So, to use Ken Hite’s rule of thumb, we are now officially in an alternate history.
The result of a joint operation between Goodyear and ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik, three new zeppelins, called Goodyear Blimp NTs (“new technology”), will slowly replace the company’s current model blimp, the GZ20-A. Crews are now working side by side to construct the first of three Goodyear Blimp NTs. The companies announced the project in May 2011, almost 75 years after the dissolution of the Goodyear-Zeppelin Corporation. It’s also why many of the current mechanics and riggers refer to this partnership as Project Full Circle.
Via Instapundit. What this means is that Goodyear will be using airships with a rigid internal framework (zeppelins) instead of airships without ones (blimps). It does not mean that we’re going to see another Hindenburg disaster, given that… :click click click: Huh. There’s apparently a somewhat large, and slightly bitter, academic debate over what caused the Hindenburg fire. Isn’t that a thing?
Anyway, they’re switching types. I’d give a subjective opinion, but the aforementioned debate gives me pause. Airship design is apparently one of those things that, if you care about it, you care about it a lot*…
*I am hardly one to judge.
Interesting post (via Fark Geek) from the Smithsonian on a 1908 article that half guessed-right (airships) and half guessed-wrong (airplanes) on the essential uselessness of lighter and heavier than air flight; comments there led to this Scientific American post from last year that essentially argues that alternate universes are effectively impossible*. It’s mostly of interest because it involves lighter than air flight – which people seem to like just having around, for some reason – but it’s also interesting to see how badly you can mess up predictions when you don’t extrapolate from current trends correctly. From the 1908 article:
It is said that the leading military nations are vying with each other at the present time in the development of military air-ships, but this does not prove that these structures can be made practically useful in the serious business of actual warfare… Of all the apparatus ever proposed for use on the battle-field, a flying-machine is beyond all question the most vulnerable. It offers an ideal mark to the bullets of the enemy. Its limitations of weight forbid its protection by any sort of armor. Had the flying-machine been developed forty or fifty years ago, when projectiles were limited to small velocities and short ranges, it might have performed some service in observing the enemy’s forces; but with modern infantry rifles discharging projectiles with an initial velocity of 2,700 feet per second, and with light artillery fitted to discharge a perfect hail-storm of bullets having equal velocity and range, the rise of an air-ship at any point within several miles of a hostile army would be merely the signal for its immediate destruction.
Continue reading Ah, the blimp/zeppelin wars return.
My wife reminded me of this:
I always knew this was going to happen. I always knew that skepticism and science were mere psychological decorations and vanities. Deep in our alligator brains we all know that the world is just chock full of evil and monsters and sinister forces aligned against us, and it is only a matter of time until they show up. Evolution know this, too. It knows what to do when the silent terror comes at you from out of the dark.
…and it’s six years old, which makes it retro by the Internet’s standards. Enjoy.
PS: You know that you want this..