Monday, June 12, 2006

Rapid Up, Superhigh 

This amazing tale of a new invention worthy of Wiley Coyote Super Genius himself comes to us courtesy of Wired:

There is no subtle way to say this: Brian Walker plans to shoot himself nearly 20 miles into the air aboard a homemade rocket launched from what could be the world's largest crossbow. (Seriously.)

This isn't Walker's first outlandish invention. He's responsible for the 'light chaser' whirly toy, a 300-gallon water-balloon launcher (for putting out forest fires -- still in prototype), and Taser gloves (featured in 'Garage Geniuses Go Prime Time,' issue 14.03). But Project RUSH -- for 'rapid up superhigh' -- is hands down his most preposterously dangerous effort. 'I missed out on the opportunity to be the first private citizen to fly to the edge of space in a private rocket, so I decided to do something even more fun,' Walker says.
Does anyone sense future Darwin Award winner here? Let's check some of the details:

Walker's idea of fun? Stretch a carbon-fiber bowstring 24 feet along a rail, fire up a jet turbine with 1,350 pounds of thrust, hit a trigger, and pull 10 gs as his craft, modeled on spaceships from Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica, shoots to the stratosphere. He'll plummet back to Earth using hydrogen peroxide rockets (the propulsion system used in 1950s jet packs) to slow his descent. Don't worry about Walker -- he'll be wearing a $15,000 surplus Russian space suit for protection.
No, don't worry about Walker. What could go wrong with a surplus Russian space suit? At $15,000, the darned thing practically pays for itself.

"I can see a scenario where giant crossbows would accelerate skydivers upward," he says, "creating a new kind of skydiving."
I had to post this because I found it so amusing, but now I'm struggling how to connect it to my permanent theme of Hamas and terrorism. Hmmmm. Let's see.

I'm sure somewhere in Nablus there is a terrorist cell -- or maybe it's an Al-Qaeda sleeper cell somewhere near the Canadian border -- that is this very minute reading this article and plotting how to commit suicidal homicide in ever more glorious ways using this new technology. For instance, install one of these crossbow things somewhere in Vermont, squeeze the eager Shahid into his Russian suit, strap on 5 or 10 kilos of Semtex, and shoot the poor schmuck into a suicidal ballistic trajectory that ends with him falling parabolically back to Earth and exploding in a great splattery mess on the White House lawn, thus evading the Secret Service and White House storm trooper security.

That would get the infidels' attention now wouldn't it?

If you really, really liked this -- or even really, really hated it -- there's lots more: