Posts Tagged ‘transportation’


What am I Lego-loving?

February 26, 2014

lego jupiter

David Reneke at Dave Reneke’s World of Space and Astronomy posted this wonderful story about strange and unusual objects that people have launched into space.  What caught my eye, of course, were the LEGO characters of Magellan, Jupiter and Juno being carried on a probe to Jupiter.

Mini-figurines of Galileo and the Roman deities Jupiter and Juno were launched in 2011 aboard NASA’s Juno spacecraft en route to Jupiter . LEGO has flown products aboard the U.S. Space Shuttles and to the International Space Station previously, but Juno’s cargo represents the “most distant LEGO launch” ever. The figurines will burn up in Jupiter’s atmosphere along with the spacecraft at the end of the mission in October 2017.

Among the other objects launched are a Florida state quarter, the famous golden disc,  the Mars penny, and a wheel of cheese.   What would you send into space?


What am I commemorating today?

January 30, 2014


Today is Lifeboat Day – the day the first purpose-built lifeboat was launched in England on the River Tyne.  More below from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

1790: The first shore-based boat designed specifically for use as a lifeboat is tested on the River Tyne in northern England.

Christened the Original, she was a 30-foot-long, double-ended, 10-oar longboat built by Henry Greathead of South Shields. She carried 7 hundredweight (784 pounds or 356 kilograms) of cork for added buoyancy and was designed to be self-righting.

Although smaller craft had been pressed into service as lifeboats in the past, Original was the first boat built specifically for sea rescue. She was stationed at the mouth of the Tyne and launched from a shore station. In a career spanning 40 years, she was responsible for saving hundreds of lives.

By 1839, there were 30 lifeboat shore stations operating in the British Isles.

Original was built as the result of an incident in 1789, when a crew was lost after its ship ran aground in stormy seas off the mouth of the river. Although the eight men were in sight of the shore, no one could be persuaded to attempt a rescue that was viewed as suicidal.

Local businessmen upset by the tragedy offered a prize to anyone who could design a true rescue boat. A local parish clerk named William Wouldhave was the winner, and Greathead built Original using Wouldhave’s design.

The first lifeboat association, Britain’s National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck (later renamed the Royal National Lifeboat Institution), was organized in 1824. By 1860, the RNLI could claim to have saved more than 12,000 lives at sea.

Shipboard lifeboats — carried on davits aboard larger ships and generally associated with this type of craft — did not appear until later in the 19th century.

(Source: Maritime and Coastguard Agency, RNLI)


A British postage stamp was issued in 1974 to mark the 150th anniversary of the RNLI. This depiction of the rescue of the crew of the Daunt Lightship by the Ballycotton lifeboat Mary Stanford was chosen as the image to be represented on that postage stamp.  (source-Wiki)

This is a reposting, but I think it bears the repetition.

Raise a glass to the members of the Lifeboat Service.


What is tattoo Tuesday about?

January 21, 2014

nautilus 4

Here is the Nautilus approaching New York

The USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear submarine, was launched today in 1954.  This occurred in the midst of the Cold War and advances by Soviet scientists into the space race.  Nautilus was the first vessel to reach and cross the north pole while submerged – which brought Russia much closer to the reach of this new nuclear Navy.

USS Nautilus (SSN-571) was the world’s first operational nuclear-powered submarine. She was the first vessel to complete a submerged transit to the North Pole on 3 August 1958. Sharing names with the submarine in Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and named after another USS Nautilus (SS-168) that served with distinction in World War II, Nautilus was authorized in 1951 and launched in 1954. Because her nuclear propulsion allowed her to remain submerged far longer than diesel-electric submarines, she broke many records in her first years of operation, and traveled to locations previously beyond the limits of submarines. In operation, she revealed a number of limitations in her design and construction. This information was used to improve subsequent submarines. (Wikipedia)



nautilus 3

Sharing the same name is the craft from the Jules Verne novel, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

nautilus 2

And, of course, the tattoos – of the chambered nautilus.

nautilus 5

nautilus 6


Why am I smiling?

December 5, 2013


This was the temperature . . . this morning at


On December 5 in Cleveland – I was smiling.


What am I wondering about?

September 16, 2013


I was driving down the road the other day and saw this sign on a truck that was next to me at the light.

It made me wonder what the truck was transporting and where it was headed.

It reminded me of a bus company that I used to see around.  Their name that was painted boldly on the side of their buses was, “Glory Train.”  That would make me stop and think before boarding.

“I’m ready when you call me, Lord, but give me just a little more time.”

– Albert Brumley


What am I sappy cat blogging?

August 23, 2013


A prototype cable car from Japan (of course).


What am I celebrating?

February 2, 2013

645px-Grand_central_Station_Outside_NightThe Centennial of Grand Central Terminal in New York City, which officially opened on February 2, 1913.

More here in this video of Grand Central’s secrets by the New York Times.

And here at Grand Central Terminal:  Guess who’s turning 100?



What kind of a difference does 7 days make?

January 26, 2013

In Cleveland, in January, it can be a big difference.

Here are some photos from last week. Sightseeing at home, enjoying the lakefront and the city center.


Here is the Terminal Tower complex from Public Square.


The skylight in Tower City


A chandelier also in Tower City


View up Euclid Avenue from the Soldiers and Sailors Monument


Detail of the monument


Terminal Tower framed by the railroad bridge – taken from Whiskey Island


The beautiful old Coast Guard Station on Whiskey Island


And the weather today – one week later – pretty typical for January in this neck of the woods.


What do we remember today?

August 4, 2012

The founding of the US Coast Guard:

The Coast Guard’s official history began on 4 August 1790 when President George Washington signed the Tariff Act that authorized the construction of ten vessels, referred to as “cutters,” to enforce federal tariff and trade laws and to prevent smuggling.  Known variously through the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as the “revenue cutters,” the “system of cutters,” and finally the Revenue Cutter Service, it expanded in size and responsibilities as the nation grew.

Click here for the Anniversary message to be read at muster of the officers and crew on August 4 on board each vessel of the Revenue Cutter Service.
Renamed in 1915, the Coast Guard is one of the oldest services in the United States.

Happy Birthday and Semper Paratus


What bookstore would I like to visit?

June 11, 2012

Pretty much any bookstore, actually.  And I am still missing the Library at Alexandria, but don’t get me started on that.

The bookstore which has caught my fancy today is the Book Barge (generally) moored in Staffordshire, UK.  I love re-purposed buildings and a re-purposed houseboat – 57′ narrowboat – fills the bill.

The reference for this post is Bookshelf.

As with any independent bookstore, success is not a given.  I wish these folks well and hope they prosper.