George Westinghouse

George Westinghouse was one of the most important people in the US. His birthday passed recently without much notice.  Most people don’t even know who he is anymore.  Which is a true shame because his achievements still affect us every day.  It’s well known that Westinghouse developed the air brake for railroads and had that been his only achievement he would still  be one of the greatest engineers of all time. But his work and the work of his companies went far beyond just the airbrake.

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Old Engines, A Tech Stuff Special

Recently I posted this video in Tech Stuff. Since people seemed to like it and I really like big massive machinery I thought that I would make Tech Stuff special post with engines, lots of the big engines and some not so big.  Also The CT Antique machinery show is coming up and this is a good way to show off the show.

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Living At Sea

This showed up in  my twitter timeline recently.

Now I don’t actually believe that the Maldives are being submerged by rising sea levels caused by global warming. Still the idea of repurposing old drilling platforms as seasteads is interesting.  They might interesting places to live.  Though living would be, by necessity, be confined in some ways. Larhe apartments and spaces are going to be rare, for instance.

Still there aren’t really any showstoppers. Huge ocean structure are already being fabricated for oil drilling and production.  People live on them for long periods of time.  It’s likely that offshore structures for various activities are going to get larger in the near future.

Not just oil and gas, but mining as well

New technologies are making possible to grow vegetables very efficiently.

People are also developing new ways to farm the ocean.


Who knows where it’s going to lead.  Even without the supposed AGW catastrophe seasteading might become no different than any other minerals town. It might even move like the town in Gargantia.

With advancing genetic and regeneration technologies they might even reinvent themselves to better suit the ocean environment, though I doubt that they would turn themselves into giant space squids.




Living at sea has some exciting potentials and the possibility of a new kind of living. Only though if we create the fertile ground that lets pioneering like this happen. Otherwise we risk the kind of world like the one  that Poul Anderson came up with in Orion Shall Rise.

Getting Water To NYC

Feeding the thirst and keeping the toilets flushed for  9 million people is a HUGE undertaking.  Doing it so well that people bottle your water is a truly incredible engineering achievement.  Yet that is what the water Dept. of NYC has done.

Here’s the NYC DEP website.

Here’s the map of NYC water supply.

The DEP has been conducting a truly massive project to ensure that NYC has clean water far into the future.

Of course the huge requirements of NYC’s water supply has always required large construction.

The need for water has been growing as the city does right from the 19th Century.

As the needs increased the water needed to be brought from points ever further away.

Starting with Westchester and Duchess Counties:

Then up into the Catskills.

And the Delaware.

All built by sandhogs.

The NYC water system is a true monument to getting things done.

Building The Largest Structures

On their side.

A long time ago, a good friend of mine tried to get me a job in Corpus Christi TX.  It didn’t work out, but I got a good look at some of the largest structures ever built, the giant oil rigs for the Gulf and other locations. I found some old photos that I took a while back and them some Youtube videos.

The gigantic rigs are fabricated at Gulf Coast Marine.


And Keiwitt Offshore Fabricators.


Here’s a bunch of links and videos to put these amazing structures in perspective.



Picture of the Day: Just the Base of an Oil Platform Being Towed Out to Sea

New oil platforms rise high to reach deep (photos)

Building The Second Ave Subway

The Second Ave is the largest and longest awaited expansion of the NY Subway in the last 50 years.  In fact a proposed expansion of the Subway onto 2nd Ave has been a part of NY Subway planning  for over a Century.  At last  phase 1 is almost completed.

A wonderful gallery of pictures in the tunnels.

More from business insider.

Some pics on flikr.

Looking Uptown

Some Albums from the MTA.

Second Avenue Subway Update: 72nd Street Station
Second Avenue Subway Update: First Work Train Ride
Second Avenue Subway Update: February 27, 2015


Second Avenue Subway Update: January and February 2015


More here.

A drone takes a trip.

And more video from WCBS.

And the NY Times.

A video from the MTA.

The Second Ave sagas blog.

MTA’s info page.

In spite of all the complaints it’s important to remember that these are huge projects under very trying conditions and severe constraints.  And they seem to be doing well.


Big Logistics

How do you get a 285 ton anode from it’s fabricator to the mine?  Very carefully with some big logistics.

Crossing a bridge.

Up and down a hill.

Some more video.

The final mile.

Precision Heavy Haul’s videos.

To Move The Big Rocket, You Need A Big Machine

When NASA designed the Saturn 1b and V they decided to erect them in what was then the largest enclosed space in the world and move them to the launch pad.  The Russians used railroad trains equipment for that job.  NASA used this.

Essentially it’s the crawlers from large excavators tied to a platform that can have the launch platform and spacecraft put on top.  the small rockets in this article do no give what’s happening justice.  When the Saturn v and it’s pad were on top of the crawler, it was the largest moving vehicle ever built.