Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Two Toronto-area teens designed a weather balloon and sent it 80,000 feet in the air – three times the height of normal commercial aircraft, and about as high as the famed SR-71 Blackbird flew.
Seventeen-year-olds Asad Muhammad and Mathew Ho spent much of their free time building the balloon from scratch, forking over $400 of their own money for materials and a camera to record the journey. And, for good measure, they attached a little Lego man holding a Canadian flag. This past weekend, the pair ventured out to a suburban high school, filled the balloon with helium, turned the camera on, and let the little guy fly.
Over the course of the next hour, the balloon travelled some 80,000 feet into the air – the upper reaches of the tropopause, the boundary between the troposphere and stratosphere. While it's not quite space, per se, it's still a helluva lot higher than anything you've ever built has flown.
Once the balloon popped, the little Lego guy fell all the way back to Earth in about 32 minutes, landing about 120 kilometres away. Plus, the adventure brought back amazing images of Earth that could make for great viral marketing for either Lego, Canada, or the Toronto District School Board. Either way – Asad and Mathew, congrats for making our 17-year-old selves feel entirely inadequate.
Effective March 1, the company will merge most of its over 70 separate privacy policies into one master policy. "That's cool," you might think to yourself. "I hate clutter." What this actually means for you is that any information you may have provided one Google service will now become integrated with all the other ones you use. And what that actually means for you is that G-mail may not know how often you search for videos of Death Drop Dance-Offs on YouTube yet, but it will soon. All the ads targeted to you on Google are about to get even more creepily specific.
Users cannot opt out of the privacy changes, so the Washington Post has posted a handy FAQ page to help the instantly outraged direct their anger toward specific infractions.
[Google/Image via AP]
Granted, Apple did get a hefty bump during the holidays and the birthrate is anything but static, but the fact that Apple is not only making that many in a day and also selling them is simply incredible. "We thought we were setting bold bets," said Tim Cook, Apple CEO, about demand for the iPhone, "but it turns out we didn't bet high enough." Apparently not, given that Apple sold some 135 million iOS devices in total for the same period.