World’s Strangest

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Martian Radiation Low Enough for Humans to Survive

One of the challenges of living beyond the Earth’s atmosphere for long periods of time is the danger of cosmic radiation. But discoveries made by the scientists running the Curiosity rover indicate that this won’t be a problem on Mars: “The astronauts can live in this environment,” Don Hassler, principal investigator on Curiosity’s Radiation Assessment Detector [...]

A Hot Air Balloon Shaped Like Darth Vader

This custom Sith Lord shaped hot air balloon is still casting the shadow of the Dark Side across the globe, flying high since 2007. It was custom made for (surprise!) a huge Star Wars fan from the UK, who actually got approval from the crew at LucasFilm before making this beautiful hot air balloon. The sweetest part [...]

A Brief and Incomplete History of Launching Animals Into Space

Pretty much ever since humans discovered flight, we’ve been strapping animals into our new devices just to see what would happen. Over the last 330 years or so, we’ve launched dogs, cats, chimps, monkeys, roosters, ducks, spiders, fruit flies, silk worms, ants, bees, moss, turtles, rabbits, jellyfish, amoebae, fish, hamsters, guinea pigs, goldfish, and one Enlightment-era [...]

12 Really Forced Portmanteaux That Didn’t Catch On

There are times when one big word can more effectively do the job of two words. These are not those times. 1. Balloonatic (balloon + lunatic)
 A person who is balloon-mad; a balloonist, spec. (Mil. slang) a member of a balloon corps or balloon squadron in the First World War (1914–18).
 When the first manned hot air balloon [...]

Flying Saucers from Earth

While it’s fun to imagine that UFOs are sweeping in to draw shapes in our crops and abduct random humans for testing, it’s also interesting to note that all of the saucer-shaped vehicles we have evidence for were built right here on terra firma (and usually by the USAF). That spacey-looking thing up there is [...]

Man Hangs from Hot Air Balloon Suspended Only by His Body Piercings

(Video Link) Zane Whitmore of Seattle was pierced through the flesh on his shoulder blades four times, and then hung from these piercings onto a hot air balloon. He floated around California’s Long Valley Caldera for seventy-five minutes, suspended ten thousand feet over the ground: The stunt was part of a Portland film production company’s filming of [...]

Rocketeer Yves Rossy Does Loops with His Jetpack

(Video Link) We’ve previously covered the increasingly daring stunts of jetpack pilot Yves Rossy. Last Friday, he performed loops in the air: The former fighter pilot and extreme sports enthusiast, 51, described himself as “very happy and satisfied” with the stunt and said he now hopes to fly his custom-made jet pack through the Grand Canyon. Rossy [...]

Russia’s Inflatable Army

Russia has devised a way to enlarge its army while saving money. It’s begun making large numbers of inflatable — and fake — tanks, radar stations, and trucks: What they lack in firepower, they make up for in flexibility: they are light and can be deployed quickly to deceive the enemy. They are also very realistic. They [...]

Man Dropped Engagement Ring From Hot Air Balloon

James Ng wanted to surprise his girlfriend by proposing on a hot-air balloon ride when he got a surprise of his own: he dropped the ring 500 feet into the woods! James Ng was set to propose to his fiancée on a hot-air balloon ride when the symbol of their love fell 500 feet into the [...]

6 Year Old Boy Floats Away in a Hot Air Balloon

[YouTube - Link] A 6 year old boy climbed into a hot air balloon and floated away, and officials are scrambling to find a way to rescue him.  The balloon has the potential to climb to 10,000 feet. The balloon was last sighted in Milliken, about 40 miles north of Denver. – via usatoday From the [...]