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Bridge layers have to be about the closest thing in the real world to a Transformer, giant fold up, extendable instantly deployable bridges that are most often fixed to modified tanks. They have been around since tanks first existed, during WW1, and are one of the more bizarre and obscure forms of military hardware. There is also something incredibly circular about a vehicle that carries its own road.

12 mobile bridges

While we trawl though the web, we invariably find extremely interesting things that don't fit into any particular list we are working on. Every so often we'll release a list of out favorites, starting from today. Vote for your favorite for this month.

miscellany october 08

The first in a two part list. Here are a series of strange and unusual bus stops, including those with domestic or air conditioned interiors, odd structures and a variety of innovative integral advertising.

bus stops as art

You too can ruin your kids childhood, by making their happy smiley toys sound like Stephen Hawking or a bad Radiohead cover. Fitter Happier Stronger.Circuit bent Furbys are currently all the rage, however, all manner of kids toys have been circuit bent and modified, from classic Texas speak and spell machines, to a device called feces farm. Vote for your faves.

top circuit bent kids toys (videos)

Magic Lanterns are essentially pre-electric slide projectors. They hold a unique position in the history of gadgets, being popular at the end of the nineteenth century when cheap mass produced decoration became available. They represent one of the last machines to be designed like furniture rather than gadgets.The dirty little secret of design is that good taste equals expensive - when everybody could afford decoration, minimalist design with expensive materials became a way to display wealth (the early modernist, Barcelona pavilion had stainless steel columns, onyx walls and travertine floors) contrary to legend, modernism was originally product for the elite, not the masses.Magic Lanterns are pre-modernist, richly decorated items that are very different from the design of todays gadgets, which look like their design is dictated by function, but in reality (like an expensive Porsche designed to travel at speeds which it is illegal to do so) is dictated by a fetishized culture of the machine.

12 Magic Lanterns

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:

a visual history of video recorders

Attempts by architects to create utopian communities usually have one distinguishing feature - they are not utopian and they fail. As such, they make great settings for dystopic fiction, such as the slightly kitsch and creepy Portmeirion in the Kafkaesque Prisoner TV series or Seaside, Florida in the Truman show.Some uptopias have been built and failed, such as Soleri's semi-inhabited Arcosanti and some were only half realized, such as Disney's Progress City, which ended up being watered down as Epcot. But possibly the most insane of all is Le Corbusier's utopian vision for Paris which consisted of bulldozing the city of lights and replacing it with what resembles the worst projects in the South Bronx. It says a lot for the profession that the vision of arguably the world's most famous architect was to destroy what is arguably the world's most beautiful architecture.

9 utopian architectural projects

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wtf is that? #16

October 22nd, 2009 link to (permalink)


There is a whole history behind these things – what’s it all about?

16 Responses to “wtf is that? #16”

  1. admin Says:

    BTW, this is difficult. If nobody gets close, I’ll post a clue later.

  2. Bradley Says:

    I’m going to guess it’s some kind of signal generator like a Wein Bridge Oscillator. I’d have a better guess if I could read the dials, but then that would be too easy.

  3. thomas Says:

    it’s some kind of radiation detector. Or maybe it measures it?

  4. Todd Says:

    It’s a Dr. Pepper can. Geez, that one was easy.

  5. admin Says:

    OK, the clue is that this machine could in theory work as well if it were made of paper.

  6. olaf Says:

    Ok, I think this device is some kind of medical-placebo. Connected to the machine it is easy for me to imagine a “energy” floating through my body if the doctor plays very serious with the buttons.

  7. tony d Says:

    Is this an early Scientology E-meter?

  8. admin Says:

    @tonyd – that’s getting warm, although these devices could look be anything, not just an E-meter. This is just one example.

  9. supermarketsong Says:

    A vintage fake ikea decoration item? :p

  10. supermarketsong Says:

    A vintage ikea fake decoration item? :p

  11. ยต_d Says:

    looks like a real life reproduction of an item from the game bioshock…

  12. Albedo Says:

    Quack medicine… A violet ray machine minus its wands?

  13. Albedo Says:

    OK, maybe not a violet ray machine.. An ECT machine? A control panel from a Ring-King Junior?

  14. biziclop Says:

    Is it a movie prop?

  15. xoxoxoBruce Says:

    That’s the meter L Ron Hubbard used to prove plants feel pain.

  16. admin Says:

    OK – like I say this one is extremely tricky.

    Its one of the few images around of a Hieronymous machine, a hypothetical device which works by ‘analogy’. In other words, the idea is that you build something that looks like a working machine and it can behave like the real thing through the power of the mind. It s a sort of sci-fi equivalent of cargo cult objects.

    The reason this WTF is so tricky is that because this is insane and because the devices don’t have to work in the conventional sense, they can look like anything. A Hieronymous machine could look like the device above, which is a genuine attempt, or a paper cutout.

    Nonetheless, its a fun and weird concept.

  17. biziclop Says:

    It’s not just insane, it’s patented!

Have you an opinion, used or been to this object or place? Tell us what you like don't like about it, or post any specs/info about it: