Thursday, November 30, 2006

Birth of an Island (and the Sea of Stones)

"QUANTUM SHOT" #47


A new volcanic island has risen from the South Pacific,
generating huge fields of floating pumice stone.


Something rarely seen... The volcanic birth of a new island and a surreal aftermath: a sea of floating stones (pumice), and a yacht making its way over (seemingly) the rocky plain.

The crew of yacht "Maiken" has posted on their web log the full account of this phenomena, and FoxNews followed it up with an article.

...first they saw some floating sand:
Ocean Boat
Ocean Boat

which gave way to a stranger sight: not a strip of land, but a surreal floating stone field (porous pumice raft, to be precise). Generated by volcanic eruptions, these "rocky plains" drift toward Fiji, some of them reportedly as wide as 30 kilometers.
Ocean Boat
Ocean Boat
the yacht seems to drift over a sandy plain...
Ocean Boat
leaving behind a trail of water:
Ocean Boat
Ocean Boat

Finally the crew spots the cause of all this excitement:
a newly-born volcanic island!

Ocean Boat
Ocean Boat
Ocean Boat

One mile in diameter, still active with outbursts of lava and ashes and a smoking central crater, this tropical baby-island is brand new and not put up for sale on EBay or elsewhere... yet.
(more pictures here)

Read the article about another island that was born recently off the coast of Iceland Link

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Mysterious Spider Boat Appears Out of the Fog

"QUANTUM SHOT" #46


New Concept of Ocean-Going Catamaran Is Being Tested

Ocean Boat
Ocean Boat
Ocean Boat
Ocean Boat
Ocean Boat

The story so far has an element of mystery:

The weird boat was first sighted coming out of the fog and docking at the Port of Ilwaco on the Washington State coast. Soon the first pictures began to circulate on the internet (mostly by email) with the following text:

"An entirely unheard-of, twin-hulled watercraft with no markings is photographed by a bystander in the Port of Ilwaco on the Washington State coast. Those guarding it refuse to answer questions about what it is, or where it came from."

It was suggested it may be something Boeing is working on. The pontoons appear to be made of very thick rubber and may be fuel cells. Note that each of the steel spider-like legs are jointed in three places. Perhaps the boat can be lowered in calm seas and raised when it is rough.

The boat had no name or number..."
(Source and more pics here)

Ocean Boat
Ocean Boat

Then Urban Legends site picked up the story investigating if it's a myth or not. More sightings were made of the boat (in San Francisco Bay and around Anacortes), and their conclusion was:

"The pictures are authentic and reveal the prototype of an inflatable power catamaran designed by Antrim Associates based on a concept by oceanographer Ugo Conti.

According to Yachting Monthly, the experimental vessel is 100 feet long and 50 feet wide and powered by twin diesel engines mounted to the rear of the inflatable pontoon hulls. The cabin is suspended on flexible legs about 15 feet above and between the hulls, allowing them to glide independently over the service of the water. It is capable of crossing oceans with as much, if not more, stability than a normal catamaran."

Ocean Boat
Ocean Boat

If this concept proves worthy, then we may witness the evolution of conventional boat shape into something entirely different (think along the "War of the Worlds" spidery lines). US Navy has explored catamaran shape before. Below are the pictures of a huge ship, "HSV 2 Swift", a high-speed catamaran used today for mine countermeasures and as a sea-based test platform. It proved to be really fast and reliable vessel.

Ocean Boat
Ocean Boat

Also check out the previous creation from the company which built this "spider boat"
- "Tahiti Cat"
Ocean Boat

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Vintage Miniature Cameras

"QUANTUM SHOT" #45


Cameras for Spies and Other Lovers of Inconspicuous Photography
(vintage collection)

Antique Photography Camera
Antique Photography Camera
Antique Photography Camera
Antique Photography Camera
Antique Photography Camera
Antique Photography Camera
Antique Photography Camera
Antique Photography Camera
Antique Photography Camera
Antique Photography Camera

This is the famous "Brownie" camera from Kodak. The Brownie popularized low-cost photography and introduced the concept of the snapshot (first model dates from 1900)
A later model (art deco style from the Thirties):
Antique Photography Camera
Scovill Antique Oak Detective Camera:
Antique Photography Camera
(images credit: Ritzcam.com)

No serious antique mini camera collection could be complete without the Coronet Midget Camera which was made in England in 1935:
Antique Photography Camera
"The Combi":
Antique Photography Camera
"Photoette":
Antique Photography Camera
Mec-16 in gold finish:
Antique Photography Camera
(images credit: Ritzcam.com)

For the utmost in rare camera items, check out this miniature camera, used by Japan Police in the Fifties: (source RitzCam.com)
Antique Photography CameraAntique Photography Camera
(images credit: Ritzcam.com)

Not that rare, but pretty spiffy is another vintage Japanese product:
Hit Type Crystar camera (1956 model)
It had many variations, made by little-known companies.
If you doubt that a camera like this could take "real" pictures, take a look at the shots here

Antique Photography Camera
Antique Photography Camera
Antique Photography Camera
(images credit: Ritzcam.com)

a couple of miniature cameras from Steky (Japan):
Antique Photography Camera
Antique Photography Camera
---
Sources: Botinok, more photos are at RitzCam.com

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