July 24, 2014

I Had NO Idea This Thing Was Real

Do want!




I'd seen this thing in some TV shows but I'd always thought it was a special effect. 

The Williams WASP was designed to meet an Army  from the 1970's.  It actually fulfilled all the requirements but twas not adopted as the Army beleatedly decided that the requirements were ill-considered. 


Good grief!  With a range of 30 miles it's really not all that much more impractical than a motorcycle for commuting. It can fly above traffic and the fact that it flies means it's significantly less dorky than a Segway.

This is the future we were denied!

Someone must make this happen. 

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 08:59 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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July 22, 2014

Meanwhile, In China

Quite possibly less annoying than ants.

Two of the Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes bring us the latest in entomology news from China....


"Don't just stand there! Close the window!"
..
...
Oh. It appears they are having some minor difficulties with their discovery, so let us reassure you that these huge Dobsonflys are basically harmless. In fact, they've been know to the locals for some time and are recognized as a leading indicator of high water quality, which means that if current trends continue these magnificent animals probably won't be startling anybody for much longer. 

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 03:12 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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July 21, 2014

95 Years Ago Today

Wingfoot Air Express was a passenger dirigible that ran a route between Grant Park in Chicago and the White City Amusement Park south of the city. 




The dirigible was one of several aircraft that operated from a short airstrip and a pier in the big urban park, which, being right next to The Loop, provided air service directly to and from downtown Chicago. 



On July 21st 1919 this all came to an end when, shortly after takeoff from Grant Park, Wingfoot Air Express caught fire directly over the Chicago Loop. The crew and passengers attempted to use their parachutes, but only the captain and mechanic survived as the dirigible exploded, fouling the other chutes in the collapsing rigging or setting them afire. 

However the disaster was about to get worse. Even given the fact that a position directly over the Chicago Loop is a most unfortunate place for an aircraft to explode, what happened next was improbably bad. The flaming dirigible crashed directly through the skylight of the Illinois Trust and Savings Building, rupturing the ships gas tank and spewing flaming gasoline all over the interior of the building. 



Pic and caption via


37 bank employees and customers were burned, hit by debris or both. 10 of them died.

The reaction from the city was swift. All air operations out of Grant Park and over the city were banned.  An airfield was built outside of town but Chicago's unique and growing air commuter businesses were all shut down as a result of the tragedy.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 01:17 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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