2019-07-22 4 min read


Ground Control to Major Tom.

  • Carl Sagan’s reflections serve as a reminder that Apollo wasn’t about science, it was about displaying military power. It wasn't until Apollo 17 when a scientist, Harrison Schmitt, was on board a flight.
  • Apollo In Real Time is archival masterpiece that painstakingly documents the Apollo 11 mission with a cool dashboard.
  • How do they keep cool in space? Without the ability to regulate body heat, astronauts have wildly complicated liquid cooling garments.
  • For us, the sleeping arrangements of the Apollo crew symbolize the priorities of the human element of space travel, which is to say human comfort is not a priority.
  • This is an audit of Nasa’s space suit management from 2017, which explores the current and future state of spacesuit technology. A few months ago, NASA took some heat for not having enough medium sized suits; this document provides context.
  • A point of interest for those of us who solder: Here is Nasa’s soldering and wire connection standards. How does your work compare?
  • We’re not sold on Blue Origin’s vision and approach, and this Citylab article explores whether or not this vision is really forward thinking. It's a great overview of the habitats that Jeff Bezos revealed at the Blue Origin keynote, and how they are based on Gerard O’Neill’s life’s work. We have encountered these habitats through the incredible artwork of Don Davis and Rick Guidace.
  • In 1910, Earth passed through the tail of Halley’s comet, and there was public panic. Understanding how space and celestial phenomena have been interpreted throughout history can give us an interesting insight into how we are currently experiencing space travel, as well as how we can look back on it in the future.
  • The team behind the excellent mailing list The Orbital Index has compiled an excellent list of space resources. Ben Lachman, one half of the Orbital Index, will be curating The Prepared later this summer.

An E-Commerce Monopoly.

Making & Mechanisms.

  • This tide prediction machine is a fascinating example of an earlier, different paradigm of computation.
  • The Antikythera mechanism, an ancient Greek analogue computer is being meticulously recreated by Clickspring on youtube. He is an incredible machinist and historian, and speculates about the nature of the mechanism and analogue computing.
  • This is an amazing explanation of how integrated circuits work, an excellent contrast to the mechanical tide machine! Evil Mad Scientist breaks down how the microscopic elements of an IC function in a clear way.
  • Why do PCBs have 45 degree corners? Why are there no right angles? This detailed teardown has all the answers!
  • A delightful gallery of paper mechanisms.

Anthropocentric planet.

How it’s made.

  • A video card on a breadboard is the electronics project we didn’t know we wanted to see. In this two part video (1, 2) Ben Eater produced ‘the world’s worst video card’ with Bob Ross level chill.
  • We love this interactive breakdown of what exactly a jpeg is and does. The inline editor lets you play around with the underlying code and see how the image distorts and breaks down.
  • The infrastructure that will be needed to implement 5G networks is extensive, energy intensive and running into zoning issues. For all the hype about next-gen connectivity, logistics and legislative issues are piling up behind the scenes. This essay exposes the political and physical reality behind the network, which doesn't seem worth the outlay to us.
  • This rerun of an essay from the 90s about the lives of air traffic controllers in the NYC area is incredibly stressful. We couldn’t find any conclusive evidence it’s improved in the intervening 30 years, but we all owe a lot to these multitasking controllers.


Android Apparatus, by Little Dada

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