Monday, November 23, 2009

Drop City Commune

Description: Drop City was a community that formed in the hills of southern Colorado in the late 1960s, which become a sort of icon of the rural 1960s communal living that seemed to be blooming at that time. Singled out by the media as exemplary, Drop City was known for its dome-style of architecture, which combined the principles and methods of Buckminster Fuller with inexpensive, found materials, such as sheet metal hacked off of junked car roofs. In 1965, when the four original settlers of Drop City, art students and writers from the Universities of Kansas and Colorado, moved to this site, they had no intention of founding a large community, but just wanted to live cheaply and have time to pursue their interests. The community grew, however, spurred by media coverage that included news reports on national television. After becoming what one of the more notorious denizens called "a decompression-chamber for city freaks," and with the people that originally founded the community long since departed, Drop City was slowly vacated. Today, much of the property has been developed, though the last of the iconic domes was taken down only in the late 1990s, by a truck repair facility which now occupies a portion of the site.
Location: Near Trinidad, 40 miles S of Pueblo
(POINT(-104.49119210243 37.220768831485))
(show on map)

Address: CO
Visitor Info: On a six acre tract in El Moro, Colorado, 5 miles east of Trinidad off of I-25.

tag: Abandoned Site
LCS: Architectural Landmark, Cultural

Found Here:

Drop City was an artists' community that formed in southern Colorado in 1965. Abandoned by the early 1970s, it became known as the first rural "hippie commune".[1]

Found Here:

Monday, November 9, 2009

VZ-8 Airgeep - Hovering Jeep / Flying Truck Platform

* While the Army was pursuing the flying platforms, they were also investigating larger rotorcraft along similar lines, called the "flying jeeps". Some sources imply that they were intended mostly for hovercraft operation, with an ability to fly over obstacles or impassable terrain when necessary, while other sources indicate they were regarded as helicopter-like utility vehicles that operated normally as flying machines. Whatever the case, the US Army Transportation Research Command began an investigation into the flying jeeps in 1956, leading to award of contracts for prototypes to Chrysler, Curtiss-Wright, and Piasecki in 1957.

* Chrysler developed two prototypes of their "VZ-6" flying jeep, delivering them to the Army in late 1958. The VZ-6 was a single-seat vehicle, shaped like a rectangular box, with two ducted rotors in the box front and back. There were rubber skirts around the bottom, and vanes underneath the rotors to provide airflow for forward motion.

The VZ-6 was powered by a single 373 kW (500 HP) piston engine and had a gross weight of 1,080 kilograms (2,380 pounds). Tethered flights performed in 1959 indicated that the VZ-6 was not very controllable, and was also badly underpowered. On the VZ-6's first untethered flight attempt, it flipped over. The pilot escaped serious injury, but the vehicle was badly damaged. The Army recognized the VZ-6 as a lost cause and got rid of both prototypes in 1960.

* The Curtiss-Wright entry was the "VZ-7", also known as the "Flying Truck", with two prototypes delivered to the Army in mid-1958. The VZ-7 was a simple metal truss with a pilot up front and four horizontal propellers at each of four corners. The props were all driven by a single 317 kW (425 SHP) Turbomeca Artouste turboshaft engine, mounted underneath the central beam. The props were originally ducted, but the ducts were removed after initial test flights. The aircraft was guided by differential pitch between the propellers, and a rudder in the turbine exhaust.

The VZ-7 was 5.2 meters long by 4.9 meters wide (17 by 16 feet) and had a maximum takeoff weight of 770 kilograms (1,700 pounds), with 250 kilograms (550 pounds) of that being payload. The VZ-7 handled well and was easy to fly, but it did not meet either altitude or speed requirements, and the prototypes were returned to Curtiss-Wright in mid-1960.

* The Piasecki flying jeep effort was the most successful of the three. The first of the class was the Piasecki "Model 59H AirGeep", which was given the Army designation "VZ-8P". The AirGeep was 7.9 meters long and 2.7 meters wide (26 feet by 9 feet), with three-bladed rotors in ducts in the front and the back. The pilot and passenger sat between the ducts. In the VZ-8P, the 2.4 meter (8 foot) diameter rotors were driven by a pair of 134 kW (180 HP) Lycoming piston engines, with the power linkages designed so that one engine could drive both rotors if the other engine failed.

The rotors spun in opposite directions to reduce torque effects. Control was provided by varying rotor pitch, as well as through vanes mounted in the downdraft. Forward motion was achieved by pitching the aircraft nose-down.

The AirGeep was first flown on 12 October 1958. Apparently it proved grossly underpowered, barely able to fly over a fence, and it was sent back to the shop, where the piston engines were replaced by a single 317 kW (425 HP) Turbomeca Artouste IIB turbine engine. The upgraded AirGeep flew in late June 1959. It weighed 1.1 tonnes (2,500 pounds) and could carry a payload of 550 kilograms (1,200 pounds), including the pilot.

The AirGeep was put through trials for both the Army and the Navy over the next few years. The engine was upgraded again to a Garrett / Airesearch 331-6 engine, which had a higher power-to-weight ratio. For Navy trials, which began in June 1961, the rotorcraft was fitted with floats, and redesignated the "PA-59 SeaGeep".

* Piasecki wanted to build a bigger and better AirGeep, and the Army Transportation Research Command obliged them by issuing a contract for what Piasecki called the "Model 59K" and what the Army called the "VZ-8P(B) AirGeep II", which made its first flight in the summer of 1962.

The AirGeep II was similar to the AirGeep, except that the aircraft was "bent" in the middle so that the rotors were tilted fore and aft, it seems to improve forward flight characteristics. The AirGeep II used twin 298 kW (400 SHP) Turbomeca Artouste IIC turboshaft engines, once again linked so that if one failed the other would drive both rotors. One engine could also be coupled to the landing wheels to drive the machine on the ground. The increased power allowed a maximum take-off weight of 2.2 tonnes (4,800 pounds). The pilot and observer had "zero-zero" ejection seats, allowing safe escape if the machine was on the ground and standing still, and there were apparently seats for additional passengers.

* The flying platforms and flying jeeps had some merits. They were smaller than helicopters, and could operate in ground cover more successfully. However, helicopters could land more easily on rough terrain and had more convenient seating arrangements. Most critically, the flying platforms and jeeps had much smaller rotors, and so were fuel hogs. There were also apparently concerns about the practicality of the one-person flying platforms, since they provided relatively little capability in relationship to larger rotary-winged aircraft, while still presenting a good proportion of the same support headaches. Some sources also claim, very plausibly, that the flying platforms were unusually dangerous to fly in windy conditions. In short, they didn't have sufficient advantages over helicopters to make them worth further development at the time. The idea didn't die out, however.

Found Here:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

1418 Ming Map - Zhu Di's Map of the World Family

Zhu Di's Map of the World Family

In 1405, Zhu Di sent his favorite Admiral, Zheng He, on a mission to unite the peoples of the "Four Seas"—that is, the World Family. Midway through this enormous undertaking of many overseas voyages, a Ming artist prepared this elegant but somewhat stylized version of the world. It was based on information contained in a variety of field maps and navigational charts. The composite map was intended to represent the final unification of the World Family under the leadership of the Ming Dynasty. It was a visual testimonial about foreign nations (or barbarians) that paid homage to the Son of Heaven in Beijing. It was also a memorial to the role of world commerce in preserving the peace between nations; and it was a graphic representation of the system of transoceanic routes that formed Zheng He's colossal maritime trade network. Zhu Di's dream of a United Family did not last for very long.

Within a few years, Portuguese spies obtained copies of this map. And they used it as the principal tool in world conquest. During that conquest, Europeans claimed they were superior because they had better weapons and maps. They boasted that "the Victor writes the history." And so, the legacy of Zheng He and the heritage of other ancient voyagers faded into the twilight of Western doctrine.

This is a revolutionary map. It will finally force Western scholars to abandon the doctrine of Eurocentrism that has dominated world history for the past 500 years. In the 21st century, the Global Community needs a factual history that reflects the true events of the past. This map can precipitate a paradigm shift in history. Such a paradigm shift is essential in order to dislodge the medieval cultural anchors that are holding us back. Then we can truly build a philosophical foundation of equality for the Whole World Family.

Found Here:

In January 2006, BBC News and The Economist both published news regarding the exhibition of a Chinese sailing map with detailed descriptions of both Native Americans and Native Australians. The map (at right) was dated 1763, and was supposedly a copy of an earlier map made in 1418. Supporters of Gavin Menzies' 1421 theory claim the map as proof that Zheng He sailed to the Americas and Australia. Critics point out that the map, if authentic, is more likely to be based on an eighteenth-century European map.

Detail, Zheng He Map, phonetic transcription of "North America"

According to the map's owner, Liu Gang, a Chinese lawyer and collector, he purchased the map in 2001 for $500 USD from a Shanghai dealer. A number of authorities on Chinese history have questioned the authenticity of the map. Some point to the use of the Mercator-style projection, its accurate reckoning of longitude and its North-based orientation. None of these features was used in the best maps made in either Asia or Europe during this period (for example see the Kangnido map (1410) and the Fra Mauro map (1459)). Also mentioned is the depiction of the erroneous Island of California, a mistake commonly repeated in European maps from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. On the map the American continent is labelled phonetically "A-me-ri-ca" (今名北亞墨利加, literally: "Now Name Northern A-me-ri-ca," see detail). This translation was unknown in Ming Dynasty, and is known to be a borrowing from the West, (Amerigo Vespucci).

Geoff Wade of the Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore has strongly disputed the authenticity of the map and has suggested that it is either an 18th or 21st-century fake. Wade has pointed out a number of anachronisms that appear in the map and its text annotations. For example, in the text next to Eastern Europe, which has been translated as "People here mostly believe in God and their religion is called 'Jing' (景, referring to Nestorianism)", Wade notes that the Chinese word for the Christian God is given as "Shang-di" (上帝), which is a usage that was first borrowed from Chinese ancient text by Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci in the 16th century.[49]

In May 2006 the Dominion Post reported that Fiona Petchey, head of the testing unit at Waikato University, which had carbon dated the map, had asked Gavin Menzies to remove claims from his website that the dating proved the map was genuine. The carbon dating indicated with an 80% probability a date for the paper of the map between either 1640–1690 or 1730–1810. However as the ink was not tested, it was impossible to know when it was drawn. Ms Petchey said, "we asked him to remove those, not because we were not happy with the dates, but because we were not overly happy with being associated with his interpretations of those dates."[50]

Found Here: