Three Things on Thursday #20

Hello, and welcome to the 20th edition of Three Things on Thursday.

This week, our things include: Following the lives of aircraft from factory to boneyard from above, exploring time travel in fiction, and making automated pixel art with Skittles.

Let’s go check them out!

1. From Factory to Boneyard - The Lifecycle of Planes as told in Mike Kelley's Stunning Aerial Photos

by Laura Mallonee for Wired

Image Credit: Mike Kelley

An airplane's lifespan isn't something most passengers think about until something annoying or unnerving happens—maybe an air vent starts dripping, or the bathroom door won't lock, or a loud noise makes everyone sit up straighter in their seats. But planes, like people, have beginnings, middles, and ends. Mike Kelley captures the full arc in Life Cycles, a stunning series of aerial photographs shot from above factories, airports and boneyards.

Read the full article, and see the photos on

2. Time Travel in Fiction

For ages I’ve been thinking about doing a video analyzing time travel in fiction and doing a comparison of different fictional time travels – some do use wormholes, some relativistic/faster than light travel with time dilation, some closed timelike curves, some have essentially “magic” or no consistent rules that make any sense, or TARDIS's, or whatever. This video is an explanation of how time travel functions in different popular movies, books, & shows – not how it works “under the hood", but how it causally affects the perspective of characters’ timelines (who has free will? can you change things by going back to the past or forwards into the future?). In particular, I explain Ender's Game, Planet of the Apes, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Primer, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Back to the Future, Groundhog Day, Looper, the video game “Braid”, and Lifeline.

Check out MinutePhysics on YouTube.

3. Making Pixel Art With Skittles

This awesome, automated Skittle sorter, come pixel art maker was created by John03, as a "weekend project". A month later, and with a full Instuctibles build thread to go with it, it's done. And it's awesome!

Harness the colors of the rainbow with the Skittle Pixel8r. Learn how to construct a machine that will create any image using Skittles as pixels. The machine is capable of creating a Skittle pixel image that is up to 785x610mm (31x24in) using eight Skittle colors (hence the name Pixel-"8"-r).

Eight Skittle dispensers (one for each color of Skittle) are placed at the top of the machine. The Arduino commands the dispenser containing the desired color to dispense one Skittle. Once dispensed the Arduino commands the linear axis to move the funnel to the correct bin. While the linear axis is moving, the Skittle falls through the funnel system. After the linear axis stops moving, the Skittle falls into the bin. This process repeats 2760 times until the image is complete.

It was supposed to be a weekend project but ended up taking a month to design and build. Skittles are surprising challenging to work with: they can roll on all sides but are not spheres, when dropped they naturally settle with the larger diameter in the horizontal plane, and the raspberry ones are irresistibly tasty.

Check out John03's build thread for the Skittle Pixel8r on Instructibles.

Edition #20 done!

See you next week, for more Three Things on Thursday.

Chris ~ Resident Collector of Things

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