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Monday
Apr022012

The best flying you will probably ever see!

There is no doubt that pilots are highly trained individuals. Just how highly trained is here for all to see in this video of an incident from the 1980's. That this pilot was able to do what we see here with a plane load of people is even more amazing. And while you are watching this plane bounce down the runway, imagine for a minute that you were one of the passengers wondering how this would end.

 

Monday
Apr022012

Arthur C Clarke. Why everyone should know his name.

Arthur C Clarke was a British author, futurist, inventor, television host and commentator who served in the Royal Air Force and was twice chairman of the British Interplanetary Society.

Quite simply, he was one of the greatest minds of the last 100 years. His list of achievements could literally fill a small library.  His name is always mentioned alongside Stanley Kubrick's when the 1968 classic movie 2001: A Space Odyssey is discussed - Kubrick's film was based on a short story by Clarke - "The Sentinel" - and Clarke wrote 2001 while the film was being produced.

One of Clarke's most notable achievements is his idea that if three satellites were placed in spaced geostationary orbits around the Earth, they would allow worldwide telecommunications. He suggested this in 1945, long before Sputnik, Explorer or Apollo were on the horizon. Today, we regularly watch TV transmissions from all over the world instantaneously - this is Clarke's vision in practice. 

In this 1974 interview with the Australian Broadcasting Commission, Clarke discusses how in the future we will all have computers that will communicate with each other (in other words - the Internet) and we can check our banking, or buy theatre tickets... a true visionary! 

 

 

Thursday
Mar292012

April 15 1912 - Titanic's Greatest Mystery

 

 

April 15th 2012 will mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of what is probably the worlds most famous ship - The Titanic - a ship that only made one voyage. There will be many commemorations and memorials - they are even re-releasing James Camerons movie "TITANIC" in 3D.

One of the best Titanic books every written is "A Night To Remember" by Walter Lord. Written in 1955 Lord conducted many interviews with surviving passengers and crew and it provides the best account of what happened. Indeed, James Camerons movie draws much if its background story from the book.

But for me , the most amazing thing about this sinking is something that happened many years before.

14 Years before the Titanic set sail an American author Morgan Robertson wrote a novella about a great ocean liner sailing between America and England. Robertson's ship was the largest ship afloat and described as unsinkable, held about 3000 passengers but only had lifeboats for about 1/2 of them. Robertsons ship also struck an iceberg and sank, the iceberg struck the starboard side of the ship like Titanic, and it took place on a night in April. Is this sounding weird? Both ships sunk about 400 miles from Newfoundland around midnight.

 

Oh... and the name of Robertsons fictitious liner... The Titan!

 

 

 

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