If you weren't paying attention on the morning of Sunday, Oct. 14, then you missed out on a tense yet entertaining bit of human history.
Austrian stuntman Felix Baumgartner jumped out of a helium-driven capsule, fell 24 vertical miles and parachuted down safely to the ground, breaking a few world records—and the sound barrier. In the process, he raised the brand awareness of the Red Bull energy drink by tens of millions of dollars, according to Forbes Magazine.
The leap, which was part of Red Bull's "Stratos" project, pulled roughly 8 million people to YouTube at once, smashing YouTube's previous record during the Olympics this summer. What this tells me is that my generation may have just had the closest thing we'll ever have to a moon-landing moment.
For the record, this figure of 8 million concurrent views has nothing on the hundreds of millions of people who watched the Apollo 11 lunar landing, but it marks the first time in recent memory that so many people from across the world have watched a record-breaking feat—in this case, one man tumbling through the air in an effort to do something that no one has ever done before. Of course, many didn't simply watch, but watched while broadcasting their thoughts around the globe on Twitter, Facebook and any number of other social-media platforms.
This jump was a marketing stunt, but in a way, it's also a reminder of how impressive humanity is and can be—and hopefully, it will serve as an inspiration.
Red Bull gives you wings, indeed.
This Week on our Blogs
On The Range, we reminded you to register before Arizona's voting deadline; shared the idea of heading out to Noble Hops for Halloween; read an excerpt written by Mark Kelly from the paperback edition of his book; hung out with Nuns on the Bus; looked at a poll that shows Jonathan Paton leading Ann Kirkpatrick; played an absurd Flash-based game from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals regarding Pokémon; hyped the opening of Lulu's Shake Shoppe; complained about uncooked french fries in our burritos; and took a look at "Trashion Fashion" at Dinnerware Artspace.
We discussed Tucson's hamburger scene; took a look at how federal races are shaping up in Arizona; opined about the Sunland peanut butter (and more!) recall; welcomed you all to "Foreigner Watch"; discussed the city's best-kept barbecue secret; looked at the 24th annual Patagonia Fall Festival; made fun of a certain vice-presidential candidate; watched the manufacture of the urn for this year's All Souls Procession; chatted about Tucson bicycling; sang the praises of eXo Roast Co.; discussed the vice-presidential debate; reminded you about the Tucson Unified School District's "virtual open house"; peeked into local money-bombing efforts; and made a lot of people grumpy with a post regarding Lindsay Lohan.
On We Got Cactus, we watched as the Ohio State University marching band played a bunch of video-game tunes; noted Snoop Lion's political views; debuted 9Q+1 with Walter Gonçalves; previewed the Tucson Film and Music Festival; celebrated National Coming Out Day with a powerful music video; reminded you all about The Great Cover-Up; listened to Calexico performing on NPR; gave you a way to watch Austin City Limits from the comfort of your own home; and read an excellent piece on hillbilly revelry by Al Perry.
Comment of the Week
"How liberal can this paper be! No wonder not many read it. Such bias toward Democrats is a sign that you might want to change the name of this paper to the Tucson Weekly Democratic Gazette or Tucson Weekly Socialist Gazette. How about calling this paper what it is?"
—TucsonWeekly.com user "Del," one of the many people confusing the meanings of the words "socialist" and "Democratic" ("The 'Tucson Weekly' 2012 Endorsements," Oct. 11).
Best of WWW
I was not aware that so many people were so emotionally invested in Lindsay Lohan's political decisions. A post on The Range from Friday, Oct. 12, "Why Lindsay Lohan's Endorsement of Romney Is Kinda Important," struck a chord with folks, drawing (as of this writing) 67 comments—the most interesting of which informed me that I'll have to move out of my mother's basement and actually get a job.
Thanks for the feedback, folks—I take all of your comments to heart. Aside from the stupid ones.