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Use this Infographic to Build Your Own Iron Throne

Blog.chron.com
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Want to build your very own Iron Throne? Then set aside a lot of time. According to professional swordsmith Jake Powning, forging the 1000 swords that make up Westeros' Iron Throne could take around 700,000 hours—or about 80 years—using modern-day welding techniques. The infographic below shows how it might be done.

The first step is getting the right tools. Powning—who forges original swords as well as period replicas—says that plenty of a variety of welding equipment and forging tools would be needed to make all of those swords.

Giving yourself time to use the equipment—and not being afraid to make mistakes—are also a key part of the process. “There are a lot of things that can go wrong when you’re undertaking the many steps that add up to making a sword," Powning says. "Each time a blade breaks from being too hard or a casting fails, losing weeks of work, or you crack the beautiful grip you spent a month carving, it’s a chance to learn, but it’s okay to cry a little before you go on.”

The Targaryens used a dragon to weld the swords together in the shape of a throne, but you'll have to make do with more realistic equipment. “Welding the throne together would be a job in itself,” Powning says. “But once you had the swords, a good architectural blacksmith with a few assistants, a forge and a MIG welder could assemble a throne in a few hundred hours’ work.”

The new season of Game of Thrones starts April 6. You probably won't be able to catch this particular season from your very own Iron Throne, but you might finish in enough time to read the next book in the series.

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Hate Red M&M's? You Need a Candy Color-Sorting Machine
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You don’t have to be a demanding rock star to live a life without brown M&M's or purple Skittles—all you need is some engineering know-how and a little bit of free time.

Mechanical engineering student Willem Pennings created a machine that can take small pieces of candy—like M&M's, Skittles, Reese’s Pieces, etc.—and sort them by color into individual piles. All Pennings needs to do is pour the candy into the top funnel; from there, the machine separates the candy—around two pieces per second—and dispenses all of it into smaller bowls at the bottom designated for each variety.

The color identification is performed with an RGB sensor that takes “optical measurements” of candy pieces of equal dimensions. There are limitations, though, as Pennings revealed in a Reddit Q&A: “I wouldn't be able to use this machine for peanut M&M's, since the sizes vary so much.”

The entire building process lasted from May through December 2016, and included the actual conceptualization, 3D printing (which was outsourced), and construction. The entire project was detailed on Pennings’s website and Reddit's DIY page.

With all of the motors, circuitry, and hardware that went into it, Pennings’s machine is likely too ambitious of a task for the average candy aficionado. So until a machine like this hits the open market, you're probably stuck buying bags of single-colored M&M’s in bulk online or sorting all of the candy out yourself the old fashioned way.

To see Pennings’s machine in action, check out the video below:

[h/t Refinery 29]

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How Common Is Your Birthday? An Interactive Map Can Tell You
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by James Hunt

At some point in their life, everyone counts back from their birthday and tries to figure out what anniversary, special occasion, or other excuse might have happened to their parents nine months before they were born. To make this backtracking exercise easier—and give us the chance to do it for a much larger population—data journalist Matt Stiles created an interactive "heat map" showing the most common birthdays in the United States for individuals born between 1994 and 2014.

Click on the map and you'll quickly notice that July, August, and September are by far the most common birth months. It's no surprise that nine months prior you'll find the dark and rainy period of October, November, and December when—to put it delicately—people have to make their own entertainment.

According to Stiles, "People generally seem to have time for baby-making during their time off. Several of the most common birth dates, in September, correspond with average conception periods around Christmas. September 9 is most common in this dataset, though other days in that month are close. September 19 is second. Following a customary gestation period, many of these babies would, in theory, have been conceived on December 17 and December 27, respectively."

But that's not all we can tell from the chart. When you take into account the fact that some people get to choose their child's birthday because of induced and elective births, they tend to want to stay away from the hospital during understaffed holiday periods.

"The least common birthdays in this dataset were Christmas Eve, Christmas [Day], and New Year’s Day," Stiles concluded. "Dates around Thanksgiving aren’t as common. July 4 is also at the bottom of the list. Conversely, Valentine’s Day ranks relatively high, as you can see in the graphic, as are the days just before a new tax year begins."

Amazingly, though it only comes around every four years, Leap Year babies aren't as uncommon as you might think: February 29 ranked 347th out of 366 on the list.

You can play around with the interactive graphic, and see the full ranking of birthdays, here.

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