Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Real-Life Dragons’

Caught on film, that is. Sea Dragons are those cute little fish, cousins of the seahorse, who disguise themselves with elaborate fins that mimic the appearance of seaweed. For decades, scientists believed there were two species of Sea Dragons, the Common or Weedy Sea Dragon and the more flamboyant Leafy Sea Dragon.

A team including Greg Rouse, Josefin Stiller and Nerida Wilson was studying sea dragons at the Scripps Institution in San Diego, CA. Stiller realized that one specimen had been mistakenly identified. The preserved fish, from Australia, was not a Weedy Sea Dragon at all. It was red rather than brown and didn’t have the ornate fins.

This was something new. Together, Stiller and Wilson went through other Australian fish collections and found three more specimens. One of these was nearly 100 years old. Rouse’s team presented the Ruby Sea Dragon (Phyllopteryx dewysea) to the world in 2015, and began making plans to study them in the wild.

In 2017, the expedition yielded results! This article in the New York Times included footage of Ruby Sea Dragons at home in the sea. According to this account, Rouse’s team of researchers spent several days searching for their elusive quarry. Only on the very last day did they achieve their goal.

Because even a 9-inch-long dragon is sneaky like that.


Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore — $4.99 e-book or $17.99 trade paperback. Available at Amazon or Draft2Digital.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Gulden Draak, the beer I featured in my last post, is actually named after a statue in the city of Ghent, where the brewer, Van Steenberge, is located. Here is the epic tale of that statue.

The Gulden Draak (“golden dragon”) was created for King Sigurd Magnusson of Norway. It was allegedly a figurehead on his Viking longboat. King Sigurd I (1090 – 1130 C. E.) was also known as Sigurd the Crusader because he personally led the Norwegian Crusade of 1107 – 1110 C. E.  On the way back from this crusade, he made several state visits, including one in Constantinople. There he gifted his personal longboat to Emperor Alexios I. The Gulden Draak was removed from the ship and placed atop the dome of the Aya Sophia cathedral.

There it remained for several decades, until Count Baldwin IX of Flanders (1172 – 1205 C. E.) assisted in the conquest of Constantinople as part of the Fourth Crusade (1202 – 1204 C. E.). The Byzantine Empire was repurposed as The Latin Empire, with Baldwin crowned as Emperor in 1205 C. E. Naturally, due to Baldwin’s success, much wealth flowed back to Flanders. One of the pieces returned to Europe was the Gulden Draak.

Initially, the statue was housed in the city-state of Bruges (modern-day Netherlands). However, Bruges later went to war with the rival city-state of Ghent. After a final battle in 1382 C. E, the victorious Ghentese took the Gulden Draak home with them. There it was installed on top of their Belfry, or city hall, where many important documents were stored. The Gulden Draak would protect these documents while acting as an emblem of Ghentese power and independence.

After all its travels, the Gulden Draak had finally found a forever home.


Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore — $4.99 e-book or $17.99 trade paperback. Available at Amazon or Draft2Digital.

Read Full Post »

IMG_20180716_072515692I’ve already met several beer-bottle dragons. There’s Dragon’s Breath from Bayern Brewery, and Dragon’s Milk from New Holland Brewing. Now my son brought home Gulden Draak, an imported beer from Van Steenberge in Belgium.

The reflections make it a bit hard to see, but this dragon is outlined with rivets. To me, this gives it a distinctive Steamunk vibe.


Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore — $4.99 e-book or $17.99 trade paperback. Available at Amazon or Draft2Digital.

Read Full Post »

IMG_20180303_154747890Here’s another dragon I met in the grocery store. It’s on a tin of Newman’s Own brand mints. These are ginger flavored. Nummy!

This dragon is so cute with his bushy eyebrows and crazy moustache. Not to mention the tongue action.


Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore — $4.99 e-book or $17.99 trade paperback. Available at Amazon or Draft2Digital.

Read Full Post »

In addition to rockets and missiles, the U. S. Navy does have one sea dragon that made it into the real world. That’s the MH-53E heavy helicopter, manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, a longtime pioneer in helicopter design.

Sea Dragon helicopters can operate from aircraft carriers or on land. Fitted with weaponry, they can support ground troops when needed. What they’re best known for, however, is mine sweeping. Sea Dragon can be used to tow all manner of detection devices, with or without countermeasures.

Even with these capabilities, the Sea Dragon has a down side. It is considered crash-prone, with a number of deaths linked to the aircraft over time. Since Sea Dragons already are no longer manufactured, there was serious consideration of grounding them entirely. But without a ready replacement, these helicopters will remain in service for the foreseeable future.

Perhaps the Sea Dragons would be happier if they were used to find sunken treasure instead of mines?


Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore — $4.99 e-book or $17.99 trade paperback. Available at Amazon or Draft2Digital.

Read Full Post »

The Sea Dragon missile, in development by the U. S. Navy, is actually not the first such device to bear that name. Back in the 1960s, a heavy rocket called Sea Dragon was developed but never field-tested or deployed. If implemented, this rocket would have been considerably larger than the Saturn rockets used by N. A. S. A. at the time.

The concept, originating with Robert Truax of Aerojet, was a cargo rocket that could be launched from sea. The design was self-contained and independent of any land base. This saved the expense of facilities and personnel. Sea Dragon would have been built with standard materials at already existing shipyards, then towed to sea. A system of ballast tanks would have brought it to the upright position from which it could launch. Remarkably, the lower half of the rocket would have been submerged during launch.

Aerojet formed a partnership with the spacecraft corporation T. R. W. to implement Truax’s designs. However, outside budgetary constraints caused the project to languish. It was eventually cancelled, so that Sea Dragon never existed beyond the domain of drawings and schematics.

Truax was ahead of his time with this design. Sea Dragon would have been operated remotely and included reusable components, much as Space-X spacecraft do today. Who knows — maybe one of today’s commercial space corporations will take another look at the Sea Dragon.


Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore — $4.99 e-book or $17.99 trade paperback. Available at Amazon or Draft2Digital.

Read Full Post »

Recent reports show that Chinese hackers were able to penetrate an American defense contractor and steal a substantial trove of data. Some of the information has since been released to the public. The name of the contractor is still being concealed, but among the projects revealed was one called Sea Dragon.

It appears that this is a new type of guided missile for America’s submarine fleet. Sea Dragon will be able to target ships, aircraft and other missiles at supersonic speed. Because of the speed, it’s believed that Sea Dragon is based on the currently existing SM-6 missile, which is launched from battleships. Upgraded capabilities include the ability to accept guidance data from a variety of Navy planes and spy-drones.

According to this report in Popular Mechanics, the Sea Dragon system was scheduled to begin testing later in 2018 and could have been deployed as early as 2020. Of course, now that the secret has been laid bare, we’ll have to see if the Navy continues development as planned.


Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore — $4.99 e-book or $17.99 trade paperback. Available at Amazon or Draft2Digital.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »