Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 17th Jun 2013 17:58 UTC
Google "The Internet is one of the most transformative technologies of our lifetimes. But for 2 out of every 3 people on earth, a fast, affordable Internet connection is still out of reach. And this is far from being a solved problem. There are many terrestrial challenges to Internet connectivity - jungles, archipelagos, mountains. There are also major cost challenges. Right now, for example, in most of the countries in the southern hemisphere, the cost of an Internet connection is more than a month's income. Solving these problems isn't simply a question of time: it requires looking at the problem of access from new angles. So today we're unveiling our latest moonshot from Google[x]: balloon-powered Internet access." Insane.
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Laaaag
by pysiak on Mon 17th Jun 2013 18:13 UTC
pysiak
Member since:
2008-01-01

Boy, this is going to be haunted by buffer-bloat.
Lags all over...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Laaaag
by Pro-Competition on Mon 17th Jun 2013 20:10 UTC in reply to "Laaaag"
Pro-Competition Member since:
2007-08-20

If the choice is a laggy, medium-speed connection or no connection, I know which one I'd choose.

Reply Score: 9

RE: Laaaag
by AndyB on Mon 17th Jun 2013 20:40 UTC in reply to "Laaaag"
AndyB Member since:
2013-03-22

A bit like using mobile internet in non 3G areas then!

Reply Score: 2

StratXX
by intel on Mon 17th Jun 2013 18:59 UTC
intel
Member since:
2006-01-08

Something similar (StratXX X-Station) has already been tested in Zug:

http://web.ethlife.ethz.ch/e/articles/sciencelife/stratxxtest.html

Reply Score: 4

99 Red Balloons / Nena?
by wawrzyn on Mon 17th Jun 2013 19:07 UTC
wawrzyn
Member since:
2009-03-24

Cold War Era reminiscence – do you remember Nena’s “99 Red Balloons”? Seems that the words of this song are very well suited to this news. What I want to say: no matter how great and innovative technologies we have today, we have to remember that these can be applied for good or bad purposes.

As a Cold War Era child I have the only one association with “balloons” – Nena’s song. However, I prefer German version, I will refer to the English one, as it will be easier to get the message for all of us. Here is the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14IRDDnEPR4

And words:

--
You and I in a little toy shop
Buy a bag of balloons with the money we've got
Set them free at the break of dawn
Till one by one, they were gone
Back at base bugs in the software
Flash the message, something's out there
Floating in the summer sky
99 red balloons go by

99 red balloons
Floating in the summer sky
Panic bells it's red alert
There's something here from somewhere else
The war machine springs to life
Opens up one eager eye
Focusing it on the sky as 99 red balloons go by

99 Decision street
99 ministers meet
To worry, worry, super scurry
Call the troops out in a hurry
This is what we've waited for
This is it boys, this is war
The president is on the line
As 99 red balloons go by

99 knights of the air
Ride super high tech jet fighters
Everyone's a super hero
Everyone's a Captain Kirk
With orders to identify
To clarify, and classify
Scramble in the summer sky
99 red balloons go by

99 dreams I have had
In every one a red balloon
It's all over and I'm standing pretty
In this dust that was a city
If I could find a souvenir
Just to prove the world was here
And here is a red balloon
I think of you, and let it go
--

Balloons, balloons, what’s next? So, I can only believe that Google is a smart company and such technologies will be applied for good purposes only! To make our World the better place - best wishes for Google in such case.

PS. And German version - it's the best one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lur-SGl3uw8

Reply Score: 5

Named after?
by looncraz on Mon 17th Jun 2013 20:01 UTC
looncraz
Member since:
2005-07-24

Is this project named after me!?!

I doubt it, but I did propose this exact idea for forcefully providing unfiltered internet to areas which restrict access. Free and honest information is the best way to fight oppression.

--The loon

Reply Score: 4

RE: Named after?
by darknexus on Mon 17th Jun 2013 20:51 UTC in reply to "Named after?"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

but I did propose this exact idea for forcefully providing unfiltered internet to areas which restrict access. Free and honest information is the best way to fight oppression.

And you think Google will provide free, open, and honest information with no conditions? I wonder if those other nations would be okay with Google "forcefully" providing internet access especially with the NSA information coming to light? They might be better off without it until, and if, that is ever dealt with.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Named after?
by looncraz on Mon 17th Jun 2013 20:56 UTC in reply to "RE: Named after?"
looncraz Member since:
2005-07-24


And you think Google will provide free, open, and honest information with no conditions?


Much better than what the have otherwise!

And, honestly, I have yet to find anything being filtered by google to the point of omission. Search result prioritization doesn't count as censorship.

--The loon

Reply Score: 3

RE: Named after?
by Delgarde on Mon 17th Jun 2013 22:51 UTC in reply to "Named after?"
Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

Free and honest information is the best way to fight oppression.


Provided they have the ability to receive that information, of course. What percentage of the global population actually have the ability to take advantage of wifi balloons floating in the stratosphere?

Reply Score: 5

the obvious application
by unclefester on Tue 18th Jun 2013 04:20 UTC
unclefester
Member since:
2007-01-13

It is a low cost alternative to satellites rather than a conventional high speed network.

Reply Score: 3

RE: the obvious application
by bentoo on Tue 18th Jun 2013 04:38 UTC in reply to "the obvious application"
bentoo Member since:
2012-09-21

I think Google TiSP is a better idea.

http://www.google.com/tisp/

Reply Score: 3

Well
by p13. on Tue 18th Jun 2013 08:38 UTC
p13.
Member since:
2005-07-10

I can't see this working.
Air space violation -> kaboom, bye bye internets.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Well
by unclefester on Tue 18th Jun 2013 09:09 UTC in reply to "Well"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

I can't see this working.
Air space violation -> kaboom, bye bye internets.


Altitudes above 12mi (18km) are generally considered to be international airspace.

It is almost impossible to shoot down a high altitude balloon. Very few countries have suitable high altitude missiles. A missile that hits an unpressurised helium balloon will simply punch a small hole in the cover causing a very slow leak.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Well
by MOS6510 on Tue 18th Jun 2013 11:09 UTC in reply to "RE: Well"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Bloody nano missiles.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Well
by Ultimatebadass on Tue 18th Jun 2013 12:27 UTC in reply to "RE: Well"
Ultimatebadass Member since:
2006-01-08

Using anti-aircraft missiles on baloons? I don't think anyone would be insane enough given the cost of those. Also (correct me if i'm wrong) most anti-aircraft missiles have some kind of proximity fuse so it wouldn't just punch a hole.

Depending on what fighters a country has it might be possible to send those up and gun the things down.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Well
by unclefester on Wed 19th Jun 2013 04:42 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Well"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

Using anti-aircraft missiles on baloons? I don't think anyone would be insane enough given the cost of those. Also (correct me if i'm wrong) most anti-aircraft missiles have some kind of proximity fuse so it wouldn't just punch a hole.

Depending on what fighters a country has it might be possible to send those up and gun the things down.


Tethered barrage balloons were used to protect London during WW2. The balloons forced attacking German fighter aircraft to fly at higher altitudes making them vulnerable to anti-aircraft fire. These balloons were virtually impossible to destroy.

Anti-aircraft missiles typically home in on high temperature exhausts. They probably wouldn't even "see" a cold Mylar balloon.

Modern fighters typically have fairly low ceilings of ~12-16Km. You'd need a high altitude interceptor from the Cold War like an F104 or MiG31 to get anywhere near 20,000m.

Reply Score: 3

balloons operational after disasters
by bigdog on Tue 18th Jun 2013 09:53 UTC
bigdog
Member since:
2011-07-06

Internet is becoming more and more important every day. So, it could become important after a major disaster like an earthquake.

Reply Score: 4

All that helium flying away...
by Neolander on Tue 18th Jun 2013 13:35 UTC
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

Well, time to seriously consider buying a pulse tube cooler around here, looks like the price of liquid helium is going to climb again :/

Reply Score: 2