Midget Motor Mania! With some history from Jalopy Journal:
Great pre-war tether car footage brought to you via Newsreel (as shown at the front of movies in the theater) from October of 1940. At this fairly early point in the hobby, there were already six of these rail or cable-type Thimbledromes in the US, and the speed record was noted as 71 mph (after the war, the cars were hitting 100+ mph and tracks sprung up all over). This footage shows how the rail in Reading, Penn. was set up, and packed with spectators on the outside edge with little or no protection from runaway racers.
What’s interesting to consider, is that by the late 50s, the tether car hobby was nearly extinct. It’s been said that this happened due to a shrinking amount of spectators, as the pint-sized cars had just become too fast and the fans could no longer view them in action very easily. The little racers also lost some of their appeal when they began to get too streamlined in appearance, and no longer represented the real midget race cars of their day.
In the video archives: more toys and vehicles, including this 1962 flying bicycle airplane.
We became interested in human-powered helicopters while watching NPR’s Human-Powered Helicopters: Straight Up Difficult! So seeing one of the featured teams finally win the American Helicopter Society (AHS) Sikorsky Prize, after the competition first began in 1980 — 33 years ago — is pretty exciting stuff.
The goal of the competition: hover for 60 seconds, reach a height of 3 meters, and stay within a 10m x 10m area. Dozens of teams tried and hadn’t (yet) succeeded, until the AeroVelo Atlas team from the University of Toronto met the challenge on 13 June 2013:
This incredible flight was 64.11 seconds in duration (World Record for “Duration on Hover”), reached a 3.3m peak altitude, and drifted a maximum of 9.8m…
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The video above is a compilation of the winning flight and other test flights, but you can watch the entire prize-winning flight of AeroVelo’s Atlas here.
And if the winning flight makes this feat look a bit too easy, check out all of the hard work by Aero Velo and University of Maryland’s Team Gamera, who have been within close range of winning.
To be the winner of a sumo bout, you have forced your opponent to either step out of the ring or touch the ground with some part of their body that is not the bottom of their feet. From National Geographic, watch this introduction to the Japanese sport of Sumo, a professional wrestling tradition exclusive to Japan.
More videos about culture are in the archives, including one of our favorites, New Zealand’s Haka Dance.
Akitoshi Tokubuchi is the 2013 Japan National Yo-Yo Champion and his winning routine makes it clear as to why.
YoyoRecreation’s Akitoshi Tokubuchi, who was the first runner-up last year, stepped up his game and is the 2013 Japan National Champion, beating Tatsuya Fujisaka by a hefty five point margin and Hiroyuki Suzuki by over ten points!
Go find some yo-yos. We’ve all got a lot of practicing to do.