Hackaday Links: January 18, 2015

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A little while ago, we complained that there aren’t many projects using the Microview, a very cool Arduino and OLED thing that might be just too big for a ring. [Johannes] answered the call with a slot car track timer. He’s using an infrared distance sensor to count off lap times for his slot car track and a mini thermal printer to print out the times. Video right here.

Too many cables in your freshman college dorm room? Here’s the solution.

Our Internet travels frequently take us to strange auctions (we’re still looking for a US Mail truck, btw), but this one takes the cake. 24kt gold plates that were flown in space for five and a half years weighing 6,015.5 grams (212.191 oz). At the current price of $1277.06/oz, this auction should go for $270,980 USD. I’m 99% sure this was part of the Long Duration Exposure Facility, but I have no clue why this much gold was flown. Surely they could have done the same amount of science with only a hundred thousand dollars worth of gold, right?

So here’s this, but this isn’t your everyday, “put an Arduino in a vibrator” crowdfunding campaign. No, they actually have some great tutorials. Did you know that a stroke sensor looks like shag carpeting? [Scott] tells us, “I believe the founders are all graduate students getting PhDs in something or other, starting a sex toy company on the side.” More power to ’em.

Speaking of dildonics, the guy who coined that term will be giving one of the keynotes at the Vintage Computer Festival East this year. Yes, we’ll be there in full force.

14 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: January 18, 2015

  1. A little sleuthing turns up the info that the gold plates were used in a micrometeor experiment. I beleive it was this ( http://setas-www.larc.nasa.gov/PrISMtoHTML/data/Experiments/AO187-01.html ) experiment. the ductility and stability in space make gold the best material (at least at the time) to capture or otherwise record micrometeor impacts. More gold = more surface area to get data from. Besides, it’s only a temporary investment since they’re auctioning it back off.

    http://setas-www.larc.nasa.gov/PrISMtoHTML/data/Experiments/AO138-01.html is another candidate for the experiment they were used in.
    http://insideouterspace.net/2015/01/15/ has more info and pictures of the plates, but it doesn’t mention the experiment number.

  2. That lump of gold was only about $69,818 in 1984; if it was acquired ten years earlier (NASA takes a while to test things), about half that. Probably cost MUCH more than that to characterise fully it before launch.

    1. But not only did the price of gold go up, there is also something called deflation and economic crisis, and you can’t compare 1984 dollars with the current dollar.. Oh and the budget of NASA also changed.

  3. Remember that gold is measured in Troy ounces, not avoirdupois, so it’s only 193 ounces of the type that cost $1277 today, and cost a lot less back then.

    The old riddle, “which weighs more, a pound of feathers or a pound of gold?”; the answer is the feathers. A troy pound is only 12 troy ounces. (Troy ounces are bigger, but fewer per pound makes the pound smaller.)

    And everybody who isn’t from Myanmar, Liberia, or the USA is shaking their heads sadly. But in the past year the Euro has lost 13% vs the Myanmar Kyat or the Liberian or US Dollar, so the joke’s on you. Obviously the metric system was a mistake.

    But going into space is so expensive that, if you could convert lead to gold by flying it on the shuttle, you would have lost money doing that. When I worked at NASA, I saved money by making something out of gold. I also saved weight by making something out of lead.

    1. Euro has nothing to do with metric system.

      Comparing your country with Myanmar or Liberia (or USA, depends where you come from) is very sad.

      Apple still think they are right of not following the standards but everyone is pissed about them.

      The ones shaking their heads must be your child, having to deal with floating values when they want to make a cake or take measurements.

      1. You joke, but I imagine it’d be pretty easy to get it to read commands from tweets sent to an account. Hell, it would probably be possible to get it to read commands from cam site chat rooms if the models wanted to do it.

        1. I think the technology in such places is probably running behind the possibilities by quite a margin, and will continue to do so.

          And not just the sex industry of course, many commercial outfits use software that’s made available for sale and that software tends to be simple and generic and not too fancy, apart from DRM crap. And the same for hardware.

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