Category: Offbeat

via HACKADAY: Space Technology and Audio Tape to Store Art

[Blaine Murphy] has set out to store an archive of visual art on cassette tape. To do so he encodes images via Slow-Scan Television (SSTV), an analogue technology from the late 50s which encodes images in for radio transmission. If you are thinking ‘space race’ you are spot on, the first images of the far […]

via HACKADAY: Retrotechtacular: Radio to Listen to When you Duck and Cover

CONELRAD may sound like the name of a fictional android, but it is actually an acronym for control of electronic radiation. This was a system put in place by the United States at the height of the cold war (from 1951 to 1963) with two purposes: One was to disseminate civil defense information to the […]

Meet the Geek Who Tracks Rogue Satellites With Coat Hangers

EVERY 95 MINUTES, the Chinese satellite Zhuhai-1 02 makes a full pass around the planet, its solar-panel arms extending from its boxy body as it observes Earth. Sometimes, its path takes it over Pueblo, Colorado. There, more than 300 miles below, Mike Coletta’s receiving station can pick up Zhuhai’s transmissions. Because as sophisticated as space technology is, the […]

Las Vegas Killer Stephen Paddock’s Father Led Double Life as FBI Most-Wanted Bank Robber

Fifty-seven years before Stephen Paddock arrived in Las Vegas with 18 firearms that included at least one fully automatic weapon, his father drove into town with a little snub-nosed revolver tucked into the front seat of his car. The revolver was apparently the same one that Benjamin Hoskins Paddock had displayed to a teller at […]

via HACKADAY: Accidental Satellite Hijacks Can Rebroadcast Cell Towers

A lot of us will use satellite communications without thinking much about the satellite itself. It’s tempting to imagine that up there in orbit is a communications hub and distribution node of breathtaking complexity and ingenuity, but it might come as a surprise to some people that most communications satellites are simple transponders. They listen […]

via HACKADAY: World’s Largest Telescope Stopped by LED

Earlier this year a simple indicator LED brought the Keck 1 telescope, a 370 tons mass, to a halting stop. How exactly did an LED do this? Simple: it did nothing. As it so happens, [Andrew Cooper] was just about the leave the summit of Mauna Kea (in Hawaii) when his radio instructed him otherwise: […]

FCC asks Apple to activate the iPhone’s hidden FM radio to aid public safety

FCC chairman Ajit Pai wants Apple to turn on the FM radio that’s hidden inside of every iPhone. In a statement today, he asked that Apple “reconsider its position, given the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.” The FM radio, he said, can be used to receive “life-saving information” during disasters. Apple said […]

Breakthrough lofts the smallest satellites ever

In 2015, Russian billionaire Yuri Milner established Breakthrough Initiatives, a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). In April of the following year, he and the organization be founded announced the creation of Breakthrough Starshot, a program to create a lightsail-driven “wafercraft” that would make the journey to the nearest star […]

Greetings, E.T. (Please Don’t Murder Us.)

On Nov. 16, 1974, a few hundred astronomers, government officials and other dignitaries gathered in the tropical forests of Puerto Rico’s northwest interior, a four-hour drive from San Juan. The occasion was a rechristening of the Arecibo Observatory, at the time the largest radio telescope in the world. The mammoth structure — an immense concrete-and-aluminum […]

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