May 31, 2005
Clear-cut land in British Columbia, Canada, as viewed from the space shuttle.
Airliner No. 4 and More
This spectacular flying-machine never flew. It's one of many fantastic aircrafts that never made it off the drawing board, much less the runway. The most grand of the bunch is probably Norman Bel Geddes' (designer of Futurama) steamship-sized Airliner Number Four. Geddes' multi-storied gargantuan of the skies could have comfortably held over 600 passengers in hotel-like suites. It was designed with a full dining-room, bar, games-deck, gymnasium, cafe, two large foyers, a nursery, dressing rooms, a shop, a doctor's office and much more. But alas, all that was just a dream. A figment. Lost... to the cramped, sardine-styled airplane-hell of today.
Stop by the Adventure Lounge to browse through many more planes that never flew (and some that probably did). Fun stuff. But my own favorite fantasy aircrafts are those that are born out of Hayao Miyazaki's fantastic world's.
UPDATE: Puny plane, the Airbus A380, completes test flight. It does manage to cram 840 passengers into a claustrophobic cylinder, but offers no private suites, no dining orchestra and no promenade deck. Bummer. (thanks RSJM).
UPDATE 2: What's this? First class suites in the A380 after all? We're impressed. (thanks again RSJM)
May 26, 2005
May 25, 2005
Big Happy Futurama
If you had been lucky enough to visit the New York World's Fair in 1939-1940, you might have seen a sci-fi metropolis, similar to the the one shown above, at General Motor's Futurama exhibit. I'm talking the real Futurama. The original Futurama. The incredible 37,000 square foot Futurama, stuffed full of over 2,000,000 miniature buildings - Norman Bel Geddes' miniatized, ultra-modernized city-of-the future. The hit of the show! Lines to get in grew up to over a mile long!
Tiny cars, small waterfalls, little puffy clouds, miniature airplanes hovering by - all within an incredibly intricate landscape. Future, baby, future.
A second Futurama was created for the New York World's Fair in 1964-1965. Here, terrestrial cities, undersea communities and lunar colonies were displayed side-by-side, in one big, happy General Motors universe. Wow!
For more info on Futurama, check out The Journal of Ride Theory Omnibus, edited by Dan Howland.
May 24, 2005
Gallery of Junk
The junkyard photo-gallery of Richard Vander Wende.
May 23, 2005
Incense Amoung the Trees
City of the Dead
This is the endless, sprawling cemetary - the City of the Dead - where families make their homes alongside their dead ancestors, and where people live in tombs. Cairo has a City of the Dead populated by over a half a million people.
Tangled Maze of Caddo
Growing up in East Texas had its advantages. Caddo Lake was one of them. Named after the Caddo Indians, the lake is shrouded in mystery and myth. The legend of the lake tells of the Caddoan Chief. Warned in a dream to move his village away to higher ground, he refused to listen, and so the violent-earth-spirits shook the ground and swallowed up his village. Ergo Caddo Lake.
Scientists say it was just a big earthquake.
In any case, the result is something otherworldly: a tangled maze of swampy passages that seem to stretch on forever and ever. Maps can't begin to help (not even Google Maps). Comments like, "don't get lost out there; you'll never find your way back," used to give me the distinct impression that there were countless numbers of forever-adrift canoeists out there – bewitched by the fog and magic of the quiet, alligator-infested waters. And every once in great while, a mysterious, white Ghost Ship would wander along to gather them all up for one last long ride.
May 21, 2005
Beloved Monstrous Mine
Welcome to Mirny, Eastern Siberia, just below the edge of the Arctic Circle, where your average day is a cool -40 Celsius, where you (the outsider) are watched with grave suspicion, and where diamond miners are left to stare into the depths of their beloved, monstrous mine: the 500 meter very-deep, now-abandoned, largest diamond mine in the world.
May 19, 2005
The photography of Haiko Hebig.