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Skyfaring: A Journey With a Pilot by Mark Vanhoenacker
Airbus A320, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, computer age, dark matter, digital map, Edmond Halley, John Harrison: Longitude, Louis Blériot, Maui Hawaii, out of africa, phenotype, place-making, planetary scale, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, the built environment, transcontinental railway
Though the convergence of the lines of the plane naturally draws the gaze of an observer toward the nose, it’s the wings that dominate the experience of the walk-around. The word wings still retains echoes of the divine, as if their simplicity and beauty might lead us to forget that we ourselves make them. We sculpt them and then we fuse them to a bus. There is only one pair of wings, of course, thanks to the French aviator Louis Blériot, credited with the creation of the first practical monoplane. Embedded in the wings, in the curve of the 747’s take on Blériot’s innovation, are powerful lamps known as landing lights. We might thank Blériot, who first made car headlights practical, for these as well. Whenever I look at a wingtip I like to think of the engineers and the years devoted to this pointed conjunction of design and air, where the wing gives way to the medium that breathes it to life.
West With the Night by Beryl Markham
No human pursuit achieves dignity until it can be called work, and when you can experience a physical loneliness for the tools of your trade, you see that the other things — the experiments, the irrelevant vocations, the vanities you used to hold — were false to you. Record flights had actually never interested me very much for myself. There were people who thought that such flights were done for admiration and publicity, and worse. But of all the records — from Louis Blériot’s first crossing of the English Channel in nineteen hundred and nine, through and beyond Kingsford Smith’s flight from San Francisco to Sydney, Australia — none had been made by amateurs, nor by novices, nor by men or women less than hardened to failure, or less than masters of their trade. None of these was false. They were a company that simple respect and simple ambition made it worth more than an effort to follow.
Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier by Neil Degrasse Tyson, Avis Lang
Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, asset allocation, Berlin Wall, carbon-based life, centralized clearinghouse, cosmic abundance, cosmic microwave background, dark matter, Gordon Gekko, informal economy, invention of movable type, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Karl Jansky, Kuiper Belt, Louis Blériot, Mars Rover, mutually assured destruction, Pluto: dwarf planet, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, space pen, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, trade route, V2 rocket
You can travel under sea in a submarine, or circumnavigate the globe by air in a Zeppelin. The radio carries your voice to all parts of the earth with the speed of light. Soon, television will enable you to see the world’s greatest spectacles as you sit in the comfort of your living room. But some journalists did pay attention to the way flight might change civilization. After the Frenchman Louis Blériot crossed the English Channel from Calais to Dover on July 25, 1909, an article on page three of the New York Times was headlined “FRENCHMAN PROVES AEROPLANE NO TOY.” The article went on to delineate England’s reaction to the event: Editorials in the London newspapers buzzed about the new world where Great Britain’s insular strength is no longer unchallenged; that the aeroplane is not a toy but a possible instrument of warfare, which must be taken into account by soldiers and statesmen, and that it was the one thing needed to wake up the English people to the importance of the science of aviation.
Commuter City: How the Railways Shaped London by David Wragg
Beeching cuts, British Empire, financial independence, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Louis Blériot, North Sea oil, railway mania, Right to Buy, South Sea Bubble, urban sprawl, V2 rocket, Winter of Discontent, yield management
A Great Western steam locomotive, the City of Truro, set an unofficial steam record in 1904, of 100 mph, faster than any aeroplane for some years still to come. While the record was unofficial and over the following decades often doubted, more recent investigation has verified the claim. The Wright brothers, who had made their first tentative aeroplane flights in December 1903, made their first public demonstrations in 1908, initially in the United States, and then in France. The following year, the Frenchman, Louis Bleriot, flew a monoplane to make the first aeroplane crossing of the English Channel, and on the Medway, the Short brothers became the first licensees for the Wright series of aeroplanes. Aviation might seem to have little to do with urban transport, but, as we will see later, when they developed, airports were to become significant traffic generators for the railways in particular. Many portray the early years of the twentieth century as a time of peace and optimism.
The Arsenal of Democracy: FDR, Detroit, and an Epic Quest to Arm an America at War by A. J. Baime
banking crisis, British Empire, Ford paid five dollars a day, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, housing crisis, interchangeable parts, Louis Blériot, mass immigration, means of production, Silicon Valley, strikebreaker
Barely a teenager, and just six years after the Wright brothers made their first flight, Edsel hurled himself into a wild adventure. At the time, only a few men had successfully accomplished controlled, machine-powered flight. The Brazilian inventor Alberto Santos-Dumont debuted a flying machine he called Oiseau de Proie (French for “bird of prey”). In the Parisian neighborhood of Bois de Boulogne, he flew 200 feet in 1906. Frenchman Louis Blériot, an inventor who wore a mustache like a set of wings, was active at the same time as the Wrights, pioneering a monoplane design. He made the first flight across the English Channel in the summer of 1909, moving the London Daily Express to declare that “Great Britain is no longer an island.” That same year, in Dearborn, Edsel and Van Auken modeled their flying machine after Blériot’s. It had a single fabric wing, a wooden skeleton, and a tricycle landing gear, the parts machined at the Highland Park Ford factory.
France (Lonely Planet, 8th Edition) by Nicola Williams
active transport: walking or cycling, back-to-the-land, bike sharing scheme, British Empire, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, Columbine, double helix, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, haute cuisine, Henri Poincaré, Honoré de Balzac, illegal immigration, industrial robot, information trail, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Louis Blériot, Louis Pasteur, low cost carrier, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, Murano, Venice glass, pension reform, QWERTY keyboard, ride hailing / ride sharing, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Skype, Sloane Ranger, supervolcano, trade route, urban renewal, urban sprawl, V2 rocket
It sits incongruously in Parc St-Pierre, next to a boules ground and a children’s playground. You can watch huge car ferries sailing majestically towards Dover from Calais’ sandy, cabin-lined beach, which begins 1km northwest of place d’Armes and is linked to town by a bike path, which also goes along the beachfront. The sand continues westward along 8km-long, dune-lined Blériot Plage, named after pioneer aviator Louis Blériot, who began the first ever trans-Channel flight from here in 1909. Both beaches are served by buses 3 and 9. Sleeping Lots of two-star hotels can be found along, and just east of, rue Royale. In Coquelles, near the Channel Tunnel vehicle-loading area and next to the Cité Europe shopping mall, you’ll find half a dozen hotels, including the 99-room Etap Hôtel ( 08 92 68 30 59; www.etaphotel.com; place de Cantorbéry; s/tr €39/45, in summer €49/55) and the 86-room Hôtel Ibis ( 03 21 46 37 00; place de Cantorbéry; d €65-79).
Lonely Planet France by Lonely Planet Publications
banking crisis, bike sharing scheme, British Empire, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, Columbine, double helix, Frank Gehry, glass ceiling, haute couture, haute cuisine, Henri Poincaré, Honoré de Balzac, illegal immigration, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Louis Blériot, Louis Pasteur, low cost carrier, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, Murano, Venice glass, ride hailing / ride sharing, sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, supervolcano, trade route, urban renewal, urban sprawl, V2 rocket
It’s situated incongruously in flowery Parc St-Pierre , next to a boules ground and a children’s playground. Beachfront BEACH The unique attraction at Calais’ cabin-lined beach, which begins 1km northwest of place d’Armes, is watching huge car ferries as they sail majestically to and from Dover. The sand continues westward along 8km-long, dune-lined Blériot Plage , named after the pioneer aviator Louis Blériot, who began the first ever trans-Channel flight from here in 1909. Both beaches are served by buses 3, 5 and 9. Sleeping Lots of budget hotels can be found along, and just east of, rue Royale. Coquelles’ main claim to fame is that it’s a convenient place to grab a night’s sleep, thanks to the abundance of chain hotels just off the autoroute near the tunnel entrance. Hôtel Meurice HOTEL €€ Offline map Google map ( 03 21 34 57 03; www.hotel-meurice.fr; 5-7 rue Edmond Roche; d €92-162; ) This veteran downtown hotel with 39 rooms offers plenty of atmosphere, thanks to its grand lobby staircase, antique furnishings, Hemingwayesque bar and breakfast room with garden views.