September 30th, 2010 § § permalink
Scientists at BAE Systems in the UK are working on a new type of body armor that uses shear thickening fluids in combination with traditional Kevlar to create lighter, more flexible body armor. The shear thickening fluids act like a liquid under normal conditions, but harden instantly on impact, forming a rigid shield. Basically, like this.
The BAE scientists describe it as “bullet-proof custard”.
“It’s very similar to custard in the sense that the molecules lock together when it’s struck,” explained Stewart Penny, business development manager in charge of materials development at the company.
Shear-thickening liquids are not new to military research. The US Army Research Laboratories has carried out tests using similar liquids.
But, according to BAE, these latest tests provide the first clear evidence that liquid armour could effectively protect soldiers from bullets or shrapnel.
They say the liquid could ultimately be used to make much lighter, more flexible and more effective bullet-proof vests for soldiers.
“In standard bullet-proof vests, we use thick, heavy, layered plates of Kevlar that restrict movement and contribute to fatigue,” said Mr Penny.
Liquid Armor ‘Can Stop Bullets’ via Gizmodo
September 24th, 2010 § § permalink
This video shows a couple of thieves installing a card-skimmer and a pinhole camera in an ATM. It also illustrates just how effective shielding the keypad can be in defending yourself against scammers. It is a simple trick, but it still provides little protection from more sophisticated techniques, such as keyboard overlays that are capable of logging your keystrokes.
According to Wired, the video was seized by police in the UK. But card skimmingoperations are becoming increasingly common in the US, too. Last year, a group of four Romanians stole $1.8 million from New York ATM customers in a skimming operation.
We always thought people who covered the keypad when typing in their PIN and gave the ATM a once-over before using it were paranoid freaks. Guess they’ll have the last laugh when we find our account’s been emptied by a Central European crime syndicate.
Why You Should Cover the Keypad When Using an ATM
September 15th, 2010 § § permalink
Forgeries and fakes are a serious issue for autograph and memorabilia collectors. Using techniques and tools such as auto-pens, stamps, and hand forgeries, fraudsters put a great deal of effort into making their work seem convincing. This Wikihow article is packed with tips and tricks for verifying the authenticity of an autograph and spotting a fake.
Turn it upside down. The best way to compare a signature is to turn it upside down. This way, your mind isn’t reading it and can look objectively for tell-tale signs and slight differences between the two which can reveal it as fake.
How to Spot a Fake Autograph
September 9th, 2010 § § permalink
Secret Stash 2010 is a project by artist Yiting Cheng that features seemingly ordinary objects modified into deceptive hiding places. Check out the project page for a video and a gallery of pictures.
This project is about concealing valuables, secrets, bad habits and personal information in our workplaces. Here, hidden spaces/ messages were created within 8 general objects such as wood boards, lamps and disposable coffee cups.
We make judgments based mainly on our experiences and what we see. This dependency on visual information can create large blind spots. Thus, usual stereotypes of how we perceive solid, transparency and lighting are employed in this project to play with notions of ‘solid and void’, and ‘true and false’.
Secret Stash 2010 via Boing Boing
September 3rd, 2010 § § permalink
Safety is the number one priority when dealing with any kind of firearm, as just one mistake or lapse in attention can be devastating. The Art of Manliness blog has put together a nice tutorial that covers the basics of handgun safety and tips on how to actually hit your target.
To get the lowdown on how to shoot a handgun safely and correctly, I headed over to theUnited States Shooting Academy in Tulsa, OK and talked to Mike Seeklander, the Direct of Training at the Academy. He explained the basics of firing a handgun so a first-time shooter could do so safely and semi-accurately (the accuracy part will take some practice!).
How to Fire a Handgun Safely and Correctly