In 1960, Colonel Joseph Kittinger jumped out of a helium balloon at 102,800 feet in the name of science, setting the world record for the highest and fastest parachute jump. Later this year, an Austrian daredevil named Felix Baumgartner
hopes to beat that record by more than 3 miles, also by stepping out of a balloon. From Space.com:
"Right now, the space shuttle escape system is certified to 100,000 feet," said the mission's medical director Jonathan Clark, a former NASA flight surgeon. "Why is that? Because Joe Kittinger went there. You've got a lot of companies that are vying for the role of being the commercial space transport provider for tourism, for upper atmospheric science, and so on. These systems, particularly during the test and development phase, need a potential escape system, which we may be able to help them provide with the knowledge we gain."
"Skydiver Plans Record-Breaking Supersonic Space Jump"
A team of aeronautics experts recently led Baumgartner through a week of testing meant to illuminate any possible weaknesses in his equipment and to familiarize him with the skills needed to navigate the conditions expected to assail him as soon as he opens his vessel door.
Only a few feet above ground in a capsule dangling from a crane on Sage Cheshire Aerospace test grounds in California, Baumgartner practiced exiting and stepping off his hot-air balloon. Even a slight stumble during this step could cause dangerous alterations in his in-flight position only moments later, as well as reduce his chances of actually breaking the sound barrier.
Scientists discovered this new species of “glass frog” in Ecuador’s Amazon lowlands. Hyalinobatrachium yaku’s belly is so transparent that you can clearly see its kidneys, bladder, and beating heart. From Science News: Yaku means “water” in Kichwa, a language spoken in Ecuador and parts of Peru where H. yaku may also live. Glass frogs, like […]
Jennifer Raff — a bioanthropologist and geneticist who researches and teaches at U Kansas and U Texas — provides some excellent advice and context on how to read a scientific paper, from figuring out which papers and journals are worthy of your attention to understanding the paper in its wider context in the relevant field.
Apple released this lovely new commercial featuring Carl Sagan reading from his magnificent 1994 book Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, now available as an audiobook. This surprising partnership spurred Adweek to interview my friend Ann Druyan, Sagan’s wife, collaborator, and creative director of the Voyager Golden Record, about being […]
If you struggle to get a good night’s rest, consider replacing your pillows before dropping hundreds on a new mattress. You can give your tired neck a break with a 2-pack of memory foam pillows, available now in the Boing Boing Store.Each of these pillows is stuffed with cooling polyurethane foam that molds to your […]
Although flagship smartphones are unlikely to adopt heavy-duty outer casing anytime soon, you can always prepare your device for the outdoors with a beefy case and and an external battery like this Nomad Tile Trackable PowerPack, available in the Boing Boing Store for $119.95.The Nomad Tile can fully recharge an iPhone 7 over three times […]
Even though credit cards now feature an EMV chip for securing transactions, they still have to include the magnetic strip for compatibility with older point of sale systems. Because of this, there’s no way for the chip’s new security capabilities to protect against card skimmers in the wild.How do you protect yourself from legacy-technology-induced fraud? […]