This was the Future, Vol.30

typed for your pleasure on 30 September 2006, at 11.39 am

Sdtrk: ‘Young and insane’ by Magnetic fields

As much as I despise maths and mathematics — it’s common knowledge that unchecked use of mathematics will one day obliterate the Universe — I have to say, I’m rather impressed with the ingenuity behind Curt Herzstark’s Curta mechanical calculator.

The Curta was a small, hand-cranked mechanical calculator introduced in 1948. It had a brilliantly compact design, a small cylinder that fit in the palm of the hand. It could be used to perform addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and with more difficulty square roots and other operations. [..]

The Curta was invented by Curt Herzstark while he was a prisoner in the Buchenwald concentration camp. Herzstark survived the camp, and following the end of WWII he completed and perfected the design. They were made in Liechtenstein by Contina AG Mauren. They were widely considered the best portable calculators available, until they were displaced by electronic calculators in the 1970s. [..]

The Curta was affectionately known as the “Pepper Grinder” due to its shape and means of operation. It would literally grind out answers.
quoted from this article

Operating the device, which I always thought looked a bit like a hand grenade, involves swiveling the crank, rotating the ring, sliding the levers along the side into place, and a few other processes. There’s an article that details its operation here, and once you’re fully debriefed on that, you can give it a go yourself with the Curta Flash simulator. As it’s only a simulator, you won’t have to worry about making a tragic mistake, so go crazy!

Obviously, I don’t completely understand how it works, as math confounds me. But you can’t say that the Curta calculator isn’t a beautiful machine, and is pretty high-tech for the time period it came from. If Alan Moore ever gets round to making a volume of ‘League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’ set during the late Forties or early Fifties, I’d be highly surprised if he didn’t have a character use one at some point.

Asking prices for used Curtas on eBay usually start at $250 USD. That kinda threw a bucket of ice water over everything, didn’t it?

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

This was the Future, Vol.39 on August 1st, 2009

This was the Future, Vol.17: supplemental on December 12th, 2009

‘Oh, beHAVE!’ etc

typed for your pleasure on 27 September 2006, at 2.57 pm

Sdtrk: ‘City girl’ by Kevin Shields

Found this on the Bay of e. Hmm. Hmmm.

Does this make me horny, baby? Well, yes and no

Austin Powers Fembot Movie Prop Dummy Original COA!

You are looking at a movie prop original.
The Fembot of Vanessa Kensington from the motion picture, Austin Powers 2, “The Spy Who Shagged Me”. This silicon puppet weighs approximately 30lbs and is the original that was used in the movie. All silicon skin with a fiberglass plastic shell interior for the face. Face is wired with lights inside the eyes and mouth area. Works with a 9 volt battery. Punched hair. Also, there are holes where the nipples would be. This is where the special FX dept rigged gun barrels to pop out and shoot blanks. This prop does not include gun barrels or any equipment used on that effect. But it would be a simple task to rig fake ones as seen in the shot. This prop has been packed and stored since it’s debut and is in mint condition. Originally cost over $20,000 to make.

The starting bid is $3050.00, which makes her cheaper than a RealDoll, but she lacks articulation — at least, the seller doesn’t mention any — and doesn’t even exist below the waist. And I’m sorry; you can’t tell me that legs are just for show. Plus, the holes where her nipples should be is rather disturbing, but I’m sure that problem could be rectified. Or you could kit her out like the Korova Milkbar’s milk-dispensing statues from ‘Clockwork orange’, if you were so inclined. Which.. might also be disturbing.
Nevertheless! Having my very own Fembot prop would be something truly Magickal

Technorati tags: Android, Gynoid, Fembot, movie prop, Austin Powers, machine-gun jubbleys

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Hoorej for Autumn

typed for your pleasure on 23 September 2006, at 6.58 pm

Sdtrk: ‘The black hit of Space’ by the Human League

Just uploaded two new videos to my YouTube page (not linking it, cos I’ve already linked it enough over the past couple of posts). I’m in one of them! After a fashion.

Happy 23rd / Autumnal equinox!

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typed for your pleasure on 19 September 2006, at 8.05 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Never understand’ by the Jesus and Mary Chain

Stumbled across this encouraging article on a new blog called The Fembot Chronicle, which in turn got it from Pink Tentacle, which in turn obtained it from the Yomiuri shimbun. That’s a lot of turning.

Robot beauty goes skin-deep

In a move that could provide a crucial boost to our robotic friends struggling up the near side of the Uncanny Valley, major cosmetics manufacturer Kao Corporation and a Keio University research team led by robotics professor Takashi Maeno have developed an artificial skin that feels just like human skin.

Skin, the largest organ of the human body, consists of a soft layer of tissue (dermis) covered by a tougher protective layer (epidermis). The artificial skin developed by Kao and Keio mimics the feel of human skin with a 1-cm thick “dermis” of elastic silicone covered by a 0.2-mm thick “epidermis” of firm urethane. Countless tiny hexagonal indentations etched into the urethane epidermis provide it with a very realistic texture.

In a series of unscientific tests, 10 out of 12 people who touched the skin thought it felt like human skin, while equipment designed to measure the mechanical properties of skin confirmed the artificial skin had characteristics resembling human skin.

The skin was unveiled earlier this month at the 24th Annual Conference of the Robotics Society of Japan (RSJ) at Okayama University. While Kao plans to use the artificial skin in the development of new cosmetics, Professor Maeno sees potential applications in the field of household robotics, where there are many opportunities for human-robot interaction.

[Source: Yomiuri Shimbun]

Once again, Japan’s making impressive strides towards actual Synthetiks in society. Well done, Keio University team members!

By the way, the site where I found the illo used above would be ALIEN1452; if you’d like the NSFW scintillating full-sized version, you can clicky here, as it’s well worth it

Technorati tags: Android, Gynoid, Keio University, Kao Corporation, artificial skin

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typed for your pleasure on 18 September 2006, at 3.18 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Cruenta voluptas’ by NON

For those of you who reside in England, you’ll be ‘pleased’ to know that Sidore-chan and I, along with Everhard and his lasses, the famous Gordon Griggs and his lasses, and ‘Dr Jackson’, will be on your televisions this very evening. I just received an Email from ex-Geordie director Nick Holt, that said the finished documentary, ‘Guys and Dolls’ (that title was Nick’s idea, if I recall correctly), will be on Five on 18 September, at 2200 GMT. You can find a listings check right here.

Sorry for the short notice, but I was just told today by Nick, and Nick was just told today by the people at Five. So there you have it. Hopefully I don’t like a complete twat — although that’s a possibility that can’t be ruled out, y’know.

Set your VCRs! Do people even use VCRs anymore?

ADDENDUM (6.45pm): Looking over my blog’s stats, I guess it aired!..
Info for the innately curious: 1) I’m working on rebuilding Sidore’s site, ‘Kitten with a Whip!’, so in the meantime, you’ll just have to settle for her Flickr page, 2) blah blah blah my YouTube page, and 3) you’ll find more Doll-related info in the lefthand sidebar, in the Categories area. Enjoy, and try not to break anything

Technorati tags: Davecat, Sidore, RealDoll, iDollator, Guys and Dolls, Five, UK television

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This was the Future, Vol.29

typed for your pleasure on 17 September 2006, at 11.45 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Bel air’ by Can

This is La Vallée 70, somewhere in France. The top section holds the kitchen and living room, and there seems to be at least four colour-coded compartmentalised rooms beneath, and below that, there’s an indoor swimming pool. The furniture and accessories are appropriately 20th century Modern, and it’s built into the side of a hill that overlooks a small stream.
Also notable: the entire residence looks to be made of 100% pure Awesome.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, that certainly holds true for this sexy action-packed instalment of ‘This was the Future’, cos I can’t copy any of the text, as not only is it all in French (pronounced ‘Frawnsh’), but the site’s all Flash. A pox on you, webdesigners! I’m sure these screencapped pics will pique your interest, in lieu of an actual article…

Something this sexy doesn’t need words, anyway — it’s self-descriptive. Dibs on the Violet Room!

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Grammatik macht Frei

typed for your pleasure on 14 September 2006, at 3.37 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Liar’ by the Sex pistols

Finally, a holiday that I can wholeheartedly get behind! Apart from Hallowe’en, that is. And, ah, Festivus.

Celebrate National Punctuation Day®
September 24, 2006

People all over the United States are celebrating the new holiday, National Punctuation Day®, which is listed in Chase’s Calendar of Events as a celebration of the lowly comma, correctly used quotes, and other proper uses of periods, semicolons and the ever mysterious ellipsis.

Jeff Rubin, owner/publisher of The Newsletter Guy, a newsletter publishing company based in Pinole, CA, founded National Punctuation Day® to draw attention to the importance of proper punctuation. It’s a day for librarians, educators, and parents — people who are interested in teaching and promoting good writing skills to their students and their children. It’s also a day to remind business people that they are often judged by how they present themselves.

If you’re like me and you have a baby aneurysm every time you see a sign that says ‘CD’S AND DVD’S FOR SALE’, or if you get the red mist whenever you encounter ‘it’s’ and ‘its’ being erroneously transposed, you’ll dig this holiday as much as I expect I will. Kinda makes you want to go shoot Myspace right in the face, eh? *nods vigourously*

There have been a shedload of punctuation faux pas since.. well, whenever, but my two recent faves would have to be ‘Alot’, and ‘Infact’. When did these become single words? Did I fall asleep one day, and wake up in The Land Where Language Gets Sodomised?
Yes; technically those would be misspellings, but punctuation fuckups are closely related. They’re the slightly less-inbred cousin.

Aaanyway, that’s National Punctuation day, 24 September. Learn it, live it, be it

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