Tagged With monster machines

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You're probably aware that normal elevators make use of counterweights, which reduce the amount of energy it takes to move people up and down skyscrapers with slightly frightening speed. But when it comes to moving hundred-ton boats, a little more precision is required.

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On July 1, 1960, Avro pilot Tony Blackman climbed into the cockpit of a Hawker Siddeley Vulcan delta wing strategic bomber in order to deliver her from the aircraft manufacturer (A.V. Roe and Company, Avro) for Royal Air Force service. The British four-jet aircraft dressed in antiflash white — military serial XH558 — was the 59th of the 136 Avro Vulcan medium range heavy bombers ever built. And this summer XH558, The Spirit of Great Britain, the last of her type is going to bid farewell to the skies.

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These enormous devices you can see in this fisheye photo are the main parts of remote manipulator arms at the Los Alamos National Laboratory's radiochemistry hot cell facility, where highly radioactive materials are used to produce isotopes for medical purposes. Just look at the worker below, you can see how massive those arms really are.

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Video: Tunnel-boring machines are genuine marvels of modern technology — self-contained contraptions big enough to build entire subway tunnels, a job that used to require thousands of pick-axes and the sacrifice of quite a few lives. But once construction is finished, getting the machines out can take months.

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Modern icebreakers are the most marvellous of civilian ships. They are huge, they are strong, they are powerful, and their history is amazing. Without them, there would be no safe waterways for other ships in the icy waters around the poles of the Earth. Here is a spectacular look into their evolution, from steamers and diesel vessels to nuclear powered ships.

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Ever wondered what machinery smartphone firms use to test out those shiny handsets they keep shifting by the truckload? I have. Well, they spend a full six months of the phone's now-year-long pre-release life just checking if they're fit for purpose, so that's got to be some pretty interesting, exhaustive probing and pummelling.

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Competitive target shooting is as old as shooting weapons, from bows to laser pistols. But air pistols went through impressive evolution in the past few decades, thanks to manufacturers putting amazingly futuristic arms into the hands of competitors. Some of them look like Han Solo should be shooting.

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When roaming open pastures, cattle can walk up to eight hours a day while grazing but they can't always get as much exercise when confined to a barnyard. One enterprising farmer, however, has invented an ingenious means of getting his herd moving — and generate a bit of free electricity on the side.