The January 10, 1960 edition of Arthur Radebaugh’s Sunday comic “Closer Than We Think” includes a curious invention that was supposed to literally catapult us into the Jet Age:
The circular runway.
From the Chicago Tribune:
The heart of tomorrow’s airfield may be a circular catapult-like mechanism for sending planes into the air. It would mean runways much smaller than those now required.
For military purposes, American Engineering Company has already designed a giant wheel that is turned with great force by jet power. Cables from this wheel serve as catapults for fighting aircraft.
The next step would be to use rocket power to catapult planes from a dish-shaped concrete wheel. One spin on such a “circle runway” would produce the same starting speed that now requires a thousand feet or more of conventional runway, and with much less fuel.
The Navy actually tested a similar circular runway concept in 1965. The big difference between the Navy’s tests and the runway envisioned by Radebaugh? The Navy’s was much, much larger and didn’t have that sci-fi “rocket power unit” to propel the plane.
According to the New York Times, the Navy pilots who tested their makeshift runway found that take-off and landing was “surprisingly easy.”
Landing is accomplished by approaching the runway in a 15 degree bank — that is, the wing facing the center of the circle is lowered 15 degrees from the horizontal. Once touchdown is accomplished, the runway seems to take care of the rest.
The plane finds its natural line on the runway, depending on its speed.
Fascinating surreal illustrations by the artist team of Sven Sauer and Igor Prosavec (SA-PO) that places a robot in megacities such as Tokyo, Shanghai or New York as a metaphor for the rapid development of technology—which has exceeded what society can absorb.
The artists combine the dilemma of “Do androids dream of electric sheep?” with their own observations of the cities as a crucible for social and technological mediums.
Digital illustrations of dystopian worlds by Polish artist Michal Karcz.
Starting out as a painter and photographer, which helped him develop his own vision, he left the paintbrush and switch to digital tools “to generate unique realities that were impossible to create with ordinary dark room techniques.”
Karcz’s inspiration comes from listening to music and his visual interpretations of surreal worlds and a possible future leaves you with a feeling of fascination as well as dread.
Most of my work is like a journey to the places which don’t exist.
Places from my dreams, desire, imagination and fears. My inspiration comes from many artists and it doesn’t matter if they get through to me by the sense of vision or hearing.
I can tell that music has the biggest impact on my work. It’s an inseparable element with pictures in my mind, a kind of sound illustration to a visible scenery.
These two things hit me with the strongest intensity.
During his time spent in Hong Kong, Thailand, and China, American painter Brian Mashburn observed a worryingly escalating urban condition: the growth of cities, industry, and urban populations are nearing out-of-control state, with potentially disastrous implications for both nature and human society.
Mashburn has channeled these feelings and concerns into his exquisite oil paintings depicting a post-apocalyptic future with natural and industrial elements together with a touch of sublime Romanticism, seemingly taking inspiration from 19th century German painter Caspar David Friedrich.
Like the seductive draw of an epic disaster, he travels this path towards overload in both subject matter and style.
Comparing his methodical brushstrokes to to the monotonous processes of mass production, Mashburn observes, “In the end, they both produce a polluted, drab landscape.”
This stubbornness also speaks to the self-destructive tendencies of modern society- where the depletion of resources is protected, and celebrated, as a staple of “freedom.”
Mashburn graduated from UNC (Chapel Hill) in 2002 with a BFA in Painting and Drawing and currently lives and works in NC.