Lionel Corporation is an American toy manufacturer and retailer that has done business since 1901. Founded as an electrical novelties company, Lionel specialized in various products throughout its existence, but toy trains and model railroads were its main claim to fame.
The Tornado Intercept Vehicle 1 (TIV 1) and Tornado Intercept Vehicle 2 (TIV 2) are vehicles used to film with an IMAX camera from inside a tornado. They were designed by film director Sean Casey. On May 27, 2013 the TIV2 filmed the inside of a tornado in Kansas with Sean Casey inside.
The Tornado Intercept Vehicle 1 (TIV 1) is a heavily modified 1997 Ford F-450 truck used as a storm chasing platform and built by IMAX director Sean Casey. This heavily armored vehicle can drive into a relatively weak tornado (EF0 to EF3) to film it and take measurements. Work began on the TIV in 2003 and took around eight months to finish, at a total cost of around US$81,000. TIV’s armored shell consists of 1/8–1/4 inch steel plate welded to a two inch square steel tubing frame. The windows are bullet resistant polycarbonate, measuring 1 1/2 inches thick on the windshield and 1/2 inch thick on the sides. The TIV weighs approximately 16,500 pounds fully loaded and is powered by a 7.3-liter Ford Power Stroke turbocharged Diesel engine manufactured by Navistar-International, giving it a top speed of 80 mph (130 km/h). The TIV has a fuel capacity of 60 US gallons (230 L), giving it a range of around 500 miles (800 km). The TIV is featured in a series called Storm Chasers which began airing on the Discovery Channel in October 2007. TIV was succeeded in 2008 by TIV 2, but returned to service to finish out the 2008 storm chasing season after TIV 2 suffered mechanical problems. In a June 2011 interview with NPR’s All Things Considered, Casey said that TIV is still in service and is designated as the backup vehicle in the event TIV 2 breaks down during a shoot.
Casey and his team developed and built the second Tornado Intercept Vehicle, dubbed “TIV 2″, to be featured in their next IMAX movie and the Storm Chasers series. Work began in September 2007 by 40 welding students at the Great Plains Technology Center in Lawton, Oklahoma and was completed in time for the 2008 tornado chase season. TIV 2 was designed to address some of the problems experienced with the original TIV, namely its low ground clearance, lack of four-wheel drive, and low top speed. It is based on a Dodge Ram 3500 that was strengthened and converted to six-wheel drive by adding a third axle. After season two the six-wheel drive system was modified to four-wheel drive. It is powered by a 6.7-liter Cummins turbo charged Diesel engine, modified with propane and water injection to produce 625 horsepower (466 kW). This gives TIV 2 an estimated top speed of over 100 mph (160 km/h). Its fuel capacity is 95 US gallons (360 L), giving TIV 2 an approximate range of 750 miles (1,210 km). The body of TIV 2 is constructed of a 1/8-inch steel skin welded over a 2-inch (51 mm) square tubing steel frame. The windows in TIV 2 are all bullet-resistant 1.63-inch interlayered polycarbonate sheets and tempered glass. TIV 2 also features an IMAX filming turret similar to the one on the original TIV. The original TIV’s somewhat cumbersome hydraulic claws were not used on TIV 2 in favor of six hydraulic skirts that drop down to deflect wind over the TIV to stabilize it and protect the underside from debris, and four hydraulically operated anchoring spikes.
Only in China.
A collection of snaps, mostly taken on the highways of China and published by China Foto Press, reveal drivers who load up their vehicles far beyond their limits as they go about their daily business. These pictures show ridiculously heavy trucks, bikes and tractors with goods piled up to 20 feet above their heads, leaning at unusual angles under the load.
“Highway and bridge tolls in China are too high for transportation companies,” said Cui Zhongfu, secretary-general of the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing. “Sometimes, they can account for as much as 20 percent of the total expense.” Therefore, many companies carry too much freight to try to make trips more profitable and compete with rivals.
Overloading is a serious problem in China and a hazard for other vehicles and pedestrians. According to authorities, 80 percent of trucks are overloaded. These vehicles have been damaging the country’s crumbling highways and collapsed many bridges in the past.
For months, a bridge over the Qiantang River in Hangzhou, that was designed for vehicles weighing only 30 tons and trailers weighing 55 tons, was abused by truckers carrying loads in excess of 100 tons. The bridge finally gave away in July 2011, when a 129-ton truck tried to cross it. In the same month, a bridge in Yancheng, Jiangsu province and another 301-meter steel-arch bridge in Wuyishan, Fujian province, collapsed. Both bridges had been built about 10 years ago.
China has about 660,000 bridges, the most of any country in the world. But each year, more than a dozen of them collapse. Overloading is one of the many reasons of bridge failure.
These are either white stetson cowboy hats or toilets.
How is it possible that a dozen different motorists around the Russian city of Chelyabinsk were able to capture video of a massive meteor flying through the sky? Because almost everyone in Russia has a dash-mounted video camera in their car.
The sheer size of the country, combined with lax — and often corrupt — law enforcement, and a legal system that rarely favors first-hand accounts of traffic collisions has made dash cams all but a requirement for motorists.
“You can get into your car without your pants on, but never get into a car without a dash cam,” Aleksei Dozorov, a motorists’ rights activist in Russia told Radio Free Europe last year.
Do a search for “Russia dash cam crash” in YouTube — or even better, Yandex.ru, the county’s equivalent of Google — and you’ll find thousands of videos showing massive crashes, close calls and attempts at insurance fraud by both other drivers and pedestrians. And Russian drivers are accident prone. With 35,972 road deaths in 2007 (the latest stats available from the World Health Organization), Russia averages 25.2 traffic fatalities per 100,000 people. The U.S., by comparison, had 13.9 road deaths per 100,000 people in the same year, despite having six times more cars.
A combination of inexpensive cameras, flash memory and regulations passed by the Interior Ministry in 2009 that removed any legal hurdles for in-dash cameras has made it easy and cheap for drivers to install the equipment.
And it’s turned into an online phenomenon.
YouTube content policing means some of the most disturbing videos get pulled from U.S. video sites almost immediately, but as Marina Galperina reported at Animal New York last year, sites like the Ru CHP LiveJournal community are filled with disturbing videos of profanity-laden fist-fights, massive crashes and gruesome deaths, all captured on camera and shared for the world to see.
But then there are times like today, when dash cams catch a once-in-a-lifetime meteor falling from the sky, from every possible angle — something that couldn’t have happened just a few years ago.
French driver trapped for an hour in speeding 125mph car with no brakes
Frank Lecerf finally came to a stop in a ditch in Belgium when his Renault Laguna ran out of petrol after 200km trip
When Frank Lecerf drove off to do his weekly supermarket shop in northern France, he was not expecting to embark on a high-speed car chase that would force him over the Belgian border and on to the national news bulletins.
Lecerf has filed a legal complaint after his Renault Laguna, which is adapted for disabled drivers, jammed at 200km/h (125mph) and the brakes failed, forcing him to continue careering along a vast stretch of French motorway and into Belgium. Police gave chase until he ran out of petrol and crashed into a ditch.
The 36 year old was on a dual carriageway on his way to a hypermarket when the car’s speed first jammed at 60mph. Each time he tried to brake, the car accelerated, eventually reaching 125mph and sticking there.
While uncontrollably speeding through the fast lane as other cars swerved out of his way, he managed to call emergency services who immediately dispatched a platoon of police cars.
Realising Lecerf had no choice but to keep racing along until his petrol ran out, they escorted him at high speed across almost 125 miles of French motorway, past Calais and Dunkirk, and over the Belgian border.
Puzzled motorists gave way as the high-speed convoy approached. Three toll stations were warned to raise their barriers as Lecerf ploughed through. After about an hour, his petrol tank spluttered empty and he managed to swerve into a ditch in Alveringem in Belgium, about 125 miles from his home, in Pont-de-Metz, near the northern French city of Amiens.
“My life flashed before me,” he told Le Courrier picard. “I just wanted it to stop.” He was unhurt but had two epileptic seizures.
A Renault technician had been on the phone with police throughout the chase trying to help but couldn’t come up with a solution.
Lecerf said that it wasn’t the first time his speed dial had jammed but that Renault had looked at the car and assured him that it was fine.
His lawyer said he would file a legal complaint over “endangerment of a person’s life”.
Renault told France 2 TV that it would await the results of an investigation.
Monsieur Lecerf is lucky he wasn’t heading south towards the French Alps. He could have landed up like Thelma and Louise.
Almost a year ago, more than 3,000 people were relaxing aboard the opulent cruise liner Costa Concordia at the start of a week-long Mediterranean cruise. Today the ship is the subject of possibly the largest and most daunting marine salvage operation ever attempted.
On Friday 13 January 2012, the huge vessel heeled over on to its side, with more than 4,000 people on board, just off the coast of the small Italian island of Giglio.
Thirty-two passengers and crew members died in the accident, which unfolded when Capt Francesco Schettino steered the ship too close to shore while trying to show it off to islanders, and hit a rock.
Pockmarked with rust smears, its once bright paintwork bleached by the sun, the hulk of the Costa Concordia makes a forlorn spectacle.
Winter storms have battered its exposed flanks, making the work of the 400-strong salvage team even more difficult.
It was originally planned that the vessel would be removed from Giglio by the spring of 2013. However, work is now expected to be complete “by the end of summer”.
Much of the work so far has been preparatory.
Appendages, steel cables and anchor chains have been welded to the hull by the salvage workers, who are working day and night to recover the 114,000-tonne metal bulk.
No operation on the scale of that to recover the Costa Concordia has ever been attempted. It is being carried out by salvage companies Titan and Micoperi, and will unfold in several stages.
The basic plan is to roll the ship upright and then refloat it using huge metal boxes, or caissons, welded to its sides.
The vessel, which still contains tonnes of rotting food, furniture, bedding and passengers’ belongings, will then be towed away intact to prevent damage to the environment.
To prepare for the rollover operation, divers have attached heavy steel cables to anchor the ship and prevent it slipping into deeper water.
prevent it breaking up while the operation is under way.
In December, the ship’s funnel was removed to allow better access to the ship.
Project director Franco Porcellacchia told BBC News: “This is a very delicate and unusual project. We have no reference here.
“At the moment, we are working on the preparation of the seabed so that the ship rotates properly. We’re using grout bags containing sand and cement to make an artificial seabed.”
With the ship stabilised, the rollover is expected to take two days, as it must be done painstakingly slowly to prevent further damage to the weakened hull.
A series of steel platforms is being positioned underneath to cradle the ship when it returns to its upright position.
Once upright, more caissons will be attached to the side that had been submerged, and the water in them will then be replaced with air to give buoyancy and allow the wreck to be towed away.
With the ship considered beyond economic repair, its final destination is expected to be a dry dock in Sicily, where it will be cut up.
Franco Porcellacchia told the BBC that environmental risks were key concerns.
“Salvage teams do not have access to the inside, but we are working to prevent any substance from inside leaking. So far we have recorded no pollution and the situation is being constantly monitored by the authorities.
“The salvage is a joint venture [between Titan and Micoperi], but that contract is terminated when the ship is raised,” Mr Porcellacchia said.
“Dismantling it is another ball game”.
Beginning in 1981 with a single tug, we have grown to become an industry leader in global salvage response. By dedicating ourselves to salvage work without geographical limitation, we have been able to write a range of emergency salvage and response success stories throughout the world, overcoming difficult geographic and environmental challenges.
At TITAN, safety is our number one Core Value — the single motivation that guides everything we do. Our commitment to safety is to live it every day. At TITAN, safety means:
• Putting safety first in all activities • Safeguarding the environment • Recognizing and correcting potential hazards
With primary offices and response depots in Pompano Beach, Florida; Newhaven, UK; Singapore and Cairns, Australia, and strategically placed agent’s offices in port cities around the world, we can handle project management for salvage, wreck removal, natural disasters and maritime emergency response operations.
TITAN is a proud member of the International Salvage Union (ISU), the Marine Response Alliance (MRA), and the American Salvage Association (ASA), with TITAN principals having served, or currently serving, as executive members and office holders.