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At Commonwealth Games, the World's Largest Aerostat 76

Posted by timothy
from the more-interesting-than-the-sports dept.
GillBates0 writes "Last weekend saw the world's largest aerostat of its kind featured at the opening ceremony of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. The helium balloon or aerostat measures 40x80x12 meters, contains 20,000 cubic meters of helium and features lights, mirrors, cameras, a 360 degree projection screen, projectors and a reflective underbelly. During the show, it was raised 25 meters off the ground and transformed into a giant Bodhi Tree and a meditating Buddha, with giant puppets to complement the cultural performances beneath. These slideshows tell the story."
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At Commonwealth Games, the World's Largest Aerostat

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  • It's a big balloon.

    For those of us who live in America, these things are pretty run of the mill.

  • by jrumney (197329) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:27AM (#33804954) Homepage
    The video projections on the aerostat were pretty, but more remarkable is the size of Prince Charles's codpiece in photo number 4.
    • The video projections on the aerostat were pretty, but more remarkable is the size of Prince Charles's codpiece in photo number 4.

      Actually, I am pretty sure that was a bong.

      The director must have taken a hit as well, its the only way I could explain the giant creepy dolls.

  • Helium (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TD-Linux (1295697) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:29AM (#33804970)
    So for the last month ./ has been running stories about how we are quickly depleting our remaining helium supplies, and now we're floating a TV with 20,000 m^3 of it?

    ... I don't know what to say.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by BadAnalogyGuy (945258)

      It's okay. The audience was able to help themselves to a lungful upon the end of the closing ceremonies.

      They were tweeting in real time.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by flyingfsck (986395)
      It is only the US that is running out. The rest of world doesn't have a problem.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Sockatume (732728)

        The US accounts for 80% of the current supply. If they're running out, the rest of the world has a problem.

    • by sempir (1916194)
      Best not to say anything then!
    • by Iskender (1040286)

      I think the controversy has mainly been about helium prices being kept artificially low.

      This fits that perfectly - until the prices become real market prices we'll keep seeing things like this.

      Of course, even with sane prices someone might splurge on helium like this as a stunt. But in that case the aerostat would likely be half the size at best. I'm not a big free market fan but raising prices on something is an excellent way to make people use less of it.

    • We're going to run out of helium in 100 years at the current rate. Given that it's one of the most common elements in the universe, actually running out of it seems pretty unlikely. If anything, helium is going to become less attractive for this kind of use. It provides less lift than hydrogen, but is used because of the lower risk of fire. Monomolecular carbon balloons (which have been made in the lab, but not yet mass produced) can store hydrogen with zero leakage, making hydrogen safe for use in this
      • Yeah, but that will lead to teenagers asking for balloons at their birthday parties. Oh, yeah - and a couple of matches.

        Most states don't firecrackers, which don't have more than 50mg of flash powder. Hydrogen balloons - even small ones - make a much nicer bang; I don't see it happening until they figure out how to make H2 non-combustible.

      • by treeves (963993)
        If this [acs.org] is what you mean by monomolecular carbon "balloon", I'd add a note to let people know not to look for them at the next birthday party they attend.
    • First thing I thought. I really hope that they'll at least recapture what helium is still in the balloon when they're done with it.

    • by modecx (130548)

      Very much more helium goes to waste every second from natural gas production, because it's simply uneconomical to collect it all. There's only five or so gas processing plants in the US capable of distilling it out of natural gas--and I understand that even those few plants don't run at full production capacity because the market price of the stuff is so low.

  • reminds me of this [inthenightgarden.co.uk]
  • "The chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure.

    Let's go to The Colonies!"
    • Re:Let me guess: (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TheLink (130905) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:53AM (#33805052) Journal
      So why doesn't the US join in the games? They were a colony once right? ;)

      I find the Commonwealth Games rather amusing. After all how many countries would be able to pull the following off:

      1) Take over other countries (often via military force)
      2) Extract resources from those countries.
      3) Get kicked out by those other countries.
      4) Organize an event to celebrate the Commonwealth :).

      FWIW, I think the reason why the Brits can pull it off is in many cases they were actually better to/for the local population and country than the local rulers were...

      The other reason is you probably have to a Brit to be able to actually think this is such a great idea :).

      Imagine the Belgians or Dutch trying to hold their own Commonwealth Games. How many would want to show up?
      • by AHuxley (892839)
        actually better to/for the local population
        The brits did a few population counts in India - the results where a massive drop. Something about very few doctors, trade goods had priority and the land conditions needed produce lots of one way trade.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Leopold's_Ghost [wikipedia.org] shopws what other European powers tried, basically a locked down one way system of export, empty ships arrive, full depart.
        Again massive population loss when 'counted'.
      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by Chrisq (894406)

        I think the reason why the Brits can pull it off is in many cases they were actually better to/for the local population and country than the local rulers were...

        Particularly India, where they took over from the Mhoguls, who were mozzies and naturally tried to follow the Qur'an and make non-Muslims feel subdued.

      • Re:Let me guess: (Score:4, Informative)

        by stiggle (649614) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @06:02AM (#33805924)

        Not all members of the Commonwealth were British colonies.
        A number of other countries have applied to join anyway as they see a regional benefit to being a member.

        Mozambique - used to be a Portugese colony. Now a member of the Commonwealth (since 1995)
        Rwanda - used to be a Belgian & German colony. A member since 2009.

        Algeria & Madagascar have also both applied to join having no prior links to the British overseas

        • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          God forbid but France wanted to Join in the 1950s after London choked on the port at their request to consider becoming part of the UK, despite Churchill offering an act of union in 1940... go figure

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by TheLink (130905)
          Got to hand it to the Brits, now they've even got noncolonies wanting to join the exclusive excolonies club.

          Jolly good show and tally ho :).
  • Anonymous Coward (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @03:19AM (#33805148)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkSWE9UZjdE

    here's the video

  • ...I hope they recycle that helium. It's not like it's a renewable resource.
  • ... put down the slideshow first - I'm really not interesting in reading the story :-)
  • You can find more here http://secure.tracteurpool.fr/fr/advert [tracteurpool.fr]
  • It seems that the games is mostly a non-event, with most seats remaining empty, despite the incredibly low ticket prices of about 50c a seat.
    • by kidgenius (704962)
      No one is watching, and no one is showing up to PLAY in the games either. Some of the athletes have flat out refused to show up due to the conditions of the athlete housing. Not to mention outbreaks of dengue fever going around right now, and specially built bridges collapsing, the games are turning into a disaster for India.
  • ...tie an iPhone to that and let it go, see if it makes it into space :P
  • What with the rising cost of helium... what a terrible waste of a resource we're running out of ! It also must've cost a fortune.
  • Aerostats include airships. The Hindenberg had a volume of 200,000 m, this thing is small in comparison. Largest in current service, maybe? EGreen has a 16,400 m model.

    -molo

    • by molo (94384)

      Gah, that is supposed to be m^3. Slashdot stripped of the superscript 3 char.

      -molo

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