Just some fun for your Friday. Enjoy.
Posts about fun
New Blog with Simple Demonstrations and Scientific Explanations
Try this at home is a new blog by Dr Mark Lorch, a chemistry lecturer at the University of Hull, with instructions for the citizen scientist. This example shows how to move a can with a ballon without touching the can.
The posts include instructions on how to do these simple demonstrations and a nice explanation on the scientific reason for what is going on:
It is quite a nice site (especially if you have kids interested in science or are a kid interested in science – no matter how old you are), add it to your RSS reader. Here are some more science blogs you may enjoy.
Friday Fun: Elephant Playing with a Smart Phone
An elephant plays with a smart phone (Samsung Galaxy Note).
Related: Friday Fun: Cats and Kids with iPads – Insightful Problem Solving in an Asian Elephant – Crow Sledding, Flying Back Up and Sledding Down Again – Cat Toy: Robotic Ball You Control with Your Smart Phone
Friday Fun: Monkey and Kitten Playing
If somehow you need more to entice you to watch the webcast, there are even cameos by a dog and people. But if you need to know more than kitten and monkey maybe you need to connect to your inner 5 year old self.
Friday Fun: Exercise Wheels for Dogs and Cats
This would certainly give dogs that don’t have big enough yards to run in some good exercise.
Cats don’t seem to take to the wheels as naturally as a few dogs do. While the wheel is odd no matter what I would also wager the evolution of the animals is at play. Cats are use to stalking animals. You can see that trait play out in the kitten video above (and lots of other similar videos – so while this one is partially the kittens short attention span it also seems common that cats don’t just run for a long time). While dogs are evolved to wear our their prey in log distance chases. I’m sure getting dogs to use a wheel isn’t likely to be super easy but I think it will be easier than getting cats to do so.
Kindergarten Students Pedel Their Own Bus to School
Built by Tolkamp Metaalspecials, and sold by the De Cafe Racer company, the bicycle school bus (BCO in Dutch) is powered entirely by children and the one adult driver (although there is an electric motor for tough hills). Its simple design has eight sets of pedals for the kids (ages 4 to 12), a driver seat for the adult, and three bench seats for freeloaders. The top speed is about 10 miles per hour, and features a sound system and canvas awning to ward off rainy days.
They have sold 25 of the busses so far for $15,000 each.
Friday Fun: Crow Sledding, Flying Back Up and Sledding Down Again
Great video of a crow sledding down a roof on a small intertube like thing (a lid?). Then it picks up the sled and flies back to the top and sleds down again. Awesome. The curious crow then flies off with its sled to try it out elsewhere (maybe).
Cool Robot Locomotion: Transforms from Wheeled to Walking For Stairs and Rough Terrain
This is a very cool engineering solution. Wheeled locomotion is very efficient on the right terrain. This transformation lets the robot switch to climb stairs and handle rough terrain very nicely. A team of mechanical engineers at National Taiwan University built this energy-efficient leg-wheel hybrid mobile robot. From their description:
Based on this observation, shifting the hip joint out of the center of the circular rim and changing the continuous rotation motion to other motion patterns implies the locomotion switches from wheeled mode to legged mode. This motivated us to design a mechanism that directly controls the relative position of the circular rim with respect to the hip joint so it can generate both wheeled and legged motions. Because the circular rim is a 2-dimensional object, the most straightforward method to achieve this goal is to add a second degree of freedom (DOF) that can adjust the relative position of the hip joint to the center of the circular rim along the radial direction. The motions of the two DOFs are also orthogonal to each other. In addition, the same set of actuation power can be efficiently used in both wheeled and legged modes.
Underwater Pedestrian Bridge
The Dutch water line was a series of water based defenses conceived by Maurice of Nassau in the early 17th century, and completed by his half brother Frederick Henry. Combined with natural bodies of water. The line could be used to protect the economic heartland of the Dutch Republic behind difficult to cross water barriers, when in danger.
The Fort de Roovere was part of this defense. In 2010 the fort was renovated and the moat revived with a small extra bit of engineering: a sunken pedestrian “bridge.” Where once engineers used ingenuity to use water to keep people out, now engineers used wood to let people experience the moat while still reaching the fort.
Friday Fun: Octopus Walks on Land
Just a fun video for your Friday. Octopuses are really very cool. Not quite as cool as cats but way up there in the realm of cool animals. Octopuses, octopi and octopodes are all acceptable words for plural of octopus?
A few year ago (2008) I posted about another very cool octopus, who liked to juggling fellow aquarium occupants.
I think I will devote more time to learning about octopuses and posting more about them.
Apply to be an Astronaut
Are you looking to change jobs? NASA is seeking outstanding scientists, engineers (job announcement closed so broken link removed), and other talented professionals to carry forward the great discovery process that its mission demands. Creativity. Ambition. Teamwork. A sense of daring. Curiosity. That’s what it takes to join NASA, one of the best places to work in the Federal Government.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has a need for Astronaut Candidates to support the International Space Station Program and future deep space exploration activities.
In 1959 NASA selected its first group of 7 astronaut candidates. Since then 20 additional classes have been selected; bringing the total number of astronaut candidates to 330.
The astronauts of the 21st century will continue to work aboard the International Space Station in cooperation with our international partners; help to build and fly a new NASA vehicle, the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) designed for human deep space exploration; and further NASA’s efforts to partner with industry to provide a commercial capability for space transportation to the space station.
NASA is in the process of identifying possible near-Earth asteroids to explore with the goal of visiting an asteroid in 2025. With that goal, and keeping in mind that the plan is to send a robotic precursor mission to the asteroid approximately five years before humans arrive, NASA will need to select the first set of targets to explore within the next decade.
Requirement include: Applicants for the Astronaut Candidate Program must meet the basic education requirements for NASA engineering and scientific positions, specifically: successful completion of standard professional curriculum in an accredited college or university leading to at least a bachelor’s degree with major study in an appropriate field of engineering, biological science, physical science, or mathematics.