Wanted

Wealthy patron to support artist/scientist/writer. Said patron will provide for all of my (few) worldly and (not so few) intellectual needs. In return I will undertake bizarre projects designed to delight, enlighten, and sometimes confuse. I can also add “color” to formal gatherings and tutor your kids in (mad) science. Please include a photo of my new living quarters and workshop space.

You wanna do what?!

So I have this fun idea. It’s something that can be done for about $10K or so, but I’m having a hard time with one particular aspect of it. Allow me to explain…

Imagine that you have two velocipedes (yes, they have to be velocipedes for… reasons) and you mount them side-by-side and about three feet apart with tubing. In between, you hang a lightweight, but comfortable chair. Perhaps something like a lawn chair. Using the same tubing, you mount four electric motors around the outside in a quadrocopter arrangement, complete with propellers. Electric motors are becoming quite efficient, and you can find some on the order of one HP per pound at reasonable prices.

So far, you have a person-sized, velocipede, steampunk quadrocopter. Which is great, but would be way too heavy to actually lift off. Which is why you need a 30′ helium balloon. This would be attached to the rest via the same tubing and a kevlar fiber net over the top. Internal to the balloon is an electric compressor such that the balloon can be dynamically deflated and inflated. So it can provide just enough lift that the quad motors can lift it the rest of the way. But since they’ll be relying in part on ground-effect, the system is tuned such that you can only get about 10′ high.

I have it all laid out in my head, and trust me, it’s awesome! But now for the hard part. How much trouble would I get in to for this? Technically, it’s a “manned, un-tethered, gas balloon” according to their regulations. But since the balloon is not providing the lift (just weight-offset), it’s also technically an ultralight. But since it relies on ground-effect, it’s also a hovercraft and outside of the FAA’s purview.

So my guess is that the FAA won’t be able to decide between laughing at me and having me shot. Any thoughts?

For your amusement…

A Wrinkle in Time is so much more amusing when you mentally replace “IT” (the name of the big bad monster thing) with “I.T.” (as in “the I.T. department”). Try for yourself:

“Calvin’s voice again. ‘Anyhow you got her away from IT. You got us both away and we couldn’t have gone on holding out. IT’s so much more powerful and strong than—How did we stay out, sir? How did we manage as long as we did?’

“Her father: ‘Because IT’s completely unused to being refused. That’s the only reason I could keep from being absorbed, too. No mind has tried to hold out against IT for so many thousands of centuries that certain centers have become soft and atrophied through lack of use. If you hadn’t come to me when you did I’m not sure how much longer I would have lasted. I was on the point of giving in.'”

Hola!

Welcome to Honest Jim’s Homeopathic Supplies.  We have the best prices on the finest water around.  There’s not actually anything in the water, aside from whatever impurities happen to have gotten in on the way to the tap.  Otherwise, just pure H-2-O goodness!

For an added charge, I’ll think good thoughts at the water before sending it to you!  Couldn’t hurt, right?  For another small fee, I’ll sit the water on the window sill while the moon is full (may cause a delay in shipping).

Additionally, I can set the water next to some plants for awhile, in order to soak up some awesome plant vibes!  How cool is that?!

Just click the link below to PayPal me $17.45 per ounce of water (shipping charges may apply)!