In honor of the Oscars recently, I’ve decided to offer an engineering cinematic trivia contest. Why an engineering theme? Well, currently my day job is creating content for a great software company whose customers are engineers for manufacturing industries. So why not? See if you can guess the movie titles from the descriptions below (provide the years as well): Astronomer gets world to build a giant cosmic faster-than-light ship based on a message from space. Abandoned astronaut uses science to survive on desolate world while his crew mates figure out how to rescue him. American businessman builds largest airplane in the world and kicks off the airline industry while he descends into mental illness. Paranoid monarch takes a woman in lieu of tribute to fund building his massive robber-proof tomb. Two western men aid the Chinese army in defending their country from an invasion of a horde of supernatural creatures. The last one is not really about building anything as it simply glorifies a great ancient structure. In the meantime, Digital Batman’s got you covered with hints for you below!
Today’s Progressive Pioneer is none other than the ultra-prolific planetary romance and adventure novelist Edgar Rice Burroughs (EBR). Burroughs’ work—particularly on his John Carter of Barsoom (i.e. Mars) series—are the unsung inspiration for stories such as Flash Gordon, Star Wars, and even Avatar. All eleven Barsoom novels describe a world so rich in detail, culture, wildly eccentric science and technology (for his time), outlandish and terrifying creatures, and extraordinary complex characters story tellers have been tapping into for over a century. However, Burroughs’ work goes beyond just his Barsoom/Mars books. He is even more known for his Tarzan adventure novel series of 26 books. These stories were so famous during Burroughs’ time that he immediately saw the tech trend value in exploiting them in all forms of media (against so-called experts’ advice at the time). Tarzan became an instant hit on radio, in comic books, and in film. In fact, even Burroughs’ daughter Joan married Tarzan film actor, James Pierce, starring with her husband, as the voice of Jane, during 1932-34 for the Tarzan radio series! However, the most interesting fact about Burroughs’ Tarzan is that not one but two towns were named after the character! Tarzana in California, which started out as EBR’s eponymous ranch in the Los Angeles area, and eventually became incorporated as the American town of Tarzana in 1927. Tarzan in Texas was also formally named in 1927. There’s even an impact crater on Mars named after EBR! Burroughs was born in Chicago Illinois on September 1st, 1875 and died on March 19th, 1950 at the age of 74. He was married twice, first to Emma Hulbert (1900–1934) where they had three children together (Joan, Hulbert, and John); and then to actress Florence Gilbert Dearholt (1935–1942). He passed away in Encino California but he is laid...