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Bank vaults comprise the most impressive fortresses ever built. Their giant mechanical doors are supreme gadgets, as large as a truck but built with the precision of a Swiss watch.Working vaults range from the New York Federal Reserve with 5000 tons of gold beneath Starbucks on the corner of Nassau St. to the giant doomsday project seed bank vault in the Arctic. Reconverted vaults are used for an amazing array of items such as underground farms, dry cleaned garment stores, wine cellars, radioactive material storage and restaurants. There are even bank vaults which have survived nuclear explosions in both Nevada and Hiroshima. Here is a collection of some of the most celebrated or unusual vaults in the world

bank vaults

Cheap hi-fis sometimes come with lots of flashing lights and buttons, sound terrible and are difficult to use. Expensive ones often to come with not much more than an on/off switch and volume control, and sound great.One of things that happens in a mature market is that people go for quality rather than quantity – what this means in technology is less features and better design. Apple is the first technology company to go mainstream with a minimalist, mature-market design ethos, but there are others. Here are our current favorite (non-Apple) minimalist gadgets. This is a chart that we will be continually updating, over time. Vote for your favorites:

21 non Apple minimalist gadgets

Whenever you see a picture of the ancient pyramids of Giza the view behind is of endless sweeping sands rather than the smog heavy skyline of downtown Cairo. Here we’ve collected some of the least flattering and depressing views of famous monuments or places, from the Stonhenge car park to the Starbucks in the Louvre. There are a couple of unlikely ones such as the Acropolis which in some ways is depressing from every angle, having been destroyed while used as a munitions dump, or the more preserved version of Trajan’s column which is hidden away in a London museum, with a janitor’s closet in its base. Vote for the worst.

9 depressing views of famous monuments

Aircraft factories are gargantuan, complicated and interesting.The Boeing Everett factory, where the Jumbo Jet was built and the Dreamliner is being built is the largest volume building in the world. It has a floor plan of 100 acres, enough to fit more than a thousand family houses inside, with doors that are the size of football pitches.Included alongside Everett are a variety of factory shots of famous planes from Concorde to the Virgin Galactic space craft, the Blackbird and the B2.The shots of wartime assembly lines, which churned out aircraft at a rate associated with car assembly in environments that look like computer rendering from video games lines, include the famous secret factory at Burbank which was hidden under a fake hillside.

aircraft factories

Although we previously did a list on diving helmets, the variety of strange diving outfits warranted another list. Having spent hours pouring through these to pick my favorites, it occurred to me that the inspiration for early science fiction robots and space suits, before the age of actual space travel, clearly comes from this pre-space age technology.Deep sea diving equipment needs to be solid and heavy it has a very different aesthetic from aviation and space equipment which needs to be light, so there is a market difference between the look of space things in science fiction, between the 50s and 60s.

12 diving suits

A nostalgic look at the prime or earliest examples of truly revolutionary gadgets. Keep sending us tips, and vote for the ones that impacted you most.

18 world changing gadgets

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WTF is That! Friday

April 10th, 2009 #link

wtf

As usual – the game is to say what (TF) is going on here. In some ways this is better left as a mystery, since the image is so odd.



9 Responses to “WTF is That! Friday”

  1. smutter Says:

    Its a device to continously feed porno directly into your eyes> Used by the CIA since 1972.

  2. joe Says:

    Is that Larry Flynt?

  3. asimmons Says:

    Its an ‘eyes in the back of the head’ rear view vision system for teachers.

  4. Ryan Says:

    Some sort of aerodynamic wind tunnel for military helmets… (why)

    Doesnt explain the metal shit stuck to his face though.

  5. Chris Says:

    Impact tester for military helmets to find out the survivability of IUD s and other shrapnel creating devices.

  6. Mel Phistopheles Says:

    Haven’t you people read 1984? It’s the torture cage that made Winston betray Julia. The rats go in the tubes at the one end, and…….

  7. Indiefab Says:

    Chris was close. Its a sweat simulator for military helmets to design more comfortable padding. Here’s the Oregon State website: http://oregonstate.edu/dept/ncs/newsarch/2007/Mar07/helmet.html

    As usual, I cheat. It was the second image result on Google using “military helmet wind tunnel”.

  8. admin Says:

    Good work, Indiefab. Spot on.

  9. Rb. Says:

    One-man cone of silence!