What Was the Hardest Book for Isaac Asimov to Write?

Posted by Michael Pinto on Dec 12, 2009 in Pulp Fiction, Tech

Isaac Asimov

Talking to my old friend Marc Thorner I got an interesting insight on legendary author Isaac Asimov: It seems that as a younger fanboy he was professing his admiration to Asimov for one of his lesser known treasures An Easy Introduction to the Slide Rule which was written in 1965. Asimov then confided to my friend that it was the hardest book that he ever wrote. This is somewhat shocking given the sheer range of subject matter that Asimov tackled — every subject from Lecherous Limericks to a complete guide to the works of Shakespeare! Asimov’s reason for the difficulty? It seems that the book was very graphics intense and required a great deal of input into the illustrations. Here are two covers from this classic: Read more…

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Gulliver’s Travels Beyond the Moon: A Breakthrough Anime Film from 1965

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jul 23, 2009 in Animation

The film poster for Garibā no Uchū RyokōOn this day in 1966 one of the first full length feature anime films made it to the United States: That was none other than Garibā no Uchū Ryokō (ガリバーの宇宙旅行) which was translated to Gulliver’s Travels Beyond the Moon. The film was produced by Toei in 1965 and directed by the team of Masao Kuroda and Sanae Yamamoto, but what might make it interesting to current anime fans is that Hayao Miyazaki also worked on the film providing some uncredited writing and quite a bit of inbetween animation work. In the scene above we see young Ricky meeting Gulliver, and below is a scene featuring the Princess of the Star of Hope (who was voiced by Our Gang’s Darla Hood): Read more…

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Gemini 3 Launches: A Photo Essay from 44 Years Ago Today

Posted by Michael Pinto on Mar 23, 2009 in Science

Astronaut John W. Young, the pilot of the Gemini-Titan 3 prime crew, is shown suited up for GT-3 pre-launch test exercises.

On March 23rd, 1965 the Gemini 3 launched into history — it was the first manned Gemini flight. The ship was manned by John W. Young (shown above) and Virgil I. Grissom (shown below). Grissom named the spacecraft the Molly Brown in reference to the Broadway show The Unsinkable Molly Brown as he was hoping not to duplicate his previous experience with the Liberty Bell 7. This mission was very much a test flight and this was the first time ever that an American spacecraft had a crew of two. NASA was still in catchup mode at this point as the USSR launched the Voskhod 1 in 1964 which had a crew of three. Read more…

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Aérotrain: A Rocket Powered Railways Experiment from the 60s

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jan 8, 2009 in Tech


The Aérotrain sounds like a plot device from a steampunk novel — a rocket powered railroad car designed to travel on a monorail. This amazing retro tech project was lead by engineer Jean Bertin in France from 1965 until 1977. Sadly Bertin passed away in 1975, and his technology was passed over in favor of high speed trains that used high-powered electrical motors. Shown above is a working prototype from 1967 that was powered by Pratt & Whitney JT12 engine. Below is an early concept model which was created in 1962 which used compressed air: Read more…

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