20 Car Myths People Believe Thanks To The Movies

20 Car Myths People Believe Thanks To The Movies -

Universal Pictures

Leave it to the movies to give us unrealistic expectations about every single part of our existence. Movies make us believe in true love, good over evil, and that cars will explode if you shoot their gas tank. All myths.You can imagine how devastated 16-year-old me was to learn that none of this movie shit was actually true.

Universal Pictures

If a car has been left neglected and sitting in a garage for over 20 years, it’s no good any time soon. No amount of new gas, batteries, transistors, plugs, etc.. will bring it back to life on a movie timeline. That takes months and a complete overhaul.

Warner Bros

This is one of the biggest leaps movies make. If a car goes off a huge jump, or lands hard on the ground after a hilly car chase in SF, or even if you get sideswiped, a new coat of paint and bondo isn’t gonna fix it.Odds are you’ll blow a tire, crack a suspension, misalign your steering or fuck up your engine. No real world car can live through a movie car chase, and drive away clean.

Universal Pictures

The Fast & Furious movies get this wrong. Drifting actually slows your car down. That’s why it’s not actually ever used in racing.

Universal Pictures

You can’t drive an SUV like you’d drive a sedan. You’ll flip. And yet, movie’s will show a Suburban not only catch up to a sports car, but also manage the same turns and twists without flipping over.In reality, you can’t drive a stock SUV like a lambo.

Buena Vista

Movie’s will tell you that if you mix your gas with rocket fuel, nitrous, or alien gas, you’ll go faster.It takes more than a super fuel to make a car go zoom; engine performance is a huge part of that too.

Universal Pictures

Movie’s tell you that your mom’s Camry sedan can handle a washed out road, in the middle of a hurricane. Or that the family minivan can handle an oily or icy road. That’s a hard no.Also, Vin Diesel? Please understand that you can’t drive a car on fire very well, or very far. It just won’t work.

Paramount Pictures

Vin Diesel and Co., and the rest of Hollywood, will try to convince you that average sedans and sports cars can take on grassy fields, dirt roads, muddy trails and stairs.Your undercarriage will disagree.

Driving Tests

Most movies with a race or car chase will show them dramatically downshifting to take a turn. Most mechanics will tell you that shifting to a lower drive at a high rate of speed isn’t safe. It also won’t really do shit for your performance and will damage the car.


You can’t turn a basic car into a speed demon, overnight. It takes a team. Just upgrading an engine and the inner workings of a car is a full day or two, by itself, not to mention the rest of the car, the bodywork and all the other things it’ll need.

United Artists

It takes a lot of speed and velocity to launch a car, and then you can’t even predict which way the car’s gonna go, how it’ll land, and even if it’ll break a part mid air.The laws of physics exist for a reason, folks.

Universal Pictures

While these look impressive and intimidating, it really can’t be done. It takes a lot of traction to do a wheelie, but a burnout causes a car to lose traction. So it’s one or the other. To do both from a parked position is nearly impossible.

DreamWorks Pictures

This is pretty obvious. You might be able to steal an older car by cracking open the steering console, twisting some wires together and jamming a screwdriver in there, but who want’s to steal a 1986 Yugo? I don’t.Today’s cars are far too smart for this crude plot device.

Universal Pictures

Some racing movies have a character going full speed, then the somehow kick it into overdrive and go even faster. This’ll lower the engine RPM’s to just keep the engine moving at the highest efficiency, and might even end up costing you speed.

Universal Pictures

It’s insanely hard to get a grip on a car going 30-40 mph, without magnetic hands. A simple curve will toss you off, not to mention if you get bumped or accidentally lose your grip.The same goes for the undercarriage. Indiana Jones did it in Raiders, but in reality, dust, potholes, scalding exhaust pipes, and debris will getcha.

Warner Bros.

Mythbusters proved that a car door will not stop a bullet. A car’s body is not as tough as the movies will have you think.

Miramax films

You know the scene; two people arguing and someone just suddenly slams on the brakes? It’s not safe. This’ll put a strain on your car and most importantly, it won’t give someone behind you enough time to stop.

United Artists

According to Jamie and Adam, this might happen one in fifty times, where a car will do a flip or two, hit a few boulders and then explode on impact.The car will just hit the bottom and sit there like a sad and twisted lump of metal. No boom.

Universal Pictures

You’d be surprised how much resistance a window, plywood barn siding, or chain link fence will give your car. You’ll need a body shop and an expensive mechanic after you even try such a thing.

Summit Entertainment

Gas tanks are’t as fragile and explosive as movies would have you believe. I mean, they’re still dangerous, and can explode under certain circumstances, but you can’t just shoot a bullet at a gas tank and watch a car erupt in flames. That’s not real.If fuel was that easy to ignite, we’d never use it in our engines. That’d be incredibly unsafe.

Roadshow Film Distributors

Gasoline is a refined product. It can actually go bad, if not kept properly. Even then, properties like Mad Max, The Walking Dead & Lost wouldn’t actually be able to use any gasoline they find, because it would have gone bad.




The coolest trophy stand ever belongs to Battle Bots.


Carbon nanotube so light it floats in air


The hull of a tank being cooled in China — who knew how much was one big piece!?


2018 Audi A8 reacts to a potential side collision by lifting the side to protect the passengers


Huawei Mate X foldable phone



Solar panel cleaning robot


Maypole Machine braiding really, really long ropes that are used to moor offshore manufacturing facilities to the bottom of the ocean.


Handheld printer



F-35 thrust vectoring


Helicopters are shrink-wrapped before being transported.


Selective solder machine


How earthquake dampeners work on buildings


Steam engine made of glass


Prototype crawler with omni-directional wheels can move in any direction


Pen that won’t clip to your pocket while open.


Osprey spreading its wings


Omnidirectional conveyor

10 Amazing And Little-Known Space Discoveries Of 2018

10 Amazing And Little-Known Space Discoveries Of 2018


While we are about to start a new year, 2018 has been a great year for science, especially for astronomy and space engineering. Experts and scientists have made many space discoveries and advances, some of which have attracted worldwide attention.

However, many other discoveries have gone largely unnoticed by the public, although they are no less spectacular. From cryovolcanoes to extragalactic planets, we will see some of the best celestial findings and inventions that this year has left us.

The Largest Star Map Ever Made

Photo credit: esa.int

In April 2018, the European Space Agency (ESA) publicly released the largest sky map ever created to date. The map is a three-dimensional reconstruction of the sky seen from Earth, thanks to data obtained by the Gaia spacecraft.

This space probe was launched in 2013 by the same agency and is located 1.6 million kilometers (1 million mi) away from Earth. With two telescopes and a one-billion-pixel camera, Gaia’s mission is to photograph the entire sky every two months.

With the information obtained, ESA’s star map contains the brightness and position of 1.7 billion stars. This makes the map 700 million times larger than its preliminary version in 2016. At the same time, it stores data about the color and movement of 1.3 billion stars. As if that were not enough, the image shows the location of half a million other galaxies as well as 14,000 asteroids in our solar system.

This map, which will remain under construction for the next few years, is a gold mine for astronomers around the world. With such a detailed model, scientists will be able to better understand the formation and structure of our galaxy as well as find evidence of new exoplanets.[1]

Water Ice Found On The Moon

Photo credit: Live Science

For a long time, there has been evidence pointing to the existence of ice on the Moon, but the proof has never been conclusive. There were signs of ice at the lunar south pole, for example, but these observations could be explained with phenomena other than the presence of water.

That changed on August 20 when NASA first confirmed the existence of water ice on both poles of the Moon. The definitive evidence was obtained through observations made by the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3), an instrument aboard an Indian spacecraft. These observations showed significant amounts of ice deposited at the bottom of several craters at the south pole. Meanwhile, the ice is more dispersed in thinner layers at the north pole.

Although the Moon’s surface reaches 100 degrees Celsius (212 °F), making the presence of liquid water impossible, the temperature in the polar craters drops to -157 degrees Celsius (-251 °F). This allows the water there to remain frozen for long periods.

This great discovery may encourage attempts to return to the Moon. Several uses for lunar water have already been planned. In some cases, it could be filtered and used for astronauts’ consumption. It could also be split into hydrogen and oxygen to provide air to humans there or for use as rocket fuel. This last option would allow the Moon to be used as a refueling stop for spaceflights to more distant places.[2]

We Have Learned To Remove Space Junk

Photo credit: iflscience.com

With the help of rockets, space stations, and satellites, humans have made great advances that have improved the lives of many people. But when these inventions stop working, their parts just keep floating in space as useless waste. We call this “space junk,” and there is a lot of it. Since there are millions of pieces of space debris around the Earth and a collision with these would be catastrophic, space exploration is becoming more difficult.

For that reason, scientists have struggled to find a way to eliminate space junk. This year, it seems they have found it. Researchers at the University of Surrey in England sent a satellite called RemoveDEBRIS into space.

This satellite has the mission to test four built-in technologies to try to deorbit space debris: a net, a smaller satellite, a harpoon, and a dragsail. In September, the first experiment involving the net was conducted, and the results were successful.

First, the satellite launched a piece of metal—to imitate real space junk—whose speed was around 27,359 kilometers per hour (17,000 mph). Moments later, RemoveDEBRIS also fired the net in the trajectory of the object. The cobweb-like net quickly opened and engulfed the debris without difficulty.[3]

Scientists hope that both the net and the debris will burn in the atmosphere in a couple of months. Although the novel experiment shows how promising this technology is in removing space debris, one concern is the potentially higher cost of having to clean up larger space junk.

Dozens Of Cryovolcanoes On Ceres

Photo credit: arstechnica.com

Volcanoes are not limited to being hot. We are used to seeing big mountains on Earth spitting fire and molten rock, but volcanoes on other worlds may throw exactly the opposite: ice. This type of volcano, appropriately called a cryovolcano, releases a frozen mineral substance called cryolava.

We have already shown you that Pluto has cryovolcanoes on its surface. Titan, Saturn’s moon, also has this type of volcano. But it was not until recently that we learned about the abundance of these formations in the solar system.

In 2015, the space probe Dawn began to orbit the dwarf planet Ceres in the asteroid belt while taking numerous photos of its surface. Thanks to this, scientists confirmed the discovery of a cryovolcano on the surface of Ceres in 2016. This was incredible because it was believed that the planet was geologically dead.

But that was just the beginning. In September 2018, a team of researchers published a report stating that Ceres has around 22 cryovolcanoes on its surface. Most of these volcanoes are currently inactive, although they are estimated to be less than a billion years old.

While the composition of the cryolava in Ceres remains uncertain, the cryovolcanoes in other planets expel liquid nitrogen, dust, and methane. September’s finding is extremely important because it proves that Ceres is still geologically active.

How these cryovolcanoes work exactly is a question that remains to be solved. While volcanoes on Earth act by the internal heat of the planet, Ceres does not have such energy to power its cryovolcanoes.[4]

The Strongest Material In The Universe

Photo credit: Live Science

Graphene is 200 times stronger than steel. Meanwhile, a substance called carbyne is twice as strong as graphene and is considered the most resistant material on Earth. But what is the strongest material in the universe?

Well, in July 2018, scientists investigated such material inside a peculiar celestial body and carbyne pales in comparison to its hardness. At least for now, its name is “nuclear pasta.”[5]

Nuclear pasta is the substance that makes up the core of a neutron star. When a star explodes in a supernova and becomes a neutron star, its core collapses inward and stores the mass of several suns in a few kilometers in diameter. The superdense material that forms such a core takes several shapes according to its location.

Through computer simulations, scientists from several US institutions tested the strength of nuclear pasta. As the material was pushed to the limit, it was concluded that this nuclear pasta is up to 10 billion times stronger than steel. Without any other element capable of demonstrating similar properties, nuclear pasta is now the strongest material in the universe.

These results have created more questions than answers for scientists—from the necessary means to observe such material to the way in which nuclear pasta generates gravitational waves.

Origin Of Super-Neutrinos Discovered

Photo credit: theverge.com

Neutrinos are subatomic particles formed in almost the entire universe through nuclear fusion processes. Due to their negligible mass and neutral charge, neutrinos can traverse almost anything without being affected at all. In fact, it is estimated that trillions of neutrinos go through a person’s body every second. Until some time ago, scientists knew that neutrinos can come from places like the Sun, supernovae, or our own atmosphere.

However, in September 2017, astronomers at an observatory called IceCube detected a high-energy neutrino that collided with the Antarctic ice. It was clear that this particle did not come from known places because it was estimated that this type of neutrino was millions of times more energetic than a normal neutrino. And if we just talked about how common the normal neutrinos are, only 10 of these new “super-neutrinos” are detected every year.

Astronomers asked to point numerous telescopes around the world to a specific portion of the sky from where they believed the super-neutrino had come. Two NASA telescopes observed that there was a blazar—a type of galaxy with a huge black hole in the center—emitting large doses of energy.[6]

In a report issued in July 2018, the researchers who made the discovery confirmed that the source of the neutrino was the blazar galaxy located four billion light-years away from Earth. This finding not only establishes the first known source of such particles but also helps scientists better understand cosmic rays, which are created along with neutrinos.

One Step Closer To Space Tourism

Photo credit: theverge.com

With the companies SpaceX and Blue Origin as its main competitors, Virgin Galactic was founded with the mission of making outer space accessible to tourists. However, since its creation in 2004, the private company has had many problems to overcome to reach space.

It has been about 10 years since the firm promised tourist space flights. There have been numerous delays and a fatal accident in 2014. But after all, it seems that the time has come for Virgin Galactic to finally achieve its goals.

On December 13, 2018, Virgin Galactic completed the first spaceflight of its history using its VSS Unity spaceplane. This was also the first manned spaceflight launched from American soil since the last flight of NASA’s space shuttle in 2011.

The spaceplane—an aircraft capable of going to space, returning to Earth, and landing like an airplane—was carried by another aircraft called WhiteKnightTwo to a height of 13 kilometers (8 mi). From there, the VSS Unity separated, ignited its engines, and flew to a height of 82.7 kilometers (51.4 mi) at a speed of Mach 2.9.[7]

At that point, the spacecraft exceeded the 80-kilometer (50 mi) limit that NASA considers to be the beginning of outer space. For this reason, Mark Stucky and Frederick Sturckow, the pilots of the VSS Unity, will receive their private astronaut wings next year.

However, others argue that the aircraft did not reach space by not exceeding the Karman Line at 100 kilometers (62 mi) high, which was internationally established as the edge of space. Either way, this achievement gives Virgin Galactic the confidence it needs to continue with the tests before its first commercial flights.

The First Planets Found In Another Galaxy

Photo credit: sciencedaily.com

To date, we have found almost 4,000 planets outside our solar system. Even so, all these exoplanets have been located within the confines of our galaxy, the Milky Way. Until now. Early in 2018, astronomers at the University of Oklahoma detected for the first time in history a group of exoplanets in a galaxy far, far away.

To achieve this finding, scientists used a method that involves a physical phenomenon called “gravitational microlensing.” It happens that celestial bodies of large mass like black holes and galaxies have the capacity to bend light around them.

In this case, a galaxy located 3.8 billion light-years away from Earth magnified the light of four distant quasars located directly behind the structure. Thus, the “background light” of the quasars allowed astronomers to observe dark objects such as planets inside that galaxy.

The researchers were able to detect around 2,000 planets, ranging from the mass of the Moon to that of Jupiter. Until that moment, there was no real evidence of exoplanets outside our galaxy.

Researcher Eduardo Guerras said that not even the best telescope we could imagine would be able to directly see such planets. That is why the “microlensing technique” is an invaluable resource for many astronomers around the world.[8]

The Creation Of The Coldest Object In Space

Photo credit: Live Science

The states of matter that people know well are solid, liquid, and gas. Some others may know the fourth state, which is plasma. But there is a fifth state in which matter can be found, and it is known as Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC).

BEC occurs when atoms are cooled to extremely low temperatures which cause them to stop moving and begin to group together as if they were a single “super atom.” This exotic state was first theoretically formulated in the early 20th century, but it was not until 1995 that scientists could artificially recreate it in a laboratory.

Due to the peculiar physical characteristics of Bose-Einstein condensate, scientists can use it to study quantum effects on a large scale. However, on Earth, the BEC must be suspended with lasers or magnets. Otherwise, the atoms disperse and change state.

But that is no longer a problem. In July 2018, scientists on the International Space Station (ISS) cooled rubidium atoms until they reached the BEC state. As gravity is negligible at that height in space, it is easier to manipulate such matter up there, even for a longer time.

To perform the experiment, NASA sent a machine called Cold Atom Lab to the ISS. This device, which is the size of a small refrigerator, can contain the Bose-Einstein condensate inside it as well as be controlled directly from Earth. It is interesting to note that this exotic matter has also become the coldest object in outer space, although not the coldest in the universe.[9]

A Lake Of Water On Mars

Photo credit: theverge.com

For decades, scientists have debated about the possibility of large reservoirs of water existing somewhere on Mars. Due to the extreme conditions of the Red Planet, the scientific community is focusing on searching for underground water deposits because they could be the only places capable of sustaining life on that planet.

With hostile temperatures of -62 degrees Celsius (-80 °F) on the surface of Mars, astronomers have been able to notice only some flows of super-salty water in a liquid state. Meanwhile, the rest of the water seemed to be frozen in layers of ice as in the polar ice caps.[10]

To the surprise of many, scientists from the European Space Agency (ESA) detected for the first time a large body of liquid water beneath the Martian surface in July 2018. Using a radar instrument from the Mars Express orbiter probe, the team found strong evidence of a water lake 20 kilometers (12.4 mi) long near the south pole. This lake is buried under 1.5 kilometers (0.9 mi) of ice and would be at least 1 meter (3 ft) deep.

It is still unknown why water is liquid in that reservoir, where temperatures could be as low as -68 degrees Celsius (-90 °F). But it could be a combination of the enormous pressure at that depth, underground air pockets that retain the planet’s internal heat, and large amounts of dissolved salt in the water. In any case, this finding increases the hope of scientists being able to find life on Mars.

8 Technologies That We Should Never, Ever Build

8 Technologies That We Should Never, Ever Build -



Sometimes it feels as though the march of progress is all but unstoppable and innovation will not rest until we're all living it up in a virtual world, on our virtual yachts, sipping virtual pina coladas.

However, if the past has taught us anything, it's that technological advances can always be turned to atrocious use. In splitting the atom, we created nuclear weapons before nuclear power, who's to say we won't do the same with nanobots, virtual reality or the latest medical research?

As well as the potential for humans to kill and maim one another, there are also certain technologies that we should never attempt due to the sheer amount of accidental damage it will cause.

Many a sci-fi has begun with a well-meaning scientist meddling with powers he can not hope to control. Dr Frankenstein had meant to create the paragon of human perfection and instead created a monster. You can't always know which innovations are bad ones until they happen. After all, if you play with fire, you might get burnt, but you might also be able to keep yourself warm.

That said, there are a few future technologies that you just know are a bad idea from the word go.

8. Self-Replicating Tech


The idea of a non-biological self-replicating system is not new. John von Neumannproposed his concept for such a system back in 1948, detailing a machine that could use raw materials to build another version of itself and duplicate its programming into the new machine.

Granted, this was more of a thought experiment at the time, but now we are rapidly approaching the point at which our technology could make it a reality.

The benefits of self-replicating technology are certainly tempting. You would only have to manufacture a small amount yourself before the machine took over and costs of things like shipping would be slashed. The problem we have is one of handing over certain powers of judgement and creation to something with much simpler programming than us, particularly in the case of nanotechnology.

This is easily the kind of technology that you can lose control of and, even if the machines created are not harmful or dangerous themselves, the rapid consumption of resources in exponential replication could well lead you your robotics lab being disintegrated around you by a swarm of hungry nanobots. The "grey goo" scenario might be extreme, but not totally off the wall.

If the machines themselves are harmful, however, we run into a whole new set of problems...

7. Nanobot Weaponry


It can be argued that the increasing automation and "techifying" of warfare is saving lives. With robots and drones in the field, you don't need to put as many human lives on the line.

However, with nanotechnology moving further to the fore, do we need to draw a line somewhere?

Swarm technology would essentially be the 21st century equivalent of unleashing a plague of locusts - or a biological weapon - on the enemy. They could be used to block sunlight, destroy resources, jam communications and restrict movement - all without putting a single boot on the ground. Make them self-replicating and there is virtually no defence.

They cannot be shot at or bombed, they cannot be disabled or captured, they act more like an infectious disease than a weapon. What's more, the problem with a swarm is that it doesn't discriminate.

6. Automated War Drones


The thing about putting humans in war zones, is that they can make complex judgement calls. The other thing about war is that, although you want to keep your troops as safe as possible, the risk to human life can act as a temper and prevent all-out chaos.

Lethal drones, operated remotely with a real human pushing buttons are one thing, but they're resource heavy. A robot than can select a target, aim its gun and fire without human intervention certainly frees up some manpower, but who is held responsible for its actions?

Then consider the arms race. One side sends in automatons, the other side has no choice but to follow suit or be decimated, human soldiers gradually withdraw from the battlefield, leaving robots to fight robots and any civilians that will be caught in the crossfire.

The real kicker is, without the caution that comes with sending human troops into battle, you can take more and greater risks, you can apply more deadly force and you can do it all safe in the knowledge that you won't lose a single man.

5. The Alcubierre Warp Drive

Paramount Pictures

In our minds, the distant future tends to hold at least a hopeful hint of intergalactic travel. Unfortunately, the sheer distances involved are threatening to limit us to our own solar system and no further, unless we can somehow crack Faster Than Light travel.

FTL travel is impossible in linear space, but the warp drive - dreamt up in sci-fi and backed by science - has always offered a little glimmer of hope. Rather that travelling through space at face-melting speeds, it works by bending spacetime around it and bringing your destination to you.

It was all looking like a legitimate, if far-off, possibility, butil a team of physicists in Italy found a fatal flaw.

When you fire up a warp drive, high energy particles that occur throughout the universe get caught up in its warp field. This isn't a problem for travelling, the issue is that stopping at any point will release the particles and could destroy whole star systems - possibly even generating black holes.

Not exactly the best way to make an entrance.

4. Virtual Prisons

Channel 4

When discussing the potentials of "mind upload" technology, people often focus on virtual holidays, or even virtual lives. People discuss the potential to upload our minds into computers, or even duplicate them and keep a backup of our very selves.

What people don't often discuss, is the potential this kind of technology has in the world of crime and punishment. Specifically, in the capabilities for time manipulation that this would offer us.

A virtual mind in a simulated world could be made to experience time in any way we like. We could make an hour pass in a minute, or stretch an hour out over 30 years. This would mean that, rather than taking up cell space and using up valuable resources in real-time, a criminal could serve a 100 year sentence in a day.

Not only would this be one hell of a deterrent, but we would be able to apply a rigorous course of rehabilitation in a matter of minutes. It would also be enough to crack anyone's mind.

3. Gene Sequencing For Pathogens


So, we now live in a world in which the details of how to make mutant bird flu has been published in the public domain.

This is obviously in the pursuit of a greater understanding (and therefore cure for) of deadly diseases, but sequencing and altering the genomes of pathogens then publishing the results could land mankind in a lot of hot water.

Whilst the information is intended for noble use, there are those who could do a lot of damage with that information. Bird flu, for example, is currently unlikely to spread from human to human, but if someone were to make it airborne, then genetically engineered biological weapons are on the cards.

2. Electronic Telepathy

20th Century Fox

Mind-to-mind communication is one of those sci-fi technologies that actually might not be as far off as you'd think, with some experts estimating that the technology could be usable in the next 20 years.

This near-future technology will undoubtedly be rudimentary, but we would still have to consider the consequences of opening our brains up to the outside world. If another person can gain access to your brain to send a message, they can potentially get in there for more nefarious reasons.

If you have a chip in your brain that allows other to gain access, there is the potential for you to be hacked. Whether that simply involves some kind of intrusive "brain spam", or a takeover, altering memories, emotions and values. Depending on how you're hooked up, they might even be able to control you physically.

And that's just the lone hackers, imagine what this kind of technology could be like in the hands of a controlling government.

1. Conscious Machines


It's almost taken for granted that, at some point in the distant future, we will develop the technology to create consciousness in computing. This, according to some, would be wildly unethical.

Creating a machine that can mimic consciousness, with programming so complex that they appear to be thinking and feeling is one thing. You can programme a computer to converse with you, gauge your mood, offer emotional support and even "recognise" itself in a mirror, all without it being actually conscious or self-aware.

Building a conscious mind inside a computer would be tantamount to cruelty. For a start, we don't know how a consciousness would respond to awareness as a machine. We know how we feel as conscious humans, but there's nothing to say that the two experiences would be in any way similar.

The nature of progress would also mean that early attempts at consciousness would inevitably be flawed. If somebody told you that they were going to purposefully engineer mentally disabled humans, you'd be horrified, and this would be no different.

You then have to consider what we would want a conscious machine for. The benefit of computers is that they can perform difficult, menial tasks without becoming bored or dissatisfied and without any need for compensation or reward. To continue to expect that service from a self-aware intelligence would be the very definition of cruel and unusual..


Engineer Explains The Most Common Cause Of Concrete Deterioration

Engineer Explains The Most Common Cause Of Concrete Deterioration

While salt might be our favorite spice, it's also the enemy of rebar.



I had a dream that I turned into the muffler of car. I woke up exhausted. Crazy.

All The Engineering Required For You To Cross The Pacific Ocean

All The Engineering Required For You To Cross The Pacific Ocean

There are many engineering challenges that have to be tackled in a voyage that might last seven months or more.

Why Do Prosthetic Limbs Feel Way Heavier Than Biological Ones?

Why Do Prosthetic Limbs Feel Way Heavier Than Biological Ones?


Because biological limbs are connected to our skeletons, we don't notice that they weigh a lot! As technology develops, scientists have designed lighter, more functional prostheses and the latest can even use the skeleton like a biological limb does!

‘Cockroach’ Robots Will Soon Be Fixing Plane Engines

‘Cockroach’ Robots Will Soon Be Fixing Plane Engines


To most, cockroaches are the most disgusting insect in the world, with no positive attributes. But don’t tell that to aerospace conglomerate Rolls-Royce, who recently developed a tiny “cockroach-like” robot based off the bug, which they believe will assist in aircraft engine repair work.

The U.K. engineering firm, who teamed up with robotics experts from Harvard University, debuted the bug-like invention at the Farnborough International Airshow in England. James Kell, technology specialist at Rolls-Royce, says the robot will drastically improve technician repair times and in some cases, make the need for a tech non-existent.

“They could go off scuttling around reaching all different parts of the combustion chamber. If we did it conventionally it would take us five hours; with these little robots, who knows, it might take five minutes,” stated Kell.


Sebastian de Rivaz, a researcher at Harvard Institute who assisted Rolls-Royce in creating the robot, says development into the bug-like creature has been an ongoing project for the past eight years.

He nor the folks at Rolls-Royce have any intentions of concluding their research however, as the engineering team plans to make an even smaller version of the ‘cockroach-like’ robot which will size-up at a miniscule 15-milimeters. Once completed, the team will move on to a ‘snake-like’ robot, which will have the ability to travel through an engine like an endoscope. A secondary snake will then be dispatched with a temporary repair patch.

A release date for the crawling robots has yet to be made official, though Rolls-Royce says a “remote boreblending robot” to fix damaged compressor blades in the engine has already began development and expects to be made available within two years.

The Fascinating Engineering Of The RMS Titanic

The Fascinating Engineering Of The RMS Titanic

Bill shares fascinating images and information gleaned from the 1909 to 1911 editions of the Journal The Engineer. It includes photos of the construction of the Titanic and its twin the Olympic, the launching of these Olympic-class ships, and accidents that occurred. The video includes engineering details of the ship’s engines, steering mechanism, and propellers.

Robot Uses Living Muscle To Lift Objects

Robot Uses Living Muscle To Lift Objects

Japanese researchers have managed to graft lab-grown muscles unto a robotic finger, thus making our robotic overlords one step closer to ruling us all in the near future.

How To Solve The Housing Crisis With Good Engineering

How To Solve The Housing Crisis With Good Engineering

The housing crisis is a problem worldwide, but with the help of some good engineering, we can build houses that are actually cost-efficient and affordable.

What Does A Horsepower Actually Mean?

What Does A Horsepower Actually Mean?

In 1781, the story goes, James Watt needed to convince skeptics to ditch their draft horses and buy his new steam engine. To prove his machine’s superiority, he measured a horse walking in ­circles to turn a grindstone in a mill. He multiplied the distance it walked by its ­roughly 180 pounds of pulling force, divided by the time it took, and came up with a new measure: ­horsepower. (His new engine did the work of 35 nags, about the same as ­today’s ­riding mower.) We still use his math to sell F-150s, but it can feel kind of ­abstract. So we came up with a few new ways to visualize one horsepower.



Imagine how much horsepower and speed there will be with all the vehicles combined.


14 Worst Engineering Disasters Of All Time

14 Worst Engineering Disasters Of All Time

The engineering world has seen some great achievements. However, history has shown that engineering has also faced many terrible failures. Manufacturers, workers, and engineers carry huge responsibilities on their shoulders. A slight miscalculation or a lack of communication has led to some of the worst catastrophes ever. These disasters claimed the lives of many workers and innocent people, not to mention the huge economic loss that followed.

Here, you can gain some insight into such disasters through our chronologically-ordered list of the 14 worst engineering disasters of all time.

1. The SS Sultana steamboat explosion near Memphis, Tennessee in 1865 is the worst maritime disaster in the US history, but it did not get a lot of media coverage that time. People hardly remember this disaster today.

Image credits: Thomas W. Bankes, Helena, AR/Wikimedia

The SS Sultana was a steamboat engineered in Cincinnati and usually sailed on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. The steamboat was state-of-the-art, boasting the most advanced safety equipment for those times.

On 27th April 1865, the steamboat carried approximately 2,300 passengers including released Union prisoners of war, civilians, and the crew. Three of Sultana’s four boilers exploded at around 2 a.m., and the steamboat sank around seven miles from Memphis, Tennessee. The death toll was estimated to have been between 1,500-1,800 passengers.

After the investigation, the conclusion was reached that the water levels in the boiler caused this disaster. The crew had overloaded the steamboat (Sultana’s carrying capacity was 376) which made the situation worse. Furthermore, the investigation cited that one of the four boilers had been leaking a few days prior to the mishap, and its repair was dubious. The combined effects of these factors led to the unfortunate catastrophe.(source)

2. The Johnstown Flood in Pennsylvania, 1889. Heavy rains and failure of a neglected dam led to the disaster which caused 2,209 reported deaths, and nearly wiped off the city of Johnstown.

Image credits: [Andrews, E. Benjamin. History of the United States, volume V. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York. 1912.] via Wikimedia

Johnstown was a prosperous town in central Pennsylvania, USA. It was known for its steel production.

The South Fork dam was a poorly maintained dam and hardly strong enough to handle the tremendous pressure from Lake Conemaugh. However, heavy downpours combined with the lake’s pressure led to the catastrophic failure of the dam and a terrible flood ensued. 2,209 people reportedly died in the “Great Flood of 1889.” Moreover, the estimated property damage was around $17 million, a huge sum at that time.

The American Red Cross led the relief effort and they collected around $3.7 million from donations. The flood is a prime example of an engineering failure and poor maintenance.(source)

3. The Quebec Bridge collapse in Canada was the largest ever cantilever bridge in the world. It collapsed twice, once in 1907 and again in 1916. The disaster killed a reported 88-89 workers.

Image credits: A.A. Chesterfield/Library and Archives Canada/WikimediaWikimedia

The Quebec Bridge with its span of 1,801 feet, is still the world’s largest ever cantilever bridge. In fact, the bridge still has its name in the National Historic Site of Canada.

The bridge collapsed the first time on 29th August 1907. During the collapse, the workers were working on the cantilever arm. Fifty-five people reportedly died by either drowning or the falling debris.

The board of engineers felt they had learned from their mistakes and decided to rebuild the bridge with the lower chords of the cantilevers arms several times stronger than before.  Yet again, on the 11th September 1916, the bridge’s central span crumbled killing 13 workers.

The total damage cost of the two disasters was estimated to be $22 million. The incident showed humanity the disastrous effects of engineering failures and improper supervision.(source)

4. The sinking of RMS Titanic in 1912 is a famous catastrophe. The grand British passenger liner sank into the North Atlantic Ocean after hitting an iceberg. It is reported that 1,514 passengers died. The accident incurred an estimated economic loss of $7.5 million.

Image credits: [internetarchivebookimages/Flickr] via Wikipedia

The world had declared RMS Titanic a legend even before its maiden voyage. When the ship set sail from Southampton to New York, the crew was so assured about Titanic’s safety that they carried only 20 lifeboats. This was barely enough for half of the 2,200 passengers.

Four days after the voyage began, the ship struck an iceberg at 11:40 p.m on 14 April 1912. The collision proved deadly as the icy waters of the North Atlantic Ocean soon filled the ship. The death toll was 1,514 passengers.  Later on, the liner Carpathia rescued 705 survivors.

According to the builders, Titanic should have stayed afloat for at least two more days despite the collision. After several investigations, conclusions came out that the grand liner had several design flaws and material failures. The collision with iceberg caused a fracture of the brittle hull steel and the wrought iron rivets. The fracture was immediate and it was a result of a combination of three factors: low temperature, high impact loading, and high sulfur content in the hull steel.(1,2)

5. The Hindenburg airship disaster in 1937 during a docking attempt in New Jersey, USA caused  36 fatalities, and the catastrophe marked the end of airship travel.

Image credits: ubberdave/Flickr

The German LZ-129 Hindenburg was the biggest commercial airship ever built. Moreover, at that time, it was technologically the most advanced airship. Its size was three times that of a Boeing 747, and it was capable of a top speed of 84 mph.

The mishap occurred on 6 May 1937. The Hindenburg was carrying 97 passengers when it exploded filling the sky over New Jersey with fiery smoke. The gigantic airship fell to the ground on its tail and burned to ashes within a minute. Sixty-two passengers leaped over dozens of feet to their safety and managed to survive.

The cause of the accident was a hydrogen gas leak from the fuel cells which combined with oxygen to form a highly flammable mixture. This mixture ignited and spawned a massive fire. It was the first engineering mishap caught on film, and it shattered the public’s confidence in airships.(source)

6. The Tacoma Bridge collapse of 1940 in Washington, USA was a calamity of the world’s third longest suspension bridge back then and had a crucial impact on engineering. It caused the governing of the modeling of all the long-span bridges in the future.

Image credits: University of Washington Libraries Digital Collection’s photostream/Flickr , Botaurus-stellaris/Wikimedia

The Tacoma Narrows Bridge was an iconic, long-span bridge built in the state of Washington in the USA in the 1930s.  It was opened to traffic on t July 1940. Leon Moisseiff planned the building’s design to be far more flexible than the acceptable standard ratios.

On 7 November 1940,  strong winds of 40 mph battered the area and the bridge oscillated significantly. The bridge towers were made of strong, structural carbon steel, yet they proved no match for the violent movements which eventually caused the bridge to collapse. Fortunately, there were no fatalities except for a dog. The estimated loss from the mishap was $6.4 million.

The disaster is now presented in popular physics textbooks as an illustration of elementary forced-resonance.  The high-velocity winds caused aero-elastic flutter at a frequency equaling the bridge’s natural frequency. Furthermore, the bridge was vulnerable to wind-generated vibrations, and the investigations proved that the collapse was inevitable.(source)

7. The failure of the Banqiao Dam in China in 1975, now a forgotten legacy, is arguably the worst engineering disaster of all time. Estimates tell that an unprecedented 171,000 to 230,000 people died in the calamity while 11 million more people had to relocate.

Image source: Joint Typhoon Warning Center , Image credits: Wikimedia , Rolfmueller/Wikimedia

The Banqiao Dam was built on the river of Ru in June 1952. The design of the dam gave it the name “iron dam” as it was considered unbreakable. However, Chen Xing, a prominent hydrologist of the country warned that the overbuilding of dams and reservoirs could increase the water table beyond safe levels and cause a disaster. The government removed Chen from the project.

Chen’s warnings turned out to be true when in August 1975, Henan Province’s Banqiao Dam toppled. The flooding killed an estimated 171,000 to 230,000 people and forced 11 million people to displace. Moreover, the disaster caused a staggering economic loss of approximately $1.6 billion.

This disaster was a culmination of many factors including unsafe construction, poor design and maintenance, overbuilding of dams in the region, and the typhoon Nina which precipitated the disaster.(source)

8. The Skylab crash on Western Australia’s south-east coast in 1979 was a calamity of America’s first-ever space station and became a worldwide sensation.

Image credits: NASA on The Commons/Flickr

NASA launched the US space station in 1973. It was the world’s first successful space station. Skylabcollected huge amounts of data including 175,000 solar images. It also gathered useful information on the biological impact of living in space for a prolonged time period.

NASA abandoned the space station in 1974. Five years later, Skylab’s orbit started deteriorating towards the earth. On 11 June 1979, the empty Skylab broke up in the atmosphere and showered fiery debris onto Australia and the Indian Ocean.

Skylab was reportedly designed to go up but not land back to earth. The orbit deterioration started far earlier than NASA had anticipated, and they were not able to control it. Reportedly, solar activity caused the Earth’s atmosphere to expand and the space station faced an increasing drag from the Earth. In addition, the cost of the project of building a single unit was an astounding $2.2 billion.(1,2)

9. The Hyatt Regency Hotel Walkway collapse of 1971 in Missouri, USA. The mishap reportedly killed 114 people and injured at least 216 more. It is among the deadliest engineering disasters in U.S. history.

Image credits: Dr. Lee Lowery, Jr., P.E./Wikipedia

The disaster took place at the hotel Hyatt Regency Kansas City in Missouri. On 17th July 1981, two adjacent walkways collapsed directly on the hotel’s lobby.  At that time, the hotel held a tea dance party and over 1600 people gathered in the lobby.  Reportedly, 114 people died and more than 216 were injured. Furthermore, the resulting property loss was in the range of several million dollars.

Apparently, the constructors found a design flaw during the hotel construction. They decided to fix it in a manner that resulted in the two walkways of second and fourth floors to be adjacent, causing double loading on the atrium’s roof.  In fact, the walkways weighed a staggering 64,000 lbs.  The connections failed spectacularly. Further investigations revealed that the tie rod designs were faulty and there was a critical error in how the walkways’ suspension system from the atrium.

The catastrophe proved to be a result of failed engineering, too many design changes, poor communication, and general negligence.(source)

10. The 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy in Madhya Pradesh, India. It is the worst industrial disaster in history. The immediate official death count was 3,787. However, it is the long-term impacts that were devastating, causing injuries, disabilities, and ailments to over an estimated 5 million.

Image credits: Julian Nitzsche, CC-BY-SA 3.0/Wikimedia , Bhopal Medical Appeal/Flickr

The mishap occurred at the pesticide industry Union Carbide India Limited in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. Post-midnight on 3rd December 1984, there was a leak of methyl isocyanate (highly toxic) gas from the factory when the country was sleeping. The gas leak killed thousands of people within a few hours of the incident. Reportedly, about 558,000 people were injured, of which 3,900 were cases of permanent-disabling injuries.

The accident cost the UCIL owners in excess of $520 million.

Investigations revealed that the gas tank leaked over 40 tonnes of toxic gases to the city of Bhopal.  There was a large volume of water in the MIC gas tank. It caused a toxic chemical reaction which forced open the pressure release valve, allowing the gas to leak.

Such was the extent of the disaster that Bhopal’s third generation, born 34 years after the tragedy still suffers from various ailments.(source)

11. The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986. All 7 crew members died during the catastrophe. Economic losses incurred: $56 billion unit cost + $130 million mission cost +  $500 million investigation cost + $7.7 million compensation to victim’s families.

Image credits: NASA on The Commons/Flickr– 1 , 2

NASA’s space shuttle Challenger exploded during its tenth flight merely 73 seconds after the liftoff. The disaster occurred on 28th January 1986. The crew comprised of five astronauts and a couple of payload specialists. Noone survived the disaster.

The space shuttle shattered in the air and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, near the coast of Florida in the USA. The catastrophe began when one of the joints in the solid rocket booster (SRB) failed right at the liftoff.

Several investigations proceeded following the disaster. They revealed that two of the O-rubber rings designed to separate the rocket booster’s sections failed due to cold temperatures during the launch. Furthermore, the tragedy prompted NASA to temporarily withdraw from all of its space shuttle missions.(source)

12. The Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986 in Pripyat, Ukraine. Reportedly, 62 people died immediately after the explosion. The long-term death count is an estimated 4,000 – 9,000 people. Moreover, the economic loss incurred over the next 30 years is around $235 billion, making it one of the costliest disasters in history.

Image credits: Tiia Monto/WikimediaPixabay

On 26th April 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear power station of the Soviet Union witnessed the world’s most catastrophic nuclear accident.

The technicians at the reactor Unit-4 conducted a poorly planned experiment. They switched off the reactor’s power-regulating system along with its emergency safety systems. The workers removed too many control rods from the core and allowed the reactor to run. Eventually, at night the core’s chain reaction became uncontrollable and it triggered a series of explosions. The graphite reactor core lit up in flames and released a tremendous amount of radioactive material directly into the atmosphere.

Around 30,000 Pripyat dwellers evacuated the next day. But the disaster had done most of its damage. People contracted severe radiation illness. Moreover, several thousands of people died due to radiation sickness and radioactive cancer.

The International Nuclear Event Scales rates the Chernobyl disaster as a level 7 event, the maximum level.(source)

13. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico, USA. The reported casualties are 11 deaths and 17 injuries. However, the oil spill caused deaths of staggering numbers of flora and fauna underwater, including the endangered species. It is the largest marine oil spill ever.

Image credits: Wikipedia

The industrial disaster started on 20th April 2010. Pressurized methane gas expanded from the well into the drilling riser and rose into the oil rig. The gas caught fire and exploded, and the Deepwater Horizon sank during the early hours of 22nd April.

Several reports have cited that the massive oil spill killed or harmed over 102,000 birds, 6,165 sea-turtles, 25,900 sea mammals, and a billion of newly hatched fish. The gulf was home to over 8332 species. Also, the total property damage was estimated to be $61.60 billion.

The investigations that proceeded revealed that the major cause of the disaster was a poorly planned well. The well did not have sufficient cement between the seven-inch production casing and a nearly ten-inch protection casing. Another reason was the faulty Blow-Out Preventer (BOP) which failed to do its job of sealing and controlling the gas well.

Furthermore, the government declared the well sealed on 19th September, but later reports revealed that the well site had still been leaking.(source)

14. The Rana Plaza Collapse of 2013 in Dhaka, Bangladesh is the worst industrial disaster in recent times. The calamity claimed an estimated 1,134 lives and injured at least 2,500 more.

Image credits: rijans/Flickr

The Rana Plaza was a five-story commercial building in the Savar Upazila of Dhaka District in Bangladesh. It comprised of a bank, clothing factories, several apartments, and numerous shops.

The structural failure occurred on 24 April 2013. The site abruptly collapsed with only the ground floor remaining intact, killing more than 1,134 people as per the final reports. Most of the victims were women and young children.

There were several glaring reasons behind the fall of the Rana Plaza. First of all, the building was built on a filled-in pond, and that compromised the structural integrity. It had three floors more than the original permit, and the construction material was substandard at best. Moreover, the manufacturers’ negligence was astounding and all the factors pointed to an inevitable collapse of the commercial site. The disaster prompted the site owners to compensate the victim’s families with a sum totaling $40 million.(source)

Turbos: How They Work

Turbos: How They Work


Turbo is one of the most exciting words in the world of cars. Twin turbo, bi turbo, big turbo, twin scroll. Turbos make cars more efficient, faster and they make awesome blow off valve noises. How do they work? What is boost? What is the difference between twin turbo and bi turbo? What are the benefits and disadvantages of each?

Amazing Automatons That Come Alive With Ingenious Engineering

Amazing Automatons That Come Alive With Ingenious Engineering

Amazing Automatons That Come Alive With Ingenious Engineering

Swiss artist François Junod sat down with Great Big Story in his Sainte-Croix atelier to talk about the amazing and beautiful automatons he creates using traditional techniques that go all the way back to ancient Egypt. Junod explained that the art of automata marries his creative and engineering interests together and that the real difference between an automaton and a robot is the aesthetic involved. The process does take a bit time, but these resulting beauty of Junod’s creations are worth it in the end.

Why Planes Crash

Why Planes Crash

The computerization of aircraft is main reason why, the glass cockpit improved situational awareness and aircraft redundant systems. It started in the 90's with the 757, 767, MD-88, MD-11, A300. Systems today monitor aircraft systems and report to maintenance, so by the time the plane is at destination it's serviced.

How A Steel Box Changed The World

How A Steel Box Changed The World


As the container shipping industry continues to boom, companies are adopting new technologies to move cargo faster and shifting to crewless ships. But it’s not all been smooth sailing and the future will see fewer players stay above water.


The Engineering Of The Drinking Bird

The Engineering Of The Drinking Bird

Bill reveals the operation and engineering design underlying the famous drinking bird toy. In this video he explores the role played by the water the bird "drinks," shows what is under the bird's hat and demonstrates that it can operate using heat from a light bulb or by "drinking" whiskey.




Can you pick the things that haven't been invented yet, whilst avoiding the things that have?

10 Amazing Viking Inventions And Innovations

10 Amazing Viking Inventions And Innovations -


Today, Vikings are known mostly for their ferocity as barbaric raiders who lived to loot, pillage, and burn. They were formidable adversaries whose merciless forays into Europe gave rise to a special prayer for deliverance among their victims. They not only plundered and murdered victims, but they also raped and enslaved survivors.

The Vikings were also phenomenal engineers. Their inventions and innovations gave them an edge in battle, trade, and other pursuits, enabling them to sail across oceans, seas, and inland rivers.

Although many of their technological marvels were related to battle, some of their inventions and innovations revolutionized sailing and navigation. Others were useful for personal and military travel through harsh environments or bivouacking in cold, rugged terrain. One of their inventions reflects their personal vanity and sense of self.

Each of these 10 amazing Viking inventions and innovations reflects the true nature of the Norsemen as much as their prowess in battle, their piratical practices, and their daring seamanship. They show another forgotten or neglected side of the medieval Scandinavian character.

10 Battle-Axe

Photo credit: replicaweaponry.com

Although early Viking battle-axes were simply axes used to chop wood, this toolwas modified over the years and became a battle-axe unique among medieval warriors. The blade became larger and broader. A hook was added to the lower end of the blade. In battle, the hook could be used to catch an enemy by the foot or the rim of his shield. The axe handle became longer, allowing Vikings to strike their foes from a greater distance.

Well-balanced weapons, the battle-axes were easy to use and effective in inflicting wounds or causing deaths. Although some Viking stories include scenes in which the axes are used as throwing weapons, such a tactic was seldom, if ever, used in battle. However, it might be employed in retaliation for injury.[1]

9 Comb

Photo credit: york.ac.uk

Most Viking inventions and innovations were related to the hit-and-run military campaigns conducted during their raids and involved shipbuilding, camping, combat, and other related practical enterprises. Despite their penchant for waging guerrilla warfare, it seems that the Vikings were vain about their appearance. When they sailed off in search of plunder, they took with them the combs they created from deer antlers.

“You might expect these to be throwaway objects, but in some cases, they were superbly decorated, and all were massively overengineered,” archaeologist Steve Ashby said. He added that the combs were made of the same material as specialized tools like polishers, saws, and rasps.

For Vikings, appearance was an important aspect of their identity. “They took a great deal of care with their grooming and often carried combs with their swords and knives on their belts. They frequently even took combs to the grave,” Ashby explained.[2]

After the Norman Conquest in the 11th century, comb-making died out in England. This may have been the result of the Forest Law, or perhaps antlers became prohibitively expensive. But, in Sweden, combs imported from Norway continued to be purchased and used.

8 Keel

Photo credit: vikingskip.com

Roman and Celtic designs provided the bases for the earliest Viking ships. These vessels were propelled by oars rather than paddles. In choppy waters, such ships tended to capsize. They were also slow, so trips were usually brief and followed the course of the shoreline.

During the eighth century, a Viking invention revolutionized shipbuilding and maritime voyaging. The keel gave stability to Viking ships so that they became seaworthy. It also became a base to secure the mast. Instead of relying on oarsmen to power the ship, a huge sail of up to 245 meters (800 ft) was added as an important propulsion method.[3]

With the keel, Vikings were no longer limited to short forays along the shore. They were able to carry food, timber, and animals as cargo across distances of 6,400 kilometers (4,000 mi) in the Atlantic Ocean.

7 Longboat

Photo credit: asme.org

A marvel of engineering, the Viking longboat was unparalleled in the medieval world. The Vikings enjoyed advantages in war, trade, and exploration thanks to their ships’ flexible, durable designs and their ability to sail in many different directions according to the wind.

Dr. William Short, who specializes in Viking history and culture, pointed out that the ships’ especially shallow drafts enabled them to operate in shallow water. So they could travel up river and “surprise people in places where no one expected an oceangoing ship to appear.” From their homes in Scandinavia, the Vikings journeyed as far west as Vinland (Newfoundland), as far east as Russia, and as far southeast as a portion of the Byzantine Empire (Turkey).

As a result using the beitass, a “spar that helped to brace the sail against strong winds,” longboats could tack with changing winds, making them highly maneuverable. Unlike other ships of the time, Viking vessels were also amazingly flexible.

As Short points out, “They weren’t firmly nailed together, [so] they actually bent with the waves rather than taking the full force of the waves and possibly breaking.” Their ships’ flexible design was another characteristic that allowed the Vikings to sail the open sea despite rough waves.[4]

6 Magnetic Compass

Photo credit: quora.com

Using the mineral magnetite (aka lodestone), which is abundant throughout Scandinavia, the Vikings invented one of the first magnetic compasses. The Chinese were the only other culture to have invented such a compass, possibly even earlier than the Vikings did.

Only when the other Europeans began to trade with China were they able to obtain magnetic compasses from the Chinese. For 500 years, the Vikings alone had this instrument among Europeans and they kept its existence a secret. Using their compasses, the Vikings were able to sail across the Atlantic Ocean despite the occasional presence of thick fog.

Neither the Vikings nor most other medieval mariners were able to determine longitude well, if at all, but the Vikings were adept at reckoning latitude. They knew that the Sun marked the east at sunrise and the west at sunset. They also understood that, “at noon the Sun is due south [and during] months when the Sun does not set below the horizon, the position of the Sun at midnight indicates due north.”

This knowledge allowed them to employ their magnetic compasses in navigation.[5]

5 Shield

The Viking shield was like no other medieval buckler. In size, it was 75–90 centimeters (30–35 in). Used as a defense in combat, the shield also protected the Vikings from winds and waves during their sea voyages.

The flat face, or board, of the shield was made of seven or eight planks from firs, alders, or poplars. These woods were light and flexible. Rather than directly joined to one another, the planks were probably anchored together by other attached parts like the handle and leather cover. It is also possible that the Vikings glued the planks together.[6]

The shield’s thin, flexible wood made it less likely to be split by the blows of an enemy’s weapons. The wood’s thinness absorbed the force of impact, while the supple wood’s fibers bound around the blades of a sword as it got stuck in the wooden shield. This helped to block blows.

Viking warriors formed lines and overlapped their shields to form a defensive “shield wall” that deflected enemy missiles and resisted penetration of their ranks.

4 Western-Style Skis

Photo credit: thornews.com

When not pillaging, looting, raping, and killing, Vikings took time to enjoy skiing. Although the Russians and Chinese may have invented skis before the Vikings did so, the Norsemen introduced Western-style skiing. The word “ski” is derived from the Old Norse skio.

Throughout the Middle Ages, Scandinavian hunters, farmers, and warriors often used skis. In Norway, 18th-century troops participated in competitive skiing matches. In the 1700s, Swiss soldiers also trained and competed on skis. These events were inspired by the Viking tradition of skiing for recreational and transportation purposes.[7]

Even the Norse gods skied and walked on snowshoes according to illustrations of Skadi (the goddess of bowhunting, skiing, winter, and mountains) and Ullr (the god of snowshoes, hunting, the bow, and the shield).

3 Sun Compass

Photo credit: ksl.com

The Vikings’ sun compass was a simple but ingenious navigational device that allowed them to sail great distances. The sun compass consisted of a peg, the gnomon, inserted through a hole in the center of a circular, wooden, or soapstone plate known as the sun shadow board. The board was held horizontally so that the gnomon stood vertically.

The shadow of the gnomon fell across the board. Its position was marked, and the process was repeated every hour from sunrise to sunset. A line drawn to connect the points made a hyperbolic curve, the gnomon line, which was determined by the ship’s latitude, the Sun’s declination (height above the equator), and the gnomon’s height.[8]

In navigating, the Vikings had to compensate for variations in the height of the Sun at various times of the year. To offset the effects of their ship’s pitch, the compass was left to float in a container of water held above the ship’s deck.

2 Sunstone

Photo credit: Live Science

A calcite crystal (aka Icelandic spar) was found amid the wreckage of an Elizabethan warship known as the Alderney ship. The vessel sank in 1592 around the Channel Islands.

The crystal’s location suggests that it may have been used as a navigational device. Although no complete calcite crystals have been found at Viking sites, a fragment of one was found at such a location recently. The two discoveries—the fragment and the Alderney crystal—constitute the first evidence that the Vikings’ fabled sunstone may have actually existed.[9]

Due to its shape, the crystal doubles an image by bending or polarizing sunlight. By holding the sunstone so that the images merge, a navigator could have determined an east-west direction even in heavy fog, under cloudy conditions, or after the Sun had descended beyond the horizon.

Relying on a sunstone during conditions that precluded the use of a sun compass, Vikings might have drifted north or south. But on the next sunny day, they could have employed their sun compass to correct their course. Using the instruments to complement one another allowed the Vikings to sail in all sorts of weather and under both favorable and unfavorable conditions.

1 Tent

Photo credit: tentsmiths.com

The Viking tent was plain, practical, and brilliant. Tent frames were discovered on a buried, ninth-century Viking ship in Gokstad in Sandar, Sandefjord, Vestfold, Norway.

The bottoms of a pair of crossed beams were inserted in each of two ends of a square wooden platform. Then, a pole was run through each pair of beams near their tops. Next, a rectangular piece of material 5 meters (17 ft) long by 4 meters (14 ft) wide was draped across the pole and its ends were secured to the other two sides of the platform.[10]

The 3-meter-tall (11 ft) tent could be set up in minutes, and it provided its users with a dry shelter with a wooden floor. There was even a decorative element in the four dragons’ heads carved into the tops of the support beams, two of which looked one way while their companions gazed in the opposite direction.


World's Biggest Nuke Plant Gets A Long-Awaited OK

World's Biggest Nuke Plant Gets A Long-Awaited OK

The biggest nuclear power plant in the world sits idle, as it has for nearly seven years. But that state is set to change, and not without public trepidation. The Guardian reports that Japan's nuclear watchdog this week gave Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) the green light to restart two of the seven reactors at Kashiwazaki-kariwa, which fell victim to the country's nuclear power moratorium in the wake of the March 2011 Fukushima disaster. That calamity occurred on TEPCO's watch, and the utility says the money it will generate from Kashiwazaki-kariwa's power is key to funding its continuing decommissioning efforts at Fukushima. It has poured more than $6 billion into Kashiwazaki-kariwa in an effort to make it immune to the series of disasters that befell Fukushima.

A 50-foot seawall provides tsunami protection, for instance, and 22,000 tons of water sit in a nearby reservoir, ready for the taking if reactors need sudden cooling. But locals aren't convinced—the Japan Times reports some people shouted at the meeting where the restart approval was granted—and that matters: Though the restarts are penciled in to occur in spring 2019, the AFP reports local authorities need to give their OK, and that process could take years. The plant is located in Niigata prefecture, and locals there cite the active seismic faults in the area as a major concern; the Guardian notes "evidence that the ground on which Tepco's seawall stands is prone to liquefaction in the event of a major earthquake." A second is the fear that should an evacuation be necessary, it would be much less successful than that of Fukushima due to the bigger population.

Rollercoaster Engineers Are Now Designing... Horse Exercise Systems?

Rollercoaster Engineers Are Now Designing... Horse Exercise Systems?

This new £20 million machine dubbed the "Kurtsyste" is designed to eliminate jockey human error and put "young racehorses through their paces."

What Makes Those Old-Timey Blasting Machines Work?

What Makes Those Old-Timey Blasting Machines Work?

We've all seen cartoons where a character sets off some dynamite with one of those plunger-and-box doohickeys. Now find out what's inside one of them.

Engineer Sues for Right to Call Out Traffic Camera Problems

Engineer Sues for Right to Call Out Traffic Camera Problems


After electronics engineer Mats Järlström publicly challenged the mathematical formula used by the traffic cameras in his town of Beaverton, Ore., he was slapped with a $500 ticket for practicing engineering without a license. Now he’s suing the Oregon State Board of Examiners for squashing his First Amendment right to discuss public safety issues, reports NBC News. The story began in 2013 when Järlström’s wife received a $260 ticket for running a red light, Oregon Live reported in 2014. He studied the light cycles at various intersections caught by traffic cameras and claimed that the formulas were outdated; he believes the yellow light cycle is too short for turning lanes. He attended more than a dozen city council meetings, did interviews with local television stations, and even wrote to the state’s board of engineer examiners.

That’s where his trouble started, reports Motherboard, because he included the words, “I am an engineer” in his email. State law says that engineers must be licensed by the state to practice engineering, which includes speaking on the topic. The automated traffic cameras in Beaverton resulted in 25,000 tickets between 2001 and 2014, many of which the 56-year-old Järlström believes are unwarranted. But for Järlström, who paid the board's $500 fine (his wife's original $260 fine was also paid), the matter is now more personal. "It's important in my mind we can share ideas freely in Oregon to promote innovation,'' he says, per Oregon Live. "I feel violated at this point in time.'' And his work is far from done: He's also working on an article on the subject he hopes to publish in an academic journal.

The Stig Takes A Spin In The World's Fastest Bumper Car — Which Can Hit Up To 100 MPH

The Stig Takes A Spin In The World's Fastest Bumper Car — Which Can Hit Up To 100 MPH

In celebration of the return of "Top Gear," The Stig rode in a record-breaking, specially commissioned speed machine made from a 1960s bumper car and a 600cc Honda motorbike engine.

The Battle To Build Guns That Can Fire Only In The Hands Of Their Owners

The Battle To Build Guns That Can Fire Only In The Hands Of Their Owners

America has a love affair with firearms and that's not going to change anytime soon, but could there be a technological solution to gun violence?

Engineer Builds a Moving Dartboard That Allows You to Hit the Bullseye Every Time

Engineer Builds a Moving Dartboard That Allows You to Hit the Bullseye Every Time


Former NASA engineer Mark Rober spent the past 3 years creating an incredible moving dartboard that allows you to automatically hit the bullseye each and every time that you throw a dart.

I fulfilled a 3 year-long dream to create a dartboard where you get a bullseye every time thanks to some engineering. Basically, you throw a dart and then a Vicon motion capture system tracks the dart in the air. We use those x,y,z positions in matlab to predict where the dart will land using some regression analysis. Once we know where it will land, we move the board to the right spot using 6 stepper motors that attach to the back of the board using fishing line. All of this happens in 400ms or so. Then we took it to a bar to see what people would think of it (SPOILER ALERT: they liked it).


A Close Look At The Engineering Behind Sprinkler Heads

A Close Look At The Engineering Behind Sprinkler Heads

Sprinkler heads are robust pieces of metal, but with a little heat, they'll go a 'sploading.

TOP 10 Fastest And Most Unusual Trains In The World In 2017

TOP 10 Fastest And Most Unusual Trains In The World In 2017

We present you a video compilation of the most unusual and high-speed trains in the world.

The Windows On The Boeing 787 Dreamliner Are So HUGE

The Windows On The Boeing 787 Dreamliner Are So HUGE

The windows in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner are awesome. You can electronically dim them for five different levels of sunlight and visibility. That’s so much better than the typical airplane window shade option of blinding or blocked out. But the coolest thing about Dreamliner windows are how huge they are, like vertical panoramas of the sky. How come the 787 can support bigger airplane windows but other planes can’t? It’s because the Dreamliner is mostly made of carbon reinforced plastic.

Real Engineering explains that the composite material that makes up most of the Dreamliner can take more stress than the traditional aluminum used in aircraft fuselages. And that’s important because windows block the flow of stress in the structure and too much stress would lead to cracks. Cracks, as you can imagine, are not good on airplanes.

So airplane windows are oval because the stress flows much nicer around the oval windows than it does around square windows (where things can get bunched up). Airplane windows are also small because bigger windows congest the stress too much too. The Dreamliner can get away with having bigger windows because its composite materials are better suited to handle the stress than metal. Regular airplanes can’t handle it and that’s why their windows are so small.

But for a deeper dive on the difference, watch this video by Real Engineering below.

6 Construction Failures And What We Learned From Them

6 Construction Failures And What We Learned From Them

Things can go wrong in scientific experiments sometimes, but when it comes to engineering, getting things wrong can be disastrous.

Filming A See-Through Engine In Super Slow Motion Is The Best Way To See How Internal Combustion Works

Filming A See-Through Engine In Super Slow Motion Is The Best Way To See How Internal Combustion Works


Chances are you've seen a diagram or an animation of how an internal combustion engine works. But seeing how a real one works at 4,000 FPS is seriously cool.


Guy Builds A Tiny, Working Single-Cylinder Engine Out Of Freaking Paper

Guy Builds A Tiny, Working Single-Cylinder Engine Out Of Freaking Paper


The model is completely made of paper, it is reduced(and slightly modified) copy of this model: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkSg0...
LxWxH: 18 x 13 x 22 mm
Shaft diameter: 0.5 mm
Piston stroke: 3 mm
Cylinder diameter: 3 mm
"Swept volume": ~ 21 mm3
Building process described here: http://only-paper.ru/forum/38-22450-1
Специально для пользователей из стран бывшего СССР: все политические комментарии будут удалены, "особо настойчивые" комментаторы - забанены. Всем мир :)


How Would You Like To Travel From NY To London In Just 3.5 Hours

How Would You Like To Travel From NY To London In Just 3.5 Hours

Sir Richard Branson on Tuesday heralded the rebirth of supersonic passenger flights with the unveiling of a prototype aircraft promising 3.5-hour flights from London to New York for an “affordable” $5,000 return.

The billionaire Virgin Group founder said his Spaceship company would help Denver-based startup Boom build a new generation of supersonic jets and reintroduce transatlantic flight times unseen since Concorde was scrapped.

“I have long been passionate about aerospace innovation and the development of high-speed commercial flights,” Branson said. “As an innovator in the space, Virgin Galactic’s decision to work with Boom was an easy one. We’re excited to have an option on Boom’s first 10 airframes. Through Virgin Galactic’s manufacturing arm, the Spaceship Company, we will provide engineering and manufacturing services, along with flight test support and operations as part of our shared ambitions.”

Branson is partnering with Blake Scholl, a pilot and former Amazon executive, who will later on Tuesday unveil a prototype of the new jet in a hangar in Denver, Colorado. While several other companies, including Boeing and Lockheed Martin, are developing new supersonic jets, Scholl said his plan was likely to beat them to market as it does not require any new technology that would need approval by regulators.

Scholl said test flights would begin in southern California, with plans to launch the first commercial departures in 2023. If the plans stick to schedule, Boom flights will launch 20 years after British Airways and Air France decommissioned Concorde. He said Boom would succeed where Concorde failed because developments in technology and lighter materials meant tickets would be much cheaper.

A rendering of a Boom interior. Photograph: Boom

“Sixty years after the dawn of the jet age, we’re still flying at 1960s speeds,” Scholl, the founder and CEO of Boom, said. “Concorde’s designers didn’t have the technology for affordable supersonic travel, but now we do. Today, we’re proud to unveil our first aircraft as we look forward to our first flight late next year.”

Scholl said tickets would cost “about the same as tickets in business class”. “I don’t know a single person who wouldn’t want to get there in half the time, rather than have some free champagne,” he said. “It won’t be a bucket-list purchase any more. There is a huge market and the margins are enormous.”

Boom will have just 45 to 50 seats, compared with Concorde’s 92 to 128. Scholl reckons the demand for affordable supersonic flights could make this a $100bn market. He said his plane could work on 500 different routes, but would concentrate initially on London to New York, San Francisco to Tokyo, and Los Angeles to Sydney.

Scholl declined to state how much money Virgin had pumped into the venture, but listed a dozen well-known Silicon Valley venture capital firms and angel investors who had invested funds.

“I started this because I was sad that I never got to fly on Concorde. I waited but no one was doing it, so I decided to,” Scholl said. “Ultimately I want people to be able to get anywhere in the world in five hours for $100. To get there you have to improve fuel efficiency, but step-by-step supersonic air travel will become available for everyone.

“This is supersonic passenger air travel, no bullshit, and it’s actually affordable.”

How Engineers Design The Tallest Buildings In The World

How Engineers Design The Tallest Buildings In The World


Dubai's Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world, rising a mind-melting 2,722 feet in the air. Practical Engineering examines the design features, like vortex shedding and mass dampers, that allow buildings to reach such great heights.




This is what happens when you take the Holy Grail of American trucks from the 1940s, and re-imagine, re-engineer, and recondition it into a supremely modern, one-of-a-kind piece of machinery. The 1947 Dodge Power Wagon 6x6 is form and function in perfect harmony, but it's so much more than that. It's the living embodiment of American automotive culture. And it's for sale, if you have the means.


Wait, when did Dodge sell a 6x6 Power Wagon, you ask?

That's the beautiful thing here -- it didn't, technically. Dodge did, however, make a 6x6 military transport vehicle that saw plenty of action during World War II. That's the basic chassis on which this glorious demigod of American trucks is built.


It somehow looks like it came straight from the factory this way

On top of that chassis lies the body of a legitimate 1947 Power Wagon, itself an icon, the value of which has skyrocketed exponentially in recent years. If it looks like this is exactly how Dodge intended it, that's because it largely is original, down to that engine-driven winch, complete with 200ft of half-inch-thick galvanized steel cable.


To the untrained eye, this looks almost like the original interior

It's deceptively spartan, befitting a 70-year-old truck built as a utilitarian farm vehicle. The seats, though, are modern buckets instead of the original bench, the steering wheel is wooden, and if you look closely at that radio head unit, there's a touch screen that pops out to control all the usual modern audio refinements.


The engine wasn't overlooked, either

When it rolled off the assembly line, 96hp was perfectly adequate -- Power Wagons were built for rural work, after all. Its gearing was incredibly steep to make up for the lack of power, which severely limited its top speed. That wasn't a problem, though, because the interstate highway system wasn't a thing back then. Now, it's sporting a modern Cummins turbo diesel that theoretically means it can bring along a total of over 16,000lbs, including the weight of the truck.

The truck was put together by a company that specializes in taking vintage Dodge Power Wagons and transforming them from utilitarian trucks into modern vehicles. Is it worth the $119,900 asking price? Considering the Mercedes AMG G63 6x6 can run up to 10 times that, this one sounds like an absolute bargain.


Engineering The Strongest Foam In The World

Engineering The Strongest Foam In The World


As we race into the future of space travel, electric cars, and high impact sports, some of our biggest challenges are not actually how we design our future modes of transportation but what we actually build them with. It’s a brave new world, and with a new world, we need new materials. Unlike its soft padded equivalent, syntactic foam may be the material key to protecting ourselves in the future.

MORE Awesome And Amazing Homemade Inventions

MORE Awesome And Amazing Homemade Inventions


Inventions and shit, get ready fucker.

'Leaning Tower Of San Francisco' Saga Continues

'Leaning Tower Of San Francisco' Saga Continues



City officials are scrambling, apartment owners are organizing, and civil engineering experts are continuing to fret in the ongoing saga of San Francisco's Millennium Tower. The 58-story reinforced-concrete skyscraper has already sunk 16 inches and leaned a few inches closer to a nearby building since it was built seven years ago. Per the New York Times, blame for the problem (depending on who you talk to) is being assigned to everything from "very challenging" soil conditions and a "deficient" foundation—Business Insider notes the building was anchored 80 feet into packed sand rather than to bedrock 200 feet down—to lack of city oversight and adjacent digging and groundwater removal. All of which is worrisome in a metropolitan area that lies in a major earthquake zone.


Potential buyers had been warned by developers in 2009 that some aesthetic elements of the building, like the landscaping and color of the stone hallways, were subject to change, but they say they had no clue the building had already sunk 8 inches by the time construction had finished. Jerry Dodson, who paid $2.1 million for his 42nd-floor apartment, says sewage lines and elevators are at risk of malfunctioning with any further leaning or sinkage—and it's anticipated the building could sink as much as 30 inches, CBS San Francisco notes. Dodson's wife reveals one possible solution an engineer has suggested: removing the top 20 floors of the building to reduce its weight. The developer insists the tower is still safe, per CNBC.


Gigantic $12k RC Fighter Jet Tragically Disintegrates In Mid-Air

Gigantic $12k RC Fighter Jet Tragically Disintegrates In Mid-Air 



RC planes aren’t cheap, and crashing even a $200 model can be heartbreaking given how much work is required to build and test it before your first flight. So imagine how these guys feel when their half-scale Saab Gripen, measuring 26-feet long and weighing over 220 pounds,simply disintegrated in mid-air.

Unfortunately there’s no one to blame for this catastrophe but those responsible for its construction and the pilot at the controls. The jet engines worked fine, there was no mid-air collisions, but apparently the stress of flying was enough to weaken its airframe to the point where the tail broke off, causing the craft to suddenly nose up and then boom.


World's Largest Telescope To Be Switched On As Scientists Step Up Search For Alien Life

World's Largest Telescope To Be Switched On As Scientists Step Up Search For Alien Life


The Five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) will search deep space in the hope of unlocking some of the universe's deepest secrets

Is Earth finally about to make contact with extra terrestrial life?

That is one of the hopes for the world's largest radio telescope, which will be switched on later this month.

The finishing touches have now been put to the Five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST), in south west China's Guizhou Province, with the enormous 1,650-foot-wide dish set become operational from September 25.

The final stage was the installation of a 30-ton 'feed cabin', which collects signals from the universe received by the telescope.

Zheng Xiaonian, deputy head of National Astronomical Observatories of China (NAOC), told Reuters: "It (the feed cabin) is the receiver of the FAST and the receiver is the most important part.

"It receives all the signals collected by FAST. It's as important as the apple of the eye."Aperture Spherical Telescope

It is hoped the powerful radio telescope will find signs of alien life in the distant universefast1

FAST is now going through a debugging and has already started to receive signals from pulsars - celestial objects that emit radiowaves at up to one thousand pulses a second.

"We haven't done tests with all the systems ready," said Yue Youling, assistant research fellow at the science department of FAST

"Now most of the systems are ready for joint tests. We can do some tests after the feed cabin is hoisted up and can receive some scientific data."


The last triangular panel to the reflector of Aperture Spherical Telescope is installed

The first few years of FAST's life will see Chinese scientists conduct early stage research to find out more about the beginning of the universe.

After that the £134m telescope will become open to researchers across the world to search for distant planets and listen out for signals potentially left by alien civilisations

Worlds First Flat-Pack Truck

Worlds First Flat-Pack Truck


Acclaimed F1 designer Gordon Murray makes the world's first flat-pack vehicle - and says it's his proudest achievement yet.

How Army Ants Manage To Build Bridges Using The Hive Mind

How Army Ants Manage To Build Bridges Using The Hive Mind


With no single ant in charge or global perspective, army ants somehow still know the best way to build bridges.





The best way to learn about engines is to make your own sketchy parts out of glass so you can see the inner workings of the motor. This shows us exactly what is happening as the spark plug ignites the fuel!

12 Extreme Acts Of Laziness

12 Extreme Acts Of Laziness


One clever homeowner wanted to beat the system and made his own self-driving lawnmower. How did he do it? He simply took his push mower and attached it to a pole with some string, which allows it to travel in circles without being pushed. The only issue with this ingenious rig is that the mower will just keep traveling around the same radius, so you would still have to move the pole and mower to different locations across the lawn. Still, if you are feeling very unmotivated or just don't have the energy to push a mower around for a few hours, this trick might just be for you.



UK-based Mick Carroll was passing through the town of Market Drayton when he spotted an unusual sight —  a man cruising down the canal with the help of a tiny remote-controlled tug boat.

Carroll took a picture and posted it to Facebook with the caption: “Don't ya just love eccentrics. Seen this fella as we were passin' thru Market Drayton gettin' pulled along by a remote control tug. Brilliant.” (Source)


Not only do you not have to expend the energy to haul yourself over the edge of the bed, but you also get a fun launch into the start of every day. (Source)


Because unpacking is too damn tiring. (Source)


Quit straining your neck while you read — with these lazy glasses, you can lie down on your bed and still be able to enjoy a good book or magazine. The specs have a prism, which lets you recline and look forward at the same time. (Source)


Do you really have to get out of the car?


How a lazy (yet clever) person decorates for Christmas. (Source)


Smoking AND being sedentary will most certainly kill you.


If you ever get tired of holding that tablet… (Source)


Ingenious parenting. (Source)

a99802_lazyness_11 (1)

The laziest way to get a six pack. (Source)


A soda — or in my case, beer — pipe.