Illustrated Kristina with an IBM Model M keyboard floating between her hands.

Keebin’ With Kristina: The One With The Breadboard Macropad

For their first custom, hand-wired keyboard, [terryorchard] aka [70rch] didn’t want to mess with making a total split, and we don’t really blame them. However, as you can see, they ended up with a monoblock split, which aside from being our own personal preference, looks fantastic, and also happened to be what fit on the print bed.

What you’re looking at is a 40% remix of the Alice layout with a columnar stagger. It’s also a bit 6×3 Corne-inspired on the ergonomic front. Brain-wise, it’s got an exposed Elite Pi driving a matrix of Kailh Choc pinks and an EC11 encoder. The encoder scrolls by default, and then becomes a volume knob on the numbers and symbols layer. One super cool thing about this keyboard is the secret third layer, which is unlocked by pressing the rotary encoder. This leads to some home row mods and disables the outside columns, culminating in a test 3×5 with two layers.

Via KBD #112

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Developing Warp Drive Might Take Antifreeze

In Star Trek, dilithium crystals — whatever those are — are critical to the operation of a starship’s warp drives. But a Texas professor thinks he can make a baby step towards a warp drive using ethylene glycol, which is commonly found in antifreeze.

While superluminal travel has been regarded as impossible for many years, recent work has suggested ways we might be able to circumvent the light-speed barrier. Unfortunately, all of these mathematical theories require energy and types of matter that we don’t know how to create yet. But [Dr. Chance Glen] believes that by shaping the energy in a specific way through a dielectric, the math can work out so that there’s no exotic negative energy required.

The experiment involves shooting RF energy into an antifreeze container and using a laser interferometer to detect gravity waves.  Of course, that will involve some very sensitive measurements to account for other tiny perturbations that might give false readings. As we’ve seen in the past, that’s a task easier said than done.

Does this make sense? Beats us. Our physics and math are too out of date to make a good guess about how much of this is real and how much is hype. Of course, if he does detect gravity waves, that will get us as close to warp drive as the invention of the telegraph got us to cell phones. Then again, you have to start somewhere.

If you want to know more about the state of rocket engines, including the nascent possibility of warp drives, we’ve discussed that before. Incidentally, if you think the experiment sounds a bit like the the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), you aren’t wrong.

Model Train Delivers Fresh Coffee

Model trains are good fun, though few of them serve any purpose beyond amusement or authentic railway simulation. [ProjectAir] decided to put his model train to practical use by having it deliver fresh espresso, and faced plenty of difficult challenges along the way.

It sounds simple, but the practicalities of the task proved difficult. After all, even a slight wobble is enough to tip a coffee cup off a small train. Automating everything from the railway itself to the kitchen coffee machine was no mean feat either. Plus, the aim was to deliver coffee from a downstairs kitchen up to an upstairs office. This meant finding a way to get the train to climb a steep staircase and to carry the coffee over a 20-meter journey without losing the caffeinated beverage in the process. That required the construction of a fancy train elevator to do the job — an impressive accomplishment on its own.

The final system is a joy to watch. Having a train roll into the upstairs workshop with a fresh brew certainly beats having to go all the way downstairs for a cup. Just don’t think about the fact that moving the coffee machine upstairs might have been a quicker solution.

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