Archive for January, 2008

Loved and hated by many and founded in march of 2006, Twitter is a
social networking and micro-blogging site that allows users to post
their latest updates. An update is limited by 140 characters and can be
posted through three methods: web form, text message, or instant

The Twitter door.

The social network of the moment. On February 4th, 2004 Mark Zuckerberg
launched The Facebook, a social network that was at the time
exclusively for Harvard students. It was a huge hit, in 2 weeks, half
of the student body at Harvard had signed up. Other schools in the
Boston area began demanding a Facebook network. Zuckerberg immediately
recruited his friends Dustin Moskowitz and Chris Hughes to help build
Facebook, and within four months, Facebook added 30 more college

With this success, Zuckerberg, Moskowitz and Hughes moved out to Palo
Alto for the summer and rented a sublet. A few weeks later, Zuckerberg
ran into the former cofounder of Napster, Sean Parker. Parker soon
moved in to Zuckerberg’s apartment and they began working together.
Parker provided the introduction to their first investor, Peter Thiel,
cofounder of PayPal and managing partner of the Founders Fund. Thiel
invested $500,000 into Facebook.

And big Facebook was born.

Mark putting some to-do items in the impossible whiteboard behind the cabinet

Digg is a user driven social content website. Everything on Digg is
user-submitted. After you submit content, other people read your
submission and “Digg” what they like best. If your story receives
enough Diggs, it’s promoted to the front page for other visitors to see.

In the fall of 2004, Kevin Rose came up with the idea for Digg. He
found programmer Owen Bryne through and paid him $10/hour to
develop the idea. In addition, Rose paid $99 per month for hosting and
$1,200 for the domain. In December of 2004, Kevin launched his
creation to the world through a post on his blog.

Craigslist is a man’s online classifieds that anyone can use. It cuts
straight to the chase without all the frills, and without crying while
still telling you that “everything is okay”. Everyone appreciates this,
because when you want to find a free box of computer parts from 1995 or
an apartment in NYC, you need something that just works.

Mozilla is an open-source software project that uses a community-based
approach to develop and provide applications such as the Firefox web
browser and Thunderbird email client.

Firefox is possibly the safest and most sophisticated web browser in
existence to date. Its drawing appeal and wonderful security is an
essential for any desktop, laptop or notebook owner.

Joost is a p2p on demand video player that offers professional (legal)
programming much like on your television, but whenever you want. With
very heavy backing from media giants, Joost looks good to take on

Former game designers Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake created
Flickr, an online photo sharing network, in 2004. Flickr, which began
as a photo-sharing feature of their gaming project, has since then
blossomed into one of the premire photo-sharing sites on the web.
Yahoo! purchased Flickr for $35 million in March of 2005.

This service pays attention to what you listen to, in order to
recommend other music that is similar, while allowing you to do the
most fun activity of music, listening to it.

Founded in July 2006 by Jyri Engestrom and Petteri Kopponen, Jaiku is a
micro-blogging and social networking site based in Finland. As a free
service, it allows users to post thoughts, or "Jaikus," via the web or
using the mobile phone. By allowing people to check their friends’
posts or to update their own micro-blog stream, Jaiku can be used as a
way for individuals to remain in constant contact with others.

It is now part of Google.

LinkedIn allow their users to form connections with business associates
whom they trust. The service can also be used to list jobs, find jobs,
or even just plain talk business.

Netvibes is one of the pioneers of the personalized home page. Netvibes
lets you assemble all your favorite widgets, feeds, social networks,
email, videos and blogs on one fully-customizable page.

Launched in 2005, Reddit is a social news website that displays news
based on your personal preferences and what the community likes. Your
preferences are determined based on your history of voting stories up
or down.

The company was started by two University of Virginia grads in the Y
Combinator program and two others (Christopher Slowe and Aaron Swartz)
later joined the team.

Tank Accidents!

Posted: January 31, 2008 in War Documentary

I am Invincible!! …Not Quite

Some off-roading can be
too much even for the tanks (not to mention good old "Hummers"). Their
crews seem to be puzzled not only about how to get out of the mess, but
also how they got there in the first place…

Slow down! –


Analyze this:

the root of the problem?:

No amount of planning can prevent certain situations:

then what? – look for more reliable means of transportation??

or dispense with the mechanical carriers altogether, and carry the cannon on your own head:

If all else fails:

Not every tank likes a challenge

In a curious reversal of
roles, the powerful and frightening tanks depicted here are not so
threatening any more. In fact, they are downright in distress – either
flipped by a sleight of fate, or mired in spectacular amount of dirt.
Overwhelmed… and definitely not invincible.

Stuck in some legendary Russian mud:

UN armored vehicles get in trouble, mostly due to the totally messed-up roads:

Action! Adventure!

155mm of pure destruction –

Squashing smaller vehicles. Survival of the biggest

Picture-perfect Tank Wrecks

Interesting modifications:

Lamborghini Tank:

Soviet armored vehicle has an extra set of tracks, which are only
deployed when the going gets tough. Otherwise, the tracks are lifted to
assure high speed of the vehicle.

In some places even graffiti confirms the tank’s hard life:

The source of all driving trouble?
Somehow we knew it all along –

This is Part 3 of the "Retro-Future" series. Read also parts 1 and 2

Jetsons will be shocked to see this

the fascinating concepts that appeared in the 1940s-60s magazines are
some pretty good ones that could even prompt interest in modern
designers and manufacturers. Other ideas, on the contrary, did not age
well and may appear nuttier than a drunk hamster on a treadmill.

of their potential and practicality, these glorious glimpses into
transportation’s elusive future can speak to us on some deep level –
whispering perhaps to forsake that lumbering sport-utility for a slim
and mean aerocar, which will transport us in a blink of an eye to…
alas, the same old strip mall for groceries.

Picked mostly
from little-known Eastern Bloc publications, most of the concepts shown
here are the product of socialist and communist research, often as
unrealistic, as their leader’s plans for global utopia.

Soviet-dreamed Giant Catamaran – Supertanker – Icebreaker Hybrid:
(with parts of some nuclear submarine thrown in for good measure)

Fantastic Avionics

Russian concept of the rotor-plane, 1960:

Soviets also proposed to stick together a bunch of big airplanes to make a REALLY huge one. Kind of like a Lego dream come true:

This American concept shows the ultimate helicopter:
(at least the largest we’ve seen drawn on paper)

An interesting helicopter also can be found inside this issue of Startling Stories, 1940:

Ekranoplans & Hydrofoils

How can we not mention the "wing-in-ground-effect" liners? Russia was
crazy about ekranoplans and hydrofoils for some time. Here is an
ultimate replacement for a passenger airliner:
"The Glider" super hydrofoil, 1960

and a huge passenger/cargo ekranoplan:

German version of water/highway transport system, more focused on personal transport:

Russian Spiral Vehicle

is a vehicle that literally "screws around a lot" to get somewhere.
Never mind the possibility of it being built (there was actually some
talk about prototypes spotted in the Russian Army), the vehicle like
this would need a lot of "personal space" while it moves. Nobody wants
to end up wrapped around the spirals like some kind of spaghetti.

Spirals/ screws were popular in the US, too. Witness "The Sea Slug" –

Russian climbing robot personal vehicle. Good to climb the walls of your office building when late for work:

American Dream produced some dreamy vehicles

America saw a lot of big and powerful cars in the 50s-60s (see some of them here).
But first, American Transportation Dream required a wide system of
interstates across the country. Here is a vision of the robotic highway-making machine, which would only require a single operator (from 1943):

Beautiful supertruck, imagined by the US Royal Tires:

Strangely sinister-looking atomic truck. Raw Nuclear Power!

Artists dreamed of futuristic cars, hurtling down the highway:

Meet the Jetsons! Futuristic version of "yabba-dabba-doo" in the sky:

This aerocar concept from 1967 looks just like my old trusty barbeque in the backyard, complete with the burners.

the bottom vehicle in this MAI Russian concept line-up from 1955. Seems
like some ideas can float in the air… and across the ocean:

Flying car, according to the Soviet designers, 1967:

and American Modern Mechanix version, much earlier:

Bizarre Offerings

True Rollerball! "Trade you trouble for a bubble"?!
(gets my vote for the dumbest ad one-liner):

Octagonal Wheeled Watercraft from 1935 issue of Popular Science:

Strange wheel placement:

Goofy-looking Modern Mechanix sphere-wheeled vehicles:

"navi-trucks" will traverse the Earth, according to this 1933 vision.
They will be able to penetrain the hardest terrain – the ultimate
off-road! And a biggest SUV to boot.

saucers continue to pop up in the minds of designers, bringing with
them little green ideas. This is a "Flying Saucer Bus":

Monorail Dreams

some extreme cases, we’d rather say – "monorail hallucinations"… A
concept proposed by Popular Science magazine for the World’s Fair in
(cars, passengers all cozy up together inside a cage in the sky)

This (almost) got made: (almost) realistic proposal for rapid transit in Washington, D.C. by D.C. Transit System, Inc., 1959:

Elements of "shark fin" car design can be traced in this 1962 Goodell Monorail:

This monorail is… unhappy:

Russian version, 1973:

Another Russian concept: "Monorail SuperTrain". Double size everything:

German version of a similar Super-Train:

tube train system. Looks good, but if it gets too complex, the maze of
tunnels might suddenly snap into the 4th dimension. Read A. J.
Deutsch’s story
"A Subway Called Moebius", where "the system becomes so tangled that it
turns into a Moebius strip, and trains start to disappear":

Not a monorail, but a super-size train nevertheless:

Moby Air – the Flying Luxury Hotel

Presented in this issue of Popular Science, this brainchild of Worldwide Aeros Corporation has pretty good specs and will carry 288 passangers in ultimate luxury to the cruising altitude of 8000 ft.

we’ve seen a similar supership design in the Soviet magazine TM, in
1971. It’s much bigger, and nuclear-powered (of course!)
(click to enlarge)

Also check out this screwy-looking dirigable:
Revolving spiral vanes on the gas container propel it firmly through the air.

Bohn Designs from 1947

Finally, a series of classic concept transportation images from Bohn – aluminum & brass company from Michigan.

Yet nothing beats this steampunk "Flying Steam Liner". It can single-handedly cause a global warming, we’re sure:

This is Part 3 of the "Retro-Future" series. Read also parts 1 and 2

Shuttle "Discovery":
Pre-Flight Activities, Rarely Seen by the General Public

photos deserve a wide viewing audience: the amount of thought and
engineering that goes into every launch is immense; each successful
take-off represents the Mankind’s finest effort, and is a wonder to

External tank arrives by barge from Louisiana:
Space Exploration

Space Exploration

External tank approaches Vertical Assembly Building (VAB):
Space Exploration

Removing external tank:
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Space Exploration

Preparing to lift the tank to vertical:
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Lifting the tank:
Space Exploration

Solid rockets are attached:
Space Exploration

Orbiter: External tank with Solid Rocket Boosters (SRB):
Space Exploration

Engines are attached to the shuttle in the Orbiter Processing Facility:
Space Exploration

Space Exploration

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Shuttle in sling ready for lift in VAB:
Space Exploration

Shuttle has been moved to VAB and will be attached to external tank:
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Shuttle is attached:
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Payload Preparation in Space Station Processing Facility:
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Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM):
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Payload carrier leaves Canister Rotation Facility:
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Payload being moved to Launch Pad:
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Space Exploration

Lifting payload into position for insertion into "Discovery"
when it arrives at the pad:
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Shuttle "Discovery" leaves VAB:
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Space Exploration

Trip to launch:
Length – 3 1/2 mi
Time – 6-8 hours
Arrow indicates the Launch Pad.
Space Exploration

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Crawler Control
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"Discovery" arrives at Pad:
Space Exploration

Payload is also inside the Launch Pad:
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Ready for Launch:
Space Exploration

We Have Lift Off !
Space Exploration

1. Freedom Ship
– a futuristic dream that just might come true

remember seeing similar illustrations in some vintage popular science
and sci-fi publications, depicting the floating city concept in a truly
mind-boggling way. I did not think for a minute that I might live to
see these projects given serious consideration and being actually on a
brink of being built.

Cruise Ships, Cruise Travel

Cruise Ships, Cruise Travel

Cruise Ships, Cruise Travel

Imagine a mile-long stretch of 25-story-tall buildings in New York City; now imagine that floating on the water.
Freedom Ship has little in common with a conventional ship; it is
actually nothing more than a big barge…But what if this tremendous
barge was assigned a voyage that required slowly
cruising around the world,
hugging the shoreline, and completing one revolution every 3 years?"
There is even talk about making this city an independent country.
Incidentally, the "Freedom Ship" will possibly also be
the largest man-made structure on Earth,
which puts it in the same category as the Tower of Babel. It will be
extremely vulnerable to a spectacular downfall, even if miraculously
built (the last update on the site is from February 2005, when
everything still revolved around financing) For now we can just dream
on, looking at the pictures:

Cruise Ships, Cruise Travel

Cruise Ships, Cruise Travel

Cruise Ships, Cruise Travel

the similarity of the above concept with the 1928 model of an airport
on top of a giant building! Los Angeles architects expected private
planes to replace automobiles in a near future; hence this 300m-long
roof-top airstrip:

Cruise Ships, Cruise Travel


According to the
projected previous and the new designs of "Freedom Ship" may look something like this:

Older Designs of the Freedom Ship


New Designs of the Freedom Ship


check out these futuristic "Airport Docks for New York" dreamed up by
architect Harry B. Brainerd :

Misperception: "Freedom Ship" aircraft flight deck can accept 747 aircraft.
The largest aircraft this flight deck can accept are turboprop aircraft
in the 38 to 40-passenger range. (Oh well, here goes the "wow"

More on this titanic undertaking here and
here, where you can also trace the evolution of its design.

2. More Cruiseship Concepts
some of them will dwarf any other ship in existence

– Kvaerner Masa-Yards’ Super-Large Cruise Ship concept:

Cruise Ships, Cruise Travel

– The Nova, a Panamax-Max ship displacing more than 100,000 GT:

Cruise Ships, Cruise Travel

Read more about the trend of increasing cruiseship sizes here

This article speaks about "Project Genesis" – Royal Caribbean’s largest-ever cruise ship with capacity of 5,400 passengers:

Cruise Ships, Cruise Travel

To give you an idea of modern cruisehip’s scale, here’s comparison with the Statue of Liberty:
Cruise Ships, Cruise Travel

new liner (due sometime in 2009), code-named "Project Genesis", will
dwarf the "Freedom of the Seas", measuring 220,000 tons (about 100,000
tons based on displacement — a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier comes in
at about 97,000 tons)

3. The biggest ships ever constructed
Supertankers extraordinaire!

The biggest ships ever constructed were four supertankers built in France
at the end of the seventies, having a 555.000 DWT and a 414 meters
length. They launched from the shipyard Chantiers de l’Atlantique at
Saint Nazaire. The only larger ship was the jumboized "Knock Nevis"; ex
"Jahre Viking", ex "Seawise Giant", ex "Porthos", in 1981 (see entry in
Part 2). However,
the Batillus class had the greater gross tonnage per ship, and it could be argued that they were, in fact, larger than the Knock Nevis.

* Batillus, built in 1976, scrapped in 1985.
* Bellamya, built in 1976, scrapped in 1986.
* Pierre Guillaumat, built in 1977, scrapped in 1983.
* Prairial, built in 1979,
(also as "Hellas Fos" and "Sea Giant") scrapped in 2003

So here is "Pierre Guillaumat" – Biggest Ship Ever Constructed:

Cruise Ships, Cruise Travel

Cruise Ships, Cruise Travel

Cruise Ships, Cruise Travel
(Source: Photo collections Didier Pinçon and Ed Keefe)

By the way, this is why it’s not a good idea to build bigger ships, if you want them to be able to cross canals: ("Scraaaape!")

Cruise Ships, Cruise Travel

4. Supertanker Knock Nevis/ Jahre Viking
– big ship with a big story

Cruise Ships, Cruise Travel
Cruise Ships, Cruise Travel

is the king of all supertankers, and possibly the biggest ship ever
constructed (see French tankers on page 1, competing for this title).
However, it is certainly the BIGGEST SHIP still in operation (albeit as
a "floating storage and offloading unit" only). There is also a
larger-than-life story associated with that ship.

First of all, it had more pseudonyms than Alexandre Dumas:
– "Seawise Giant"
– "Porthos"
– "Happy Giant"
– "Jahre Viking"
– "Knock Nevis"

in Japan in 1979 for a Greek shipping magnate, who went bankrupt
shortly thereafter, she was sold to the Hong Kong owner, who promptly
increased her length even more. In 1981
"The Seawise Giant" was born, biggest among ships.

To give you some idea of her size, compare with London’s Tower Bridge:
Cruise Ships, Cruise Travel
with Empire State Building
Cruise Ships, Cruise Travel
and Eiffel Tower:
Cruise Ships, Cruise Travel

first, she operated between the Middle East and the USA but from about
1986 she was used as a floating storage ship and transhipment terminal
in Iran during the Iran-Iraq War. In May, 1988, the
ship was attacked and heavily damaged by bombs dropped from Iraqi jets while lying at the Iranian Hormuz terminal in the Strait of Hormuz. Check out the fire and damage photos here. Extensively damaged, she sank in the shallow waters there.

the story does not end here. Miraculously, she gained a second life and
a full restoration! "The Sea Wise Giant", or what remained of her, was
bought by a Norwegian company, re-floated, and towed to the Keppel
shipyard in Singapore. After major conversions and repairs she was
relaunched in 1991 first as the "Happy Giant", and then as the
"TT Jahre Viking". Here is a photo of restoration (click to enlarge):

Cruise Ships, Cruise Travel

March 2004, the ship was sold again and sent by her new owner to the
Dubai shipyard to be refitted as a floating storage and offloading unit
(FSO). There, she was given her current name,
"Knock Nevis". On the following photos we see her arrival at the docks – the final sea voyage of the great and legendary ship:

Cruise Ships, Cruise Travel
Cruise Ships, Cruise Travel

The Heart of a Giant

a look at the biggest diesel engine in the world: such technological
marvels are required to move the huge ships as Knock Nevis, or Emma

Cruise Ships, Cruise Travel
Cruise Ships, Cruise Travel

5. Huge Container Ships Harass Small Tugboats
(a steamy tale of intimidation in a port)

but first let’s see what makes big ships "tick":
The Largest Diesel Engine in the World

Cruise Ship, Transportation

The name is Wärtsilä-Sulzer RTA96-C turbocharged diesel engine:
it has 14 cylinders
Output Power is 80,080 kW or 108,920 bhp.
(your Jeep may have 300 bhp)
width 26,7 meters, height 13,2 meters
(a small apartment building)

Cruise Ship, Transportation

Currently the company is considering an 18-cylinder version.
Here is how the pistons look (they are 1-meter each in diameter)

Cruise Ship, Transportation

A piston & piston rod assembly:
Cruise Ship, Transportation

another image of the crankshaft:
Cruise Ship, Transportation

For more info there is an Wikipedia entry, and Wartsila’s site. Also there is an excellent overview article here

Smaller versions of these engines were installed on various supertankers and giant cargo ships before:
Cruise Ship, Transportation
Cruise Ship, Transportation
(they are also adapting them for the interstellar Enterprise-type vessels to battle Klingons more effectively)
But more recently, in September 2006 huge 14-cylinder diesel engine was put into service aboard "Emma Maersk":

Witness "EMMA MAERSK" – The Biggest Container Ship in the World

website layout does not allow to show the full length of these photos,
to give that ship full credit. So make sure you click on the source
(the bigger the monitor you have the better)

Cruise Ship, Transportation
Cruise Ship, Transportation
Cruise Ship, Transportation

watch the arrival of the huge vessel in Rotterdam. The ship can carry
between 11,000 and 14,500 containers and is 400 meters long. (Empire
State Building is 445 meters high)

Cruise Ship, Transportation
Cruise Ship, Transportation

Serious size and muscle there, you have to admit. Slightly smaller ship
"MSC Pamela" looks almost as imposing:
Cruise Ship, Transportation
Cruise Ship, Transportation

To give you better idea of scale…
Here are some pics that illustrate how big these ships are:

Cruise Ship, Transportation
Cruise Ship, Transportation
Cruise Ship, Transportation

Speaking about ports and tugboats…

If in seaport, be careful around cargo cranes:
Cruise Ship, Transportation

but this is real:
Cruise Ship, Transportation

…marvel at this group of people, who by-pass the cargo cranes entirely:
Cruise Ship, Transportation
Cruise Ship, Transportation

…notice the various tugboats scuttling around, and remember to pay them proper respect, because
– they are often overworked:
Cruise Ship, Transportation

– they have to go against big ship wakes:
Cruise Ship, Transportation
Cruise Ship, Transportation

– they’re abused by the larger ships
(like a little tug in this video, who did not see the ANCHOR coming)

Cruise Ship, Transportation
Cruise Ship, Transportation
Cruise Ship, Transportation
Cruise Ship, Transportation


Tugs come to the rescue when a larger ship catches the smaller one in a
deadly grip: "The anchor chain from the sailboat caught over the bulb
of the freighter. The saiboat was soon nearly dragged under the
Cruise Ship, Transportation

And, for all their hard work, tugboats only end up crushed between the larger ships, if they are not nimble enough:
(photos of one such boat after being man-handled by a freighter)
Cruise Ship, Transportation
Cruise Ship, Transportation
Cruise Ship, Transportation

Presidential Planes

Posted: January 21, 2008 in AVIATION

1. Putin’s brand-new IL-96-300

Airplanes, Travel, Interior Design

– or should it be called "Air Force Two"?

Construction of this plane, the equivalent of America’s "Air Force One", started in Voronezh several years ago.A Bristol firm "Diamonite Aircraft Furnishings" has won a £10m contract to refurbish the Russian presidential plane.

technical information on the closed project is a state secret," Russian
NTV Mir television told viewers. Well, now’s the time to show you the
first leaked-out pictures of the top-secret interior.

Airplanes, Travel, Interior Design
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In-flight Bible:
Airplanes, Travel, Interior Design

2. Russian Presidential Helicopter

From the same source come these leaked-out pictures of Mi-8MTV-1 helicopter. The interior seems to echo the style of Mr. Putin’s jet.

Airplanes, Travel, Interior Design
Airplanes, Travel, Interior Design

Airplanes, Travel, Interior Design

3. Previous Russian Presidential Planes:

"Aeroflot" has six Ilyushin 96 (like the one shown below) in its fleet.

Airplanes, Travel, Interior Design

Previous Russian presidential planes included IL-62M:

Airplanes, Travel, Interior Design
Airplanes, Travel, Interior Design
Airplanes, Travel, Interior Design

and IL-96 (Boris Eltzin’s plane) which will stay in service as a backup plane:
It’s current price is estimated 300 million dollars (40 million spent on interior only). Photos by Carsten Blumel

Airplanes, Travel, Interior Design
Airplanes, Travel, Interior Design
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Fidel Castro’s Presidential Plane

The camaraderie between some political leaders extends quite far:
Castro’s new plane Ilyushin Il-96-300 was imported from Russia, and even has the same interior design and upholstery colors (read BBS article)

Airplanes, Travel, Interior DesignAirplanes, Travel, Interior Design

Air Force One VS. Sultan’s Air

1. Bush Plane’s Layout

Airplanes, Travel, Interior Design
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When you look on the picture below, note that a bedroom light is still on

Airplanes, Travel, Interior Design
Airplanes, Travel, Interior Design

Air Force One History

Why does the picture above say "The Sacred Cow"?

first president to fly in an aircraft while in office was Franklin D.
Roosevelt, who traveled on a Boeing 314 flying boat to a 1943
conference in Casablanca on the progress of World War II. The first
aircraft officially designated for presidential flight was the C-87A
Liberator Express, a reconfigured B-24 bomber. This plane was called
"Guess Where Two."

President Harry S. Truman’s first airplane, a C-54 which is under the control of the Air Transport Command, was called "The Sacred Cow"

Airplanes, Travel, Interior Design
Airplanes, Travel, Interior Design
Airplanes, Travel, Interior Design
Airplanes, Travel, Interior Design

also introduced two other propeller aircraft, the Lockheed C-121
Constellations (VC-121E) to Presidential service. These planes were

Airplanes, Travel, Interior Design

Douglas VC-118A Air Force One:
Airplanes, Travel, Interior Design

Boeing 707 Air Force One:

Airplanes, Travel, Interior Design
Airplanes, Travel, Interior Design
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Airplanes, Travel, Interior Design

Sultan Air Still Rules
spy in the US Air Force says he toured the Sultan’s latest personal
aircraft after it had just been remodeled in Waco, Texas. The Sultan
bought the Airbus A340-212 brand new for roughly $100m and had it flown
to Waco where the interior was completely removed. Then he had the US
defence contractor Raytheon install $120m worth of improvements inside
and out. And yes, he says, the sinks are indeed solid gold and one of
them is Lalique crystal.

The spy said he had gained entrance
into nuclear weapons storage areas more easily than getting in to see
the Sultan’s latest toy (with his concealed camera).

Airplanes, Travel, Interior Design
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Manned Cloud

Posted: January 18, 2008 in Future

Here’s another designer dirigible: Manned Cloud is a flying hotel proposed by French designer Jean-Marie Massaud.

The whale-shaped airship, developed with French national aerospace research body ONERA, will be able to accommodate 40 guests and have a range of 5,000 km.

Manned Cloud will have a cruising speed of 130 km/h and a top speed of 170 km/h. Two two-deck cabin will contain amenities
including a restaurant, a library, a fitness suite and a spa. There
will also be a sun deck on top of the double helium-filled envelopes.

More on airships in our earlier stories on the Strato Cruiser “lifestyle Zeppelin” and the Aeroscraft ML866 hybrid aircraft.

Here are the details from Massaud:


MANNED CLOUD Cruise Airship, Paris, France

Living in the sky, watching the Earth from above. Rediscovering the marvel of traveling, experiencing contemplation. Exploring the world without trace

Manned Cloud is an alternative
project around leisure and travelling in all its form, economic and
experimental, still with the idea of lightness, human experience and
life scenarios as the guiding principles. The spiral of Archimedes is
the driving force of this airship in the form of a whale that glides
through the air.

Manned Cloud is a hotel with a
capacity of 40 passengers and staffed with 15 persons, that on a 3-day
cruise in 170 km/h permits man to explore the world without a trace: to
re-experience travelling, timelessness and enhance the consciousness of
the beauty of the world – and to experience spectacular and exotic
places without being intrusive or exploitative. For me this project
sums up a way of thinking that is the stake of tomorrow.

Technical characteristics:

Capacity: 40 passengers + 15 crew members

Volume: 520.000 m3

Dimensions: L 210m x W 82m x H 52 m

First deck (500 m2) : Restaurant, lounge, library, fitness

Second deck (600 m2) : 20 rooms, terraces, spa, bar

Range : 5000 km / 72 h.

Maximum speed: 170 km/h

Cruising speed: 130 km/h

Scientific partnership and project development

ONERA (Office National d’Etudes et de Recherche Aérospatiale)

As the scientific partner of the
project, the ONERA has started to carry out the first research and
analysis. The ingeneers of the ONERA should be in a position to present
the conclusion of the first system mission (initial scientific
analysis; technical feasability) by summer 2007.