The webcomics blog about webcomics

Reached For Comment At The Launch, T-Rex Was Quoted As Saying, “Friiiig!”

Firstly, those of you in Seattle for ECCC who will be around on Sunday might be interested in this:

Pitch The Pros At TopatoCo
Room 2AB, 1pm

TopatoCo is the world’s fifth-largest artist-direct indie merch emporium, as well as the publisher of many of your favorite (or soon-to-be-favorite) books, T-shirts, and other nonsense. Do you have the next great TopatoCo product idea, comic series, or get-rich-quick scheme? Holly Post and a panel of TopatoCo artists will listen, nod attentively, then discuss and refine your idea until every shred of viability is squeezed from it like the juice from an orange. Come share any ideas that you want to kill.

Man, that sounds hilarious. I suspect one of those pros might be Ryan North¹, in which case you can ask him what it feels like to be the first webcomics creator to have some of his work make it to the edge of space.

It seems that the University of Cambridge has a group of undergraduates who like to send things into near-orbit. Balloons, rockets, little things like that, with an ultimate goal of achieving orbit for under £1,000. To put that in perspective, the first payload to hit orbit cost a measurable percentage of a superpower’s GDP, and modern “low cost” orbital delivery systems cost in the vicinity of US$8 million a pop. This is not a small thing that the Cambridge University Spaceflight society is attempting. With such grandiose goals in mind, who better to be their passenger than the most grandiose dinosaur known to modern society: T-Rex.

The Squishable iteration of Mr Rex (judging from the images, it appears to actually be a Wee Rex) was lofted to some 27 kilometers altitude, or some 16.8 miles², aboard CUSF’s NOVA 21 balloon launch. Ryan North himself is just about two meters, a bit more if he’s standing on his skateboard. You guys, this Wee Rex traveled a vertical distance equivalent to more than 13,500 Ryan Norths.

T-Rex slipped the surly bonds of earth here at 1:30pm GMT two days ago; by the halfway point of the video (actually time-lapse photography), almost all ground visibility is lost, and the sky quickly shifts to the deep blue-black that is characteristic of staring through atmosphere and into space. There’s some tumbling (presumably starting when the lofting balloon burst) as he makes his way back down, coming finally to rest on his side. The lesson in all of this, of course, is twofold:

  1. T-Rex rules every continent and the sky above them
  2. All distance measurements should now be expressed in terms of Ryans North

And with that, enjoy the hell out of the weekend.

¹ The Toronto Man-Mountain.

² For comparison: Mount Everest is some 8.8 km tall, and the Burj Khalifa about 0.890 km.

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