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Ralph Roberts
Works at Creativity, Inc.
Attended N.C. State University
Lives in Asheville, North Carolina
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Ralph Roberts

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ZNOJMO CATACOMBS ... This network of conjoined cellars was riddled with traps and supposedly allowed the townspeople to pretend their homes ... "Beneath the historic homes of Znojmo, Croatia is a system of defensive catacombs built by the townspeople to protect themselves from invaders, using almost cartoonish strategies. 

Calling the maze beneath Znojmo "catacombs" is a bit of a misnomer, as there are no bodies buried in the underground network, but with their crude, twisting layout, the description seems apt. The tunnels beneath the town were created in between the 14th and 15th centuries, as the citizens linked together their cellar spaces into one great warren. The passages received air from shafts leading to chimneys and fireplaces in the homes and businesses above. In addition, there were wells for water, as well as sewage and drainage systems to keep the space fresh. All of this was in service of creating a vast hiding place for the townspeople. Tunnels leading out of the city were also created in case escape was the order of the day.
Should enemy invaders find their way into the almost 100,000 feet of tunneling, simple traps such as slippery slides, trapdoors, and narrow choke points, were also installed.

Supposedly an invading force once entered Znojmo to find nothing but an eerily empty ghost town with no people, but smoke still bellowing from chimneys. Details on this story seem apocryphal, but the image of an army terrified of a dead town is still evocative. ..."

MOREl http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/znojmo-catacombs
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Soviet Russia’s Secret Failed Moon Program ... "After the United States beat the Russian’s in the race to the moon in the late 70s of the last century, the Soviet lunar program was covered up and forgotten. These rare photos are from a lab inside the Moscow Aviation Institute which still houses the spacecraft and the lunar lander that was supposed to take the first cosmonaut to the surface of the moon.

oviet scientists were well ahead of their American counterparts in moon exploration before President John F. Kennedy pronounced the U.S. would put a man there first. The Soviets had already landed the probe Luna 2 on the surface of the moon in 1959 and had an orbiting satellite in 1966.

The Soviets developed a similar multi-step approach to NASA, involving a module used to orbit the moon and one for landing. Their version was decidedly less complex and lighter to account for inferior rockets. These photos show the LK “Lunar Craft” lander, which has a similar pod-over-landing gear structure but numerous key differences.

All the activities done by two astronauts is done by one. To make the craft lighter, the LK only fits the one cosmonaut, who was supposed to peer through a tiny window on the side of the craft to land it. After landing the vehicle the pod separates from the landing gear, as with the Apollo Lunar Module, but uses the same engine for landing as it does for take off as another weight savings.

The L2 Lunar Orbit Module designed to transport the LK into orbit around the moon was similarly stripped down. There’s no internal connection between the two craft so the cosmonaut had to space walk outside to get into the LK and head towards the surface. When the LK rejoined the L2 for the return trip home, the now likely exhausted would then climb back out into the abyss of space. The LK would then be thrown away.

There were numerous political, scientific and financial reasons why the Soviets didn’t make it to the moon first, including a space agency with split priorities and therefore not single-mindedly dedicated to this goal. Neil Armstrong walked on the moon first on July 20, 1969, besting the Russians, who were still planning to visit the moon in the upcoming years.

They had the equipment, but they didn’t have the rockets.

Getting to the moon requires launching a command module and a lander. Both are heavy objects and require massive amounts of thrust to get into orbit. The Soviet’s planned to use their N-1 rocket, but two failed launches in 1971 and 1972 destroyed dummy landing and control modules, as well as the rockets themselves, and led to the program being shelved for lack of a proper launch vehicle.

The LK was sent into space for numerous test missions. The first two unmanned flights were successful tests of the vehicle through a simulated orbit. The third flight ended when the N-1 rocket crashed. The fourth test in 1971 was a success, but years later the decaying test module started to return to Earth with a trajectory that would put it over the skies of Australia.

NASA explains in a report on the Soviet space program how they had to convince the Australians it wasn’t a nuclear satellite:

To allay fears of a nuclear catastrophe, representatives of the Soviet Foreign Ministry in Australia admitted that Cosmos 434 was an “experiment unit of a lunar cabin,” or lunar lander

Eventually, the program was deemed too expensive and unnecessary in light of the NASA success. The Soviets moved onto building space labs, successfully, and the remaining parts of the lunar program were destroyed or dispersed, including this amazing collection of parts hidden in the back of the Moscow Aviation Institute.

Apparently, students at the Moscow Aviation Institute are allowed access to this equipment, a Russian Livejournaler managed to get photos inside the lab that holds a lander, much of the docking equipment, and diagrams. The poster couldn’t show everything and describes the vibe around the many parts as secretive. Not all of the other pieces are easily identifiable as more than “satellite” or “Soyuz spacecraft” or “awesome and Soviet.” ..."

MANY PHOTOS: http://www.amusingplanet.com/2011/04/soviet-russias-secret-failed-moon.html
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+Paul Priems Yes, there do seem to be a regular collection.  All the same sort of unsubstantiated arguments from them, all the same sort of threats. Totally impervious to logic or scientific proof but still use the fruits from it.  Anybody would think they had a script to read from or something?
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54-wheel-drive: The LeTourneau electric arctic land trains

Hemmings.com - "...the most beloved monster truck of all time: the LeTourneau land trains, built to access the most remote reaches of the arctic and to dwarf just about any other land vehicle in both size and sheer testicular fortitude. ..."

http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/2009/11/19/54-wheel-drive-the-letourneau-electric-arctic-land-trains-that-put-australian-road-trains-to-shame/
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Dang must be a heck of a u turn 
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Bugatti, 1938 Type 57SC Atlantic ... Wikipedia --- "The Bugatti Type 57 and later variants (including the famous Atlantic and Atalante) was an entirely new design by Jean Bugatti, son of founder Ettore. Type 57s were built from 1934 through 1940, with a total of 710 examples produced.

Most Type 57s used a twin-cam 3,257 cc engine based on that of the Type 49 but heavily modified by Jean Bugatti. Unlike the chain-drive twin-cam engines of the Type 50 and 51, the 57's engine used gears to transmit power from the crankshaft.
There were two basic variants of the Type 57 car:

The original Type 57
The lowered Type 57S

The Type 57 chassis and engine was revived in 1951 as the Bugatti Type 101 for a short production.

A rediscovered Type 57 sold for 3.4 million euros at auction on 7 February 2009 at a motor show in Paris. ..."

more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bugatti_Type_57
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The World’s First Self-Driving Semi-Truck Hits the Road ... "“AU 010.”
License plates are rarely an object of attention, but this one’s special — the funky number is the giveaway. That’s why Daimler bigwig Wolfgang Bernhard and Nevada governor Brian Sandoval are sharing a stage, mugging for the phalanx of cameras, together holding the metal rectangle that will, in just a minute, be slapped onto the world’s first officially recognized self-driving truck.

The truck in question is the Freightliner Inspiration, a teched-up version of the Daimler 18-wheeler sold around the world. And according to Daimler, which owns Mercedes-Benz, it will make long-haul road transportation safer, cheaper, and better for the planet.
“There’s a clear need for this generation of trucks, and we’re the pioneers who are willing to tackle it,” says Bernhard.

A Newish Kind of Semi

The Freightliner Inspiration offers a rather limited version of autonomy: It will take control only on the highway, maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles and staying in its lane. It won’t pass slower vehicles on its own. If the truck encounters a situation it can’t confidently handle, like heavy snow that covers lane lines, it will alert the human that it’s time for him to take over, via beeps and icons in the dashboard. If the driver doesn’t respond within about five seconds, the truck will slow down gradually, then stop.

In hardware terms, the truck isn’t much different from the latest trucks and passenger cars Daimler is putting on the road. A stereoscopic camera reads lane lines. Short and long range radar scan the road up to 800 feet ahead for obstacles. No sensors face backward, because they’re not needed. There’s no vehicle-to-vehicle communication, no LIDaR. The software algorithms are adjusted versions of those developed for use in Mercedes-Benz’s autonomous vehicles. ..."

MORE: http://www.wired.com/2015/05/worlds-first-self-driving-semi-truck-hits-road/
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Aral Sea ... Rusting ships sit in a desert where a sea used to be ... "A man made environmental disaster has left a once-great sea dry, the land polluted, and the locals inundated with disease. The destruction of the Aral Sea is a strange legacy of the US Civil War, when the US cut off cotton exports to the outside world. In Russia, the decision was made to irrigate land in the recently assimilated central Asian countries and develop their own cotton industry. At the time, the Aral Sea was the world's fourth largest inland sea.

By 1937, the area had successfully become a major exporter of cotton with little impact on the natural environment. But starting in the 1950s, aggressive Soviet irrigation projects stemming from the Aral Sea started to have an adverse impact. Between 1960 and 1980, the water level dropped by 20 meters, exposing sea beds, and increasing the salinity levels of the lake until the fish population died off.

Today, the sea is nearly dry and has separated into two much smaller seas. Fishing boats sit aground, rusting in a vast contaminated desert wasteland.

To make what is an already horrific situation worse, on the island of Vozrozhdeniye, in the center of the former Aral Sea are the remains of the Soviet Union's extensive bio-warfare experimentation. Experiments with anthrax, plague and smallpox were conducted here in open air tests in the 1950s. The base was hastily abandoned in the 1990s following the breakup of the Soviet Union, the canisters of disease agents buried, and the land coated with bleach. In the years since the abandonment, the island has slowly become part of the mainland.

A US anti-terrorist team visited the remains of the island in 2001, in theory to clean up any remaining bio-warfare agents, but a visit by author Nick Middleton in 2005 showed signs that there is still plenty to be worried about. He found the island crawling with local looters, disturbing old buildings, and wearing no protection. Test tubes and feeding troughs for test animals were still in place. Although some diseases like smallpox can be virtually eliminated by exposure to UV over time, the same can not be said for Anthrax which has a very long and stubborn lifespan, and once inhaled, has a mortality rate of 90%. ..."

MORE: http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/aral-sea
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Wouldn't be the only polluted disaster area in the old U.S.S.R. 
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Soviet Russia’s Secret Failed Moon Program ... "After the United States beat the Russian’s in the race to the moon in the late 70s of the last century, the Soviet lunar program was covered up and forgotten. These rare photos are from a lab inside the Moscow Aviation Institute which still houses the spacecraft and the lunar lander that was supposed to take the first cosmonaut to the surface of the moon.

oviet scientists were well ahead of their American counterparts in moon exploration before President John F. Kennedy pronounced the U.S. would put a man there first. The Soviets had already landed the probe Luna 2 on the surface of the moon in 1959 and had an orbiting satellite in 1966.

The Soviets developed a similar multi-step approach to NASA, involving a module used to orbit the moon and one for landing. Their version was decidedly less complex and lighter to account for inferior rockets. These photos show the LK “Lunar Craft” lander, which has a similar pod-over-landing gear structure but numerous key differences.

All the activities done by two astronauts is done by one. To make the craft lighter, the LK only fits the one cosmonaut, who was supposed to peer through a tiny window on the side of the craft to land it. After landing the vehicle the pod separates from the landing gear, as with the Apollo Lunar Module, but uses the same engine for landing as it does for take off as another weight savings.

The L2 Lunar Orbit Module designed to transport the LK into orbit around the moon was similarly stripped down. There’s no internal connection between the two craft so the cosmonaut had to space walk outside to get into the LK and head towards the surface. When the LK rejoined the L2 for the return trip home, the now likely exhausted would then climb back out into the abyss of space. The LK would then be thrown away.

There were numerous political, scientific and financial reasons why the Soviets didn’t make it to the moon first, including a space agency with split priorities and therefore not single-mindedly dedicated to this goal. Neil Armstrong walked on the moon first on July 20, 1969, besting the Russians, who were still planning to visit the moon in the upcoming years.

They had the equipment, but they didn’t have the rockets.

Getting to the moon requires launching a command module and a lander. Both are heavy objects and require massive amounts of thrust to get into orbit. The Soviet’s planned to use their N-1 rocket, but two failed launches in 1971 and 1972 destroyed dummy landing and control modules, as well as the rockets themselves, and led to the program being shelved for lack of a proper launch vehicle.

The LK was sent into space for numerous test missions. The first two unmanned flights were successful tests of the vehicle through a simulated orbit. The third flight ended when the N-1 rocket crashed. The fourth test in 1971 was a success, but years later the decaying test module started to return to Earth with a trajectory that would put it over the skies of Australia.

NASA explains in a report on the Soviet space program how they had to convince the Australians it wasn’t a nuclear satellite:

To allay fears of a nuclear catastrophe, representatives of the Soviet Foreign Ministry in Australia admitted that Cosmos 434 was an “experiment unit of a lunar cabin,” or lunar lander

Eventually, the program was deemed too expensive and unnecessary in light of the NASA success. The Soviets moved onto building space labs, successfully, and the remaining parts of the lunar program were destroyed or dispersed, including this amazing collection of parts hidden in the back of the Moscow Aviation Institute.

Apparently, students at the Moscow Aviation Institute are allowed access to this equipment, a Russian Livejournaler managed to get photos inside the lab that holds a lander, much of the docking equipment, and diagrams. The poster couldn’t show everything and describes the vibe around the many parts as secretive. Not all of the other pieces are easily identifiable as more than “satellite” or “Soyuz spacecraft” or “awesome and Soviet.” ..."

MANY PHOTOS: http://www.amusingplanet.com/2011/04/soviet-russias-secret-failed-moon.html
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Steampunk
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A Missile Park at White Sands Missile Range Museum ... "White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) in southern New Mexico, at nearly 8,300 square km, is one of the largest military installation in the United States. It is primarily a test range with the main function of supporting missile development and test programs for the Army, Navy, Air Force, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), other government agencies and private industry. Like most large military installations in the West, White Sands was created during World War II, officially established on July 9, 1945, one week before the world's first nuclear explosion, the Trinity test. Over the years, most of the missile systems in the U.S. arsenal were tested at WSMR, including the V-2, Nike, Viking, Corporal, Lance and Multiple Launch Rocket Systems.

The White Sands Missile Range Museum is located within the premises of the military facility, about 100 km south of the Trinity Site. The missile museum is crammed with information about the origin of America’s nuclear program, its pioneering ventures into space and the development of rockets as weapons, and about the accomplishments of scientists like Dr. Wernher von Braun and Dr. Clyde Tombaugh.

The most fascinating display of the museum is the missile park. It’s an outdoor display of more than 60 different rockets used in combat from WWII to the Gulf War. These include everything from the WAC Corporal and Loon (U.S. version of the V-1) to a Pershing II, a Patriot and the V-2, the world’s first long range ballistic missiles and the first man-made object to reach the fringe of space. The rockets are installed outside the museum building in an acre-sized garden, with most of them pointing towards the sky as if ready to blast off.

Aside from housing a wealth of missile related technology, the museum has sections dedicated to the local flora and fauna, the indigenous peoples who once lived on the land, and a room of paintings by a survivor of the brutal Bataan forced march of WWII, in which up to 10,000 Pilipinos and 650 Americans died at Japanese hands. ..."

MORE PHOTOS: http://www.amusingplanet.com/2014/06/a-missile-park-at-white-sands-missile.html
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Most Largest dengerest range in the world.....?
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Octoauto, 1910 ... Retronaut - "The Octoauto was an eight-wheel car created by Milton O. Reeves. He created it using a 1910 Overland and he added two more axles and four more wheels. The 20 ft-long automobile was shown at the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911. Reeves was also the inventor of the muffler. He claimed that by having eight tires, each tire lasted longer." ... more photos: http://www.retronaut.co/2011/10/octoauto-1910/
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May 24, 1626 – Peter Minuit buys Manhattan. ... I understand we are stuck with it now, the Indians refuse to refund the money ... "Peter Minuit, Pieter Minuit, Pierre Minuit or Peter Minnewit (about 1594 – August 5, 1638) was a Walloon from Wesel, in present-day North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, then part of the Duchy of Cleves. His surname means "midnight." He was Director of the Dutch colony of New Netherland from 1626 until 1631, and founded the Swedish colony of New Sweden in 1638. He is generally credited with orchestrating the purchase of Manhattan Island for the Dutch from the Native Americans called the Lenape, which later became the city of New Amsterdam, modern-day New York City, which was the core of the Dutch colony of New Netherland and the later British colony of New York.

... Minuit is credited with purchasing the island of Manhattan from the native Americans in exchange for traded goods valued at 60 guilders [about $24]. According to the writer Nathaniel Benchley, Minuit conducted the transaction with Seyseys, chief of the Canarsees, who were only too happy to accept valuable merchandise in exchange for an island that was actually mostly controlled by the Weckquaesgeeks.

... A contemporary purchase of rights in nearby Staten Island, to which Minuit was also party, involved duffel cloth, iron kettles, axe heads, hoes, wampum, drilling awls, "Jew's harps" and "diverse other wares". "If similar trade goods were involved in the Manhattan arrangement", Burrows and Wallace surmise, "then the Dutch were engaged in high-end technology transfer, handing over equipment of enormous usefulness in tasks ranging from clearing land to drilling wampum."

The calculation of $24 also fails to recognize that the concepts of property trading and ownership held by the 17th-century Dutch and East Coast natives were both different from modern conceptions. Comparisons to modern land dealing distort the reality of what Minuit was trying to do. Both the Dutch and the Indians undoubtedly included intangibles along with any hard goods in their concept of the total transactional value. For Indians and Minuit alike, both sides felt they were getting far more than a mere 60 guilders. For instance, the natives most certainly would have thought the trade included the value of the Dutch as potential military allies against rival Indian nations—a 'good' that could not be valued in currency alone. In addition, the value of the sale to Dutch and Indians alike would have included the prospect of future trade. ..."

MORE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Minuit
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Monte Testaccio: The 2,000-year-old Garbage Dump in Rome ... "On the outskirts of Rome, near the Horrea Galbae, a short distance away from the east bank of the River Tiber, lies an enormous mound overgrown will grass and small trees. It might seem just like an ordinary hill, but is in fact, an ancient landfill from the Roman era and one of the largest landfill of the ancient world. It has a circumference of nearly a kilometer at its base covering an area of 20,000 square meters, and it stands 35 meters tall, though it was probably a lot higher in ancient times. The hill is made entirely out of discarded Roman amphorae, a type of ceramic jar used to store olive oil. It has been estimated that the hill contains the remains of as many as 53 million olive oil amphorae, in which some 6 billion liters of oil were imported.

In ancient times, amphorae were the main containers used for transportation and storage of goods. They were massively produced because of their low cost, and were usually recycled or destroyed once they reached their final destination. Many amphora were re-used to serve as drain pipes or flower pots, for instance. Broken amphorae were pounded into chips and mixed with concrete and widely used as a building material. But the amphorae olive jars could not be recycled as they were too impregnated with oil which made them smelly and sticky. So they were dumped in landfills.

Monte Testaccio was not a haphazard waste dump, but a highly organized and carefully engineered refuse site. Excavations revealed that the mound had been raised as a series of level terraces with retaining walls made of nearly intact amphorae filled with shards to anchor them in place. Empty amphorae were probably carried up the mound intact on the backs of donkeys or mules and then broken up on the spot, with the shards laid out in a stable pattern. Lime was then spread over the broken jars to neutralize the smell of rotting oil.

The huge numbers of broken amphorae at Monte Testaccio illustrate the enormous demand for oil of imperial Rome, which was at the time the world's largest city with a population of at least one million people. Many of the amphorae still have the maker's seal and other stamped inscriptions which record information such as the weight of the oil contained in the vessel, the place where it was bottled, who weighted it and the names of the exporter. Studies of these inscription and the hill's composition suggest Rome's imports of olive oil reached a peak towards the end of the 2nd century AD, when as many as 130,000 amphorae were being deposited on the site each year. It has been estimated that Rome was importing at least 7.5 million liters of olive oil annually. ..."

MORE: http://www.amusingplanet.com/2015/05/monte-testaccio-2000-year-old-garbage.html
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Villa Rose ... This secret Swiss fortress is disguised as a harmless pink house, complete with fake windows ... "Located on the Toblerone defensive line in Switzerland, the Villa Rose is one of twelve fortresses that were built to defend the country from invasion during World War II. Although you could be forgiven for not knowing that since, from the outside it appears to be a garish pink suburban home.

This hidden stronghold was built in 1940 as part of a larger defensive line that is usually defined more by the miles of cement dragon's teeth connecting 12 fortresses including the Villa Rose. The fortification itself looks like a harmless two-story home but instead of a nuclear family lounging inside, the false house held massive guns. The large green garage door could open to reveal two huge cannons which were assisted by a third hidden behind the shutters of a ground floor window.

The whole thing was made of thick cement walls which were painted pink, apparently in an effort to make the fort seem even less harmless. There are even false windows on the second floor that are simply painted on the concrete.

The Villa Rose had a companion fortress along the Torblerone Line known as the Villa Vert which was a similarly disguised battlement that was painted green. Both of the villas were just a couple of examples of "false chalets" built all around Switzerland during the war. Villa Rose is the best maintained example of these secret forts and is now open as a museum. ..."

MORE: http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/villa-rose
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Also, the gunpowder depository (one of them in the forest near Payerne, for example) are also disguised as small houses. And we have an airfield IN a mountain. And don't forget the anti-atomic shelters in all buildings (usually serving as cellars in the meantime)...
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Ralph Roberts is a decorated Vietnam Veteran and worked with NASA during the Apollo moon program. He built his first personal computer in 1976 and has been writing about them and on them since his first published article “Down with Typewriters” in 1978. He has written over 100 books along with thousands of articles and short stories. His best sellers include the first U.S. book on computer viruses (which resulted in several appearances on national TV) and Classic Cooking with Coca-Cola®, a cookbook that has been in continuous print for the past 17 years and sold half a million copies. He is also a video producer with over 100 DVD titles now for sale nationally on places such as Amazon.com. He has also produced hundreds of hours of video for local TV in the Western North Carolina area and sold scripts to Hollywood producers. Previously for Packt, Ralph wrote Celtx: Open Source Screenwriting and Google App Inventor by Example. Ralph and his wife Pat live on a farm in the mountains of Western North Carolina with two horses. Ralph recently finished GOOGLE PLUS FIRST LOOK.and is currently writing GOOGLE DART HEAD START.
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