Stories tagged balloon

Whoo-hoo! It's Friday, and I'm posting today's Science Friday video. Science Friday
Science FridayCourtesy Science Friday
Here's the deal:
"With the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade less than a week away, it's crunch time for the 'balloonatics' at Macy's Parade Studio. The balloons themselves, which are designed and fabricated in a warehouse in New Jersey, are getting their final checkup before the show. John Piper and Jim Artle take us around the studio and spill the secrets of inflation, explain how to calculate whether your balloon will float, and explain why the balloons look better after a little time in the sun."
Feb
10
2010

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it is clearly a balloon: People will do some crazy stuff for a little attention.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it is clearly a balloon: People will do some crazy stuff for a little attention.Courtesy Ferran
Publicity, no matter how you get it, is still publicity, right? Whether it’s by making your kid hide in the attic while telling police he’s actually in a weather balloon careening toward earth, or by paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to own a tiny fragment of history, you still get fame. At least that’s what Southwestern Baptists Theological Seminary (SBTS) and Azusa Pacific University (APU) were hoping when they bought 3 and 5 fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, respectively. Isn’t that illegal?! That’s what I was asking myself when I read the article detailing this transaction. Apparently the purchase was entirely legal because the institutions bought the scroll fragments from a private collector; a family who, in the 1960’s, legally acquired some fragments and stored them in a bank vault (I wonder if bank vaults are humidity-controlled). They put some pieces up for sale whenever they feel like they need a little extra cash, I guess. Like you do with any culturally, historically, archaeologically, and religiously significant artifacts you have lying around. And it’s precisely this importance that seduced the aforementioned institutions into buying them- they assumed that by simply possessing little Dead Sea Scroll fragments, their credibility and academic prestige would skyrocket.

Perhaps this is true. Maybe by having these very important pieces of history will attract more scholars or research-oriented professors who, in turn, write a lot of grants and bring in more money for the university (not to mention the money they’ll rake in from ticket sales when they put the fragments on display, which APU intends to do). But from a student’s perspective, if a university has a fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls, as cool as they are, it probably won’t influence my decision about whether or not to attend. A university’s priority should be on teaching their students, and I’m not sure that spending hundreds of thousands of dollars (maybe even millions) on bragging rights is the best way to go about it. I know! SBTS and APU could use the money they spent purchasing tiny, fragile artifacts to fund a scholarship that allows students to study biblical archaeology abroad. That kind of publicity is what can put your university on the map in a sustainable way. Of course, you could just tell your students to pretend they went abroad and use the money to buy a bunch of weather balloons… just in case you need them for future publicity.