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History

A film still of a bouncing bomb trial (Photo: BAE Systems/SSPL)

It's seventy years to the day since No. 617 Squadron of the Royal Air Force returned from Operation Chastise, in which specially designed bouncing bombs were dropped in an attack on the Möhne, Sorpe and Eder Dams in Germany during World War II. Though the bouncing bomb is without doubt the invention for which Barnes Wallis is most renowned (thanks in no small part to its depiction in the film Dambusters) Wallis' other work before, during, and after World War II was of great importance, and in some cases, far ahead of its time. Gizmag spoke to Dr. Andrew Nahum, Principal Curator of Technology at the Science Museum where many of Wallis' papers are archived, about swing-wing aircraft, earthquake bombs, improbable mathematics lessons, and the geodetic Wellington Bomber.  Read More

Lamborghini is celebrating 50 years of creating some of the world's most outrageous automo...

Fifty years ago, a young, ambitious Italian farmboy by the name of Ferruccio Lamborghini decided his talent for mechanical enhancement, engineering and marketing would be better served designing high-performance automobiles. Since 1963 Lamborghini has seen its share of bad relationships and financial hardship, but has still managed to create some of the most extreme and immediately recognizable vehicles on the road today. Here's a look back at the Raging Bull's major achievements as the company celebrates its 50th anniversary.  Read More

A view through the eyepiece of the NeoLucida

As long ago as 1807 – and possibly up to 200 years earlier – many artists used an optical device known as a camera lucida to help them in sketching subjects. A controversial theory even suggests that some of the famous Old Masters created their masterpieces not by sketching freehand, but by using such gadgets. Now, two art professors are trying to bring the camera lucida back, in the form of the low-cost portable NeoLucida.  Read More

Screenshot of the original NeXT web browser in 1993 (Image: CERN)

To old fogeys like me, it seems like only yesterday that the coolest way to go online was to dial up the AP wire service bulletin board on a 300-baud modem, but it was actually two decades ago that the web as we know it burst onto our world. On Tuesday, it was 20 years ago that the World Wide Web went public, when CERN made the technology behind it available on a royalty-free basis. To mark the occasion, the organization announced that it is recreating the world's very first website for posterity.  Read More

The new software has already accurately reconstructed the Proto-Austronesian language, whi...

Imagine the wealth of knowledge we could uncover if it was possible to travel back in time and re-construct ancient languages. While that’s impossible right now, scientists at UC Berkley and the University of British Columbia reckon they’ve managed the next-best thing, by developing new software which uncovers existing fragments of “proto-languages” from languages still in use.  Read More

40 years ago the first cellular phone was invented by Martin Cooper of Motorola ... and it...

This year marks 40 years since the first public cellular phone call was made by Martin Cooper of Motorola. This mobile phone was a massive device by today's standards – weighing two and a half pounds (1.15 kg) and all of 10 inches long it could only be used for 20 minutes before the battery died.  Read More

The new Rolls Royce Jonckheere Aerodynamic Coupe ll concept by Ugur Sahin Design

One of the highlights of the Windsor Concurs d’Elegance that we featured here a few months ago was the extraordinary 1924/35 Rolls Royce Jonckheere Aerodynamic Coupe, now owned by the Petersen Museum in California. Jonckheere, the original coachbuilders, are still in business. Although they now specialize in bus and coach bodies, they have commissioned Turkish designer Ugur Sahin to create a modern interpretation of the original hand-built one-off. The “Round Door Rolls” might live again.  Read More

Paul Larsen in the Vestas Sailrocket 2 records 59.38 knots (68.3 mph - 110 km/h) on Walvis...

NEWS FLASH - The outright world speed sailing record was smashed this afternoon (November 24) by Paul Larsen in the Vestas Sailrocket 2 with the astonishing time of 65.45 knots. It's the third time in eight days that Larsen has piloted the Vestas Sailrocket to a new outright world record, raising the bar from 55.65 knots to 65.45 knots. It has been a spectacular week for sailing in general, with more than a dozen world speed sailing records broken at two different venues in Namibia. The outright speed sailing records for both 500 meters (initially 59.23 then 59.38 and now 65.45 kts) and one nautical mile (55.32 kts) were set in Walvis Bay by Australian Paul Larsen and the British-designed, inclined-rig hydrofoil Vestas SailRocket 2. Simultaneously, 600 km away, the annual Luderitz Speed Challenge has seen nine world outright speed records for sailboards established in just a week, including surpassing 50 knots (92.6 km/h) and 60 mph (52.14 kts) on a sailboard. The breaking of world records is almost certain to continue over the coming weeks, with Larsen now seemingly capable of pushing the outright record within reach of the 70 knot barrier and the now legendary Luderitz Speed Challenge continuing until December 16, with kiteboarders joining the event on December 3.  Read More

One of the six remaining fully-operational Apple I computers in the world is up for auctio...

On April 1, 1976, a new company was established to sell a ready-made personal computer designed and built by Steve Wozniak. The first Apple computers were assembled in the family garage of business partner and friend Steve Jobs and sold to the Byte Shop for US$500 each, subsequently retailing for $666.66. The rest, as they say, is history. Apple has since become a colossal consumer electronics concern, and of the 200 or so Apple I computers ever produced, only 43 have survived. Of those, just six are still in working order and one of those is scheduled to hit the auction block in Germany next month.  Read More

The Last Pictures time capsule

When the EchoStar XVI television satellite lifts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome later this year, it will be carrying a message to the future designed to last billions of years. As it swings in geosynchronous orbit 35,786 kilometers (22,236 mi) above our planet, it will have a gold-plated silicon disc bolted to it, nano-etched with 100 black-and-white images depicting life on Earth.  Read More

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