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Anonymous Freak

"The electrical telegraph was the main means of communication for transmitting text messages over long distances for more than 200 years."?

I hope you meant "...for more than 100 years.", because you go on, only two sentences later, to say that "The first line was built in 1844,", which was less than 200 years ago TODAY, and the telegraph is definitely *NOT* "...the main means of communication..." any more.

ezra abrams

Re airships for cargo - This is one of those ideas that comes up every five years. If I remember correctly, The New Yorker did a story about 15 years ago.
There is a fundamental problem with air cargo: if you have enough volume that you can lift something heavy, you have enough area that wind becomes a problem. Untill this is addressed, airships are a interesting toy.
PS: i thought the optical telegraph from the past was one of the best things I have seen on the web this year


Your link "wind up your laptop" does not work. It is an empty link, you did not add the url of the page it is supposed to be linking to. It is an interesting title tho, and i'd like to read it.

Kris De Decker

Thanks, sorry, it should work now

classics buff

Yeah, and once upon a time I invented a perpetual motion machine, which powered a time machine and I went into the future and saw that all this argumentation was futile, but that the hot air from it could be used to make balloons that could lift aircraft carriers into the air.

Does any of that make sense? No? Neither does any of that folderol about floating electricity generating windmills. I think it's all in the windmills of these people's minds.

S.P. Gass

This is truly a great site and is somewhat similar to what I'm trying to get across with my blog. I featured an excerpt from your "Right to 35 Cell Phones" article on my blog:

Thanks and keep up the good work!


A suggested addition to your "Download, print, fold, paste" post: buildable cutouts of Chicago landmarks. Free patterns are here:

The main site also has a more extensive selection of landmarks, for a very nominal price.

Eric Dunn

Read your article:

Very well written. But one complaint: How can you talk about underground delivery without mentioning either the Chicago tunnels or London's Mail Rail?

Must say though that all the other systems were unknown to me.

Kris De Decker

Thanks, Eric. I learned about the Chicago tunnels when my article was featured on Slashdot, together with an article in Modern Mechanix on those tunnels. I must say that I was very surprised that I did not stumble upon this freight system while doing research for my story. Maybe the reason was that the Chicago network was not an automated system: basically, it was just trains driving underground(pretty cool though...). The Londen mail system was initially in the text, but somehow it did not make the final version. Thanks for mentioning, I guess I should write a short update on the page.

Dean Mackey

Hello! I just happened across your page of things to print off and create. I thought I might suggest you add my site to it. It contains over 800 FREE paper airplane designs. Check it out at

Thanks and great site you have!
dean :)

ravi swami

When I was a kid in the U.K I often bought paper cut out books - some of these were UK publications by obscure publishers, and many were by US manufacturers.

One of these was for something which I have never seen since (mid 70's) - it was a sand powered TV...yes...the "kit" came in a large format book with pre-cut sheets and involved using "movie strips" printed in red and green, and a revolving filter wheel which comprised red and green gels.

The sand (if you managed to make it properly...) was poured into a hod, and then onto a water wheel style wheel driving the filter wheel - the whole things was enclosed in a 50's style TV casing.

It was possibly the most elaborate paper assembly toy that I have encountered and I would like to know if anyone else has seen it, or who might know the manufacturer.



Keep up the good work.

Dale McLeod

Hello--Referring to the article on why the electric car has no future, it's a mistake to say that more power plants would have to be built. This is because most electric cars are charged at night during what's called "off-peak". My understanding is that power plants don't or can't spin down their generators when demand is low, resulting in an unused electrical potential.
Anyway, there's a lot of reference to back this up. Just search "off-peak electricity" Dale McLeod

kris de decker

Dale, you are correct to say that electric cars can use a large amount of off-peak electricity. However, I refuse to believe that *all* electric cars will be charged at night. A substantial amount of them will be charged during the day, too, hence the need for additional power plants. Compared to other household appliances, electric cars use a lot of energy.


Does anyone knows other sites on the net with calculating modules for solar radiation? I have found one but the tool doesn't works good.

thanks from.....


this link should work, info or europe and africa:

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