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  • feedwordpress 08:01:04 on 2014/10/08 Permalink
    Tags: , aviation, Belvin Maynard, first transcontinental air race, Flying Parson, , Heermans, , , rebus,   

    “It is wonderful to be here in the great state of Chicago”*… 


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    A page from Anna Heermans’ 1875 project, A Hieroglyphic Geography of the United States

    These pages… tell little stories about the New England states and New York, in picture form. Published by E.P. Dutton & Co., a company that then specialized in juvenile texts, the pictorial atlas was intended for children’s use—an attempt to bring life to geographical information through imagery.

    A rebus (the broad name for this type of writing system) replaces words, or parts of words, with pictures. To take one example, from the New Hampshire page:

    Translation: “Mt Washington, the most elevated peak, is 6,234 feet high. The summit is an acre of comparatively level ground, upon which is the Tip Top House.”

    More (and larger) examples, and a discussion their significance in the history of geographical education, at the redoubtable Rebecca Onion’s “Go Ahead, Try to Decode This 19th-Century Rebus Atlas of New England.”

    * Dan Quayle, who might have avoided the gaffe had he paid more attention in geography class… or not.

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    As we consult our maps, we might recall that it was on this date in 1919 that the first transcontinental air race in the U.S. got underway.  63 planes set out from Roosevelt Field on Long Island, vying to be the first to reach San Francisco, 5,400 miles away.  The winner, Belvin W. Maynard, an Army Lieutenant and Baptist preacher from North Carolina, reached the Presidio in his Havilland DH-4 (Named “Hello Frisco”) in just over three days. He and his two-man crew rested and serviced the plane for another three days; and then returned to Long Island in just under four days.  The victory made Maynard such a celebrity that the Army assigned him to PR and recruiting duty, and his native Winston-Salem named its first airfield for him.

    Soon thereafter, however, Maynard fell afoul of the Army.  While delivering a series of both lectures and sermons in New York in November of 1919, the Flying Parson averred that many military airmen were accustomed to flying drunk, and that drunkenness had been the cause of the twelve deaths during a recent aerial derby.  In a sermon just days later, he condemned the women of New York for their lack of clothes and frivolous lifestyles.  The Army yanked him off of the publicity trail and discharged him.

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  • feedwordpress 08:01:03 on 2014/08/28 Permalink
    Tags: aviation, drone, , Gossamer Condor, Paul MacCready, , pterosaur, , ,   

    “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”*… 


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    Welcome to travelbydrone.com! We want to give you the chance to discover the world from the perspective of drones. The video footage of the area you are most interested in is as accessible as never before.

    On this site, everyone can share YouTube videos and add the corresponding location. It will appear on the map with a pin where the video footage has been recorded. After submitting a request to share a video, a dedicated team will review the material before validating the request. As soon as the request has been validated, the shared video will be visible on the map.

    For a share request to be validated, the video needs to be taken by a drone (not of a drone), be of good quality and clearly show the area in which the drone flies. A video will not be accepted if it is taken indoors, is from a military drone or is of promotional nature (promoting a product or has a political, religious or other personal message)…

    Around the world in 80 clicks at Travel By Drone.

    * Augustine of Hippo

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    As we rename our index finger “Phileas,” we might spare a thought for Paul MacCready; he died on this date in 2007.  An accomplished meteorologist, a world-class glider pilot, and a respected aeronautical engineer trained at California Institute of Technology, MacCready’s many accomplishments ranged from developments in cloud seeding to the creation of a full-sized flying replica of a pterosaur (Quetzalcoatlus) for the Smithsonian Institution.  (The model can be seen in flight in the Smithsonian’s 1986 IMAX film On the Wing.) But MacCready is surely best remembered as the designer of the “Gossamer Condor,” the first successful human-powered aircraft (and thus, winner of the first Kremer Prize in 1977), and of the first viable solar-powered aircraft.  The Gossamer Condor hangs in the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum.

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