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oobject: 'daily user-ranked gadget lists'
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

Diving bells were originally just that - an upturned church bell with enough trapped air to stand in while reclaiming things from shipwrecks in relatively shallow water. As such the engraving of Edmund Halley's 18th century diving bell is one of my favorite images on oobject, because it shows gadgetry from an age prior to machines. There's a guy walking around the sea floor in what looks more like a velvet courtier's outfit that a divers suit. This list is a collection of images of diving bells that evoke that same sort of weirdness, as best I could find

9 diving bells

From a skyscraper's lights that can be controlled by passers by, to the legendary rock set design of Mark Fisher and Jonathan Park here are some examples of the worlds largest screens. Vote for your faves.

20 giant screens

Pocket sundials can be over 1000 years old, arguably making them the world's first watches - and with no moving parts to break. Typically they were carried by shepherds, where there are a variety of designs, from the French Pillar Sundial to the Tibetan Time Stick.

12 Pocket Sundials

Giant centrifuges are used to test whether fighter pilots or astronauts can deal with extreme G forces, pilots having 3 chances to survive a 15 second 6G test to be able to qualify. Here are some videos of the results of the effects of these tests up to 10G and on a range of suspects from pilots to Iron Maiden's lead singer.

12 centrifuge gforce test videos

Russian oligarch, Roman Abramovich donated money for a giant tunneling machine to build a tunnel between Russia and Sarah Palin's house, when he was governor of the adjacent region to Alaska. The Wikipedia entry for Tunneling Machines and the entry for Civil Engineers in the UK Yellow Pages have something in common, they both read: 'see boring'. Doubly ironic, since boring is one of the most interesting projects for civil engineers, and the machines used to do the job are spectacular. The set here includes a variety of shield tunnel boring machines, TBMs, including those for celebrated projects such as Yucca mountain or the Channel Tunnel. Perhaps the most ironic of all is the Air Force TBM, a machine for digging deep underground, owned by the people who defend the skies.

20 interesting boring machines

An Alarm clock is one of those gadgets that is simple enough to warrant a thousand different design variants. Here are the ones we consider most innovative or fun.Be awoken by a muezzin or a drill sargent and switch off by feeding money, doing a puzzle, diffusing a bomb, stepping on scales or grabbing a swinging pendant. We've included everything here except the Clocky, which you can see on a hundred thousand other blogs. Vote for your faves.

15 big fun alarm clocks

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WTF is That? #7

May 15th, 2009 link to (permalink)

mystery object


What is this, what does it do? Can I have one for my birthday?


Answers in the comments



11 Responses to “WTF is That? #7”

  1. jeremy Says:

    Looks like some kind of giant solenoid.

  2. louis Says:

    Nuclear Fission Reaction?

  3. louis Says:

    No its nuclear fussion!

  4. louis Says:

    heres more info

    largest superconducting stellarator in the world
    This Japanese fusion research device consists of intertwined coils of superconducting material, and is designed to contain a 100-million-degree nuclear fusion plasma. The research aims to solve the many engineering challenges that must be overcome in order for fusion reactors to produce more energy than they consume.

  5. james Says:

    pretty cool guy louis

  6. admin Says:

    @louis

    Yes! Its the ‘Large Helical Device’.

    What I find interesting is that it demonstrates that the extreme engineering requirements of high energy physics can produce objects which are more beautiful than most product design, and without any deliberate aesthetic intent.

    More here: http://www.lhd.nifs.ac.jp/en/

  7. John Says:

    @admin

    It’s a purely functional expression of mathematics based upon the natural world. Two things we already know to be beautiful in their superficial simplicity and fascinating in their deep complexities.

    When everything is in its place for a reason and based around nature you inevitably end up with something inspiring, i think.

  8. robert Says:

    Oddly reminiscent of a nightmare I once had, except it was all in constant motion!!!

  9. robert Says:

    Actually, the Japanese Large Helical Device…

  10. Dave Says:

    Looks like an air conditioning system designed by H. R. Geiger…

  11. Sullivan Says:

    That is beautiful!

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