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It’s time for another back to school giveaway – POCKET REF!! “If there was just one tool that no (back to school) Maker should be without, what would it be?” This may just be the tool we’d pick. This great little book is a concise all-purpose reference featuring hundreds of tables, maps, formulas, constants & conversions and it still fits in your shirt pocket! Packed with mathematical formula, tables, standard conversion ratio, scientific fact, technical specification, electric wire size vs. load, resistor color codes, Morse code, sun & planet data, earthquake scales, nail sizes, geometry formulas, currency exchange rates, carpentry, automotive, physical science, water friction losses, charts for battery charging, lumber sizes & grades, floor joint span limits, insulation R values, periodic table, and as they say, much, much more! It’s no wonder The Pocket Ref was featured in MythBusters…

To win one TODAY 9/11/07 – post an answer to this question in the comments, here is the topic:

If you could “open source” any project, device, anything that’s not open source now what would it be (and why?).

Here are some starters from me… Sony’s AIBO robot dogs and QRIO humanoid robots. Sony killed these off, they should put it out there and advance the industry, they did great work – why should every robotistic waste time reinventing the same stuff Sony figured out. The next one is Deep Blue, c’mon IBM! You can’t make a chess machines that beat our best human chess player at the time and now show how you did it!

Post up by the end of the day (11:59pm PDT) and I’ll pick one, make it good. If you missed out today, we’ll do this again soon – or just get a Pocket Ref in the Maker store… Link.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. zwild1 says:

    Definitely open-source microwaves! Imagine the joy of tweaking your own microwave to melt silver or tin, or make plasma!

  2. Pivalak says:

    Well, there is lots of stuff in the human body which would be great to “open source”. The brain is pretty much propietary and closed right now… how about being able to create your own neural implants by tweaking it a little?

    With a little knowledge of biocompatible materials you could even plug some interfaces to the nerves in your arm and receive real feedback from your game controller. And that is just the beginning! :)

  3. DaveBarak says:

    This might be a stretch, and to some degree it already is open source, but I would suggest the human genome. Imagine the the strides in medicine that could be made if everyone had the ability to tweak genetic information. Of course, we would have to have a plan for what to do with the failures, and that raises the specter of eugenics, etc.

  4. crgwbr says:

    Open Source Halo 3! Can you imagine all the crazy new models, weapons and maps there would be. Not to mention the uber-baddies that would be designed. If that’s not awesome, nothing is.

  5. atomic16 says:

    iphone without a doubt

  6. TeddyBouch says:

    My choice would be the Whole-Arm Manipulator (WAM) from Barrett Technologies, along with the Barrett Hand. This is about the coolest robot arm that I have ever seen, and uses reverse kinematics to create natural driven movement, compute multiple paths to a target and dynamically adjust around obstacles like humans, and has a haptic mode that is incredible. In a demonstration for my robotics class, they brought one in and programmed two spheres in the virtual space of the arm. In haptic mode, we backdrove the arm and could feel the spheres in the virtual space as a resistance to the motion in the arm.

    The joints use a cable-pulley design that has no slip, it has two custom-designed motor controllers, and is so power-efficient that the arm powered up once due to a passive movement in one of its main joints. There’s a lot about hardware, software, and circuitry that Makers could learn from this, and I’ve wanted to get my hands on one for about two years now.

  7. robacarp says:

    I think that a quality open source technology would be the electrical, mechanical, and software secrets to making engines variable valve timing (vtech, ecotech, etc.) and variable displacement capable engines would be a huge hit with a lot of the diy community. Many of the components are not ‘corporate secrets’ but there are many things that are hidden about them. There are many people with skills that could be put to really good use in the area of engine tuning that would allow the diy-er to convert their car to flex fuel, etc.

    Even something as simple as making the cars ECM easily re-programmable by way of a home computer interface (usb/cf maybe) would really open up the market for innovation. Currently it is limited to people with huge r&d budgets or those willing to spend $$$ on aftermarket tunable systems.

    Opening up this are of devices might even have the side effect of getting people that are not interested in computers gaining valuable computer skills through a desire to modify their vehicles.

  8. Pattmyn says:

    I would love to see a cell phone OS as well as some of the hardware go open source. I’d love to DIY a phone with the simplicity of making my own PC.

  9. jvdb says:

    The Mars Rover software. Talk about advanced robot control and communications. Sensor monitoring, datalogging, etc. Plus it’s paid for by taxpayers.

    http://ic.arc.nasa.gov/researchinfusion/materials/CGS/SMC-IT03.pdf

  10. schultzi says:

    Open source the MIT $100 laptop. Cheap do-it-all hardware that you can pick up for $100 and make crazy mods for; greener power solutions, different displays, car pcs, portable hacking tools, etc.

  11. jcristo2001 says:

    GM’s EV1 Electric car. It is a solution that needs to carried on, not buried in the rubble to protect profits.

    In an age when we bail out auto manufacturers after inept management hurts the bottom line, it’s time to put funds and thoughts into getting this vehicle and others like it into the public’s hands.

  12. radiodork says:

    While I love the cell phone idea too, I think a car would be a universal success.

    I know most cars can be modified already,…but the idea of a common platform with a leigon of people developing the drive train, interior, fuel source, engine, etc.

    Radiodork
    http://AskMrBiggs.com

  13. disworld says:

    I think I would choose a project rather then just to hack an existing product, Those who have scene the MIT $100 laptop screen shots has scene the scene where you can view where people are located, via the wifi.

    I think this could be a huge thing, social networks like Face book and My space are huge, I would love to see a open source hardware/firmware for older laptops with wifi to integrate internet social networks with real life, being able to sit in a coffee shop or airport and chat with the person next to you or across the room all java based by the common access point.

  14. tinygeek says:

    I think that Graphing calculators should be made open source. It would be really cool to have a computer that size. I can only dream of unlocking the potential of those chips.

  15. acidrain69 says:

    Maybe not my favorite product of all time, but the Windows operating system. We could finally fix all the bugs that Microsoft never got around to. Add support for open technologies, or fix the ones that Microsoft “co-opted” and changed to not-play-well-with-others. NTFS would be open. SMB would be fully available.

  16. djtanuki says:

    I’d like to open source my alarm clock. I live in a dorm, where the snooze button is god, and all too often I hear clocks going off at all hours because some bum left the room with it on. There’s also the tradition of missing class due to one’s alarm clock being, using a technical term, wonky. I keep reading about all these cool clocks and alarm mechanisms, and I wish I could pick and choose what kind of alarm I want, how loud, how long the snooze should be, etc, and not have to buy a million different clocks. I want to wake up to Tchaikovsky one morning, and to bells another without hassle. I want my snooze to be different depending on the day. I want my alarm clock to shut off after a certain amount of time so when I do forget to turn it off, I don’t piss off my hallway. I want to be able to sleep knowing I won’t miss class because my clock decided to be lame.

  17. JPavleck says:

    Cars

    More specifically, fuel control and delivery systems and all their associated parts. If we knew exactly what our cars were doing, we could improve upon the process – increasing mileage, horsepower, and usability.
    Imagine a custom ROM with a switch with 2 positions ECONOMY and POWER. Now imagine that switch doing more then just changing the shift timing – imagine it changing everything about the vehicles behavior.

    That, and so much more, would be there for us if we opened up the software that ran our cars and let us, the geek, pour into it.

  18. cairn says:

    I would love to make an open source PLL FM transmitter that could be used by communities all over the world to create a cheap, reliable means of communication. There have been a couple of attempts, but they are not adequate. While commendable, the first example is simply an open-source method of putting the proprietary transmitter and amp in an enclosure and the second example is a very low-power VCO design.

    A open source PLL FM transmitter would use no proprietary chips and would use easily sourced parts so that it could be built (and repaired) anywhere in the world. It would create a frequency-stable, moderate power station that could be easily deployed (or taken down).

    The importance of LPFMs during Katrina and the use of FM stations’ use as an (sometimes illegal, but when has that stopped Makers?) organizing medium in places like Oaxaca demonstrates the necessity of FM radio.

    An open-source FM transmitter could result in some interesting artistic projects as well!

  19. davey111 says:

    Open source Mini-lathe for sure. There are tons of mods and hacks that can be done to the toolpost, carriage, tailstock, milling attachment, etc. Being new to metalworking, i see all these pictures and wish i had drawings to work off of. Why not have a database full of plans and drawings for home-brewed components and modifications.

  20. rcj4747 says:

    Voting systems
    I would like to see the current crop of closed-source voting systems that governments have already invested in open-sourced with support from those companies for developing a open community. Some of the sources have been acquired but they’re not open and the companies haven’t been know to work with outside individuals.

    Other than that pipe dream I would like to see either hybrid-car controllers open-sourced to allow people the opportunity to tinker (plug-in conversion), improve them (eek out performance/savings as you like), or transplant them. Or open-sourcing an entire car platform that would be simple, safe, and practical and could be used in developed and developing nations would be another one.

  21. nyvhek says:

    Macromedia (or I guess now Adobe) Flash. It’s a very powerful medium for creating animations and interfaces, and well integrated with web pages, but support on any but the most common OSes and architectures is lacking. There are no 64-bit players yet, even though 64-bit processors have been around for several years, and authoring is pretty much limited to Windows and Mac.

    I do like a lot of the hardware open-sourcing ideas here.

  22. phraktyl1 says:

    This is older, but there are still parts of it that are light-years ahead of anything in use today:

    OS/2—specifically the Workplace Shell.

  23. kersny says:

    TiVo definitely. Easily adding hard drives, custom linux media center, there are some many possibilities!

  24. schultzi says:

    Beer. There have been plenty of times when companies release a seasonal or promotional flavor only to have it never return again. Open source beer would make a lot of people happy.

  25. Vazz says:

    When I look at the Kenwood DNX-7100 radio in my truck with it’s 7″ touchscreen, GPS, daisy-chain networked add on modules for Bluetooth, HD Radio, disc changers… I see so much potential that Kenwood is not taking advantage of in this radio and the others like it. Just the 7″ touchscreen itself opens up a lot of possibilities for skins and completely customized screens for all the different functions. Kenwood dropped the ball on some of their screens for this radio and there’s several screens and things I’d like to redesign. One is that not all the screens show the time when now days most radios like mine are also the only clock in the vehicle. Don’t get me started on the XM interface.

    I hate hacking into dashboards to install switches & lights. This radio can control 2 relays, what if that could be expanded and you could design custom screens to add controls instead of hacking a hole in the dash.

    The daisy-chain network the Kenwood modules plug into would be nice if it’s protocol was open, I’m sure others can come up with more modules they’d like to interface to the 7100 with. I’m a HAM (Amateur Radio) and Kenwood makes some nice HAM radios. I’d like to see a HAM radio in a module that plugs into the 7100 to use it’s touchscreen as it’s control interface and maybe even integrate with the GPS module for APRS. What about a module to connect to the OBDII port with more customizable screens to show the vehicle parameters that you’re interested in live or do diagnostics, check/clear codes. Control the OBDII to set vehicle limits like a valet code to limit speed, distance driven or a young adult code to do the same all input through the radio’s touchscreen.

  26. Tyreal says:

    It would be nice if just more video games in general would be open source, or at least include an SDK. How cool would it be to make mods for Bioshock and some of the other games that could do so much better with a mod community (like Oblivion and Morrowind). It would be nice if more consoles were open source as well. Hacking the Wii and 360 would certainly be easier. Basically, it would be nice if all video games and systems were open source.

  27. DrNick says:

    I would open source the ECU’s for our cars. That’s one of my huge pet peeves that cars are less and less DIY-able since everything is falling under computer control. Not that changes can’t be made, it’s just that everything has to be bought to make the changes, it’s nearly impossible to hack it yourself.

  28. devscott says:

    If I could open source anything, I would open source all the source code within automobiles. No one really thinks about how many millions of instructions get executed each time the run to the store to get some milk. Although opening this source code probabily won’t save the environment or save you money on your fuel cost, it may lead to advances elsewhere.

  29. rjones3 says:

    Digital Cameras

    I would love to see the ability to upgrade and hack the hardware of digital cameras as you see fit.

    Want to add a GPS module for geotag? Don’t like where the menu options are? Like having an infinite amount of presets? Want the ability to put pictures in folders as you take them? Ability to access software would make doing Time Lapse photography trivial.

    While hackers have made the CVS cams work without returning them, we need a robust camera system designed from the ground up with hacking in mind.

  30. shelato says:

    Imaging Satellites

    I would like to tweak the resolution on some of those things as well as have real time viewing. Gives new meaning to the term “Neighborhood Watch”.

  31. bencbond says:

    All things Apple

    Their products are great already but we all know what type of advancements an open community can do. I believe that with could all the stops a standard iPod alone could be so much more with the right software.

  32. rancidbry says:

    This is a very simple question. Much of what people have said above is already open source or easily accessible information.
    What needs to be open source in our modern age, are genetically engineered seeds for 3rd world countries. Because the seeds are programed not to reproduce, farmers cannot save these genetically superior (pest resistant, implanted vaccine) seeds for the next year and they are forced to re-buy them.
    Cure world hunger. Open source seeds.

  33. rybarnes says:

    I have always imagined an open source housing project. Plans for extremely affordable, fast and stable homes that are openly modifiable to fit users needs. Obviously, these plans would be quite in depth. Outlining electrical systems, plumbing, etc.

    The project itself would also be very green. Solar panel plans, rain barrel plumbing, solar water heaters, etc.

    While a housing project isn’t in the normal ‘open source’ realm, I believe it is a better time then ever to spread the open source concept to things out side of our technology fields, and applying it to projects that could help the poverty stricken third world nations.

    Yeah, I’m thinking way outside of the box on this one, but its not to far fetched…is it?

    Thanks for another contest. As I told Bre when I met him at the Make Philly Meeting, I was always a step behind on the past contests.

  34. Upstream says:

    ANSI and ISO Standards. How is the world supposed to standardize when all the standards are closed source and cost a small fortune, especially for an individual or small business?

  35. JohnBaichtal says:

    Curricula — why should every teacher have to reinvent the wheel? There should be thousands of lesson plans available for teachers, tweaked by the world’s experts.

    Voting machines. Protect us from Diebold and the evildoers!

    Some kind of viable ecurrency, protected by one-way algorithms and encryption so dense the NSA gets a brain hemorrhage.

  36. david.gianforte says:

    I have a Garmin GPS and it rocks except it is proprietary and the only way to use it to its fullest potential with a computer is with MapSource, the Garmin mapping program. MapSource only works on Windows (and possibly Mac, I don’t know). Anyway, I use Linux if the transfer protocol and map format were open source, I’m sure there would be a lot of map/garmin data mashups, easier ways to get your own maps on Garmin devices(which is possible, I’ve done it, but its not the easiest), and tons of other cool projects to make geocaching even easier.

  37. AscendedDaniel says:

    I know that there are already some open source drivers, but I would really like to see more open source wireless networking technology. Mostly software, but hardware as well.

    With more open drivers and information about wireless technology, end users of wireless routers and network adapters could use them more effectively. It would also help make easier embedded projects that use wireless networking and/or meshing to communicate without having to resort to wires or bulky cell phones. Imagine a bunch of throwies that could make patterns by communicating wirelessly. Or DIY weather stations. We are moving towards ubiquitous wireless connectivity. Hobbyists and Makers should help pave the way to that future, and open source will help make it possible.

  38. icanryme2002 says:

    I know everyone wants the human body or cars but that stuff looses hands down to the Canadarm. I would want the Canadarm to be open source, imagine being stuck inside when its 40 below and the snow is up to the top of the door just sit back relax and let the arm do all the shoveling, and imagine the attachments laser guns, magnets, bottle openers, rockets, pooper-scoopers just think about it.

  39. Manzabar says:

    Like several others, I’d vote for open-sourcing the electronics/computers in automobiles. I hate having to take my car to a repair shop because I cannot afford the diagnostic equipment to tell me what’s wrong. I think it would be great to be able to plug in a USB device or a cable to a laptop and get all the info on what’s wrong.

  40. david.gianforte says:

    @tinygeek
    TI calculators are basically open source. You can write C or assembly programs that use the full potential of the processor. Unfortunately newer TI calcs only run at about 12 Mhz, so there is not as much potential as and iPod, which has a color screen and runs at about 80 Mhz(I think) and about 350 Mhz for the iPhone. TI calculators do have more buttons though, which makes it easier to write programs.

  41. shbazjinkens says:

    I would open source NASA. Face it, any country that wants a space program can figure it out.

    Who wouldn’t want instructions for designing their own rocket ship?

  42. computermatt says:

    I would love to create a 100% open source MP3 player, not only open source software, but hardware as well. I would make a solder point at every point where a chip is, that way you could add/remove any parts you don’t want. Wi-fi, a quick dash to the soldering iron and it’s gone (but everyone wants wi-fi on an mp3 player). All of the software would be open source, right down to BIOS. Oh, and a removable battery that can be modded to fit any kind of battery, big or small.

  43. guyfrom7up says:

    If I were to pick one thing that would be open source, I would pick an iPOD, in a maker way. Imagine if you could just store a bunch of cool programs on your iPod, hook up some homemade device to the MAKER port and presto! It does what ever you want it to do. Such as blink an LED every second, control a car so it doesn’t fall off a cliff, make it take a picture whever someone plays a certain song, the possibilities are endless!

  44. shbazjinkens says:

    Eek! Wrong button..

    I meant to add that the most efficient way to get to space has been proven to be high-altitude launch, and since NASA won’t do it private businesses could with much less hassle by having their hands on classified NASA documents.

  45. VictorSigma says:

    women

  46. HlfShell says:

    Honestly? A human body. Hear me out here.

    We have people doing clever things by replacing their piercing in their upper bridge of their noses to a support structure for glasses so they need no ear support. We have clever electrical engineers cutting open their fingertips and placing magnets into them so they can sense current and magnetic fields through the phenomenon of magnetic flux. RFID placed in the forearm for instant home device recognition.

    Me? I’d surgically place an ultrasonic sound sensor in my hand. It would in turn provide minuscule shocks that I would learn to translate into the actual distance the ultrasonic sees. Over time I would be able to tell exact distance of objects and their shapes in complete pitch black.

    Why stop there? Modify the ears, build in a pair of gills. Open Source humans is the way to go if we want the new wave of technophiles to be satisfied.

  47. HlfShell says:

    Honestly? A human body. Hear me out here.

    We have people doing clever things by replacing their piercing in their upper bridge of their noses to a support structure for glasses so they need no ear support. We have clever electrical engineers cutting open their fingertips and placing magnets into them so they can sense current and magnetic fields through the phenomenon of magnetic flux. RFID placed in the forearm for instant home device recognition.

    Me? I’d surgically place an ultrasonic sound sensor in my hand. It would in turn provide minuscule shocks that I would learn to translate into the actual distance the ultrasonic sees. Over time I would be able to tell exact distance of objects and their shapes in complete pitch black.

    Why stop there? Modify the ears, build in a pair of gills. Open Source humans is the way to go if we want the new wave of technophiles to be satisfied.

  48. CPE-in-Training says:

    iPhone!

    the technology inside that little wonder makes me drool.
    as an aspiring Computer Engineer it looks like one of the best embedded devices i’ve ever seen. if the software and hardware of that little guy were open source, the possibilities would be endless. comapnies would be able to develop smartphones to meet everyone’s on the go media needs. my problem is that i lug my laptop around for email. that’s why i’m getting an iPhone when my Verizon contract is up. i would LOVE to be able to have unlimited access for programs, peripherals, the possibilities are endless.

    iPhone FTW!

    make is the best magazine i’ve ever read and i love this blog, so many ideas for projects that i can do. the pocket-ref would be perfect for my Math/Electrical Engineering/Comp. Sci. classes.

    Cal-Poly SLO rocks!

  49. Iang says:

    I think the thing that most needs to be open-sourced is robot technology. If all of the companies are putting in all this effort to develope this cutting edge software, then I think releasing it to the public and other companies would be a great way to gain the best design. Kind of like the Franklin stove, where the general need for this new product (in his case heat) was simply to great to be halted by slow production and developing by one company. I know many companies today would shy away from this suggestion because of the hassle of patents, lawsuits, who-gets-what, etc. But in the end, I think not only the public but the companies also will benefit from this modern day Franklin stove.

  50. Vinnygx3pimp says:

    i think they should make an open source remote control. (i know your saying they have that, but it’s not it’s programable) well my remote control is rugged (waterproof, shockproof,rust proof and child proof)and would be able to upgrade it’s rom/ram have a memory card slot, come standard with ultra distance seeking wifi with ex. antenna jack it could browse the web from afar. you could add bluetooth/infrared and with the built in 3″ screen you could have video out for a better view of pictures it would have high powered infrared lasers for high powered/long distance (burning lol j/k don’t ever look at an infrared laser if you did well too bad because you couldnt be reading this right now :()channel changing capability with its built micro camera you could link to other open source remote controls and video chat or you could operate their control remotely to help fix a problem install upgrades or you can use it as a spy gadget just buy two or more and build a mount and put them around your house or outside because they’re rugged (waterproof, shockproof,rust proof and child proof) I mean how cool would it be to be able to control the tvs in somebodys house while using their wifi signal to browse the web. you can upgrade everything if you run out of room to put stuff idk wtf to do its open source you figure it out. maybe make a wireless backpack. idk email me with suggestions maybe we’ll make this thing happen

    thanks for the opportunity i could really use this for my classes in school

  51. unununium says:

    The Growing expanse of technology creates many possibilities to rip things out and see how they tick. However this can also create problems, such as trying to figure out what to open source, but after careful deliberation I say… Wii!

    (oh and it might be nice to open source bush, and see how he functions with out a brain)

  52. Thelrin says:

    The recipe for Mountain Dew. I know it know it wouldn’t change the world, but what maker wouldn’t want to play with the recipe? You could also change the amount of caffeine or remove the food coloring and preservatives.

  53. TheRooster says:

    My television and all home electronic appliances. That would be the beginning. I would want these devices to have common standardized routines for interoperability and connectivity . For instance, common hardware and software busses for communication between the devices, a standardized remote control module which would handle all attached devices, etc. Open source would enable us to tailor their operations as needed. Commonality would allow some standard interconnection between devices, regardless of manufacturer.

  54. Motoman says:

    On a day like today, I think we need to open source the human race. It sounds lame, but lets be good to each other and remember those lost 6 years ago and those who gave their lives to help.

  55. ajtruex says:

    I’d like to see an open source printer (for paper, not a 3D printer like RepRap) in the hopes that the community could develop a standardized printer cartridge. Hopefully this would reduce the cost of ink cartridges and the confusion involved in buying cartridges through the elimination of proprietary cartridge elements, such as those which attempt to prevent do-it-yourself refilling. Additionally, constant, stable Linux (and other platform) driver support could be guaranteed.

  56. orn310 says:

    I would open source Windows. The reasoning behind that is it would allow for holes in the software to be fixed faster, it would allow the ability to “skin” windows the way you want, add a encryption scheme to prevent pesky brothers, roommates, and would be laptop thieves from, stealing your Identity, stealing your work, and wreaking your computer. As another plus, Windows would be basically virus proof, because there would be thousands of different versions out there. And if your all “pro-Microsoft” then they could still have us pay for windows using copyright law.

  57. SaveYourself says:

    Matlab.

    As a bonus, open source the various toolbox products and sim-tools, also by Mathworks. What maker project could not benefit from having affordable (read: free) access to these powerful packages? I have tried some of the alternatives, but nothing can satisfy my computational urges quite the way Matlab does.

    What a world that would be.

  58. whyisjake says:

    Google
    Google sees so much progression year after year, because the entire company has access to the source code. Imagine enterprising people mashing Google maps with search terms, Ad based revenue would emerge in many new fashions. You could take the Google documents to new levels. Picassa and Blogger are opened up fully, and users can tweek it anyway they want.

  59. fynch says:

    The government.

    Seriously.

    True democracy.

  60. PaulHuff says:

    I’d open source the eavesdropping machinery/software that the government uses. I’d imagine some of that stuff is pretty cool.

  61. whatup.dub says:

    I would like to open source three things. Well, I think these three would at least give us quite a few things to work on for a while:

    1. The mighty Electron
    2. The (relatively not so mighty) Graviton, or gravity
    3. Nuclear power systems

    I’d say we understand a little bit about electricity. Maybe it’s general tendencies. We can manipulate it to an extent. But I don’t think we have a solid, fundamental understanding of it at its root. Does it come in particles? Does it travel in waves? Is it an inter dimensional amoeba? Whats the deal, electron? Whats your game? Is that your brother over there, the radio wave? Aren’t you and light the same thing? The photon is an impostor! Thats just our friend, electron, oscillating in some other pattern!

    Gravity. My friend. You keep me tied to the places that matter (mater), yet I need only be less dense than the vapor surrounding me to loosen your grip. How can we truly elude you? You are everywhere. Even in a vacuum, in the absence of all other material, you are there, resolute.

    Nuclear power systems. Specifically those on a small scale. I’d like to know the details on the style of systems that sustain nuclear submarines. I know not everyone is a fan of nuclear power, but I can’t help wondering how long a nuclear sub could power my neighborhood. Maybe if there was a nuclear sub on my block, everyone could have power to their homes and drive electric cars! Don’t tell me it wouldn’t be safe to live next to either. There are more people living on a submarine than there are living in my neighborhood. And in closer proximity. Besides, which way do you think would be more wasteful: All the people on my street stop purchasing gasoline, off the main power grid, don’t purchase natural gas or burn any other fuels, and live off this nuke for a few years…
    Or, all the people on my street consume the previous mentioned resources as normal?

    None of the other resources will be used in producing and delivering those resources either! (at least not for the alloted period. I know there will be some other logistical nut-roll to deal with on the nuke side of things)

    Maybe we could even downgrade weapons grade materials and use this as a means to deplete the weapons caches they are always talking about.

    Now I’m just rambling though.

    I dunno. The technology isn’t open source…

  62. sdedalus says:

    well i was thinking 3d cad software and solid modeling then realized we’d all benefit more from the open sourcing of voting machines

  63. JM.EE01 says:

    If I could only “OpenSource” one project/product?

    It would have to be the IBM BlueGene project. Image what the worlds Makers/Hackers could do if they had access to an affordable (albeit not as powerful) of such a distributed computing environment? The computing world would be changed…permanently.

    Then again…that might not be the best thing to open up.
    Top500.org – BlueGene #1 Super Computer

  64. JoeBrandner says:

    Traffic Management systems…. Obviously whatever the state is doing to get people through gridlocked streets isn’t doing it. I bet We have better ideas then those getting paid.

  65. laughlinbarker says:

    i would open source the human brain! seriously, think of the benefits of being able to know the “pin out” of the human brain. we could short circuit the part responsible for Alzheimers, override the part responsible for epilepsy, and cut the lead that poweres chronic pain.

    one day…

In the Maker Shed