Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Exercise Is For The Birds

Strap on, wings & a helium balloon.
  [vote for,

Down through the ages everyone it seems has wanted to fly like the birds & now you can.

Bespoke artificial bird wings with a span of some fourteen feet, the primary feathers controlled by your own finger movements & powered by your own arms in mimicry of a real birds wings. Plus an aerodynamically contoured helium blimp strapped to your back to counter weight just enough to allow powered flight with your own muscle.

Soar majestically above the clouds (or, as seems more likely, wallow sluggishly below them) with our new sports wings.

Skewed, Sep 14 2019

(?) Uplifting... https://shop.spread...ir+balloon-A8600444
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Sep 14 2019]

Artificial Sharkskin https://www.smithso...ark-skin-180951514/
For Reduced Drag [Skewed, Sep 15 2019]

Goldbeater's skin https://en.wikipedi...Goldbeater%27s_skin
" ... used to make the gas bags of early balloons ... " [8th of 7, Sep 17 2019]

Sharknado https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2724064/
[Voice, Sep 17 2019]

One For [bs0u0155] https://twitter.com...27931892228096?s=20
Other explanations are more fun [Skewed, Sep 18 2019]

"I give you Titan" Forget_20Mars_2c_20Let_27s_20Do_20Titan
Forget Mars, Let's Do Titan [Skewed, Sep 26 2019, last modified Sep 27 2019]

Exercise Is For The Birds II Exercise_20Is_20For_20The_20Birds_20II
[Skewed, Jan 15 2020]


       Skewed enterprises is currently hiring test pilots.
Skewed, Sep 14 2019

       Presumably you're already up to establishment with paramedics and lawyers, then.   

       Try contacting Dignitas; they probably have a list of clients who are quite interested in an abrupt end to their existence.
8th of 7, Sep 14 2019

       //aerodynamically contoured helium blimp// I think the problem might be right there. The biggest extant birds have wingspans of about twelve feet (which is pretty fucking huge), but weigh up to about 10kg. So, your flying human is going to have to take something like 70kg of load off using the helium balloon. And this ignores the weight of the wings.   

       I will leave you to do the mathematics regarding plausible sizes for such a balloon, and the consequent drag. Bear in mind that large avian wings rely heavily on forward speed for their lift.   

       You would probably do better to take all of your weight in the balloon, and use the wings solely for slow forward thrust and turning. Better yet, in terms of efficiency, would be some sort of pedal-powered dirigible.
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 14 2019

       I get the wings, and I get the balloon part... but what's up with the strap-on?   

       P.S. I'm thinking of buying the t-shirt. [link]   

       // some sort of pedal-powered dirigible. //   

       ... which is Baked in your 19th century, but not WKTE.   

       There were a number of problems ; it was manageable only in still air, the pilot (rider? victim?) had to have remarkable strength and stamina, plus as the lifting gas was hydrogen, be a non-smoker - at least for the duration of the flight.
8th of 7, Sep 14 2019

       Unless you're sitting on top of the envelope, I think you can enjoy a smoke. Escaping hydrogen tends to rise.
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 14 2019

       Your theoretical analysis is, as usual, flawless, and we eagerly await - video cameras at the ready - your practical demonstration of the correctness of your asssumptions..   

       Allthough it might be wiser to recruit [Skewed] to do the initial proof-of-concept work ...
8th of 7, Sep 14 2019

       The R101 and, more the point, the R100 both had smoking lounges.
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 14 2019

       //Presumably you're already up to establishment with paramedics and lawyers//   

       Our pen pushers tell us a few extra flyboys is a cheaper alternative to paramedics & we use a jobbing lawyer, he draughted us a very comprehensive release form.   


       Your recommendation has been passed to human resources.
Skewed, Sep 14 2019

       //I will leave you to do the mathematics//   

       I'd rather not, trial & error is so much more fun.   

       Howsoever, some details I happen to have to hand (negating any necessity of any tedious Google searches) suggest if we were using hydrogen a square envelope 4 meters on a side should be adequate, so as we're using helium..   

       Bigger than that.   

       A long tether to avoid the blimp interfering with the wings is probably indicated.   

       Bigger wings are available for purists but they're a touch ungainly on the ground.   

       Consider the mentioned fourteen foot span to be training wings for beginners.
Skewed, Sep 14 2019

       //I get the wings, and I get the balloon part... but what's up with the strap-on?//   

       Thank you for drawing our attention to this punctuation error, corrected ;)   

       We're exhibitionists, seemed as good an opportunity as any.   

       P.S. That's not official merchandise but legal decided to let it pass seeing as it doesn't depict the strap on.
Skewed, Sep 14 2019

       //might be wiser to recruit [Skewed] to do the initial proof- of-concept//   

       I'm afraid we'll be busy that day, but for a small fee we can let you have a copy of our release form to crib from.
Skewed, Sep 14 2019

       Yes, fine. Usual brown envelope of fivers behind the water pipes, third cubicle of the Gent's at Mornington Crescent Underground ?
8th of 7, Sep 14 2019

       So it's _you_ that's been leaving them? Sturton told me about his lucky loo, but neither of us could figure out who the Fiver Fairy was.
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 14 2019

       Not always us. We hope the Chinese military attache has been getting some decent intel in return for their payments; they can be remarkably humourless at times.
8th of 7, Sep 14 2019

       //Escaping hydrogen tends to rise.//   

       As often do sparks and embers.
AusCan531, Sep 14 2019

       I wanted to see if we'd done wing attachments in Counter Balance World...   

       What the hell happened to Counter Balance World?
...and who posted it?

       That was one of my favorite postings.   

       Is there a view setting which will let you see only deleted account names?   

       //But the bike was made out of cast iron which didn't help//   

       Yep, more modern materials offer much lighter options while retaining the required strength & much of the wing structure would include hollow tubing & other voids which gives further opportunity to sneak in a little extra helium (not a lot, but every little helps), besides that in the blimp.   

       //competitions offering a percentage of body weight lift or just -20kg assist//   

       Like a weightlifting competition but with progressively smaller balloons instead of progressively heavier weights.   

       The person able to complete the course or 'tasks' with the smallest balloon wins.   

       For the hummingbird competition the wings get downsized along with the blimp.
Skewed, Sep 15 2019

       //more modern materials//   

       Speaking of which, artificial sharkskin [linky] shows promise as a surface material for the blimp & some wing sections, reduces drag.
Skewed, Sep 15 2019

       [+] Low impact airobics.
wjt, Sep 17 2019

       ^ very much preferable to high impact aerobatics, which are invariably far too loud and expensive ...
8th of 7, Sep 17 2019


       Only if you don't use the release form we gave you.
Skewed, Sep 17 2019

       //artificial sharkskin [linky] shows promise as a surface material for the blimp & some wing sections// And yet, strangely, very few sharks can fly well.   

       It seems strange that so much effort is being spent on developing artificial shark skin, when the real thing is available in quite large pieces.
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 17 2019

       //And yet, strangely, very few sharks can fly well//   

       No hands, makes it difficult to handle the controls.
Skewed, Sep 17 2019

       It is being touted (well.. I've 'seen' it touted, how knowledgeable or informed of it's properties & applications said touters really are I couldn't say) as a surfacing material for cars & airplanes, obviously it's more the surface (texture?) design than the material itself we want, if we want to use it on blimps we probably don't want to use actual sharkskin, leather (of any type) isn't exactly known for it's light & airy nature.
Skewed, Sep 17 2019

       Yet interestingly, the gas bags of pre-WW2 airships were constructed with an inner coating of "Goldbeater's skin".   

8th of 7, Sep 17 2019

       Huh, so they didn't just look like giant floating sausages, they actually used sausage skin as well.
Skewed, Sep 17 2019

       Yup. That's why the krauts excelled at building them - centuries of experience at making sausages, although in retrospect it was the Wurst thing they could have done ...
8th of 7, Sep 17 2019

       You're just jealous ...   

       Hmmm, Brötchen mit Wurst und Käse ... prima !!
8th of 7, Sep 18 2019

       So, you're saying that they invented the intestinal flew?

       You can't just make that crap up.
It must first be beaten... with gold apparently.

       // Really ? //   

       No shit, Sherlock.
8th of 7, Sep 18 2019

       //Bear in mind that large avian wings rely heavily on forward speed for their lift.//

It is disappointing to realise that there may never be a hummingbird as big as an ostrich
hippo, Sep 18 2019

       Well, not in our corner.
wjt, Sep 18 2019

       //No shit, Sherlock//   

       Well of course they would have to remove all of the shit first...   

       //It is disappointing to realise that there may never be a hummingbird as big as an ostrich//   

       Well, not without a few changes to the atmosphere. Back in the carboniferous period there were dragonflies with 3-4' wingspans. It's acknowleged that the O2 concentration was double what it is now, what isn't known is the pressure. Flying around in 3 atmospheres of pressure at 30% O2 is a lot easier than flying nowadays, so massive hummingbirds just had to evolve earlier.
bs0u0155, Sep 18 2019

       //what isn't known is the pressure.// That's interesting and surprising. The only variable would be the total mass of the atmosphere. If we doubled the amount of gas in Earth's atmosphere, would it be retained? Or would the excess just be lost into space?   

       Conversely, if we removed 1/2 of Earth's atmosphere, would outgassing from the planet restore the pressure?   

       In other words, is Earth's atmospheric pressure an equilibrium or not?
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 18 2019

       //That's interesting and surprising. The only variable would be the total mass of the atmosphere.//   

       There's a couple of studies using fossilized raindrop marks on volcanic ash, that's about it, we're really flapping in the breeze. Even atmospheric composition isn't as solid as you might like. Samples from trapped bubbles etc. have issues with non-uniform diffusion, how bubbles behave in ice is all over the place too. Hence a lot of isotope proxies, which get very sketchy in the very distant past.   

       After the photosynthesis trick was worked out, life really did a number on the atmosphere. Starting with mainly N2 CO2 and CH4, life pulled almost all the CO2, a big loss in atmospheric density there. The liberated O2 ultimately oxidized all the atmospheric methane, another big loss. Atmospheric O2 then reacts with anything else lying around, and gets locked up, think of all the rust-red rocks. Life invents new tricks, diatoms locking O2 into silicates, other sea creatures making carbonate shells. Trees arrive, locking up any remaining CO2 into intractable coal deposits. Even N2 is gobbled up by nitrogen fixing microbes. Between sand, soils, mountains of chalk etc. half the planet surface used to be atmosphere.... maybe... I'll break out a geology book and do some maths one day.   

       Still, significantly higher pressure makes a lot of those "flying" dinosaus a little more explainable. I imagine some of the outsized land dwellers would benefit too.
bs0u0155, Sep 18 2019

       //I imagine some of the outsized land dwellers would benefit too.// Surely they'd only benefit by a very, very tiny amount of buoyancy in anything short of a pea-soup atmosphere?
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 18 2019

       //In other words, is Earth's atmospheric pressure an equilibrium or not?//   

       'Or not' apparently. It's known to be falling, in a geological time frame, like a very large very slow leaking balloon, I read it somewhere.   

       [Falls to knees ~ clasps hands together in supplication ~ shuffles forward on knees]   

       But please don't make me go look for it, find it yourself if you doubt me, then let me know if I'm wrong ;p
Skewed, Sep 18 2019

       //higher pressure makes a lot of those "flying" dinosaus a little more explainable//   

       You're almost certainly right but other explanations are more fun [linky].
Skewed, Sep 18 2019

       //It is disappointing to realise that there may never be a hummingbird as big as an ostrich//   

       [Strikes a dramatics pose & flourishes a pointy stick at the sky]   

       I give you Titan.   

       But only in the sense of 'hey! look at this!'', if you want it you have to buy it.   

       Only a little more gravity than our Moon, nearly twice Earth's atmosphere & plenty of real estate for your selective breeding program up for grabs, once we've finished teratorming it a bit.   

       Bring your own hummingbirds.
Skewed, Sep 18 2019

       //other explanations are more fun [linky]//   

       Ha! Nah.. H2 leaks. There would need to be continuous production.
bs0u0155, Sep 18 2019

       //would need to be continuous production//   

       Given a plentiful supply of H2O shouldn't be a problem, there must be biological or cellular processes that could be turned to the purpose, failing that electrolysis with an organ like an electric eels is still an option.
Skewed, Sep 19 2019

       //I give you Titan//   

Skewed, Sep 26 2019


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