Update (Monday, 3:16 p.m. PST): The complete answer to last week's Picture of the Week--which 106 people got--is the landing at the end of the maiden flight of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, at Boeing Field, in Seattle, Wash., on December 15, 2009. For this challenge, I required more specificity than I usually do because I asked why the picture mattered. So while more than 200 people knew it was Boeing's Dreamliner, and even where the picture was taken, many didn't correctly identify the significance of the initial flight. Thanks to all who played, and to … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--As someone who grew up a political junkie, I was always hard-pressed to explain why I had never visited Washington, D.C.
I don't have to make excuses anymore, not after Road Trip 2010, my journey up and down the American Northeast that began in D.C. on June 23 and ended Saturday in Orlando, Fla.
Indeed, the trip--which covered 5,266 miles of driving in a Porsche Panamera through Washington, D.C., Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine, and an accompanying jaunt to Florida--was an opportunity … Read more
NISKAYUNA, N.Y.--When you're listening to someone explain a new scientific method and just about the only thing that goes through your head is "This is going to win a Nobel Prize," you know you're in good company.
That was my experience recently while I was listening to Fiona Ginty, a project leader in computational biology in General Electric Global Research's biosciences group, explain her work. Ginty's project is all about finding new and better ways to spot cancer in a patient's body, ideally as early as possible. And as a member … Read more
PORTSMOUTH, R.I.--As someone interested in the cutting edge, one of the best things about Road Trip 2010 has been getting a rare look at the U.S. Navy's next-generation aircraft carrier and the world's most advanced submarine.
But that wasn't enough for me. I also had to see where the Navy is going with destroyers, and that's why my visit to Raytheon's Seapower Capability Center here was such a good investment of time: I got a chance for a lengthy discussion on the next-generation, Zumwalt-class guided-missile destroyer, which the Navy expects to be … Read more
WALTHAM, Mass.--For Mark Russell, the vice president of engineering, technology, and mission assurance at defense giant Raytheon, engineering is not just his profession--it's also the lifeblood of the company.
It seems pretty obvious that engineering would be important at a company that makes just about every imaginable kind of defense system. But this important? At Raytheon, more than 40,000 of the total 75,000 employees are engineers, and the company is hiring thousands more each year.
To Russell, who grew up in the company (he's been there 27 years) it's a no-brainer that all six … Read more
WASHINGTON, D.C.--If you walk around the Air & Space Museum here, as I did Sunday, you can't help be struck by how much of the most important events and aircraft in aviation history are from decades ago.
This is the museum, after all, where you can find the plane the Wright Brothers used in humanity's first-ever powered flight, in Kitty Hawk, N.C., in 1903. And the capsule from John Glenn's first American manned orbit of the Earth. And the Apollo 11 capsule. And so on.
Then again, right above you when you come in … Read more
WASHINGTON--As you probably know, we're about to hit the Fourth of July weekend, and that means plenty of fun and fireworks and barbecues and watermelon for most folks.
For me, being about a week into Road Trip 2010, my fifth annual journey around a region of the country in search of the best destinations related to aviation, space, architecture, military, technology, nature and so on, it's totally up in the air.
Each year, when I plan this trip, I meticulously plot out nearly every day of the trip. But figuring out what to do over the weekend of … Read more
NEWPORT NEWS, Va.--I'm staring down into a pit in which the beginnings of what will one day be the most advanced aircraft carrier on Earth are already well under way.
This is the dry dock of CVN-78, otherwise known as the Gerald R. Ford, the first in a technologically advanced new class of aircraft carriers known as, yes, the Gerald R. Ford, and yes, named after the 38th president of the United States. A new class of naval vessel is always known by the name of the first model, it seems.
CVN-78 is being built by Northrop Grumman … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--Each summer for the last four years, I've been lucky enough to get to pick a region of the country and spend several weeks driving around, writing stories and taking photos of some of the best geek-oriented destinations I could find.
In 2006, it was the Pacific Northwest. In 2007, the Southwest. In 2008, it was the Southeast. And in 2009, I traveled through almost the entire Rocky Mountain and Continental Divide region. Over the four years, I've covered 18,528 miles and visited dozens of the most interesting research labs, military bases, aviation facilities, NASA centers, … Read more
Update (Monday, 5:56 p.m.): The three parts of the answer I was looking for are as follows. 1. It's a Boeing VC-137B. 2. It's located at the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona. 3. It is a notable plane because it was used to fly the hostages home to the United States from Iran in 1981. And that's why its nickname is "Freedom One." Amazingly, though I got dozens and dozens of responses--by far the most for any Picture of the Day challenge so far--just three people got all three parts … Read more