HOWTO make a papercraft Enigma machine

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Behold the Enigma machine!

Franklin Heath, a UK security consultancy, offers plans for printing and assembling your own papercraft Enigma machine, approximately like the ones that Alan Turing and the Polish cryptographers and co broke at Bletchley Park. Now all we need are papercraft bombes, and a papercraft Collosus, and several thousand papercraft young women to work on code intercepts through the night…

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Build a Vortex Cannon

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The Awesome VORTEX CANNON!

If you’ve been sitting around all week wondering how you could combine smoke, speakers, and a love of novel physics experiments into an excuse to tinker in your workshop this weekend, building a smoke-shooting vortex cannon should cover everything nicely.

Over at Make, the DIY-centric magazine, they’ve put together a video tutorial on how to build your own vortex cannons. The first cannon is essentially a super size version of the DIY Airzooka  just bigger is better! The second model they create, however, is powered not by an elastic membrane stretched across the back of the tube, but by the kick of a big speaker.

Check out the video after the jump to see the construction of the vortex cannon and the cannons in action…

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How To Make A USB Mini Fridge

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With some cheap parts and a little electrical magic
you can make yourself a mini fridge

Physics, how we love you. You keep our feet on the ground, ontologically-ambiguous cats locked in boxes and photons in two places at the same time. It also enables the Peltier effect, what’s that we hear you breathlessly ask?

If a current is passed between two different materials a heat differential is created; one side hot the other cold. The principle is used in all sorts of situations including cooling processors and mini-fridges, though apparently they’re not that efficient, just small and light…

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Using A Wiimote As An Alternative To Scientific Sensors

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The new science Wii!

Laboratory-grade measuring instruments can be pricey, but some enterprising scientists are finding that the Nintendo Wii controller can serve as an alternative:

The Wiimote can track just about anything: All that’s needed is an LED light. Hydrologist Willem Luxemburg of Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands demonstrated a hacked water-level sensor made from a Wiimote and a plastic boat at the meeting of the American Geophysical Union here Monday.

“Just switch it on and make sure it doesn’t get wet,” Luxemburg said…

 

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DIY Polish Tractor Culture

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Fortunately this tractor doesn’t run on smiles.

For independent farmers in Poland in the 1960s, it was nearly impossible to acquire a tractor. Any agricultural machines made in Poland during this period went to state-owned farms, and were too expensive for a private farmer to purchase.  Plus, they weren’t tough enough for mountain farms. 

So enterprising farmers built their own tractors, using decommissioned army vehicles, pre-WWII German machines, and anything else they could find.

Photographer Lukasz Skapski traveled throughout the Polish countryside to document these homemade tractors, and found vehicles that could climb very steep roads, go faster than allowed, and were still trucking after 40 years.

(more tractor pics after jump)

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6 Food Mistakes Parents Make

 6 Food Mistakes Parents Make

The great food challenges with kids

While most parents haven’t resorted to the chocolate diet, they can relate to the daily challenge of finding foods that children will eat. Although obesity dominates the national discussion on childhood health, many parents are also worried that their child’s preferred diet of nuggets and noodles could lead to a nutritional deficit.

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Excessive Thinking Will Make You Fat

 Excessive Thinking Will Make You Fat

An active brain creates an active appetite

Intellectual activities make people eat more than when just resting, according to a study that sheds new light on brain food.

This finding might also help explain the obesity epidemic of an increasingly sedentary society in which people still have to think now and then.

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‘Magic Sand’

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This sand is hydrophobic, it avoids water

When it is dry, Magic Sand is free flowing and cannot form a structure that holds its shape. When Magic Sand is poured into water, it has a silvery sheen and doesn’t become wet. It can be molded into structures that hold their shape under water. When the water is poured off, the Magic Sand is dry. Second video after the jump.

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Great Idea for Old Credit Cards

 Great Idea for Old Credit Cards

The only good use for old American Express cards is picking out some classic Clapton tunes

If you’ve been wondering what to do with all of your old credt cards, here’s an ingenious new idea. Handmade guitar picks. Most are made from old plastic cards (gift cards, credit cards, hotel room keys, etc.) Other materials are cardboard, “Handi Snacks” stick, CD, Toshiba laptop, and plastic packaging.

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