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Thread: Trivial or non-trivial technology that amazes you.

  1. #61
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    TomTom hasn't tried to take me down a farm track in a long time, now. They've been collecting journey data for fifteen years, so they've gradually trimmed away errors like that. My current TomTom actually gets a bit nervous when I enter destinations that are on unpaved roads.
    I am amazed by the way in which they use Floating Car Data (from mobile phone locations, among other things) to detect queueing traffic in nearly real time. That facility has been saving my bacon for a good ten years now.

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  2. #62
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    It is true that they are getting better but TomTom tries to send us down tracks in Ch’ti land. When navigating as opposed to driving, I like to use maps such as Maps.me, like the good old days of cut and laminated OS maps. In the old days I had a car compass and would cross London by a quick check of the general direction, I am happy to have GPS now but tall metalised glass buildings can throw the GPS way off.

    I remember my father would write off to the AA and they would post a hand assembled swatch of pages for navigating a holiday route. In those days the AA guys on yellow motorcycles with side cars would salute members and carried common spares. I had a prized RAC key for the blue phone boxes in case of trouble. The RAC handled rally licences in those days.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  3. #63
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    Back on amazing technology, I am a mass production nerd. I marvel at water bottle tops for example. Injection moulded with a lip seal that works a thousand times, a double hinge moulded in an d a click feature to hold it open. Millions are made. Of course they are now part of the plastics problem but can be fully recycled. A similar example is the ring pull drinks can, specifically the aluminium type, again fully recyclable. In that case I watched the lengthy design process to make that tooling work after the steel version was solved. Production process like that is, for me, where you really see the combination of creativity and engineering skill. Any fool can envisage a zip fastener, but to make a machine that manufactures zips, that is impressive.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    It is true that they are getting better but TomTom tries to send us down tracks in Ch’ti land. When navigating as opposed to driving, I like to use maps such as Maps.me, like the good old days of cut and laminated OS maps. In the old days I had a car compass and would cross London by a quick check of the general direction, I am happy to have GPS now but tall metalised glass buildings can throw the GPS way off.
    Paper maps for town, GPS for country.

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  5. #65
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    I've had it for well over three years now, but I'm still amazed by the safety technology in my SawStop tablesaw. In a nutshell...for those of you who missed me gushing about it in the DIY thread...the saw applies an electrical signal to the spinning blade and detects when that signal is altered by skin (or metal, etc.) contact with the blade. The saw's microprocessor then releases a springloaded aluminum brake, which engages the blade's teeth, stopping rotation in about 5 milliseconds, and angular momentum simultaneously retracts the blade beneath the tabletop.

    If you had the misfortune of seeing the 2011 remake of Arthur, you've seen the SawStop in action...sort of. I'd not yet heard of SawStop at that time, so I was mistakenly certain that it was just a Hollywood special effect. In that scene, Arthur's father-in-law-to-be physically bullied him into sticking out his tongue and touching it to the spinning blade. The real saw would have done the job as shown but I still think some trickery was involved. I just can't see an insurer signing off on a highly paid star risking body parts to amputation, even with a proven safety feature. And of course, they took liberties in explaining how it worked to justify the drama of using Arthur's tongue rather than a finger.

    You can see more at the manufacturer's How It Works page. Fair warning: there are links to stories, testimonials, and a few post-injury images...some with a bit of blood. Please click with care if you're sensitive to such things.
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  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Paper maps for town, GPS for country.

    Grant Hutchison
    This brings back memories of living in Germany. I bought dozens of paper maps for travels there and in neighboring countries. They were very, very nice maps: glossy cardstock covers and cleverly cut and folded in a way that made them very easy to use, once you had the trick of it. Ever so much better than the typical US "gas station" map...albeit more expensive.
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    Man is a tool-using animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all. — Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

  7. #67
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    Yes, SawStop is one of those things that really turns the safety aspect of table saws around. Well, apart from kickback. Always remain careful around these machines.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Back on amazing technology, I am a mass production nerd. I marvel at water bottle tops for example. Injection moulded with a lip seal that works a thousand times, a double hinge moulded in an d a click feature to hold it open. Millions are made. Of course they are now part of the plastics problem but can be fully recycled. A similar example is the ring pull drinks can, specifically the aluminium type, again fully recyclable.
    That’s the thing, a lot of the technology in this thread is very impressive, but in some cases I find the technological brilliance overshadowed by the accompanying problems and I can’t really feel innocently “amazed” because I’m too annoyed. We can do a lot with plastic, but people throw dirty diapers on the ground (in a national park!) that will last four hundred years, we can communicate worldwide on the Internet but we get in flame wars, we have digital assistants but they can be used to spy on us, etc.
    Last edited by KaiYeves; 2021-Jun-03 at 06:26 PM.
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  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiYeves View Post
    That’s the thing, a lot of the technology in this thread is very impressive, but in some cases I find the technological brilliance overshadowed by the accompanying problems and I can’t really feel innocently “amazed” because I’m too annoyed. We can do a lot with plastic, but people throw dirty diapers on the ground (in a national park!) that will last four hundred years, we can communicate worldwide on the Internet but we get in flame wars, we have digital assistants but they can be used to spy on us, etc.
    Any tool or discovery can be misused, or weaponized. But the opposite is also true, the Internet and GPS and rocketry are classic sword-to-plowshares. Penicillin was found due to a contaminated petri dish. Etc.

    Doesn't make the resulting problems any less problems. But it isn't purely a one way street. Things do get used for good.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Medicine and medical technology continue to amaze me. It's advanced so far even within my lifetime and accelerating, and I'm so dependent on it that I get to see it evolve. No wonder medical professionals are always so busy (even before Covid-19) They must be constantly studying and updating.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  11. #71
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    I've had psychiatric meds dispensers (not just psychiatrists but others able to prescribe me the meds) who just kept a digital record of them because the list changes and updates so fast that you can't always just remember what's possible to prescribe for mental health issues.
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  12. #72
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    In 1979, Duncan Dowson wrote a book called "History of Tribology". Its a survey of the study of coefficients of friction. Dowson noticed that Da Vinci had drawings of tribometers in some of his sketchbooks. People had mistaken it for scribbles. Some of the scribbles were formulas. Da Vinci was kind of ahead of his time, he had been systematically investigating friction 500 years ago. Completely with the mathematics and working machines.

    That's kind of impressive.
    Solfe

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    In 1979, Duncan Dowson wrote a book called "History of Tribology". Its a survey of the study of coefficients of friction. Dowson noticed that Da Vinci had drawings of tribometers in some of his sketchbooks. People had mistaken it for scribbles. Some of the scribbles were formulas. Da Vinci was kind of ahead of his time, he had been systematically investigating friction 500 years ago. Completely with the mathematics and working machines.

    That's kind of impressive.
    Impressive and interesting, his knowledge of anatomy would have included, I think, the synovial fluid which is the inspiration for variable viscosity lubricants today.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  14. #74
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    Actually, people had been writing about Leonardo's studies of friction for centuries. Dowson was just the first tribologist to take a formal interest. It doesn't detract from Leonardo's achievement, of course.
    (Just don't call him "Da Vinci". Please.)

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    On a day like today which is suppose to really warm, air conditioning or fans.
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  16. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    (Just don't call him "Da Vinci". Please.)
    Why not?
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  17. #77
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    Because it's not an actual surname. Due to his social class, he had no official surname. His name is just Leonardo and specified as "Leonardo from the city of Vinci." Or in full: "Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci". Leonardo, son of Piero from Vinci. If you call him "da Vinci", you call him "from the city of Vinci."
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Why not?
    For the same reason we don't call Geoffrey of Monmouth "Of Monmouth".
    He was "Leonardo da (=of) Vinci", because he was born near the town of Vinci. You could make a case for calling him just plain "Vinci", because these toponymic identifiers evolved into surnames round about the time Leonardo was alive, but no-one actually seems to do that--he's indexed under "Leonardo", not "Vinci" or "Da Vinci".

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  19. #79
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    We call a lot of historical figures by names that were not technically surnames (as modern naming conventions were not in existence then). I see no reason to alter the common usage of Da Vinci to refer to that individual. Everyone knows who it refers to, and in my opinion clarity supersedes tradition.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    We call a lot of historical figures by names that were not technically surnames (as modern naming conventions were not in existence then). I see no reason to alter the common usage of Da Vinci to refer to that individual. Everyone knows who it refers to, and in my opinion clarity supersedes tradition.
    The thing is, I’m not sure it is common usage. I think in the US it is, perhaps because of The Da Vinci Code, but in Wikipedia Leonardo is used. In the case of Michelangelo, who was a contemporary, there doesn’t seem to be a disagreement. The problem with Leonardo may be because it is a fairly common name. Just as a question, what are other historical figures where we do similar things? I’m sure there are many, but just can’t think of any.
    As above, so below

  21. #81
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    The technology that lets us nitpick about trivia with people on other continents. "Someone is WRONG on the INTERNET!"
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  22. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Actually, people had been writing about Leonardo's studies of friction for centuries. Dowson was just the first tribologist to take a formal interest. It doesn't detract from Leonardo's achievement, of course.
    (Just don't call him "Da Vinci". Please.)

    Grant Hutchison
    I just think it's funny that every sketchpad I own has a page or two I use for testing markers, pens and pencils. Typically, it's a bunch of crosshatched geometrical shapes. That sort of looks like Da Vinci drawings of inclined planes and such. If someone comes up with the idea that I was doing research, I'll need you guys to stop them.
    Solfe

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    Writing is an amazing invention. The idea of taking intangible and ephemeral ideas and/or sounds and storing them in a durable form was surely one of the top innovations of (pre)history.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    The thing is, I’m not sure it is common usage. I think in the US it is, perhaps because of The Da Vinci Code, but in Wikipedia Leonardo is used. In the case of Michelangelo, who was a contemporary, there doesn’t seem to be a disagreement. The problem with Leonardo may be because it is a fairly common name. Just as a question, what are other historical figures where we do similar things? I’m sure there are many, but just can’t think of any.
    Botticelli, Fibonacci, El Greco--just the first three that come to mind. Historically, these kinds of nicknames were common--Botticelli's was contemporary, Fibonacci's retrospective, I don't know about El Greco.
    But these are the standard designators applied to these people, academic papers use those names, and that's how they're indexed in encyclopaedias and biographies. Whereas no art historian or science historian refers to Leonardo as "Da Vinci", for exactly the same reason no-one talks about "Of Monmouth"--it's just not his bleedin' name.
    I don't know how common the usage is--I tend to hear him called "Leonardo da Vinci" almost exclusively, with "Leonardo" being a more academic usage that obviously requires context, and I think I only ever encounter "Da Vinci" in association with the word "Code". I certainly hear people mix up "Solar System" and "Galaxy" more often, and that's not really a "common usage" I'd want to preserve just because it's common.

    Grant Hutchison
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    It's rather common in countries that don't speak Italian. In Italy it's not, for two reasons:
    -it sounds strange because to them it literally is "from Vinci"
    -they don't mind to use an extra word or two. Or five. It's not a problem at all if eg the (official) name of a museum is very long.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  26. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    I just think it's funny that every sketchpad I own has a page or two I use for testing markers, pens and pencils. Typically, it's a bunch of crosshatched geometrical shapes. That sort of looks like Da Vinci drawings of inclined planes and such. If someone comes up with the idea that I was doing research, I'll need you guys to stop them.
    Leonardo used both hands to write and draw, to compensate for the stylus or silver point he used for fine lines which only works when pulled, not pushed. So it was easier for him to use left hand and work right to left creating mirror writing, I guess to him it was just writing. We are lucky that so much survived.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  27. #87
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    The only time I've heard Leonardo used as his main name in the US was in reference to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, who are all named after famous Renaissance artists. Every other time it's been Da Vinci. To the point where I was not aware until it was brought up in this thread that anyone used it otherwise.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    The only time I've heard Leonardo used as his main name in the US was in reference to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, who are all named after famous Renaissance artists.
    All of whom were known by their given names (or versions thereof): Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael.
    Mutant Ninja Turtles, correct; Dan Brown, wrong.
    I'd be interested to see some epidemiology on how common "Da Vinci" was in the USA before Brown's novel was published--which was cause and which was effect?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    It's rather common in countries that don't speak Italian. In Italy it's not, for two reasons:
    -it sounds strange because to them it literally is "from Vinci"
    I think it’s interesting though that such designations can become surnames, so that French people don’t have a problem saying General de Gaulle even though it sounds like a place name, because it is his family name.
    As above, so below

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    Well, and “Van Rijn” - “from the Rhine.” Of course, that isn’t my real name, though I had a great grandfather with a similar “Van . . .” surname and I know it is the kind of thing that has become a surname with time.

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