It’s a good thing Nikola Tesla never figured out how to time travel, because that cord jungle behind your entertainment center would break his heart—again. It’s been more than a century since he lit incandescent bulbs wirelessly in his lab, and yet you’re still plugging into the wall.
Even your three-pronged socket looks surprised.
My three-pronged socket looks more shocked than surprised, what with all that smoke and all… oh dear. Excuse me.
Claiming that something can move faster than light is a good conversation-stopper in physics. People edge away from you in cocktail parties; friends never return phone calls. You just don’t mess with Albert Einstein. So when I saw a press conference at the American Astronomical Society meeting this past January on faster-than-light phenomena in the cosmos, my first reaction was to say, “Terribly sorry, but I really have to go now.” Astrophysicists have been speaking of FTL motion for years, but it was always just a trick of the light that lent the impression of warp speed, a technicality of wave motion, or an exotic consequence of the expansion of the universe. These researchers were claiming a very different sort of trick. Dubious though I was, I put their press release in my “needs more thought” folder and today finally got around to taking a closer look. And what I’ve found is utterly fascinating.
The researchers, John Singleton and Andrea Schmidt of Los Alamos and their colleagues, have built a sort of wire in which an electric pulse can outpace light. They get away with it because the pulse is not a causal process. It does not ripple down the line because charged particles are bumping into each other, a process that is subject to Einstein’s speed limit. Instead, an external controller drives the particles and can synchronize them to make a pulse pass through the wire at whatever speed you want.
I wonder if Zefram Cochrane reads the Adafruit blog… oh man that would be so cool!
In need of a way to organize and store my Lego obsession, I made a bunch of acrylic boxes which not only hold Legos, but also stack and interlock similarly: Each brick box holds 64+ of the same-shape piece. So the 1×1 box will hold 64 1×1 bricks, and the 2×2 holds 64 2×2 bricks. The larger ones hold a few more due to how the sizing works out. The 1×1 box is 40mm per side (external dimensions).
The venerable Beilstein Institut, best known for their database of organic chemistry compounds, has plans to create a new, fully open journal dedicated to nanotechnology. The journal will be fully open-access, and there will be no charge to submit an article. More at nanowerk:
The Beilstein-Institut, a non-profit foundation, launches a scientific journal in the area of nanotechnology and nanoscience. The “Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology” is an Open Access Journal, which is globally available and publishes the latest research results and reviews. Publishing in this Journal is offered without any fees for authors and readers. The call for papers starts on June 1, 2010. All scientists working in the area of nanotechnology are invited to submit their manuscripts.
Bug Labs, Inc., a technology company that serves as an open source hardware store, has raised $3 million of a targeted $5 million, according to an SEC filing. Founded in 2006 and based in New York, Bug Labs offers a kind of hardware “mash-up,” in which various different Internet-based services are pieced together to create a unique one.
ARRL Field Day is June 26-27th, it is a national event during which radio operators promote ham radio by setting up stations and transmitting in parking lots, open fields, etc. To celebrate, we are throwing a ham radio party where we will be making contacts, giving demos, and dancing. Remember, hams were some of the original hackers.
Demos: 8:00pm – 1am: Transmitting on the HF Bands TBD: Talking to Satellites 8:30pm: Old School Radio Goes New School Digital 9:15pm: Scanning Fun, listening on local fire departments, police departments, zoos, parks, lifeguards, and airport frequencies 10:00pm: Powering a Lightbulb with Radio Waves Late Evening: Ham Radio Dance Party, Dj Eric Beug will remix beats live out of transmissions made by ham radio operators sitting on the stage
Sorry kids, unfortunately for insurance reasons we can only allow guests ages 18+ and NYC Resistor is not a handicap accessible space.
Adafruit’s Ice Tube Clock Kit is just one of the prizes up for grabs. In honor to Field Day, Adafruit will be offering a 10% discount on their kits from June 26-27 for all licensed hams. Just enter code “HAMS” at check out and in the comments include your call sign.
A solstice is an astronomical event that happens twice each year, when the tilt of the Earth’s axis is most inclined toward or away from the Sun, causing the Sun’s apparent position in the sky to reach its northernmost or southernmost extreme. The name is derived from the Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), because at the solstices, the Sun stands still in declination; that is, the apparent movement of the Sun’s path north or south comes to a stop before reversing direction. The term solstice can also be used in a broader sense, as the date (day) when this occurs. The solstices, together with the equinoxes, are connected with the seasons. In some cultures they are considered to start or separate the seasons, while in others they fall nearer the middle.
As a few makers pointed out – The Bus Pirate is in our tools section, and today is the last day of our Father’s day sale – so if you use the code “father” on check out you can get the Bus Pirate for 10% off.
Interfacing a new microchip can be a hassle. Breadboarding a circuit, writing code, hauling out the programmer, or maybe even prototyping a PCB. We never seem to get it right on the first try.
The ‘Bus Pirate’ is a universal bus interface that talks to most chips from a PC serial terminal, eliminating a ton of early prototyping effort when working with new or unknown chips. Many serial protocols are supported at 0-5.5volts, more can be added. Adafruit is the official US distributor of Ian Lesnet’s Bus Pirate, each purchase directly supports Dangerous Prototypes! You may also want to pick up a probe set Protocols:
1-Wire, I2C, SPI, JTAG, asynchronous serial (UART), MIDI, PC keyboard, HD44780 LCDs, and generic 2- and 3-wire libraries for custom protocols.
USB interface, USB powered
0-5.5volt tolerant pins
0-6volt measurement probe
1Hz-40MHz frequency measurement
1kHz – 4MHz pulse-width modulator, frequency generator
On-board multi-voltage pull-up resistors
On-board 3.3volt and 5volt power supplies with software reset
LAST DAY:We are pleased to announce our first Adafruit’s Father’s day sale, 10% off all tools (in stock) through Sunday 6/20. Give Dad the gift of electronics and pick up a soldering iron, accessories for building things or if you just want to get him a gift certificate, we have those as well.
In this webcast, Make Editor Brian Jepson introduces the basics of Arduino, the open source electronics prototyping platform. You’ll learn what Arduino is, where to get one, and how to connect electronic components to it. You’ll also learn how to write simple programs for Arduino. When you’re done, you’ll be ready to learn more, make more, and have fun prototyping. The last half hour of the recording is open chat following the webcast.