Archive for the ‘Vehicles’ Category

Cat Wheel Loader versus a Bobcat   Leave a comment


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I videoed a Bobcat loading a dump truck with snow and a Cat wheeled loader doing the same. The Cat’s front end bucket is three times the size, so it should outperform the Bobbie. But not in this competition, the Bobcat had a way better operator who made that little devil bounce back and forth between the snowbank and the dump truck. Often it isn’t the machine that makes the difference, it’s the operator.

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Posted December 29, 2016 by markosun in Vehicles

The ‘Can-Opener’ bridge in Durham, North Carolina   Leave a comment


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At 11 foot 8 inches, the Norfolk Southern–Gregson Street Overpass, located in Durham, North Carolina, United States, is a bit too short. The federal government recommends that bridges on public roads should have a clearance of at least 14 feet. But when this railroad trestle was built in the 1940s, there were no standards for minimum clearance. As a result, trucks would frequently hit the bridge and get its roof scrapped off.

Durham resident Jürgen Henn has been witnessing these crashes for years from across the street where he worked. Wishing to share these hilarious mishaps with the rest of the world, Henn set up a video camera in April 2008 and began recording them for his ever popular website 11foot8.com. By the end of 2015, more than one hundred trucks had their tops violently ripped off. These scalping videos, which are also available on his Youtube channel, have racked up millions of views bringing this particular bridge —nicknamed ‘the can opener’— a fair amount of international fame.

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 As Jürgen Henn explains in his website, the bridge cannot be raised because doing so would require the tracks to be raised for several miles to adjust the incline. North Carolina Railroad doesn’t want to pay for the enormous expense it would entail. The bridge cannot be lowered either because there is a major sewer line running only four feet under the street.

Instead, the city authorities installed an alert system that detects when an over-height truck tries to pass under and flashes yellow warning lights several feet ahead of the bridge. But many drivers either do not pay attention or fail to heed the warning, and crash into the bridge. The railroad department, who owns the bridge, installed a heavy steel crash beam in front of the bridge that takes most of the impact, protecting the actual structure of the train trestle. This crash beam is hit so often that it had to be replaced at least once.

As far as both parties are concerned —the city of Durham and North Carolina Railroad— adequate steps have been taken to solve the problem. The railroad authorities’ concern is with the bridge and the rails above, not the trucks. Hence, the beam. The city, on the other hand, has posted prominent “low clearance” signs from 3 blocks away leading up to the trestle, over and above the automatic warning system that is triggered by vehicles that are too tall.

Apparently, these measures are not enough to prevent accidents. On average there is one crash every month.

When Henn interviewed a few drivers as they deflated their tires to lower their vehicles enough to free them, some told him that they didn’t know their trucks’ heights, while others insisted they didn’t see the signs.

Durham officials are now trying out a new tactic. A few months ago, they installed a traffic signal at the intersection before the bridge, and hooked up the height sensor to it. When an over-height truck approaches the intersection, the light turns red, and stays red for a long time. The light eventually turns green, but the city hopes that the long delay will give the drivers enough time to realize their truck will not fit under the bridge. Unfortunately for the drivers, and to the delight of the rest, the bridge continues to shave the tops of over-height vehicles.

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Posted December 20, 2016 by markosun in Transportation, Vehicles

August 1966 Salt flat speed trials   Leave a comment


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A trio of streamliners from the H- and I-classes, with Wheel Centre Company #901H at top, “The Ball Point Banana” #555 at center and “The Orange Crate” #222 at bottom.

Image: Eric Rickman/The Enthusiast Network/Getty Images

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In 1907, Bill Rishel and his business partners were the first to drive a Pierce-Arrow automobile across Utah’s vast Bonneville Salt Flats. Seven years later, Teddy Tetzlaff set a land speed record on the flats, pushing a custom Blitzen-Benz to 141.73 miles per hour.

After Utah local Ab Jenkins set a new endurance record by driving a Pierce-Arrow in a continuous 10-mile loop for 24 hours at an average speed of 112.9 miles per hour, the flats became the go-to spot for speed freaks looking to smash records.

Drivers descended on the flats from around the world, bringing with them custom-designed vehicles with precisely streamlined bodies and extraordinarily powerful engines.

Various classes of competing vehicles emerged, including streamliners, roadsters, and by the early ‘60s, jet-powered cars.

By the time of these speed trials in August 1966, jet cars were reaching land speeds of over 600 miles per hour.

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The Hammon-McGrath-Appenfels “Redhead” streamliner #147B wins the class trophy with a speed of 331.46 miles per hour.

Image: Eric Rickman/The Enthusiast Network/Getty Images

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Bert Munro works on his streamlined Indian Scout with an Alex Tremulis-designed Detroit Triumph Gyronaut X-1 in the background.

Image: Eric Rickman/The Enthusiast Network/Getty Images

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Detroit Triumph Gyronaut XM-1

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The Ratliff and Zook E-Gas Roadster, which posted 158.45 miles per hour.

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The Deeds and Saderup Studebaker, the class trophy winner in the D/Fuel Coupe and Sedan Division with 191.48 miles per hour.

Image: Eric Rickman/The Enthusiast Network/Getty Images

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J.R. Lufkin’s #646 C/Modified Sports entry with sponsorship from Autolite and performance mods from AK Miller.

Image: Eric Rickman/The Enthusiast Network/Getty Images

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The rocket-powered Wingfoot Express 2 built by Walt Arfons, propelled by the use of 35 Jet-Assisted Take Off pods.

Image: Eric Rickman/The Enthusiast Network/Getty Images

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Art Arfons stands beside his Jet-propelled “Green Monster”.

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The Larson-Cummins Streamliner, which took home the D-Class trophy for its 225 miles per hour run.

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Bill and Bob Summers stand alongside their record-setting Summers Brothers “Golden Rod” streamliner.

Image: Eric Rickman/The Enthusiast Network/Getty Images

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4 Chrysler Hemi Engines with Fuel Injection. Top speed achieved 414 miles per hour.

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Posted September 5, 2016 by markosun in Vehicles

Canadian authorities repel invasion of U.S. floaters   Leave a comment


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And no, it wasn’t this kind of floater invasion.

 

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Or this kind of Yankee hoser invasion.

 

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Some 1,500 people, participating in the Port Huron Float Down, on inflatable rafts and boats drifted across the border from Michigan during high winds on the St. Clair River.

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PORT HURON, MICH.—Canadian authorities stopped an invasion this weekend: 1,500 people on inflatable rafts and boats that drifted across the border from Michigan during high winds on the St. Clair River.

The rafters were participating in the Port Huron Float Down, an annual event on the river that divides Michigan from Ontario.

The winds turned it into an international incident on Sunday.

Police in Sarnia, Ont., say the event has no official organizer and poses “significant and unusual hazards” given the fast-moving current, large number of participants, lack of life jackets, and challenging weather conditions.

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They say it took hours for a bus service to transport some 1,500 U.S. citizens back to Michigan.

Staff Sgt. Scott Clarke told the Times Herald the float-down participants were “unprepared to be stranded anywhere.”

 

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“It was a bit of a nightmare, but we got through it,” he said. “There were long waits and long lines. They were cold and wet, but they all made it home.”

The event started at Port Huron’s Lighthouse Beach and was supposed to end at Chrysler Beach in Marysville.

Sarnia city workers spent several hours Monday picking up beer cans, coolers, rafts, even picnic tables, that washed up on the Canadian shore, said spokeswoman Katarina Ovens.

“I guess they were on the rafts,” she said of the picnic tables.

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Posted August 22, 2016 by markosun in Bizarre, Vehicles

Robbie Knievel’s Grand Canyon Jump   Leave a comment


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Robbie Knievel is the son of the late, great American Daredevil Evel Knievel. He continued on the family tradition of jumping motorcycles over wide swaths of buses and other obstacles.

The Grand Canyon jump on May 20, 1999 was one of Knievel’s most famous jumps. The jump was partially based on Robbie’s father’s desire to perform a Grand Canyon jump, yet would end up doing the rocket-propelled Snake River Canyon jump. On May 20, 1999, Robbie jumped his motorcycle for a personal record of 228 feet. However, Knievel lost control of the bike on landing and broke his leg in the ensuing crash.

The Grand Canyon is on average five miles wide from rim to rim, so Jumping that far was pushing it beyond the limit. So they found a spur in the canyon that was very narrow.  So Robbie didn’t really jump the Grand Canyon, he jumped a small spur on the periphery of the canyon. But it was bloody good nevertheless.

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A showman just like the Old Man.

 

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To pay homage to his father, Knievel jumped the Caesars Palace fountains in 1989. The jump took place 22 years after Evel Knievel failed to clear the fountains in 1967. Knievel landed safely and became the first to successfully jump the fountains. Following the jump, Knievel stated, “that was for you, Dad”.

Posted May 17, 2016 by markosun in Sports, Transportation, Vehicles

Every Riotous Hooligans Worst Nightmare: The Brutish Water Cannon   Leave a comment


Watching the riots that developed at the memorial march in Brussels the other day I again noticed a huge Water Cannon.  Right-wing thugs showed up at the march screaming anti-migrant and white supremacist chants.  The hooligans got washed good by a gigantic Belgium water cannon.

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Water cannon on use on a demonstrator

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A water cannon is a device that shoots a high-velocity stream of water. Typically, a water cannon can deliver a large volume of water, often over dozens of meters. They are used in firefighting, large vehicle washing and riot control.

The first truck-mounted water cannon were used for riot control in Germany in the beginning of the 1930s.

The most modern versions do not expose the operator to the riot, and are controlled remotely from within the vehicle by a joystick. The German-built WaWe 10.000 can carry 10,000 litres (2,200 imp gal) of water, which can deploy water in all directions via three cannons, all of which are remotely controlled from inside the vehicle by a joystick. The vehicle has two forward cannons with a delivery rate of 20 litres per second (260 imp gal/min), and one rear cannon with a delivery rate of 15 litres per second (200 imp gal/min).

Water cannons designed for riot control are still made in the United States and the United Kingdom, but most products are exported, particularly to Africa and parts of Asia such as South Korea.

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Use of water cannon in riot control contexts can lead to injury or death, with fatalities recorded in Indonesia (in 1996, when the cannon’s payload contained ammonia), Zimbabwe (in 2007, when the use of cannons on a peaceful crowd caused panic), Turkey (in 2013, when the payload was laced with “liquid teargas”), and Ukraine (in 2014, with the death of activist and businessman Bogdan Kalynyak, reportedly catching pneumonia after being sprayed by water cannon in freezing temperatures). South Korea used water cannons containing capsaicin and fluorescent dyes for later screening and arrest in recent protests against its citizens.

Water cannons in use during the 1960s, which were generally adapted fire trucks, would knock protesters down and on occasion, tear their clothes.

On 30 September 2010, during a protest demonstration against the Stuttgart 21 project in Germany, a demonstrator was hit in the face by a water cannon. Dietrich Wagner, a retired engineer, suffered from the damage to his eyelids, a fracturing of a portion of the retinal bone, and damage to the retinas. The eye injuries thus inflicted on the man resulted in near-complete loss of eyesight. Graphic imagery was recorded of the event, sparking a national debate about police brutality and proportionality in the use of state force.

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Turkish riot police use water cannon to disperse demonstrators during a protest against the destruction of trees in a park brought about by a pedestrian project, in Taksim Square in central Istanbul May 31, 2013. REUTERS/Murad Sezer (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST ENVIRONMENT CRIME LAW TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTX106VO

Istanbul above

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A few examples of the beasts

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Demonstrationsverbot in Berlin! Infolge der Ruhestörungen durch die Aufführung des Remarque-Films "Im Westen nichts Neues" ist ein Demonstrationsverbot für Berlin erlassen worden. Die Polizei sicherte die Strassen und Plätze im Berliner Westen mit Wasserwerfer und grossem Polizeiaufgebot. Der Wasserwerfer der Schutzpolizei am Wittenbergplatz in Berlin zur Verhinderung nächtlicher Demonstrationen.

One of the first water cannon. Germany 1930’s.

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France

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Germany

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Russia

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Columbia

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China. Typical Chinese approach, if the water cannon don’t knock them down, plow through the crowd with the big blade.

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Posted March 29, 2016 by markosun in Police, Vehicles