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August 11, 2009

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I don’t know about you, but I am enchanted by the idea of airships.

There’s a new BLDGBLOG post up detailing a student’s proposal to transform Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbor into an airport for zeppelins. The student’s scheme to get the word out about the proposal is ingenious, and makes the post well worth reading, even if you don’t care about airships.

But how could you not care about airships?

They are everything that cool stuff isn’t supposed to be these days. They’re slow and ungainly. They take up a lot of space. They telegraph their technology—unlike the iPhone, which is entirely opaque and therefore near-magical, the airship is obvious. It’s a big balloon. Duh.

And yet. An NYC-to-Paris airship powered by the sun. What could be more grand?

There are, in fact, airship flights up here where I live, so you could say: “Enough with the blogposts, Sloan! Book a ticket.” But that misses the point. I don’t so much want to be in an airship as I want there to be other people in airships—lots of them—streaming in and out of San Francisco. (From the Ferry Building, naturally.)

Like this, except it wouldn’t have to be trick photography, because the airships would all just be drifting… along…

Posted August 11, 2009 at 8:04 | Comments (7) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany


The airship is also traditionally a key Final Fantasy plot point. Just saying.

Actually, that probably explains why I like them.

Nothing says "this 16-bit world is your oyster" like an airship cruising the Mode-7 sky!

Yup. Airships are enchanting.

"They are everything that cool stuff isn’t supposed to be these days. They’re slow and ungainly. They take up a lot of space. They telegraph their technology..."

But, they're also much of what cool stuff is supposed to be these days: pedal-powered DIY, a solution to suburbia, and AI.

And slow is arguably trending to cool.

Dirigibles? Yes please.

An airship entry in that suburban redesign contest:

(Also, this is sad, but could someone tell me how to insert links into comments. Do I just use the href thingy? I'm really not good at this sort of thing at all.)

(Oh also, Robin/Matt - one of you *has* to explain what's so great about Final Fantasy: I have never gotten the appeal.)

NB - We will turn this entire blog into a FinalFantasyMarket to answer Nav's question.

There are also airships in the Watchmen graphic novel, although not in the movie. This is necessary, however, due to an altered plot point.

What we really should have are air trains. Kinda like, er, um, superways, tracks connecting the tops of buildings to each other. Better yet, these could be pneumatic tubes rather than tracks. Or we go the full Futurama and just send people through the tubes - no trains.

I don't think I was ever as into airships as I was when I read Thomas Pynchon's Against the Day. (Sidenote: BIG recommendation.) It begins with and follows throughout "The Chums of Chance", an airship-riding gang of do-gooders. Talk about the most fun you can have on an airship - how about in turn-of-the-century adventure fiction style?

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