Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Balloon Flew Away

I first posted about Michael Fournier in 2002. He's the retired French Army officer trying to set the world record for the highest free-fall. The record was set by American Joe Kittinger back in 1960.

A few days ago, Fournier attempted another free-fall. He needed to climb into a capsule/gondola attached to a helium balloon. This balloon would take him to the height of 25 miles above earth. At that height, he'd see both space and the curvature of this planet.

Unfortunately, something happened during his balloon launch. The balloon flew away. The news report explained that perhaps a charge went off, inflating the balloon ahead of schedule. Still, it's a blow to his attempt.

When I first saw the headlines about this mishap, it had that "my dog ate my homework" sense. He said next time he'll bring two balloons. I say he should maybe bring some tethers as well.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Daily Walk

Since the ice rink where I used to skate at lunch has closed for the season, I've slowly begun taking walks at lunch. Call it a nod to exercise, of which I get very little. It's been a good daily routine, and I've rarely missed it.

I take a left out of my office building, and walk across the Longfellow Bridge. In my routine, I walk to Boston on the west sidewalk, which is the narrower sidewalk. When I get to the other side, I walk back on the east sidewalk, which is the wider sidewalk. The views are gorgeous, even when the weather isn't ideal.

Mileage maps show the distance to be under a mile (.88 miles, to be exact). I get the whole thing done in about twenty to twenty-five minutes. Some days I'll walk briskly, but mostly I walk normally, affecting no rush. Sometimes I'll even stop along the way and take pictures.

The walk is good for the heart, supposedly, but I've been finding that it's good for the mind. The work that I do is quite immersing, so the walk clears my head. A little brain reset in the middle day. I recommend it, highly.