Here’s What a Googol-to-One Gear Ratio Looks Like

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To celebrate being alive for a billion seconds, Daniel Bruin built a machine with 100 gears with a 10-to-1 gear ratio…meaning that the overall gear ratio is a googol-to-one. (A googol is 1 with 100 zeros.)

To turn the last gear in this train one full revolution, you’d need to turn the first gear 10,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000 times.

By my estimation, that’s enough gearing to allow you to winch the entire solar system, by hand, with ease. Assuming you can find a tow hitch on it somewhere.

Dutch PM Mark Rutte Tells Public Not to Shake Hands Over Coronavirus and Then Shakes With Colleague

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Love this video: the Dutch PM reminds everybody not to shake hands with one another… then turns and shakes somebody’s hand. Then realises his mistake and initiates even more bodily contact by way of apology.

A Trip Through New York City in 1911

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With help from a neural network, Denis takes original cinematography of New York City in 1911 and uploads it as an cleaned, upscaled, high-framerate, colourised YouTube video. It’s pretty remarkable: compare it to the source video to see how much of a difference it makes: side-by-side, the smoothness of the frame rate alone is remarkable. It’s a shame that nothing can be done about the underexposed bits of the film where contrast detail is lacking: I wonder if additional analysis of the original print itself might be able to extract some extra information from these areas and them improve them using the same kinds of techniques.

In any event, a really interesting window-to-history!

BingO Bakery

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Don’t understand why Web accessibility is important? Need a quick and easily-digestible guide to the top things you should be looking into in order to make your web applications screenreader ready? Try this fun, video-game-themed 5 minute video from Microsoft.

There’s a lot more to accessibility than is covered here, and it’s perhaps a little over-focussed on screenreaders, but it’s still a pretty awesome introduction.

Where Do New Viruses Come From?

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A fun and lightweight 10-minute (very basic, but highly-accessible) primer into the mechanisms by which new viruses appear to emerge via spillover infection and viral evolution. I was pleased by the accuracy of the animations including efforts to show relative scale of microorganisms and the (correct) illustration of RNA as the genetic material of a coronavirus (many illustrators draw all viruses as carrying a double-stranded DNA payload).

The Neighbors’ Window

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This beautifully-shot short film won Best Live Action Short Film at the Oscars last month, and if you haven’t seen it you owe it to yourself to do so. Over the course of 20 artfully-crafted minutes it tells two distinct stories, and before long you realise that what you’re really watching is the third story that emerges, Rubin vase-style, from the mind of the watcher and in the gaps between the two. Official website. Probably NSFW.

Geohashing expedition 2020-02-22 53 -1

This checkin to geohash 2020-02-22 53 -1 reflects a geohashing expedition. See more of Dan's hash logs.

Location

Northern slopes of Haven Hill, near Bradbourne. (South end of the Peak District, North of Ashbourne.)

Participants

Plans

I’ll be travelling North through England all day on 2020-02-22 and it’s not a huge diversion to go and climb a hill as a break, so long as I set off early enough in the morning. We’ll see…

Expedition

It’s a beautiful part of the world, the Peak District, although I could have picked a day when I’d be less-hampered by floods and wind. Nonetheless, I was able to climb a short way up Haven Hill, divert around an impromptu lake, and scramble into a thicket in order to reach the hashpoint at around 13:40. And to leave a “the Internet was here” sign at the nearest footpath

Tracklog

  • Taken by GPSr, but I seem to have lost the charging/data cable for it. Will find at some point.

Video

You can also watch it at:

Photos

Dan grinning holding a GPSr showing that he's at the hashpoint
Proof and a silly grin together!
Map of 53.0671245,-1.6771753

Geohashing expedition 2020-02-21 51 -1

This checkin to geohash 2020-02-21 51 -1 reflects a geohashing expedition. See more of Dan's hash logs.

Location

North end of the village of Curbridge in Oxfordshire. Street View and satellite photography shows it as being alongside a nondescript road, but I’m aware that there’s a housing estate under construction nearby and there’s a new roundabout which appears on maps but not on satellite views which was constructed nearby last year: I’m hoping that the location is still accessible.

Participants

Plans

I don’t know whether I’ll be able to make it to this hashpoint; it depends on how work goes as well as the weather (while I’m not directly in the path of Storm Dennis I’m still in an area that’s getting lots of wind and rain). I’m not committed yet to whether I’d drive or cycle: it depends on how long I can spare, whether the car’s available for my use, and – again – the weather (I’d prefer to cycle, but I’m not going to do it if it means I get completely soaked on my lunch break).

Okay: I need to vacate my house anyway because some estate agents are bring some potential buyers around, so I’m setting out to the hashpoint now (12:20) after which I’ll aim to work in a coworking space for the afternoon. Wish me luck!

Expedition

I drove out to the village of Curbridge and parked in a lane, then walked to the hashpoint, arriving about 13:05. Conveniently there’s a pole (holding a speed detecting sign) within a metre of the hashpoint so I was able to attach a “The Internet Was Here” sign in accordance with the tradition. Then I made my way to a coworking space half a mile to the North to carry on with my day’s work.

Tracklog

My GPSr keeps a tracklog:

  • Obtained, but I didn’t bring the right cable to the coworking space so I can’t get it yet. [to follow]

Video

You can also watch it at:

Photos

Map of 51.7778341,-1.5234418

Honk More, Wait More

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Horn not okay, please!
Find out how the @MumbaiPolice hit the mute button on #Mumbai’s reckless honkers.
#HonkResponsibly

Indian horn culture is weird to begin with. But I just learned that apparently it’s a thing to honk your in horn in displeasure at the stationary traffic ahead of you… even when that traffic is queueing at traffic lights! In order to try to combat the cacophony, Mumbai police hooked up a decibel-meter to the traffic lights at a junction such that if the noise levels went over a certain threshold during the red light phase, the red light phase would be extended by resetting the timer.

This equation will change how you see the world

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Normally I find Veritasium’s videos to be… less mindblowing than their titles would aim to have me believe. But I found this one pretty inspiring; the first Feigenbaum constant is a proper headtrip. And I feel like I’ve got new insights into the Mandelbrot set too.