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Become the Fifth Space Tourist

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the getting-high dept.

Space 119

MattSparkes writes "There have been four space tourists so far. You could become the fifth — even if you aren't a dot-com millionaire. New Scientist is running a competition to send one person on a sub-orbital flight, 62 miles above the Earth. All you have to do is write 250 words on what the best ever patented invention is. Personally I think it has to be the Levitationarium." Of course if you win you'll probably have to pay the taxes.

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119 comments

Only for UK residents (4, Informative)

lecithin (745575) | more than 7 years ago | (#17843230)

Terms and Conditions

http://www.winatriptospace.co.uk/blogs/patent/tand c.html [winatriptospace.co.uk]

1. This competition is open to anyone aged 18 or over who is ordinarily resident in the UK except for employees of Reed Business Information Limited, Volkswagen Group United Kingdom Limited or Space Adventures Ltd and their immediate families. For guidance on what 'ordinarily resident' means see

www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/cbtmanual/cbtm10020.htm.

Re:Only for UK residents (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 7 years ago | (#17852510)

2. You must sell your soul to the lords of IP evil by promoting shitty patents as being good for invention and innovation.

Brits Only! (4, Informative)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 7 years ago | (#17843240)

Note: This contest is only open to residents of the UK.

So no need to worry about the IRS demanding a share... just Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

Re:Brits Only! (4, Informative)

julesh (229690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17843512)

So no need to worry about the IRS demanding a share... just Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

Fortunately for us Brits, prize winnings are tax exempt.

Re:Brits Only! (1)

muftak (636261) | more than 7 years ago | (#17843708)

Especially if they are not cash. I'm not sure I believe that story about getting taxed on a prize that isn't cash.

Re:Brits Only! (2, Informative)

Deekin_Scalesinger (755062) | more than 7 years ago | (#17843870)

Believe it or not, it is true. If you win a car in a church raffle in the US, you must pay applicable taxes on the prize. Sucks, but it's the truth :(

Re:Brits Only! (1)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 7 years ago | (#17844050)

If you win a car in a church raffle in the US, you must pay applicable taxes on the prize.
At least with a car, there is an MSRP that says what it is worth. Of course, no one in their right mind pays MSRP for a car. Now, for a trip to space, when they value it at umpteen million dollars, where is the comparison to find out what it is really worth? Sure, some millionaire might pay $25 million for it, but how much would the average Joe pay. Or in my case, how much would they have to pay me to get me to go?
I think in some cicrumstances, the IRS demands up front payment for prize winnings. I have seen circumstances where a prize winner was forced to sell his prize in order to pay the taxes on it, and I have seen other cicrumstances where prize winners were unable to accept the prize because he would have to immediately pay the taxes. I am not sure what the distinction is. If I were King, I would make it a requirement to pay tax on cash prizes immediately (actually estimaed taxes at quarter end, because I'm a nice guy), because cash is cash, and goods have to be sold to turn into cash. I think it would be more fair that way. At least someone of limited means could still win a huge prize, and get to keep the cash equivalent of 2/3 of it.

Re:Brits Only! (1)

Wite_Noiz (887188) | more than 7 years ago | (#17844210)

Why tax it at all?
Unless I'm missing something, somebody paid tax to buy said item as a prize... why have the cheek to tax it again just because somebody one it? (If you were king, that is; I understand why governments have the cheek)

It sounds like it's some kind of measure for preventing fraud ("Wow! I just one the company monthly cash give-away again!").

Re:Brits Only! (1)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845386)

Why tax it at all? Unless I'm missing something, somebody paid tax to buy said item as a prize
You have a good point. If I were King, I would try to avoid double taxation. In the current system in the U.S., people generally think that they can not pay taxes on something if it has already been taxed, but that is not the case at all. Multiple taxations are commonplace. People think that they do not have to pay sales tax on the items they sold at a garage sale because they already paid the full sales tax when they bought the item originally. But this is not true in most states. If an item goes from garage sale to garage sale to garage sale, according to the letter of the law, it should have sales tax withheld each time.
When you invest money that you already paid income taxes on, and it produces a return, then you have to pay tax on it.
My company hypes the fact that my medical and dental benefits are paid (by me) pre-tax, but this is not true. It is pre income tax, but I still have to pay social security and medicare tax on it, and those together add up to about 7%.
The U.S. is commonly known for having on e of the lowest tax rates among the first world nations, but when you add up ALL of the taxes, not just income tax, then it reveals itself as not such a great rate after all.

Re:Brits Only! (1)

Wite_Noiz (887188) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845670)

Interesting.

I'm a Brit, so we just get screwed over and taxed for anything the government can tax us for (except prizes, but don't give them any ideas).
Our VAT is pretty good at preventing double taxation.

Good luck on becoming king, btw. I like people with ambition ;)

Re:Brits Only! (1)

robot_lords_of_tokyo (911299) | more than 7 years ago | (#17846582)

actually the US has one of the highest personal income tax rates for people earning under $100k. Germany for instance only has a tax rate of 15% for everything up to 52k. Corporate taxes in the US are outrageously high. Social security just sucks, and has to be paid regardless of where you are....and even better, after a certain point, your world wide income becomes taxable. To my knowledge, it's the only country that abuses it's citizens in this manner. Time to start dumping tea again...

Re:Brits Only! (1)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 7 years ago | (#17853086)

If I were King, I would try to avoid double taxation. In the current system in the U.S., people generally think that they can not pay taxes on something if it has already been taxed, but that is not the case at all. Multiple taxations are commonplace.

VAT taxes and property taxes seem to avoid "multiple taxations" the best.

My company hypes the fact that my medical and dental benefits are paid (by me) pre-tax, but this is not true. It is pre income tax, but I still have to pay social security and medicare tax on it, and those together add up to about 7%.

Why are you paying social security and medicare tax on medical and dental benefits?

The U.S. is commonly known for having on e of the lowest tax rates among the first world nations, but when you add up ALL of the taxes, not just income tax, then it reveals itself as not such a great rate after all.

My family paid about 10% in taxes in 2006, counting FICA and estimating sales taxes at about 2% of my income (remember, sales tax isn't charged on my rent, my food, or my savings). To be fair I suppose I should factor in the property taxes based on what my landlord pays, so let's add 10% for that. A quick calculation of the gasoline taxes I pay gives me a number well under 1%. Am I missing anything? Now, where but Florida "in the first world" can I pay less than 20% of my income in total taxes?

Re:Brits Only! (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#17848178)

Why tax it at all?
Using the church-raffle car as an example, the problem is that somewhere upstream, the car was written off as a deduction on someone else's taxes. For instance, a car dealership may have given the $20,000 car to the church, and then gotten a $5,000 tax break. Someone needs to fill that $5,000 tax void now, and so it is the recipient. You could require the contest promoter to pay the taxes instead if you wanted. In the specific case of a charity raffle, the taxes should probably be excluded altogether to encourage charitable giving and participation in the raffle.

Re:Brits Only! (1)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 7 years ago | (#17852898)

Using the church-raffle car as an example, the problem is that somewhere upstream, the car was written off as a deduction on someone else's taxes. Using the church-raffle car as an example, the problem is that somewhere upstream, the car was written off as a deduction on someone else's taxes. For instance, a car dealership may have given the $20,000 car to the church, and then gotten a $5,000 tax break.

But that car dealership bought the car from the car manufacturer, who had to pay taxes on the income. Incidentally, that's the amount that the car dealership is allowed to deduct, the amount they paid for the car.

Re:Brits Only! (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 7 years ago | (#17846422)

At least with a car, there is an MSRP that says what it is worth.
And with a suborbital space flight, there's a web site [spaceadventures.com] that says what it's worth.

Sure, some millionaire might pay $25 million for it, but how much would the average Joe pay.
Um, the average Joe wouldn't pay anything, because he can't afford it. But the price he would pay is {checks web site} $102,000, because they don't offer an "average Joe" discount.

Re:Brits Only! (1)

Aptgetupdate (1051164) | more than 7 years ago | (#17852824)

I have seen circumstances where a prize winner was forced to sell his prize in order to pay the taxes on it

So you're saying I should wait for someone else to win, then buy it at a reduced rate when the IRS has them at gunpoint...

Damn. If only this were being held in the USA.

Re:Brits Only! (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 7 years ago | (#17843932)

Sorry, life's a bitch. If you're on a game show and get to choose between a car and cash, take the cash. Also, as to the IRS not taking any of your winnings, if you're a US citizen and you reside in the UK and win, the IRS is going to come after you, anyhow.

Re:Brits Only! (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845102)

U.S. income tax is not a tax on cash received, but on income. Whether you're paid in dollars, stock options, room and board, sexual favors, or magic beans, they want you to pay tax on the value of that income. If they only taxed income in the form of money, employees would start requesting their pay in the form of gift certificates, merchandise, and other not-money substitutes as loopholes to get around it. That would not only hurt tax revenues, but undermine the dollar as a monetary system, which the federal government definitely does not want to happen. So it's a tax on the dollar value of your income, not just the dollars.

Re:Brits Only! (1)

muftak (636261) | more than 7 years ago | (#17850528)

If you are getting paid in stock options or goods, then do you have to pay income tax on them again when you sell them? Do you have to pay tax on company perks, like free healthcare, pensions, company phones, etc? I just pay tax on my salary. Also my company gives out some prizes as gift vouchers, so we don't have to pay tax on it. Although we have a tax on watching TV, so it's not all good here.

Re:Brits Only! (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 7 years ago | (#17851948)

U.S. income tax is not a tax on cash received, but on income.
That's true of U.K. income tax too. The difference is that in the U.K. prize winnings are not income.

Best Patent Ever (2, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17843246)

It would probably have to go to Edward L. Van Halen's patent [google.com] awarded in 1987. You see, fig. 1 [google.com] just can't be beat.

Well, now I'm torn between that and the "The ornamental design for a unisex short with reversible condom, as shown. [google.com]." After all, some of us are so busy with life that we don't have time to stop and take out a condom and put it on when we're about to have sex. For the promiscuous person on the go!

Easy (4, Insightful)

Soporific (595477) | more than 7 years ago | (#17843298)

The best invention is probably modern plumbing. Before that disease was much more rampant. Not only that, it gave everyone a throne of their own to feel like a king on!

~S

They're asking for patented ones... (2, Informative)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 7 years ago | (#17843430)

And it's a tough call- there's so many to choose from.

Phonograph (Edison)
Light Bulb (Edison)
AC Power System (Tesla)
Remote Control System (Tesla)
Bladeless Turbine (Tesla)
Steam Engine (Watt)
Hot Air Engine (Stirling)

And so forth...

Each of the above has had an impact or will have an impact on all of our lives in a very major way. It's a shame, really, that they're limiting the competition to UK citizens.

Re:They're asking for patented ones... (1)

lonechicken (1046406) | more than 7 years ago | (#17843690)

And it's a tough call- there's so many to choose from.
Pish posh. It's the microprocessor. TI? Intel? I don't know, but the science and tech seemed to move faster than ever since then.

Re:They're asking for patented ones... (4, Insightful)

xoyoyo (949672) | more than 7 years ago | (#17844212)

There are, especially as:

Thomas Savery invented the Steam Engine, Joseph Swan invented the light bulb and Edison only invented half the phonograph, the french having figured out the recording part.

Perhaps a more useful 250 word essay would be on how the patent system enshrines the myth of the individual genius, when in fact technology moves forwards by little increments.

from the shoulders of giants... (1)

Todamont (1034534) | more than 7 years ago | (#17848548)

How about Tesla? AC power and dynamoes literally brought humanity into the light. How about Prometheus? First plasma physicist ever.

Re:They're asking for patented ones... (1)

terrymr (316118) | more than 7 years ago | (#17844380)

It's a shame, really, that they're limiting the competition to UK citizens.

At least by doing that they don't run the risk of being thrown into jail for violating some obscure US law.

Re:They're asking for patented ones... (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845608)

Don't forget about sliced bread [wikipedia.org]! Heck, there's even a wikipedia article about it! Or are we talking about the best invention since sliced bread ?

Re:They're asking for patented ones... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17846134)

I think that it's funny how many Americans think that 'patented' = 'invented'. If you study the history books (not American ones), you will find that Americans are particularly bad at blue-sky invention, but they are very good at claiming an invention for themselves, making money out of it, and stiffing the little guy who had the idea originally.

Bill Gates is actually a thoroughly typical American inventor.

Re:They're asking for patented ones... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17846702)

Sorry?

The 'Bladeless Turbine' and 'Remote Control System' have had a 'very major' impact on my life exactly how?

Why do Americans pretend that they invent lots of things when everybody knows they just steal ideas and then lie to themselves. Do yoy know that the USians believe that a bloke called Farnsworth invented the TV and the Wright brothers built the first aeroplane? They even claim Einstein as an American scientist!

Re:Easy (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 7 years ago | (#17852546)

"Pipe the sh%t right out of your house" - History of the World Part 1.

Unless you can provide a link to the patent for plumbing though, I'd try again.

Sliced Bread (4, Funny)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 7 years ago | (#17843336)

There can be no question that sliced bread is the greatest invention of all time: it is the yardstick by which all inventions have since been measured.

Avoiding most taxes (1, Interesting)

1000101 (584896) | more than 7 years ago | (#17843354)

You would think that there would be a way for the winner to avoid having to pay the taxes for winning this trip. I'm not a tax guru by any means, but couldn't the company just temporarily hire the winner as an employee, pay them minimum wage, and then send them on the trip as part of the job description? This way, the winner will only be paying a very small amount of income tax. Monetary winnings are one thing, but I would think there would be loop holes as far as services are concerned. Just a thought.

Re:Avoiding most taxes (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#17843498)

Don't take the comment in the summary too seriously. UK tax law is different. Prizes aren't subject to income tax in the UK.

Re:Avoiding most taxes (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17843542)

You would think that there would be a way for the winner to avoid having to pay the taxes for winning this trip.

There is, and they're doing it. Prizes in the UK are tax exempt; this prize is only available to UK residents.

5th Tourist? No Thanks (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17843362)

Too much responsibility.

I want to be the 47th.

-Linus

Re:5th Tourist? No Thanks (1)

MattSparkes (950531) | more than 7 years ago | (#17843482)

Yeah, early adopters often lose out. I don't mind paying extra to be an early adopter of household technology, but when it comes to strapping myself to a rocket I'd like to know that some research has been done. Having said that, if I could win, I would try.

Re:5th Tourist? No Thanks (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17847884)

yeah, manby someday someone will do research in rocketry..hell maybe we could put people in orbit regularly....Then someday, in the far future, we may put a man on the moon.

Statistics says anything past 39th is OK. (1)

s-gen (890660) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845458)

It would be unusual to be among the last 5% of space tourists to fly before they lose one. Not particularly unusual to be in the last 20%. Hence, if you want a routine space visit where it would be unusual if you died, go for 39th or later.

oops... thats first or last 5% (1)

s-gen (890660) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845576)

...and more particularly, trying to avoid being in the last 2.5%. (Who cares if you're unusually near the start of a long successful run of flights? But best not to be unusually near the end of a short one!)

Re:5th Tourist? No Thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17850004)

I'll wait until SP5 comes out... No point being the beta tester for something that might kills me.

Taxing the prize (0, Offtopic)

darjen (879890) | more than 7 years ago | (#17843412)

Perhaps people who run these contests should also offer to pay the taxes on them. At least until we can work to repeal them.

Best patented invention (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17843516)

The mother of all patented inventions is obviously that "5 years ahead" gesture one the iPhone.

Re:Best patented invention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17843538)

fanboy

Audi & Patents (1)

DJPenguin (17736) | more than 7 years ago | (#17843578)

... As an audi owner and general geek I wasn't impressed at all with the fairly recent adverts proclaiming the sheer number of patents that were involved in designing my car. See here [leyton.org] (not my blog).

Seems like they are really going for this patent thing with this competition, too. I wouldn't be suprised if the winner had to write something about Audi's patents :)

Re:Audi & Patents (1)

bilbravo (763359) | more than 7 years ago | (#17843678)

"... As an audi owner and general geek I wasn't impressed at all with the fairly recent adverts proclaiming the sheer number of patents that were involved in designing my car. See here (not my blog)."

You weren't impressed because you realize all of that over-engineering is what makes your car require so much maintenance.

(note: I also own an Audi, and wouldn't trade it for anything... except maybe an Aston Martin)

Re:Audi & Patents (1)

DJPenguin (17736) | more than 7 years ago | (#17843826)

"You weren't impressed because you realize all of that over-engineering is what makes your car require so much maintenance."

Hmm. Let me see - drove out of the garage from new, and doesn't need to go back until it's either 2 years old, or it's done 20k miles. Long life service *grin*

Although I do see your point. They replaced the handbrake with a switch thing which is presumably linked to a motor. One more thing to fail and when it does, I better have some wheel chocks handy!

Over-engineered, yes - but doesn't seem to need much maintenance.

kinda scary if you ask me... (1)

SuperStretchy (1018064) | more than 7 years ago | (#17843582)

I just know I wouldn't want to be the fifth tourist in space... I mean, thats akin to being the fifth scientist to attempt building an atomic bomb at home. Granted, its been done before by professionals.. but still... its an expensive way to possibly die. Giving all your money to a college student and killing one's self is a lot more beneficial.

Levitationarium? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17843636)

It's called a wind tunnel, dumbass... and they've been around for a long time.

Not quite appealing... (1)

ErGalvao (843384) | more than 7 years ago | (#17843674)

... as being the first one. I rather wait to be the 400th or so and pay half the price =:cP

Re:Not quite appealing... (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17844342)

Half the price of nothing? Well while technically half of nothing is a value (i.e. nothing) I don't think you'll be saving anything by waiting, except your life ;)

Interesting Social Experiment (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 7 years ago | (#17843736)

These sorts of things crop up every few years: poll a bunch of people - prominent scientists, celebrities, politicians, bum-on-the-street, [insert other demographic here] - on what the best invention of the last X years (or ever) was. You can get [google.com] some [time.com] interesting [askmen.com] results [msn.com]. I would be facinated to see a histographic breakdown of the results of this contest among space enthusiasts.

Fifth space tourist? (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17843788)

Sixth is more like. Simonyi is scheduled to go up before the winner of this prize.

Talking about Levitationariums... (1)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 7 years ago | (#17843814)

If you're in the Boston area, and have $50.00 to spare, you can visit http://www.skyventurenh.com/ [skyventurenh.com] )warning, embedded QT movie) in Nashua, NH, where you can experience body flight in their indoor vertical wind tunnel.

I'm not related to them in any way, but do plan to visit sometime soon. Thought people around here may be interested in that kind of experience as well.

Re:Talking about Levitationariums... (1)

DrKyle (818035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845024)

It says you can't be more than 250 pounds, doesn't that rule out like half the US population? That can't be good for marketing.

Re:Talking about Levitationariums... (1)

brettski74 (994618) | more than 7 years ago | (#17846174)

The instructors have to be able to spot you in case you do something dumb that might cause you an injury. It's not as dangerous as skydiving, but you can hurt yourself. Levitationarium is an old design. SkyVenture is more modern and should have much smoother airflow. Check out http://www.bodyflight.net/ [bodyflight.net] for details of wind tunnels around the world. There are quite a number of SkyVenture locations, as well as several other independent wind tunnels designs out there.

Re:Talking about Levitationariums... (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#17853194)

With technology like that there how do you keep the bomb squad away?

Taxes (1)

Higaran (835598) | more than 7 years ago | (#17843884)

Wouldn't it be better for the taxes issue if you won the opprotunity to go on the trip for like a dollar or something, that way, the cost isn't considered income, since your actually paying to go on the trip?

Gah! (2, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#17843962)

I hate marketing. Suborbital is NOT SPACE TOURISM! The other four space tourists entered orbit -- a controlled entry into space, and stayed there. A suborbital trip is a rocket ride. Fun, yes, but not space travel.

Re:Gah! (1)

xoyoyo (949672) | more than 7 years ago | (#17844338)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%A1rm%C3%A1n_line [wikipedia.org]

It's not an orbital flight, no, but it's definitely outer space. Alan Shepherd only went 50 miles higher.

Re:Gah! (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#17844888)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%A1rm%C3%A1n_line It's not an orbital flight, no, but it's definitely outer space. Alan Shepherd only went 50 miles higher.

That's the boundary of space, but that doesn't mean this is space travel. I define space travel as a controlled entry into space, a controlled stay there, and a controlled return. Throwing a can up high and letting it fall back to Earth is not space travel.

Re:Gah! (1)

xoyoyo (949672) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845106)

Travelling past the boundary of space == space travel. Not really something you wriggle out of by adding extra conditions.

If you could throw your can up above the 62 mile mark it would be a space vehicle.

If I cross the border from Canada to the US to get some smokes from Walmart, the border guards aren't going to let me get away without ID on the grounds that I'm not really in the USA because I'm not planning to stay long.

I completely agree with you that the prize isn't of the same order as the people who stayed in the ISS but I think you need to find a better term for your objections.

Also, by your reasoning the first American astronaut would be John Glenn. (and if we add your "controlled" requirement Glenn doesn't really count either, as his flight had several malfunctions).

Re:Gah! (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17844670)

Suborbital is NOT SPACE TOURISM! ... A suborbital trip is a rocket ride.

      Unless something goes dreadfully wrong. Then it could become an orbital trip after all ;)

Re:Gah! (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 7 years ago | (#17844992)

No, even if everything goes wrong, the ship won't have the energy to get into orbit.

Re:Gah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17845932)

who's talking about the whole ship?

Re:Gah! (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17848738)

the ship won't have the energy to get into orbit.


      Exactly, like the other poster said - PARTS of it might just make it to orbit. So look on the bright side, at least your right foot and 2 fingers off your left hand might make it to orbit!

Re:Gah! (1)

Venerable Vegetable (1003177) | more than 7 years ago | (#17848730)

As far as I know staying somewhere is not a requirement for tourism. Actually I think that if you stayed it would be immigration.

Re:Gah! (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#17850610)

As far as I know staying somewhere is not a requirement for tourism. Actually I think that if you stayed it would be immigration.

Interesting analogy. So, if you land in London Heathrow Airport temporarily on the way to somewhere else, were you a tourist in London? I'd say most people would say "no", even though you were technically in "London Space". As with outer space, if you just enter temporarily on the way back down to Earth, I would say you weren't a tourist.

Re:Gah! (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 7 years ago | (#17849400)

I hate marketing. Suborbital is NOT SPACE TOURISM! The other four space tourists entered orbit -- a controlled entry into space, and stayed there. A suborbital trip is a rocket ride. Fun, yes, but not space travel.

Although I think it would be in fact technically space tourism, I disagree with the submission's claim that they would be the "fifth space tourist." Note that this is an assertion by the submitter, not the contest itself. In fact, the contest doesn't even make any claims that the winner will be on the first commercial suborbital trip. If they were on the first commercial suborbital trip, there would also be several other passengers on board at the same time.

The Wheelbvarrow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17844194)

I read about the Australian government granting a patent on the wheelbarrow a few years ago. A clever lawyer wrote up that application.

The wheelbarrow is based on one of the simple machines.

Self-Medication with GHB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17844414)

Taking GHB has got to be, by far, one of the most enjoyable patents [uspto.gov] in the office.

Misleading (1)

swight1701 (257154) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845060)

There have been 4 visitors to the International Space Station. Mike Melvill and Brian Binnie road SpaceShipOne to space and can also be considered space tourists. Making the total 6.

Also, from the article, before you read the information on the site itself, it implies you'd go on the same trip as the first four Space Adventures customers to the ISS. This is not so, they will be flying to space onboard the XCOR Xerus single stage RLV. Not 7-10 days in space, but 5 minutes. Not detracting from the 5 minute space flight, just seeing the earth from space and experiencing weightlessness for any amount of time could be a life changing experience.

Re:Misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17845282)

No, Mike Melvill and Brian Binnie were not "tourists." They were doing their respective jobs & were paid to go into space.

Re:Misleading (1)

luckymutt (996573) | more than 7 years ago | (#17846242)

I have to agree. When presenting it the way they did, I initially thought: "Cool...hang out on the ISS for a couple of days just the the previous 4 "space tourists"" This is more akin to driving all day to get to the beach, slowing down to have a look and then going home. Not that I would turn it down, but it is a bit misleading.

Re:Misleading (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17848020)

If a pilot and copilot fly a commercial plane to Vegas, they are not tourists.

Mike Melvill and Brian Binnie were not tourists. In fact, if I were them it would make me a little angry to be demoted to tourist status.

Re:Misleading (1)

swight1701 (257154) | more than 7 years ago | (#17848978)

I do see your point. Tourist isn't the correct term. But they were private citizens. Not government sponsored. That was my point.
The four people who went to the ISS were by no means up there just to float around and look out the window, they only qualified by being able to do scientific research while aboard the ISS.
Anyone who has gone to space so far have been absolute professionals.
But the labels haven't been invented for what people who pay to go to space vs who are not paid, and yet again, privately backed vs government.

I would like to ask Brian and Mike what they consider themselves to be.
Maybe 'tourist' should be replaced with 'adventurer'.
I have no doubt that Mike and Brian would consider their short jaunt a working holiday.
The idea of private citizens in space is in its infancy, we'll figure out the terminology eventually.

If those in the US could play (1)

sckeener (137243) | more than 7 years ago | (#17845306)

If those of us in the US could play, I'd take the jail time to go to space if the IRS came a-knocking. I probably couldn't afford the taxes, so jail time vs going into space....

In a heart beat I'd go to space....

but wait...what if I spend a year outside the US and then collect the prize? Kind of like working outside the US and getting paid at the end even though the contract was written up months earlier when I was in the US....that sounds like a way to get around the IRS taxes for this while keeping my family together.

You wont go to jail (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17847796)

for that little amount of money.
You would have your wages garnished, or you could work out a payment plan.

this iS goatsex (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17845560)

problem; a fe=w to the crowd in

Best Patent Ever....U.S. Patent 1,867,377 (1)

jzarling (600712) | more than 7 years ago | (#17847458)

Sliced Bread - Otto Frederick Rohwedder of Davenport, Iowa

More exactly the single load bread slicer.

Printing Press (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17848280)

How can the printing press not be #1??

Even History Channel named Gutenberg #1 person of the last millennium. Over Newton, Martin Luther, etc...

Astroturfing? (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#17849040)

My guess is that the winner will be a software/crypto or business method patent, and that this will be used to fuel the push for such patents in Europe.

My picks: lightbulb and integrated circuit.... (1)

iamcf13 (736250) | more than 7 years ago | (#17849042)

The lightbulb made round-the-clock commerce possible worldwide. (Thanks Thomas Edison!)

The integrated circuit made computers smaller, faster, more efficient, and networkable--generating a huge amount of commerce and revenue worldwide. (Thanks Bell Labs!)

Now, less affluent people can't stand to live under these conditions--they are considered only to be a resource to be exploited by 'the corporate machine' who got to be that way thanks to the light bulb and integrated circuit.

Method of concealing partial baldness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17849780)

A method of styling hair to cover partial baldness [uspto.gov] using only the hair on a person's head. The hair styling requires dividing a person's hair into three sections and carefully folding one section over another.

Commonly known as the "Comb Over"
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