1226: "Balloon Internet"

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thevicente
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1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby thevicente » Mon Jun 17, 2013 4:19 am UTC

Imagehttp://xkcd.com/1226/

Title text:"I run a business selling rural internet access. My infrastructure consists of a bunch of Verizon wifi hotspots that I sign up for and then cancel at the end of the 14-day return period."

Also, a missing "free". Or I English not very good. Or I have to google.
Last edited by thevicente on Mon Jun 17, 2013 4:27 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: 1226: "Baloon Internet"

Postby rhomboidal » Mon Jun 17, 2013 4:21 am UTC

I bet it still provides better bandwidth than my CenturyLink DSL.

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Re: 1226: "Baloon Internet"

Postby nowhereman » Mon Jun 17, 2013 4:23 am UTC

Sigh... if only that were a viable buisness model. Making a 99% profit from Verizon's losses is probably very unethical, but one can dream.
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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby RAGBRAIvet » Mon Jun 17, 2013 5:55 am UTC

"I run a business selling rural internet access. My infrastructure consists of a bunch of Verizon wifi hotspots that I sign up for and then cancel at the end of the 14-day return period."

And then you call people like me – a Verizon customer service representative – to try to browbeat me into waiving the $35.00 restocking fee on those units.
Sorry, Charlie — ain't gonna happen.

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby rivulatus » Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:01 am UTC

Funny title text, but I have the feeling I am missing somthing that would make the comic funnier.

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby filecore » Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:19 am UTC

You're probably missing this if you don't really get the joke: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22905199

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby TimXCampbell » Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:45 am UTC

filecore wrote:You're probably missing this if you don't really get the joke: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22905199

Thank you!

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby Flumble » Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:58 am UTC

filecore wrote:You're probably missing this if you don't really get the joke: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22905199

Thanks.

At first I thought the balloon was a metaphore for the ache a lot of people get when they're not on the net for more than half an hour but then the alt text got me confused. (yay, twenty consecutive words of four characters or less)

So what's in it for google? They're an american company after all, so they're looking for customers, profit and transfering monitoring data to the government but I doubt it's cost effective to throw around balloons and hope for profit.

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby ijuin » Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:22 am UTC

The extra connected people are only a small part of the revenue that will be generated. The publicity and advertising will bring in the lion's share of the money. A lot of people are going to be paying more attention to Google because of these publicity stunts.

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby Eternal Density » Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:25 am UTC

filecore wrote:You're probably missing this if you don't really get the joke: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22905199
Okay but why/how does the balloon talk?
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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby keithl » Mon Jun 17, 2013 8:01 am UTC

Eternal Density wrote:
filecore wrote:You're probably missing this if you don't really get the joke: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22905199
Okay but why/how does the balloon talk?


The implication is that they have powerful radios on them and form a global mesh network. I think. Vague.

The problem is that the planet is 500 million square kilometers, and inverse square law applies. These balloons will tend to randomly distribute themselves. 70% of them will be over ocean. Some will get hit by lightning, and since there isn't enough helium to go around, they may be using hydrogen - kerblooey. One way or another, those tiny little atoms will leak through the gas bag. The plastic gas bag is in the high-energy UV zone. And ...

There are a heck of a lot of problems to solve. Google has lots of money, but when/if one of these loses enough lift gas to descend into air lanes, and downs an aircraft with hundreds aboard, they may have a really expensive problem to deal with. I looked at a similar idea a few years ago, and after listing about 30 problems, I moved on to other ideas.

Still, building a launching a few balloon will lead to new discoveries, and that may lead to something practical.

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby Wooloomooloo » Mon Jun 17, 2013 8:43 am UTC

keithl wrote:
Eternal Density wrote:
filecore wrote:You're probably missing this if you don't really get the joke: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22905199
Okay but why/how does the balloon talk?

Google has lots of money, but when/if one of these loses enough lift gas to descend into air lanes, and downs an aircraft with hundreds aboard, they may have a really expensive problem to deal with.

You did read the originally quoted article, yes? Specifically the part that explicitly says the balloons all carry warning lights and aviation transponders, and their controllers coordinate with civil aviation authorities? Of course you did...

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby Insidious » Mon Jun 17, 2013 9:14 am UTC

Hahaha, related to the title text here, my uncle has rural internet over WiMax (thats actually pretty fast and low-latency, like 45ms-to-google low latency, its actually better than my home Verizon DSL on both bandwidth and latency counts) that appears, from the hostname, to simply be someone reselling Comcast Business Class cable in bulk. Which is, really, a pretty good idea IMO.

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby wotpsycho » Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:17 am UTC

Google is literally making a net in the sky and Randall doesn't make a Skynet reference?!

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby ronaldkr » Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:17 am UTC

filecore wrote:You're probably missing this if you don't really get the joke: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22905199

Thanks for this tip. But, Please, do not read the comments to this report to avoid a severe gallbladder incident.

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby filecore » Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:30 am UTC

keithl wrote:
Eternal Density wrote:
filecore wrote:You're probably missing this if you don't really get the joke: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22905199

Okay but why/how does the balloon talk?


The implication is that they have powerful radios on them and form a global mesh network. I think. Vague.


Actually, I think the implication is that the figure reading the book went a long way into the peaceful, rolling hills to "get away from it all", to relax in nature and just read a totally offline media. And then the internet descended from the sky and ruined his little bubble of peace and disconnection.

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby teelo » Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:50 am UTC

Damn, I live in Wellington, not Christchurch. Won't get to see this :(

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby Draco18s » Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:09 pm UTC

Guys guys guys.

They're called Googloons.
(Yes, I made that up yesterday in the car when I heard about what they're doing.)

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby orthogon » Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:16 pm UTC

Draco18s wrote:Guys guys guys.

They're called Googloons.
(Yes, I made that up yesterday in the car when I heard about what they're doing.)

Googloons sound like the successors to Bitcoin, with an appropriately piratical overtone given the borderline nature of some transactions carried out with them. "Aharrr, jimla! There be chestloads of googloons buried hereabouts!"
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby Barstro » Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:21 pm UTC

Isn't this a relatively old idea? Relative in terms of the net, anyway.

I seem to recall that there was a plan several years ago in some state in the north central US (Wyoming?). I think it was believed that nine balloons could go from west to east and then driven back west. But, my memory is rather fuzzy.

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby project2051 » Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:43 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
Draco18s wrote:Guys guys guys.

They're called Googloons.
(Yes, I made that up yesterday in the car when I heard about what they're doing.)

Googloons sound like the successors to Bitcoin, with an appropriately piratical overtone given the borderline nature of some transactions carried out with them. "Aharrr, jimla! There be chestloads of googloons buried hereabouts!"


In Canada they are Googlooines.

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby orthogon » Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:02 pm UTC

project2051 wrote:
orthogon wrote:
Draco18s wrote:Guys guys guys.

They're called Googloons.
(Yes, I made that up yesterday in the car when I heard about what they're doing.)

Googloons sound like the successors to Bitcoin, with an appropriately piratical overtone given the borderline nature of some transactions carried out with them. "Aharrr, jimla! There be chestloads of googloons buried hereabouts!"


In Canada they are Googlooines.

Wouldn't they be Googloonies?

Anyway while looking again at the Wikipedia article, I was impressed to see that Spain used to have a currency system based on powers of two, before inexplicably replacing it with a bizarre "decimal" system in 1859, thus precipitating the end of the empire.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby Flumble » Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:00 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:Anyway while looking again at the Wikipedia article, I was impressed to see that Spain used to have a currency system based on powers of two, before inexplicably replacing it with a bizarre "decimal" system in 1859, thus precipitating the end of the empire.

Really? What a shame. It was probably a political interest to some powerful bloke to conform to the system in place in most of Europe. Damn politics! If only leaders had pushed forward a duodecimal system!

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby johnnyg » Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:31 pm UTC

keithl wrote:The problem is that the planet is 500 million square kilometers, and inverse square law applies. These balloons will tend to randomly distribute themselves. 70% of them will be over ocean.


Why would they randomly distribute themselves, wouldn't they tend to gather where the weather patterns blow them? Also I can't imagine Google would just leave them up in the sky to their own devices. Just to pull something out of my ass, launching them off the west coast to follow the jetstream across the continental US and get gathered on the east coast to be shipped back would probably be a better strategy.

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby NiteClerk » Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:36 pm UTC

Flumble wrote:
At first I thought the balloon was a metaphore for the ache a lot of people get when they're not on the net for more than half an hour but then the alt text got me confused.(yay, twenty consecutive words of four characters or less)


Uh, nope. Seventeen consecutive words of four characters or less.

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby orthogon » Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:47 pm UTC

Flumble wrote:
orthogon wrote:Anyway while looking again at the Wikipedia article, I was impressed to see that Spain used to have a currency system based on powers of two, before inexplicably replacing it with a bizarre "decimal" system in 1859, thus precipitating the end of the empire.

Really? What a shame. It was probably a political interest to some powerful bloke to conform to the system in place in most of Europe. Damn politics! If only leaders had pushed forward a duodecimal system!

Well, according to this, they had pieces of 1, 2, 4 and 8 gold escudos, an escudo itself was worth 16 reales, and there were pieces worth 1/2, 1,2, 4 and 8 reales (the "piece of eight"). So they had coins worth 1/2, 1,2,4,8,16,32,64 and 128 reales. Sounds almost too good to be true!

NiteClerk wrote:
Flumble wrote:
At first I thought the balloon was a metaphore for the ache a lot of people get when they're not on the net for more than half an hour but then the alt text got me confused.(yay, twenty consecutive words of four characters or less)


Uh, nope. Seventeen consecutive words of four characters or less.

... depends if you count an enclitic as a word.

[Edited to avoid doublepost]
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby neremanth » Mon Jun 17, 2013 3:14 pm UTC

Until I read the title text, I thought it was a continuation of the metaphor in http://www.xkcd.com/1106/: that emails, facebook, etc are always there and grab your attention when you're focusing on something else; even if you choose not to read the new email or whatever you've been distracted from what you were doing already and lost your train of thought. Then between reading the title text and coming to the forum I didn't really understand what it was about. So thanks for the explanation! (And it's far from the first time that the forum has explained the comic for me, so while I'm at it thanks for all those other times too).

Now that I know what the comic's about I'm not sure I really agree with its point - the idea of the balloons is surely to provide internet to those areas of the world where hardly anyone can currently afford it at all ever, not to colonise with internet provision those areas remaining for escape for those of us who live in areas that are already well connected and who could probably do with taking a break from the internet every once in a while. (I mean, maybe I'm still not quite understanding it, but the comic seems to be reacting to the Google project by saying "Great, now nowhere is free from the distractions/temptations of the internet").

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby project2051 » Mon Jun 17, 2013 4:13 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
project2051 wrote:
orthogon wrote:
Draco18s wrote:Guys guys guys.

They're called Googloons.
(Yes, I made that up yesterday in the car when I heard about what they're doing.)

Googloons sound like the successors to Bitcoin, with an appropriately piratical overtone given the borderline nature of some transactions carried out with them. "Aharrr, jimla! There be chestloads of googloons buried hereabouts!"


In Canada they are Googlooines.

Wouldn't they be Googloonies?



Only if you want to type everything correctly.

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby Lode » Mon Jun 17, 2013 4:27 pm UTC

I read the news about the balloon Loon internet, but still don't get the joke. Except the title text, that one is funny.

Why does the guy say auch? Does the balloon hit his back?
Why does the balloon talk? What is the joke, if any?

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby Copper Bezel » Mon Jun 17, 2013 4:34 pm UTC

He says "AUGH" because he's spooked by the presence of the balloon, which is unexpectedly speaking to him, which it's doing to emphasize just how obtrusive it is and that nowhere is safe. What that has to do with Project Loon is arguable (if he had a phone, presumably, he could be online.)
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby orthogon » Mon Jun 17, 2013 4:45 pm UTC

project2051 wrote:
orthogon wrote:
project2051 wrote:
orthogon wrote:
Draco18s wrote:Guys guys guys.

They're called Googloons.
(Yes, I made that up yesterday in the car when I heard about what they're doing.)

Googloons sound like the successors to Bitcoin, with an appropriately piratical overtone given the borderline nature of some transactions carried out with them. "Aharrr, jimla! There be chestloads of googloons buried hereabouts!"


In Canada they are Googlooines.

Wouldn't they be Googloonies?



Only if you want to type everything correctly.

In that case, please excuse my pedantry. It was just that I saw the -oines ending, which made me think you were referring to a French/Quebecois word, hence my return to the might Wiki, and resulting delightful discovery. In a similar vein, I thought that "loonie" came from "l'une" until I found out about the eponymous bird on the coin.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby Wooloomooloo » Mon Jun 17, 2013 4:58 pm UTC

Barstro wrote:I seem to recall that there was a plan several years ago in some state in the north central US (Wyoming?). I think it was believed that nine balloons could go from west to east and then driven back west. But, my memory is rather fuzzy.

I know they probably didn't envision it that way, but this just gave me the ludicrously grotesque vision of a long line of balloons drifting majestically in a slow current over Wyoming, with an itty-bitty plane scurrying back and forth, always towing the first balloon back to the end of the line then returning for the next one... :lol:

...if you're still not LOLing, try to imagine the same accomplished via the Goodyear blimp.

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby Barstro » Mon Jun 17, 2013 5:08 pm UTC

Wooloomooloo wrote:
Barstro wrote:I seem to recall that there was a plan several years ago in some state in the north central US (Wyoming?). I think it was believed that nine balloons could go from west to east and then driven back west. But, my memory is rather fuzzy.

I know they probably didn't envision it that way, but this just gave me the ludicrously grotesque vision of a long line of balloons drifting majestically in a slow current over Wyoming, with an itty-bitty plane scurrying back and forth, always towing the first balloon back to the end of the line then returning for the next one... :lol:

...if you're still not LOLing, try to imagine the same accomplished via the Goodyear blimp.


But the blimp would be using the same air currents and could never get them back to the starting position. Maybe if they enlisted the help of swallows... Ok, that's trolling.

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby ijuin » Mon Jun 17, 2013 5:12 pm UTC

Insidious wrote:Hahaha, related to the title text here, my uncle has rural internet over WiMax (thats actually pretty fast and low-latency, like 45ms-to-google low latency, its actually better than my home Verizon DSL on both bandwidth and latency counts) that appears, from the hostname, to simply be someone reselling Comcast Business Class cable in bulk. Which is, really, a pretty good idea IMO.


I think that reselling Comcast cable might violate the terms of service and leave the reseller open to lawsuit.

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby RAGBRAIvet » Mon Jun 17, 2013 5:16 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
Flumble wrote:
orthogon wrote:Anyway while looking again at the Wikipedia article, I was impressed to see that Spain used to have a currency system based on powers of two, before inexplicably replacing it with a bizarre "decimal" system in 1859, thus precipitating the end of the empire.

Really? What a shame. It was probably a political interest to some powerful bloke to conform to the system in place in most of Europe. Damn politics! If only leaders had pushed forward a duodecimal system!

Well, according to this, they had pieces of 1, 2, 4 and 8 gold escudos, an escudo itself was worth 16 reales, and there were pieces worth 1/2, 1,2, 4 and 8 reales (the "piece of eight"). So they had coins worth 1/2, 1,2,4,8,16,32,64 and 128 reales. Sounds almost too good to be true!

NiteClerk wrote:
Flumble wrote:
At first I thought the balloon was a metaphore for the ache a lot of people get when they're not on the net for more than half an hour but then the alt text got me confused.(yay, twenty consecutive words of four characters or less)


Uh, nope. Seventeen consecutive words of four characters or less.

... depends if you count an enclitic as a word.

[Edited to avoid doublepost]

Had he not used the enclitic (or contraction) he would have twenty-one words.....and if he had subbed "a user gets" for "a lot of people get" (and not used the enclitic) he would have topped out at twenty-six.
(... for the ache a user gets when they are not on the net for more than half an hour but then the alt text got me confused.)

While we're at it, there is no 'e' at the end of 'metaphor'.  Semaphore, yes.  Metaphore, no.

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby Copper Bezel » Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:06 pm UTC

I can't help thinking it's an organism that bears metas.
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby RJFerret » Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:13 pm UTC

RAGBRAIvet wrote:
orthogon wrote:
NiteClerk wrote:
Flumble wrote:
At first I thought the balloon was a metaphore for the ache a lot of people get when they're not on the net for more than half an hour but then the alt text got me confused.(yay, twenty consecutive words of four characters or less)


Uh, nope. Seventeen consecutive words of four characters or less.

... depends if you count an enclitic as a word.

[Edited to avoid doublepost]

Had he not used the enclitic (or contraction) he would have twenty-one words.....and if he had subbed "a user gets" for "a lot of people get" (and not used the enclitic) he would have topped out at twenty-six.
(... for the ache a user gets when they are not on the net for more than half an hour but then the alt text got me confused.)


"My idea was that the air bag was the ache a lot of us get when we are not on the net for more than half an hour but then the alt text put me at a loss."

Meaning maintained without superfluous wordage, containing fewer requisite letters.

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby Copper Bezel » Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:48 pm UTC

Air bag is a bad way to put the idea. We're at "car that goes up" (to the moon,) now.
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

she / her / her

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby Flumble » Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:27 pm UTC

RAGBRAIvet wrote:Had he not used the enclitic (or contraction) he would have twenty-one words

My bad, I made an off-by-one error. (as I do see "they're" as two words - there's a non-alphabetic and non-dash character in between)


RAGBRAIvet wrote:While we're at it, there is no 'e' at the end of 'metaphor'.  Semaphore, yes.  Metaphore, no.

My bad again. Although, this is an inconsistency in English. I decree the correct transliteration of φορος (and other derivatives of φερω) is for; camfor, semafor, phosfor, gametofor, spermatofor and (I am too) metafor (you).

Copper Bezel wrote:Air bag is a bad way to put the idea. We're at "car that goes up" (to the moon,) now.

I do see a problem if google is to fire cars high up into the atmosphere.
Last edited by Flumble on Mon Jun 17, 2013 9:28 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1226: "Balloon Internet"

Postby AlexTheSeal » Mon Jun 17, 2013 8:44 pm UTC

Wooloomooloo wrote:
Barstro wrote:I seem to recall that there was a plan several years ago in some state in the north central US (Wyoming?). I think it was believed that nine balloons could go from west to east and then driven back west. But, my memory is rather fuzzy.

I know they probably didn't envision it that way, but this just gave me the ludicrously grotesque vision of a long line of balloons drifting majestically in a slow current over Wyoming, with an itty-bitty plane scurrying back and forth


And the person flying the plane gets to write on their tax return the impossibly cool occupation of "Balloon Wrangler." Or maybe "Balloonpoke."

Code: Select all

10 REM WORLD'S SMALLEST ADVENTURE GAME
20 PRINT "YOU ARE IN A CAVE (N, S, E, W)? ";
30 INPUT A$
40 GOTO 10

Lulled to sleep by the one-hertz chuckle of Linux logfile writes since 1997.


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