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  #101  
Old 02-23-2020, 12:54 PM
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I do want to give a shout out to the cameraman. While the rocket never really went that far, tracking objects in flight with a camera isn't that easy. This guy did a good job.
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  #102  
Old 02-23-2020, 01:11 PM
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I don't understand the mission at all. His goal was to build a rocket that would get to 40,000 feet to prove the earth was round? He could have chartered a private jet to 50,000 feet and saved a lot of time and money and taken his flat earth investors with him.
He wanted to 'prove' Earth is flat, like a pancake. But, yeah...
  #103  
Old 02-23-2020, 01:24 PM
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He could have clicked on the NASA ISS feed and saved himself a lot of time and money while seeing the earth from 420-430 km up, and still be alive. True, the earth looks distinctly round from that altitude, but he could have blamed it on fish-eye lens distortion. I can vouch for him from my days of sailing the Great Lakes. The water was clearly flat. We could no longer see most of the high points of shorelines when more than about 10 miles away, but I blame air pollution, or bad eyesight.
  #104  
Old 02-23-2020, 01:42 PM
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Not flat. We checked.
  #105  
Old 02-23-2020, 01:54 PM
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I don't understand the mission at all. His goal was to build a rocket that would get to 40,000 feet to prove the earth was round?
I think his ultimate aim was to get to about 65 miles up or somewhere around there, by launching from a balloon. This rocket was just a step in that direction. And his object was to prove the world flat by taking a picture of the whole thing at once.

To get that high, he could have waited until Blue Origin starts taking paying customers and bought a ticket on that. BO hasn't published any pricing, but it's likely it'd still be cheaper than doing it himself. Also, much safer. But I suppose not as much fun.

Last edited by dtilque; 02-23-2020 at 01:57 PM.
  #106  
Old 02-23-2020, 02:02 PM
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Darwin claims another one.
  #107  
Old 02-23-2020, 02:23 PM
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The LA Times story suggests that Mad Mike may have been knocked unconscious from the jolt of launching, as his rocket did have backup chutes, which did not deploy. Also from the story,
(Darren Shuster, his public relations representative), who did not attend Saturday’s launch, said the flat Earth argument helped drum up publicity and sponsors for Hughes, who made his rockets at his home in Apple Valley. “I don’t think he believed it,” Shuster said. “He did have some governmental conspiracy theories. But don’t confuse it with that flat Earth thing. That was a PR stunt we dreamed up.”
following several musicians, who have explored death as a career move.
  #108  
Old 02-23-2020, 03:04 PM
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The LA Times story suggests that Mad Mike may have been knocked unconscious from the jolt of launching, as his rocket did have backup chutes, which did not deploy. Also from the story,
(Darren Shuster, his public relations representative), who did not attend Saturday’s launch, said the flat Earth argument helped drum up publicity and sponsors for Hughes, who made his rockets at his home in Apple Valley. “I don’t think he believed it,” Shuster said. “He did have some governmental conspiracy theories. But don’t confuse it with that flat Earth thing. That was a PR stunt we dreamed up.”
following several musicians, who have explored death as a career move.
I was going to suggest he really didn't believe it and found some folks who would sponsor his hobby of building and flying rockets.
  #109  
Old 02-23-2020, 03:27 PM
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I was going to suggest he really didn't believe it and found some folks who would sponsor his hobby of building and flying rockets.
(Shrug) You go to bed with morons, you wake up with dumb.
  #110  
Old 02-23-2020, 03:31 PM
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The fact that a flat earther had a show on the 'Science Channel' makes me question their commitment to actual science.
They started slowly transitioning to the Science Fiction Channel at least five years ago, when they added woo.
  #111  
Old 02-23-2020, 07:12 PM
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He could have clicked on the NASA ISS feed and saved himself a lot of time and money while seeing the earth from 420-430 km up, and still be alive.
They think that NASA is at the heart of the conspiracy, and wouldn't ever believe anything from it.

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It helps that the group has a mutual target. "Most of our ire is pointed towards NASA. That's our bread and butter," Sargent says of the agency flat Earthers believe is ultimately behind the conspiracy.
  #112  
Old 02-23-2020, 07:26 PM
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Any estimate on the gees he was pulling on the launch?
I wonder if any of the footage from the external and helmet cams that must have been there survived? If it was recorded strai ht to MicroSD I bet it did.
  #113  
Old 02-23-2020, 07:32 PM
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Well, when I saw the news this afternoon, I must admit my first thought was "Can I be the first to mention it on that Dope thread?"

Forthwith, anyway, my contributions to the snark:

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Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
I'm missing the obligatory line "There were no witnesses". Did he sneak off and do this with no audience of well-wishers? Or did they all creep quietly away to establish their alibis, so as not to be accessories?
This article mentions several witnesses: Justin Chapman (the cameraman), his wife, and Waldo Stakes a colleague (collaborator?)

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Justin Chapman, a freelance journalist, told the Associated Press that he and his wife witnessed the crash and that the rocket appeared to rub against the launch apparatus which might have torn the parachutes attached to it.

. . .

"It was unsuccessful, and he passed away," Waldo Stakes, a colleague who was also at the rocket launch, told AP.
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I think we should invent an award even higher than the Darwin Award. Darwin Laureate, maybe?
I vote for Darwin Emeritus, or Flat Earther Emeritus. Or Demeritus.

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Memorably, "Uh oh" were the last words of Dick Scobee, commander of the Space Shuttle Challenger. (Really.)
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I don't understand the mission at all. His goal was to build a rocket that would get to 40,000 feet to prove the earth was round? He could have chartered a private jet to 50,000 feet and saved a lot of time and money and taken his flat earth investors with him.
Well, his goal was to prove the earth was flat. But anyway — your logic is sadly impeccable. Mad Mike's logic, perhaps was this: A view from 50,000 feet from a chartered jet, where he could see with his own lying eyes that the earth is round, would prove nothing. (Because evidence, even your own lying eyes, proves nothing, amirite?) Therefore, a flight to 40,000 feet would prove the earth is flat, but only if it really is, or even if it isn't. (Got it?) That's peccable logic.

BTW: The articles I've seen don't say how high he actually got. (Does anyone have an article that says?) But apparently not even 5000 feet, as that was the stated goal here. Well golly, even I've flown higher than that, in an aircraft that wasn't even so much as steam powered (photo). (No, that's not a humble brag. And yes, one of the people in that photo is me.) We launched at 6000 feet and climbed to 16,500 feet MSL over Lake Tahoe. The earth is … spectacular.)
  #114  
Old 02-23-2020, 07:58 PM
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I do want to give a shout out to the cameraman. While the rocket never really went that far, tracking objects in flight with a camera isn't that easy. This guy did a good job.
TV cameramen track golf balls that are invisible at launch.
  #115  
Old 02-23-2020, 08:20 PM
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I vote for Darwin Emeritus, or Flat Earther Emeritus. Or Demeritus.
Well really all Darwin Award winners are Darwin Emeritus, since their distinguished accomplishments by definition caused them to be permanently and fairly instantaneously retired from their chosen activity. In a case like this we need a Darwin Award with Special Honors for Great Performance, the latter justified by the exceptional stupidity of the mission and the spectacular nature of the honoree's demise.
  #116  
Old 02-23-2020, 08:36 PM
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I don’t share the glee here. This wasn’t some hateful political figure, and it seems he wasn’t really a flat-earther either, just a quirky guy who wasn’t satisfied sitting at home on the couch. Obviously he knew what the risks were but it’s still terribly sad that he died in front of his friends and family.
  #117  
Old 02-23-2020, 08:36 PM
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BTW: The articles I've seen don't say how high he actually got. (Does anyone have an article that says?) But apparently not even 5000 feet, as that was the stated goal here.
here is the full video. Launch occurs at :10, litho-braking at :29. My back-of-the-shirt-tail math suggests possibly as much as 2900'.
  #118  
Old 02-23-2020, 08:42 PM
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Any estimate on the gees he was pulling on the launch?
Gees? I'm wondering how many Ohs he pulled, as in Uh-oh! Ohhhh shit! Ohshitohshitohsit!





Oh shit, you mean G-forces.
  #119  
Old 02-23-2020, 09:02 PM
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A chute deployed at launch, which had to have been a malfunction. Was that his safety landing chute?
  #120  
Old 02-23-2020, 09:11 PM
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Seems likely.
  #121  
Old 02-23-2020, 09:47 PM
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He died like he lived: an idiot.

I think we should invent an award even higher than the Darwin Award. Darwin Laureate, maybe?
Despite his best efforts, he wouldn't even qualify for a Darwin Award. He apparently had two children. To be eligible for a Darwin, you have to die before having reproduced.
  #122  
Old 02-23-2020, 09:58 PM
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Despite his best efforts, he wouldn't even qualify for a Darwin Award. He apparently had two children. To be eligible for a Darwin, you have to die before having reproduced.
What if a Darwin Award nominee has reproduced?
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Is a nominee automatically disqualified if he has offspring? Since genetic and environmental factors both play a role in determining our choices and behaviors, we will need to discuss each as a source of potential Darwin Award candidates, then attempt to answer the question posed above.

(Much to read here)

And finally, the child who inherits an unlucky gene will have his own shot at notoriety one day. So the rules do not disqualify nominees who have already reproduced.
  #123  
Old 02-23-2020, 10:11 PM
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I don’t share the glee here. This wasn’t some hateful political figure, and it seems he wasn’t really a flat-earther either, just a quirky guy who wasn’t satisfied sitting at home on the couch.
For me, the combination of idiocy plus hubris is what makes it a fun conclusion.
  #124  
Old 02-23-2020, 10:15 PM
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Gees? I'm wondering how many Ohs he pulled, as in Uh-oh! Ohhhh shit! Ohshitohshitohsit!
I saw claims somewhere that he had backup chutes, and speculation that he didn't deploy them because the acceleration at launch knocked him out.
  #125  
Old 02-24-2020, 12:53 AM
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I saw claims somewhere that he had backup chutes, and speculation that he didn't deploy them because the acceleration at launch knocked him out.
I'm not sure how much redundancy you get when the entire budget is $18k. I will say that being knocked out at launch is a much better way to go than what I thought would happen - a pressure vessel failure that would flash cook him with steam. Or for that matter injure anyone else close by. People seemed too damn close to the launcher in the video.

Playing 'Yakety Sax' while watching the video is oddly satisfying. The only thing missing is a coyote costume and ACME painted on the rocket.

Last edited by Dag Otto; 02-24-2020 at 12:53 AM.
  #126  
Old 02-24-2020, 03:16 AM
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As idiotic as all of this might be, he died doing what he loved. I can only wish I go out that way too.


...now if I could just figure out what I loved
...
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  #127  
Old 02-24-2020, 03:17 AM
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This article mentions several witnesses: Justin Chapman (the cameraman), his wife, and Waldo Stakes a colleague (collaborator?)
<clipped>

Waldo has been found!
  #128  
Old 02-24-2020, 07:02 AM
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As idiotic as all of this might be, he died doing what he loved. I can only wish I go out that way too.


...now if I could just figure out what I loved
...
What, the "sn" doesn't stand for snu-snu?
  #129  
Old 02-24-2020, 07:16 AM
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Gees? I'm wondering how many Ohs he pulled, as in Uh-oh! Ohhhh shit! Ohshitohshitohsit!





Oh shit, you mean G-forces.
To be fair that's what the Apollo astronauts were thinking on their way up. Mainly because of the violent shaking.
  #130  
Old 02-24-2020, 07:51 AM
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What, the "sn" doesn't stand for snu-snu?
A crushed pelvis doesn't sound too pleasant. Although it might be right up until it's not.
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  #131  
Old 02-24-2020, 07:57 AM
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I saw claims somewhere that he had backup chutes, and speculation that he didn't deploy them because the acceleration at launch knocked him out.
1800' isn't all that high. He's got the weight of himself + the rocket & he already lost some slowing capability in the chute he lost at launch. Even if he was conscious to pull the chute at the apex (& who knows if he would have been able to manually deploy it at apex as opposed to already on his way down where he now has less altitude & more vertical speed), I wonder how well it would have deployed & how banged & bruised he would have been upon landing without as much slowing as calculated?
  #132  
Old 02-24-2020, 08:43 AM
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The only thing missing is a coyote costume and ACME painted on the rocket.
Here ya go; fast forward to 6:06.
  #133  
Old 02-24-2020, 08:53 AM
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You cannot fix stupid, but it can be flattened.
  #134  
Old 02-24-2020, 12:03 PM
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As idiotic as all of this might be, he died doing what he loved. I can only wish I go out that way too.


...now if I could just figure out what I loved
...
Fätãl Ørgåsm – I think I saw them open for Joan Baez once.
  #135  
Old 02-24-2020, 12:56 PM
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Also from the story,
(Darren Shuster, his public relations representative), who did not attend Saturday’s launch, said the flat Earth argument helped drum up publicity and sponsors for Hughes, who made his rockets at his home in Apple Valley. “I don’t think he believed it,” Shuster said. “He did have some governmental conspiracy theories. But don’t confuse it with that flat Earth thing. That was a PR stunt we dreamed up.”
It's ironic that his strategy to get money to do something stupid was to claim an even more stupid motivation. But that raises the question of what his real motivation was. Was it just the excitement of flying in a home-made rocket?

Last edited by Colibri; 02-24-2020 at 12:58 PM.
  #136  
Old 02-24-2020, 01:55 PM
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I don’t share the glee here. This wasn’t some hateful political figure, and it seems he wasn’t really a flat-earther either, just a quirky guy who wasn’t satisfied sitting at home on the couch. Obviously he knew what the risks were but it’s still terribly sad that he died in front of his friends and family.
I don't think there's really a lot of glee. The Darwin Awards are essentially dark humor, and it comes not from celebrating anyone's demise but from marveling at the sheer stupidity of what some people will do. Even so, many of them are sad rather than funny. One of the funniest Darwin stories of all, about the guy who attached a JATO (jet assisted take off) rocket to a Chevy Malibu, went very very fast and eventually ended up in small pieces a hundred feet up a mountainside, is mainly funny because it's fake; it never happened, but one can laugh at speed-demon car idiots who one imagines might just want to do such a thing.

But then there's this guy. A professional welder who got a brilliant idea: instead of hauling around two tanks, oxygen and acetylene, for oxy-acetylene welding, why not premix them in just one tank? So he did, using an empty propane tank with no regulator on it. When he tried to help a friend repair his car, his friend told him several times he was crazy, and then got the hell as far away as he could. When the guy lit the welding tip, the resulting explosion destroyed the car, the building the car was in, and shattered windows in houses some distance away. The sheer stupidity is at least worth a chuckle, but in any case, earned the ex-welder a Darwin Award.
  #137  
Old 02-24-2020, 02:52 PM
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This may be the only time I've seen someone's death basically being applauded on YouTube and in discussion forums such as this.

While I'm totally opposed to his stunts being done in the name of a stupid, anti-science organization, I have to say...yeesh folks.

I'm not surprised, but also not thrilled that he killed himself doing this. I'm not about to mash the "like" button.

Last edited by Limmin; 02-24-2020 at 02:53 PM.
  #138  
Old 02-24-2020, 02:58 PM
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I don't see anyone applauding his death
  #139  
Old 02-24-2020, 03:11 PM
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I don't see anyone applauding his death
Post #80.
  #140  
Old 02-24-2020, 03:22 PM
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Moron dies moroning. Film at 11.
  #141  
Old 02-24-2020, 03:25 PM
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Post #80.
OK - 1 post of 140 is questionable. That hardly warrants dressing down everyone in the thread.
  #142  
Old 02-24-2020, 03:26 PM
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This may be the only time I've seen someone's death basically being applauded on YouTube and in discussion forums such as this.
You must be new to the internet.
  #143  
Old 02-24-2020, 03:27 PM
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Astronaut. Cosmonaut. Moronaut.
  #144  
Old 02-24-2020, 03:28 PM
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I don't see anyone applauding his death
Quote:
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Post #80.
I don't see that as applauding his death, either. Like wolfpup, said, it's more like dark humor, as in "What were the redneck's last words?"
  #145  
Old 02-24-2020, 03:33 PM
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People are making fun of the dude's insanity (though it sounds like there's a good chance he didn't actually believe the earth is flat, that's still the image he willingly projected), rather than expressing joy over his death. No one is celebrating in the streets.
  #146  
Old 02-24-2020, 03:39 PM
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While I may chuckle over the term "lithobraking" for its resemblance to NASA jargonese it is in no way anything I want to happen to any living thing, or see it occur in front of me.
  #147  
Old 02-24-2020, 03:45 PM
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I don't see that as applauding his death, either. Like wolfpup, said, it's more like dark humor, as in "What were the redneck's last words?"
No, I was applauding it.
  #148  
Old 02-24-2020, 04:03 PM
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I'm not sure how much redundancy you get when the entire budget is $18k. ... The only thing missing is a coyote costume and ACME painted on the rocket.
Here is a claim that he had 3 more chutes. And here is mention that the one chute was ripped off because the totally incompetent Keystone Kops boobs didn't move the ladder off the side of the rocket when it launched. Seems that "Mud" Mike was only the top clown in the tiny car. (Also a photo showing that an ACME sign would have been a much more dignified thing to die beside than a painting of fruit genitalia.)
  #149  
Old 02-24-2020, 04:35 PM
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While I may chuckle over the term "lithobraking" for its resemblance to NASA jargonese it is in no way anything I want to happen to any living thing, or see it occur in front of me.
Given that there is no evidence that he attempted to deploy a reserve chute, it is entirely likely that he was unconscious prior to impact, so we can take some small comfort in that.
  #150  
Old 02-24-2020, 05:12 PM
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I put this guy in a category all to himself. It's about as smart as someone trying to "prove" that trains are made of smoke, by throwing himself in front of a fast moving freight train.

Speaking as someone with more than a passing knowledge of rocketry, this dude could not have passed his Level 1 training which would enable him to launch a medium sized model rocket. His lack of knowledge and safety would have gotten him thrown out of any certified club. His level of arrogance and stupidity was monumental. I just hope he does not inspire some other idiots to do the same thing, with the identical and highly predictable results.
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