Victorian era. Its popularity also coincided with the birth of cycling as a sport.

It became obsolete from the late 1880s with the development of modern bicycles, which provided similar speed amplification via chain-driven gear trains and comfort through pneumatic tyres, and were marketed in comparison to penny-farthings as ‘safety bicycles’ due to the reduced danger of falling and the reduced height to fall from.

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October 29, 2018

Black Knight Satellite Conspiracy Theory

Space debris

The Black Knight satellite conspiracy theory claims that there is a spacecraft in near-polar orbit of the Earth that is of extraterrestrial origin, and that NASA is engaged in a cover-up regarding its existence and origin. This conspiracy theory combines several unrelated stories into one narrative.

A 1998 NASA photo is believed by some to show the Black Knight satellite, but NASA has stated that this is likely space debris, specifically a thermal blanket lost during an EVA mission.

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September 22, 2018

Emeco 1006

Emeco

The Emeco [ehm-uh-coh1006 [ten-oh-six], also known as the ‘Navy chair,’ is an aluminum chair manufactured by Emeco, a furniture manufacturer based in Pennsylvania. Emeco founder Wilton C. Dinges developed the Emeco 1006 chair in 1944 in collaboration with the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA).

It was originally designed for the US Navy, which needed a chair for the deck of battleships that could survive sea air and a torpedo blast to the side of the ship. The chairs had eye bolts under the seat, so they could be attached to a ship-deck using cables. When competing for the Navy contract, Dinges is reported to have demonstrated the chair’s durability by throwing it out of an eighth floor window of a Chicago hotel where the Navy was examining submissions. It bounced, but didn’t bend or break.

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September 9, 2018

Wojak

NPC meme

Wojak (Polish: ‘warrior, soldier’), also known as ‘feels guy,’ is a popular internet meme. Depicting a nondescript white man, it is used to generically express emotions such as melancholy, regret, or loneliness. It is often paired with Pepe the Frog.

A variation of Wojak with a gray face, pointy nose and blank expression became a popular visual representation of the ‘NPC meme,’ which gained online notoriety in late 2018. The meme began as a mockery of individuals who appear to lack an internal monologue, comparing them to non-playable characters in video games. The meme gained media attention due to its later usage parodying the alleged herd mentality of liberal activists. This controversial usage of the meme has been attributed to Donald Trump supporters.

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August 7, 2018

Tim’s Vermeer

Hockney–Falco thesis

Tim’s Vermeer is a 2013 documentary film, directed by Teller (of the comedy magic duo Penn & Teller), produced by his stage partner Penn Jillette and film producer Farley Ziegler, about inventor Tim Jenison’s efforts to duplicate the painting techniques of Dutch master Johannes Vermeer, in order to test his theory that Vermeer painted with the help of optical devices.

Tim Jenison is the founder of NewTek, a company working in various fields of computer graphics, most notably the 3D modelling software ‘LightWave 3D.’ Jenison, himself both an engineer and art enthusiast, becomes fascinated with the paintings of Johannes Vermeer, the 17th-century Dutch painter, whose paintings have been described as having a photographic quality to them.

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