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Pre-colonial glass gem corn, indigenous to North America, re-grown by Cherokee farmer Carl Barnes in Oklahoma.

The lads at How Ridiculous are back at the drop tower.

A red-wing black bird and its cold morning song.

The cult classic film Harold and Maude features an awesome piece of automotive engineering: the Jaguar hearse Harold constructs after his mother takes away his beloved 1959 hearse (a Cadillac Superior coach, owned by a collector in Modesto, CA). Sadly, the original Jaguar hearse was destroyed during the filming of the movie in 1971. But there’s a new hearse in town! Ken Roberts, an Arizona-based car enthusiast, began work to recreate the original Jaguar hearse from Harold and Maude in 2013. Watch this video to learn about the long process to make this amazing vehicle.

A yellow gold, enamel, and diamond flower brooch.

On the morning of December 1st, 2020, one of the most iconic astronomical instruments in the world collapsed. The Arecibo Telescope was not only one of the largest radio telescopes in the world, it was also a fascinating problem in structural engineering. Its loss was felt across the world. Practical Engineering provides a quick lesson on radio telescopes, a summary of the failure, and some discussion about the engineering lessons learned in the wake of the event. I hope that eventually, they can replace the telescope with an instrument as futuristic and forward-looking as the Arecibo telescope was when first conceived. It was an ambitious and inspiring structure, and we sure will miss it.

A cat painted by a stained glass window.

The Secret Codes of Hobos

This crystallised zzurite is one of the most iconic minerals from Namibia’s Tsumeb mine. Photo by Crystal Classics.

February 2017 saw one of the most serious dam-related engineering incidents in history with the failure of the service spillway at Oroville Dam. Whether they realized it or not, the people living and working downstream of Oroville Dam put their trust in the engineers, operators, and regulators to keep them safe and sound against disaster. In this case, that trust was broken. Practical Engineering provides a summary of the event, including an explanation of the engineering details behind the failure.

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