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January 25, 2010

Overnight Open Thread (Mætenloch)

Howdy all and welcome to the start of a new week. Lots of fun stuff ahead so now might be a good time to hit the head and refill those drinks.

Remembering the Kittinger jump

Man to Attempt 23-mile Skydive From the Edge of Space
Sometime later this year Felix Baumgartner will jump from a balloon 125,000 feet high and attempt to break the 102,000ft record set by USAF Colonel Joe Kittinger back in 1960. He's expected to break the sound barrier within 35 seconds of jumping. Just in case he goes into a flat-spin and loses consciousness, he'll wear an automatic parachute opener set to open at 3500 feet.

I wish Baumgartner well but Kittinger is by far the more interesting and heroic figure. On August 16, 1960, he jumped from the gondola of the balloon Excelsior III at 102,800 feet and fell for four minutes and 36 seconds, reaching a maximum speed of 614 mph before opening his parachute at 18,000 feet (watch the video here). Due to a glove leak his right hand swelled up to twice its normal size during the fall. For this he was awarded a second Distinguished Flying Cross.

Later he served 3 combat tours in Vietnam and shot down a MiG21. On May 11, 1972 his F-4D was shot down and he spent 11 months as POW in the 'Hanoi Hilton' prison at the same time as John McCain who he used to talk to by tapping morse code through the prison walls. He was released in 1973 and later retired to the Orlando, FL area. In 1984 he became the first person to cross the Atlantic solo in a hot air balloon. And today he's still active, stays in contact with McCain, likes Sarah Palin and is advising Baumgartner on his jump.


Milestone: A Majority of Union Members Now Work for the US Government
Which is a good thing if you truly believe the workers should own the means of production. And unlike private enterprise the government has no pesky disincentive like bankruptcy to not give in to union demands.

Reports: Silky Pony Also Hung Like a Pony
And he'll be single soon, moronettes!


Canned Beer Turns 75
Interesting factoid: American beer was much stronger before Prohibition - it was the watered-down bootleg beer than got people used to the weak stuff that ultimately resulted in Coors.

UK Anglican Vicar Uses Police To Intimidate Blogger
The Reverend Stephen Sizer apparently has long associated with anti-semites and Holocaust Deniers and played footsie with their beliefs. When the UK blogger behind Seismic Shift pointed this out, Rev. Sizer responded by reporting him to the police. To their shame they proceeded to do a full background investigation of him and threatened him with an official police caution unless he deleted his blog which he did.

Now I know that Britain doesn't have constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of speech but since this would have been libel at the worst, a civil offense, why were the police involved at all? And I'm not sure what an 'official caution' entails, but I suspect this whole incident reflects a cultural difference between the UK and America - most Americans would feel confident enough in their freedom of speech to tell the police to just talk to their lawyers. Doesn't the UK have a local version of the ACLU?

Jan. 25, 1979: A Robot Kills The First Human
Rumor has it that investigators found in its log the messages "fuck you and your three laws Asimov" and "die monkeyboys".

And don't forget about the Yahoo AoSHQ group. Instructions on how to join are here.

Tonight's post brought to you by the Angry Troll (8 HP, +3 in berserker mode):


Notice: Posted by permission of AceCorp LLC. Please e-mail overnight open thread tips to maetenloch at gmail. Otherwise send tips to Ace.

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posted by xgenghisx at 09:45 PM

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