Well I'll be danged, media suckered again. Sheriff says balloon boy a hoax
FORT COLLINS, Colorado - A Colorado sheriff said it was a hoax when parents reported that their 6-year-old son was in a flying saucer-like helium balloon hurtling away from their home.
Sheriff Jim Alderden said Richard and Mayumi Heene "put on a very good show for us, and we bought it."
"We believe that we have evidence at this point to indicate that it was a publicity stunt done with the hopes of marketing themselves or better marketing themselves for a reality television show at some point in the future," Alderden said.
When this hit the screens I wandered over to Google and looked up the the average weight of a six year old kid and the lifting capacity of Helium, did a few basic calculations with a spreadsheet and came up with a spherical balloon about 12 feet in diameter.
I didn't bother trying to figure out how big a balloon it would take to rise to 7,000 feet in that short time, nor the effect of its evident partial deflation, what we were seeing was just too small to do the job.
Besides which, any child would have to have been inside and breathing helium for the whole time which would have killed him.
But nobody suggested any of these things, the media, the military, the cops and uncle Tom Cobbleigh and all chased yapping after it as if it was real. We happily sit in front of the idiot box and watch session after session of MythBusters and the net result is that the level of thinking achieved by the media is still subterranean.