Thursday, October 20, 2011

two earthquakes in one day

There was a 4.2-magnitude in San Francisco around 2pm today. At my place it was just a sudden jerk like you would get if you were in a car going two or three miles per hour and slammed the breaks.

Just now (about 8:30pm) there was another one. It felt a big more vigorous and lasted a lot longer. Maybe 5 seconds or so. I'll have to wait a while for the news to tell me what the size was.

Well, the main reason I moved to the Bay Area was to experience an earthquake. I've experienced about 5 now, so maybe it's time to move to some place that has hurricanes.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

3-wheelers

I've been browsing through this wonderful web site called 3-wheelers.com. They have a list of hundreds of historic and current 3-wheel vehicles and some of the historic ones are amazing. I was surprised to find that one of the first cars ever manufactured was a 3-wheel steam vehicle invented in Phoenix, AZ in 1887.
What is surprising about this, is that Arizona was so distant from the manufacturing world in 1887 and I have always thought of Phoenix as being a small town before about 1920. It's amazing that one of the earliest motorcycles and earliest cars were both invented there by an interesting individual named Lucius Copeland.

Even older is the Stream Dray built by Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot, an engineer in the French army.
The Steam Dray was built in 1769! That's over a hundred years before Copeland's tricycle. I'm not sure how Copeland's can count as possibly the first car, but I imagine automobile historians have certain criteria for what makes a self-propelled machine a car or not.

The brief history given at 3-wheelers.com suggests that the French were ahead in steam technology until the French Revolution, when Cugnot was exiled. After that Great Britain became the most advanced nation in steam power.

Finally, there is the 1942 Arzens L'Ouf.
This French vehicle is primarily interesting because it looks like the inspiration for the Jetson's flying car.