Balloon boy fail (do the math)

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Ya so I keep hearing about this balloon boy… although I haven’t actually read any news articles on it, so based on headlines I keep seeing this is what I suspect happened:

– Richard Heene makes experimental helium balloon
– Heene & wife freakout since their “son” may be in the basket
– crapload of publicity, balloon comes down, son not in there
– son was actually in the Heene house attic all along
– 4chan delivers pizza to balloon boy
– news now reporting the stunt was a hoax
– charges filed against Heene

So what does this have anything to do with math? Well I came across this post about someone doing the “math behind the balloon boy story“. Basically they do some fancy calculations to see if it was ever possible for such a crappy balloon to lift a small boy:

Was it ever even possible that a 20′ x 5′ helium balloon could lift
the weight of a six-year-old to 8,000 feet MSL? Let’s take a look at
some numbers. Taking Falcon Heene’s father at his reported word, the
balloon that news helicopters followed for two hours Thursday (because
they thought Falcon was aboard) was 20 feet by five feet. We don’t know
if that included the compartment at the bottom — so let’s be
conservative and assume it did not.”

You can find the rest of the post here.