Saturday, March 10, 2018

In 2015, an iconic piece of history was discovered lying in an aircraft boneyard in Wisconsin. It was the Douglas C-47 That's All, Brother - the airplane that led the massed paratroop drop on D-Day.

This C-47 was the leader of the formation that dropped thousands of American paratroopers into Normandy on June 6, 1944, or D-Day, paving the way for the liberation of northern France from Nazi Germany.

 In the decades since, the plane cycled through a series of private owners and eventually landed in an aircraft bone yard in Oshkosh, Wis.

The hope is to complete all final work and repaint in time for June 6, 2019, so this plane can fly over Normandy for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.

reminder, insurance might be the best thing you paid for this month, because anything can happen anytime

he who hesitates is lost.

think about it, would you rather be lucky.... or good?

The Bridgestone World Solar Car Challenge

the Bridgestone World Solar Car Challenge last October—the best finish ever for an American student team. The route is a brutal 1877-mile haul across the Australian outback between Darwin and Adelaide, during which the teams race for nine-hour days on public roads using only the power of the sun.

This hand-built one-off, has a three-part body and chassis made of prepreg carbon-fiber components. The suspension bits are gloriously minimalistic CNC-machined aluminum pieces supported by ZF coil-over dampers.

Brembo motorcycle calipers do the stopping. Even the steering yoke, a removable job festooned with switches, buttons, and accelerator and regenerative-braking paddles, is made from carbon fiber. And the fully shrouded front wheels actuate windows in the bodywork that pop out to accommodate full-lock steering.

its multijunction gallium arsenide solar cells made by the German firm Azur Space. They yield a 10 to 12 percent efficiency advantage over less costly silicon cells and represent a disproportionate amount of Novum’s total expense. And it is a wildly expensive thing. The solar array alone is roughly a $200,000 proposition.

 Add in the rest of the components, and Novum represents about $800,000 in parts. The program’s budget is $1.2 million all in, but that doesn’t include the more than 30,000 student hours it took to build it.

Data collected over a 2.5 year period shows seasonally-variable fuel efficiency

LA to San Fran high speed rail construction is in progress, but try to figure out why.... it's only 5 % funded. Yep, it's about 75 to 100 billion dollar estimated tci, but only has 3 billion to work with

It looks like not only is a bullet train from LA to San Fran impossible, there ain't NO Effing WAY there will ever be one from coast to coast, or north to south.

They had an idea that the bullet train could be built about as cheap as a road, or a railroad.

Well, everyone had an issue with environmental impact studies (because highways, freeways, and railroads were built without them and seemingly killed everyone and everything that ever existed, and one more railroad would be a holocaust of nuclear war levels, seemingly)

My guess is that every single city that get's bypassed, every county, every union, and whatever else that could possibly profit from the construction or way stops of the bullet train all decided to blackmail the rail, and if they didn't get paid from the feds to shut up, they'd get paid in studies of water district impact studies, migratory bird hatching site studies, farming bureau transportation impact studies, highway and road crossing construction delays, etc etc etc. Any and every possible delay that would raise the costs of the bullet train to more than the blackmail costs and kickbacks.

The project was initially studied and deemed to be a 33B cost. Now, they're saying that it's 75 to 100B. Roughly 3 to 4 times the original cost study.

I had a dream, well, a hope about the bullet train getting a route around the USA...

Wouldn't it be cool to have a loop around the USA from

 San Diego, Phoenix, El Paso, San Antonio, Houston, New Orleans to Jacksonville,

Atlanta  Savannah, Charlotte, Norfolk, Washington DC, Philly, New York,

to Boston, (and if Canada wanted some tourists, then to Montreal,  Toronto,)  to Detroit
if not, Boston to Buffalo to Cleveland

then Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver to Seattle

then south to San Fran, LA, and San Diego

Friday, March 09, 2018

the Pike's Peak record was held by a 34 Ford for 21 years, so they say. From 1934 to 1955 I suspect

and I've spent some time trying to find out more about that... 

I just learned that Zora Duntov set a Pikes Peak record for sedans in 1956, breaking the old record by 2 minutes, as a method of getting sales back on track and saving the Corvette by perfecting a new fuel injection

Duntov used his persuasive powers to convince Chevrolet boss Ed Cole and GM R and D director Maurice Olley that a production Corvette would be a “turning point” for GM and that his contributions could be instrumental in advancing any high-performance automobile’s cause.

Olley was less convinced that racing relationships with other carmakers were a wise idea. For punishment, he dispatched the Russian to the proving grounds to work on trucks.

Cole had other ideas. After reading Arkus-Duntov’s memo pointing out how the hot-rod movement might help Chevrolet reach younger buyers, he gave his rabble rouser a challenging project: developing the fuel injection scheduled for introduction on the 1957 model year Chevrolet V-8 because Corvette sales were faltering and GM was pondering the early retirement of its sports car.

Arkus-Duntov stepped in at the last moment to save the Corvette and to recast it as Chevrolet’s halo vehicle. His views won broad internal respect and the job of evolving the Corvette from a fashionable, gutless two-seater into a world-class sports car. His new authority only encouraged Arkus-Duntov’s speed exploits.

Entering a 1956 Chevrolet in the annual Pikes Peak Hill Climb was near the top of the list of possibilities. Their goal was to set a sedan class record. One of the PR managers realized that Duntov would be an ideal person to drive in the event. He had international racing credentials and he was a genuine Chevrolet engineer.

Since the Pikes Peak event would take place prior to the introduction of the 1956 Chevrolets, a elaborate disguise scheme was developed to prevent the premature exposure of the new design.

He broke a couple of Pikes Peak records in disguised Chevy sedans, a 2 dr and a 4 dr in early 1955, when Chevrolet public relations began developing ideas aimed at publicizing the performance of their new small-block V-8 engine.

They were both equipped with the 265 cubic inch small-block V-8, 3 speed manual transmissions and 4.55 rear ends. The suspensions were beefed-up, but there were no roll-cages installed.

GM had been using Pikes Peak for high altitude testing so there was an established GM Engineering Test Facility ready for Duntov’s team to use in nearby in Manitou Springs.

And GM had the juice to get Bill France and his crew to time the private event that was held without the Pike's Peak Hill Climb Associations sanctioning, and so they didn't change the official record books.

When you take your eyes off the road even for a minute... well, you know

has wheels and is cool, enormous cannons. 1st the Tsar Cannon, cast in 1586, the largest cannon by caliber in the world

It is a monument of Russian artillery casting art, cast in bronze in 1586 in Moscow, by the Russian master bronze caster Andrey Chokhov. Mostly of symbolic impact, it was never used in a war.

During the French invasion of Russia, although Napoleon Bonaparte considered removing it to France as a war trophy.

The gun was meant to shoot 800 kg stone grapeshot rather than true, solid cannonballs.

Its bronze-cast barrel has an internal diameter of 35"

The cannon-style gun carriage, added in 1835, is purely decorative. This weapon was never intended to be transported on or fired from this gun carriage.

The 2000 pound cannon balls located in front of the Tsar Cannon were produced in 1834 as a decoration, too large to have been used in the cannon.

According to legend, the cannonballs were manufactured in St. Petersburg, and were intended to be a humorous addition and a symbol of the friendly rivalry between Moscow and St. Petersburg.

the next largest super cannon was the The Dardanelles Gun, made before Columbus sailed the Atlantic

a 15th-century super-sized bombard siege cannon, designed and built in 1464 by Turkish military engineer Munir Ali, which saw action in the 1807 Dardanelles Operation, it has a range of a mile

The breech in this cannon is shorter and slightly smaller diameter than the chase. Both parts are cast with prominent double mouldings at either end which are joined longitudinally by sixteen crosspieces to form an equal number of sockets for the insertion of the levers used in screwing or unscrewing the two parts.
Along with other huge cannons, the Dardanelles Gun was still present for duty 340 years later,  so they loaded it and fired at the British squadron of Sir John Duckworth. Six of the ships were damaged and 28 casualties when he attempted to force the Straits.

The Dardanelles Operation was the Royal Navy's unsuccessful attempt to impose British demands on the Ottoman Empire as part of the Anglo-Turkish War (1807-1809).

British ships were attempting to deter the Ottomans from entering into a war with Russia, ensure freedom of movement for British ships, and hopefully free-up shipping lanes.

The operation occurred only two years after the Royal Navy had triumphed at the Battle of Trafalgar.

In 1866, on the occasion of a state visit, Sultan Abdülâziz gave the Dardanelles Gun to Queen Victoria as a present.

the two pieces screw together, fire grapeshot, the barrel has a bore of 24.5 inches

As one of the larger and well documented surviving medieval cannons, Mons Meg stands in pride of place at Edinburgh Castle and in its history.

Constructed around 1449 in Mons, part of what is now modern day Belgium, at the request of Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy, the bombard was intended as a wedding present to King James II of Scotland, who, in 1457 married Duke Philips' great niece, Mary of Gueldres.

With an impressive rate of fire of 8 shots a day (it had to be cooled and cleaned after each shot), it had a theorical range of 2.5 miles although it was used at 1.25

                                         Next, and 4th largest fired cannon in human history

The possibly the least cared for, most neglected, and farthest from a historical appreciative culture that would take the time and money to properly make a respectable monument for it to adorn.

In the far south of India, long distances from anywhere in India I've ever heard of, Bombay and Calcutta, is an ancient kingdom of Thanjavur, who used Dutch know how (Dutch East Indies Company? ) to forge, not cast, a massive 22 ft long cannon that was constructed by rings and steel strips.

the cannon is named Beerangi Medu, and is mounted at Keela Alankam in Thanjavur town

British photographer Captain Linnaeus Tripe documented the stunning cultural artifacts of Burma and South India in the mid-19th century with an unprecedented series of photos.

the Dutch East Indies Company was established on in 1602, as a company to trade with North Eastern India from which 50% of textiles and 80% of silks were imported from its most developed region currently known as Bangladesh and West Bengal, India.

I may be wrong, but from trying to get info from sites that aren't simply written for enjoyment of English speaking Americans. Every god damn thing is in metric for one thing, and some measurements make no damn sense. For a scientific analysis that goes on in great detail for pages, see

So, it seems to have been 22 feet long, weigh 24 tons, and shoot a 2200 pound iron cannon ball, or 660 pound stone cannon ball, from a 25 foot high fort wall, towards the eastern gate / rampart of the Thanjuvar Fort.

according to they laid out a 2 mile long black power trail that when lit took 40 minutes to burn, simply to give the military the distance from it to protect themselves and their hearing. Other earlier cannons had water tanks nearby for the fuse lighter to jump into for isolation from the whole sound, heat, and pressure waves:

The 2 mile long black powder trail is probably based on this "The Western Mail" account in the 13 July 1940 edition

Inside, it is made using 43 long iron plates and the outer of 94 iron rings. To lift the cannon eight rings were wrapped around it for a crane to get ropes or chains for the lifting.

1969 Bertone Autobianchi A112 Runabout

I think this is the first Turkey cart I've seen. I've posted lions, moose, ox, alligator, ostrich and horses pulling carts in the past, but I think this is the 1st turkey cart

turn up the volume

Bill Payne is the founder of Straight Up Racing—an independent monster truck racing team based in Port Orchard, Washington—and has recently debuted a new vehicle, dubbed the “Major Payne”. Adapted from a WWII tank, it’s far from your average monster truck.

The Major Payne is modified from an M5 Half-Track Personnel Carrier—produced from 1942 to 1943—though the only original elements remaining are the tracks, suspension, and rear drive axle. Twelve thousand pounds of weight was dropped in the build, which took over a year to complete. A custom-built reverser box provides the tank with remarkable agility, allowing it to safely pivot on its back idler—offering the illusion of wheelies without risking spinal damage for the driver.

A big-block Chevrolet engine with JE pistons, AFR cylinder heads, and a Weiand 8-71 blower furnish the Major Payne with a whopping 1,100 horsepower. The tank is also decked out with a high-flow K and N air filter and performance oil filter.

Chevy has a good looking retro appearance package on the new Cheyenne Super 10

just how terrible was a free record in a magazine of a test drive? Listen for the first 90 seconds, and be glad it's 2018 instead of 1971, and you won't have to put up with this for car reviews anymore

thanks Graham!

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Trucker in Oklahoma a week ago feel asleep at the wheel... be safe out there friends, and have extra canned coffee on hand to get you to the next stop

WTF of the week

500 dollar valve cover gaskets because the engineers didn't put access ports in the valve cover

The definition of really bad gas mileage, or a really small fuel tank

Good looking old trailer

Desotomaxx, a 1956 DeSoto body was dropped over a 2003 2500HD Chevy pickup with a duramax, it does 146mph at El Mirage

they didn’t want to have the turbo and plumbing peeking out from under the hood so they cut the original hood and shimmed up the skin from a 1956 Chrysler just high enough to add the extra clearance needed and welded it in place.

It has 2.47 gears and a Gear Vendors Under/Overdrive unit that puts the final drive at 1.3:1 (with the rpm at about 2,800).

For 2018, the plan is to head to Bonneville and shoot for a 200 mph pass, but first there will be serious updates to the drivetrain. To answer that call, a new engine is being built at Scoggin Dickey Parts Center Raceshop based on an all new Duramax block.

“The car doesn’t really fit any classes to go for a record in the SCTA, so 200 is more of a personal goal,” Leon told us.

I wonder sometimes, how people smart enough to be rich, can have such astonishingly poor judgement about what to take into deep loose sand, and how far

and now for something a bit different, (but nothing indicates this is real and not just CGI)

see some video clips at but you might agree with me that they are strangely editted, and the bike doesn't seem real

Thanks Maurice!

if yesterdays Grateful Dead equip cases weren't far out enough, here's President Ike's Partio Bbq

The General Electric Partio wasn't awesome enough for having a portable stove, oven, rotisserie, and charcoal BBQ grill, all in one convenient cart

This one comes from the Palm Springs home of President Eisenhower, who called it "the most fantastic thing you ever saw."

Designed by General Electric in the early 1960s, the Partio Cart sold for almost $800. It is an electric range and oven on one side and a barbecue on the other. Just imagine the little woman on the oven side and the man of the house on the other. The Partio Cart originally came with an umbrella and a cover