A draisine is a light auxiliary rail vehicle, driven by service personnel, equipped to transport crew and material necessary for the maintenance of railway infrastructure. The eponymous term is derived from the German inventor Baron Karl Drais, who invented his Laufmaschine in 1817, called Draisine in German by the press, it is the first reliable claim for a used precursor to the bicycle the first commercially successful two-wheeled, human-propelled machine, nicknamed hobby-horse or dandy horse. The name draisine came to be applied only to the invention used on rails and was extended to similar vehicles when not human-powered; because of their low weight and small size, they can be put on and taken off the rails at any place, allowing trains to pass. In the United States, motor-powered draisines are known as speeders while human-powered ones are referred as handcars. Vehicles that can be driven on both the highway and the rail line are called road–rail vehicles, or Hy-Rails. "Draisines", called dressin in Swedish, dresin in Norwegian, dræsine in Danish, resiina in Finnish, refers to pedal-powered rail-cycles which were used by railroad maintenance workers in Finland and Norway until about 1950, as handcars were elsewhere.

Draisines nowadays are used for recreation on several unused railway lines in Germany, Norway, some other European countries and South Korea. Several companies rent draisines in Sweden. In the United States, railbike tours have operated in several states nationwide: Maine, the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, Delaware; until 2007, Finland hosted an annual competition, Resiina-ralli, involving several draisine teams travelling for many days on the railways from one corner of the country to another. The military usage of draisines concerned, first of all, armoured draisines, they were light armoured rail motor vehicles, intended for reconnaissance, track patrolling, other auxiliary combat tasks belonging to armoured trains. Early vehicles of this kind were built in Russia during World War I. Armoured cars were used as armoured draisines, after exchanging their wheels to railroad ones, or fitting them with additional retractable railroad rollers; some countries, manufactured purpose-built armoured draisines between the wars, such as the USSR and Czechoslovakia.

Peculiar vehicles were Polish armoured draisines - they were tanks or tankettes fitted with special rail chassis, able to be used on rails or on the ground, leaving the rail chassis on the rails. Some countries developed railtrack armoured draisines, with retractable tracks railroad wheels. Different armoured draisines were used during the Second World War, starting from the invasion of Poland carried out by Nazi Germany. Prior to World War II, the Japanese Empire had made extensive use of draisines such as the Sumida M.2593 in Manchuria and the Sino-Japanese war. People have been putting bicycles on railroad tracks since there have been both bicycles and railroads. From time to time, factory-built models have been available, beginning with a device marketed in 1908 through the Sears catalogue for just US$5.45. There are many designs of draisine. However, certain fundamentals of railbike design must be adhered to, foremost among them the reconciliation of a bicycle's stability with adaptation to riding on a railway track: bicycles are kept upright by the rider steering in the direction of an impending fall, but this ability is sacrificed when the bicycle is constrained by rails.

Adding flanged wheels to a conventional bicycle would make it impossible to balance, so the typical approach to stabilization is to add an outrigger, with roller, across to the second rail from near the bicycle’s rear wheel. Such an outrigger system is not without its complications, as tracks that are no longer parallel — common on sections of abandoned track — can result in derailment. Additional guide rollers can help alleviate this problem at the expense of greater weight. Balance bicycle History of the bicycle Norry, improvised draisines used in Cambodia In the film Frog Dreaming, the young protagonist builds and uses a railbike. Railway Mokes Media related to Draisines at Wikimedia Commons Railriders Video produced by Oregon Field Guide

Dan Deacon: U.S.A.

Dan Deacon: U. S. A. is the first television special of the American anthology series Off the Air. The special was directed by creator and executive producer Dave Hughes; the episode incorporates surreal footage of landscapes in the United States, with music by Dan Deacon from the album America. The special was commissioned by Williams Street Records as part of the Adult Swim 2013 Singles Program; the episode coincided with the release of another track by Deacon entitled "Why Am I on This Cloud?", featuring samples from other Adult Swim programming. Promoted as a "one-time airing" by members of the production staff, the episode premiered on Adult Swim on July 6, 2013; the special was viewed by 962,000 viewers and received a 0.8 rating among adults between the ages of 18 and 49. The episode received positive critical reception from music journalist websites for its psychedelic visuals and uses of American iconography. Similar to other episodes of Off the Air, the episode is presented without explanation or narration as a showcase of surreal animations, viral internet videos, archival footage and morphing psychedelic imagery, arranged around a single loose theme and blended without pause into a single continuous presentation.

Excluding its closing credits, the special features the last four tracks from the album America by Dan Deacon. The episode incorporates the following works, which center on landscapes in the United States: El hombre y la Tierra excerpt Radical Updates by Andrew Benson Cityscape Chicago by Eric Hines Space Station footage provided by Image Science and Analysis Laboratory at the NASA John Space Center Groosland by Dutch National Ballet CGI space objects by Adam Bruneau American Harvest provided by Prelinger Archives Head On by Lior Ben Horin Murmuration by Liberty Smith and Sophie Windsor Clive Cy's Sunrise Lefts by Cyrus Sutton and Moonwalk performance by Dean Potter Primavera Concert Footage by Tom Bingham, Gill Austin, Jonathan Rej, Jeff Crocker Stone Mountain Ghillie Suits. Director and editor Dave Hughes had collaborated with Deacon in 2008 for his song "Okie Dokie" from the album Spiderman of the Rings; the short film Head On by Lior Ben Horin was featured in the a previous episode of the series entitled "Color".

According to Hughes, the special was commissioned to coincide with the release of Deacon's track for the compilation album. Deacon's track was released on William Street Record's website on June 26, 2013. Despite the special's national focus, the episode culls works from artists worldwide. Hughes, along with associate producer Cody DeMatteis, utilized Adobe After Effects for some aspects of post-production editing; the special makes extensive use of compression artifacts for artistic effect, namely "datamoshing", where two videos are interleaved so intermediate frames are interpolated from two separate sources. The technique referred to as "photo stacking", in which time-lapse photographs are composited on top of one another, was utilized for the NASA John Space Center footage. "Dan Deacon: U. S. A." aired on July 6, 2013 on Cartoon Network's late-night programming block, Adult Swim. Promoted as a "one-time airing" by members of the production staff, the episode was broadcast as part of DVR Theater at 4 a.m..

The special was viewed by 962,000 viewers and received a 0.8 Nielsen rating in the 18–49 demographic. The episode was released onto Adult Swim's website on July 1, 2013. Critical reception was positive from music journalist websites, who praised its psychedelic visuals and uses of American iconography. Consequence of Sound's Michael Roffman compared the scenic visuals to Koyaanisqatsi and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Exclaim! magazine's Alex Hudson called the special accompanied by the soundtrack "ambitious and shapeshifting", but described some of the CGI featured as "corny". Jamie Milton of This Is Fake DIY described the episode as a "bold slice of national pride, beloved to the landscapes that inspired the making of the excitable producer's latest album". In his review, he compared it to the theory of "Broken Britain" in the United Kingdom, stating between the special and "a 20 minute documentary about'Broken Britain', you know which one you should go for." An article by Fact magazine described the episode as a compilation of "eye-popping scenes."Nancy Hoang of CMJ praised the episode's visuals, highlighting the incorporation of the short film Murmuration by Liberty Smith and Sophie Windsor Clive.

Chris Martins of Spin magazine enjoyed the psychedelic visuals. He found the episode appealing to stoner culture, ending his review stating that the special is "tailor-made for late nights in haze-filled dorm rooms." Tom Breihan of Stereogum reviewed the special positively, calling the episode an "oddly patriotic work that pulls in all sorts of American iconography". Rachel Haas of Paste magazine praised the special being released close to Independence Day, stating "this suite would soundtrack the coolest, weirdest fireworks show ever." Leor Galil of the Chicago Reader featured the video for his "12 O'Clock Track", praising Hughes' manipulation of Cityscape Chicago by cinematographer Eric Hines. However, given the tracks' length, he argued the episode would best be enjoyed "through a nice pair of speakers at a bar

Mirko Ludwig

Mirko Ludwig is a German tenor, active in concert in informed performance. He is a member of the vocal quartet Quartonal. Born in Hamburg, Ludwig was from grade three a member of the boys' choir Chorknaben Uetersen, he studied voice at the University of the Arts Bremen from 1980 with Thomas Mohr and Krisztina Laki, with a focus on informed performance. In 2012, Ludwig appeared at the Laeiszhalle in Hamburg with the Franz-Schubert-Chor in a program combining Schubert's Mass No. 2 in G major with Dona nobis pacem by Pēteris Vasks and Martín Palmeri's Misa a Buenos Aires. He has performed the tenor part in Bach's St John Passion, both Evangelist and arias, for example at St. Nikolai in 2016, conducted by Volkmar Zehner. A review noted that he used his agile tenor voice for an intense dramatic narration, he appeared in the opening concert of the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg in 2017 with a vocal quintet called Ensemble Praetorius, founded for the occasion. In 2019, he appeared as a soloist with the Balthasar-Neumann-Chor und -Ensemble conducted by Thomas Hengelbrock at the Kölner Philharmonie, performing Schumann's Missa Sacra.

He performed the first tenor solo part in Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine at St. Martin, conducted by Franz Fink, alongside soprano Elisabeth Scholl and bass Johannes Hill. A reviewer credited the six soloists with perfect technique and harmony among their voices in the ensembles. Ludwig is a member of the vocal quartet Quartonal. Founded in 2006, they won first prize at the 2010 Deutscher Chorwettbewerb. Literature by and about Mirko Ludwig in the German National Library catalogue Official website Quartonal Mirko Ludwig discography at Discogs Mirko Ludwig Bach Cantatas Website 2019