Tag Archives | Weather

…Luis and Clark make carbon fiber instruments?

Luis And Clark

Depending on the weather, Yo-Yo Ma may not take the stage today at President Obama’s Inauguration with the instrument that we’d all expect: His $2 million 1733 Montagnana cello.

Instead, he may use a $7,139 cello that’s only slightly less impressive.

That’s because his other option is a cello made entirely of carbon fiber from a company called Luis and Clark, since it’s designed to withstand the cold much better than a priceless wooden piece of history. The carbon fiber cello, which is just part of the carbon fiber suite of instruments that Luis and Clark makes, including a viola, violin and bass, was also in the hands of the Joint Service Orchestra’s string section during Sunday’s “We Are One” concert, the first time ever a major orchestra had exclusively used carbon fiber string instruments in concert, and will probably be seen more as musicians discover the benefits of the futuristic material.

Unlike a wooden cello, the Luis and Clark carbon fiber cello has a single-piece body, neck and peg box with no scroll at the top, and is designed to resist the effects of temperature and humidity without loosing the sound that top cello players demand.

[Luis and Clark]

[Via: New York Times]

…Michel Fournier is one crazy jumper?

Michel Fournier - The Great Leap

If all goes according to plan, Michel Fournier will complete a two decade and $20 million long journey today to balloon into the upper reaches of the atmosphere and then skydive back down in what he’s calling Le Grad Saut, or, The Great Leap.

His leap begins on the ground, where he will load into a 10 foot tall pressurized gondola that will hang from the bottom of a 650-foot balloon. This balloon will take him to a height of 130,000 feet (25 miles) over the course of two-hours, at which point he will open the door and step into the blackness of space.

To survive the fall, which will last for a full 15 minutes, he’s going to be wearing a special space suit and a parachute that is designed to automatically deploy when he’s 5,000 feet above the ground.

Along the way, he will reach, and then cross the speed of sound. (And then top out at a speed of around 1,000 MPH) If that sounds crazy, it is. Scientists are still unsure of what will happen when a person crosses the sound barrier unaided.

With those speeds, Fournier will also be breaking four new records: fastest free fall, longest free fall, highest altitude for a human balloon flight and highest parachute jump.

So what are the potential risks?

If his suit fails, the pressure would cause his blood could boil, and he would loose consciousness in less than five seconds. (Which sounds like a blessing if your blood is boiling during those five seconds!)

His first try was yesterday, and was canceled due to weather related complications, so let’s hope that today provides Michel with smoother sailing, and that he finds his way back to Earth in one piece!

[Via: The New York Times]

…Apple’s iPhone can’t clear planes for takeoff?

Apple’s latest iPhone commercials are cute, but that doesn’t mean they’re true.

Bryce Watson (seen above) is in fact a real first officer with a major U.S. carrier, but that doesn’t mean he can clear a plane for takeoff using only his iPhone.

Unfortunately (for the world), these ads have already started to give people ideas, as one story shows:

    On a flight to Memphis, Tennessee, an airline captain received a call from one of his flight attendants, who said, “Some guy with an iPhone says the weather is good and wants to know what the real reason is for the delay. Is something wrong with the plane?”

    Thankfully, the pilot replied (over the PA system): “If the passenger with the iPhone would be kind enough to use it to check the weather at our alternate airport, then calculate our revised fuel burn due to being rerouted, then call our dispatcher to arrange our amended release, then make a call to the nearest traffic control center to arrange a new slot time (among all the other aircraft carrying passengers with iPhones), we’ll then be more than happy to depart. Please ring your call button to advise the flight attendant and your fellow passengers when you deem it ready and responsible for this multimillion-dollar aircraft and its 84 passengers to safely leave.

Remember everyone: It might be a wonder phone, but it can’t take the place of a highly trained air traffic control staff.

[Via: Salon]

…You can forecast your forecast?

Forecast Advisor

Forecast Advisor is unique because it not only tells you the weather, it forecasts which of your local weather services are going to be accurate. Sadly, I’ve only got about an 80% chance of dressing appropriately if I listen to any of my local weather forecasts.

[Forecast Advisor]

[Via: Lifehacker]