A birds-eye view of Lower Manhattan, 1945.
On the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, LIFE pays tribute to New York with photos of Lower Manhattan, made in the decades before the Twin Towers defined the foot of the island.
Been announced that Neil Armstrong has died, at the age of 82.
As the media wheel-out the pre-written obituaries, it’s worth remembering that what Armstrong achieved in 1969 was repeated, but not since December 1973. We’ve never returned: the space race was over, the political willpower embedded away and the public lost interest.
When the case for human space exploration is made - or indeed any space travel - one point I often here is ‘aren’t there other priorities? Why should we be spending money on this?’
My response would be that I don’t know how, as a global society, we’d get to a point where we’d say ‘we’ve done enough on earth - now for space’. It’s never going to work like that.
Although commercial vehicles may be the way to for low earth orbit and for bringing space travel to a wider (albeit very elite, but you’ve got to start somewhere) civilian audience, surely achievements like returning to the Moon or sending humans further needs governments to drive it.
The photo is one I took about 8 years ago of the moon through a telescope. The details you can see, even through a small, low-power scope, are extraordinary.
What Van Allen had discovered were the bands of high-energy particles that were held in place by strong magnetic fields, and soon known as the Van Allen Belts. A year later, he appeared on the cover of Time magazine as he opened an entirely new field of research—magnetospheric physics—and catapulted the United States into the race to space with the Soviet Union.
On the same day Van Allen held his press conference in May 1958, he agreed to cooperate with the U.S. military on a top-secret project. The plan: to send atomic bombs into space in an attempt to blow up the Van Allen Belts, or to at least disrupt them with a massive blast of nuclear energy.
At the height of the Cold War, the thinking may have been, as the science historian James Fleming said recently, that “if we don’t do it, the Russians will.” In fact, over the next few years, both the United States and the Soviet Union tested atomic bombs in space, with little or no disruption in the Van Allen Belts. Fleming suspects that the U.S. military may have theorized that the Van Allen belts could be used to attack the enemy. But in July 1962, the United States was ready to test a far more powerful nuclear bomb in space
I think it’s important for my generation not to forget the number of nuclear tests and the threat of the Cold War. This description of a single nuclear test is scary enough. Hindsight, especially in science, is a convenient analytical tool when scoffing at past attempts and pursuits: all the same, this scientist was planning to ‘blow up the Van Allen Belts’ which surround the earth. Extraordinary.
Within the same country, it seems Pembrokeshire couldn’t be further away from London. It may appear on postcards from the region was much as Parliament does on those from the capital, but Tenby is the very visual definition of a picturesque seaside town. Even at the height of the tourist season, it hasn’t yet lost its charm.
TfL Freedom Cycling Poster on Flickr.
I only had to wait half a minute to get this shot - just had to get a cyclist in front of it.
TfL, quite rightly, don’t have a great reputation among cyclists in London. Appealing as the poster’s image is, it is a rather sunlit, rose-tinted view of using a bike around London.
An audio slideshow of Sights and Sounds from a trip in Spring 2012 to Lithuania, including Vilnius and Trakai.
It consists of photos on my SLR and audio recorded as voice memos on my iPhone.
I’ve never been anywhere like Lithuania but loved it. The photos I got include the traditional landscape city-wide shots from a vantage point, others across a frozen lake and more, with the assistance of a borrowed fish-eye lens, in the quiet streets on a Sunday morning. It’s my favourite time to get photos in any city, but I’ve never quite been able to capture what I desire - the ability to show busy places devoid of people. But the narrow alleys and empty side-squares of Vilnius did just fine.
The full set of images are in a Flickr set.