6:40 PM

Gizmodo Gets 'Right Up In It'

In my daily travels through cyberspace, I always make a couple of stops at Gizmodo.com, a really fun and rather snarky site covering anything that us gadget freaks think is way cool. While there are a few "gizmo" sites out there, I believe the quality of the writing on gizmodo.com sets the bar pretty high for the others.

Their writing and editing team stays up on any "breaking news" in the gizmo/gadget world, and delivers items like the following to keep what I suspect is a mainly male demographic happy:

"Nissan's Eco Gas Pedal Fights Back To Help You Save Gas
[Detroit News via Jalopnik] - I'm all for exploring new technologies that help us save gas, but I think Nissan has gone a little too far with their "Eco Pedal." This new technology calculates the most fuel efficient rate of acceleration and then fights back against the driver's foot when it feels that rate has been exceeded. Nissan claims that the system can improve fuel efficiency by as much as 10 percent, which is why they plan on implementing it into their cars next year. As asinine and unsafe as all of this sounds, at least Nissan had the good sense to implement an on/off switch."
I like how gizmodo.com often drops in an aviation-related story among their usual fare. And one of their writersMark Wilsonsomehow managed to actually get strapped into and "fly" the Martin Jetpack at his first visit to Oshkosh. His story on the experience is top-shelf and I highly recommend you go here and check it out because of descriptive prose such as this:
"Then it was time to mount up. The pack’s design is a bit odd in that it appears to have a seat, but there’s nothing really holding your butt in. Instead, a body harness straps you to the machine á la parachute so tightly that you simultaneously half-sit and half-stand. The only thing supporting the majority of the pilot’s weight is the jetpack itself, which has well-balanced built-in support legs. “It’s uncomfortable now, but you won’t notice in the air,” an engineer assured me, referring to a set of straps quickly invading my crotch."
So what was it REALLY like to actually be one of the very few among us who gets to try out the Martin Jetpack? Again, we pick up Wilson's story with the engine fired and producing thrust:
"I am flying. I rise about a yard and instinctively kick back the throttle. The system responds just as I expect—somehow I cut the gas just the right amount to hover perfectly. And then I "stand still" in the air, dumbfounded, not sure what to do and not necessarily wanting to do anything else. The sensation is not as I’d expected. I don't feel pulled up, but it isn't weightlessness either. I simply rise. I have an impulse to cut the throttle and bring her down, but remember that a small squadron of experienced engineers were there just to prevent me from breaking myself (or their only working prototype)."
Wilson says in an email "I did not fly it without people holding the device," and expressed glee that they did not let go. This further build my interest in finding video of the Jetpack flying far, far away from the firm grasp of a ground crew. I want very much to jump on this bandwagon, so if anyone comes across the video I seek, click the feedback button at right and let me know where to find it.

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