Capturing High-Speed Photographs Of Exploding Wires

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Contrary to what you might think, exploding wires are actually a fairly common photographic subject. Althoughcat bearding probably has it beat in terms of sheer volume, in the world of science, capturing photographs of wires turning into plasma is an often-attempted experiment.

But even though there is a lot of imagery of wires exploding out there, electrical engineer Patrick Herd’smost recent experiment sought to capture the phenomenon in a unique way.

“A lot of existing exploding wire imagery has been done, which reveals late stage explosion information; that is, most images show spectacular showers of sparks,” explains Herd on his blog. “This is a result of using the method of opening the camera shutter, exploding the wire or other device under test, and then closing the camera shutter.”

What he and his group of fellow engineers wanted to photograph instead was the instant the wire went “boom,” basically showing the exact moment when a fine wire with a lot of current passing through it turns into plasma. Using a shutter speed of 1/8000th of a second (because that’s as fast as his DSLR could handle), this is what they wound up getting:

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Getting to the point where they could actually capture these pictures was no easy task. You can read all about the difficulties of setting up a precise timer, how they set the up the entire experiment, and all of the rest of the technical details over on Herd’s blog.

Once they finally began snapping some solid photos, however, they decided to take the experiment a step further. “The next idea was to constrain the plasma in some form of channel,” says Herd. In other words, they wanted to create the letters L, U and X since they would be presenting their findings at the Wellington Lux symposium.

Things didn’t exactly go as planned at first: “The first revision of the lettering turned out to be too small. The “L” exploded violently whilst spraying PLA shrapnel all over the workshop.”

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Fortunately, they didn’t give up. After redesigning the molds to be bigger and stronger, they managed to contain the plasma long enough to photograph it — that’s when the really cool results happened:

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You can read all about the experiment, which Herd has dubbed Project Sigma Mesa, over on his blog. He goes into enough detail that you could probably recreate it yourself, but we’ll go ahead and say that unless you’ve had the proper engineering training, we advise that you DON’T try this one at home.

(via Hackaday)

 

Everyone Has A Camera, And We’ve Done Absolutely Nothing With Them

Everyone Has A Camera, And We’ve Done Absolutely Nothing With Them

Or maybe everyone has just been Snapchatting pictures and videos that would alter the course of human history.

http://xkcd.com/1235/

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Microsoft shutting down MSN TV this September


DNP Microsoft shutting down MSN TV this September

Just after celebrating the service’s sweet 16th, Microsoft has announced it will be shutting down MSN TV on September 30th. To help ease the transition, Redmond is offering current subscribers free access to MSN Premium through December 31st. After that, customers will have to pay the standard rate of $10 per month or $90 per year. Naturally, the modern service isn’t compatible with MSN TV’s defunct hardware — save it for your makeshift Linux cluster.

Users will have to switch their email addresses to Outlook accounts and copy any saved content (bookmarks, Scrapbook photos, et cetera) to SkyDrive before September if they want to access it in the future. Of course, folks that miss the WebTV experience still have other equally unwieldy options. The shut-down was inevitable, but we can’t help feeling at least a little nostalgic for the service’s 640 x 480 view of the web.

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Via: The Verge, All Things D

Source: MSN TV

This Week: 5 Great TV Moments for Independence Day

Hulu
Hulu Top 5
1 SNL's Immigrant Tale
Cornelius Timberlake arrives on Ellis Island
JT’s great, great grandfather predicts that his great, great grandson shall one day bring sexy back. (1 min.)
2 Bloomberg Outlaws July 4th Sparklers
In defense of sparklers
Colbert fires back after New York City Mayor Bloomberg tries to ban the 4th of July staple.
(5 min.)
3 American Dad! Sings About U.S.
America: It’s not the worst place in the world
Why is our nation so great? “American Dad” Stan Smith can tell you why–through song and dance. (2 min.)
4 SNL's American Gothic
SNL shows us how the painting “American Gothic” was made
It was actually pretty complicated. (5 min.)
5 The Simpson's Star Spangled Banner
“The Star-Spangled Banner” on “The Simpsons”
Here’s a throwback: Relive Lisa’s jazz mentor Bleeding Gums singing a soulful version of our national anthem. (1 min.)

Switched On: Hard drives face hard truths

DNP Switched On Hard drives face hard truths

The PlayStation 4‘s is upgradeable; the Xbox One‘s is not. For at least the second consecutive generation (the third for the Xbox), hard drives will be offered as part of the gaming experience for two of the home video game powerhouses: Microsoft and Sony. For the Xbox line, which offered a model without a hard drive in the last generation, the inclusion of an internal HDD represents, along with its x86 processor, a return to the approach Microsoft took with the original Xbox.

Indeed, the Xbox One will load disc-based games onto the hard drive automatically. Both Sony and Microsoft will also offer access via the cloud. In fact, following up on its purchase of Gaikai, Sony plans to offer a range of gaming from the cloud to multiple platforms. This may include older titles that it cannot support on the PlayStation 4 due to a lack of native backward compatibility. If such capability is expected to work, why bother to have hard drives in these consoles at all? Indeed, hardware makers of many stripes are starting to ask that question.

Refresh Roundup: week of July 1st, 2013

Refresh Roundup: week of July 1st, 2013
 

Your smartphone and / or tablet is just begging for an update. From time to time, these mobile devices are blessed with maintenance refreshes, bug fixes, custom ROMs and anything in between, and so many of them are floating around that it’s easy for a sizable chunk to get lost in the mix. To make sure they don’t escape without notice, we’ve gathered every possible update, hack, and other miscellaneous tomfoolery we could find during the last week and crammed them into one convenient roundup. If you find something available for your device, please give us a shout at tips at engadget dawt com and let us know. Enjoy!

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Facebook rolling out Graph Search to US users this week

Facebook rolling out Graph Search to US users this week

Remember that profile-specific social network search tool Mark Zukerberg announced back in January? It’s finally ready for the general public. According to the New York Times and ABC News, Facebook Graph Search will start rolling out to US users this Monday. The update is more than a simple search bar revamp, however — it allows users to mine their social circle for very specific information, asking questions like “Who are my friends in San Francisco,” or searching for “people who went to Stanford who like the 49ers.” The tool is designed to harken back to the company’s original goal of connecting people, and aims to help users draw lines between their friends and interests. Graph Search will also pull select data from Bing, allowing users to peek at the weather from the comfort of their timeline.

Despite launching on a wider scale, the service isn’t perfect — the New York Times reports that it still has trouble juggling synonymous phrases (something we experienced in our own hands-on), returning discrepant results for searches like “people who like to surf” and “people who like surfing.” The tool also works within the confines of a user’s privacy settings and public activity, meaning that you won’t accidentally uncover your cousin’s secret My Little Pony fan-group if its privacy settings are locked down. The feature is set to debut for a few hundred million users this week, and will continue to become available to the all US users in the coming weeks.

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Via: Verge

Source: New York Times, ABC News