In 2004, the heavy-lift ship MV Blue Marlin transported the Thunder Horse PDQ semi-submersible oil platform from South Korea to Texas. The trip took 63 days as the route took it around the Cape of Good Hope. The 60,000 ton Thunder Horse PDQ is the largest oil platform of its type and is [...]
A while back we looked at Doppler RADAR and its importance to weather prediction. What about when you need the miracle of Christian Doppler’s discovery in a storm that may or may not cross a fixed Doppler RADAR installation? Enter Center for Severe Weather Research’s Doppler on Wheels (DOW) trucks.
Continue reading Doppler On Wheels
Color films began appearing in the 1930s, shortly after the talkies. Technicolor created a process that could record “natural color” on the film. They did this by using a three-strip color process. Light entering the camera was split by a prism and recorded on separate film strips which had filters and emulsions sensitive [...]
Once moving pictures could be recorded on film the industry grew quite rapidly. From the first motion picture c. 1890 to the 1920s, these films went from run times measured in seconds to ones measured in hours. The art went from filming guys walking out of a factory at the end of their work day to actual scripted and acted stories. The initial celluloid film, which was quite flammable and led to many movie house fires, was soon replaced with plastic-based film that was less prone to catching fire from the heat of the projector lamp or a movie operator’s cigar. At first, the only soundtrack was the clicking of the projector wheels. Soon, theaters hired pianists, organists or, in large urban areas, an entire orchestra to provide mood music. Soon, the producers were drafting sheet music to go with the movie so that moviegoers in Iowa City had the same movie experience as moviegoers in NYC. The industry as a whole really came alive. Even though Europe’s movie industry, which was the crown jewel of the industry, suffered a major setback due to a little world war during the 1910s, it came roaring back and was made stronger by a burgeoning film industry in an upstart town called Hollywood.
Continue reading Silence of the Films
What can you do if you have a historic building that is impeding the path of progress in the form of an expanded railway? If you are the Swiss company ABB, you simply decide to tear the thing down, not a very elegant solution. Plus, you run the risk of rousing the ire of the normally pleasant Swiss citizenry, who might just band together to, gasp, write a petition! This is indeed the situation that unfolded in Zurich last year, when the last remaining building from the Oerlikon machine factory, built in the latter part of the 19th century, was slated for demolition. Shown below, the complex was constructed by “Maschinenfabrik Oerlikon (MFO)”, who began manufacturing tool machinery, weapons and electric locomotives in 1876. Once all the signatures were counted up to save the building, ABB developed a different plan, working with new owner Swiss Prime Site and the Swiss Federal Railways to move the entire 260 foot long, 6,200 tonne 3 story structure nearly 200 feet out of the path of the new railroad. How you ask? Just like the Egyptians did it, with rollers! Well, maybe not just like, since the Egyptians probably did not have access to heavy duty hydraulic rams, but still, they put the entire building on rollers and slid it out of the way! Hit the jump for some time lapse video, and check out the Civil Engineering Bulletin for more detailed pictures and information.
Continue reading Architectural Shift
That ominous presence is the Canadian National Railway’s 6213 steam locomotive. In use with the railway from 1942 to 1959, it covered over a million miles pulling passengers and freight across the continent. It represents the pinnacle of steam locomotive design — the Northern type locomotive.
Continue reading Northern 4-8-4
Not seen at Burning Man. Way too mindblowing.
On July 16th, 2012, Rick Cavallaro was at the controls as the Blackbird land yacht, powered only by the wind, accelerated from a stop to 20 mph. However, the 10 mph breeze was blowing directly in his face for the entire run, giving the Thin Air team the first North American Land Sailing Association (NALSA) record for traveling directly upwind at a speed faster than the wind itself.
This new record has attracted far less attention and controversy than Blackbird’s spectacular downwind speed record, set in 2010. But some people still believe both runs were faked. While the ideas that the wind could push against itself or push something faster than itself seem obviously impossible, I’m confident that this is not a hoax, and I arrogantly believe I can explain upwind and downwind carts to my fellow Toasters. 
Continue reading Faster Than The Wind And Flames
Formula One has hardly changed from its early days.
Whether you’re a fan of Formula One or not, there’s no way around the fact that it is the race series that pushes the boundaries of technological evolution more than any other. It is where virtually every advancement in racing equipment is born, and also where racing excitement goes to die. Yes, in many cases, it has become little more than a very high-speed parade, with no passing and very little drama, but if the racing isn’t all that exciting, the technology certainly is.
Continue reading Formula One: Evolution in Motion
A rarely seen Victorian Imperial Walker which was most likely made by Isembard Kingdom Brunel. It just shows that there is evil in all empires regardless of era. Some are cooler than others though.
"Permission to break out the Bieber, sir?" "Negative, Lieutenant, you are not to utilize the Bieber except in a time of war."
We here in The West tend to think of the Cold War as being long over, but in absolute truth, it’s not completely over. Sure, the whole United States vs. Soviet Union standoff has mostly died down, and Germany’s now all one piece. Marko Ramius has sheen Monchana, and realished it wash no shcreaming hell. But that doesn’t mean the whole deal is over.
Over in the Koreas, tensions are still running rampant. The Demilitarized Zone is still just as dangerous as it ever was, with North and South sides trading pot-shots at one another. One side sinks a ship, the other retaliates by beating up someone’s mother. And periodically, each side will let loose a couple of artillery shells just to make sure that the other side is still paying attention.
Now, however, the South might have taken things a bit too far:
Continue reading Another Kind of Cold War