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High School Students Send Lego Man 24 Kilometers High

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the some-science-projects-are-better-than-others dept.

Hardware Hacking 115

First time accepted submitter AbilityLiving writes "Two high schoolers have launched a Lego Man to 80,000 feet — three times the height of a jet — in a homebrew project that involved a few Ebay-purchased cameras, a giant helium balloon and a star-ship full of ingenuity."

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Organized trolling campaign by GreatBunzinni (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38823443)

GreatBunzinni [slashdot.org] has been posting anonymous accusations [slashdot.org] listing a whole bunch of Slashdot accounts as being part of a marketing campaign for Microsoft, without any evidence. GreatBunzinni has accidentally outed himself [slashdot.org] as this anonymous poster. Half the accounts he attacks don't even post pro-Microsoft rhetoric. The one thing they appear to have in common is that they have been critical of Google in the past. GreatBunzinni has been using multiple accounts to post these "shill" accusations, such as Galestar [slashdot.org] , NicknameOne [slashdot.org] , and flurp [slashdot.org] .

That's not the problem. The problem is that moderators gave him +5 Informative and are now modding down the accused, even for legitimate posts. Metamoderation is supposed to address this by filtering out the bad moderators, but clearly it's not working.

This "shill" crap that has been flying around lately has to stop. It's restricting a variety of viewpoints from participating on the site and creating an echo chamber.

Re:Organized trolling campaign by GreatBunzinni (-1, Offtopic)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38823515)

Shills pay the bills asehole. U MAD?

Re:Organized trolling campaign by GreatBunzinni (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38824353)

[OFF TOPIC] This might come as a shock to you, but when I give mod points I do it based on what has been posted.. not who posted it.

Re:Organized trolling campaign by GreatBunzinni (0)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#38824523)

AC's don't give mod points. They troll.

Re:Organized trolling campaign by GreatBunzinni (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38825259)

this one did both! ^___^

Re:Organized trolling campaign by GreatBunzinni (1)

datavirtue (1104259) | more than 2 years ago | (#38828663)

AC is a necessary option to have that facilitates an open exchange of ideas.

Re:Organized trolling campaign by GreatBunzinni (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#38828795)

AC is a necessary option to have that facilitates an open exchange of ideas.

That sounds good in theory, so much so that I must concede a valid point.
However in practice, AC's seem to troll as a rule.

Re:Organized trolling campaign by GreatBunzinni (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38824685)

Shut up you astroturfing cunt.

Re:Organized trolling campaign by GreatBunzinni (0)

Garybaldy (1233166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38824811)

Got any extra time after getting nearly first post on every /. article?

No one even reads your shit anymore. Maybe you should learn not to cut and paste. Change it up a little. After the first three words we know not to read further.

Re:Organized trolling campaign by GreatBunzinni (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38828761)

Since I am sick of seeing this post, I am going to start unilaterally modding down Overly Critical Guy [slashdot.org] and bonch [slashdot.org] (the two people your GreatBunzinni is complaining about), wheras without this constantly spammed post I would have ignored both. I encourage others to do the same. Note, if GreatBunzinni spams his comment over and over, I will mod him down too.

I don't care if the accusations are true or false, it isn't the point. The point is, your constant bitching and moaning about the situation has caused enough ire that I will now directly attack the person you are trying to protect. (and if the AC that constantly spams this happens to be either of the above two posters, so much the better)

Here is how slashdot works, in case you were not aware: People who post a lot will eventually attract a stalker that mods them down at every turn. Your recourse is that if they are modding you unfairly, they will get metamodded down, and eventually no longer get mod points. So if you are going to post, post insightful stuff.

tl;dr: keep your flamewars AC where they are easily ignored (such as this post is). If you log in and post offtopic shit, either you or your friends WILL get modded down.

Re:Organized trolling campaign by GreatBunzinni (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 2 years ago | (#38828811)

Note, I am aware that GreatBunzinni could in effect be sockpuppet attacking himself in some sort of reverse-psycology attack on his enemies. In that case he will end up getting himself modded down often enough to make it a Pyrrhic victory. If everyone involved gets modded to oblivion, I will consider it... Mission Fucking Accomplished.

iOS now has more marketshare than Android (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38823449)

It's official: iOS now has more marketshare than Android. Reuters reports that Apple completely erased Android's marketshare lead [reuters.com] , confirming earlier reports by both Nielsen [nielsen.com] and NPD [gigaom.com] . Over 150 Android smartphones couldn't outcompete the iPhone 4S. With 37 million iPhones sold last quarter, Apple is the largest smartphone marker, and their profits exceed Google’s entire revenue, $13 billion to $10.6 billion. Finally, with 15 million iPads sold last quarter, the tablet market is now larger than the entire desktop PC market.

The clock is ticking, Fandroids.

Re:iOS now has more marketshare than Android (-1, Offtopic)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38823531)

I think we have one seriously OCD Google-hater on our hands.

Re:iOS now has more marketshare than Android (0)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#38824531)

Yes, somewhat offtopic.

Re:iOS now has more marketshare than Android (0)

Garybaldy (1233166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38824815)

Your cut and pastes are getting ignored as well.

Slashdot is dead (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38823451)

Infiltrated by Google employees and well-wishers, Slashdot consistently offers justifications for every bad behavior and terrible decision coming from Google. Just look at the privacy changes article in which fanboys banded together to make sure Google was perceived as the good guy and that anyone critical of them was modbombed.

Just to recap, Google is a multibillion dollar advertising megacorporation that was caught by the German government sniffing people's wifi data (they "accidentally" did it for three years before admitting it only when authorities threatened an investigation), forced people to use real names on Google+ and admitted it was an identity service and not a social network, stuffed Google+ results into the search engine without any competing social networks even though they have those networks indexed by the search engine (hello, Microsoft tactics), said that the only people who care about privacy "have something to hide," hacked into Mocality to call its customers, removed H.264 support in Chrome out of "openness" only to turn around ship the closed-source Flash plugin, withheld Android source from the public but shared it with privileged hardware partners so they could have a leg up, abused their Android compatibility program to make things difficult for smartphone makers who chose Bing instead of Google, and on and on and on.

With all this crap they pull that would get them completely trashed if they were Microsoft or any other company, there's one reason and one reason only that they have been propped up as the good guy on Slashdot all these years--Linux. They use Linux. Slashdot is a Linux advocacy site, and so because Google uses Linux, they are good guys and get a pass for everything. That's all it takes to get Slashdot to love you. Just use Linux.

Hypocrites. When Microsoft used their Windows monopoly revenues to fund development of Internet Explorer and release it for free to try to dominate the web market, everyone here cried "antitrust!" But when Google uses its web search monopoly revenues to fund development of Android and release it for free to try to dominate smartphones, everyone defends it. For anyone who was on Slashdot during those times, to see Google doing all the very same things Microsoft did but get a completely different reaction is surreal.

Slashdot is a bubble. You only get pro-Google, pro-Linux news. Major news occurring elsewhere is often days late, if it gets reported at all. The Google+ search results fiasco is huge all over the tech sites right now, but there's nothing about it here, as if it doesn't even exist as a controversy. And did you know iOS surpassed Android in marketshare by the end of 2011 according to three research firms? With how obsessed Slashdot is over marketshare, and how they constantly trumpeted Android's marketshare all the time as a victory last year, you'd think it would be big news. But, no. This is pro-Google territory, pro-Linux territory. Gotta keep the natives happy for more page views.

This will get modded down because trolls have taken over the moderation system and openly subvert it. That's fine. It just proves my point about how Slashdot reacts to anything outside the partyline. This site's news reporting is old, antiquated, and slow, but the news isn't even why people come here anymore. The part of the community still remaining (after its years-long exodus to Reddit, Hacker News, and other sites, which is why traffic has decreased so dramatically on most Slashdot stories today) only comes here to pat themselves on the back for thinking a certain way. "Yeah, Microsoft is still evil! Yeah, Google is still the good guy! Yeah, Apple is still for chumps!" It's the year 2000 forever on Slashdot.

Re:Slashdot is dead (-1, Offtopic)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38823521)

U MAD Bro?

Re:Slashdot is dead (-1, Offtopic)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38823545)

its years-long exodus to Reddit, Hacker News

I remember you... hi, bonch. If Slashdot is so bad, why are you still here? At this point, you're either being paid to post, or suffer from a case of OCD severe enough to warrant medication.

Re:Slashdot is dead (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38824725)

Amusingly, bonch is hellbanned from Hacker News: http://news.ycombinator.com/threads?id=bonch

Re:Slashdot is dead (0)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#38824547)

You don't actually expect anyone to read all that drivel do you? Why don't you chill before you explode an artery.
They're all evil.

Slashdot is dead,rings an echo from mom's basement (1)

datavirtue (1104259) | more than 2 years ago | (#38828913)

So what, and without Skynet..I mean Google...where would we be? Wallowing in an internet designed by Microsoft? I love Google, they deliver money to me while I sit back and twiddle with my website every now and again. So what if they looked the other way while prescription drug dealers used their ad system, crappy?, yes, evil?, no. I really don't care for the government regulating the sale of drugs anyway. So the whole thing being illegal is kind of moot in my book. Other than that, they have done nothing wrong, and if they have, the good they do far outweighs any negative behavior. It is a company full of a lot of people. Granted, they aren't perfect like you, but Google is putting pressure on governments and established wealthy strongholds just by their very existence. That is good thing for the progress of the entire world, something technology is good for and something which many other tech companies fail at because they are too busy learning how to fit into the political landscape. The boat needs rocked.

It went sooo high... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38823465)

That it passed through the universe and came back around again as a dupe

Re:It went sooo high... (3, Interesting)

CapOblivious2010 (1731402) | more than 2 years ago | (#38824437)

When I saw the title of this story ("High School Students Send Lego Man 24 Kilometers High"), my first interpretation was that some students had built a 24-kilometer-high man out of legos, and then sent it somewhere... I was wondering how many legos it took, and how much the postage was!

I wonder how tall you could build a tower of legos before the weight crushed the legos making up the bottom level?

Re:It went sooo high... (2)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#38824563)

When I saw the title of this story ("High School Students Send Lego Man 24 Kilometers High"), my first interpretation was that some students had built a 24-kilometer-high man out of legos, and then sent it somewhere... I was wondering how many legos it took, and how much the postage was!

I got stuck on 3 times the height of a jet. That would be closer to 80 feet than 80,000.

Re:It went sooo high... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38825029)

Post would be about $3,000,000 or about £75

It's been done (3, Insightful)

Squiddie (1942230) | more than 2 years ago | (#38823467)

to death. Then again, I am more interested in FPV flights and UAVs than balloons.

Re:It's been done (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38823561)

I'd be more impressed if someone found a way to NOT get into space with a helium filled weather balloon.

Maintaining a constant altitude, and thus preventing the balloon bursting, would be very cool.

Re:It's been done (4, Funny)

fotbr (855184) | more than 2 years ago | (#38823751)

Sending a balloon to 80,000 ft is not "into space". So far, no one has actually managed to get a weather balloon to exit the atmosphere. Actually doing so would be much, much more impressive than "kids stuck camera, gps logger, and random object in a styrofoam box and brought back pretty pictures".

Re:It's been done (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38824033)

Wouldn't it pretty much be impossible to use a balloon alone to get any object into space? Space is where there's no more atmosphere and before that point, the helium or whatever material makes the balloon lighter than air would start to become heavier than what it displaces thereby eliminating any buoyant force.

You could use a balloon to cover much of the altitude, but you'd need some other means of propulsion to get it to leave the atmosphere entirely.

Re:It's been done (1)

fotbr (855184) | more than 2 years ago | (#38824245)

That would be my point.

Re:It's been done (2)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38824301)

In theory you could create an ultra-low density structure that would reach escape velocity before it exits the atmosphere. Sort of like releasing a tennis ball from the bottom of a pool and watching it pop out of the water when it reaches the surface. We're going to need some serious advances in material sciences to scale that sort of thing up though. Also issues of aerodynamic drag, etc.

Re:It's been done (2)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38826473)

Nope, wouldn't work.

Buoyancy in air is caused by a slight difference in the total momentum from collisions with air molecules below and above the object. The air above has a slightly lower pressure, which means the (lots of) tiny molecules slam into the balloon slightly less frequently (density) and/or with slightly less speed (temperature) than those below. This difference matches the weight of a similar volume of air, which is logical in a stable atmosphere. That's why objects lighter than air go up.

As soon as the balloon starts moving up, though, the equation changes very quickly. The speed vector of the balloon will increase the relative speed of the molecules above, and decrease the relative speed of those below. This will reduce and eliminate the buoyancy effect rather quickly, resulting in a stable speed after a few seconds. So this is not just a matter of making a better balloon, streamlining it, reducing friction, etcetera. Sure, friction doesn't help, but the real problem is much more fundamental. The very reason why the balloon is being pushed up in the first place, disappears as soon as the balloon reaches a speed that is still very, very slow.

Re:It's been done (5, Funny)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 2 years ago | (#38825765)

You could use a balloon to cover much of the altitude, but you'd need some other means of propulsion to get it to leave the atmosphere entirely.

Hmmm... What if you attached the whole thing to another helium balloon?

Re:It's been done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38826717)

Wow, you really don't get how bouyancy works, do you.

"Whoosh". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38827475)

Hmmm... What if you attached the whole thing to another helium balloon?

Wow, you really don't get how bouyancy works, do you.

Well, he managed to get that joke to float above your head at any rate...

Re:It's been done (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827535)

You could use a balloon to cover much of the altitude, but you'd need some other means of propulsion to get it to leave the atmosphere entirely.

Hmmm... What if you attached the whole thing to another helium balloon?

One more balloon might not be enough. You might need to add more. To those who would argue that this isn't going to work and ask "what's supporting the final balloon?", I'd have to say "You're very clever, young man, very clever... but it's balloons all the way up!"

Re:It's been done (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 2 years ago | (#38824187)

Wouldn't you be able to do that by weighing it down enough that it would be insufficiently buoyant once it gets to less-dense altitudes of air?

Re:It's been done (5, Informative)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 2 years ago | (#38825489)

Do I really have to explain this to you guys? When you play Lego, everything's in Lego scale. So for instance, if you send the cat rampaging through your Town sets, he's like a godzilla-sized monster. And the drop off the sofa to the carpet isn't a foot or two off the ground, it's like a huge cliff, and will totally kill your dude (and he totally will NOT survive that, no matter what my so-called-friend Brian Schwarz says, and that is why I don't play Lego with Brian anymore, because he's just really stupid). So are we clear now on how Lego scale works then?

OK, so let's do the math. Low earth orbit is 200-500 miles up, and a minifig is 1.5 inches tall, which is 1/44 the height of an average person. So in Lego scale, 88,000 feet is 3,872,000 feet, or like 733 miles, and so he's totally in space.

Re:It's been done (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827773)

When you play Lego, everything's in Lego scale.

I can't be the only one who's used a 1x1x1 round on top of a 1x1x1 square as a smaller person... pretty iconic but it was good enough for Defender. Or for that matter, built epic scale lego miniature fleets.

Re:It's been done (4, Informative)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#38824227)

Maintaining a constant altitude, and thus preventing the balloon bursting, would be very cool.

AFAIK, that should be pretty easy. Just add ballast. Remember those helium-filled toy balloons that you can fly up and down with fans? They work because at the current altitude, the ballast approximately counterbalances the amount of lift that the balloon provides.

The amount of lift caused by lighter-than-air balloons is proportional to what's around it. Unweighted (and assuming a theoretical zero-mass balloon, zero-mass helium, and a spherical horse), it would rise until the point where the density of the air outside is equal to the density of the gas inside. Weighted, it rises up until the force applied by that density difference over its surface area becomes equal to the mass of the balloon and whatever is hanging under it.

Thus, the only reason the balloons burst is that they don't weigh enough to stop rising at a lower altitude. If they did, they'd just stay there at that altitude until the helium leaks out.

Alternatively, you can use a material that does not stretch as much. One of the reasons that balloons continue to rise beyond a certain point is that they expand at high altitude, thus lowering the density inside. If you limit the stretch, you limit the degree to which they can expand, making the density inside balance the density outside much sooner. Thus, they stop rising sooner (and they also don't explode because they don't ever get that thin).

Either way, there's just one problem: if they don't burst, they could potentially drift for thousands of miles over the course of several days (or even weeks) before they came down, and they could come down anywhere, at any time, into the engine of any passing aircraft, which is probably not what you want, hence the reason this is not typically done.

Re:It's been done (1)

Dinghy (2233934) | more than 2 years ago | (#38825039)

I'd be more impressed if someone found a way to NOT get into space with a helium filled weather balloon.

Maintaining a constant altitude, and thus preventing the balloon bursting, would be very cool.

That happened just about a month and a half ago [theregister.co.uk] , with a balloon flight from California to the Mediterranean sea. The short version is that eventually the UV at that altitude will degrade the balloon's integrity and it will pop, but it did last several days.

Re:It's been done (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#38826819)

Not that complex really, a light weight pressure relief valve that opens and release pressure at a value lower that then tensile strength of the balloon. Then there would be a choice of balloon colour to absorb heat.

Re:It's been done (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38826357)

I imagine it could be done by putting a compressor and small storage tank on the bottom of the balloon. Going to high? Turn on compressor and transfer some of that helium from balloon to tank. Going too low? Open the valve and let some back in. The equipment would be heavy though, greatly reducing payload capacity, and flight time may be limited by the energy supply for the compressor.

Re:It's been done (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#38826955)

Pre-coffee stupid question of the morning: couldn't you have a few fans pointing in such a way that they pull the balloon downward? You know, like retro-rockets. Or you could just weigh the thing down enough to balance it out.

I bet if you had a sort of sandbag or water tank and a nice, simple, and cheap circuit board in a helium balloon, you could continually rebalance the weight as the helium dissipates. (So for example, when some helium is lost and the balloon starts descending, a bit of water or sand is automatically dumped until the balloon becomes level.)

Re:It's been done (4, Informative)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38823563)

And it is cool every single time. Seriously, if nothing else, it shows that reaching space is something that anyone can do. Instead of complaining that it's being done to death, why not improve on it? I fully plan on being part of the me-too crowd of space-photography. Once that's done, maybe I can do something to improve on it. Who knows? Someone will probably beat me to the "cooler" part. But that's what makes it fun.

Re:It's been done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38824305)

Yeah, it would be cool and newsworthy if /. didn't have a similar article every week.

Re:It's been done (5, Funny)

Mabhatter (126906) | more than 2 years ago | (#38826211)

Well, they're still in high school... They gotta start somewhere.

Frankly, they were irresponsible not to give their Lego dude (or girl) a helmet and air tank. Not to mention the OSHA violations being forced to stand on a ledge at 80k feet with no seatbelt or railings! I think the minifigures need some kind of union against these dangerous experiments.

Lastly, did they make sure their guy wasnt on a no-fly list. He looks European... But with those foreign sounding names national security should have been contacted... They even took pictures of how many people they put in danger!!! At least they didn't attach the balloon to any sharks... Teens and science are just irresponsible.

Re:It's been done (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | more than 2 years ago | (#38826827)

LOL! Thanks for the laughs. :) And I noticed that too, they were forgetting the astronaut's helmet?

Re:It's been done (2)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 2 years ago | (#38823651)

People have gone on vacation to Maui before as well but that doesn't stop everyone else from going. Why? Because it's gorgeous and a bloody good time. Same with building your own balloon to space projects.

Re:It's been done (1)

fche (36607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38823859)

Doesn't mean it's news, or that it matters.

Re:It's been done (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38823951)

But it is news, and it matters. So fuck off.

Re:It's been done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38824701)

So when someone builds a 2ft Lego Millenium Falcon - that's cool
when someone builds a Cobra kit car - that's cool
when someone bakes a cheesecake properly - that's cool
but when someone takes photographs from 80,000ft above sea level for under $500 - that's been done to death?

Re:It's been done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38825899)

Damned hipsters ruin everything!

They're in Canada. (4, Funny)

Bovius (1243040) | more than 2 years ago | (#38823473)

I glanced at the article and the first word was "Toronto". Apparently that's why this isn't a story about them getting arrested.

Re:They're in Canada. (2)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 2 years ago | (#38823775)

Apparently the safety regulations are pretty lax up there in the Great White North; the space man didn't even wear a helmet.

Lego Man... (0)

HiggsBison (678319) | more than 2 years ago | (#38823481)

Lego Man, Lego Man, does whatever a Lego can...

Re:Lego Man... (2)

Zephyn (415698) | more than 2 years ago | (#38823701)

In this case he's redefining the term "Flying Brick".

Re:Lego Man... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38823743)

when he goes up 80,000 feet, does he get cold, or does the cold get him instead?

Waste of helium (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38823495)

We already know how these things go.

Re:Waste of helium (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38825643)

Your a waste of oxygen.

Re:Waste of helium (2)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38826507)

You certainly didn't waste any apostrophes.

Three times the height of a jet? (5, Funny)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38823567)

I'm pretty sure that jet aircraft are only something like 15 or 20 feet high, measuring from the base. 80,000 feet is considerably higher than three times that distance.

If you mean to say 3 times the maximum altitude of most jet aircraft, say so.

Re:Three times the height of a jet? (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 2 years ago | (#38823891)

If you mean to say 3 times the maximum altitude of most jet aircraft, say so.

Or the typical cruising altitude of commercial jet airliners. Regardless, very clumsily put.

Re:Three times the height of a jet? (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 2 years ago | (#38823921)

Pedantic much?

Re:Three times the height of a jet? (5, Funny)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 2 years ago | (#38823999)

Irregardless, for all intensive purposes its the same thing. We knew what he mint.

Re:Three times the height of a jet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38824401)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irregardless

Re:Three times the height of a jet? (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 2 years ago | (#38824937)

Also, it's "intents and purposes"...

Re:Three times the height of a jet? (2)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | more than 2 years ago | (#38825267)

Irregardless, for all intensive purposes its the same thing. We knew what he mint.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irregardless

Also, it's "intents and purposes"...

Wow! A double WHOOSH. Is no one going to complain about "its" instead of "it's", or "mint" for a trifecta? Or both, so we can see the mythical quadfecta WHOOSH?

I suppose I may have messed that up. But I'm guessing that most pendants will probably be so excited about pointing these things out, that they will post their corrections before reading to my post. ;-)

Re:Three times the height of a jet? (1)

tragedy (27079) | more than 2 years ago | (#38824119)

More like 64 feet high (for a 747). Nowhere near 80,000 feet, I'll grant you.

Re:Three times the height of a jet? (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38826537)

The jet I'm currently flying (A320, a pretty ordinary passenger jet) has a maximum cruising altitude of 39,800 feet, I've flown business jets at 47,000 feet and according to Wikipedia, a russian jet once made it to 123,520 feet. Now I'm sure there are probably a few jets who can only make it up to 26,600 feet, but I would hardly call that "most jet aircraft". So even that comparison is totally wrong.

Re:Three times the height of a jet? (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827711)

In-flight WIFI? sweet.

Re:Three times the height of a jet? (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827781)

I knew someone was going to reply something like that :-)

OK, I admit, I was lying, I wasn't in the act of flying at that precise time.

Good job (4, Interesting)

CompMD (522020) | more than 2 years ago | (#38823583)

Good for these kids. I don't agree that this should be big news, as this is becoming a fairly common project for advanced high school students. I mentored a team of high school students in the Kansas City area that sent up balloons last fall. They designed and built the payload, fitting all the instrumentation and cameras. One made it to 97,000 ft. The other managed to fly all the way to Illinois. In both cases the payload was recovered undamaged. They got some *awesome* video and pictures.

Re:Good job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38823849)

Considering the amount of Sport reporting, I don't think space balloons get more than their fair share of msm reporting.

Re:Good job (1)

laejoh (648921) | more than 2 years ago | (#38826575)

There's an awful lot of intelligent design going on in Kansas it seems!

Numbers.... (2)

twotacocombo (1529393) | more than 2 years ago | (#38823603)

"80,000 feet — three times the height of a jet "

Oh, where to begin...

Per Wikipedia:

Height of Airbus A380: 80.2 ft

Highest known altitude attained by a conventional jet-powered airplane: 123,523 feet.

Re:Numbers.... (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#38823649)

I think the idea was the implied cruising altitude. Which is between 25,000 and 30,000ft in most cases.

Re:Numbers.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38823723)

I think he got what the idea was.

Re:Numbers.... (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38826565)

Most cases? A320 (39800 ft), B737 (35000-41000 ft), B747 (45000 ft), hell, even a BAe 146 can make it up to 31000 ft! Oh, and the Concorde, a plane from 1969, could cruise at 60000 ft.

Re:Numbers.... (1)

MachineShedFred (621896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827277)

NASA's X-15 hit 354,200 feet in 1963, after being launched off a B-52 (also a jet) at 45,000 feet. This is the author's "Libraries of Congress" moment.

Re:Numbers.... (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827537)

The X-15 was rocket-powered, so not technically a jet. A jet engine takes outside air and adds fuel to it, the X-15 carried both the fuel and the oxygen. I know, I know. you could call the exhaust from a rocket a "jet" as well, but that's not what's commonly understood as the definition of a jet.

Re:Numbers.... (1)

MachineShedFred (621896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827983)

Good point. However, the B-52 it was launched from was already above half the altitude this balloon burst at, and B-52s aren't exactly the height of today's aviation technology.

The claim of 3x the whatever of a jet is complete crap.

I launched a GI-Joe once when I was a kid... (3, Funny)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38823641)

In 1976, I found a compressed CO2 canister in my schoolyard. When I got home, being the aspiring evil genius that I was, I secured it with tape and contact cement onto the back of one of my GI Joe figures (the 12" ones, not the dopey little 5" ones), and then I used some pliers to cut the end off.

I heard a small "woosh", and then I never saw it again. I have no idea how high it went.

D'oh... hit submit too soon. (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38823681)

For clarification, I did the aforementioned experiment in my parent's backyard... not actually *IN* the house, which is how, rereading it, I can see it might be interpreted.

Re:D'oh... hit submit too soon. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38823721)

And that's the sign of a true /.'er. Already prepared for the jackasses.

Re:D'oh... hit submit too soon. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38824135)

Whew! I thought it was going to be one of those bootyass tickle stories.

Canadian Space Program (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38823703)

It's aboot time...!

Re:Canadian Space Program (2)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38823927)

"God Speed Lego Man?", nope, doesn't have the same feeling. But cool work. I guess the next step is a "Second Stage" attached to the balloon? Maybe to collect some space debris?

At least this group is smart enough to not claim (1)

fotbr (855184) | more than 2 years ago | (#38823889)

that they reached space.

Re:At least this group is smart enough to not clai (1)

Lev13than (581686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38824933)

At least this group is smart enough to not claim that they reached space.

Of course not, but the Toronto Star [thestar.com] certainly has trouble understanding the difference between "very high" and "space". Two front-page news stories on this in one day - a bit silly all things considered.

I assumed this was about a clambake roadtrip. (1)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 2 years ago | (#38824091)

I guess I forgot this was slashdot and not erowid.

I hate to burst their bubble but (1)

amoeba1911 (978485) | more than 2 years ago | (#38824357)

Pretty much anyone with a few hundred bucks to waste on helium and a balloon can send something to 80000~100000 feet. It's fun, but it's not particularly amazing. What would be cool is if they combined this weather balloon with a UAV that could autonomously return to the launch area.

Re:I hate to burst their bubble but (1)

inventorM (1872970) | more than 2 years ago | (#38824957)

True. My college freshman engineering class sent a balloon up 110,000 feet and recovered it, all for less than 250 USD. What would be newsworthy would be if the group built the equipment for a low cost, or achieved an extraordinary altitude. However, I am glad to see high school students taking an interest in engineering and science. Having worked on a similar project myself, I can say that pulling off this kind of project requires significant planning and teamwork, and I congratulate the students for their successful effort.

Skydiver (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38825141)

So, there's this guy on his first solo parachute jump. When the plane reaches the drop zone, he jumps. When he reaches the proper altitude, he pulls the main ripcord.

Nothing.

After a few seconds, he remembers his training and pulls the cord on the emergency chute. Still nothing. Now he's starting to panic.

Looking at the ground rapidly approaching, he notices a figure rapidly ascending towards him. "Odd", he things to himself. Nevertheless, when this other guy comes withing earshot, he yells over, "Hey buddy! Do you know how to work a parachute?"

"No! Do you know how to light a Coleman stove?"

I used to enjoy slashdot (0)

thephydes (727739) | more than 2 years ago | (#38825217)

Now it is an intensely irritating site with all the crap that is posted and re-posted at the start of every comment page on every story. For fuck sake grow up or fuck off and let some intelligent - and sometimes funny - comment return to what once was a great site.

Re:I used to enjoy slashdot (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827783)

all the crap that is posted and re-posted at the start of every comment page on every story

I don't know.. I haven't seen many "Does it run Linux?", "You must be new here", "Beowulf cluster" or "I for one welcome our" type posts in a while now. I remember those used to on every article.

Perhaps your memory is failing you?

I thought jets where typically smaller (1)

TheInternetGuy (2006682) | more than 2 years ago | (#38825483)

Two high schoolers have launched a Lego Man to 80,000 feet â" three times the height of a jet

The tail height of a 747 is less than 70 feet. But a jet with a height of over 26,000 feet that is amazing. I wonder what altitude such a huge airplane could reach?

LEGO (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38826589)

It's called a "minifig". Get your terminology right, please.

Why not launch a rocket from the baloon (3, Interesting)

fervus (1841214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827103)

My calculations might be wrong here, but I've always wondered... If a high-school can launch a helium balloon to a height of 24km, and also launch a homemade rocket that can rise as hight as 30km, couldn't some high-school class launch a rocket from the top point of a helium balloon to reach geosynchronous orbit? Wouldn't that be a feat more worthy of commenting? What would be the problems with such a lauch?

Re:Why not launch a rocket from the baloon (1)

MachineShedFred (621896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38827289)

Well, for one thing, orbit isn't about altitude. It's about matching horizontal velocity to the perpendicular force of gravity, so that by the time gravity would put you into the ground, the ground isn't there any more. Altitude helps, because gravity has a lot more work to do at that distance.

Technically you could orbit at 50,000 feet of altitude if we didn't have an atmosphere and you had sufficient horizontal velocity.

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