Saturday, October 17, 2009

Balloon Fallacy

For 3 hours this week the world watched nervously as a helium balloon thought to have accidentally carried a young 6 year old stowaway flew across the Colorado plains. Was he inside?

I immediately thought of a past Mythbusters episode. Actually, it was more Darwin Awards. Could this really happen?

Based on the dimensions of the balloon, it could have contained enough helium to lift a 50 pound object. Based on University of Google, it takes a 15 cubic feet to lift 1 lb, CNN says the balloon was around 20" across x 5" high so ((pi * r^2)*5 = (3.14 * 10*10)*5 = 1570 ) . However, forget the physics for a moment. Take a look at the balloon in flight and at takeoff. If there had really been a 50 pound boy in the base it would have looked like an upside down teardrop and there's no way it could have lifted off so lightly.

Another fine example of media manipulation.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Picture of Health

Provincial Health Minister David Caplan is expected to resign from the McGuinty cabinet this Wednesday. The ensuing auditor general's report is expected to blow the covers off of 10 years of wasteful spending by the province's electronic health record projects.

I've always wondered how this guy got to be named Health Minister.