I learned about this lawn chair flight from Matt Promise’s blog.
Balloons suspend Kent Couch in a lawn chair as he floats in the skies near Bend, Ore., Saturday, July 7, 2007. Couch, on his way to Idaho, carried a global positioning system device, a two-way radio, a digital camcorder and a cell phone. He also had instruments to measure his altitude and speed and about four plastic bags holding five gallons of water each to act as a ballast, he could turn a spigot, release water and rise.
Couch is the latest American to emulate Larry Walters â€” who in 1982 rose three miles above Los Angeles in a lawn chair lifted by balloons. Walters had surprised an airline pilot, who radioed the control tower that he had just passed a guy in a lawn chair.
Here is an article on Fox News.
Three months to design, six months to build, $15,000 in parts…
Who was the game winning pitcher in game three of the 1926 world series? Who were the four people in George Washington’s cabinet? When was Sir Walter Raleigh executed? What day of the week was that? Kim Peek has no trouble answering questions like these and thousands more from memory. He is the person the “Rain Man” character was based on. He reads eight books a day. A page that would normally take three minutes to read takes him eight to ten seconds. He reads the left page with his left eye and the right page with his right eye and retains 98% of it. The neurologist who originally diagnosed him only gave them five minutes of his time because he was late for a golf game; he said they should put Kim in an institution and forget about him.
Other parts of the series:
Part Two of Five
Part Three of Five
Part Four of Five
Part Five of Five
I came across a story on slashdot.org regarding one man’s “nightmare” from using a compact fluorescent lightbulb (CFL). I had no idea that CFL’s contained mercury! I did a little more research and found the following links:
CFL Bulbs Have One Hitch: Toxic Mercury
“But the bulbs contain small amounts of mercury, a neurotoxin, and the companies and federal government haven’t come up with effective ways to get Americans to recycle them.”
“Experts agree that it’s not easy for most people to recycle these bulbs. Even cities that have curbside recycling won’t take the bulbs. So people have to take them to a hazardous-waste collection day or a special facility.”
Exposure to Mercury From Fluorescent Light Bulbs
“The diagnosis was mercury poisoning, and an investigation of his environment disclosed that he had been exposed to mercury from broken fluorescent light bulbs.”
I also found some articles that attempted to minimize the risks of CFL’s, but they seemed to be primarily from companies that sell CFL’s. I would advise educating yourself on the pros/cons of CFL’s prior to using them.
While reading some of the articles, I came across Dimethylmercury (not in CFL’s). This nasty neurotoxin was responsible for killing a researcher who accidentally spilled a drop or two on her latex gloved hand! Absorbing a thousandth of a milliliter is fatal.
Ya gotta love robots :) Trevor Blackwell, the founder and CEO of anybots, worked with Paul Graham on Viaweb which was a pioneering ASP using Lisp which eventually sold to Yahoo! for a nice sum and became Yahoo! Store. Very sharp guy, but I’m quite skeptical that a walking humanoid robot (technically a remotely operated machine since it won’t be autonomous) will be profitable. I hope it is.
Anybots announces the world’s first dynamically balancing walking humanoid robot.
Go to anybots.com for more info.
SIGGRAPH award winning animation of the inner life of the cell. To see a version with narration, click the image below, then choose the version appropriate for your internet connection speed:
It’s been a few days without a video of something exploding :) Some friends of mine got together a while ago to explode ginger bread houses in various ways. This was one of the more effective ones:
You can see the rest of them here