Hackaday Links: December 18, 2016

You can fly a brick if it has offset mass and you can fly a microwave because it breaks the law of the conservation of momentum. A paper on the EM Drive was recently published by the Eagleworks team, and the results basically say, ‘if this works, it’s a terrible thruster that shouldn’t work’. Experts have weighed in, but now we might not have to wait for another test in the Eagleworks lab: China will fly an EM Drive on their space station. Will it work? Who knows.

The ESP32 is just now landing on workbenches around the globe, and already a few people are diving into promiscuous mode and WiFi packet injection.

The Large Hadron Collider is the most advanced piece of scientific apparatus ever built. It produces tons of data, and classifying this data is a challenge. The best pattern recognition unit is between your ears, so CERN is crowdsourcing the categorization of LHC data.

Holy crap this is cyberpunk. [SexyCyborg] created a makeup palette pen testing device thing out of a Rasberry Pi and a few bits and bobs sitting around in a parts drawer. The project is cool, but the photolog of the finished project is awesome. It’s exactly what you would use to break into the Weyland-Yutani database while evading government operatives on the rooftops of Kowloon Walled City before escaping via grappling hook shot into the belly of a spaceplane taking off.

The Mini NES is Nintendo’s most successful hardware offering since the N64. This tiny device, importantly packaged in a minified retro NES enclosure, is out of stock everywhere. That doesn’t matter because now there’s a mini Genesis. The cool kids had a Genesis. You want to be a cool kid, right? Mortal Kombat was better on the Genesis.

The Arduino (what once was two is again one) launched a new vowel-hating model: MKRZero. The narrow board is powered by USB or LiPo, centers around an Atmel SAMD21 Cortex-M0+ chip, and sports both an I2C breakout header and a microSD card slot. Just watch those levels as these pins are not 5v tolerant.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science is holding a Scientific Maker Exhibit during its annual meeting. This type of exhibit isn’t a poster or presentation — it’s just some table space and a chance to show off a 3D printed apparatus, a new type of sensor, equipment, or some other physical thing. Details in this PDF. This is actually cooler than it sounds, and a significant departure from the traditional poster or presentation found at every other scientific conference.

Did you know Hackaday has a retro edition made specifically for old computers connected to the Internet? That’s my baby, and it’s time for a refresh. If you have any feature requests you’d like to see, leave a note in the comments.

Win an Internship at CERN Openlab

Have you ever wanted to visit CERN, or maybe even work there? Well guess what — one of the prizes for the Intel Modern Code Developer Challenge 2015 is a trip to CERN — and another one for a 9 week internship there!

The CERN and Intel sponsored competition is looking for a bright young developer (you must be a student) to improve the performance of the code used to simulate brains — specifically to simulate the growth of cells in the cerebral cortex. It’s called the Human Green Brain Project.

In this Challenge, you’ll be working with this code to improve its runtime performance, so researchers can make life-changing scientific breakthroughs faster.  Download the code, optimize it, and submit it to the Challenge.  The students who submit the fastest optimized code will win the prizes and help accelerate science – that could be you!

Improve it, and you’re literally accelerating science and research discovery. Oh — and you’ll get a chance to visit or work at the CERN OpenLab. What are you waiting for? Go enter!

[Thanks for the tip David!]

Caption CERN Contest – All Good Things…

Week 25 of the Caption CERN Contest is complete. Thanks to all the entrants who tried to figure out exactly what is going on with this scientist and his strange box. We’re still just as confused (and amused) as you are. He definitely is focused on the box and whatever is in there.

So, without further adieu, here are the winners of this week’s contest:

The Funnies:

  • “On the slim chance my invention does not go down in history. I hope no one makes a Schrodinger’s cat joke about it.” – [masterdurr]
  • “Step one, you cut a hole in the box” – [FuzzyNegguts]
  • “here is a rare shot of CERNs artificial heart prototype. Due to its size, it was only installed in whales. And badgers. I don’t know how, but somehow badgers.” – [jakewisher125]

This week’s winner is [Jack Laidlaw] with  “At Cern you have to be careful when having fun with the new guy, John was sent for a bucket of steam and only reappeared 6 months later with this contraption.” Jack is a web designer based in Scotland. He’s an avid fan of electronics, and is going to be getting a hands on course with his new Teensy 3.1 from The Hackaday Store!

A bit of a break

After 25 great weeks of the Caption CERN Contest, it’s time to take a bit of a break. The Hackaday Prize competition is really heating up, along with plenty of other work here at Hackaday HQ. I’ve said it each week, but I have to give one more big thank you to all the folks who have entered and made this a great contest. It’s been a pleasure to read the captions every week and to award the prizes to all the top captions. The science and fun don’t end here though – There are plenty of images in CERN’s archives waiting to be discovered. Take some time and browse through. You won’t regret it!

Finally, I’d just like to say don’t forget to document your own work, and take notes on what each image contains. Be it on Hackaday.io, on Github, or even on your own drive. Otherwise you might see your own hacks in the next incarnation of the Caption CERN Contest!

Caption CERN Contest – What’s In The Box?

Week 24 of the Caption CERN Contest was one for the books. There were so many good captions that we had a hard time picking a winner! Thank you to everyone who wrote up a caption and entered the contest. We still don’t know quite what this device was. Our best guess is a coil from a beam line. Some creative positioning and camera focus sure turned it into a conversation piece though!

The Funnies:

  • “I am the Face of Boe. Has anyone seen the Doctor?.” – [jonsmirl]
  • “CERN’s brief attempt into the consumer “Pro” audio market. They lost out to the competitions because they didn’t use unidirectional oxygen free copper wires that are blessed by the Tibetan monks. They might be the expert with super conductor magnets, but one hard lesson they have learnt is that you can’t spell consumer without the “con” part.” – [K.C. Lee]
  • “Go ahead pick up the operating tool!! For your first task remove the patient’s tooth for 10 points. But beware!!! there’s the 10,000K volt charge if you touch the sides!! Enjoy!!!” – [EngineerAfterLunchTime]

This week’s winner is [surubarescu] with “Prototype of the sextuple face electric razor was a complete technical success, but it never went into full production due to some raised (then lost) eyebrows.” Enjoy your new Teensy 3.1 from The Hackaday Store, [surubarescu]!

Week 25

cern-25-smWe’re not kidding when we say CERN scientists and engineers really get into their work. Check out this CERN scientist looking down at his… uh, experiment. We’re not sure exactly what this device is. There is a sealed chamber, but is it a vacuum, or some sort of specialized atmosphere for the research this scientist is working on? Either way, he seems very interested in whatever is happening inside this box!

So what’s happening here? High energy physics, or some new coffee maker? You tell us!

This week’s prize is once again a Teensy 3.1 from The Hackaday Store. Add your humorous caption as a comment to this project log. Make sure you’re commenting on the contest log, not on the contest itself.

As always, if you actually have information about the image or the people in it, let CERN know on the original image discussion page.

Caption CERN Contest – Smile!

Week 23 of the Caption CERN Contest has been laid to rest. Thanks to all the entrants who stopped by to pay their respects and leave captions for the dearly departed SC-1. CERN engineers and scientists are a crafty bunch, so we’re betting that SC-1’s spirit (and many if its components) lived on in newer CERN projects. We have to thank CERN’s unnamed photographer for capturing these events. It’s always great to see the people and the personalities behind the science.

The Funnies:

  • “After many years of ignoring the pitiful meows, it was finally determined that Schrödinger’s cat was, in fact, dead.” – [Josh Kopel]
  • “We gather here to mourn the deaths of all those brave and noble components that left this world surrounded by magic smoke to reside forever in great the parts bin in the sky.” – [Kid Iccurus]
  • “CERN’s annual Halloween parade was a huge disappointment that year, which was probably due to the fact that they held it in June.” – [DainBramage]

This week’s winner is [Scott Galvin] with “Services were held today for SC-1. SC1’s life ended earlier
this week after a devastating head on collision” Scott describes himself as “Just a visiting Geek with dreams of universal domination”. We’d suggest you start small, [Scott]. Maybe dominating a Bluetooth personal area network with your new LightBlue Bean from The Hackaday Store is just what you need to set your plans in motion!

Week 24

cern-24-smThe scientists at CERN always take a personal stake in their work. Pushing mankind’s knowledge of science and high energy physics takes a special breed of person. Thankfully this special breed always seems to have a fun side as well. Here we see a CERN scientist posing behind a … a device. It looks to be some kind of coil or beam line part, though the actual use is thus far a mystery even to CERN’s own staff. We do know this photo was taken in June of 1973, the same month as one of the longest solar eclipses on record – over 7 minutes of totality! Was this part of some CERN solar experiment? Could it have been a section of a particle accelerator? Was this scientist just working on his latest art project – perhaps part of a dodecagon exploration? You be the judge!

This week’s prize is a Teensy 3.1 from The Hackaday Store. Add your humorous caption as a comment to this project log. Make sure you’re commenting on the contest log, not on the contest itself. As always, if you actually have information about the image or the people in it, let CERN know on the original image discussion page.

CAPTION CERN CONTEST – Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend

The tangled web woven by Week 22 of the Caption CERN Contest has come to a close. It’s been another bumper week with 112 comments. Thank you to everyone who submitted a caption! We realize it may have been hard for some of the network engineers out there to type through their tears, but thank you for persevering! While we don’t know exactly what these two CERN scientists were wiring up, [rwells97] did figure out that the scope in the image is most likely a Tektronix 545/A, which was a popular scope back in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The weight on a beast like that was around 70 lbs!

The Funnies:

  • “Dude, this one’s full of wires too! Every single one of these is full of wires! Why would anyone need so many wires? What in the name of God were they DOING down here?” – [The Green Gentleman]
  • “Getting to blinky” required a whole lot more work then the engineers realized…” – [Kieran Paulger]
  • “I think I lost an electron back here, Bob. I’m positive.” – [Christine Hampton]

This week’s winner is [alan] with “Daft Punk was actually two of CERN’s best acoustics researchers prior to forming the band. Here they are after hours working on the track that would later be named ‘Da Funk'”. [Alan] is a Computer Science PhD candidate with focus on computational biology, specifically population genomics. Hopefully he has some hardware in the mix somewhere, because we’re sending him a Stickvise from The Hackaday Store!

Week 23

cern-23-smSomething a bit different this week. CERN is probably best known for the various particle accelerators they’ve had over the years. One of the first units was synchrocyclotron SC-1, which operated from 1957 to 1974. According to the album page on CERN’s servers, SC-1’s last day of operation was celebrated with a funeral procession. Scientists, and staff walked the grounds with flowers, top hats, and even a shrouded coffin. We can all related to decommissioning a well-worn piece of equipment. Be it a computer, a machine tool, or even a synchrocyclotron, there are always the mixed feelings of thanks that it did a good job, and relief that it will no longer need to be maintained.

Even though we have a pretty good idea of what’s going on in this image, we’re going to caption it anyway! Give us your best captions of what you think is really going on here! This week’s prize is a LightBlue Bean from The Hackaday Store. Add your humorous caption as a comment to this project log. Make sure you’re commenting on the contest log, not on the this post. As always, if you actually have information about the image or the people in it, let CERN know on the original image discussion page.

Caption CERN Contest – Cut the Black Wire

Week 21 of the Caption CERN Contest is now history. It’s been a great week of captions, so as always a huge thank you goes out to everyone who entered. We still have no idea what these two CERN scientists were working on. Lenses, switches, and a giant glass screen which could have anything behind it. It’s a tough one. But what we lack in facts, you all made up for in humor.

The Funnies:

  • “I spy with my quantum eye, something with a 75% probability of being spin up!”- [bbarrett90]
  • “Preping the Voight-Kampff set up, they have learnt from their unfortunately predecessors that a mirrored bullet proof glass between them and the upset replicant subject might be a good idea.” -[K.C. Lee]
  • “Mary and Steve swore that they were going to be the ones to win this year’s where’s Waldo competition, unfortunately they lost to the guys in the next lab with an SEM.” – [TrollinTeemo]

This week’s winner is [Lou] with “CERNs early attempts at a retina scanner were a bit cumbersome and time consuming. You had to get to work 20 minutes early just to get past the security check.” Lou’s bio is “Test engineer with Mechanical background who likes to tear things apart”. We bet he’s going to enjoy using his new Teensy 3.1 from The Hackaday Store to build something new with all the parts he has left over from teardowns!

Week 22

cern-22-smHoly cable gore, Batman! This image may make a network engineer or IT person weep, but it was business as usual back in the early days of CERN. 14 racks of equipment, with coaxial cables running everywhere. Let’s hope all those patches are connected to the correct ports! What were these two CERN scientists working on? It’s up to you to tell us as CERN has lost the records!

While you’re working on your captions, check out the old oscilloscope the standing scientist is using. Scope carts used to be necessary. Today all but the most powerful oscilloscopes weigh in at under 10 pounds.

This week’s prize is a Stickvise from The Hackaday Store. Add your humorous caption as a comment to this project log. Make sure you’re commenting on the contest log, not on the contest itself. As always, if you actually have information about the image or the people in it, let CERN know on the original image discussion page.

Good Luck!