Gimli Glider’s last flight

Photograph of the Boeing 767 Gimli Glider after its crash

A milestone in aviation history this week. The Gimli Glider (pictured) made its final flight on Thursday 24 January.

I mentioned this amazing story a few months back. In brief, in 1983 an Air Canada Boeing 767 ran out of fuel at 28,000 feet over Ottawa and the pilots glided it safely to the ground — landing at an old airport which, unbeknownst to the pilot, was not a motor racing circuit. A very, very fine piece of flying indeed.

The aircraft was returned to normal service — there’s nothing a bit of panel-beating can’t fix! — and for the last 24 years has had a normal career.

Hat-tip (and the full story) thanks to Telstar Logistics.

Soap Glamour Pussy

OK, I had dinner with Snarky Platypus earlier tonight, and on the beer coaster in my pocket it says: soap glamour pussy. Apparently this was very important. Explanations please.

My new long-distance love

Photo of Greenwich foot tunnel, by Dave Gorman

Thanks to UK comedian Dave Gorman and the BBC Magazine’s Alternative tourist map of Britain, I’ve fallen in love with the Greenwich foot tunnel (pictured).

Look further! It has a dome at each end, almost infinite length and endless fascinating perspectives.

Opened in 1902, the tunnel runs 370m under the River Thames and is lined with white tiles — though the section in the photo has a thick steel and concrete inner lining to repair World War II bomb damage. You can see that more clearly in the Dave Gorman’s larger photo.

Perhaps it’s unpatriotic to lust after a very English tunnel on the 75th birthday of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, but somehow this tunnel intrigues me. I suspect that once I see it “in the flesh” I’ll love it as much as ’Pong loves the Newtown railway underpass.

Universal Manufacturing to transform the world

Photo of Fab@Home Model 1

Remember the “replicators” of science fiction? You know, the gadget like a microwave oven where you dialled up “replacement gear wheel” or “9mm pistol” or “vegetarian lasagne” and out it’d pop? That’s what you’re looking at in the photo at right.

OK, not quite.

This is the Fab@Home Model 1 freeform fabrication system, sort of like an inkjet printer for making 3D objects.

These rapid prototyping (RP) systems have been around for a while, but the Model 1 has two key differences. You can build it yourself for US$2300 of parts you can buy off the shelf. And the plans and software are free.

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