WhiteBoardness - 12/5/97
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Sat, 6 Dec 97 16:51:40 -0800
Subject: WhiteBoardness - 12/5/97
Excerpted-from: WhiteBoard News for Friday, December 05, 1997
Space travel won't be just for astronauts any more, if arrangements to
launch a spaceship with civilian passengers takes off as planned in 2001.
The Stanford University Alumni Association, which has organized vacation
trips to Antarctica and the jungles of New Guinea, is selling tickets to
ride aboard a chartered spaceship.
For $98,000 per person, travelers can float weightlessly aboard a
six-passenger, rocket-launched space cruiser and watch spectacular views of
The university is working with Seattle-based Zegrahm Space Voyages to
organize the 2 1/2-hour space flights. If all goes according to plan and
the rocket builders deliver, the first launch will take place Dec. 1, 2001.
The 2,300 mph cruiser would fly 62 miles above the Earth's surface, far
enough from the planet's gravitational pull to achieve weightlessness in
about two minutes, the promoters said.
The space flight would complete a seven-day vacation package that includes
advanced astronaut training and monogrammed personal spacesuits. Space
travelers would also receive a video of the trip and take part in special
ceremonies upon return to Earth.
"Some people have asked if we're serious, if this is a joke. But we've got
alumni who are always looking for the unusual, so we decided to give it to
them," Dennis Beardsley, the alumni association's director of travel-study
programs, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Beardsley said he had been suspicious of prior proposals of space travel
for paying customers, but that Zegrahm's plan seemed credible and feasible.
The proposed two-stage space vehicle is to be built by Vela Technology
Development, a Virginia-based aerospace company.
About 20 reservations, worth $5,000 each, have been made for the flight,
Zegrahm spokesman Chris Ostendorf said. He added that many of them are NASA
employees who did not get to travel in space.
A 60-year-old Bangladeshi man has not slept for 13 years and doctors have
failed to get him to nod off even with high doses of sedatives, a report
Taslim Uddin, who has three wives and 13 children, is a successful
businessman despite having forgotten what it means to sleep, the Bhorer
Kagoj daily newspaperreported.
Doctors in Bangladesh and neighboring India are surprised he has shown no
side effects from prolonged insomnia and has been continuing life without
Uddin said that in the winter of 1984 he went to bed after a family feast,
but woke up the next morning very sick with convulsions before losing his
"Many people joke that I have lost my sleep by trying to keep all three
wives happy," he said.
"But I still hope I will be able to sleep one day, but maybe that will be
the eternal one after I die," he added.
The mayor got more of a workout than he bargained for at the Macon Health Club.
After finishing his daily run Monday, Mayor Jim Marshall helped chase down
a man found in the women's locker room.
Another customer started after the suspicious man and made it to the back
door, where the mayor stepped in.
"The mayor passed me like I was standing still," court solicitor Otis
Scarbary said. "He said, 'I'll get him. Call the police.' He's a fast
runner. I knew he'd have a lot better chance of catching him."
A police car cut off the suspect and subdued him. Derrick Archer, 34, was
charged with being a Peeping Tom, a felony.
"Any number of people would have gone after the guy," Marshall said. "I'm
glad I live in a town where that's the case."
© 1997 Peter Langston