Once upon a time in a Soviet Union far, far away, Russia set out to build the world's largest particle accelerator under a small town called Protvino. Already plagued by setbacks, the work on the accelerator ceased after the fall of the Soviet Union and it's been abandoned since. Now, as some explorers found, it looks more like the setting of a sci-fi thriller — just imagine what ancient evil could be lurking down there, or all those zombies just around the corner.
Today, it's hard to think of computers as more than a collection of advanced microchips and the like — processors, RAM, flash storage and graphics cards, for example. Like a river, the flow of technology that has led us to the modern computing architecture we use today came from some several often overlooked sources — the proverbial "stones that divert the river." These are the unsung heroes of our technological past, with a few predictions sprinkled in there for good measure. Click on the gallery below to get this journey started.
Hot damn, "flying" yachts are really in right now with vehicle designers. That, and yachts that come with an accompanying sports car. This thing is actually more half plane, half boat, as it takes a cue from an "ekranoplan," a totally bizarre ground effect vehicle of Soviet origin that would fly by skimming just above a body of water.
It's pretty amazing what kinds of things can get airborne with enough engines, wings, effort, determination or just sheer creativity. The last hundred years or so have provided a treasure trove of absolutely wild designs, and we've dug deep into the archives to come up with 26 of our favorites.
You may have heard that every snowflake is unique, but to really get a sense of that you've got to dig down to the microscopic level. That's exactly what the folks over at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in Maryland did with a Low Temperature Scanning Electron Microscope (or LT-SEM). The result? A look at the structure of snow crystals in all shapes and configurations. Some of them even look like alien architecture from a distant world. Check it out in the gallery below — the shapes just get crazier and crazier. After all, we're all not tired of snow just yet, right?
Looking at these strange, gravity-defying buildings makes one ponder: are the architects bored, on drugs or just plain crazy? No matter the state of mind of their creators, one thing is for sure--these structures certainly are crowd pleasers. Here's a rundown of our favorites from around the world.
You just can't make a bat-vehicle look bad. I mean, this thing's a van for crying out loud — it's even got a picture of Robin on the hood! — and yet it still looks amazing. And if you think...
It's still big. It's still a bus. And, well, it's still got the red paint, but on the inside it's all green. When the New Bus hits the streets of London, it'll bring a decidedly modern air to the venerable city in its looks as well as in the technology it employs.
Why don't laptops still look like this? Up above is the GRiD Compass computer by laptop design pioneer Bill Moggridge, which just won him the prestigious 2010 Prince Philip Designers Prize It's widely considered the first portable computer to utilize the clamshell form factor we still use today, and even though it first came out in 1982 there's something timelessly modern about it. Moggridge's GRiD computers came when laptops were taking their first steps and the designs were wildly varied. Check out the GRiD in all its glory in the gallery below, as well as four other beautiful and pioneering machines.
You know, this isn't that crazy of a concept. If space tourism takes off, it's totally feasible that there'd be a space shuttle designed just for honeymooning couples. The coolest part? Your lover's suite detaches from the shuttle in orbit, letting you enjoy a trip around the Earth. There's a little issue with reentry, however...