With the recent craziness of the political world, one of the phrases that gets thrown about is a ‘return to the Cold War’. Who can really say for sure? But with the internet and world connectivity and cell phones (and Russian dash cams, they seriously love those things), it seems pretty clear that a Next Generation Cold War–Russian Refreeze!–will be lacking in the same Iron Curtain information blackout that the previous version held. That Iron Curtain kept the prying eyes of the West out from not only the military workings of the USSR, but also kept the everyday life and times of the ordinary citizens hidden as well. One such area that remained largely unknown was that of video games! The Soviets weren’t really keen to import Atari’s and Nintendo’s, so they made their own. Although, those game systems were more products of the Far East than of decadent Western culture, but hey, I don’t make the rules. Let’s take a look at a few arcade posters from Soviet Russia!
Continue reading Would You Like to Play a Game?
In a bit of positive news out of the land of Detroit, the deal for the former Packard plant has been completed, and the planned revival is scheduled to begin.
The Packard Plant ruins on Detroit’s east side could soon be buzzing with construction cranes as the plant’s Spanish-born owner launches the opening phase of his ambitious redevelopment project.
In an exclusive interview Tuesday, Fernando Palazuelo said he anticipates the arrival within two to four weeks of cleanup crews…the workers and equipment due to start next month would clear debris and dangerous loose concrete from the vicinity of the old Packard Motor’s administrative office building and the iconic red brick bridge that crosses East Grand Boulevard.
An eventual second phase would involve restoring to original condition the bridge and the four-story office, as well as a courtyard behind the office building.
Palazuelo envisions restoring some of the original Packard structure and redeveloping it for commercial, industrial and cultural uses. (Detroit Free Press.)
The plant was sold to Palazuelo for $405,000 in the Wayne County Treasurer’s foreclosure auction, but the actual title to the complex had been in limbo until very recently. A former owner came forward with a claim that he was still the owner because the county auction didn’t satisfy all of his ownership interests, so a deal had to be worked out before the project could move forward. Hopefully now work can begin and some of the iconic structure can be saved.
Past the jump, check out a recent “remote control helicopter cam” video of the complex in its pre-recovery state. (And kudos to theoldmotor.com for calling it an RC helicopter!)
Continue reading Packard Revival
No doubt you have wondered to yourself while watching Star Wars, “Sure, the Millennium Falcon is fast in space, because spacecraft shape doesn’t matter in a vacuum, but what would the reentry be like?” After all, one you finish the Kessel Run you’ve still got to deliver Logan or whatever else it was you were running, and that means landing on a planet or moon. (Unless it is no moon.) Now, certainly this could be simply explained away with shields and other such-not, but that’s just not all that interesting, now is it? So how about a wind tunnel model, with speeds up to Mach 3!
“Supersonic wind tunnel testing and schlieren flow visualization of a Millennium Falcon model at Mach 3. The high-speed images show startup, steady state, and shutdown of the blowdown wind tunnel facility at Penn State University. The oblique shock waves over the model are observed. The boundary layers on the bottom of the wind tunnel are also imaged”.
Continue reading You Have to Land Sometime
The great thing about the “Other” categories on eBay Motors is that occasionally, instead of getting some random suspension parts that someone just listed poorly, instead you get something really out there. An example, a recent listing for a narrow gauge locomotive pair. What is better than one stream engine? Two.
The ad is for Baldwin Locomotives engines Halawa and Sister engine Manana . Selling as Pair. From the ad:
The engines were built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works, of Philadelphia, for plantation service on the island of Oahu. Delivered in 1899 and 1916 respectively.
Sold to a sugar plantation in the Philippines in 1947, the engines worked there until 1998 when they were set aside. Recovered in 2004, these two steam locomotives represent some of the very few Hawaii engines to have survied.
The 1899 engine was nameed”” Halawa” and is an 0-6-2 tank engine of 18 tons- her sister engine, named “” Manana” was built in 1916 to the exact same design. Both ran on the Honolulu Plantation Co operation near Pearl Harbor until 1947, when they were sold to the Hawaiian-Philippine Surgar Co, of Silay City, Island of Negros, Phillippines. To have located a matched pair of Baldwin engines with Hawaii History is a major feat.
Both engines are 36″ gage. Manana was in operating condition when we purchased it from the Philippines, but I think the boiler will need to be replaced. Halawa will need a new boiler for sure. Also the tops of the cabs were cut off for shipping.
Is there certain information that seems to be missing? Do the pictures look like cell phone photos of a computer screen showing images of previously taken photos? Is $275,000 a whole lot of money to spend on something you would have to build a special railway for? Yes on all counts!
Continue reading Other is a Very Broad Term
The Magic Eight Ball is a wonder of wonders, a see-er of seers! But have you ever been the least bit curious how it works? Or what the frequency of positive versus negative answers are? If you harbor no such curiosity, and prefer your spoilers unspoiled, then I would suggest you not hit the jump…
Invented by Albert Carter, the first versions of his future telling device were simple tubes, decorated with mystical promises! Later versions had the look of a crystal ball, for enhanced mysticism. He partnered with Abe Bookman to mass produce this device, but Carter passed away before seeing his product sold to the world. The company they formed, Alabe Crafts, did begin to market the device, and was approached by Brunswick Billiards in 1950 and asked to convert some of the crystal ball style seers into billiards balls for advertising. The powers of the Eight Ball were such that it remains with us today. There is even a digital eight ball, for those who don’t care to venture out into meat space!
Continue reading Secrets Revealed
My kids happen to all be huge fans of the Disney Buddies franchise. Now, I would imagine side of you probably missed out on the whole Buddies thing and have no idea what I am talking about, so let me briefly explain. At some point in the 90s, Disney made a movie about a dog, a golden retriever to be specific, that could play sports. And then he could do more things, which meant more movies. Then, they hit on the true genius of the form, the only thing cuter than a golden retriever doing human things and talking–golden retriever puppies talking and having adventures. To date, there have been something like 12 Buddies movies made (I have no idea what the actual number is, but it is seriously a bunch, they are trying to give The Land Before Time a run for their money), and one of those movies just happens to involve space. And a Russian space dog that gets rescued from Mir. Also, one of the friends from the Drew Carey show lives on Mir and is crazy Russian cosmonaut!
My point with all this being, the dogs in said film wear cheesy, fake looking space suits. But there have been actual dogs sent to actual outer space wearing actual pressure suits! And now, thanks to to victory of capitalism over communism, you have the chance to own one! You will have to hurry, because the auction it’s this weekend! And in Berlin.
Continue reading I Heard You Like Space
Very early in the days of film, certain highly creative, perhaps you could even say weird, filmmakers, saw an opportunity to show the world just what sort of oddities had bouncing around in their brains. Welcome to the world of the surreal, a new reality that expanded the bounds of what you could believe. Call it surreality, brought to life through the magic of film.
Without a doubt, the brains behind the film you can watch just beyond the jump, was one of the pioneers of surreality. Charley Bowers was a filmmaker and film actor during that transition time between silent film and talkies, after getting his start as a tightrope walker in the circus at the age of 6. He started as a cartoonist around 1912, making mostly Mutt and Jeff toons, but by the late 1920s he had perfected his self-proclaimed “Bowers Process”, his way of combining live action and stop-motion animation. There seems to be little detail on how exactly this process worked, but the stop-motion it’s impressive, even in today’s CGI world, perhaps even more so, and his films have a certain feel, a style of a dream come to life.
““It’s a Bird” is a strange little stop-motion animated short directed by film pioneer Harold L. Muller in 1930 that features a shoe-wearing, metal-eating bird (that actually looks a fair bit like a pterodactyl) that devours a car, piece by piece. Slapstick comedian Charles R. Bowers plays an explorer who encounters both the bird and a gruff-voiced talking worm on his travels to Africa.” (laughingsquid) As a note, Bowers and Muller collaborated on several films, but the stop-motion effects that really set this apart were created by Bowers.
Continue reading Surreal Stop-Motion
Likely some of you have noticed that not only has the site been slow, but now you can’t even comment on the posts that are there! We do apologize for the troubles and hope to have it all sorted soon. It seems that some of the seedier elements of the webs got their grubby paws through an exploit of some sort and were causing a to-do in the server whatsits. According to our very good friend and master of that dark server arts Mr. Mad_Science, these troubles were the cause of Toasters and Hooniverse being briefly down Friday.
Root cause was us, Atomic Toasters, being behind the power curve on behind the scenes updates, and bringing shame upon both our houses via a vulnerability to an exploit that was exploited. Plus, “at the same time (maybe related, maybe not), AT was, and is still getting hammered with tons of comment spam. This got so bad that I had to disable comments over there. They’ll stay off until this passes.
Part of the problem is that even if a comment is caught in the filter, the bot still hits the comment function (post-comment.php) to generate it. Do this once per second and the hardware gets unhappy.”
Thanks everyone for your patience, the folks that know what they are doing are working hard to get us where we need to be. Next up, getting to work on that pesky content issue!
Not only do kids today not know how to make a mix tape, they also have no appreciation for the work that went into it!
Image via carabaas.
Summer is almost over, so get out there while you can!
Image via carabaas.