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American monuments hit the sweet spot between being young enough to have been photographed while being built, but old enough that few people can remember them not being there. Because of this an entire legacy can be viewed as it was while it was being created. From the D.C Capitol building, which ironically, slaves helped to build during the Civil War, to the Statue of Liberty, which was built in France, the forgotten train Grand Central train shed, the Empire State building when it was two storeys high or the Hollywood sign before it read Hollywood, here are our picks of America’s most famous monuments while they were being built.

american monuments under construction

Almost everything there is to know about modernism is contained in a single room slice of a curtain wall tower dropped into the Illinois countryside. The Farnsworth house was a project designed and built by Mies van der Rohe 60 years ago, undeserving of its patron’s name, who wrongfully sued and which still seems to win prizes and be declared as innovative when architects consciously or unconsciously copy it today. Here are a dozen examples to demonstrate it.

12 buildings inspired by the Farnsworth house

Nothing seemed as modern as the space race, gleaming white rockets and cutting edge technology. Except that that was decades ago, and some of the most spectacularly important pieces of technology have been left to rot. Soviet shuttle prototypes have been spotted in the most unlikely places, from the wind swept deserts of Bahrain to a river side dock, full of scrap metal, in a Moscow suburb.The NASA LUT-1 launch tower that sent the first men to the moon was described as ‘the modern day equivalent of the dock from which the Santa Maria sailed for the New World’. It lay in a rusting pile of collapsed metal until it was broken up for scrap four years ago.

abandoned space technology

And you thought the matrix was fiction? Robots designed to access hostile areas such as radioactive areas are also used beneath the streets to clean or repair sewers or to lay cables. They were among the first things on the scene after 911 or Katrina and have a particular rugged beauty. Vote for your faves.

12 super sewer robots

Billions of dollars are spent on car design and manufacture, and yet few vehicles match the beauty of some of those built for land speed record attempts, sometimes by a handful of people in a garage.Here are our picks purely based on looks rather than actual speed. Seeing them on one page is extremely satisfying.

most beautiful land speed record vehicles

This is the real business end of $100 oil. An object that allowed Howard Hughes to become the richest man in the world by inheriting the patent. They are the world’s most highly engineered pieces of metal. Steel, tungsten carbide or increasingly Polycrystalline Diamond Compact (PDC) toothed drill bits that, in their tri-cone, rotating head form, look like the monster spice eating Sandworms from Dune. Vote for your faves.

13 ferocious oil drill bits

Some people take paintball very seriously, and the boundary between harmless fun, unintentional irony and plain creepy is blurred. Here are paintball teams that look like outright militia, and some are. They include a church team in full combat gear a German group that re-enacts LAPD swat team offensives, and three very disturbing teams: a Japanese paintball re-enactment of the Yugoslav civil war complete with Serbian militia uniforms; an US vs Iraq shoot em up in Jordan and a sinister third Reich Team with Eagle T-shirts. Vote them down.

12 very disturbing paintball teams

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WTF is That! Friday

April 10th, 2009 #link

wtf

As usual – the game is to say what (TF) is going on here. In some ways this is better left as a mystery, since the image is so odd.



9 Responses to “WTF is That! Friday”

  1. smutter Says:

    Its a device to continously feed porno directly into your eyes> Used by the CIA since 1972.

  2. joe Says:

    Is that Larry Flynt?

  3. asimmons Says:

    Its an ‘eyes in the back of the head’ rear view vision system for teachers.

  4. Ryan Says:

    Some sort of aerodynamic wind tunnel for military helmets… (why)

    Doesnt explain the metal shit stuck to his face though.

  5. Chris Says:

    Impact tester for military helmets to find out the survivability of IUD s and other shrapnel creating devices.

  6. Mel Phistopheles Says:

    Haven’t you people read 1984? It’s the torture cage that made Winston betray Julia. The rats go in the tubes at the one end, and…….

  7. Indiefab Says:

    Chris was close. Its a sweat simulator for military helmets to design more comfortable padding. Here’s the Oregon State website: http://oregonstate.edu/dept/ncs/newsarch/2007/Mar07/helmet.html

    As usual, I cheat. It was the second image result on Google using “military helmet wind tunnel”.

  8. admin Says:

    Good work, Indiefab. Spot on.

  9. Rb. Says:

    One-man cone of silence!