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Disaster Response Vehicle (1960)

The September 11, 1960 edition of Arthur Radebaugh's Closer Than We Think envisioned a type of disaster response vehicle that could seemingly accomplish many of the things people still complain about whenever governments respond to crises. With a decimated infrastructure those "terra tires" (crushing cars, mind you) would certainly come in handy. It's interesting that the illustration gives no clue as to what horror these people must be running from; an uncharacteristically chilling image from pop-utopian Radebaugh.

Tomorrow's methods of coping with catastrophes will make our present-day equipment as obsolete as the horse-drawn drays that handled the San Francisco fire havoc in 1906.

New king-size disaster wagons will face up to any kind of upheaval -- atomic, atmospheric or volcanic. Their low-pressure "terra tire" doughnut wheels will permit movement across any kind of terrain, traffic or wreckage. Supplies will include hospital equipment, pharmaceuticals, blood, dehydrated food and the like.

Such wagons are now in the planning stage for military purposes. Compare also the enormous vehicles already in use as missile carriers, also those used in the mining and logging industries.

Next week: Sub Squelcher


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Reader Comments (14)

Ah yes, "Closer Than We Think!". As much as I love that strip, I think someone should create a "Farther Than We Think!" strip, where captions read like "In 2050, a typical office still use reams of paper weekly. The paperless office has yet to arrive" or "In 2050, physicists still report that fusion power is 'about twenty years away'".

March 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Badger

Calling International Rescue

Ah, so that's where Gerry Anderson got his ideas from

March 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlex O'D

Funny thing is, my first impression was that these people are running from the horror of a giant tank-like behemoth of a vehicle that's smashing right through their beloved city, crumbling buildings and squishing cars and people like toys. (Complete with spider-like "eyes", gaping jaws, and a twitching proboscis/tounge-thingy.)

But seriously, how are you supposed to deploy that thing to any disaster region (that doesn't happen to be right next door to where DRV was parked in the first place)? I don't think there ever was a plane capable of airlifting that monster, and it can't even travel by road (for it's much too wide!). Deploying it by ship is about the only sensible way I can think of (if there happens to be a harbor nearby), and even then it's likely a "don't worry - help is on the way and will arrive in a couple of weeks"-scenario.

But hey, maybe it can inflate those terra tires with helium and float like an airship, who knows... ;-)

March 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVorpal

In 1978 I did a science report in high school based on a NOVA episode about the SHIVA fusion project. At that time, they figured it would take 40 years of research to make fusion a viable energy resource. Since then machines on larger scales have been built and tested and overall over 50 projects have been launched. According to recent articles in New Scientist and Scientific American "... it remains unclear whether an economically viable fusion plant is possible."

We have seen many examples where ground breaking technology often does not get developed or implemented because people who profit from the outmoded infrastructure are motivated to protect their interests even if it prevents apparent benefits to mankind.

March 2, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteraredant

I'm so glad I found this site...I keep thinking about the interesting (yet hilariously off-base) "innovations" that Brave New World is littered with.



March 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenteranNEonymous franke

This behemoth would likely kill as many people as it would save.

March 4, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteramy ame rain

That thing would make a great toy, especially with the little elevators along the sides and in the back!

March 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJay

@Jonathan Badger it shouldn't be 'Farther than we think', but 'Not what we think'. We may not have jumbo disaster relief vehicles, but the world has changed significantly since 1960. I mean, if the internet had appeared in a 'closer than we think', wouldn't it have seemed as fantastic?

March 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBob

This thing is so counter-intuitive.

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPhisshy

I love those movies, but the future is near with vehicles that can fly and also use the roads when needed, if anyone needs a roadvehicle this is the comfort for a good pricing
Enjoy and have fun

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGurra

Yeah, I'd definitely be running from that big a.. thing! lol

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFarley

This looks exactly like those "riot control" vehicles from the movie Soilent Green.

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPhilatonian

"horse_drawn drays" how'd the Tribune miss that one?
Who would have known that terra tires could incite so much of it
The rescue boom technician points at the dish tv and wonders why the revolution won't be televised. Stalled cars stack up like at a 50's night die in
An air operated ramp unleashes heaps relief upon humanity
It's a disaster vehicle of epic proportions
We're closer than we think

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterutopiate

"Keep moving citizens, or we'll run you over with our Red Cross Monster Truck."

May 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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