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Today, prosthetics are a world apart from these pre-digital age examples, using advanced robotic and cybernetic technologies and tools such as 3-d printers for mass customization. As such vintage prosthetics often have the particularly strange look which is both creepy and fascinating and accompanies technological obsolescence.Early prosthetic limbs date from ancient Egypt and Rome, however examples from the middle ages appear more regularly, being made of armor. The were later replaced by non articulated wooden prosthetics, of the caricature style normally worn by pirates. The tragically large number of amputees in the Napoleonic Wars led to the development of the ‘Clapper’, named after the sound made by its articulated toes which were controlled by artificial tendons. This prosthetic became the model for the ‘American Leg’ which was developed during the American Civil war. Wooden prosthetics were heavy and were not improved on till the development of lightweight alloys, during the first World War.

15 vintage prosthetic limbs

Something went very wrong in the 18th century. A 100 year long attempt to wear the most ridiculous artificial hair involved dandies sporting macaroni and culminated in Marie Antoinette’s utterly mad ship wig. The last vestige of this is the bizarre tradition of British and colonial judges who continue to don 300 year old clothing in a profession which is supposed to be rational.

preposterous 18th century wigs

LEDs have made ordinary flashlights much more interesting and diverse. From military grade ‘tactical illuminance’ that will strip paint off a wall at 600 yards, to teeny keychain brite-lights.We will constantly update this category with interesting or unusual finds.

18 flash flashlights

And you thought the matrix was fiction? Robots designed to access hostile areas such as radioactive areas are also used beneath the streets to clean or repair sewers or to lay cables. They were among the first things on the scene after 911 or Katrina and have a particular rugged beauty. Vote for your faves.

12 super sewer robots

As technology companies oozed slowly from San Jose to San Francisco, the architecture morphed from purely university campus, to a hybrid between this and a South of Market warehouse, complete with loft living accoutrements such as foosball tables. The new Facebook HQ is a perfect example of this, looking something like a Wholefoods, whereas Google looks more like the place full of plastic balls that you leave your kids when shopping at IKEA.

technology hq architecture

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WTF is that? #9

June 4th, 2009 #link

wtf

Its pretty clear what this is – an aircraft entombed in ice – but what is the story, where is it and how did it get there?



3 Responses to “WTF is that? #9”

  1. Ruben De Keyser Says:

    The Glacier Girl, a Lightning P-38, was one of eight American aircraft forced to land on Greenland in July 1942 on their way to England. Recovered in 1992

  2. el_Pedro Says:

    I remember seeing some footage that the recovery crew cleaned one of the .50cals and successfully fired it – might not have been that specific aircraft though.

  3. admin Says:

    @Ruben. Absolutely right, its the Glacier Girl, a plane that was en route to the UK during WWII when it became part of a ‘lost squadron’, crash landing in Greenland. The crew survived but the plane remained there and was buried under nearly 300 feet of ice, when it was found, half a century later.

    It was restored and finally made it to its destination 60 years late.