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Inventors and Remarkable People

Less than 1500 copies of the Liber chronicarum (Nuremberg Chronicle) were printed in Latin...

It’s easy to become blasé in the ubiquitous, 24-7 avalanche of information in which we live our lives – the challenge now is about filtering, organizing and synthesizing information into a useful and relevant form. Think back though to an earlier time when the very first books became available to the public, when the treasure trove of knowledge in our pocket that we take for granted simply did not exist. A book coming up for auction, the Liber Chronicarum (1493), was one of the very first history books available, one of the first printed illustrated books available and its scope is remarkable given it was produced 500 years ago.  Read More

Swedish adventurer Johan Ernst Nilson (right) and his Audi-designed expedition sled (All p...

Swedish adventurer Johan Ernst Nilson definitely has his work cut out for him. On April 6th he began his one-year Pole2Pole trek, in the course of which he intends to travel from the North to South Pole using only carbon-neutral transportation. He has already begun to ski down from the North Pole, with other legs of his journey intended to include travel by dog sled, sailboat, bicycle and kite-assisted sled. Given that his life may depend on everything performing properly, he won’t just be using a garden-variety toboggan to haul his gear across the Arctic and Antarctic ice caps – instead, expedition sponsor Audi has made him a one-of-a-kind sled.  Read More

Sections of the historic 15th century Fibonacci manuscript are going to be put up for auct...

A collection of revered mathematical works will soon be put to auction in New York, including significant pieces of the Liber Abaci or Book of Calculation by Fibonacci. Esteemed as one of the most brilliant mathematicians in Western history, Leonardo Pisano Bigollo (Fibonacci) was one of the first to explain Arabic numerals, the superiority of these numerals and the importance of zero. Above all it was Fibonacci's work that has helped modern day mathematicians find breakthroughs in mathematical equations, whilst also defining sequences used for computer programming and the financial markets.  Read More

Owsley “Bear” Stanley, pioneering audio engineer for the Grateful Dead, died in a car crash near his home in Australia on March 13. The sound designer, artist, and counterculture icon was perhaps best known for producing massive amounts of LSD during the psychedelic 1960s. But it was his groundbreaking sound work that may have the most lasting effect on rock musicians and audiences.  Read More

Rob Cockerham conducts DIY science experiments, performs hands-on product research and cre...

When you think of people having a blast with science experiments, hands-on product research and wacky but clever inventions, chances are you think of MythBusters. Five years before that show’s 2003 premiere, however, Sacramento’s Rob Cockerham set about doing much the same thing on his Cockeyed blog. Today, approximately a million readers from around the world visit it every month, checking out his latest activities as documented in sections such as Incredible Construction, Science Club, and Pranks. We had a chance to talk to Rob recently ... when he wasn’t busy making cyclones out of fireworks, analyzing the compostability of SunChips bags, or sneaking bogus time machines into shopping mall displays.  Read More

ahumanright.org is a charity group that plans to buy a used satellite, and use it as the f...

For those of us who live in the developed world, internet access has become pretty much a given. It’s become so ubiquitous that we almost expect to have it at all times and in all places, but even in this “Information Age,” the majority of the world’s population lacks access to the internet – either because service isn’t available where they are, or they can’t afford it. Kosta Grammatis has a plan, however. Through his charity group ahumanright.org, Grammatis aims to set up a network of satellites that will provide free internet access to everyone in the world. He’s starting by attempting to buy a single used satellite that’s already in orbit and moving it to a location above a developing country.  Read More

Wikipedia is celebrating its tenth birthday

Like "Google", "Wikipedia" has entered the common lexicon. I haven't yet heard anyone say they're going to Wikipedia something but I'm sure that someone, somewhere, is already doing it. Many of us have Wikipedia bookmarked as our "go to" site, the first port of call to get an overview of a topic. The free, online encyclopedia features roughly 17 million articles in 270 languages, all created by a volunteer community. On 15 January this year Wikipedia celebrates its tenth birthday – what had the potential to become disastrously chaotic has become a valued icon, consulted by more than 400 million people every month.  Read More

'Build Your Own Underwater Robot' teaches children - and adults - how to build the SeaPerc...

If you like gadgets, and you like the ocean, then you must like ROVs – it’s just that simple. For the uninitiated, ROVs (Remote Operated Vehicles) are small unmanned submarines that are used for underwater operations deemed too deep, dangerous or difficult for human divers. They’re tethered to a support ship, from which a human operator controls them in real time, watching a live video feed from an onboard camera. It’s all incredibly appealing to those of us who are fascinated by the prospect of what secrets lurk beneath the surface of the ocean... or of the local pond. A few dedicated souls go so far as to trying to create their own homebuilt ROVs, many of them turning to what has become the bible on the subject, Build Your Own Underwater Robot and other Wet Projects. Gizmag had a chance to talk to the two authors of the book, and found out what inspired them to pursue such an unlikely project.  Read More

Light Touch transforms a projected image into a virtual 10-inch touch screen

Light Blue Opitcs (LBO) has won the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Innovation Awards 2010 prize for Product Design with its Light Touch interactive projector. The device uses an infra-red touch sensing system that transforms a projected image into a virtual 10-inch touch screen. It allows users to interact with multimedia content and applications by touching the image, which can be projected onto any flat surface.  Read More

The first computer mouse was made of wood and featured two wheels to control X and Y movem...

Dr. Douglas Engelbart is perhaps best known as the inventor of the computer mouse, but when he unveiled that device at a computer conference in 1968 he also introduced additional technology that would profoundly affect computer-human interaction as much as the mouse has. During the "mother of all demos" at the Fall Joint Computer Conference held at the Convention Center in San Francisco, Engelbart and his team of researchers from the Augmentation Research Center at Stanford Research Institute gave a live demonstration of hyperlinks, remote collaboration software, on-screen windows, and even video conferencing.  Read More

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