Caturday felid trifecta: weird moggies, myopic vet, and Loki the cat in space

September 26, 2015 • 10:00 am

Many readers alerted me to a piece in the Guardian, “If you live with a cat, you live with a weirdo: tales of feline oddity.” The paper asked its readers to send in bizarre tales of their cats, and it got plenty. Some, like this one from Sarah Grieco, were illustrated with photos. Be sure to look at them all (most are by writers and editors). My own title would be “If you live with a cat, you live with an asshole.”  But we love those little jerks!

My cat Velcro (named that because he used to stick his claws on me as a kitten) has a funny habit of sticking his paws in people’s water if they leave the table. This past Christmas, I walked away to take a call and my mom caught him in the act. So sneaky! But we wouldn’t always know if our water was … cat-aminated, if you will. Eventually we had to resort to putting coasters atop our glasses if we ventured away from our beverages.

Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 9.02.25 AM
Velcro in action. Photograph by Sarah Grieco for the Guardian

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Here’s a British ad for a spectacle company:

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Finally, The Weather Channel reported how two Seattle girls, Kimberley and Rebecca Yeung (8 and 10 respectively), launched a weather-and-cat balloon, complete with GPS so they could find it. The balloon rose to the edge of space:

Made out of wood and broken arrow shafts, the craft rose to 78,000 feet with the help of a weather balloon filled with helium, reports GeekWire. Attached to the craft were two GoPro cameras, a flight computer and a photo of their cat, Loki, attached to a Lego R2-D2 figurine, thus inspiring the name: the Loki Lego Launcher.

While the craft was in the air, it recorded data for height, temperature, altitude and speed.

In a graph shared by the girls’ father, the data shows the balloon popped around 78,000 feet, where it reached its fastest speed of 110 km/h (about 68 mph). Through its journey, which lasted a little more than four hours, it maintained an average speed of about 35 km/h (approximately 22 mph).

The girls chose a launch site in central Washington to avoid the craft landing on anyone upon its descent. With the help of their GPS tracker, they were able to find it in the cow field full of tall grass it landed in.

Here’s the video; I love it! What a great project for the kids.

And here’s the photo of a photo of Loki attached to the device, way up in the air:

lokilegolauncher

h/t: jsp, Michael, Arno, Cindy

19 thoughts on “Caturday felid trifecta: weird moggies, myopic vet, and Loki the cat in space

  1. Darn! I was hoping they’d close with actual footage of the real Loki. Awesome anyway – no way I’d have done anything like it when I was their age(s). Congratulations, Yeung Sisters – Future Space Explorers of America!

  2. Those’re two very lucky kids. I bet they’ll be doing actual original research before they graduate high school.

    Imagine where we’d be as a society if all kids had this kind of education.

    b&

    1. One can be sure that their mom or dad are scientists, and they had a lot to do with the production. But one sees a torch being passed here, definitely.

  3. Item 1: Cat’s meow.
    Item 2: I hope the hat was not made of cat fur.
    Item 3: Really neat. But, occasionally while flying my Glasair Sportsman, I see party balloons drifting by. I admit I do worry a bit about colliding with toys in the sky.

  4. Any idea if they need FAA authorization of some sort for this? I shared the video on my Facebook page and my disgruntled Vietnam vet cousin pointed that out. He may have a valid point, I don’t know.

    1. “FAA Policies on Unmanned Free Balloons 14 CFR Part 101
      General: Subpart A (101.1) details payload criteria which must be used to determines whether unmanned free balloons must meet the provisions of Subpart D (101.31 through 101.39). Balloons with the following payload weights and dimensions are not subject to the provisions of Subpart D:

      Balloon payloads that weigh less than four pounds and have a weight/size ratio of more than three ounces per square inch on any surface of the package, determined by dividing the total weight in ounces of the payload package by the area in square inches of its smallest surface.
      Balloon payloads packages that weigh less than six pounds.
      Balloons with payloads of two or more packages that weigh less than twelve pounds.
      Balloons that use a rope or other device for suspension of the payload that requires an impact force of fifty pounds or less to separate the suspended payload from the balloon.”

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