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Posts Tagged ‘parachute

“There is only one perfect view — the view of the sky straight over our heads, and that all these views on earth are but bungled copies of it”*…

 

7 sq miles

(Clockwise, from upper left) Seven-square-mile views of Manhattan; Chaganbulage Administrative Village in Inner Mongolia; Venice, Italy; and farms in Plymouth, Washington

 

Spending time looking at the varying and beautiful images of our planet from above in Google Earth, zooming in and out at dizzying rates, I thought it would be interesting to compare all of these vistas at a fixed scale—to see what New York City, Venice, or the Grand Canyon would look like from the same virtual height. So, the following images are snapshots from Google Earth, all rectangles of the same size and scale, approximately three and a half miles (5.6 kilometers) wide by two miles (3.2 kilometers) tall—showing seven square miles (18.1 square kilometers, or 4,480 acres) of the surface of our planet in each view…

The Atlantic‘s Alan Taylor takes us a remarkable tour of the earth:  “Seven Square Miles.”

* E.M. Forster, A Room with a View

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As we gaze groundward, we might recall that it was on this date in 1797 that André-Jacques Garnerin accomplished the first successful parachute jump.  He ascended to 2,230 ft. above the Parc Monceau, Paris, with a balloon, then released it and unfurled a silk parachute.  Lacking any vent in the top of the parachute, Garnerin descended with violent oscillations– as a result of which, he suffered the first case of airsickness.

Garnerin releases the balloon and descends with the help of a parachute, 1797. (Illustration from the late 19th century.)

source

 

Written by LW

October 22, 2018 at 1:01 am

“I was once told that flying involves long hours of boredom, interrupted by moments of extreme fright”*…

 

Boeing Model 314 Clipper “California Clipper,” Pan American Airways [source]

On December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, there was a Pan Am Clipper proceeding to Auckland, New Zealand [from its San Francisco base] when the radio operator announced to the crew, in a panicked voice, that Pearl Harbor had been attacked. The Captain realized that this was not a joke, after looking over at the radio operator’s face, and said, “Please confirm the details of your news with Pan Am headquarters in New Caledonia.”

When the radio operator returned to the Captain’s side he advised that the news was in fact correct and they advised me to tell you the following, Implement Plan A.” The Captain reached for a sealed envelope from his jacket…

And so began a globe-circling trek that ended on January 6, 1942 at La Guardia’s Marine Air Terminal: total flight time was 209 hours; total distance, 31,500 miles (a circuitous route that involved dodging first Japanese then German military aircraft that considered the American plane “a strategic military resource” to be destroyed).  It was the first around-the-world flight by a commercial airliner… the hard way.

Read the fascinating story of this unintended circumnavigation at “The Long Way Home….Pan Am Flight 18602.”

* “Franklin W. Dixon” (the shared pseudonym of the many authors of The Hardy Boys novels)

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As we buckle our seatbelts, we might recall that it was on this day in 1920 that Lt. John H. “Dynamite” Wilson of the 96th Aero Squadron, Kelly Field, Texas, leapt with a parachute from a De Haviland B airplane at an altitude of approximately 20,000 feet and made a safe landing in a turnip patch.

 source (and larger version)

 

Written by LW

June 8, 2018 at 1:01 am

“You got to be worried when they’re agreeing about anything… Prophets. That’s the last bloody thing you want prophets to do”*…

 

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We may define future shock as the distress, both physical and psychological, that arises from an overload of the human organism’s physical adaptive systems and it’s decision-making processes… Put more simply, future shock is the human response to over-stimulation…

– Alvin Toffler

The film above is a documentary based on Future Shock, the book written in 1970 by sociologist and futurist Alvin Toffler…

Released in 1972, with a cigar-chomping Orson Welles as on-screen narrator, this piece of futurism
is darkly dystopian and oozing techno-paranoia… A great opening features a montage of car crashes and civil unrest intercut with two figures walking in a green field (while creepy synthesizers play in the background) who are soon revealed to be automatons with creepy robot faces — a nice metaphor for the fear of the unrecognizable, cold, and chaotic future society that Toffler thought we were all headed for…

More background in the notes accompanying the film.

(After watching the film, take a whack at being a futurist yourself; try the card game, “The Thing From the Future“…)

* China Miéville, Kraken

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As we brace for change, we might recall that it was on this date in 1797 that André-Jacques Garnerin accomplished the first successful parachute jump.  He ascended to 2,230 ft. above the Parc Monceau, Paris, with a balloon, then released it and unfurled a silk parachute.  Lacking any vent in the top of the parachute, Garnerin descended with violent oscillations– as a result of which, he suffered the first case of airsickness.

Garnerin releases the balloon and descends with the help of a parachute, 1797. (Illustration from the late 19th century.)

source

 

Written by LW

October 22, 2015 at 1:01 am

Pencil it in…

source

“I’m known as the pencil guy,” laughed Dalton Ghetti, 49. “I don’t mind that at all.”

The Bridgeport artist creates impossibly detailed miniature sculptures on the tip of a pencil.

He shuns a magnifying glass and uses simple tools like razor blades and needles to create delicate little figures – from a tiny, jagged handsaw to a minibust of Elvis in shades…

Readers can find the full, photo-laced story in The NY Daily News (and more in The [U.K.] Daily Mail); and readers in the Northeast can see the Brazilian-born carver’s work at the New Britain Museum of American Art, as part of its “Meticulous Masterpieces” exhibit, through this Sunday.

(Many thanks to reader PL.)

source

As we ponder altogether new meanings for “sharpen my pencil,” we might recall that it was on this date in 1940, at the New York World’s Fair, that the world’ first Parachute Wedding was conducted.  Arno Rudolphi and Ann Hayward, were married on the Parachute Jump, a 26-story high ride created for the World’s Fair (though now working on Coney Island). The entire wedding party– minister, bride, groom, best man, maid of honor & four musicians– was suspended aloft until the newlyweds completed their vows.

The Parachute Jump in operation at the World’s Fair

One for my baby, and one more for the road…

A key requirement of responsible drinking is knowing one’s limits.  Now thanks to the good folks at Bar Stools, and their handy “Booze Death Calculator,” one can enter a few personal facts to learn just how many quaffs of one’s favorite poison– say, appletinis or Coronas or shots of Everclear– it would take to bring the whole show to a halt.  (In your correspondent’s case, it was, respectively, 25, 28, and 8.)

As we try to recall just how many steps there are in “that” program, we might wonder what Adolphe Pegoud was thinking when, on this date in 1913, he became the first European to jump from a powered plane in a parachute and land safely.  (Albert Berry was the first ever; he dropped from a plane over Missouri a year earlier.)  11 days later, Pegoud invented aerobatics when he completed the first (intentional) powered loop.

A Bleriot XI of the sort that Pegoud flew (source: rafaero.free.fr)

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Written by LW

August 20, 2009 at 12:01 am

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