Hackaday Links: April 10, 2022

On the way to the delta, something funny happened. The one on the Jezero crater on Mars, because the Perseverance rover may have glimpsed the parachute that took it to the Red Planet a little over a year ago. Getting the rover safely onto the surface of Mars was an incredibly complex undertaking, made all the more impressive by the fact that it was completely autonomous. The parachute, which slowed the descending vehicle containing the rover, was thrown overboard well before the “Sky Crane” was deployed to lower the rover to the surface. The parachute surfaced just over a kilometer from the landing zone. NASA has not confirmed that what is seen in the raw images is the parachute; in fact they didn’t even acknowledge the big white thing that is clearly not a rock in the picture at all. Perhaps they reserve the final judgment until they get an overflight from the Ingenuity helicopter, which has currently landed not far from where the descent stage crashed. We’d love to see pictures of that wreck.

We recently had a Hack Chat about metal 3D printing where Agustin Cruz came to talk about his attempt to build an affordable electron beam sinter printer. The chat was great and now Agustin has made a ton of progress worth checking out. The idea behind electron beam sintering is simple: it’s basically a souped-up version of the electron gun and deflection coils in the back of a picture tube, which are shot onto a bed of fine metal powder to sinter it layer by layer. The details, such as working in a vacuum, precisely depositing a fresh layer of powder and precisely controlling the power and position of the beam, are not trivial. Check out Agustin’s progress on his Hackaday.io project.

Do you consider yourself a boring person? Chances are you don’t – it seems like being annoying is the same as having bad breath, in that it’s hard to tell if you have it. But according to a new study, not only are boring people quantifiable, the stereotypes about them are all pretty much true — or at least consistent. However, the methodology seems a bit subjective – participants were asked to give a short description of a dull person, including hilariously former US Vice President Al Gore for his “really monotonous speech” and “no emotion”. Then they imagined personality traits, hobbies, and professions for this stereotypical dullness, coming up with things like long-winded storytelling, geocaching, and accounting. We feel personally attacked at this point and read no further, but the message seems to be that while everyone is boring to someone, you really need to work on being boring to everyone.

If you listen to the Hackaday podcast, which of course immediately disqualifies you from the boring people cohort, you know about the “What’s That Sound?” segment, where a short clip of a technically relevant sound is played, and if you can identify it, wealth and fame await. Well, if you can’t get enough, head to the Museum of Endangered Sounds, which tries to preserve our aural heritage before it slips away. The site has only a few sounds so far, including the AIM message alert, the old Nokia ringtone, Windows 95 startup, a floppy drive searching for songs, and the sound of a cartridge being inserted into a Nintendo NES complete. with compulsory blowing on the connection. We can think of literally thousands of other sounds worth preserving, and while we don’t see a way to contribute sounds, it might be worth pinging the owner if you can think of something.

And finally, I’m sharing with you the following photo, sent by my son, who is currently a student at the University of Idaho, taken just before his attempted kidnapping:

Fortunately, he managed to get around the slow-moving swarm and make up for his escape. I count thirteen of these Starship delivery bots in the picture doing who knows what. Are they going back to base for the night? Going to an all-hands meeting? Or maybe they’re on strike and working the picket line? Hard to say, but it’s interesting behavior for these things.

This post Hackaday Links: April 10, 2022

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