Moments in History, Uncategorized

May 28, 1906 – San Francisco in Ruins

San Francisco in Ruins (Clicken to enbiggenate)


This amazingly detailed, panoramic high resolution photograph shows just how completely devastated 4 days and 4 nights of fires left San Francisco after the Great 1906 Earthquake.

6 weeks later smoke still hangs in the air as people begin the long, mammoth task of cleaning up.

More […]

Military-Grade Awesome, Uncategorized

Top Gun Day – Behind the Scenes (Visual Effects)

Famous Control Tower at NAS Miramar - aka Top Gun

Famous Control Tower at NAS Miramar – aka Top Gun


Today, May 13 marks the 7th annual “Top Gun Day”, where you too have permission to buzz the tower and quote cheesy lines from the megahit 1986 jet-fighter flick.

(or better yet, just mill about yelling “DANGER-ZONE!!” at random)

And in celebration of this “Need for Speed” filled day, may we present to you a behind the scenes look at how the movie was made. The entire series is fascinating, but the visual effects portion is the most intriguing. Be warned however, it’s kinda like peeking behind the screen in the Land of OZ… a little bit of the magic gets revealed in the process… however the technical aspect is still just as cool. Continue reading Top Gun Day – Behind the Scenes (Visual Effects)

expensive mistakes

May 9th, 1980 – Skyway Bridge Collapse

Richard Hornbuckle's car rests where it skidded to a stop just14 inches from the edge of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, which was struck by the freighter Summit Venture on May 9, 1980. The freighter rammed the southbound span of the bridge, collapsing a 1,200 foot length of the bridge and sending several cars and a Greyhound bus into the water. Thirty-five people died. Times photo by Eric Mencher.

Richard Hornbuckle’s car rests where it skidded to a stop just14 inches from the edge of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, which was struck by the freighter Summit Venture on May 9, 1980.  Times photo by Eric Mencher.

35 years ago, on the Friday before Mother’s Day – a blue 1974 Ford Courier driven by 56 year old Wesley MacIntire slowly and cautiously makes its way across the fabled Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa Bay, Florida. Mr MacIntire has made the journey countless times over the years.

Only today there will be no sunshine. It has been swept aside with black skies and torrential rain,  whipped sporadically with an intensely fierce wind.

And soon, there will be no bridge. Continue reading May 9th, 1980 – Skyway Bridge Collapse

Weekend Entertainment

Zero Hour! – Airplane! Mashup!


You may know the 1980 comedic/cinematic masterpiece “Airplane!”, and in fact if you hang around in these parts of the cybernet it’s essentially one of the prerequisites for entry into the Obscure Reference Club (ORCi).

And many of you may know that Airplane! (the 1980 comedic/cinematic masterpiece) was partly inspired by and pokes […]


Playing With Junk – Building a 4 Cylinder Brigs & Stratton



Here’s a fun project I’ve been following for a while, hoping that they pull it off. These dudes are taking four old Briggs & Stratton engines and making an inline 4 out of them.

I’ve seen other similar builds where they take 4 separate engines and bolt them all together, but […]


Saturday Morning Cartoons – The Man of a Thousand Voices


This morning’s cartoon feature is less about the cartoons themselves, and more about the man behind them, Mel Blanc, The Man of a Thousand Voices. The man behind nearly all of  our favorite  vintage cartoon characters.

An entertaining film in its own right, it is also fascinating to see behind the scenes, how things […]


Atari’s “Think Tank” – Cyan Engineering


“Press Any Key…”

I recently ran across this fantastic and odd little gem – “Atari’s Cyan Engineering – Splendor in the Grass”, a largely forgotten short documentary about Atari’s famous “think-tank” shot in 1982, two years before Big Brother was supposed to make life hell (and 30 years before he actually would).


Atari VCS/2600

Atari VCS/2600


It highlights some of the work developed here that Atari became famous for such as the VCS (Video Computer System/2600), and serves as a bit of a fun time-machine to back where they tinker with ideas, peer into the future and try to predict much of what we take for granted today. Video conferencing and small portable “Briefcase sized” computers are mentioned for example, along with Continue reading Atari’s “Think Tank” – Cyan Engineering

Tech Theory

15 Sorting Algorithms in 6 Minutes


Ok, this is weirdly cool.

According to the website, the creator calls this “Audibilization and Visualization of Sorting Algorithms”, or, “The Sound of Sorting”. It takes us visually and audibly through various methods of sorting digital data, with the algorithms used noted up in the upper left-hand corner.

If you’re like me, the kind of dolt who is aware of such brainy things Continue reading 15 Sorting Algorithms in 6 Minutes

User Input

Message in the Sand – Graffiti on Mars

Here’s a little intergalactic Easter egg…

Our latest Mars Rover “Curiosity”, which set down on the Red Planet last year – August 2012, has a curious pattern molded into the tread of its 20 inch wheels…

For those of you well versed in the ancient language of the Old West, or perhaps even […]

Military-Grade Awesome, Uncategorized

Christening of the Next Generation Aircraft Carrier – Gerald R. Ford

USS Ford

This morning the new “Next Generation” aircraft carrier, the Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) was christened during ceremonies in the Newport News Shipbuilding facilities, Hampton Roads Virginia… you can watch a replay of the ceremonies here.

At 1,080 feet long, 100 feet high, a beam of 134 feet and 250 feet wide at the Flight-Deck, this behemoth used around 47,000 tons of steel and will have over 90,000 tons of displacement.

Replacing the ex-USS Enterprise, it is the first entirely new class of U.S. aircraft carrier in 45 years since the Nimitz of 1968. The island is 140 feet further aft than previous designs and its three aircraft elevators are electromagnetic – doing away with the traditional cable-hoisting. (I wonder if they are still keeping the old-style warning horns? Those things were cool.)

But the BIG news is the Navy’s new EMALS system, which translates into landlubber speak as the “Electro-Magnetic Aircraft Launch System”. This modern technology does away with the steam-powered catapults that have flung aircraft into the sky for the last half-century, which is both exciting and a little sad. Continue reading Christening of the Next Generation Aircraft Carrier – Gerald R. Ford