Archive for ‘Technology’

May 22, 2017

Phenakistiscope

Joseph Plateau

The phenakistiscope [fen-uh-kiss-tuh-skohp] was the first widespread animation device that created a fluent illusion of motion. The phenakistiscope is regarded as one of the first forms of moving media entertainment that paved the way for the future motion picture and film industry. It is sometimes compared to GIF animation since both show a short continuous loop.

A phenakisticope usually comes in the form of a spinning cardboard disc attached vertically to a handle. Arrayed radially around the disc’s center are a series of pictures showing sequential phases of the animation. Small rectangular apertures are spaced evenly around the rim of the disc. The user would spin the disc and look through the moving slits at the images reflected in a mirror. The scanning of the slits across the reflected images keeps them from simply blurring together, so that the user can see a rapid succession of images that appear to be a single moving picture.

read more »

March 7, 2017

Bicycle Pedal

Shimano Pedaling Dynamics

The bicycle pedal is the part of a bicycle that the rider pushes with their foot to propel the bicycle. It provides the connection between the cyclist’s foot or shoe and the bike’s drivetrain. The rider pushes the pedals, which turns the crank arms, which power the gearset, which propels the wheels.

Pedals usually consist of a spindle that threads into the end of a crank arm and a body, on which the foot rests or is attached, that is free to rotate on bearings with respect to the spindle.

read more »

February 20, 2017

Troll Army

pepe

The ‘web brigades,’ also known in English media as the ‘troll army,’ are state-sponsored anonymous Internet political commentators and trolls linked to the Russian government.

Participants report that they are organized into teams and groups of commentators that participate in Russian and international political blogs and Internet forums using sockpuppets (fraudulent accounts) and large-scale orchestrated trolling (harassment) and disinformation campaigns to promote pro-Putin and pro-Russian propaganda. It has also been found that Wikipedia articles were targeted by Russian internet propaganda activities.

read more »

February 6, 2017

Start-Stop System

idle reduction

In automobiles, a start-stop system automatically shuts down and restarts the internal combustion engine to reduce the amount of time the engine spends idling, thereby reducing fuel consumption and emissions. This is most advantageous for vehicles which spend significant amounts of time waiting at traffic lights or frequently come to a stop in traffic jams. Start-stop technology may become more common with more stringent government fuel economy and emissions regulations.

For non-electric vehicles, fuel economy gains from this technology are typically in the range of 3-10 percent. Hybrid/electric assist vehicles experience almost no delay in power from a stop, due to the instant availability of power from the traction battery to the electric motor(s). Gasoline powered cars on the other hand generally experience slight delays (albeit fractions of a second).

read more »

January 19, 2017

Jorg Gray

JG6500

Jorg Gray is a California-based brand of men’s and women’s watches. They are best known as the favored watch of U.S. President Barack Obama and the U.S. Secret Service. Jorg Gray was established as a watch line in 1998 by Logomark, Inc. based in Tustin, California. Originally Jorg Gray timepieces were manufactured as a high end promotional item for corporations and federal agencies. Jorg Gray became a retail only brand in 2009. The company has since expanded their line and launched a women’s collection in late 2013. There are currently over 250 authorized dealers the U.S. and the brand can be found in retail stores in Asia, Europe, the Caribbean, and South America.

President Obama received his original JG6500, the ‘official’ model of the Secret Service in 2007 as a birthday gift from his security team and has been documented wearing it. Shortly thereafter Jorg Gray created a commemorative edition of the timepiece. Each watch comes with an individualized serial number and an inscription, laser engraved on the case back. Other government agencies around the world, including the London Metropolitan Police, now also wear watches made by Jorg Gray.

 

Tags: ,
January 8, 2017

James Webb Space Telescope

jwst

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is a space observatory under construction and scheduled to launch in 2018. It is a replacement for the Hubble Space Telescope which was launched in 1990. The telescope is named after James E. Webb, who was a director at NASA and created the Apollo moon program. It will have a main mirror that is 6.5 meters (21.3 feet) wide, seven times larger than Hubble. The main mirror is composed of 18 sections that fold together.

Once operational the observatory will be looking mostly in the infrared spectrum, but also in the red part of visible light. Images will be color coded for public viewing. Because heat is visible to infrared sensors, the JWST must be kept as cool as possible. It is protected by a large sunshield, the size of a tennis court, and will be placed in a special orbit around the sun, beyond the moon, at the second Lagrange point (L2), a place of stable gravity. This keeps it in the Earth’s shadow most of the time.

December 14, 2016

Fancy Bear

spear-phishing

pawn storm

Fancy Bear is a cyber espionage group that cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike has linked to the GRU, a Russian military intelligence agency. Likely operating since the mid-2000s, Fancy Bear’s methods are consistent with the capabilities of nation-state actors. The threat group is known to target government, military, and security organizations, especially NATO-aligned and Transcaucasian states (Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan).

Fancy Bear is thought to be responsible for cyber attacks on the German parliament, the French television station ‘TV5Monde,’ the White House, NATO, and the Democratic National Committee. It’s behavior has been classified as an ‘advanced persistent threat.’ They employ zero-day (previously unknown) vulnerabilities and use spear phishing (forged websites and emails) and malware to compromise targets.

read more »

October 10, 2016

Presta Valve

valve stems

Bicycle wheels are comprised of a tough outer tire, a soft inner tube, and a rim (the stiff outermost-edge which is often supported by spokes). The inner tube is inflated means of a valve stem that opens to let air in and then automatically closes and is kept sealed by the pressure in the chamber. The Presta valve (also called the ‘Sclaverand’ or ‘French’ valve) is a valve commonly found in high pressure (100 psi) road style inner tubes. It is comprised of an outer valve stem and an inner valve body. A lock nut to secure the stem at the wheel rim and a valve cap may also be present.

 The outer valve stem is manufactured in various lengths for different applications, and has a narrower diameter at the base (6 mm) than the more common Schrader or American valve (8 mm) and is also used on most automobile tires. Japan, India, Russia, Germany, Britain, and several other countries use a third type of valve for their bicycles, the Dunlop (also called a ‘Woods’ or ‘English’ valve) which also has a wider base than a Presta valve. It is similar enough in size to a Schrader valve to use identically drilled valve holes in rims, but it can be inflated with a Presta valve adapter.

read more »

August 11, 2016

Hood Ornament

Lejeune

Spirit of Ecstasy

A hood ornament (‘bonnet ornament’ in the UK), ‘radiator cap,’ ‘motor mascot,’ or ‘car mascot’ is a specially crafted model which symbolizes a car company like a badge, located on the front center portion of the hood. It has been used as an adornment nearly since the inception of automobiles. According to ‘A History of Cars,’ the first ‘hood ornament’ was a sun-crested falcon (to bring good luck) mounted on Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun’s chariot.

In the early years, automobiles had their radiator caps outside of the hood and on top of the grille which also served as an indicator of the temperature of the engine’s coolant fluid. The Boyce MotoMeter Company was issued a patent in 1912 for a radiator cap that incorporated a thermometer that was visible to the driver with a sensor that measured the heat of the water vapor, rather than the water itself. This became a useful gauge for the driver because many early engines did not have water pumps, but a circulation system based on the ‘thermo-syphon’ principle as in the Ford Model T. The ‘exposed radiator cap became a focal point for automobile personalization.’

read more »

July 14, 2016

Chatbot

clippy

A chatterbot (also known as a talkbot, chatbot, Bot, chatterbox, or Artificial Conversational Entity) is a computer program which conducts a conversation via auditory or textual methods. Such programs are often designed to convincingly simulate how a human would behave as a conversational partner, thereby passing the Turing test (a measure of how well a computer can trick a person into believing that the computer is a person too).

Chatbots are typically used in dialog systems for various practical purposes including customer service or information acquisition. Some chatbots use sophisticated natural language processing systems (programs that understand not just recognize language), but many simpler systems scan for keywords within the input, then pull a reply with the most matching keywords, or the most similar wording pattern, from a database. The term ‘ChatterBot’ was originally coined by Michael Mauldin (creator of the first Verbot, Julia) in 1994 to describe these conversational programs.

read more »

Tags:
July 13, 2016

Search Engine Optimization

pagerank

google

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results — often referred to as ‘natural,’ ‘organic,’ or ‘earned’ results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users, and these visitors can be converted into customers. SEO may target different kinds of searches, including for images, places, videos, scholarly articles, news stories, and industry-specific vertical search engines (specialty or topical search engines, such as Yelp for local business reviews and Zillow for real estate listings).

As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for, the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience. Optimizing a website may involve editing its content, HTML and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. Promoting a site to increase the number of backlinks (referred links), or inbound links, is another SEO tactic.

read more »

July 4, 2016

Flat Design

skeuomorph

ios7

Flat design is a minimalist user interface design genre, or design language, commonly used in graphical user interfaces (such as web applications and mobile apps), and in graphical materials such as posters, arts, guide documents, and publishing products.

Flat design is a style of interface design emphasizing minimum use of stylistic elements that give the illusion of three dimensions (such as the use of drop shadows, gradients or textures) and is focused on simple elements, typography and flat colors. Designers may prefer flat design because it allows interface designs to be more streamlined and efficient. It is easier to quickly convey information while still looking visually appealing and approachable.

read more »

Tags: