Russia’s Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft blasts off from Russian-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome on May 29, 2014.
Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images
” I knew I could only be in Kazakhstan when I saw the priests. Two of them—half-bears, half-men—walked up to the Soyuz on its pad at the fabled Baikonur Cosmodrome, their robes blowing in the desert wind. Then they sang at the rocket and bowed at the rocket and finally threw holy water at the rocket, and then they came over to us, the assembled reporters, and they threw holy water at us, too, because we probably looked like we could use it. I’m not a religious man, but I accepted my soaking under a boundless blue sky and thought what I suspect most of the people on the pad were thinking:Can’t hurt.
The entire Russian space program seems built on the guiding principle of can’t hurt. I was there for Esquire to report “Away,” a story about the future, about Scott Kelly, the first American who will spend a year in space, one more stepping-stone on our long journey to Mars. But in Kazakhstan, it felt more as though I were visiting the past, returning to a time when romance and witchcraft hadn’t yet made way for science. Over nearly 50 years of manned flight—every last one of those launches, from Yuri Gagarin on, having sprung from the same slab of cracked concrete—the Russians have acquired layers and layers of ritual, all of it either silly or sacred depending on how magical your thinking. “
” The Soyuz is always drawn out of its massive assembly building at exactly 7 o’clock in the morning, pulled along by a locomotive with one of its headlights mysteriously put out. The cosmonauts spend one of their last nights on Earth at their hotel in town and watch a pretty bad movie, White Sun of the Desert, and they always walk out to the bus that will take them to the pad to the same song, by a band called Earthlings. Later, they all climb out of that bus and piss on one of its tires because Gagarin allegedly did so; female cosmonauts and astronauts pour out a pre-filled cup.
And then, with a far better success record than the Americans could ever claim, they strap into their rocket, ancient and blessed, and launch into space. “
Story continues at Popular Mechanics
” Cinematographers and geeks alike already use DJI drones to shoot some pretty epic aerial photography. Those airborne images and video are about to get a lot better with the company’s newest quadcopter, the Inspire 1, which has a built-in 4k camera. The sleek, streamlined black-and-white drone transforms in mid-air into a V design by lifting its carbon-fiber arms above the camera assembly, allowing the user to shoot unobstructed video in any direction.
The on-board camera can capture 4K video at 24, 25, and 30 fps, and 1080p video at 24, 25, 30, 50, and 60 fps. The Inspire 1 can snap 12-megapixel stills with its 94-degree wide-angle lens — the camera itself rotates a full 360 degrees and can tilt down 125 degrees. It’s also detachable, meaning you can upgrade the camera when a new version comes along.
” We see this as the perfect combination of the Phantom and Spreading Wings series, being able to take off at the touch of a button while simultaneously giving users fine control of the images they capture,” says Frank Wang, DJI CEO and co-founder.
DJI says the drone can fly stable and steady even in strong winds or navigate the indoors without GPS. Inspire 1 uses an optical flow camera that maintains a stereoscopic image of the ground, which helps to prevent it from drifting while you’re trying to record video. “
A beautifully engineered creation , if a little on the pricey side .
Read more at Popular Mechanics
Here is the first example:
Need/want more ? OK …
These works of art on the human canvas are lightyears beyond the usual painted-on bikinis and Wonder Woman costumes … Here’s one more example …
Inquisitive readers can see the other 66 amazing creations here . Enjoy .
Image Credit: Jules Gervais-Courtellemont
Here’s another sample …
Canadian machine gunners dig themselves in, in shell holes on Vimy Ridge.
Image Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence
See all 89 pictures at American Heroes
52 years ago this week , the U-2 spy plane took photos of Russian missiles being installed in Cuba thus initiating the “Cuban Missile Crisis ” and bringing the world as close to nuclear annihilation as it has ever come .
Meet Christina …
” Christina tapped the plentiful offshore waters of Marathon, Florida Keys, to haul in this dolphin. Even though Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon and Key West tend to be the most popular fishing destinations, don’t forget about the “Forgotten Keys“ in the lower Keys, including Big Pine Key. These less-pressured keys offer exceptional fishing both inshore and offshore. “
And this here is Catherine …
” Catherine, a University of Georgia gymnast, went fishing in Key West and landed this permit. Key West Harbor is one of the most dependable spots to catch permit, especially during the spring. This fishery is a great option for those who lack the time or patience to pursue these fish on the flats. “
Meet twenty three more ladies who love fishing at Sport Fishing magazine’s October edition of “Sport Fishing Girls“
Do you think he likes the view ?
Here , Let me help …
See the other 80 pics here
Here’s one more teaser …
The Daily Buzz has the other 98 beautiful photos
I don’t think she’s going to be happy …
I meant to do that …
Speaking of hurting …
See the other 48 pictures here