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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Print your own "Machine With Concrete" and produce a gear ratio of 244.14 quintillion to 1

Print your own "Machine With Concrete" and produce a gear ratio of 244.14 quintillion to 1:

A fanciful post to Thingiverse from 3DTOPO allows you to print out your own version of Arthur Ganson sculpture Machine with Concrete , a system of wormgears that produces a gear-ratio of 244.14 quintillion to 1.

This is a printable version of Machine with Concrete. The sculpture is a series of twelve 1:50 worm gears, with each gear reducing 1/50th of the previous gear. With 12 gears, the final gear ratio is a mind boggling 244,140,625,000,000,000,000 : 1 (244.14 quintillion to 1). With the first gear spinning at 200RPM it would take over 2 TRILLION years for a single revolution at the end of the machine, so the final drive shaft can be embedded in concrete or plaster.

I emailed Arthur Ganson a link to this page and he replied "looks FANTASTIC!".

Printed Machine with Concrete

(via JWZ)

US Ninth Circuit says forensic laptop searches at the border without suspicion are unconstitional

US Ninth Circuit says forensic laptop searches at the border without suspicion are unconstitional:
An en banc (all the judges together) decision from the 9th Circuit has affirmed that you have the right to expect that your laptop and other devices will not be forensically examined without suspicion at the US border. It's the first time that a US court has upheld electronic privacy rights at the border, and the court also said that using an encrypted device that can't be casually searched is not grounds for suspicion. The judges also note that the prevalence of cloud computing means that searching at the border gives cops access to servers located all over the world. At TechDirt, Mike Masnick has some great analysis of this welcome turn of events:

The ruling is pretty careful to strike the right balance on the issues. It notes that a cursory review at the border is reasonable:

Officer Alvarado turned on the devices and opened and viewed image files while the Cottermans waited to enter the country. It was, in principle, akin to the search in Seljan, where we concluded that a suspicionless cursory scan of a package in international transit was not unreasonable.

But going deeper raises more questions. Looking stuff over, no problem. Performing a forensic analysis? That goes too far and triggers the 4th Amendment. They note that the location of the search is meaningless to this analysis (the actual search happened 170 miles inside the country after the laptop was sent by border agents to somewhere else for analysis). So it's still a border search, but that border search requires a 4th Amendment analysis, according to the court.

It is the comprehensive and intrusive nature of a forensic examination—not the location of the examination—that is the key factor triggering the requirement of reasonable suspicion here....

Notwithstanding a traveler’s diminished expectation of privacy at the border, the search is still measured against the Fourth Amendment’s reasonableness requirement, which considers the nature and scope of the search. Significantly, the Supreme Court has recognized that the “dignity and privacy interests of the person being searched” at the border will on occasion demand “some level of suspicion in the case of highly intrusive searches of the person.” Flores-Montano, 541 U.S. at 152. Likewise, the Court has explained that “some searches of property are so destructive,” “particularly offensive,” or overly intrusive in the manner in which they are carried out as to require particularized suspicion. Id. at 152, 154 n.2, 155–56; Montoya de Hernandez, 473 U.S. at 541. The Court has never defined the precise dimensions of a reasonable border search, instead pointing to the necessity of a case-by-case analysis....

The court is led by Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, who is a fan of my book Little Brother (which features a scene where DHS officials force a suspect to decrypt his devices, on the grounds that his encryption itself is suspicious), and was kind enough to write me a blurb for the new edition of the book. I'm not saying that Little Brother inspired Kozinski to issue this decision, but I'm delighted to discover that something I've been pushing through fiction since 2008 has made it into law in 2013.

9th Circuit Appeals Court: 4th Amendment Applies At The Border; Also: Password Protected Files Shouldn't Arouse Suspicion

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Postal Service band auditions from 2002

[So awesome. -egg]

Postal Service band auditions from 2002:

With all the hubbub around the reuniting of The Postal Service, Sub Pop has released this delightful footage of the band auditions from March 2002. Weird Al! Duff McKagan! Moby! Ben Gibbard?

Vortex smoke rings created with 3D printed wings

Vortex smoke rings created with 3D printed wings:

Dustin Kleckner sez, "Scientists tie vortex rings (smoke rings, basically) into knots using 3D printed wings. Includes high speed video, also in 3D. In addition to being very cool, they are also related to knots and braids that appear in places like the sun's surface. Full disclosure: I'm one of the scientists that did the research."

The duo overcame their experimental difficulties by designing and fabricating various hydrofoils (wings used in water) on a 3-D printer. They tried approximately 30 different shapes before they successfully created the desired vortices. When accelerated in a water tank at more than 100 g, hydrofoils leave behind bubble-traced vortex loops, whose dynamics the researchers recorded with a high-speed camera.

“The bubbles are a great trick because they allow you to see the core of the vortex very clearly,” Irvine said.

Vortex loops could untie knotty physics problems [U Chicago Press Release]

Creation and dynamics of knotted vortices [Nature]

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

DRM Chair

DRM Chair:

One can only sit on the DRM Chair eight times before it collapses. Thibault Brevet and friends created it in 48 hours for The Deconstruction hackathon.

A small sensor detects when someone sits and decrements a counter. Every time someone sits up, the chair knocks a number of time to signal how many uses are left. When reaching zero, the self-destruct system is turned on and the structural joints of the chair are melted.
(Thanks, Jason Tester!)