World’s Strangest

Your source for the strangest things around!

Plucked From Obscurity: Aviators’ Safety Spinner

Inventive, yet under-publicized devices by Marina Tsipis, Improbable Research staff U.S. patent #1,799,664, for a “safety drop device for aviators’ use,” was granted to H.W. Williams on April 7, 1931. Here are some of the details: [A] safety device for use in making a landing from an aeroplane or other vehicle of the air especially in case of [...]

Magic Carpet

(YouTube link) Isn’t it amazing what a set of fans and one piece of fabric can do? Artist Daniel Wurtzel creates kinetic sculpture with air currents. The installation Magic Carpet appears in the new Cirque du Soleil tour Amaluna. -via I Am Bored

14 Gorgeous Kelv-Helmz Cloud Formations

Kelv-Helmz is short for the Kelvin–Helmholtz instability (after Lord Kelvin and Hermann von Helmholtz). These tremendous cloud formations are the result of shearing winds up at the cloud level. A particular type of turbulence can develop in a layer of cirrus cloud, which forms below an inversion between air currents of differing speeds and/or directions. [...]

Unmanned Glider May Hold Secret To Perpetual Flight

Engineers from the Australian Centre for Field Robotics in Sydney are working on an autopilot system for gliders that senses thermals and adjusts its course, utilizing the thermal currents to stay aloft. Couple that ability with the technique of dynamic soaring, where the glider flies between high and lower speed air currents to keep it [...]