Tag Archives | DIY

Amateur Rocket Launch Reaches 121,000 Feet (Video)

The U.S. government considers anyone who travels 264,000 feet above the ground as an astronaut. So, this rocket did pretty good. The video is more telling, quite the backyard project:

Led by Derek Deville, the rocketeers launched their custom-built 26 ft. (8 meter) Qu8k (pronounced “Quake”) rocket on September 30, 2011 from the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. It reached an altitude of 121,000 feet (36,880 meter) in 92 seconds, at speeds of 2,185 mph (3,516 km/h).

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UK Family Faces Jail Or Eviction From Farm For Living ‘Off The Grid’

2971416The Mason family purchased an abandoned orchard and moved out of public housing. Their self-sustaining lifestyle has baffled local authorities however, who have ordered them to give up their property or face jail time. This Is Devon writes:

A family living an “off-grid” lifestyle say they face prison unless they move from their own land in Willand and return to a [regular] existence. Stig and Dinah Mason bought Muxbeare Orchard after a sudden windfall allowed them to quit their impoverished lives on a Hertfordshire council estate two years ago.

The Masons have transformed what they described as a derelict four-acre plot into a haven of self-sufficiency boasting a 400 sq m allotment, a polytunnel and greenhouses to grow fruit and vegetables, chickens for egg production and an orchard they have regenerated by planting around 14 new apple trees of various species. Dinah was bequeathed money from the sudden death of her aunt and £47,000 was spent on the land to create the smallholding where wood burners and solar panels provide their energy needs.

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Using A 30-Year-Old Computer For Today’s Functions

In PCWorld, Benj Edwards explains how he booted up a dusty 1981 IBM 5150 and attempted to perform typical 21st century computing duties on it. The 5150 fared pretty well at most essential tasks, including lolcat browsing (below left) and Twitter (below right). The lesson being, perhaps, that we should try to do more with less? And that today’s consumer-market computers can’t hold a candle to classic models in regards to appearance and style. The old ones even have ports for hooking up cassette tape players:

Despite the malfunctioning RAM, the machine seemed to work well. The 5150 contains, as the Apple II did, a full version of BASIC in ROM that loads right up if you don’t boot from a disk.

Targeted mostly at computers without floppy drives (the lowest-priced 5150 sold with 16KB of RAM and no drives), this version of BASIC could save programs only to cassette tapes.

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Internet Billionaire Wants to Create ‘Libertarian’ Islands

Freedom IslandVia the NY Daily News:

Peter Thiel has made his fortune by being part of the next big thing: He was a co-founder of Paypal and one of the early investors of Facebook. But a new Details profile sums up his new plans: “Forget startup companies. The next frontier is startup countries.”

Thiel has donated $1.25 million to the Seasteading Institute, the brainchild of Patri Friedman, a former Google engineer and grandson of economist Milton Friedman. Here’s the gist: creation of libertarian, sovereign nations built on oil-rig-type platforms anchored in international waters and free from the laws and moral codes of any other country.

Plans for the prototype include a movable, diesel-powered 12,000-ton structure that could house 270 residents. The goal would be to eventually link hundreds of the structures together. Friedman’s timeline is to launch offices off San Francisco next year, get a full-time settlement within seven years and eventually diplomatic recognition from the UN.

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Swede Arrested After Attempting To Build Nuclear Reactor In His Kitchen

nukes31-year-old Richard Handl tried to engage in nuclear fission at home using radioactive materials purchased on eBay. He blogged charmingly about his exploits via the site Richard’s Reactor before being detained by authorities. (At right is a “tiny nuclear meltdown” which occurred on his stove top.) The New York Times reports:

A Swedish man who was arrested after trying to split atoms in his kitchen said Wednesday he was only doing it as a hobby.

Richard Handl told The Associated Press that he had the radioactive elements radium, americium and uranium in his apartment in southern Sweden when police showed up and arrested him on charges of unauthorized possession of nuclear material.

The 31-year-old Handl said he had tried for months to set up a nuclear reactor at home and kept a blog about his experiments, describing how he created a small meltdown on his stove.

Only later did he realize it might not be legal and sent a question to Sweden’s Radiation Authority, which answered by sending the police.

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How To Destroy Your Laptop In A Pinch

1Attention cyber criminals, subversives, and ne’er-do-wells: place this handy sticker in the correct spot on your computer, just in case. Via DesignTaxi:

Your laptop, with all its sensitive data and/or ill-gotten gains, is about to be confiscated by the authorities, who are banging on the door. There’s no time to reformat it—you’ve got to destroy it, fast. This sticker will help you do just that, provided you’ve a drill by your side. (And which self-respecting cyber criminal wouldn’t?)

Meant to be placed directly above your laptop’s hard disk, the sticker sports a crosshair with which you can accurately destroy any digital evidence the cops are after.

Randy Sarafan, who created the stickers, advises to “research the build of your laptop and locate the position of your hard drive…The hard drive should look like a rectangular box with a centered circle somewhere upon it,” he said.

Stick the sticker’s drill guide slightly off center of the hard drive (see first image below) so that you’ll drill the platters instead of the motor.

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Mexican Drug Lords Building DIY ‘Tanks’ (Video)

Spencer Ackerman writes in WIRED’s Danger Room:

How ill are the Mexican drug wars getting? The drug cartels are building their own armored trucks.

Rival drug gangs are playing around with really serious military hardware, including .50 caliber machine guns and grenades. At least some of them figured out an armoring solution for the uptick in firepower: armoring. Chop shops add inch-thick steel plates to a standard truck chassis like that of a Ford F-150. At least 100 of the so-cold “El Monstruo” monster trucks have been discovered by Mexican security officials this spring, with the most recent two found this weekend.

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MI6 Hacks Online Al-Qaeda Magazine Swapping Bomb Recipes For Cupcake Recipes

Photo: Joy (CC)

Photo: Joy (CC)

This is quite a sweet hack. The Telegraph reports:

The cyber-warfare operation was launched by MI6 and GCHQ in an attempt to disrupt efforts by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsular to recruit “lone-wolf” terrorists with a new English-language magazine, the Daily Telegraph understands.

When followers tried to download the 67-page colour magazine, instead of instructions about how to “Make a bomb in the Kitchen of your Mom” by “The AQ Chef” they were greeted with garbled computer code.

The code, which had been inserted into the original magazine by the British intelligence hackers, was actually a web page of recipes for “The Best Cupcakes in America” published by the Ellen DeGeneres chat show.

Written by Dulcy Israel and produced by Main Street Cupcakes in Hudson, Ohio, it said “the little cupcake is big again” adding: “Self-contained and satisfying, it summons memories of childhood even as it’s updated for today’s sweet-toothed hipsters.”

It included a recipe for the Mojito Cupcake – “made of white rum cake and draped in vanilla buttercream”- and the Rocky Road Cupcake – “warning: sugar rush ahead!”

[Continues at The Telegraph]… Read the rest

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Open-Sourced Blueprints for Civilization (Video)

Via TED:

Using wikis and digital fabrication tools, TED Fellow Marcin Jakubowski is open-sourcing the blueprints for 50 farm machines, allowing anyone to build their own tractor or harvester from scratch. And that’s only the first step in a project to write an instruction set for an entire self-sustaining village (starting cost: $10,000).

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