The video: Pixar's animated movie Up hinges on the fantastical idea that a cranky old man can fly his house all the way to South America by tethering it to a bunch of helium balloons. Turns out the idea isn't completely absurd: A team of scientists has managed to launch an (admittedly modest) 16-by-16-foot house into the sky using hundreds of helium-filled weather balloons. (Watch a Good Morning America segment below.) The buoyant home reached an altitude of 10,000 feet and remained airborne for more than an hour. The feat, attempted as part of a new National Geographic show called How Can It Be?, set a new world record for the largest balloon cluster flight.
The reaction: If you didn't like Up because it wasn't realistic, "you can be quiet now," says Michelle Castillo in Time. Indeed, this is a "stunning example of life imitating art," says Leslie Shapiro at DVICE. Yes, it's a "little magic" that combats all the "bleak cynicism" in the world, says Melissa Bell in The Washington Post . "Now they just need to make that talking dog collar." See for yourself, below:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- China's leader is telling the People's Liberation Army to prepare for war
- How I lost all my money
- The best books we read in 2014
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- The religious right isn't retreating — it's reforming
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- How to save money: 12 great personal finance tips
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
Subscribe to the Week