A High-Flying Google Exec Breaks A Record

A Google senior executive, at 57 years old, has broken the world record for the highest ever sky dive (yes, beating the Felix Baumgartner Red Bull record set so spectacularly only a couple of years ago). This was not a "official" Google attempt to break the record; Alan Eustace, a senior vice president there is an accomplished sky-diver in his own right.
At dawn he was lifted from an abandoned runway at the airport here by a balloon filled with 35,000 cubic feet of helium.
For a little over two hours, the balloon ascended at speeds up to 1,600 feet per minute to an altitude of more than 25 miles. Mr. Eustace dangled underneath in a specially designed spacesuit with an elaborate life-support system. He returned to earth just 15 minutes after starting his fall.
“It was amazing,” he said. “It was beautiful. You could see the darkness of space and you could see the layers of atmosphere, which I had never seen before.”
Mr. Eustace cut himself loose from the balloon with the aid of a small explosive device and plummeted toward the earth at speeds that peaked at 822 miles per hour, setting off a small sonic boom heard by people on the ground.

Guess Who Just Tweeted?

No, His Holiness The Pope already did that. This time it was another famous person with a lofty title: "Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of Her other Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith" - Queen Elizabeth II, to the rest of us.
The Queen was opening the new Information Age gallery at the Science Museum in London today, which is decidedly more our sort of thing. Subtitled "Six Networks That Changed Our World", the gallery is dedicated to the history of information and communication technologies by highlighting the telegraph, the telephone, radio and television, satellite communications, computer networks and mobile communications.
Her madge is a bit late to Twitter, but has been an early adopter in the past: she sent her first Christmas message on television in 1956 and sent her first email way back in 1977.
According to Twitter, Queen Rania of Jordan was the first serving monarch to have her own Twitter account. Other British royals using social media include Prince Andrew the Duke of York, William and Kate the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Princess Beatrice.

She's hip, She's happenin'


Just For Fun - The Whole Getting Older Thing

Actual Flying Car, Not Flying Now

The current crop of "flying cars" are usually light aircraft that you can also sort of drive on the way to and from the airfield - not the flying cars I dream of. However, the Maverick flying car is a bit more like the real thing - a dune buggy type car that gets it lift from a sort of parasail and a rear mounted propeller. Sounds good - except one just crashed in Florida. Luckily, the two occupants were not seriously injured, but it throws a bit of a wet blanket on my "Blade Runner" aspirations...
One of its developers, Troy Townsend, described in a YouTube video posted a few weeks ago how the Maverick -- which flies with the aid of a parachute -- had been to various shows over the summer to display its capabilities.

In today's incident, the two people on board have not been named. However, this isn't the first time the Maverick has crashed.

In May of last year, it reportedly crashed into an elementary schoolyard in Vernon, British Columbia. A report at the time also said that two men suffered minor injuries.

I-Tec sent me this statement on Wednesday: "The Pilot and passenger were transported to a local medical facility for evaluation and are recovering well. The first flight of the morning was completed by a South American humanitarian pilot planning to use the Maverick for the benefit of isolated tribes deep in the Amazon jungle in villages without airstrips.

Photo courtesy


Sunday Is Pun Day #1

I like puns. There, I said it - and the more groan-worthy, the better. I have been posting puns and other wordplay things on Facebook for a while, so I thought "Why let the blog readers off the hook?", and so here we are. These are mostly not mine (in fact, I can pretty much guarantee that about 99% of them are not mine), but are pulled from around the web and were created by more devious people than I....


Remember This? "Bat Out Of Hell"

I'll be the first to admit I have, umm, eclectic musical tastes - I am all over the map, and I think I always have been. However, I know I am not alone in fondly recalling Meat Loaf's second album "Bat Out Of Hell", which after a slow start and mixed reviews in 1977 became one of the top-selling albums of all time, with over 43 million copies sold world wide. The album itself grew out of a musical, Neverland, and three songs from that show made it to the album. Bat Out Of Hell has some great vocal performances from Meat Loaf and Ellen Foley, and quite a bit of over-the-top production - but in a good way; this would include the old electric-guitar-pretending-to-be-a-motorbike gag (that never gets old). Bat Out Of Hell is alternately operatic, melodic, pompous, frantic, silly and sometimes beautiful ("Heaven Can Wait", below). If you haven't heard this album for a while, revisit it - it actually holds up quite well. Oh, and the title track is almost 10 minutes long...