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Lighthouses are extreme and iconic buildings. Remote, intrinsically conspicuous and built to withstand extreme environments. For this list I’ve picked some interesting lighthouses themselves, such as the transparent latticework hyperboloid structure by Russian engineer Vladimir Shukhov or the haunting abandoned soviet nuclear powered polar lighthouses. In addition I’ve chosen some interesting elements from the giant fresnel lenses lamps to the traveling libraries that the predecessor to the US coastguard used to pass around to lighthouse keepers to keep their sanity.

the extreme architecture of lighthouses

Although the term galvanometer is often used to refer to things other than devices which measure electrical current (such as charge or resistance), there are an amazing array of early designs for this instrument, considering their simplicity.Many of these design differences are to do with the cases that surround what is basically a twisting wire, however there is something definitively analog in their mechanism and 19th century amateur scientist in their variety. Early galvanometers represent the extreme opposite of todays high energy physics, which requires giant multi billion dollar apparatuses and extreme digital processing for measurement. A long way off a compass and a battery.

different types of galvanometer

In this kind of space, no one can hear you scream. Anechoic chambers use spiked walls to eliminate echoes, the end result might literally sound dull but the visual effect can be stunning, such as at the enormous anechoic hangar. Vote for your faves.

Anechoic Chamber Architecture

After having spent most of the last month or so playing with our iPhones, we’ve reached saturation point, hankering after the good old days when a man was a man and a phone was a phone. So we’ve trawled ebay for the coolest examples of retro phones we can find.

10 coolest vintage phones

There is something inherently fascinating about survival kits. Here are some of our favorites, including those below ejector seats, some nicely designed kits from Japan and at Target, and those that we thought had interesting components. We will add to this list over time, send us suggestions of genuinely interesting or unusual, non-gimmick kits.

Survival Kits

Aside from a couple of custom versions that we couldn’t resist, the emphasis here is not on novelty but on design, since, as we believe these picks show, sidecars are a genuinely viable and interesting mode of transport.

15 splendid sidecars

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WTF is that? #6

May 8th, 2009 #link

wtf is that

Any guidance as to what this is? Answers in the comments

9 Responses to “WTF is that? #6”

  1. jason Says:

    its a nuclear weapon core

  2. nick Says:

    A robotic game of boules?

  3. Michiel Says:

    Looks a bit like a “diamond machine”, which they use to create artificial diamonds.

  4. Jeff Says:

    I think I recognize it as the core of the inertial guidance system of an ICBM. Thus the pun “guidance”…

  5. admin Says:

    @Jeff Correct! It is indeed the guidance system from a missile. There is a terrible beauty to it.

    It’s part of a very sinister photo series by Martin Miller of WMDs:

    Via the excellent, Darkroasted Blend:

  6. Brian Says:

    obviously, it’s a pokeball

  7. Glen Says:

    it is indeed a gyroscope but not out of an aircraft or missile. It is more than likely from a inertial navigation system from a sub or ship. In a sub there are usually 4 of these 2 in the front 2 in the back and gravity anomaly meters, and accelerometers near them. Any way they with these they can stay under water and know where they are with fairly good resolution. They do drift but even after a few weeks under water they still are with in a foot or so of where they really are. I saw the picture that is titled that it is from a MX Peacekeeper but the MX used Honeywell Ring Laser Gyros this is much older.

  8. Calvin Says:

    It sure looks like GLadDOS to me :-)
    If you don’t get this Portal joke, you can see it at

  9. Rex Says:

    That is a ring-laser gyro. The heart of an inertial navigation system used for ICBM’s