It’s elf and safety gone mad! Santa’s workshop noticeboard…

‘Tis the season and all that… Check out what the elves have to put up with at Santa’s workshop. It’s all part of the year-end issue of E&T magazine, available now online. Want to know what 2013 holds for engineering and technology? Step right this way, sirs and madams. Click on the image for the full-size picture. Continue reading It’s elf and safety gone mad! Santa’s workshop noticeboard…

The Hobbit: an uncharted journey in to high frame-rate film making

The first part of Peter Jackson’s new Tolkien trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, is also the first attempt to double an 80 year-old film industry standard, the rate at which images pass before your eyes. Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson is shooting his latest Tolkien trilogy at 48 frames-per-second (fps). The current film-making standard is 24fps for both 3D and 2D. So, if you see The Hobbit as its makers intend, your eye will capture twice as much information. The idea is that, coupled with enhancements to digital cinematography, this will provide an experience that is smoother and … Continue reading The Hobbit: an uncharted journey in to high frame-rate film making

With the origami kayak, you can fold your own boat – an annotated graphic

Never mind iPads, Furbies, Chromebooks and such like. What we want for Christmas now is an origami kayak. Yes, the wearying days of hoisting a full-size boat around with you all the time are now a thing of the past, as the world’s first foldable canoe is now a reality. Described as being the size of an art portfolio (A1 size, we imagine), it comes in a handy carry case, ready for you to bust out and furiously row away at the merest hint of any aquatic danger. In these days of climate change, heavy rain and unpredictable flooding, the … Continue reading With the origami kayak, you can fold your own boat – an annotated graphic

NASA’s Mariner II Venus fly-past in 1962 – an annotated graphic

On 14 December 1962, NASA’s Mariner II passed within 35,000km of Venus, becoming the first spacecraft to successfully fly by another planet. From this historic voyage, we learned that Venus rotates in a counter direction to most planets in our solar system, has a high-pressure carbon dioxide atmosphere and continuous cool cloud cover. Thanks, Mariner II! Whither Mariner II now? Endlessly circling the Sun, in a heliocentric orbit. Space debris: a serious problem for our immediate galaxy. Click on the graphic for an expanded view.   Continue reading NASA’s Mariner II Venus fly-past in 1962 – an annotated graphic

Gadgets for your Christmas list 2012 – an annotated graphic

It’s the final fortnight before Christmas Day, so that gives us all less than 14 days to shop until either we drop or the stores start declining our over-stretched bank cards. Who’s got any money this year? Not us. Oh well, everyone needs a box of matches, a plastic comb and an orange, don’t they? If you’re one of the lucky few that finds themselves short on ideas but long on cash, herewith is some seasonal gadget inspiration. It’s the usual Kindle Fires, iPads, Furbys, iPhones, Nintendos and such like. We hope this suggests some jumping-off points for your last-minute … Continue reading Gadgets for your Christmas list 2012 – an annotated graphic

Movember remembered – Nick Pither’s majestic mo is a real winner

It may be December now, so many of the temporarily moustachioed lotharios in the UK are now gratefully shaving regularly again, but there’s still time to celebrate the efforts of those who were game in November to sport the most luxurious facial bush their follicles could muster. This bad boy dropped in to our inbox this week, the winner of Maintec’s Movember challenge (Maintec being the UK’s only show dedicated to industrial maintenance and asset management). Our congratulations and respectful admiration go to Nick Pither, Technical Engineering Manager at Mixing Solution Ltd, who covered his face with this horizontal ear-to-ear … Continue reading Movember remembered – Nick Pither’s majestic mo is a real winner

North Korea rocket launch take 2 – an annotated graphic

North Korea is apparently readying her second rocket launch of 2012, attempting to ping satellites in to orbit using ballistic missiles. Island neighbour Japan is a trifle nervous about it and is readying Patriot missiles to islands close to the areas where the three rocket stages are expected to crash land. There’s a fair amount of such military posturing and space activity going on in that part of the world, which goes some way to explaining this, this and this. Click on the graphic for an expanded view. Continue reading North Korea rocket launch take 2 – an annotated graphic

NASA’s SOFIA airborne observatory takes flight – an annotated graphic

Well, would you look at this – a flying observatory. Cool! NASA’s latest science wheeze is the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy – or SOFIA to her friends. A 15-tonne telescope mounted on a jumbo jet, this joint US-German venture (there are two countries you might not immediately put together) is beginning its first full cycle of science  flights. Question: how do stars form and evolve? No problem – SOFIA’s on it. Click on the graphic for an expanded view. Continue reading NASA’s SOFIA airborne observatory takes flight – an annotated graphic