Continuing the series,
Continuing the series, I thought this one was particularly striking, because it was missing the top tension cables you normally see on a construction crane.
Yes, they actually make elevators that lift boats up mountains! This one is called the Plan Incliné de Saint-Louis-Arzviller, located in the Lorraine region of France:
There are a number of urban mysteries for me.
One mystery is why they paint tall structures with red and white.
This is a snap I took of a transmission tower in Alsace in France:
And this is a snap I took of a nuclear cooling tower in New York:
The mystery is why different countries use exactly the same approach? Is this an international ISO standard?
(By the way, that big dome in the photo above is the enclosure to the nuclear reactor. I was only around 20 years old at the time, but I had a security clearance to work on the so-called operations deck from which they directly controlled the reactor. I was quite probably the youngest person in America to have this clearance. It was quite cool because there was a retina scanner to get in, and once you entered you walked into a metal cage. Once in the cage, one guard pointed a gun at you while the other checked your badge. This was the 1980’s, the Cold War was in full swing, and they didn’t take any chances.)
One of my passions are the swamps of the southern United States. Here’s a nice shot of some mangrove trees taken from my canoe in the Atchafalaya swamp in Louisiana:
Interesting story: a good friend of mine, Seargent Major Bill Thrasher of the United States Marine Corps was quite concerned I was planning to vacation in this area. This was the early 1990’s, and he told me he would go on training missions deep in the these swamps. “Ken,” he said, “there’s some awful people living back there. You’re likely to just disappear. Whole families live deep in the swamps and most of their kids don’t even have names.”
Well, I didn’t disappear – but I did see quite a few wooden shacks where people were living, as well as a few people on boats with guns and fishing poles. They didn’t seem too inclined to stop and talk with me.
Yes, I had the honor or privilege of having someone try to shoot me with a gun.
On one of these occasions, I was driving around the back woods region of Kentucky, when my path was blocked by a couple of stray cows, so I spent the time to take their picture:
I heard someone with a gun firing, one shot, then another. I assumed someone just hunting birds or squirrels. Then, just as I started to drive off, WHAM – a gun shot and a loud noise from the side of my pickup truck!
At that point, I drove away VERY fast. After around 1-2 miles I stopped to look for a bullet hole – but didn’t find anything. However, next time I stopped for gas I spotted it: a nice round bullet hole, probably made by a 22-caliber, about 1 inch from my gas tank cover.
Moral of the story: there are still many places in rural, backwoods America where the folks don’t take too kindly to strangers.
Dating back to 1027, this is Schloss Kyburg,
And in a garden just outside of the moat you’ll find a fountain filled with bees that have come to take a drink
I’m not sure they do this in a normal year. It’s been particularly dry in Switzerland, and it could be the other natural sources of water have evaporated.
This morning I was impressed when I caught a glimpse of the traffic gates closing due to an oncoming tram. And it caused me to start wondering: are there many “transitory things” that I can capture, as they fleetingly move between one stable state and the next? Just like these barricades – no longer up, but not yet down.
I’ll keep thinking about this, and if I find some more examples, I’ll show them in my blog.
Continuing the series, this is a Rond-Point close to a hydroelectric generating station along the Rhine River in France,
It’s like an open air museum, where you can get up close to the mechanical devices used for turning water flow into electricity:
There is a plaque nearby:
And it explains how each of the components are used:
Nothing special about this one – it just struck me that this high tension transmission tower was standing over the streetlight like the Giant might stand over Jack:
I’m not an expert in this stuff, but it struck me that the cables are in pairs – rather than in bundles of threes. Does this mean that this is ordinary two-phase AC power, rather than the more common three phase that you’d expect to be transmitted on a overhead power line? Or, is each phase carried on a separate tier of the structure?
This is a hydropower generating station located on the Rhine River in France, just across the border from Switzerland:
It makes a pretty picture, but what impressed me even more was this Rond-Point (roundabout) that I spotted very near to the power station:
Spread out over the Rond-Point are all the mechanical components used to turn the flow of water into electricity.
I spotted this very innovative cigarette dispenser in the French department of Haut-Rhin:
Supposedly, you discard your cigarette butt according to which sports team you support. But if you stop and think a bit: do you drop your butt below the team you favor, to show your support – or do you drop your butt at the team you least favor, thereby giving them your butt (so to speak)?
When you stop to think about it, there is really a big assumption built in!
I could not believe my eyes when I went to Frick and saw – for the first time in Switzerland – and probably for only the third or fourth time in all of Europe – a real, American style strip mall!
And not only that, but it even had an Asian restaurant to boot!
Unbelievably, while I was taking this picture a vintage Cadillac rolled up next to me, the driver got out and started to make some repairs under the hood.
You can’t get more American than that!
First things first, I want to be crystal clear so nobody is confused. This is not a real dinosaur:
The dinosaurs all died out a long time ago. This is just a big model of a dinosaur.
OK, having got that out of the way, now to “Frick the Disappointing.” Before you get to Frick, you pass all sorts of signs on the Autobahn that say Dinosaur discovery place and Dinosaur museum – and you get curious and decide to go visit this strange place called Frick. As you turn off the Autobahn, a big friendly dinosaur is there to greet you – and now you really start to get excited! This is going to be really something special, you think to yourself!
And then, suddenly, all at once, when you drive into downtown Frick – nothing. Nada. Zilch. No little dinos lining the streets. No “Dino Kebabs” for sale in the Turkish kepab shops. Even if you want to get to the dinosaur museum it is a huge challenge: you can’t see the sign until you pass it.
As part of my sense of civic duty, I want to make a Frick-Tip: Turn Frick into something exciting. Get a few more dinos lining the streets. Have the kebap places sell “Dino Kebaps.” Open a souvenir shop selling “Dino Frick” T-Shirts and little plastic dinosaurs. Here is a good example.