Driving I-270

Unobtanium

by Virgil Soule. 0 Comments

James Cameron is apparently working on a series of sequels to his movie, Avatar. The original poses some interesting questions: Is mankind obliged to die out if denied a mineral called Unobtanium? Or, does some sort of Manifest Destiny give us the right to fight for it? The original movie was set in the year 2124 on a moon called Pandora orbiting a much larger planet in a distant star system. Presumably, something like a warp drive had been invented by then, so getting to distant planets was no ... read more

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

by Virgil Soule. 0 Comments

I knew by age seven that I wanted to be a pilot and do things with airplanes. That ambition was solidified at age sixteen in high school American Literature when we had a segment on career choices. The teacher handed out pamphlets describing different careers. I found one titled, Aeronautical Engineering, read it, and never looked back. After a satisfying forty-year career in the engineering field, I can say I made the right choice. Years later, after retirement, I found a job working the evening ... read more

Natural Gas for Automobiles

by Virgil Soule. 0 Comments

In their on-going search for a perpetual-motion machine, auto manufacturers are experimenting with all kinds of propulsion schemes designed to use less gasoline. The goal, of course, is to use no gasoline at all while still producing Interstate-highway performance for commuting. High-performance electric cars that meet this requirement are in production and are on the horizon. The current drawback is that electrics are rather expensive. Gasoline-electric hybrids like the Toyota Prius have been ... read more

Bill Nye Missed the Point

by Virgil Soule. 0 Comments

Earlier this month (Feb 5, to be exact) Bill Nye, the Science Guy, and Ken Ham of the Creation Museum in Kentucky engaged in a debate. The subject: Creation vs. Evolution. Scientists and creationists have been debating for a hundred years and are no closer today to a mutual understanding than at the beginning. Dialogue between the two camps may be helpful but is probably a waste of time because a fundamental dichotomy exists between science and religion. The Nye-Ham debate did nothing to bridge ... read more

Monuments Men Panned

by Virgil Soule. 0 Comments

A personable young reviewer on Fox News panned the new movie, Monuments Men, over Legos, a kids’ movie. It’s the kind of thing you get when you send a boy in to do a man’s job: kid stuff. Monuments Men is about U.S. Army units that were sent into Germany and Austria in search of art objects displaced by the war. Some of these were precious items hidden away by museums in France and Germany as the war advanced. Some was destroyed in tragedies like the Hamburg firestorm. Some is still missing, ... read more

The Bridges of Frederick County

by Virgil Soule. 0 Comments

Frederick county has seen a fair amount of bridge work this past year or so. A new bridge over Carroll Creek extended Monocacy Boulevard from Gas House Pike past the airport. Now, it’s an easy trip from Walkersville to Frederick Airport. Repainting work on the old span of the MD26 Bridge over the Monocacy River is nearing completion. The environmental-containment tent has been removed from one of the spans to reveal a lovely green-painted structure. Repair and rejuvenation work on the bridge ... read more

Vivid Dreams

by Virgil Soule. 0 Comments

I frequently have these dreams that are quite vivid in nature. Things are in color and I have conversations with people. Another characteristic seems to be that things happen or exist in vast spaces. I remember one in which I was walking with another fellow down a long hallway. The place was reminiscent of the scifs (sub-compartmented information facilities) where I once worked. We turned a corner at a jog in the hallway and there was an old friend named Charlie working as a janitor. We exchanged ... read more

More on the Md. 75 problem

by Virgil Soule. 0 Comments

The problem with trucks and the rail overpass on Md. 75 at New Market just doesn’t want to go away. Judging from comments here and there, most people don’t understand what’s happening. Just out of curiosity, I drove east to Mount Airy to see if in fact the rail line that crosses over Md. 75 is still in use. I had a brainstorm that maybe, if the line is no longer used, the overpass at Md. 75 could be removed. Turns out that the rails are shiny and show signs of regular use all the way out ... read more

Letter to Congress

by Virgil Soule. 1 Comment

Following is a letter sent to our representatives in the Congress regarding the phony shutdown of the administrative side of the Federal Government: “The Affordable Care Act is the crux of this whole phony government shutdown. As I see it, ACA was enacted in an unfair and undemocratic manner. It was written in haste and no doubt has major flaws. It was pushed through by the Democrat majority by suspending normal order and bypassing the rules. When House Republicans asked for a reading of the ... read more

Raising the Concordia

by Virgil Soule. 0 Comments

Whoo hoo! The parbuckling operation was a success and the wreck of the cruise ship, Costa Concordia, now rests upright on a temporary dry dock structure installed on the sloping seabed just outside the harbor on the Isle of Giglio, Italy. Readers will recall that in the evening hours of Friday, January 13, 2012, the Costa Concordia struck a rocky reef off Giglio Island off Italy’s west coast. It ended up lying on its side partially submerged on the island’s shore. Amazingly, for a wreck of ... read more