Veteran, hero and prolific movie pirate

Meet Hyman Strachman, aka “Big Hy”, a 92 year old World War II veteran who spends his free time copying Hollywood feature films, many still in theaters, and sends them overseas to the courageous men and women of the armed forces, all at his expense. “Big Hy” buys bootleg copies of popular movies such as “The Artist” and “Moneyball”, makes 7 copies at a time using a DVD duplicator connected to his computer, then packs 84 discs into a flat-rate USPS box and sends it away on a 3-month journey overseas to military personnel.

He estimates that he’s duplicated and sent over 300,000 discs, an out-of-pocket expense of over $30,000, and he does it as a kind gesture to the brave men an women who serve in the military, just like him.

“Before long, the sole evidence of his operation will be on his walls and on a little bookshelf, next to his cholesterol-control pills and a few envelopes of farina, where seven three-ring binders overflow with letters and pictures, most addressed to “Big Hy,” from appreciative soldiers.”

Mr. Strachman does not keep copies of the movies for himself, and as far as I can tell, will never be prosecuted:

“Howard Gantman, a spokesman for the Motion Picture Association of America, said he did not believe its member studios were aware of Mr. Strachman’s operation. His sole comment dripped with the difficulty of going after a 92-year-old widower supporting the troops.

“We are grateful that the entertainment we produce can bring some enjoyment to them while they are away from home,” Mr. Gantman said.”

Its certainly a relief to see the folks at the MPAA have some dignity and humor left and won’t be taking legal action against Mr. Strachman, a national hero that keeps on giving.

Via [NY Times]

Cross-posted from TechnologyTell

Home-made Gyroscopic Camera Stabilization

Profession gyroscopic stabilization systems for video cameras can get quite expensive. So, what’s a tinkerer to do? The DIY route, and that’s exactly what [David Prutchi] did.

Also as part of the project, I came across the professional-grade (and professionally priced, starting at $1,600) gyroscopic camera stabilizers made by Kenyon Laboratories. These devices don’t seem to have changed much since Kenyon’s founder filed the following two patents in the 50′s: US2811042, US2570130.

Check out his detailed project page, complete with drawings, diagrams and parts lists.

Kenyon KS-8 Gyro test from Pearson on Vimeo.

Build Your Own Electric Motorcycle

Did you catch the electric fever? Want to reduce your gasoline consumption? Need a weekend new and are you on a budget? Well, check out the “Build You Own Electric Motorcycle Project”, a very detailed Instructable by [bennelson] and

In this project, they convert a 1981 Kawasaki KZ440 to electric. Powered by four Optima Yellow Top sealed lead-acid batteries and driving a Briggs & Stratton Etek electric motor. It gets about 23 miles on a full charge, which takes about 10 hours. Hit the link below to read more about this project.