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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Realtime API for Congress

Realtime API for Congress: "

Nicko from the Sunlight Foundation sez,

The Sunlight Foundation's Real Time Congress API is now available for everyone to follow a range of Congressional activity as soon as it becomes available online. The feeds in the Real Time Congress API include floor updates, video from the House and Executive branch, bills, votes, hearings, amendments and more. This collection of live feeds is filterable, sortable and sliceable, giving developers a chance to customize the data to fit their needs in either JSON or XML format.

This newly expanded API offers unprecedented access to Congressional information and will be integrated into our Congress app for Android, Stream Congress, our iOS app and the upcoming Roku apps. Unlike the archival data available from GovTrack and the NYT Congress API, the Real Time Congress API covers only the 111th and 112th Congresses.

The Real Time Congress API

(Thanks, Nicko!)


Man's head rejects implanted camera

Man's head rejects implanted camera: "skullcam.jpg

Artist Wafaa Bilal mounted a camera on a titanium base inserted between his skull and his skin, and planned to live with it embedded in his head for a year. Though he took antibiotic and steroid treatments, persistence was futile: his body rejected part of the implant, forcing its removal last week. Photo: Reuters/Jessica Rinaldi


1942 adding machines: a marvel of non-essential zero elimination!

1942 adding machines: a marvel of non-essential zero elimination!: "

This 1942 ad for a Comptometer mechanical adding machine celebrates the joy of spending hours every day doing what spreadsheets today accomplish in an eyeblink. I love the feature-list: no glare dials, the elimination of non-essential zeroes, and a marvellous 'Keystroke Censor.'

Collier's January 17, 1942


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Locksmith's swirling mural of discarded keys

Locksmith's swirling mural of discarded keys: "

The facade of NYC's Greenwich Locksmith is an elaborate, beautiful mural made of thousands and thousands of discarded keys and locks. ScountingNY writes, 'The key facade was designed and installed entirely by owner Phil Mortillaro back in October, and I can't tell you how beautiful it is up close. It almost feels like the locksmith version of a Pollock painting - tens of thousands of keys seemingly strewn about haphazardly, yet in the mess, patterns emerge.'

The Coolest Locksmith Shop in New York City


Hamster-powered strandbeest walker

Hamster-powered strandbeest walker: "

The mad genius at Crafbuartworks created a miniature, hamster-powered strandbeest walker. The walker is hamstered by the intrepid Princess, who is a champ.

The hamster powered? that's just stupid, which is the exact reason why I did it. It's different, hasn't been done before, yet it's in so many what's-under-the-hood jokes. It also had a high likelyhood of working, so I had to attempt it. Only problem: I don't have a hamster, I don't want a hamster for a pet, and I don't know what sort of power and weight a little critter like that has. All I know is that I've seen them go ballistic on the hamster wheel, and so they must have great weight to power ratio.

I quickly removed the gearing and windmill, cut some plastic and mounted a hamster ball to this contraption. I used ball bearings on the hamster ball axels, and mecanno sprockets/chain to transfer the power from the hamster ball to the main crank. I did some initial testing with my son's motorized train inside of the hamster ball, so I had fair confidence on the gear ratio needed for it to work.

Then my sister in law (who runs a great craft blog, Crafty Carnival) came to the rescue, and was able to borrow one of her friend's pet hamster. Enter Princess the Hamster. Princess is a tiny little thing, much smaller than what I had imagined and prepared for. I was afriad that her weight wouldn't be enough to get the ball going. But luckily it all worked out great, and test pilot Princess had no problems getting the strandbeest up to speed.

Hamster Powered Walker

(via Making Light)