A few weeks ago, I pointed a camera at the East River to take pictures of the ships as they pass by. I wanted to know more. Every sufficiently large ship is constantly broadcasting information about itself via the Automatic Information System (AIS). It is, roughly speaking, a digital signal broadcast on the ship’s short range VHF radio. Anyone can receive it. So, I decided I wanted to learn all about AIS and read the signals for myself.
A long while back, I experimented with making a Go web server behave differently based on its heap utilization. I used runtime.ReadMemStats, but I didn’t run ReadMemStats on every request because it stops the world. More recently, I started getting curious about logging memory utilization, against a production system, where we found that it was important to see the memory in use for each and every web request. I thought back to my old friend ReadMemStats, but I was frightened of stopping the world.
At Nautilus Labs, we’re advancing the efficiency of maritime transportation by collecting data and recognizing patterns. An interesting side effect of this is that we have insight into a ships' actions, not just day-by-day, but second-by-second. It’s not as simple as dots on a map either; engine power, wind, rate-of-turn, it’s all important. We worked with one of our clients to take advantage of this recently. A few days ago, one of their ships struck a jetty during a berthing maneuver.
Hey, check out this Rubens' Tube! What’s a Rubens' Tube? It’s a tube filled with flammable gas with a transducer on one end and holes drilled in the top. You light the gas on fire. When you play a sound into the tube that is a harmonic of the tube’s resonant frequency, you get patterns in the flame! I built this one at South Side Hackerspace: Chicago with the help of my friends Dmitriy and Josef.
I made an end-grain cutting board, and it’s about the coolest thing. It’s 1 3/4" thick and made from white maple. I’ll take you through the steps I followed. I’ve been a metal guy for years now. I love welding, I love machining, but recently I discovered that glued wood joints can be far stronger than I ever thought. We kinda needed a second cutting board, so I watched a few videos and read a few guides and decided I could probably build one.