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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Future Is Now

How cool is this?

Your eyes aren't deceiving you.

And this is no toy.

This is a radical new tire design from Michelin.

It was unveiled to the public at this year's Philadelphia auto show.

These tires are not inflated.

This is what great R&D will do, and just think of the impact on existing technology:

... no more air valves

... no more air compressors at gas stations

... no more repair kits

These are actual pictures taken in Michelin's South Carolina plant.

Still in R&D mode, expect to see these tires on the market some time in the future.

Click on images to enlarge.

Photos courtesy of Michelin.

Letters In The Attic

Harold Fuhrman, my father, served in the 327th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division in World War II. He participated in the D-Day invasion of Normandy, was captured by the Germans, spent months in prisoner-of-war camps, and was eventually liberated by the Russians. He returned home to Bowler, Wisconsin emaciated and in poor health in the spring of 1945.

It was thought towards the end of the war that the Nazis would retreat into the Bavarian Alps and would wage guerilla war from there after the German army was finally defeated. Because of that, the 101st Airborne was transferred to Berchtesgaden, where Adolf Hitler had his palatial mountain retreat, with the intention of taking on the remnants of Hitler's fanatical SS.

This letter was written by a soldier in the 101st to Harold from there. Adolf Hitler had committed suicide just a few weeks before and the German army had surrendered on May 7. When the letter was written, the war in Europe was ended but the war against Japan would still rage for another three months.

The letter is typed, double-spaced, on standard size lined paper. Being 61 years old, the paper is aged, faded, and in poor condition. The identity of the author, K. Dunbar, is unknown but since Harold had worked on Division HQ staff and Dunbar obviously knew him well, and the fact that he had access to a typewriter, leads one to believe that Dunbar too worked at Division HQ.

I found the letter among my father's possessions after he died. In reproducing it here, I corrected a few typos for the sake of clarity.

26 May 1945
Berchtesgaden, Ger.
Dear Harold:
I certainly was glad to read your letter and learn that you were home. Also that both you and Gamble [in combat Harold operated a bazooka; Gamble was his loader and was captured at the same time] came through O.K. I hardly know what to say to you and I hope that you get used to being a civilian before too long. Do you think that you will be discharged before too long? I sure hope that we can get back to the states before too long.
We received notification from the War Department that both you and Gamble had returned to Military Control and we knew that you had been liberated by someone but we didn't know exactly who. As some of the other boys that are writing and telling you that we are down here in Berchtesgaden, Germany. Hitler's and Goering's old hideout. I sure wish that you could see this place. Those bastards weren't hurting for anything.
They will also tell you that Tom Doyle was captured up in Bastogne and so far we haven't heard anything about him. Herb Beck who was also captured is in a hospital in France trying to put some weight back on. In the three months that he was captured he lost 58 lbs. and when one of the boys saw him they said that he really looked bad. I sure hope that Tom comes through all right. J.J. Stevens gets letters from his sister but they haven't heard anything about him. Well I guess that I had better close for now ... So here's hoping that you enjoy a wonderful stay while you are home and God bless you.
K. Dunbar