Tangible Tech Podcast Episode 7: Drones 101, or “How do those things stay in the air?”

Tangible Tech podcaster Steve Sande is not only a science and tech guy, but he’s a licensed drone pilot. When he’s out flying, one of the common questions he gets from bystanders is “How the (#&$ do those things fly without having wings, a rudder, and that other stuff you see on airplanes?”

In this episode of the Tangible Tech podcast, Steve explains how quadcopters (those drones you see just about everywhere) are able not only to take off and land, but do some pretty amazing maneuvers as well.

Don’t worry; you won’t need a degree in aerospace engineering to understand what Steve’s saying, just an imagination and your hand… You’ll understand what I’m saying once you listen to the podcast. 😀

If you like the Tangible Tech podcast, won’t you consider supporting it by becoming a subscriber? Listen on Anchor.fm and you’ll see a little purple “Support This Podcast” button which you can use to send a few bucks our way.

Pardon our absence

Hey, you probably noticed that there were few updates for the last week. That’s because yours truly and the missus were on a road trip. The highlight of the trip was the twice-annual open house at the Trinity Site — the site of the first atomic bomb explosion — so you could say that the trip had a definite sci-tech flavor to it.

We’re back, and there’s a podcast on the way…soon. I promise!

First steps toward space elevators thanks to STARS-Me ↗️

Via Space.com:

Space-elevator tech, a longtime sci-fi staple, is about to get a test here in the real world.

The Japanese STARS-Me (Space Tethered Autonomous Robotic Satellite-Mini Elevator) payload arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) on Sept. 27, aboard Japan’s robotic HTV-7 cargo spacecraft. The experiment was produced by researchers at Shizuoka University in Japan, in collaboration with Obayashi, a Japanese construction firm.

One of the best fictional accounts of how a space elevator could be constructed is by the late Arthur C. Clarke — The Fountains of Paradise.

The “Chinese spy chips in Apple servers” story? Looks like BS from Bloomberg ↗️

Via 9to5Mac:

Over the past day or so, Bloomberg reported that some of Apple’s servers were compromised by way of a third-party implementing micro chips, and sending data back to China. Apple came back with a strong response noting that it was never made aware of such accusations nor did it have any ongoing investigations with the FBI or law enforcement.

Apple’s recently retired general counsel, Bruce Sewell, has today chimed in (via Reuters) on the debacle and says that he was also not aware of any sort of investigations. Sewell recently had a conversation with the FBI’s then-general counsel James Baker reconfirming such.

Considering that neither Apple nor the FBI had any knowledge of the alleged chips showing up in servers in Apple’s data centers, this is beginning to look like a totally bogus story from Bloomberg. Too bad Apple had to lose about $300 million in market cap as a result… Anyone know if Bloomberg’s writers are selling short?

The drunk Bohemian Waxwings of Gilbert, Minnesota ↗️

From Popular Science:

Any Minnesotan birds who managed to get off the ground and are lurching their way south right now would likely agree. But for the sake of those who didn’t, we can use our 9,000 years of experience in dealing with our poor decisions to help the waxwings and their winged friends straighten out. There’s a precedent: The town of Whitehorse in the Yukon territory in Canada, which regularly gets birds flying under the influence, has an avian drunk tank made of hamster cages and equipped with flannel blankets.

Drunk birds. Turns out it’s a great way to store up calories before a migration.

Robo-sperm could enable targeted drug delivery in humans ↗️

Via LiveScience:

Scientists in the United Kingdom have turned to the humble human sperm in their quest to design the ultimate swimming robot.

Made of a tiny magnetic head and squiggly elastic tail, the flea-size drones look and swim much like their spermy counterparts, with a few big differences: These swimmers are guided by shifting electromagnetic currents, controlled externally by scientists. Oh, and also: They won’t get you pregnant.

I love the last line: “Oh, and they won’t get you pregnant”

“Hey, Siri – order me an iPhone Xr” ↗️

Via iDownloadblog:

iPhone Upgrade Program members can now use Siri Shortcuts for an even faster way to complete their iPhone XR pre-order on 10.19. Look for the ‘Add to Siri’ button while getting pre-approved, and record your own voice command, like “pre-order my iPhone.” Say your phrase when pre-order begins, and let Siri pull up your pre-approval in the Apple Store app so you can quickly complete your order.

So cool. The new Siri shortcuts are adding a tremendous amount of customization and flexibility to Apple’s AI.

The FAA is tired of drone offenders, will step up enforcement of regulations ↗️

From Flying Magazine:

The FAA has had enough of drone operators who don’t seem smart enough to remain clear of locations where their aircraft might interfere with wildfire containment crews, law enforcement efforts, or other first responders, such as medical flights. The agency said last week that violators are now more likely to face serious civil penalties, even for first-time offenses.

Deterring interference with first responders is critical, particularly as drone use expands exponentially. Firefighting aircraft trying to contain a wildfire have to suspend flights when a drone enters the area to avoid a possible mid-air collision. A drone flying over a crime scene or accident site can hamper police or medical aircraft operations. Ultimately, interference by a drone can cost lives.

It’s about time. Just about every day we hear about another idiot who is flying a drone near an airport or getting in the way of first responders. Throw the book at ’em!

New minor planet “The Goblin” may open the door to discovery of a new “Planet X” ↗️

From Smithsonian.com:

The idea that a massive planet, called Planet 9 or Planet X, exists at such a great distance that we have not been able to find it has astronomers around the world scanning the skies for clues. Sheppard, who has discovered some of the most distant objects in the solar system, believes that the orbital paths of these minor planets are most likely shaped by the gravitational influence of a hypothetical Planet 9. And today, his team announced the discovery of yet another extremely distant minor planet—the second farthest known object in the solar system by average distance—that again carries the distinctive mark of a space rock in the grips of an undiscovered giant planet.

Hell, I’m still hoping for the day when Pluto regains regular planet status, and these guys are looking for another Planet X…