The Interstate Highway System

The US Federal Interstate Highway System has been called “the greatest public works project in history”. But when the plan was passed in the 1950s, it was promoted as a military contingency program in case of nuclear war.

Interstate_Highway_plan_October_1957

The original interstate highway plan       photo from WikiCommons

Continue reading The Interstate Highway System

Advertisements

The Roman Calendar

Around the world, different human cultures have used a wide variety of methods to keep track of the passing year. In the western world, our calendar system is based on the Roman model, which itself underwent a series of significant changes throughout history.

Roman-calendar
Pre-Julian Roman Calendar                                                                   photo from WikiCommons

 

Continue reading The Roman Calendar

Green Screening: A History of SFX Movie Compositing

Most Hollywood blockbusters today depend upon special effects (SFX) for their visual impact. One of the most widely-used techniques is “greenscreening”, in which multiple elements are filmed in front of a plain green background and then are “composited” together in one scene. But the techniques of SFX compositing go all the way back to the beginnings of cinema.

Continue reading Green Screening: A History of SFX Movie Compositing

Project HORIZON: The American Military Base on the Moon

In May 1961, US President John F Kennedy called for a NASA program to send a man to the Moon before the end of the decade. It was hailed at the time as a bold step into the unknown. But two years prior to Kennedy’s speech, the US Army had already undertaken a classified feasibility study that was much more ambitious in scope than a mere Moon landing. Dubbed “Project HORIZON”, the Army’s plan called for a permanently-manned lunar outpost, with a dozen residents, that would be powered by nuclear reactors, armed with nuclear weapons, and capable of carrying out a wide variety of military tasks.

project-horizon-lunar-outpost-02

Project HORIZON Moon base                 photo from US Defense Dept

Continue reading Project HORIZON: The American Military Base on the Moon