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Its strange to think that the now obsolete VCR or VTR has a half century history, from the giant Ampex and RCA machines used in TV stations to the multiple, competing format, consumer cassette players that culminated in the dominant VHS standard.Today you can by a DVD player for the same price as a DVD itself, due to the small number of moving parts and emerging market labor. However, VCRs were always relatively expensive because of their complex mechanisms, latterly involving gimballed rotating heads.In terms of design, aside from the robust utilitarian looking professional models, VCRs were ugly devices from the outside, but complex marvels inside.There are several great sites dealing with VTR history, including the excellent: http://www.totalrewind.org

a visual history of video recorders

The fact that if a nuke is used to extinguish the Deepwater Horizon leak, it will be the 6th time this has been done speaks volumes of how extreme the technological requirements of our fossil fuel dependence.Oil and gas require a gargantuan infrastructure of superlative technology that permeates every level from extraction to dispatch, from hellish looking oil drill bits, drilling rigs that are the size of cities, storage tanks the size of cathedrals and pipelines that rival the Great Wall of China.The extreme environments that this technology operates in require unsinkable boats, skyscraper sized structures in some of the world’s least inhabited places and firefighting tools that include large bombs and fighter jet engines.Pause for a moment and reflect on just how unusual these objects are.

the extreme hardware of oil and gas

Some machines that punch, stamp, strike or print money. What everyone needs these days, and what central banks will be using a lot of. You may be amused to find out that even the J-98 Bank Note printing press is made in China.

10 money making machines

If Apple is all about the product which then sells itself, then Ron Popeil’s Ronco was the exact reverse. Popeil took the kinds of things that work well with a hard sell: knives, peelers, dubious hair loss products that looked like spray paint, created a new twist rather than an invention per se and made them from cheap materials. These were then the subject of the archetypal infomercial, progenitor of the term O-matic and popularizer of the phrase ‘as seen on TV’.Popeil represents the quintessential salesman and as a result is seen with affection rather than derision, an iconic part of American popular culture and capitalism. Her are 9 videos of Popeil products.

9 ronco gadgets

Before there was Lego, there was the Erector Set. This was an altogether different type of toy that resembled genuine engineering construction with trusses and girders, rather than plastic, primary color pixelated, objects.Although Erector Sets are sold today, they are re-branded versions of a different toy. The original Gilbert sets were made from 1913 till 1967 and are an iconic toy for gadget aficionados that can be picked up relatively cheaply on Ebay. Here are 10 favorite vintage kits that are currently for sale.

vintage erector sets to buy

Zoetropes, Phenakistoscopes and Praxinoscopes were the machines that formed the basis of modern day movie making. Here are some movies of these amazing machines in action, complete with some great modern interpretations.

Movies of moving picture machines (videos)

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WTF is that? #10

June 22nd, 2009 #link

wtf

What is it, and what’s the story?



7 Responses to “WTF is that? #10”

  1. tutash Says:

    Cargo Cult. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_cult

  2. Seth McQuale Says:

    It’s a Cargo Cult totem. GIS for “cargo cult” and that picture is in the listings.

  3. Ken Says:

    It is a tribal representation of a plane. The tribe thinks of it as a god and is trying to copy it….

  4. Jan Says:

    Cargo Cult totem.
    Tribal is trying to lure in some planes carrying food.

    During WWII primitive tribes in asia noticed that US troops coming in planes always had to eat, but did not do agriculture at all.

  5. admin Says:

    Yup its a Cargo Cult plane – People from primitive societies sometimes believed that the sophisticated manufactured goods (cargo) from visiting cultures must have been magical gifts from the gods. So they built replicas. More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_cult

  6. Jim Barzydlo Says:

    Wiki entries notwithstanding… Several years ago there was a documentary about the stone monoliths on Easter Island. I believe the natives saw the plane of the documentary crew and constructed this effigy of it. It looks awfully familiar, I’m pretty sure that is where this particular picture comes from.

  7. art glock Says:

    GM’s new prototype