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oobject: 'daily user-ranked gadget lists'
For sheer baroque complexity of appearance, planetarium projectors are among the most amazing gizmos ever built. They range from enormous machines more than 20 ft. high to a soccer ball sized $300 home version.Their purpose is a bizarre reversal of a large optical telescope, taking an internal view of the the universe and projecting it on a dome, rather than creating a view from peering outside of one, but the aesthetic is somewhat similar. Another curious similarity is how much they look like some early satellites.Our personal favorites are the original Zeiss, Mark I and the truly amazing machine built by the Korkosz brothers for the, appropriately named, Seymour Planetarium.

16 incredible planetarium projectors

Some of the amazing projects recently built or currently under construction in China’s rival cities. We have tried to pick links to the latest state of construction where possible. What is emerging is a distinct stylistic difference, Shanghai is about glitz while Beijing scores on architectural innovation, although this largely due to the Olympics and the role of Beijing as the capital.While the Arabian peninsula has overtaken the US in raw architectural point scoring (not one New York skyscraper will make the top ten tallest there within a couple of years), China is producing buildings on both a scale and quality that now far exceeds the US.

Shanghai vs Beijing architectural bakeoff

American monuments hit the sweet spot between being young enough to have been photographed while being built, but old enough that few people can remember them not being there. Because of this an entire legacy can be viewed as it was while it was being created. From the D.C Capitol building, which ironically, slaves helped to build during the Civil War, to the Statue of Liberty, which was built in France, the forgotten train Grand Central train shed, the Empire State building when it was two storeys high or the Hollywood sign before it read Hollywood, here are our picks of America’s most famous monuments while they were being built.

american monuments under construction

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 original British Secret Service headquarters was just that, secret. But the increase in importance of electronics meant that it was more important for a building to be invisible to electronic eavesdropping. as such the current M16 HQ in London is about as obvious a giant sign saying ‘secret building here’, yet it is enclosed in a giant Faraday cage to protect its communications.Not all Intelligence agencies have had a discrete architectural past, Franco’s House of Screams, or the Soviet Lubyanka are demonstrably terrifying. Mossad’s HQ, until the 60s or the current Australian Secret Intelligence Service look quite modest compared to the hardly known Ministry of National Security of Azerbaijan, which houses its intelligence service, in a large and monolithic building of dramatic proportions.

15 images of not so secret secret service buildings

Heart rate monitors connected to an ink plotted graph are a staple of movies and TV and they usually come in beautiful portable versions by companies such as Lafayette Systems, making them a classic spy suitcase gadget.Polygraph lie detectors are widely believed to be useless quackery, no more effective than a Scientology Dianetics machine, but they are commonly used by law enforcement and government agencies, usually in the US and are an anachronistic cultural legacy of the cold war.Today, the classic analog polygraph is being replaced by much less interesting computer versions.

10 Vintage Analog Lie Detectors

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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:
    http://www.photographyserved.com/Gallery/Weapons-of-Mass-Destruction/56260

    Via the excellent, Darkroasted Blend: http://www.darkroastedblend.com/2009/03/how-to-destroy-world-with-scientific.html

  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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgP4kT5-9Cc

  9. Rex Says:

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