First and foremost, publication day for this post is the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. Even in our current state of political divisiveness and a raging pandemic, we have plenty enough to be thankful for. All year long, but especially during this season, I am grateful for wonderful readers who make my day with every post! Happy Thanksgiving.
This week, both Amy and Ann-Christine provided me with a double-challenge. To be fair, the host of this week’s challenge is Amy. She asks us to focus on our own impressions of our changing times. She writes, “For our challenge this week we’d like you to tell us about your perspective on now vs then – it could be before and after the pandemic or any other changes you have experienced.” You can read her entire challenge post here.
Regular readers of my blog know that I am enamored with technology and travel. I noted that Ann-Christine added another challenge to the mix. Behind the scenes, the folks at WordPress, the server hosts of this blog, have changed the rules. I could do a post with this challenge on how their move to a different online editor has confounded some bloggers in having to use a new tool to create their posts. The new tool is quite a bit more powerful in some respects, but some things I am comfortable using are changed either slightly or gone forever. For her submission, this week, the author of the blog, Leya – To See the World in a Grain of Sand… showed off a new feature of the block editor. Her challenge-response uses a tool in the block editor that allows the reader to compare two images. It’s a great fit for this particular challenge. Thanks, Ann-Christine! But I digress…
Rather than specifically focusing on changes due to the pandemic, I’ve decided to focus on transportation and other functional technologies from a longer-term perspective. For example, the opening photo features automobiles of two different eras. Clearly, major changes in technology have occurred in the century-plus of automotive design. It is here I will start the Now and Then comparisons.
The two images above feature an under-the-hood look at vehicle power plants. The image on the left is what I remember of engines while I was growing up in the 1950s and ’60s. Well, actually, it’s a lot less greasy and dirty than I remember. I used to own a 1957 Chevy that had a similar, though much less attractive, engine.
Compare that to the engine on the right, mounted in a similar custom vehicle, but covered with shields and parts that look entirely different, and no doubt provide more efficiency and greater power.
There is a world of difference in the power of modern engines compared to a century ago. The tanker truck on the left is probably from the 1920s, though I didn’t keep enough information to know for sure about the truck that was being sold at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale in 2014.
The truck on the right is a modern working truck that I happened to see in a parking lot in 2016. The large semi-tractor features a large sleeper cab. Gone are the days when the long-haul trucker had to settle for a small upper bunk to spend the night on the road. These modern cabs feature many of the comforts of home, even kitchenettes.
The mechanized farmers of the 20th century slowly developed more and more powerful technologies that raised their production capacity and made their jobs easier. On the left, the Avery Steam Tractor Company, founded in 1891, created steam engines that looked more like locomotive engines than farm equipment. On the right, a 2014 model year Case-Steiger model 470 has a comfortable, air-conditioned cab. These powerful agricultural tools are manufactured in Fargo, North Dakota, and carry a price tag of over $375,000 USD.
The transportation most fun for me is aviation. As a pilot, I’ve had the opportunity to fly several types of aircraft over the years. On the left is the oldest aircraft I’ve ever flown, a 1947 Piper Cub. The latest models have lost almost all of those “round dials”, replacing them with computer displays, generically known as “glass cockpits.” This particular model is now two generations old. That rectangular box mounted below the two round dials is the aircraft’s autopilot. In the latest models, that box has been eliminated, its functions integrated into the system software.
On the left, the bridge of a U.S. Coast Guard Cutter built in 1937, is compared to the bridge of a modern cruise ship. The cutter is a museum ship that, in non-pandemic times, is open for people to visit. The Norwegian Pearl was launched in 2006, and at this writing, we are scheduled for our third trip on this beautiful vessel. Of course, that’s another potential disappointment for us as we head toward 2021. We are hoping the vaccines for Covid-19 will be available and widespread enough for us to sail again on the Pearl, this time leaving Miami and crossing the Atlantic to carry us on our first trip to Europe. We shall see…
One final note on that Compare tool in the WordPress block editor. The WordPress Reader doesn’t know how to display the overlay compare function correctly. To see it work properly, WordPress Reader users will have to visit my blog site directly.
Thanks to Amy for a great challenge topic that allowed me to get a little more acquainted with the block editor, and to Ann-Christine for showing me a great tool that really works well for this specific challenge.