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Google News Technology

Computer Scientist Parachutes From 135,908 Feet, Breaking Record 175

An anonymous reader writes: The NY Times reports that Alan Eustace, a computer scientist and senior VP at Google, has successfully broken the record for highest freefall jump, set by Felix Baumgartner in 2012. "For a little over two hours, the balloon ascended at speeds up to 1,600 feet per minute to an altitude of 135,908 feet, more than 25 miles. Mr. Eustace dangled underneath in a specially designed spacesuit with an elaborate life-support system. He returned to earth just 15 minutes after starting his fall. ... Mr. Eustace cut himself loose from the balloon with the aid of a small explosive device and plummeted toward the earth at a speeds that peaked at more than 800 miles per hour, setting off a small sonic boom heard by observers on the ground. ... His technical team had designed a carbon-fiber attachment that kept him from becoming entangled in the main parachute before it opened. About four-and-a-half minutes into his flight, he opened the main parachute and glided to a landing 70 miles from the launch site."
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Computer Scientist Parachutes From 135,908 Feet, Breaking Record

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 24, 2014 @02:16PM (#48224121)

    Has Bennett Haselton certified this record-breaking feat? I will not believe these claims until he has written a lengthy blog post on how this feat relates to Burning Man ice queues and distributed social networks.

    • by NoImNotNineVolt ( 832851 ) on Friday October 24, 2014 @02:45PM (#48224443) Homepage

      After graduation, Haselton worked on Visual Basic at Microsoft for seven months.

      Yet another reason to hate him. Fuck. [wikipedia.org]

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Dear Gods, don't you realize what you are doing? You are turning Bennett Haselton into a meme! Now the man will never die!!!
    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) *

      I will not believe these claims until he has written a lengthy blog post on how this feat relates to Burning Man ice queues and distributed social networks.

      Haselton earned a master's degree in mathematics from Vanderbilt University, and created and operates a significant First Amendment website. I'm sure you have similar credentials? Why don't you tell us about it?

    • He is a frequent contributor after all.
  • by gestalt_n_pepper ( 991155 ) on Friday October 24, 2014 @02:21PM (#48224171)

    He planned to go up and try it again.

  • by GameboyRMH ( 1153867 ) <gameboyrmhNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday October 24, 2014 @02:22PM (#48224177) Journal

    Hadn't heard anything of this before today, I'll have to look for videos. I guess he didn't want to draw any attention.

    • by lq_x_pl ( 822011 )
      Sounds like that was his intent:
      Instead, Mr. Eustace planned his jump in the utmost secrecy, working for almost three years...
    • by aitikin ( 909209 )
      Red Bull didn't sponsor him because they gave everybody who ever drank their product $10.
    • Hadn't heard anything of this before today, I'll have to look for videos. I guess he didn't want to draw any attention.

      well the other guys needed to be publicity whores to raise the needed cash, but this guy just paid for it out of his own pocket.

    • Hadn't heard anything of this before today, I'll have to look for videos. I guess he didn't want to draw any attention.

      There was a video on the NYTimes site, but it was really short. And I just realized that the New York Times has one of the most irritating video players I have ever used.

  • Unfortunately, it wasn't covered by the Discovery Channel. Sigh! I'm glad to see a Computer Scientist break the record :-)
  • it would have been cool if he would have jumped from 128,000 feet. ;)
    • by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Friday October 24, 2014 @02:37PM (#48224349)

      131,072 feet, surely?

    • Why 128,000? It isn't a power of 2 and it doesn't translate into any special hex or binary value so why else would that number have any special meaning for a computer scientist?

      • by Zynder ( 2773551 )
        I suspect the OP deals in storage, and you and I still don't believe in those kibibits, so it didn't compute with us.
    • by Macdude ( 23507 )

      131,072 feet would of been cooler...

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        HAVE

        131,072 feet would HAVE been cooler...

        The word "of" has no meaning in the context you typed it.
        • by Rob Riggs ( 6418 )

          The word "of" has no meaning in the context you typed it.

          If he wanted your opinion, he'd axe for it.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I could care less what you think. For all intensive purpose the two phrases are one in the same. Which begs the question, are you the type of person that would cut off your nose despite your face?

          Irregardless, if you think you can extract revenge threw grammar nazi posts, you've got another think coming. I'll get off scott free!

          (I know I know, each phrase is worse than the next).

      • by tqk ( 413719 )

        131,072 feet would of been cooler...

        131,072 feet would've been cooler ...

        See contraction, of "would" plus "have". I realize we'll (we plus will) lose this battle, and I can live with it. Newspeak rulez!

    • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Friday October 24, 2014 @03:56PM (#48225135)

      it would have been cool if he would have jumped from 128,000 feet. ;)

      That would only work if he was employed by Western Digital or Maxtor.

    • Reading the entirely of the responses to your post I think it's pretty clear why he left the alligators in that particular swamp the hell alone.

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Friday October 24, 2014 @02:33PM (#48224311)

    So this skydiving student goes on his first solo jump. When the plane gets up to altitude and over the target, he jumps. Falling to the proper altitude, he pulls the release on the main chute. Nothing.

    Fighting back panic, he remembers what they taught in class and pulls the release on the backup chute. Nothing happens again. Things are starting to look pretty grim as he watches the ground rapidly approach.

    Then, he notices a man, rising toward him from the ground. Odd, he thinks to himself. But what the hell ..... When this person gets within earshot, the skydiver yells, "Hey buddy! Do you know how to work a parachute?"

    "No", the other person replies. "Do you know how to light a Coleman stove?"

    • by k6mfw ( 1182893 )
      oh this joke is as old as the T-10 parachute.
    • by sconeu ( 64226 )

      What's the difference between a bad golfer and a bad skydiver?

      One goes WHAP! Damn!

      The other goes DAMN! WHAP!!!!

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Friday October 24, 2014 @02:35PM (#48224331)

    You can tell it was a REAL computer scientist because there was no "test first", just pure perfect action.

  • Not to be outdone (Score:5, Informative)

    by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Friday October 24, 2014 @02:46PM (#48224457) Homepage Journal

    Vladimir Putin announced on Russian Times that he will jump from the Mir space station at an altitude of 300,000 kilometers to celebrate the upcoming 70th anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad.

  • Record (Score:4, Funny)

    by bigdavex ( 155746 ) on Friday October 24, 2014 @02:53PM (#48224527)

    Computer Scientist Parachutes From 135,908 Feet, Breaking Record

    What's the record for EEs? I might have a shot at that.

  • by kooky45 ( 785515 ) on Friday October 24, 2014 @02:55PM (#48224551)
    I watched Baumgartner's jump live and a follow up documentary on it and it seemed to me far too much credit for his jump was given to him. He got claustrophibic in the suit so dropped out of the project for an entire year and only came back when he got worried that a test pilot making test jumps in his place might do the actual record jump and deny him his press. I like this new one, seems to have been done for the right reasons.
    • by Ancil ( 622971 ) on Friday October 24, 2014 @03:49PM (#48225045)

      I like this new one, seems to have been done for the right reasons.

      What exactly are "the right reasons"?

      I'm being serious. Is there some sort of "right" or "noble" reason to spend all this money jumping from slightly higher than the last guy who spent a lot of money?

      Am I missing something here? Off the top of my head, the only reasons which come to mind are "extreme wealth" and "boredom".

      • The right reason is: It was done for fun or curiosity.

        Everything else is failure.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If he did this without wearing google glasses I'm going to be upset.

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
    Call me when someone does a jump from the ISS :-P
    • by Anonymous Coward

      The ISS has significant relative lateral velocity. So far all these high dives have roughly 0 relative lateral velocity. The speed of orbit requires a heat-shield for re-entry. If you took a sounding rocket up to the height of the ISS, a good enough suit would certainly work, and probably wouldn't need any special materials, but you wouldn't want to get anywhere near the station. It would zip by in the blink of an eye. If it came close enough the visual could be terrifying, but it's doubtful you'd see it as

      • I doubt that you are correct here. At an the apogee of 205 miles I figure that from just the gravitational acceleration he is going to hit close to 5000 mph before friction starts slowing him at all. Rough figures.
  • Next record (Score:4, Funny)

    by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Friday October 24, 2014 @03:07PM (#48224673)

    The next record-breaking attempt will end badly with the man floating away into the emptiness of space.

  • From the News story - "Mr. Eustace’s maximum altitude was initially reported as 135,908 feet. The final number, based on information from two data loggers, being submitted to the World Air Sports Federation is 135,890 feet."

  • by Mister Liberty ( 769145 ) on Friday October 24, 2014 @04:16PM (#48225277)

    For the bizarre books that the former keep.
    Nothing to do with geeks even if (and increasingly 'precisely because') it involves Google.

  • ...FB's jump was fucking everywhere.

  • ...unless this leads to the development of technology which has a "useful" use.

    This could be for the hypothetical, and highly unlikely scenarios, where one knows a plane will fall apart in the next few minutes and the only hope for the passengers is to put on their high altitude parachute gear, jump, and hope for the best.

    Spending ridiculous amounts of money breaking this record just to seek notoriety, is about as interesting as breaking the record for eating boiled eggs. (That just happened to be on the TV

  • "135,908 feet, more than 25 miles" - I had to laugh, a mile is not anyhow more imaginable unit than a foot.
    • How long would it take you to drive 135,908 feet?

      How long would it take you to drive 25 miles?

      I'd say the latter is easier to guess at than the former.

  • No one like a show off, honey.

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