Omni - where are they now? (June 1990)

Two more Continuum articles.

  • The Feel of Flying: if you are a wannabe sky-diver but can't quite buck up the nerve to throw yourself out of an aeroplane, you can instead try throwing yourself into a JET-FLY machine. It's a vertical wind tunnel, with streams of air coursing upwards at up to 90 mph.

    With an inflatable flight suit, donned to increase the thrill seekers surface area, the wind provides ample support for turning, swooping and rolling just as well-seasoned sky divers do.

    The cost (in 1990) was $7-$14 each "dive".

    It seems that since then, vertical wind tunnels have really taken off. Click on the links to the individual locations to find todays "dive" cost.

  • It Was Better Off Extinct: back in 1938, it was discovered that the coelacanth, which was thought to be extinct, was in fact alive and well and living off Africa's Comoro Archipelago. This piece reports that the Toba Aquarium in Japan has slated $1.76 million to try to capture a coelacanth, which as you can imagine, wasn't going down to well with the various conservation groups.

    Landing a breeding pair is a long shot because you can't tell a coelacanth's sex by looking at it. In addition, no specimen has survived more than 20 hours topside because the temperature change from the ocean floor to the surface generally overheats the fish, inducing fatal trauma.

    This was one of those stories where I really hoped that nothing much had happened since then. Googling around, I found a report dated September 1998 that stated that a second group of these living fossils had been found off the Indonesian island of Manado Tua. It went on to mention that Jacques Cousteau (who is himself now extinct) failed to find one, and Japan's Toba Aquarium spent millions to no avail.

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