Dream Cars, an exhibition at Atlanta's High Museum, features the most amazing, doomed, gorgeous automotive designs of the automotive age. Streamlined or blobby, three-wheeled or magnificently finned, these are the cars that leapt off the cover of popular science pulps and into the showrooms, where they died an obscure death. The museum's site has some beautiful photos and curatorial notes on each of the cars in the exhibition, which runs to Sept 7.
The Firebird XP-21 was the first gas turbine-powered car built and tested in the United States. At the 1954 Motorama, General Motors made it clear this was a design study created to determine the practicality of the gas turbine for use in future vehicles. Harley Earl, GM's styling chief, made the decision to initiate the development of the Firebird I in the styling department rather than the engineering department. He took styling cues from the Douglas F4D Skyray jet, and the car's "needle" nose, swept-back wings, vertical tailfin, and plastic bubble top cockpit reflected this inspiration. As it was described in the press at the time, "the first impression one gets of the Firebird is that it is a jet fighter on four wheels – an impression that prevails even while the car is standing still."
Although the Firebird I's lofty power output was intriguing, the gas turbine engine could not provide economical performance. Besides its impractical single-seater design, its jet engine was too loud, its exhaust temperature at the tailpipe was 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit and its low fuel economy was unacceptable. But it was a Motorama sensation, and two successors followed at later Motoramas: the Firebird II in 1956 and the Firebird III in 1959. The Firebird series symbolized the era's obsession with outer space and air travel.
Jan Hoffman writes about recent research into the effects on psychedelics such as psilocybin on anxiety and depression: “About 80 percent of cancer patients showed clinically significant reductions in both psychological disorders, a response sustained some seven months after the single dose.” Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, a past president of the American Psychiatric Association, and Dr. […]
Robbo writes, “Peter Sellers recorded a series of performances, in a variety of voices, reciting the lyrics of popular Beatles songs. It is demented weirdness – and perfect in all its madness.”
As things stand now, something nearly miraculous has happened: the protesters have won, indigenous people will not be forced at gunpoint to allow a danger to their drinking water that their settler neighbors had rejected, and the pipeline may die. Despite a media blackout and brutal suppression, native people have won an historic and just […]
Loot Crate is a totally different kind of subscription service that mails subscribers monthly boxes filled with curated geek, pop culture, and gamer paraphernalia. Its cult following awaits a box every month filled with everything from bobble heads to T-shirts to special edition collectibles. But nothing gets Loot Crate fans as excited as the limited […]
The ARMOR-X Mini Flexible Phone Tripod is a smartphone tripod that is designed with flexible legs to rest on virtually any type of surface. Other tripods have proved useless unless I conveniently have a flat surface in front of me, which is why this particular tripod was appealing enough to try out. The ARMOR-X is compact and easy […]
You don’t need to get an advanced degree and take out massive loans to become a coder. This bundle of 10 courses was designed to teach anyone to code at home for less than it costs to go out for dinner. I was particularly impressed with this new 2017 bundle because it includes courses on […]