• ParkinT (cs)

    And that "greybeard" was Carl Sagan

  • larsy87 (unregistered)

    can you imagine the QA on that build?

    captcha: damn um

    sums it up

  • JamesKilton (cs)

    Oh man, the mental image of watching engine blocks FLY through the air in a beautifully orchestrated game of robot catch gave me a good laugh. Oh if only one of them had a camera to record it, it would be an instant hit on youtube!

  • Dons (unregistered)

    I think I made this in Garry's Mod once.

  • George of the Jungle (unregistered)

    An instant classic and one of my all time favorites!

    Beautiful lead into some meeting for why we need OSHA.

  • Madmanguruman (unregistered)

    I call 100% BS. Tossing an engine block 100'? No way. Reliably catching said engine block? No way. Having a robot strong enough to hurl an engine block 100'? No way. Having a robot strong enough to absorb the kinetic energy of an engine block hurled 100'? No way. Having an unqualified operator figure all this out on the fly as a correction to a broken conveyor belt problem? Not bloody likely. Sheesh.

  • Bert Glanstron 5000 (unregistered)

    This guy must've been poached by Aperture Science.

  • cheap shot (unregistered)

    I call shenanigans

  • Anketam (unregistered) in reply to Madmanguruman
    Madmanguruman:
    I call 100% BS. Tossing an engine block 100'? No way. Reliably *catching* said engine block? No way. Having a robot strong enough to hurl an engine block 100'? No way. Having a robot strong enough to absorb the kinetic energy of an engine block hurled 100'? No way. Having an unqualified operator figure all this out on the fly as a correction to a broken conveyor belt problem? Not bloody likely. Sheesh.
    I have to agree with Madmanguruman. To program a robot to throw something is one thing, but to have the hardware specs to actually perform the throwing is another. Secondly he would have had to get it right on his first try since a minor miscalculation would result in the engine block taking out the robot that was going to catch it.
  • Eurosid (unregistered) in reply to Madmanguruman

    Yeah, I don't buy this for one second.

  • ObiWayneKenobi (cs)

    Still a cool story, even if very likely fabricated.

  • piskvorr (cs) in reply to Madmanguruman
    Madmanguruman:
    Reliably *catching* said engine block? No way.
    Reliably catching said engine block without damaging the block or the robot? Quadruple no way with a cherry on top.
  • Cave Johnson (unregistered)

    Cave Johnson here. I see no problem with this solution. Science isn't about why, it's about why not. You ask: why is so much of our science dangerous? I say: why not marry safe science if you love it so much.

  • The Zune Man (unregistered)

    I was waiting for the part where he ties her to the wall and aims the throwing robot at her, and letting the line run again for a while. Not every story can have a happy ending, I suppose.Naturally, he would have achieved release by way of her body - whether you want to image before or after is up to you. Before would be nice because then he could thoroughly violate her before she died and she'd be there to experience it, kind of like raping her soul. But if he did it after, it would be like raping her memory; difficult choice.

  • The Real WTF (unregistered)

    The real WTF is your link to Penguicon is a 404...

    lk: Thanks for the spot. I blame the robots.

  • Jock McBeefsteak (unregistered) in reply to The Zune Man

    You had me at, "ties her to the wall."

  • Steve The Cynic (cs) in reply to Madmanguruman
    Madmanguruman:
    I call 100% BS. Tossing an engine block 100'? No way. Reliably *catching* said engine block? No way. Having a robot strong enough to hurl an engine block 100'? No way. Having a robot strong enough to absorb the kinetic energy of an engine block hurled 100'? No way. Having an unqualified operator figure all this out on the fly as a correction to a broken conveyor belt problem? Not bloody likely. Sheesh.

    Indeed.

    Going back to first principles of ballistics, assuming a perfect 45 degree launch angle (required to achieve maximum range) and a vacuum in the factory (to remove air resistance from consideration), the minimum launch speed on the Earth's surface is a smidgeon under 39 mph. Dealing with practicalities like the 50'-high arc this implies and the presence of air will significantly increase the necessary speed, and you can quite easily end up with the blocks having to be thrown at around 80 mph.

    (Air resistance is significant, more so as the speed increases - a baseball hit at the perfect angle so it just clears the back wall of Vacuum Park will fall short by something like 40-45 feet in normal sea-level air.)

  • StupidTheKid (unregistered)

    There is no doubt the story was furiously anonymized, to prevent the identification of the "innocents". Throwing engine blocks 100' seems far fetched ... or is it?

    From what I've seen from factory floors, and from what we see here in factory code, there is no limit to human ingenuity. Sure, most of the time it's total garbage, but we believe in 0x5f3759df, so why not in a robotic Greg Maddux?

  • RobertM (unregistered)

    I will buy this is a legit story as they don't say "what" engine block. It could be for small planes or even motorcycles. Factor in a small engine block for such items could be a mere 5lbs-50lbs I don't see why not. Also, that weight would only ding a industrial robot arm. Considering he was smart enough to think of a crazy idea like that. I would go with he probably undershot to start with.

  • toshir0 (cs)

    Who could actually believe something like this after the age of 7 ? Publishing something like this..... here ? What happened to you, TDWTF guys ?

    Since Lorne Kates semmed quite sane* and intelligent person, the only likely scenario I can imagine is blackmail : do you have ennemies, Lorne ? I guess they have a heavy "file" on you...

    • sane in tdwtf contexte, so...

    Addendum (2011-10-04 09:47): addendum : some assume that the engine is a small one. It doesn't explain how a robot could 1) "catch" it right 2) catch it without damaging it. An engine is not just a stone. It's precision equipment.

    Bull-shit.

  • Nagesh (cs)

    look like how car motor factries in america are runing now-a-days

  • heterodox (cs)

    Anonymized and hyperbolized, but an EPIC story.

  • Gary (unregistered)

    Maybe the engine blocks are for model airplane engines and weigh a few ounces.

    Still need to toss them high and fast to make it 100 feet though.

    So now I'm thinking, maybe it was 100' in 12" scale, so just 8 or 9 feet or so. And maybe Amalie and the greybeard are really Barbie and Ken Dolls.

  • Nagesh (cs) in reply to Madmanguruman
    Madmanguruman:
    I call 100% BS. Tossing an engine block 100'? No way. Reliably *catching* said engine block? No way. Having a robot strong enough to hurl an engine block 100'? No way. Having a robot strong enough to absorb the kinetic energy of an engine block hurled 100'? No way. Having an unqualified operator figure all this out on the fly as a correction to a broken conveyor belt problem? Not bloody likely. Sheesh.

    You meke very good point. Me think Lornay Kats is watching too many cartons on TV shows.

  • Scotty (unregistered)

    Ye cannae change the laws of physics!

  • DaveK (cs) in reply to Anketam
    Anketam:
    Madmanguruman:
    I call 100% BS. Tossing an engine block 100'? No way. Reliably *catching* said engine block? No way. Having a robot strong enough to hurl an engine block 100'? No way. Having a robot strong enough to absorb the kinetic energy of an engine block hurled 100'? No way. Having an unqualified operator figure all this out on the fly as a correction to a broken conveyor belt problem? Not bloody likely. Sheesh.
    I have to agree with Madmanguruman. To program a robot to throw something is one thing, but to have the hardware specs to actually perform the throwing is another. Secondly he would have had to get it right on his first try since a minor miscalculation would result in the engine block taking out the robot that was going to catch it.
    Maybe they were teeny weeny tiny little engines?

    Edit: Looks like several other people had the same idea while I was busy googling '0x5f3759df'

  • Devil's Advocate (unregistered) in reply to Gary
    Gary:
    Maybe the engine blocks are for model airplane engines and weigh a few ounces.

    Though I would doubt small parts would make a clang sound that could be heard loudly in adjacent rooms...

  • Rootbeer (cs)

    Sometimes the editing for anonymity is applied so gratuitously that it ruins the entire story. This is one of those times.

    Lorne, you've got a solid writing style, but the details of this story don't pass the sniff test, and if you do the math on them, they're even worse. I hope you'll exercise a little more restraint in the future.

  • Nagesh (unregistered) in reply to Nagesh
    Nagesh:
    look like how car motor factries in america are runing now-a-days
    I am just purchasing new Tata. Not being surprising amount of ratle and brakedowns for lack of OSHEA here in Hyderabad.

    Now...stop using haked acount, madderhron!

  • Nagesh (cs) in reply to Nagesh
    Nagesh:
    Nagesh:
    look like how car motor factries in america are runing now-a-days
    I am just purchasing new Tata. Not being surprising amount of ratle and brakedowns for lack of OSHEA here in Hyderabad.

    Now...stop using haked acount, madderhron!

    Tata motor now own landrower and jagar car companies. Which tata are you buying?

  • Lorne Kates (cs) in reply to toshir0
    toshir0:
    Who could actually believe something like this after the age of 7 ? Publishing something like this..... here ? What happened to you, TDWTF guys ?

    Since Lorne Kates semmed quite sane*

    Sucker.

    toshir0:
    and intelligent person, the only likely scenario I can imagine is blackmail : do you have enemies, Lorne ? I guess they have a heavy "file" on you...

    It isn't so much "heavy" as it is "dense". Quality, not quantity.

    Ummm-- I mean, I categorically deny this post.

    Addendum (2011-10-04 09:47): addendum : some assume that the engine is a small one. It doesn't explain how a robot could 1) "catch" it right 2) catch it without damaging it. An engine is not just a stone. It's precision equipment.

    Bull-shit.

    FWIW, these are engine block casings, not engine blocks.

  • frits (cs)

    Yet another reason why union labor is the best choice for building cars.

  • The Old Curmudgeon (unregistered) in reply to Nagesh
    Nagesh:
    Nagesh:
    Nagesh:
    look like how car motor factries in america are runing now-a-days
    I am just purchasing new Tata. Not being surprising amount of ratle and brakedowns for lack of OSHEA here in Hyderabad.

    Now...stop using haked acount, madderhron!

    Tata motor now own landrower and jagar car companies. Which tata are you buying?

    Don't tatas come in pairs? That's how they did it when I was a boy...

  • Nagesh (unregistered) in reply to Nagesh
    Nagesh:
    Nagesh:
    Nagesh:
    look like how car motor factries in america are runing now-a-days
    I am just purchasing new Tata. Not being surprising amount of ratle and brakedowns for lack of OSHEA here in Hyderabad.

    Now...stop using haked acount, madderhron!

    Tata motor now own landrower and jagar car companies. Which tata are you buying?

    I am Indian only with sofware ackritekt salery to match. Using saved money from dowrey to put down payment on 2008 Nono. Being able to fit all kids when eldist two ride topside! Braking down freackwently, tho.

  • trtrwtf (unregistered)

    Not only is the premise completely unbelieveable (as already noted), the setup read like a really bad campfire ghost story. I was waiting the Viper to come and Vash and Vipe the Vindows.

  • Cybernetic boy (unregistered)

    Yeah, vid or didn't happen

  • Hortical (unregistered) in reply to frits
    frits:
    Yet another reason why union labor is the best choice for building cars.
    You mean his 'fix' was unsafe for the robots and they should unionize?
  • The Zune Man (unregistered) in reply to The Old Curmudgeon
    The Old Curmudgeon:
    Nagesh:
    Nagesh:
    Nagesh:
    look like how car motor factries in america are runing now-a-days
    I am just purchasing new Tata. Not being surprising amount of ratle and brakedowns for lack of OSHEA here in Hyderabad.

    Now...stop using haked acount, madderhron!

    Tata motor now own landrower and jagar car companies. Which tata are you buying?

    Don't tatas come in pairs? That's how they did it when I was a boy...

    Whereas ca-ca tends to come all at once...

  • JRS (unregistered)
    Comment held for moderation.
  • Dennis (unregistered)

    Video or it didn't happen.

  • frits (cs) in reply to Hortical
    Hortical:
    frits:
    Yet another reason why union labor is the best choice for building cars.
    You mean his 'fix' was unsafe for the robots and they should unionize?
    Union robots would refuse to participate in such foolishness. It would be dangerous considering the smoked liquid lunch they all had out in the parking lot. Working under the influence is serious business.
  • Rob (unregistered) in reply to Scotty
    Scotty:
    Ye cannae change the laws of physics!

    Tell that to CERN.

  • frits (cs) in reply to Rob
    Rob:
    Scotty:
    Ye cannae change the laws of physics!

    Tell that to CERN.

    The laws of physics can't be known, only approximated.

  • Nagesh (cs) in reply to The Old Curmudgeon
    The Old Curmudgeon:
    Nagesh:
    Nagesh:
    Nagesh:
    look like how car motor factries in america are runing now-a-days
    I am just purchasing new Tata. Not being surprising amount of ratle and brakedowns for lack of OSHEA here in Hyderabad.

    Now...stop using haked acount, madderhron!

    Tata motor now own landrower and jagar car companies. Which tata are you buying?

    Don't tatas come in pairs? That's how they did it when I was a boy...

    http://www.tatamotors.com/

  • Ryan (unregistered)

    I was so totally there during that panel. I feel so special. Woot!

  • justn (unregistered)

    True or not, it was still a good story to start off my morning.

  • Ryan (unregistered) in reply to StupidTheKid

    In the story that was told at the panel, the blocks were being thrown a great distance. I don't remember if it was 20', 50', or 100', but it was a very large distance, and we were almost questioning how the arms of the robots could fling them so far.

  • Ryan (unregistered)

    Annnd another comment, if I remember correctly they were car blocks, weighed somewhere between 50 and 200 lbs (this was months ago, details get fuzzy), and the arms were rated for around two tonnes. So you can do the math if you wish.

  • JRS (unregistered)

    Why this fixation on distance as the accurate part in this "names are changed to protect the guilty" story.

    instead of "how fast does a engine block need to be thrown to reach 100 feet?" ask "given the size robot needed to inspect engine blocks, how far can it throw it?"

  • GettinSadda (cs) in reply to JRS
    JRS:
    The Roman Rule The one who says it cannot be done should never interrupt the one who is doing it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAtdsDTt__s

    This video seems to disprove the article.

    • Consider that when the plant was specified only a fool would have chosen a robot significantly bigger than 'adequate' to move the items.
    • In order to throw a 12 pound or so ball 120 feet, it takes a huge robot with an extended arm to give extra radius.
    • Look at how many balls they seem to have tried to throw before getting it close to right (the ground is littered with them) - now imagine those are the engine block casings (or was that supposed to be castings)
    • Look at how accurately the robot manages to throw spheres - then consider the difficulty in getting better with irregular objects

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