Starship Enterprise in the shop for repairs, to voyage again later this year   Leave a comment

Washington Post


After 50 years of imaginary intergalactic service and epic flights of science fiction, the starship Enterprise, registry number NCC-1701, lies in pieces on a table at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia.

X-rays of its insides hang on the walls of the conservation unit. Parts of the ship’s poplar-and-fiberglass hull are exposed. And the bridge, where fictional Starfleet Capt. James T. Kirk once sat, has been removed.

Enterprise is a venerable ship — launched in 1964 at a Burbank, Calif., prop maker’s shop for the original “Star Trek” television series.

It’s also a piece of history, along with the Wright Brothers’ “Flyer” and Charles Lindbergh’s “Spirit of St. Louis.”

The museum is now restoring the make-believe voyager as a part of America’s real-life air and space heritage.


Ariel O’Connor, a conservator at the museum, shows where screws were hidden under a rail on the main body of the Enterprise model.


The lighting effect (oscillating look of movement) was achieved with blinking Christmas lights and a spinning fan mechanism.


Paramount Studios gave the 11-foot-long Enterprise model to the Smithsonian in 1974, Malcolm Collum, the Air and Space Museum’s chief conservator, said Thursday.

The show, about the a starship’s crew of space adventurers, made its debut in 1966 and was canceled after three seasons.

“At that time, [the model] was just a discarded piece, a prop,” he said.

No more.

Star Trek, created by the late Hollywood screenwriter and World War II bomber pilot Gene Roddenberry, has become a global phenomenon, sparking several television shows and movies, books, comics — and legions of followers.


Crude by modern standards, the Enterprise model is being handled as a classic, if evolving, work of art.

“Its appearance changed numerous times throughout the [TV] series,” Collum said.

Conservators are striving to make the Enterprise look as it did in the 1967 episode “The Trouble With Tribbles,” in which the ship is infested with the furry creatures, he said.

The original model, painted battleship gray, was made by the Production Models Shop, which built models for commercials, Smithsonian conservator Ariel O’Connor said.

It went back to the shop once for the addition of lights and windows, and was altered three times in the studio.


Collum said the model had long hung in the gift shop of the Air and Space Museum on the Mall. Now it is headed for the renovated Milestones of Flight Hall there.

“The historical relevance of the TV show, and this model, has grown,” he said. “So it’s now being brought up into the limelight, and it’s going to be in the same gallery as the ‘Spirit of St. Louis’ [and] the Apollo 11 command module.”

Enterprise will go back on display this year, in time for the museum’s 40th birthday in July and the 50th anniversary of “Star Trek” in September, museum spokesman Nick Partridge said in a blog post.

But before that, deterioration of the model has to be addressed. Paint is peeling in spots. Parts of the four earlier restorations have to be corrected. And years of grime must be cleaned off, Collum said.

“But for being a model that was built by a shop that would build things for a quick TV episode and be done, it’s actually built remarkably well,” O’Connor said. “It’s very sturdy.”

It’s a half-century old, she said — a moment in star time, a small chapter in its continuing mission.


Posted February 8, 2016 by markosun in Science Fiction, Space, Television

Dustin Byfuglien Signs Five Year Contract Extension with the Winnipeg Jets   Leave a comment


Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien signed a five-year, $38 million contract Monday. It has an average annual value of $7.6 million.

He could have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

“We’re very excited that Dustin and us were able to come to an agreement … with respect to the term and the money,” Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff told the Jets website.



Winnipeg Jets' Dustin Byfuglien (33) checks Toronto Maple Leafs' David Clarkson (71) as Leafs Greg McKegg (36) looks on during first period NHL action in Winnipeg on Saturday, January 3, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Dustin is one of the more devastating hitters in the NHL.


The Jets entered the week nine points behind the Colorado Avalanche for the final wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference but Byfuglien said he’s confident in the direction the Jets are headed.

“We’ve got a good group of guys here,” Byfuglien said. “I’ve been with them for a while now, watching the process of everyone coming up and who’s coming in the organization now and what we have coming. I believe in what they’re trying to do here. You can’t win a Stanley Cup overnight. It’s a process and I feel they’re in the right state.”

Byfuglien, 30, is tied for second among NHL defensemen with 15 goals, and has 32 points in 52 games this season.

At 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, Byfuglien is among the most unique players in the League, having experience at forward and defense. He’s scored at least 15 goals in three straight seasons, and played in his third NHL All-Star Game this season.

In 11 seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks, Atlanta Thrashers and Jets, he has 148 goals and 376 points in 649 games. He helped the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup in 2010.


Winnipeg Jets' Dustin Byfuglien (33) hits Edmonton Oilers' Luke Gazdic (20) during second period NHL hockey action in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Monday, Feb. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Trevor Hagan)

Byfuglien is from Roseau, Minn., about 115 miles south of Winnipeg, and still has family in the area. That made Winnipeg even more desirable for him.

“That has a play in it too,” he said. “Close as I’ll get to being home and I’m happy to call Winnipeg home now.”

Byfuglien will be 35 when his new contract expires but said he believes his best hockey is still to come.

“As the years have gone by I feel every year I’ve gotten better and better, matured more, figured out how to be a pro better,” he said.

Cheveldayoff said Byfuglien’s intelligence and maturity on and off the ice will allow him to remain a big contributor.

“He’s a smart hockey player that has unique abilities on the ice,” Cheveldayoff said. “But I think it’s that maturation of a person that has allowed him to understand how he can take his play to another level.”


Posted February 8, 2016 by markosun in Winnipeg Jets

Danzig “Mother 93”   Leave a comment


I hadn’t heard this song in a long time. Watching The Hangover III it suddenly was being played. Danzig is a band created by Glenn Danzig, formerly of The Misfits. The Misfits are one of my favourite bands.


Danzig gig in Sweden 2010

Tell your children not to walk my way
Tell your children not to hear my words
What they mean
What they say

Can you keep them in the dark for life
Can you hide them from the waiting world
Oh mother

Gonna take you daughter out tonight
Gonna show her my world
Oh father

Not about to see your light
But if you wanna find hell with me
I can show you what it’s like
Till you’re bleeding

Not about to see your light
And if you wanna find hell with me
I can show you what it’s

Tell your children not to hold my hand
Tell your children not to understand
Oh mother

Do you wanna bang heads with me
Do you wanna feel everything
Oh father

Not about to see your light
And if you wanna find hell with me
I can show you what it’s like
Till you’re bleeding

Not about to see your light
And if you wanna find hell with me
I can show you what it’s

Not about to see your light
But if you wanna find hell with me
I can show you what it’s like
Till you’re bleeding

Not about to see your light
And if you wanna find hell with me
I can show you what it’s like

Posted February 7, 2016 by markosun in Music

Nature Creates Magical Art in the North Arizona Desert   Leave a comment



Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon (vary narrow canyon) in the American Southwest. It is located on Navajo land east of Page, Arizona. Antelope Canyon includes two separate, photogenic slot canyon sections, referred to individually as Upper Antelope Canyon or The Crack; and Antelope Canyon or The Corkscrew.

The Navajo name for Upper Antelope Canyon is Tsé bighánílíní, which means “the place where water runs through rocks.” Lower Antelope Canyon is Hazdistazí (advertised as “Hasdestwazi” by the Navajo Parks and Recreation Department), or “spiral rock arches.” Both are located within the LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Nation.


Antelope Canyon was formed by erosion of Navajo Sandstone, primarily due to flash flooding and secondarily due to other sub-aerial processes. Rainwater, especially during monsoon season, runs into the extensive basin above the slot canyon sections, picking up speed and sand as it rushes into the narrow passageways. Over time the passageways eroded away, making the corridors deeper and smoothing hard edges in such a way as to form characteristic ‘flowing’ shapes in the rock.

Flooding in the canyon still occurs. A flood occurred on October 30, 2006, that lasted 36 hours, and caused the Tribal Park Authorities to close Lower Antelope Canyon for five months.



Antelope Canyon is visited exclusively through guided tours, in part because rains during monsoon season can quickly flood the canyon. Rain does not have to fall on or near the Antelope Canyon slots for flash floods to whip through, as rain falling dozens of miles away ‘upstream’ of the canyons can funnel into them with little prior notice. On August 12, 1997, eleven tourists, including seven from France, one from the United Kingdom, one from Sweden and two from the United States, were killed in Lower Antelope Canyon by a flash flood. Very little rain fell at the site that day, but an earlier thunderstorm had dumped a large amount of water into the canyon basin, 7 miles (11 km) upstream. The lone survivor of the flood was tour guide Francisco “Poncho” Quintana, who had prior swift-water training. At the time, the ladder system consisted of amateur-built wood ladders that were swept away by the flash flood. Today, ladder systems have been bolted in place, and deployable cargo nets are installed at the top of the canyon. At the fee booth, a NOAA Weather Radio from the National Weather Service and an alarm horn are stationed.

Despite improved warning and safety systems, the risks of injuries from flash floods still exist. On July 30, 2010, several tourists were stranded on a ledge when two flash floods occurred at the Upper Antelope Canyon. Some of them were rescued and some had to wait for the flood waters to recede. There were reports that a woman and her 9-year-old son were injured as they were washed away downstream, but no fatalities were reported.









Posted February 7, 2016 by markosun in Geography, Nature

TNT Airlines: “We Make Your Flight Fun As F#@K   Leave a comment


Posted February 7, 2016 by markosun in Aviation

1970 Disco Spaceship Wedge Concept Car   Leave a comment



If we’re going to talk about concept cars, the Bertone Lancia Stratos HF Zero is kind of a basic bitch, pumpkin spice latte choice. Everyone knows it and everyone loves it. I don’t even care. It’s amazing and I love staring at it.

The 1970s is my favorite decade for both supercar and concept car design. I like to think of it as the era of “disco spaceship wedges,” these long, low, flat, sharp-looking machines. They’re evocative and dangerous, unlike anything on the road today. This era produced a ton of great designs, like the Lotus Esprit, Lamborghini Countach, DeLorean DMC-12 and so many others.

And those are just the ones that made it to production! The concept wedges are even cooler. Of them, the Stratos Zero may just be my favorite.


Of course, that name would be used on Lancia’s famous rally-going car a few years later, but this concept from the 1970 Turin Motor Show had little to do with that. As Autoweek tells it, the concept was a salvo in the ongoing war between Pininfarina and Bertone, conceived by the latter as an experiment to see how low they could go. (In height, not design, of course.)

The fully-functioning prototype was powered by a Lancia V4 engine pounding out a mighty 115 horsepower which sat under this crazy triangle-shaped engine cover in the middle of the car. That paltry power figure didn’t matter because the Zero was all about its razor sharp looks.

The seats were almost horizontal and the long trapezoidal windscreen gave a great view of the sky. The inside sported a futuristic instrument panel encased in green glass that reminds me of the inside of a Tesla Model S, just 40 years earlier.


If you grew up in the 1980s and early 1990s, you may remember Michael Jackson transforming into a replica of this car in the film Moonwalker. Google it, children.

The Stratos Zero got a full restoration in 2000. In 2011, it was sold by RM Auctions for about $915,000, which I think is kind of a steal considering how freaking awesome it is.






Posted February 7, 2016 by markosun in Automobiles

T-Rex Making the best of winter   Leave a comment

Posted February 7, 2016 by markosun in Animals


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 194 other followers