Zeppelin Fever

Airships are in the news today, with a big article in the NY Times about the latest uptick of commercial interest in lighter-than-air transport.

Of course, somebody’s always trying to reanimate Zeppelins, but so far all those attempts have ended in failure (except as tourist attractions). So why would anyone think that this time will be different?

Well, here’s the thing about airships: they float, so you don’t expend energy to keep them in the air. They move much slower than planes, but they eat less fuel per pound carried. As oil becomes more expensive—not to mention destructive to our planet and our foreign policy—that advantage becomes bigger, and bigger, and bigger . . .

So maybe airships aren’t viable right now. But does anyone think that in the long term, oil’s going to get cheaper? Sure! Because the middle east will stabilize, the Chinese will decide they don’t really want cars, and Americans are going to stop wasting fuel at every possible opportunity! But just in case that stuff doesn’t happen, we may find Zeppelins in our future. The French post office is already looking at them for freight transport, as is DARPA, the US military’s mad-scientist group.

There are lots of cool pictures in the article, but one really caught my eye. A French architect named Jean-Marie Massaud has designed a lighter-than-air hotel that looks a bit like a whale. As you might suspect from the title, so does the airship in Leviathan!

I’m still sworn to secrecy on Leviathan art, but here’s Massaud’s vision:

Courtesy Jean-Marie Massaud

Pretty cool, huh?

Here’s the slide show for the article.

Must write now. At 56,717 words, about 20,000 to go!

491 thoughts on “Zeppelin Fever

  1. the last book in the universe is a good book.
    in other futuristic books, like in scott’s Uglies books, the future they describe is better than now. at least in some ways. the last book in the universe describes a future that isn’t so good. much worse, actually.

  2. lol u all still here? I’m going to go read Andrea-la blog, I think she updated since I last saw…
    baby’s gotten better btw. She’s in the phase where when we tell her to go night night she doesn’t complain but always asks “I wake up??” and it’s kinda pitiful. We don’t have a clue why, neither does her mom or dad (my brother and his gf). Swimming is fun. I got the 7th harry potter book from the library- extremely long waiting list, and I finished it in a matter of days…

  3. oh wow. i just woke up from like a 5 hour nap. ha. cuz i’ve been so tired lately. and i’ve been waking up at like 6:30 a.m… something you should not have to do in the summer.. to go conditioning and lifting.. but today it was so i could go work at a food booth. bleh. i can’t wait till sunday.. i’ll finally be able to sleep in.. hopefully. and then tuesday i leave for TN!! πŸ™‚ ..white water river rafting here i come!

  4. rawr. it’s 9:30 here, and my mom is leaving in about 15 minutes to go out with some friends leaving me and my 11 year old sister to watch a 2 year old and I won’t be allowed on the computer until she gets back which will be in the afternoon… RAWR I’M SADLY OBSESSED WITH THIS BLOG!!

  5. sigh. u peeps do have a lot to talk about…
    listening to gunpowder and lead by miranda lambert….love that song…!!!

  6. UMR-wa I used to be OBBSESSED with Miranda Lambert. I have her first CD. I don’t really like her much anymore, i think she sounds too… nasal, i guess.

  7. “But seriously, if you havenÒ€ℒt read the book yet, there are plenty of other ways to waste time on the internets. Check out Kitten War or something.” the words of scott-la on the The Last Days spoiler thread. So I took up his offer and went. haha, i’m such a cat lover… what does scott-la have against kittenwar.com? HUH? THEY’RE SO FLUFFY AND CUTE!!!!

    ok i’m done.

  8. oooo guess what guys!! we totally kicked butt tonight at my softball game! and our pitcher was gone… so we had to put in this girl who has never pitched in a game before.. she did okay though. it was intense. we kept tying it up and finally in the 6th inning we won 12 to 11. and i had a really awesome double all the way out in left field over the third base line. πŸ™‚ anyways it was tons of fun. i’m still pumped!

    ugh. tomorrow i have my physical.. gosh i hope i don’t have to get a shot!! i pass out.. can’t. stand. needles. ewww..

  9. Oh! Awesome, Go Kay-wa! Hum. I’m not afraid of needles, I used to be when I was little but not any more. Hope you don’t have to get a shot though, since you don’t like it!

  10. I used to be afraid of needles, when we had to get our meningitis shots. Because I had a bad reaction and fainted after the first one, I guess. I was so freaked out I couldn’t even get my ears pierced! but after all the shots were over, I wasn’t afraid anymore, and I got my ears done.

    I suppose if needles aren’t a big part of my daily life, I’m not scared of them.

  11. haha thanks TZ!

    guess what! no shots!! πŸ˜€ it was quick and easy.. painless in fact! i’ve always been afraid of shots… and getting my blood drawn that’s awful too. i think the blood drawn thing is worse.. they can never find my vain and end up poking me a few times and then the sight of blood makes me nauseous.

  12. Zeppelins are a romantic idea, but I really don’t believe they will ever be a response to rising fuel prices.

    I can’t image how a zeppelin could ever match the efficiency of a well built train with steel wheels on a steel track. True, a lot of energy is used by planes to hold them up, but there is also a great deal of energy used to push them through the air.

    It takes no energy at all to hold a train up. It just sits on the ground. The loss of energy or expense of moving a train is only the wind resistance and a negligible loss at the wheels.

    So imagine a zeplin big enough to carry the weight of cargo on a train. Now imagine how much energy it would take to push that zeplin along the train tracks. But wait, lets consider another inefficiency… Instead of pushing the train forward by rolling the wheels, you have to use propellers to blow it forward like a Zeplin in the air would use.

    Maybe, the idea of a zeplin is so attractive that journalists will push a story about them being a possible future transport. Maybe there is another agenda at work.

    If you like Zeppelins, have a look at the art work in “The Moon Rock”


  13. hey everybody, click on “Shey-La” to see the actors that I think should play the characters from uglies….its a video on youtube. comment and tell me what you think

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