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At Last: A Person Who Can Fly (Maybe)
Who hasn't watched a bird soar through the sky and wished humans would hurry up and learn to fly already? After all, air travel may be kind of magical in an abstract way, but the actual experience ends up being akin to a long bus ride and unless you really love single-serve booze it hardly stirs the soul. Enter Human Birdwings. Apparently, Dutch engineer Jarno Smeets has created wings that allow a man to fly. You have to see this video:
A post on Science, Space, and Robots raises the possibility of the Human Birdwings video being a hoax. The blogger wonders whether the wings are long enough to support a grown man, and evinces a general sense of skepticism, which after all is what scientists are supposed to do. Personally, I'm less interested in whether or not the flight is real, and more simply blown away by the footage. Every time I watch this, I realize I've got a huge, goofy grin on my face. The flier's excitement is so childlike and palpable and complete. That moment when he lifts from the ground and flaps off into the sky! Imagine it! In the video, Smeets breathlessly describes running and then seeing the ground moving away, and his "really intense feeling of freedom...a truly magical feeling."
I hope the flight is real, I do. But even if it's not, I appreciate the vision behind it -- the fact that a man exists who has devoted himself to realizing an impossible dream, who is working hard to make it possible.
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