Tuesday, June 09, 2009


We saw Up in 3D during our vacation. Bad Dad and the guy sitting on my left cried. I am going to have to see it again because my mind kept drifting. How did they cross the ITCZ (inter-tropic convergence zone) so quickly? Why didn't the rubber balloons ice and burst? I gotta stop thinking and just enjoy the movie.

A friend sent this link to a video to show what he's been up to. Congratulations, Pete!

I just love balloon experiments. Watching an object rise brings back the kid in everyone. I still remember Iris' delight the first time she encountered a balloon (at Onami restaurant in Torrance). Objects fall down, not up! She spent the whole dinner pulling on the string, watching the balloon go up and then laughing.

This vented polyethelene balloon is so large, it requires a tanker truck of helium to fill it. The balloon is carefully laid out on a groundcloth. If it gets dragged along the rough ground, it could easily tear. That would be a $100,000 mistake.

The payload would bounce along the ground and get wrecked before going aloft without the movable crane. At the critical moment, the crane operator reverses direction and pulls away from the balloon to release the payload.

You can watch them fill the balloon through the two "tentacles" (which later vent the balloon if it superheats too much in the stratosphere).

You can read more about the science experiment here.

The literary antecedents of 'Up' gives some food for thought.

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