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…It’s Things Thursday: Black Stealth 3-Channel R/C Helicopter?

Black Stealth RC Copter

I’ve played with one of these small R/C copters before, so I can vouch for the fun that can be had with one of them, but ThinkGeek’s Black Stealth 3-Channel R/C Helicopter looks like it opens up a whole new world of possibilities with full 3-channel control.

Unlike most small R/C copters (like the one that I played with) which can only be controlled on two channels (up and down and rotate right and left), the ThinkGeek copter gives you full 3 channel control over up and down, rotate right and left, and move forwards and backwards.

In addition to the extra channel of control, the ThinkGeek copter features a dial trim adjuster (rather than the buttons that you find on most copter controls) for precise trim adjustments, and counter-rotating blades for amazing hover ability and stability.

The copter charges in just 10 minutes, and you get a full 7 minutes of play time out of a single charge, so you’ll never be left empty handed, and you can even change channels and fly with a friend, since each features two different channels that you can program it to.

All that fun for just $29.99?

I’ll take two.

[ThinkGeek – Black Stealth 3-Channel R/C Helicopter]

…Humans are amazing?

I was trying to explain to someone how incredible I think the fact that we landed the Phoenix rover on the surface of Mars is, and was unfortunately coming up short for words.

However, I think this picture does it pretty good justice:

Phoenix Parachute

Not much to see, eh?

Well, think about this: What you’re seeing is a photo of the Phoenix rover as it descends to the surface of Mars under its own parachute. The photo was taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE camera as it circles a planet that is tens to hundreds of millions of miles away. As it circles that planet, it’s tracking and photographing a man made object that is gracefully touching down onto the surface of that planet under the guide of its own parachute. Both objects are acting remotely and robotically, and then sending their data back to earth at the speed of light (and it still takes 15 minutes to get here). In short: We created a remote controlled vehicle, shot it millions of miles into the sky, landed it on a precise location on another planet, and then programmed it to run its own scientific experiments and then report back to us with the results.

See what I mean?

[Image Via: Bad Astronomy Blog]

Also, if you’d like to keep track of the rover, follow it on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MarsPhoenix

(What I like most about the Phoenix Twitter is that it’s probably one of the smartest people in the world (a NASA scientist) that has to dumb down what he’s saying and then put it into the third person so that the rest of us can understand what’s going on. Somewhere there’s a guy sitting in a room that’s hating life and wondering when he can leave his Twitter post and get back to playing with the world’s coolest remote control car.)

…Kipp Wettstein makes beautiful large format cameras?

Kipp Wettstein

Kipp Wettstein makes his own large format cameras as part of what he calls The Camera Project.

The cameras are designed to suit Kipp’s “operational tendencies for the singular application of mobility”, and make a “simple, elegant and accurate method to connect the lens and film planes”.

    The beauty of the design is that it is built around the elegant form of the image cone produced by the lens. Not only does this design yield an attractive camera but it is extremely accurate. The lens and film planes have a parallel accuracy within the fractions of a millimeter. These designs have no perspective-controlling movements. They are small, lightweight and extremely precise.

His latest, called the 8×10 Carbon/Aluminum, is a beautiful “portable, wide-angle camera using a molded carbon fiber cone attached to a body plate machined from a solid block of 7075-T651 aircraft aluminum”. The lens is a Schneider 165mm Super Angulon, and “at four pounds, its weight nearly matches that of the camera body”.

Want one?

He’ll make one for you (or at least take your inquiry about one), but keep in mind that “ultimately, large-format photography is a costly process”.

[Kipp Wettstein – The Camera Project]

[Via: NOTCOT]

…Meters have changed?

Meter

Though we usually assume that distances are fixed (a mile is a mile is a mile) the official definition of a meter has changed numerous times through out history.

Each time, the definition of a meter became more precise, but it also changed slightly from the previous definition, allowing for less and less of the variation inherent in each measuring system.

Bonus: The only three countries not currently using the metric system: Liberia, Myanmar, and the United States.

[Good Magazine – Weights And Measures]

[Via: swissmiss]