Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A killer app for millionaires

A recent article in the New York Times documented how rich Chinese are buying and flying helicopters even though flights in most Chinese airspace are severely restricted. Rather than complying with regulations, some simply pay the fines and keep on flying.

Now comes the news that new jetpack technology allows up to a 30-minute flight. (The headline is about the lift speed, but I think what everyone wants is something to commute in, a need hinted at only toward the bottom of the story.) Although the machine includes "a ballistic parachute outfitted with tiny explosives that launch the canopy into the air regardless of how far the user has fallen" -- I love the statement which follows, "The parachute has been successfully tested, the company said" -- yes, you'd hope so, wouldn't you! -- I see death in the future for a bunch of millionaires who seize the chance to become, in the words of the story, "rocketeers." A form of natural selection, maybe.

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