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July 15, 2010

"Blade Runner" Australia-style: Mining robots dig for ore in the Outback


Excerpts from Robert Guy Matthews' March 2, 2010 Wall Street Journal story follow.


Rio Tinto is connecting its Australian mines to satellite links so workers more than 800 miles away [below]


can remotely drive drilling rigs, load cargo and even use robots to place explosives to blast away rock and earth.

The company's Perth operations center, which relies on banks of high-tech equipment to manage one of the oldest and dirtiest jobs around, is a harbinger of new techniques that are allowing miners to go to more remote places, dig deeper and get ore to the market more quickly. It also aims to save Rio Tinto money by using fewer workers and keeping them out of harm's way.

The innovation is born from necessity. Easy and accessible mineral reserves have been largely tapped, pushing miners to search more remote locations for iron ore, copper, coal and other metals and minerals. The shift could help Rio and other miners recruit employees who don't want to work in remote locations that might be more politically and environmentally hostile.

Robots can drill about one million holes into the ground automatically in one year, eliminating thousands of man-hours of work.

At the Pilbara mines, robotic machines [below]


monitored by electronic eyes that transmit images and data back to the Perth operations center scoop out ore, dump it onto conveyor belts and spray it to remove dirt and reduce dust. Once an area in a mine has been processed, the robotic machines portion out volatile explosives, reducing the potential for injuries.

Rio Tinto began testing its remote operations project about five years ago with one mine in the Pilbara region, which was linked to a small operations center in downtown Perth. It has since built a larger operations center near the Perth airport, which employs 300 and monitors and controls some aspects of 11 mines in Pilbara.

A... concern was making sure there would be enough security so a computer attacker couldn't electronically take over the mine. "We have a whole army of security geeks," said Mr. McGagh. "We needed massive amounts of security and physical security deep inside to prevent a takeover."

Getting employees comfortable working alongside robots took time. But Mr. McGagh say workers have come to value the reliability of the robotic systems. "People feel safe around the robots because they are predictable."



Like tears in rain....

July 15, 2010 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Honeycomb Porcelain Stool


Designed by Djim Berger for the opening of Paris gallery BSL.

Berger added polystyrene beads to porcelain such that the material was two-thirds polystyrene/one-third porcelain.


The pieces were then fired, resulting in the polystyrene melting and the honeycomb-like structure.

[via muuuz]

July 15, 2010 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

True or false?


I'm thinking that when — not if, because if we're honest with ourselves, we know that the bloom always comes off the rose sooner or later — one of the people in a relationship first considers the question of who has more power, the honeymoon is over.

[via bennybb]

July 15, 2010 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

BeerBot — Bottle Opening Shirt

Homer Simpson-approved.


What took so long?


$19.99 (beer not included).

[via 9gag]

July 15, 2010 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Whoever has the most servers wins


As of now, it's Google by a country mile.

[via bennybb]

July 15, 2010 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Mustaches for girls


From the website:


Stylish Mustaches for Girls

Everyone loves a mustache, but why do boys get to have all the fun?

This set of seven stylish mustaches is made specifically to accentuate feminine features.

Styles such as "The Grandma" and "The Frida" let you pick the fashionable facial hair to accessorize your look.

Each furry lip ornament has adhesive backing and is made of synthetic hair in a girlish shade of pink.

Goes great with almost any outfit!




[via Flautist, who knows what girls want]

July 15, 2010 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The person who loves you


"The person who loves you has picked you out of the great mass of uncreated clay which is humanity to make something out of, and the poor lumpish clay which is you wants to find out what it has been made into. But at the same time, you, in the act of loving somebody, become real, cease to be a part of the continuum of the uncreated clay and get the breath of life in you and rise up. So you create yourself by creating another person...." — Robert Penn Warren (1905–1989); "All The King's Men" (1946)

July 15, 2010 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Helmet Rain Visor — Think outside the rafting space


A. Glosser, a satisfied user, recently reviewed it as follows:


One of the biggest challenges posed by living in Seattle and bike commuting year-round has been keeping my glasses clear of rain while riding. I have a small visor that came with my helmet, but it isn't long enough. This visor, which can be attached/detached via Velcro, is the best solution I've come across so far. While my glasses still get wet when it is very windy out (or very misty), the visor drastically increases visibility on most rainy days, keeping my glasses dry.


Although it is designed for kayak helmets (primarily to keep out the sun, I assume), it has served me well on my bike helmet and the Velcro attachment means I can easily take it off and store it in my pannier on sunny days. Best of all it is cheap at $10 and made by NRS, a company with a strong reputation for quality gear.


From the product website:



This flexible, removable NRS Helmet Visor will keep the sun and rain out of your eyes.

  • Foam filled and covered with rugged nylon, they float and will withstand the rigors of life on the water.
  • Peel and stick Velcro® goes on your helmet to stay, giving a firm attachment point for the visor.
  • Pre-curved to fit helmets that fit heads that aren't square.


One size "fits most" — as they say.

Purple, Red, Blue or Black.



[via Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools, edited by Oliver Hulland]

July 15, 2010 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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