Massive Balls In Fact And Fiction

A 730 ton tuned mass damper helped to save one of the world's tallest buildings during the recent earthquake in China. Taipei 101 is just six hundred feet from a fault line; take a look at the video below to watch it help stabilize the building.


(Taipei 101 tuned mass damper video)

Check out the 3.5 inch steel cables and massive shocks holding it in place around the 90th floor of the building. It acts like a pendulum to counter the movement of the building; as the building sways in one direction, it moves in the other, damping the vibration. It is able to move five feet in any given direction and is the world's heaviest tuned mass damper (TMD).

That's one massive ball. Which got me to thinking.

Remember the bizarre disruption and whale communication technology ball used by the aliens in the 1986 movie Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home? It spun and moved in and out of the alien craft on some sort of light ray.


(From Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

And what about the beryllium sphere, so essential to the space drive in the alien vessel, in the 1999 film Galaxy Quest?


(The cast obtains a beryllium sphere in Galaxy Quest)

And don't forget that weird timespace travel machine that had Jodi Foster climbing into a huge pinball-shaped travel capsule in the film Contact.


(Jodi Foster confronts unknown in Contact)

Perhaps readers can cite more instances of massive balls in science fiction; I am at a loss to explain the frequent use of this motif.

Via The 730 ton stabilizing ball that keeps the tallest building in the world standing.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/25/2008)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 6 )

Related News Stories - (" Engineering ")

Super-Resolution Microscopy Provides '4D' Views
View the magnified interior of living cells.

Physicists Try To Turn Light Into Matter
If E=mc squared, then... m=E/c squared!

Dune Fans! Power Your Devices With Sweaty Shirts
Yet another power source from humans.

Zero Mass 'Vaporators' Pull Drinking Water From The Air
Did you think of Star Wars?

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Swarm Of Mindless Robots Works Together
'Very tiny pseudo insects that... can unite to form a superordinate system.'

SpotMini Robot Dog, Autonomous And On Sale In 2019
Great, an autonomous slamhound. It is cute, though.

RoboFly Is Laser-Powered, Adorable
Don't swat this fly!

MSG Sphere Las Vegas, ala Star Wars
'The smoky globe, hung in the vault, was shot with colored light...'

Tetraplegics Dominate Avatar Races
Well, just speaking brain-to-computer...

MIT Ampli Blocks Build Biomedical Devices
Damn it Spock, I'm a doctor not an engineer!

UberAIR Asks For Skytaxi Landing Prototypes
You know you want to ride in one.

Boring Tunnel Almost Ready
Your underground future is calling!

Handheld Human Skin Printer
It outputs a thin wad of uniflesh.

Healthy Fast Food Courtesy Of Robot Chefs
'The electric cook was stirring empty nothing in a pan, with a zeal worthy a dozen eggs.'

Mass Production Of In Vitro Meat From One Sample
They're Assimilating Our Culture, That's What They're Doing

Amazing 'Hybrid' Solar-Powered Sea Slug Does Photosynthesis
Thank goodness for Star Trek.

Retinal Prosthesis Uses Organic Printing Inks
We can rebuild you - well, your eyes, maybe.

Should You Submit Your DNA To A Database?
Consumer DNA services are often inaccurate.

Squid-Like Robots Soon To Be 3D Printable
'It was a chemotactic artificial jellyfish designed to slither...'

Humans Evolve Deep Diving Abilities
Sounds like '60s sci-fi to me.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.