RIP Joe Sutter : An Interview with the Father of the Boeing 747

Joe Sutter, Father of the Boeing 747

Joseph Sutter, rest in peace. The engineer who was regarded as the”Father of the 747″ was 95.

Airlines come and go, but one airplane, put in service in 1970 by Pan Am and designed and built by Boeing, is still flying, still being manufactured and, like Swiss Cheese or a Brooks Brothers suit, still looks the same. It is that ubiquitous, bulbous Cyrano of the skies, the Boeing 747.

Joe Sutter led a team of 4,500 (his number) engineers in designing what he called “the old ladies airplane” because not even granny is afraid to fly in it. We caught up with him in Hong Kong a few years back.

20 MIN
 

Fly’s Eyes and Virtual Reality: Rethinking Photography

Over…done…finished. Time to say ta ta and wave the hankie.

Ciao to the single lens reflex camera – film or digital – which has not changed shape since 1949, along with its supporting cast of lenses, gew-gahs and the Duck Dynasty vests needed to carry them. Ciao to the hulking video camera (I once carried a 7 pounder plus an equally heavy VCR and a suitcase full of tapes and batteries through the jungles of Borneo).

My aching back and tired shoulders have schlepped this stuff to some 60 countries since the 1980s. Good riddance, I say.

I have been rethinking the process of photography for the past few years.

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Autodesk’s Pier 9 Workshop: A Playpen for Artists and Makers (Video)

Fog Bank - Autodesk Pier 9 WorkshopFog Bank – Kristina Larsen and Sebastian Martin – Autodesk Pier 9 Workshop, San Francisco

Do it yourselfers! You could only wish for a workshop like this.

Autodesk, which makes Computer-Aided-Design (CAD) software that designs everything from sports stadiums to videogame characters has built a playpen for artists, architects, furniture-makers, and other creative types (even chefs) to stretch their imaginations using some very expensive machines.

Autodesk’s Pier 9 Workshop in San Francisco is an offshoot of do-it yourself web site Instructables.com, a web hub for the so-called “maker movement.”

Here, artists design using the company’s software and build some marvelous things with tools which consist of everything from 3D printers to CNC machines, Computer Numerical Control contraptions that drill, mill or cut with computer guided accuracy.

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Autonomous Robots in the Desert (Video)

FinalScore

A Million Bucks: a pittance for the Pentagon, half the cost of one Patriot Missile, by some estimates. Enough, however, to pit big science and industry against a hodgepodge of entrepreneurs, high school students, geeks and grease monkeys in a challenge to design a 21st Century “My Mother the Car.”

This is the tenth anniversary of the DARPA Grand Challenge. In 2004 the US Military offered a million dollar prize to anyone who made a vehicle that could drive itself from Barstow, California to a casino near Las Vegas without any help from human beings. We were there for what became a rather zany race.

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Duck and Cover: How to beat the web snoops

Duck

With the recent revelations of NSA snooping, here are some ways to dodge the government and corporate bloodhounds sniffing out your private life. And you may save some money booking travel as well. This is a re-publication of a story we did more than a year ago. The tips are still good. Nothing has changed.

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