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September 6, 2009

Extreme steel 'Velcro' supports 35 tons — and it's reusable


That's the headline over Tom Simonite's September 4, 2009 New Scientist article, which follows.


Extreme steel 'Velcro' takes a 35-tonne load


For all its usefulness, Velcro hardly inspires excitement. But German engineers have taken inspiration from the mild-mannered fastener to create a version of the hook-and-loop concept with enough steely strength for extreme loads and environments.

A square metre of the new fastener, called Metaklett [above], is capable of supporting 35 tonnes at temperatures up to 800 ºC, claim Josef Mair and colleagues at the Technical University of Munich, Germany. And just like everyday Velcro it can be opened up without specialised tools and used again.

Conventional hook-and-loop fasteners are used for everything from bandages to cable boots in aircraft and securing prosthetic limbs. Mair thinks his spring-steel fastener is tough enough to be used for building facades or car assembly. "A car parked in direct sunlight can reach temperatures of 80 °C, and temperatures of several hundred °C can arise around the exhaust manifold," he says, but Metaklett should be able to shrug off such extremes.

The fastening is made from perforated steel strips 0.2 millimetres thick, one kind bristling with springy steel brushes and the other sporting jagged spikes.

Metaklett can support maximum weight when pulled on in the plane of the strips, and a square metre can hold a perpendicular load of 7 tonnes, says Mair.


[via Erik Naft]

September 6, 2009 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack



Probably best not to use it while driving.


Black or White: $19.99.


Gray: $24.95.

Clear: $29.99.


September 6, 2009 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Real Snail Mail — 'World's first webmail service using live snails'



Just in this morning from Dr. Sallie Baxendale, Consultant Neuropsychologist in the Department of Clinical & Experimental Epilepsy at the Institute of Neurology of University College in London, England, the following: "I have just seen these in action in Guildford, England. Awesome!! Not many people I know would appreciate this, but something tells me you would."

There's a reason Professor Baxendale is the Official Consultant Neuropsychologist of bookofjoe.

But I digress.

From the Real Snail Mail website:



Improving slowness

With thousands of users choosing to take their time with Real Snail Mail™ our eight snails are starting to feel the pressure. We realise we must grow to cope with demand.

We are delighted to announce that our first step towards fine tuning the slowness of Real Snail Mail™ will be taken at the British Science Festival this year where we will present the first of a number of large Real Snail Mail™ enclosures.

Give yourself some time

The moment you click 'send' your message travels at the speed of light to our server where it awaits collection by a real live snail. Yes, that's right we're not called real snail mail for nothing! When time is worth taking RSM is the service for you.

How it works

Our snails are equipped with a miniaturised electronic circuit and antenna, enabling them to be assigned messages. Your message is collected from a despatch centre at one end of their enclosure. Once associated with the tiny electronic chip on the snail's shell your message will be carried around until the snail chances by the drop off point. Here more hardware collects your message and forwards it to its final destination.


Want more?

No problema.

How about in-depth profiles — and photos — of the individual snails who make this service hum?

Not to mention action shots of some of the stars as they go about their business.

Such as it is.



Current Status Report

• The current average delivery time for a message is 264 days 17 hr 43 min 20 sec*

• The current average transfer time for a message is 10 days 6 hr 53 min 4 sec**

Real Snail Mail™ is currently using ... 14 Agents ... which are carrying 20mm RFID disc tags.

The previous Agents (aka Cecil, Austin & Muriel) are presently inactive and resting in greener pastures.

* the average time from when the email was sent to when it finally arrives at its destination

** the average time from when the snail collected the email to when it forwarded the emails.


Featured in TIME magazine last year.

Still can't get enough?

Visit the Real Snail Mail™ blog.

Prove your love by joining the Real Snail Mail™ Facebook Group.

September 6, 2009 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Kick the Habit Socks



September 6, 2009 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mac 'n' Cheese on a Stick


Voted "Best State Fair Food" of the Minnesota State Fair.


[via Kathy Jacobs and Pinch My Salt]

September 6, 2009 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Since when did bungee cords become scarce?


I went to my local CVS and they didn't have any so I drove to a bike shop, where for sure they'd have some, right?


How is that possible?

Bike shops have always carried them, seems to me.

So I did what I should've done in the first place (and usually do): checked out Amazon.

Not only did they have them but they were offering a container (top) full of assorted sizes for $16.21.

Looked good to me.

Free 2-day shipping with 1-Click Prime and I was wondering why I'd even bothered to make the real world shopping trip.

The assortment was surprisingly extensive, what with a total of 24 cords ranging in size from 4" to 40" long, with the larger ones having heavy-duty ends without sharp edges that make them much easier (and safer) to use.

Bonus: The shorter ones have these tricked-out plastic balls on one end that let you control them more easily.

Well worth twice the price.

As essential as jumper cables in the trunk of any car.

You don't have jumper cables in your trunk?

You'll wish you did one day.

Trust me....

September 6, 2009 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

The origin of 'All your base'


Part of Rocketboom's "Know Your Meme" series.

[via Nerdcore]

September 6, 2009 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Film Strip Tape


2" wide x 197' long.


September 6, 2009 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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