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Australian Student Balloon Rises 100,000 Feet, With a Digital Camera

timothy posted about 5 years ago | from the shame-about-the-iso-setting dept.

Space 174

hype7 writes "An Australian student at Deakin University had a fascinating idea for a final project — to send a balloon up 100,000ft (~30,000 metres) into the stratosphere with a digital camera attached. The university was supportive, and the project took shape. Although there were some serious hitches along the way, the project was successful, and he managed to retrieve the balloon — with the pictures. What's really amazing is that the total cost was so low; the most expensive part was buying the helium gas for approximately AUD$250 (~USD$200)."

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Altitude (5, Funny)

White Flame (1074973) | about 5 years ago | (#29765467)

See, you can get a lot higher up without a kid inside.

Re:Altitude (5, Funny)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | about 5 years ago | (#29765477)

But you get fewer press coverage without the kid...

Re:Altitude (5, Funny)

Clockwork Apple (64497) | about 5 years ago | (#29765855)

They got the press coverage without the kid. The "schrodingers kid" was only a "potential child" in the balloon.

Re:Altitude (5, Informative)

stillpixel (1575443) | about 5 years ago | (#29765559)

Wasn't something similar to this reported about a month or two ago? oh yeah!

Always interesting to see the twists applied to previous attempts at the same task.. I know what idea I'm putting in my 6 yr old's mind for his first science fair....

Re:Altitude (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 years ago | (#29765601)

I know what I'm putting my 6 yr old inside for his last science fair...

Re:Reported before (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29765637)

...and even more amazing is that at about 800 sites around the world, various national weather services do this same thing twice daily. Oh and they have been doing it at least since the 1950's.

100,000 feet is nothing special. They regularly go higher than that.

Anyhow, this is how most of the atmospheric layer and wind information is obtained --- not by satellite.

Re:Reported before (2, Funny)

node 3 (115640) | about 5 years ago | (#29766117)

Anyhow, this is how most of the atmospheric layer and wind information is obtained --- not by satellite.

Seems like it would've been easier to put little propellers on the satellites to measure the wind than to have to fly a balloon every day.

And before anyone replies, yes, this is a joke. I know this wouldn't work, since the little propellers would fly the satellites off course...

Re:Altitude (3, Interesting)

JWSmythe (446288) | about 5 years ago | (#29765899)

    I say send a UAV up with it. Float it up, and then see how far you can fly/glide from 100k feet. :)

    Ahh, the ways we could piss off the FAA. I know some of the regulations, and that's half of why I haven't built half the stuff I want to. :)

Re:Altitude (1)

igny (716218) | about 5 years ago | (#29765969)

I say, send a cannon [] up with it. And then see how far it can shoot. Can it miss Earth from up there?

Re:Altitude (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29766019)

Birth of a new satellite?

Re:Altitude (5, Interesting)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | about 5 years ago | (#29766051)

No, it can't miss Earth from up there. I just did the calculations. At 20 miles up, that adds only 32187 meters to the radius of the Earth. Working through the math, it means that the acceleration due to gravity is 9.7 m/s^2.

At sea level, the acceleration due to gravity is 9.8 m/s^2.

Thus, sea level escape velocity is 11201 meters per second
Escape velocity at 20 miles up is 11152 meters per second.

The difference is 49 meters per second, or 110 MPH.

Now, to pick a gun at random, let's choose the US Army's M198 Howitzer. It's an artillery piece that fires projectiles at approximately 760 meters per second. So you need to have a much bigger cannon, and a much bigger balloon.

Re: model airoplane (1)

MancunianMaskMan (701642) | about 5 years ago | (#29766891)

that's been done by a hobbyist years ago. Incredibly cool project. can't seem to find it now, i read an extensive website about it years ago. Some kid and his brother spent years building an airframe, and pack a gps and embedded computer that steers the plane back "home", 2-way radio modem, camera, the lot. Someone post the link please

Re:Altitude (3, Informative)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | about 5 years ago | (#29765953)

I don't see why ANY of this is a big deal. Joe Kittinger RODE a balloon up over 100,000 and then jumped out, with cameras rolling. OK, they weren't digital cameras, and the whole job cast a lot more than $200. but it was back in the 60's...

During the test his suit leaked but he kept going []
Video here: []

Re:Altitude (3, Insightful)

fnj (64210) | about 5 years ago | (#29766213)

Duh. Are you serious? That was an expensive project with plenty of manpower. This was one guy and his girlfriend spending a few hundred dollars.

Re:Altitude (5, Insightful)

imakemusic (1164993) | about 5 years ago | (#29766491)

I don't see why that's a big deal. Neil Armstrong went to the MOON in and made it back in one piece with cameras rolling. OK, they weren't digital cameras and the whole job cost a lot more than $200 but it was back in the 60s...

Re:Altitude (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29766647)

If you believe that really happened.

Re:Altitude (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29766695)

You must be new to Slashdot.

Re:Altitude (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29765563)

See, you can get a lot higher up without a kid inside.

The real question is how many balloons would it take to get a kid up to a 100,000 feet? Inquiring minds want to know?

Re:Altitude (4, Funny)

JWSmythe (446288) | about 5 years ago | (#29765891)

Google is your friend, and can help you find the answer [] . Ok, maybe not a specific answer, but pretty damned close. :)

    I suggest 10 24' diameter balloons, with breakaway tethers should one pop (no need to carry the extra weight of a dead balloon). If that can launch a compact car into LEO, it should be able to take a 6 year old high enough where you won't have to hear him scream. Well, at least until hypoxia kicks in, then it doesn't matter.

    Make sure you strap a camera to him, a little something like the Blair Witch Project, except in the daylight, with the only backdrop being the sky. Well, you may have the incidental aircraft in the background. I think a 6 year old and 10 24' balloons may ruin a perfectly good flight. What exactly put that Airbus A320 down in the Hudson? I think the whole bird thing was just a conspiracy to cover up the fact that it was a flock of school kids tethered to weather balloons with cameras strapped to their asses. Oh, imagine the bad press when you have to admit that your A320 just ingested a flock of school children in the engines. Oh, and the mess on the ground. I'd hate to be walking down the street just to get splattered by that. I thought it was nasty when PETA threw red paint on me for wearing a leather jacket? That would just be disgusting.

    And as a side note, based on those numbers, it would take about 80 24' diameter helium balloons to lift a 40' city bus. *THAT* would be something hilarious to see, but I'd hate to be under the landing zone. You know eventually they'll pop or leak. Some famous guy said "what comes up must come down", but I think he may have been full of shit. A flying 40' city bus could leave a little bit of a crater. I don't want to think of the logistics of filling the 80 balloons simultaneously though. That's a lot of helium. Just imagine if you got on the bus thinking "Oh, I'm just going to work", and then find that your bus is heading up towards 100,000 feet, and the driver keeps saying "Sir, please stay behind the white line." White line my ass, I'm on a flying bus!

    Maybe sometimes you shouldn't ask the questions, because they may be answered and then some. :)

Re:Altitude (1)

master5o1 (1068594) | about 5 years ago | (#29765981)

Why stop at a child? Go float your house.

Re:Altitude (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29766545)

Why stop at a child? Go Fuck your house.

Re:Altitude (1)

LordSnooty (853791) | about 5 years ago | (#29766731)

Hmm, sounds like a great idea for a movie...

Re:Altitude (1, Offtopic)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 5 years ago | (#29765611)

That little balloon in the states couldn't have lifted at all with a child inside. Somebody should have realized that.

Re:Altitude (2, Interesting)

LaZZaR (216092) | about 5 years ago | (#29765679)

I thought the same thing as well.
I'm in Australia, even the people here are calling it a publicity stunt, although, if thats true then I don't understand the actual benefit the family gets with the publicity... aren't they described as a "crackpot" family?

Re:Altitude (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29765721)

But in the USA, that's a good thing, since most everyone here is a crackpot, see our religious beliefs for one... at least this family was scientist crackpots!

Re:Altitude (1)

pcolaman (1208838) | about 5 years ago | (#29765749)

Yeah because the rest of the world is full of atheists and that there are not religious nuts anywhere else in the world *cough*middle east*cough*

Re:Altitude (0)

lxs (131946) | about 5 years ago | (#29766411)

You should get something for that cold. It's invading your typing.

Re:Altitude (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29766665)

Shut it or I'll invade your asshole, bitch!

Re:Altitude (1)

dh0dges (910735) | about 5 years ago | (#29765797)

I call BS on the "kid on balloon" story. From the size of it, no way it could lift a person, even a 6 year old. I saw NOTHING in the press questioning if the envelope was big enough to perform as feared.

Re:Altitude (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29765915)

Of course you didn't see the "PRESS" questioning anything, US journalists are fucking idiots. All they are capable of is reading what some under paid intern drops in front of them. This applies to most of the stories from all of the "NEWS" networks. Why do you think the US is in such terrible shape? The total lack of honest, well thought out information for the masses (read Joe six pack) is the major reason.

I've got a nicely aged 20 oz. bottle of Jolt Cola from ~2000 for any one who mods this up, as I'm lazy and don't have an account.

Re:Altitude (2, Informative)

zippthorne (748122) | about 5 years ago | (#29766069)

To be fair, it was kind of tough to tell the scale from the pictures of it flying. Once it got close to the ground, it was obvious to anyone who'd seen that one episode of mythbusters like five years ago. But until then, there just wasn't anything to reference its size to, except maybe the skin crinkle, which would have required extensive knowledge of the material to make judgements based upon.

Re:Altitude (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29766927)

We had - I believe - CNN on at work while this was unfolding. One of the hot air balloon experts they had on air did say, "I don't think that it is possible for a balloon that size to lift a kid; look at how far over it has tilted - shouldn't do that with a payload onboard."

In Soviet Russia... (-1, Offtopic)

leftie (667677) | about 5 years ago | (#29765819)

...the higher-ups kid inside you!

Re:In Soviet Russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29766593)

The parent post is a very, very bad post and should be modded down.

Re:Altitude (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29765917)

See, Slashdot has old news all the time.

Re:Altitude (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29766143)

This work was supported by the Centre for Intelligent Systems Research CISR:

CU Boulder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29765479)

The University of Colorado at Boulder in Boulder, CO has a class where all of the students get to make CubeSATs that are sent up on a balloon and then retrieved.

Re:CU Boulder (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 5 years ago | (#29766357)

Of course, it would be useful if they could retrieve those sats in one piece rather then the million from having been dropped. See, the CU students SHOULD have gone to CSU and learned how to do decent balloons FIRST. Heck, a CSU balloon can haul around a 6 y.o, and they even have practice runs for it.

So what... (4, Insightful)

krej (1636657) | about 5 years ago | (#29765485)

Didn't some kids at MIT send a balloon out of the atmosphere for less than $150 USD recently? What's so special about this?

Re:So what... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29765511)

My thoughts exactly. Good job though!

Re:So what... (1)

RuBLed (995686) | about 5 years ago | (#29765543)

And those MIT kids also managed to take better pictures unlike the overexposed earth taken at ISO 1600 FTFA

Re:So what... (-1, Flamebait)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 5 years ago | (#29765577)

Yeah, this guy isn't exactly MIT material. From the article:

Melody tried to let the balloon go gently but as soon as the neck of the balloon left our grip it moved up at high speed. We lost control of the balloon and the parachute caught her jacket, causing two of the strings to detach. The payload bounced along the ground, jumped into the air and then thumped me in the back. One of the two digital cameras lost power at this point. HA HA HA hahaha...what a dope.

I retrieved the payload and found it was intact. It had just rolled over on top of the GPS antenna. Bad design, period.

the Canon A480 camera that survived the impact at launch was incorrectly set to ISO 1600 before launch. Go to all this trouble and yet not even set your camera right. What sort of grade would that get at MIT? Ah, I suppose this guy is just at a job factory anyway, not a real university. Good enough, eh? Everyone pat him on the back for doing something special, because we're all special.

Re:So what... (0, Flamebait)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | about 5 years ago | (#29765655)

Go to all this trouble and yet not even set your camera right. What sort of grade would that get at MIT?

I suppose then that MIT [] students don't make mistakes [] ?

Re:So what... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29765877)

And all this coming from a fat gimp who sits in his moms basement typing out 'Worst episode....ever' comments and doing precisely nothing.

So STFU until YOU come back with YOUR pictures YOU got from YOUR sub $300 balloon floating around at 100,000 feet.

Losers like you are the exact reason why the USA is rapidly going down the tubes and will soon be a province of China.

Re:So what... (4, Informative)

Drakin020 (980931) | about 5 years ago | (#29765619)

Source: []

The only real difference is that this one went a bit higher (100,000 ft) where as the MIT guys made it 93,000. Still pretty close though.

Re:So what... (5, Informative)

mortuus (37123) | about 5 years ago | (#29766781)

I think that the reason that the newspapers printed this article was because it had a nice story to go with it. These high altitude balloon projects seem to be a bit of a hot topic at the moment. (I'm the Geoff from the Article)

Yes there have been many similar projects done by others for many years - I'm quite surprised that this story ended up going this far. Mine was a Uni project that I went about by myself, there aren't a lot of technical details in the article but the aim of the project from an engineering point of view was to build a data logging system that would function without fail at very low temperatures. Of course I wanted it to take nice pictures along the way, but this was really just because I thought it would be nice to have my own pictures from "Near Space". Other than the electronics/software design that went in to it, I put the system through low temperature environmental testing so that I could prove (mainly to myself) that the system would work before I launched it. I worked on it part time over a year, there was a lot that went in to it at the end.

I encourage others that are interested in this hobby to give it a try, it's a lot of fun and a lot more challenging than it seems. I gave it a go, learnt from it, and now plan another launch. I still haven't decided what to put in to the payload for next time round, so here's a question for the /. crowd:

What would you pack in a high altitude balloon project payload?

Re:So what... (1)

Max Littlemore (1001285) | about 5 years ago | (#29765635)

To be fair the US has much more helium than Australia and helium was the most expensive thing at ~US$230.

Confirmation is important in science (2, Funny)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | about 5 years ago | (#29765647)

Now we can say that all those stories about high altitude camera stealing gremlins probably aren't true..

Special doesn't really mean s p e c i a l anymore (1)

djupedal (584558) | about 5 years ago | (#29765735)

Well, you see, if NASA can smack the Moon's ass in the dark and get people all worked up over nothing, why not some Aussie dweeb that can't set a camera? Special just means vastly underachieved these days it seems...

Ahhhh, the celebration of mediocrity.

Re:So what... (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | about 5 years ago | (#29765753)

Some people from Alberta took HD video of the whole thing on a budget. I think that is more impressive.

Re:So what... (1)

pcolaman (1208838) | about 5 years ago | (#29765759)

But the real question is, how many of those kids rode the balloon?

Re:So what... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29765807)

What's so special about those MIT kids? Didn't they just copy the Spanish students who did it first?

Re:So what... (1)

anexkahn (935249) | about 5 years ago | (#29765893)

I was about to ask the same question

Re:So what... (2, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | about 5 years ago | (#29765903)

Didn't some kids at MIT send a balloon out of the atmosphere ... recently?

No they didn't, not even halfway. What's special about this is that neither the summary nor the article make any bogus claims about balloons making it into space.

Re:So what... (2, Funny)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 5 years ago | (#29765911)

An in a related news story:

(Kennedy Flight Center) NASA Spokeswoman Carrice Light stated at a hastily assembled press conference at a local KFC at Tampa Bay, "NASA has done this many times, and will continue to do so." Ms. Light also went on to say that NASA's projects to explore the heights of space are planned to go way beyond the 100KY Barrier,(short for 100,000 yard barrier), but that it still appears to be a major concern for NASA's administrators. "With the tragic passing of Mr. Jackson, 'Moon Walking' will be indefinitely postponed."

Re:So what... (1)

citizenr (871508) | about 5 years ago | (#29765921)

and this wasn't even $250, they didn't count APRS radio, camera and the rest of the gear. I can send payload to the moon for $250 if I count like they did.

Re:So what... (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | about 5 years ago | (#29766721)

I can send a few billion photons to the moon in 1 second. The cost is high tho per weight of the photons tho. $2 for 0.000000000000000001 of a gram.

Re:So what... (2, Funny)

Monsieur_F (531564) | about 5 years ago | (#29766869)

Where do you find those heavy photons?

In my universe, photons are light!

The difference? It's obvious... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29766241)


Slashdot has become the official cheerleading website for-and-of all things Australia.

Many of the Slashdot "editors" do little but relentlessly promote Australia at every turn.

This is what happens when you hire a bunhc of Australians, and Australian fanboys.

Not comparing, but 2 MIT Students did this: $150 (4, Informative)

walmass (67905) | about 5 years ago | (#29765489)

From Wired []

Re:Not comparing, but 2 MIT Students did this: $15 (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29765549)

It was actually a group of Spanish students who initially did this earlier this year for the first time. and it also got slashdotted (and they didn't get the ISO wrong...).

Re:Not comparing, but 2 MIT Students did this: $15 (1)

topnob (1195249) | about 5 years ago | (#29765823)

There's been a lot of them go up this year! :P

Re:Not comparing, but 2 MIT Students did this: $15 (1)

king-hobo (1303923) | about 5 years ago | (#29765787)

my thoughts too...

Should have used hydrogen. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29765495)

After all, we aren't talking about Hindenberg here. Save the Helium! Save the whales!

Well done... (1)

serbianheretic (1108833) | about 5 years ago | (#29765503)

...Commander, your bounty has been paid. I guess koalas are next.

200 USD eh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29765505)

Our dollar is better than that..

"some serious hitches along the way" (3, Funny)

Toonol (1057698) | about 5 years ago | (#29765517)

I'd say. When the basket fell off, I was sure the boy was dead!

They should keep it fastened down a little better.

Deja Vu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29765531)

Where's Denzel Washington when you need him...

Another Day, Another Balloon Cam (1)

cmholm (69081) | about 5 years ago | (#29765535)

Now that the methodology has been worked out, sending a camera up to 100kft is becoming a pretty common university and ham club team project. Provided care is taken during assembly, the biggest gotchas are while inflating the balloon, and hoping the winds keep the payload over an area with suitable roads.

It'd be neat to see more teams collect additional science, with live TM for extra points. A few years back, a few college students in Beautiful B.C. designed their own UAV [] , which flew home after release a 60kft. Nowadays, it's possible to take a crack at that without CS/EE-level knowledge of control logic, but would still be a neat challenge. Too bad FAA regs make it of iffy legality in the US.

Re:Another Day, Another Balloon Cam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29765681)

I thought the methodology for this stuff had been worked out for years. Hundreds of camera balloons have been launched from all kinds of universities for as long as I can remember. It's nice to see these balloons making news, but they are in no way new or unique.

Also, this might make me a troll, but 30k meters is not the "edge of space" as some of these articles claim. You have to get 3x higher to even get out of the continuum flow where you can then assume you are exo-atmospheric. There is no defined edge, most gauge it on the Knudsen number which is dependent on the mean free molecular path of the particles in relation to the characteristic length of your vehicle. Generally, for stuff that we normally fly, above 90k meters is considered exo-atmospheric. Just for comparison, this balloon and the others that have made the headlines all go to about 30k meters, which is standard for a high altitude balloon. The ISS orbits at around 300-350k meters and is considered to be a very low orbit, so you can get a bit of perspective about how far these balloons are from the "edge of space" as the reporters keeps saying...

Re:Another Day, Another Balloon Cam (4, Informative)

SoundDoc75 (1640327) | about 5 years ago | (#29765795)

its usually the reporters that call it "the edge of space" even the author calls it the stratosphere. I'm part of that Alberta HD video balloon group. We like to call it "Near Space" which is defined as: "Near space is the region of Earth's atmosphere that lies between 65,000 and 325,000-350,000 feet (20 to 100 km) above sea level, encompassing the stratosphere, mesosphere, and thermosphere." We're not in space, but were way up there!

a new way to import cocaine from mexico (3, Interesting)

cheekyboy (598084) | about 5 years ago | (#29766757)

Cool, so if we can get a baloon with payloads of say 1/2 a pound pure, which is what.... $20k of cocaine.

Wait for favourable winds/direction. Make sure its blue so it cant easily be seen.

Fire it up, with a tiny cpu (use old nokia without screen/plastic cover running MIDP2 java app).

Once it reachs a GPS region or into USA, deflate one of the baloons to desend not too fast, and sms the gps coordinate 5 seconds before hitting the ground.

Drive up and pick it up at leasure.

Im sure if you write up a nice prospectus, any dealer would purchase this 'kit' for $2k.

If the potential is to make millions, im sure they are doing it now already.

Your official guide to the Jigaboo presidency (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29765539)

Congratulations on your purchase of a brand new nigger! If handled properly, your apeman will give years of valuable, if reluctant, service.

You should install your nigger differently according to whether you have purchased the field or house model. Field niggers work best in a serial configuration, i.e. chained together. Chain your nigger to another nigger immediately after unpacking it, and don't even think about taking that chain off, ever. Many niggers start singing as soon as you put a chain on them. This habit can usually be thrashed out of them if nipped in the bud. House niggers work best as standalone units, but should be hobbled or hamstrung to prevent attempts at escape. At this stage, your nigger can also be given a name. Most owners use the same names over and over, since niggers become confused by too much data. Rufus, Rastus, Remus, Toby, Carslisle, Carlton, Hey-You!-Yes-you!, Yeller, Blackstar, and Sambo are all effective names for your new buck nigger. If your nigger is a ho, it should be called Latrelle, L'Tanya, or Jemima. Some owners call their nigger hoes Latrine for a joke. Pearl, Blossom, and Ivory are also righteous names for nigger hoes. These names go straight over your nigger's head, by the way.

Owing to a design error, your nigger comes equipped with a tongue and vocal chords. Most niggers can master only a few basic human phrases with this apparatus - "muh dick" being the most popular. However, others make barking, yelping, yapping noises and appear to be in some pain, so you should probably call a vet and have him remove your nigger's tongue. Once de-tongued your nigger will be a lot happier - at least, you won't hear it complaining anywhere near as much. Niggers have nothing interesting to say, anyway. Many owners also castrate their niggers for health reasons (yours, mine, and that of women, not the nigger's). This is strongly recommended, and frankly, it's a mystery why this is not done on the boat

Your nigger can be accommodated in cages with stout iron bars. Make sure, however, that the bars are wide enough to push pieces of nigger food through. The rule of thumb is, four niggers per square yard of cage. So a fifteen foot by thirty foot nigger cage can accommodate two hundred niggers. You can site a nigger cage anywhere, even on soft ground. Don't worry about your nigger fashioning makeshift shovels out of odd pieces of wood and digging an escape tunnel under the bars of the cage. Niggers never invented the shovel before and they're not about to now. In any case, your nigger is certainly too lazy to attempt escape. As long as the free food holds out, your nigger is living better than it did in Africa, so it will stay put. Buck niggers and hoe niggers can be safely accommodated in the same cage, as bucks never attempt sex with black hoes.

Your Nigger likes fried chicken, corn bread, and watermelon. You should therefore give it none of these things because its lazy ass almost certainly doesn't deserve it. Instead, feed it on porridge with salt, and creek water. Your nigger will supplement its diet with whatever it finds in the fields, other niggers, etc. Experienced nigger owners sometimes push watermelon slices through the bars of the nigger cage at the end of the day as a treat, but only if all niggers have worked well and nothing has been stolen that day. Mike of the Old Ranch Plantation reports that this last one is a killer, since all niggers steal something almost every single day of their lives. He reports he doesn't have to spend much on free watermelon for his niggers as a result. You should never allow your nigger meal breaks while at work, since if it stops work for more than ten minutes it will need to be retrained. You would be surprised how long it takes to teach a nigger to pick cotton. You really would. Coffee beans? Don't ask. You have no idea.

Niggers are very, very averse to work of any kind. The nigger's most prominent anatomical feature, after all, its oversized buttocks, which have evolved to make it more comfortable for your nigger to sit around all day doing nothing for its entire life. Niggers are often good runners, too, to enable them to sprint quickly in the opposite direction if they see work heading their way. The solution to this is to *dupe* your nigger into working. After installation, encourage it towards the cotton field with blows of a wooden club, fence post, baseball bat, etc., and then tell it that all that cotton belongs to a white man, who won't be back until tomorrow. Your nigger will then frantically compete with the other field niggers to steal as much of that cotton as it can before the white man returns. At the end of the day, return your nigger to its cage and laugh at its stupidity, then repeat the same trick every day indefinitely. Your nigger comes equipped with the standard nigger IQ of 75 and a memory to match, so it will forget this trick overnight. Niggers can start work at around 5am. You should then return to bed and come back at around 10am. Your niggers can then work through until around 10pm or whenever the light fades.

Your nigger enjoys play, like most animals, so you should play with it regularly. A happy smiling nigger works best. Games niggers enjoy include: 1) A good thrashing: every few days, take your nigger's pants down, hang it up by its heels, and have some of your other niggers thrash it with a club or whip. Your nigger will signal its intense enjoyment by shrieking and sobbing. 2) Lynch the nigger: niggers are cheap and there are millions more where yours came from. So every now and then, push the boat out a bit and lynch a nigger.

Lynchings are best done with a rope over the branch of a tree, and niggers just love to be lynched. It makes them feel special. Make your other niggers watch. They'll be so grateful, they'll work harder for a day or two (and then you can lynch another one). 3) Nigger dragging: Tie your nigger by one wrist to the tow bar on the back of suitable vehicle, then drive away at approximately 50mph. Your nigger's shrieks of enjoyment will be heard for miles. It will shriek until it falls apart. To prolong the fun for the nigger, do *NOT* drag him by his feet, as his head comes off too soon. This is painless for the nigger, but spoils the fun. Always wear a seatbelt and never exceed the speed limit. 4) Playing on the PNL: a variation on (2), except you can lynch your nigger out in the fields, thus saving work time. Niggers enjoy this game best if the PNL is operated by a man in a tall white hood. 5) Hunt the nigger: a variation of Hunt the Slipper, but played outdoors, with Dobermans. WARNING: do not let your Dobermans bite a nigger, as they are highly toxic.

Niggers die on average at around 40, which some might say is 40 years too late, but there you go. Most people prefer their niggers dead, in fact. When yours dies, report the license number of the car that did the drive-by shooting of your nigger. The police will collect the nigger and dispose of it for you.

Have it put down, for god's sake. Who needs an uppity nigger? What are we, short of niggers or something?

They all do this. Shorten your nigger's chain so it can't reach any white women, and arm heavily any white women who might go near it.

Not unless it outnumbers you 20 to 1, and even then, it's not likely. If niggers successfully overthrew their owners, they'd have to sort out their own food. This is probably why nigger uprisings were nonexistent (until some fool gave them rights).

Yeah, well, it would. Tell it to shut the fuck up.

A nigger's skin is actually more or less transparent. That brown color you can see is the shit your nigger is full of. This is why some models of nigger are sold as "The Shitskin".

What you have there is a "wigger". Rough crowd. WOW!

They're as common as dog shit and about as valuable. In fact, one of them was President between 1992 and 2000. Put your wigger in a cage with a few hundred genuine niggers and you'll soon find it stops acting like a nigger. However, leave it in the cage and let the niggers dispose of it. The best thing for any wigger is a dose of TNB.

And you were expecting what?

When you came in here, did you see a sign that said "Dead nigger storage"? .That's because there ain't no goddamn sign.

God I hate Timothy (-1, Flamebait)

Bakafish (114674) | about 5 years ago | (#29765591)

Seriously, he has the most redundant, dupe, non-interesteing, so five weeks ago postings of all the editors here. What a waste of space.

cheaper space lift (1)

triemer (569734) | about 5 years ago | (#29765593)

Seriously take a look at [] Basically since we started Space travel we've been into macho cowboys who suit up, rocket scientists, and massive flight control systems. Lets face it, the slow boat from Europe or the Middle East, or China still gets here, just a whole lot cheaper. These balloon cams one day is going to get people into space thinking.... What if we could remove about a good 90% of the thrust problem? What if?

Re:cheaper space lift (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 5 years ago | (#29765669)

Uhhh, if you drop something from a high altitude balloon, it falls straight down... For space lift, you need delta-v.

Re:cheaper space lift (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 5 years ago | (#29766185)

Their plan is to use the buoyancy to take the urgency out of the rocket motors. If you don't need to have thrust to have a thrust to weight ratio of four, and can instead get away with much less than one, you can use more mass-efficient engines like hall thrusters and such.

Of course, that assumes that you can get up enough speed pushing a giant freakin' balloon to be able to detach and complete the trip....

Re:cheaper space lift (1)

QuantumG (50515) | about 5 years ago | (#29766021)

That joke has been up for decades now.. and yet people keep falling for it.

Weather balloons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29765603)

Gee... meteorological services have been doing this for over 50 years. 40,000 meters is typical before the balloon bursts.

The balloons are easy to get. Helium is safe but usually they use hydrogen generated on site by an accumulator.

Heh heh... they used to make it chemically which led to some famous disasters (well... famous within the respective services).

BTW, it was sometimes fun to inflate one inside of a colleague's room/office while they were out. Amazing how space filling they can be.

So who will be the first to.. (1)

stillpixel (1575443) | about 5 years ago | (#29765605)

send up a balloon and an iPhone jailbroken and functioning as a streaming web cam?

Sorry, even the MIT students were beaten up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29765623)

Here is the news for some Spanish high-school kids achieving the feat much earlier than any undergrads:

Aussie dollars rising fast like the balloon (-1, Flamebait)

ignavus (213578) | about 5 years ago | (#29765625)

approximately AUD$250 (~USD$200)

Um, the AUD is worth more than USD$0.92

So that AUD$250 is more like USD$230

Try to keep up with the economy.

Re:Aussie dollars rising fast like the balloon (1)

orangeyouglad (1246256) | about 5 years ago | (#29765821)

Do notice the tilde next to USD$200. It commonly (in mathematics circles, anyway) stands for "approximately." I hope you agree that USD$200 is not far off enough to invalidate the tilde.

Fuck Deakin (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29765687)

Mother fuckers, I attend the Burwood campus at Deakin University and I'm an SIT student and I wanted to do something very similar (Attach some Arduino data logging for sensors etc.) and they told me no and didn't want to hear anything more about it even though I said I could fund it myself, instead this tool who can't even set a camera right does it with University support. I attend the damn university and not even I get to find out about this stuff until I see it on Slashdot! Fuck the "Deakin Experience", they don't give a flying fuck about anyone else other than postgrads and masters students.

Re:Fuck Deakin (4, Funny)

Kozz (7764) | about 5 years ago | (#29765769)

Hey, man. Too bad you didn't get the opportunity. But I'm proud of you for not being bitter.

Re:Fuck Deakin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29765799)

Sorry, but it just annoys me because now I'm doing such a lame project. I work in aviation as well doing mostly legal compliance stuff (CASA regs etc.) and I do radio and RC stuff in my spare time which is why I'm so annoyed.

Re:Fuck Deakin (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29766023)

Have you considered a career in player hating? It seems like you'd be a natural. Plus, you get a cane!

Noooooooo.... (1)

Qubit (100461) | about 5 years ago | (#29765703)

I can just see the Australian patent lawyers revving their engines again. Thank goodness those MIT students did this before and have prior art so we won't see another stop-stealing-our-toy-designs lawsuit.

And before the MIT guys... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29765751)

... a group of Spanish high-schoolers [] , back in March. And a canadian [] a couple of years ago. And whatnot...

So, yeah. Not pretty much impressive (or a novelty) by now. Seems that verifying the roundness of Earth is routine.

Aircraft Regulations? (1)

filosofo (1030268) | about 5 years ago | (#29765791)

Anybody who wants to attempt a similar project ought to read part 101 of the Civil Aviation Safety rules that specify what operators of unmanned aircraft and rockets must do to ensure safety in the air.

Can someone summarize what those are or explain the American equivalent? I mean, how do you avoid taking out an airliner's engine or some such thing?

Re:Aircraft Regulations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29766001)

The US guys that did this (after the Spanish guys did it) said as long as your payload is under 400g you don't need to get approval for launch under US regs.

Um... (0, Redundant)

chucklebutte (921447) | about 5 years ago | (#29765919)

Wasnt this already done by someone else a few weeks back? Or is it same guy and /. is just a tad bit behind in the news?

Why is this news? (5, Informative)

Snowtred (1334453) | about 5 years ago | (#29765997)

This isn't something new, my undergrad university (DePauw University in Indiana) has been sending balloons 100,000 feet (I think our record is about 110,000) with digital cameras for about 5 years: [] Each student had a pod with their own designed experiment, a requirement for a physics course. We bought our system from Taylor University, who have been doing it twice as long.

Augh! Not impressive! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29766015)

People have been doing this for DECADES! What's with all the sudden press over random launches?

I know we do a few launches a year at University of Maryland, are we not just not as exciting or something?

been done many times before... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29766157)

What a lame story.

Amateur Radio operators started doing this ~15 years ago and still do it today. And on the cheap.. Check out the first HD video via balloon;

Nothing new, move along (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29766305)

Please do not post unimportant articles.

This has been done already - with better pictures.
Nothing new has been aquired, exept for 7000 feet (~2k meters) extra height.

Indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29766635)

Seems to be quite popular recently anyway:

Adding rockets (1)

blaisethom (1563331) | about 5 years ago | (#29766639)

Seems like 110,000 feet is quite common for university balloon flights. The University of Cambridge in the UK also has a project which has been reaching that height for a while (33km). What is interesting there is that they're planning to launch rockets from the balloon, and hoping to reach 150km. You can see their plans at [] . Don't know what their costs are.

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