Everyday Things SOI Blog Technology

Cool Solar Powered Lantern

solar lightHere’s a cool little LED lantern that charges with sunlight. Inflates to form a small cylindrical lantern and can be reduced to a small disc for storage. Really neat idea!

From the website:
Fully waterproof and shatterproof, with a built-in rechargeable battery, all-in-one Luci lanterns hold a charge for up to 12 hours and stay bright all night. Perfect for camping, boating or hiking, emergency breakdowns, power outages or hurricanes, home d̩cor, weddings or celebrations, Luci is ready for anything Рanytime, anywhere, any weather.


Media Science SOI Blog Technology

Micro-verse to Macro-verse!

This is a really cool interactive graphic of the known and unknown universe. You can zoom to the smallest described element to beyond the known universe in space. Hours of geeky info here.

History Technology

The Origin of the Luddites

Planet Money has an interesting history lesson on the Luddites. It appears we are doomed to repeat this history and if CGP Grey is correct, we have a lot to worry about. His Humans Need Not Apply video is below also.



Entertainment Internet Media Technology

Star Wars Despecialized

Here’s a project where Star Wars fans have taken it upon themselves to bring back the original Star Wars movie experience from 1977. I admit to being a bit of a purist, but these guys have gone so far as to add back in odd light flashes that most likely were a mistake and even the color of the clouds behind the 20th Century Fox logo at the beginning. I would align myself to the camp that some of the changes made in the special edition re-release went way too far, especially the Jabba the Hut scene, which I thought looked awful. Maybe now that Disney controls this franchise they may be more agreeable to release an unaltered, original version of the film. For now you can find more info about the “restored” version here.

UPDATE: A new version in 4K is currently in the works, info here. Although the version above is created from various DVD and Laserdisc sources, this one claims to be from an original 35mm print.

In fact, there already is a version that was created from an original theatrical 35mm print called the Silver Screen version. I’ve embedded it below from




Books History Technology

The Great Horse-Manure Crisis of 1894

Seems America had an “emissions” crisis near the turn of the 20th century. Although no one had an answer to the problem it seemed to take care of it self thanks to a new mode of transportation. I first read about this in Levitt and Dubners “Super Freakonomics,” and googling gave me a few articles that seem to predate the book.


History Technology

Enter Stagnation, not much has changed in our lifetimes.

Tyler Cowen tells us that we should adjust our expectations for economic growth in the US.


Tools (technology) never die!

Think about it, every technology that has ever existed is still being manufactured new somewhere in the world!

Kevin Kelly (founding editor of Wired Magazine) tells NPRs Robert Krulwich:

“I say there is no species of technology that have ever gone globally extinct on this planet.”

He explains, “I can’t find any [invention, tool, technology] that has disappeared completely from Earth.”

Krulwich, as most would argue, this just can’t be true!

The debate begins:

The conclusion:


Only 20 percent of the energy in each gallon of gasoline is actually used to move the vehicle forward.

According to a recent MIT graduate that’s a fact. He’s developing a way to capture the energy lost through a vehicle’s shock absorbers.

NPR story

Science Technology

Electric Cars and Hybrids Not So Economical

One of the touted benefits of electric vehicles is the fuel cost savings, but it appears that’s not necessarily the case according to Edmunds. Aside from the high purchase cost, a gas sipping Aveo is considerably much cheaper to operate than a Prius! And depending on how the electricity is generated used to charge the Prius, they may not be any better for the environment.

… consumers could see that at 1,250 miles a month, a 2010 Toyota Prius would cost, on a national average, $67 a month at the pump, while an electric Mini E would cost $49 a month to “fill” from a 220-volt charger in the consumer’s garage; the monthly gasoline bill for a four-cylinder Chevrolet Aveo would be $11, and a 2011 Chevrolet Volt – running on gas and electricity – would cost $54.

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Art Internet Media Technology

Google Street View Painter

Bill Guffey is an artist in Kentucy that has painted a series from the 50 states using Google maps Streetview as reference.