back to article Felix Baumgartner sadly turns out to be blinkered FOOL

How disappointing. Felix Baumgartner, the steely-sphered Austrian who recently supplied us all with much quality entertainment by leaping out of a balloon 128,000 feet above New Mexico to break the all-time world altitude skydiving record, turns out to be a blinkered fool. In an interview with the Telegraph last week which has …


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  1. Ru

    I wonder how he feels

    about extravagant corporate sponsorship of activities that do little to "save the planet".

    1. Andrew Moore

      Re: I wonder how he feels

      My thoughts precisely- I understand the suit alone cost $200,000. Wouldn't this money be better spent saving the planet?

      1. Andus McCoatover

        Re: I wonder how he feels

        Yep, Andrew!


        We raise the airline flight tax to save the planet and then we can spend it on....


      2. Peter Simpson 1
        Thumb Up

        Re: I wonder how he feels

        Made in Worcester, MA, I understand (not 30 miles from my own abode). So, his space suit has actually put money in the pockets of my neighbors, which could be considered saving a small portion of the planet['s population]...

        //point stretched to the breaking point, I believe

    2. dotdavid
      Thumb Up

      Re: I wonder how he feels

      I like the fact that he doesn't seem to have realised that his *space* suit, the one that he used for his jump, was made because people on this planet wanted to go to space.

      1. Alan Dougherty

        Re: I wonder how he feels

        Indeed, imagine that he didn't have a space suit to do the jump, like the suits that where designed, becuase pilots, engineers and scientists, a few generations ago, wanted to go and visit other planets..

        Fuck it, lets get him to do the jump again, this time without a suit.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I wonder how he feels

          Let's give him an airrcaft that suddenly stops working at Mach-Stupid horizontally, spins at near-blackout-inducing Gs, and he has to find the eject lever and give it a good pull.

          In a "traditional" flight suit and pressure helmet with an upgraded high-spec but untested seat, bless those aerospace engineers and their curiosity. :P

    3. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Re: I wonder how he feels

      The traditional reply is that it's the company's money to be spent as it sees fit - conveniently ignoring the fact that the government's money is our money to be spent as we see fit.

    4. N13L5

      Most pointless Article I ever read in The Reg

      The military and the spooks are going to make sure all on their own that space will be explored.

      Like any foray backed by the military-industrial complex, its all about mining rights, exploitation rights:

      Resources and their desired result: Money, to which all humanity bows in the most preposterous way.

      I don't mind if Baumgartner spends 200k on a suit or if Nasa spends 20 Trillion of tax payer's money, building a mining outpost on Mars, for which all the mining rights will go to private companies. It always works like this. If you don't realize that, you're blind or just brainwashed.

      Money is the mental excrement of humanity, with interest being the all pervading stink of it, enabling many antisocial humans to get carried by everyone else.

      So, waste that shit on the most far out stuff, and maybe the stink will dissipate in outer space.

  2. Alex McDonald 1
    Thumb Up

    Well said.

    1. Hieronymus Howerd


      We get a vacuous little rant like this from Mr. Page every time anyone suggests, y'know, not raping the planet senseless. For me, it greatly undermines the validity of the Register as a worthwhile new outlet.

    2. No, I will not fix your computer

      Well, Lewis (in typical style) sees a particular tack and runs headlong in that direction, regardless of any signposts along the way.

      Felix can be criticised for many things (like jumps he claimed as firsts but were done before), and of course being Austrian, however he's not condeming space travel (per se), but he's saying that the money which is spent on going to Mars to help us understand the earth would be better spent directly on finding about the earth, he goes on to say that Curiosity cost $2,500,000,000, taxpayers money, did they get their monies worth?

      Personally, I think Felix is wrong, but that doesn't mean his sentiment isn't valid (however hypocrtitical).

  3. Naughtyhorse

    What's bothering you Lewis?

    The fact he is advocating taking money from space exploration, or the fact hes advocating using the cash to fight MMGW?

    I think we should be told

    1. asdf

      Re: What's bothering you Lewis?

      For most of the skeptics even if MMGW exists who cares? This world is just a drab evil limbo meant to test them until they go to the real world promised to them where they worry about taking care of the place.

    2. solidsoup

      Re: What's bothering you Lewis?

      It's not really about the environment, but exploration and spirit of adventure. Without those things, the guy just spent millions on a publicity stunt for his sponsor. Did the thoughts about our planet and environment enter his mind then? So is it OK to spend money on self-aggrandizing record attempts, but not on space exploration? What a fucking hypocrite!

    3. Steve Knox

      Re: What's bothering you Lewis?

      ...or the fact hes advocating using the cash to fight MMGW? [citation needed]

      According to both the Reg article and the interview, Baumgartner advocates using the money for "saving the planet" -- a phrase so vague as to be practically meaningless.

      In neither piece is there a direct reference to climate change or global warming. The closest is Lewis's jab at renewable energy, which is a proposed solution for issues other than global warming, and which raises concerns for reasons other than whether on not AGW is real or not.

      Looks like you may want to take your blinkers off, Mr. Naughtyhorse.

      1. Naughtyhorse

        Re: What's bothering you Lewis?

        i take it you haven't read much Lewis then

    4. Joe Cooper

      Re: What's bothering you Lewis?

      Maybe cause he singles out what is simultaneously the most benign, inspiring and financially irrelevant thing we do and paints it as "that thing we do instead of saving the world" – while simultaneously doing something dramatically more fun and useless using the tools and intellectual product of those he pisses on.

    5. Sean Timarco Baggaley

      Re: What's bothering you Lewis?

      The best way to save this planet is to get Homo Sapiens off it.

      If we can crack space exploration on a commercial scale, we will have no lack of resources to exploit, because pretty much everything we need to survive is spinning about up there in space, mostly in the form of large, easily processed, lumps.of rock. And that includes carbon, metals and even water ice.

      By cutting our species' umbilical cord with Gaia, we need no longer worry about Climate Change, or any of that stuff, because it won't matter any more. Our species will have left its cradle, so we can let the planet's ecosystem rebalance itself of its own accord, without any need to meddle with it, or even artificially twist it to our own requirements — an increasingly popular refrain from some of the more extremist environmental Chicken Littles, despite their attempts to word it in more palatable phrasing.

      1. TheOtherHobbes

        Re: What's bothering you Lewis?

        I'm pleased you think that all we need to do to get 5-6 billions human living in perfectly sustainable colonies off-planet is to mine a few spinning rocks.

        Most people who work in the field know there might be one or two extra stages. But apparently you've solved all the hard problems already.

        Congratulations. You should email them and let them know. I expect they'll be delighted and will be more than willing to shower you with fame and riches.

        Wait - did I say 'perfectly sustainable'? Oh dear. That must make me exactly the kind of long-haired eco-hippy Page hates so much.

        Yes indeed - we seem think nothing of trashing one habitat so we can build our own SuperSpaceHabitats[tm] to remind ourselves why trashing those is a bad idea.


        Hey - we could even import gas and oil specially to make ourselves feel at home, instead of using solar.

        Because something that makes perfect sense up there can't possibly make sense down here, can it?

    6. Marvin the Martian

      Re: in summary:

      "Man who volunteers foolhardishly jumping from stupendous height is not world's greatest thinker"

      Gee, you wouldn't say?

      That said, I also think manned space exploration is stupid and futile, just done for the merrikan public. We've got robots, you know, that need far less in life support systems.

      Werhner v Braun may have said that man is the only supercomputer that's cheap to make, but the definition of 'super' has moved on since then.

  4. EddieD

    Bit harsh

    Jumping out of steel balls at 30,000+meters need balls of steel, but not huge numbers of brain cells, and, since he's taken Red Bull's shilling, he's probably shilling for them.

    He expressed an opinion, which I disagree with, but as the commentator on Voltaire said "I disagree with what you said, but will fight for your right to say it". The usual comments about opinions apply :)

    And besides, Red Bull is horrible stuff - I had a can once, and decided I preferred espresso.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Bit harsh

      Let me correct that for you:

      "And besides, Red Bull is horrible stuff - I had a can once, and decided I preferred espresso drinking my own urine.

      1. dogged
        IT Angle

        Re: Bit harsh

        Are you Bear Grylls?

        1. frank ly

          Re: Bit harsh

          Possibly. He certainly ain't Spartacus.

          1. Johan Bastiaansen

            Re: Bit harsh

            I'm Spartacus !

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Bit harsh

              No, I'm Spartacus

              1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                Re: Bit harsh

                Aren't we all Spartacus, each in our own special way?

                Except for I ain't Spartacus, of course.

                1. Aaron Em

                  Sure, why not?

                  And we'll each be crucified in our own special way. How come nobody ever remembers where the Spartacists ended up? Say what you like about the Romans -- they didn't fool around.

        2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Bit harsh


          If your Mum had called you Bear, you'd drink your own urine too.

          It's the only way to pass the time, when the camera crew have left you all alone, defenceless and isolated, in the honeymoon suite of the 5 star hotel - and they've run out of room service hookers...

          1. Colin Miller

            Re: Bit harsh

            > If your Mum had called you Bear, you'd drink your own urine too.

            'Cept he was born "Edward Michael Gyrlls"

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Bit harsh

              So, Teddy Bear Grylls then ;)

          2. Anonymous C0ward

            Re: Bit harsh

            >If your Mum had called you Bear, you'd drink your own urine too.

            And probably shit in the woods.

      2. EddieD

        Re: Bit harsh

        If it had enough caffeine - aye, probably :)

      3. Michael Dunn

        Re: Bit harsh

        "And besides, Red Bull is horrible stuff - I had a can once, and decided I preferred espresso drinking my own urine."

        It's the taurine in it, isn't it? Some people are allergic to it, but it is an essential amino acid for cats.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bit harsh

        If you want an energy drink, avoid red bull, try Monster, they do great juice based drinks...

        The rest taste weird....

    2. IglooDude

      Re: Bit harsh

      Indeed, I've been boycotting it for nigh on four decades now.

      Beer, cause Red Bull doesn't hold a candle to it.

    3. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Bit harsh

      "That's it. Nobody drink Red Bull any more"

      I'd always wondered that you were supposed to do with it.

      But still, really?

    4. Dr. Mouse

      Re: Bit harsh

      "Jumping out of steel balls at 30,000+meters need balls of steel, but not huge numbers of brain cells"

      I said this before the stunt.

      There are 2* types of people involved in this sort of exercise.

      The first includes all the scientists and engineers who did all the work making it possible. They have spent years developing the suit, capsule, instrumentation, planning the launch, simulating the descent, and continuously adjusting the equipment and parameters to ensure it all works. They are incredibly intelligent and are what we should all be striving to be (or encourage).

      The second is the idiot who jumps out of a balloon from the edge of space who could, essentially, have been replaced by a well trained monkey**. Unfortunately, it is this second type that gets all the glory and most people want to be like him.

      Yes, he has balls of steel. But he is obviously not the sharpest knife in the draw and to say that space exploration should stop and the money put into "saving the planet" proves it. It also marks him as a hypocrite: As others have already said, they spent huge sums on that stunt. Could that money have been better spent "saving the planet"?

      Part of me thinks he said that because he thinks that's what he's supposed to say, just like the girls in beauty contests who say they want world peace.

      *Yes, I know there are also the people who supply the money, but they aren't part of the project, just it's backers (and more often than not hold the project back). All that's needed from them is their money.

      **No offence meant to the trained monkeys out there: I'm sure most of them have more sense than to hurl themselves out of an aircraft like that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        * DRAWER

        'sharpest knife in the DRAWER'

        1. Dr. Mouse

          Re: * DRAWER

          'sharpest knife in the DRAWER'

          Ooops! Sorry, my mistake. One day I will learn to re-read my comments before posting.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: * DRAWER

          Sharpest knife in the draw -- knife fighting draw -- i.e., a beta male reference.

      2. Fibbles

        Re: Bit harsh

        "The second is the idiot who jumps out of a balloon from the edge of space who could, essentially, have been replaced by a well trained monkey**. Unfortunately, it is this second type that gets all the glory and most people want to be like him."

        I dare you to say that to Aldrin...

        1. Corinne

          Re: Bit harsh

          I doubt very much anyone was suggesting Baumgartner is anywhere near the same category as NASA astronauts. Baumgartner needed the balls of steel mentioned above, and a whole load of practice at skydiving etc. Astronauts need to actually operate the spacecraft and all have high level qualifications in seriously technical subjects. I see no comments (apart from yours) suggesting in any way that what Baumgartner did, however brave, is similar to what the astronauts did.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Bit harsh

            Wasn't the point that the astronauts did not actually need to be clever? You don't actually take bearings on the Moon with a sextant and up the FRNA/UDMH supply a bit on the left thruster till she comes about and the telescope on the starboard beam is pointing at Kepler. As is made clear in The Right Stuff, they wanted astronauts who Didn't Panic and were prepared to trust the engineers and scientists. The only time cleverness was needed was on the first lunar landing when the little IBM computer got overloaded and they had to use an HP calculator.

            I think Baumgartner and the astronauts are pretty near equivalent. But then I also think Curiosity is the height of human technical achievement, and a suitable V-sign at the arse who made me redundant from STC's R&D operation telling me that robotics wasn't going anywhere.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Bit harsh

          Aldrin was not a monkey.... He did not jump from a balloon... he walked on the moon...

          BUT Monkeys were sent to space, to make sure it was safe...

          Aldrin was a hero, but I do agree the scientists should have got more credit than they did..

      3. Michael Dunn

        Re: Bit harsh

        just it's backers (and more often than not hold the project back) tadaa! Perhaps that's why they're called "backers."

  5. chris lively

    Expecting too much?

    Time and again athletes prove themselves to be pretty lousy at public speaking. I for one wouldn't hold anything Felix has to say against red bull.

    He was there to execute a very dangerous jump. A jump that anyone with a sense of self preservation would run away from. That type of person isn't known for having the greatest ideas and generally falls into the same group of people that heartily exclaim "hold my beer and watch this!" before performing a monumentally stupid stunt

    I applaud Felix for taking that step which furthered science and has he potential of making space flight safer. I further applaud Red Bull for financing the operation. Anything he has to say beyond that is meaningless noise.

    Disclaimer: I'm old school and prefer my caffeine the old way: coffee.

    1. Miek

      Re: Expecting too much?

      Warning meme alert!

      Hold my beer ...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Expecting too much?

      It's like people doing "dangerous" trips up Mt. Everest with all the modern gear. Getting a bit crowded up there these days with all the "heroes", isn't it?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    what's the point of this rant?

    did it touch any nerve?

  7. MattLoren

    And how much did they spend on his balloon and spacesuit promotion?

    Charity starts at home mate, why not stop wasting money on dumb thrill seeking and invest in polar bears or whatever yourself. Or team up with David Blaine and then everyone can ignore the both of you for the price of one.

  8. John Latham

    Lazy rant

    "Baumgartner presumably wants to see NASA's budget (and with it that of the ESA etc) diverted into renewable power subsidies or some such money-pit"

    Wow, what incredible journalistic insight you have. Maybe you should ask him what he means rather than leaping straight on to your hobby-horse?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In other news

    Lewis Page demonstrates that he is also a fool

  10. Scott Mckenzie


    ...we've never even managed to land on the closest orbiting moon to us, so why are we trying to get on Mars???

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon

      Re: But..

      Haven't you seen the documentary of Hangar Apollo 18 ?

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. B-D

    Don't concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory.

    First he fell to earth, now he's falling from grace, poor chap.

    I wonder how all the agencies both governmental and corporate along with the people actually up in space who watched his cunning stunt feel about such a turncoat speech?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory.

      " cunning stunt" Oh, dear!

  13. Tom 7 Silver badge

    All of us are lying in the gutter

    but some of us are looking at the stars

    knickers up their skirts.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: All of us are lying in the gutter

      Jimmy, is that you? ;)

  14. Dave 15 Silver badge

    I wonder...

    If this guy is so concerned about the planet why he spent so much money on a useless stunt like this which was of no benefit to man, beast or the planet. Maybe next time he should put the money where his mouth is.

    I don't care what opinion he holds (opinions are like arseholes - everyone has one) but to not act according to it is just not cricket.

  15. Steve Evans

    You've missed a trick...

    With NASA out of the running, the El Reg special projects bureau could be a world leader!

  16. Andus McCoatover

    What the fuc*k, Lewis???

    Liquid lunch? Thought that was reserved for Fridays...

    You're a commentard sitting behind a desk.

    Felix is a bloke who has acheived more than you and I could even contemplate. Leave him alone, alright!!! You don't get my vote on this article.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What the fuc*k, Lewis???

      No he hasn't. He fell - that's it. Even his parachute was deployed automatically at the correct altitude, Felix was nothing more than the face of the attempt. All the real work was done by the engineers who worked out how to make the suit, balloon, capsule etc but they won't be the people mentioned in the history books.

      1. AdamT

        Re: What the fuc*k, Lewis???

        and, ironically, all those people and the development work you mention would have originally started at NASA when they were working out how to "achieve the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth" ...

      2. Andus McCoatover

        He fell - that's it - HUH???

        Sorry, mate, but it's a bit like saying "Edmund Hilary simply walked up a big hill - no big deal!"

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: He fell - that's it - HUH???

          He''d meet an awful lot of people up there if he did it these days.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What the fuc*k, Lewis???

        So, essentially, like a testpilot, but without the "danger" and "surprise timing" elements?

        I could say Spam-In-A-Can but you might think I was hungry, or something :P

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What the fuc*k, Lewis???

        Actually he had to recover from a spin, but don't let that get in the way of having a good Monday Morning rant.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What the fuc*k, Lewis???

      I hope your post is a great heaping of sarcasm, but if not... Overlooking that his comments and actions seem to run counter to one another, the fact is that he would directly choose to limit the funding to programs that would allow others to achieve more than you or I could contemplate. In the big picture of things his accomplishment in about a year from now is little more than a footnote on a wikipedia page that did next to nothing when compared to the space programs. I think he can be forgiven for being ignorant, but not for being ignorant and having such a large soapbox to speak from.

    3. Dog@86G

      Re: What the fuc*k, Lewis???

      sure as sh*t smells if it had been sponsored by John Smiths, developed by BAe Systems and he now wanted to divert money from space exploration into keeping foxes and travellers out of Surrey then yeah, Lewis would be alright with that

  17. Anonymous Coward


    That's all.

    Downvote this. :-)

    1. solidsoup
      Thumb Up

      Re: *yawn*

      Upvoted... well, cuz I'm a sadist.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    irrational reporting

    did he say not spend moneyat all on exploration or just not fritter it away on a manned Mars landing.

    suggestion to put own house in order first seems sensible.

    I suppose the only thing he could have done to further lose the support of certain sceptics was to declare his belief in a supernatural power

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can we call him bum-gardener now?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Uphill Gardener ;)

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All it proves ...

    ... is that gravity also applies to the rich. And, evidently, blinkered,

  21. newspuppy
    Thumb Up

    Hear Hear!

    +100.... His 'stunt' was more of a 'waste' then a trip to Mars....

    Boycott Red Bull till they teach teach the fool....

  22. andreas koch

    I looked him up on Wikipedia

    Herr Baumgartner's primary accomplishment appears to be to jump from things. And then fall down.

    Toast can fall, too, and makes less comments about things outside it's area of expertise.

    I prefer toast.

    1. Michael Dunn

      Re: I looked him up on Wikipedia

      Toast can fall, too, and makes less comments about things outside it's area of expertise.

      I prefer toast.

      Causes ructions, though, if it falls butter side up!

  23. AdamT

    Sarcastic Rover sums this up well

  24. evs
    Paris Hilton

    The original draft of Felix Baumgartner's thank you speech.

    "I'd like to take a moment here for all the people who made this possible. To the visionaries that saw the possiblity, to the brilliant minds that figured out how to send a man to the edge of space, to the dedicated engineers who made it possible. To the scientists and technologiest that made it possible for me to survive in that environment I extend these words...get a real job."

  25. andreas koch

    His Wikipedia entry: part 2

    There must be something strange going on at the end of July in Austria . . .

  26. Anonymous John

    He seems to be one of far too many people who think that the money spent on space is sitting unused in a bank vault on the Moon.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Damn, that's unfair...

    Give the guy a break, ffs.

    There seems to be an expectation the guy is going to be an extremely knowledgeable geek - as far as I can see, he's a thrill seeking jock.

    He probably needs to be enlightened, so just because he expresses an opinion in the ... hold on a minute here ... the Telegraph? - oh yes, that rag obviously aimed at the thinking man - you give the bloke so much grief.

    You can't convert everyone to your way of thinking. Ask the average man on the street about Mars exploration and he'll probably say "what a waste of money, how about spending it on hospitals and education?"

    Are you going to condemn everyone who thinks this way?

    Yes, geeks are super keen on space exploration and see it as being *very* important for the future of mankind, but that doesn't mean everyone out there gives a shit - anymore than they'd give a shit about what choice of OS you use.

    Poor show, Register, poor show...

    1. solidsoup

      Re: Damn, that's unfair...

      He's not your average man (no need for that strawman), he's a celebrity who's credit with a feat that is pretty close to going to space. And what does he do with his new found celebrity soapbox - stabs the people who made that feat possible in the back. Those "guys" he is referring to - guess how many of them are the actual people who worked on his jump?

  28. Majid

    he has a point (kinda).

    We have all been poluted with science fiction. Especially the one where a certain captain would drop out of warp and at almost every solar system, and it would have at least 2 class M planets capable of life, and on landing, he found out it had life, and the race was obviously mostly an all female race with mini-skirts.

    But that is because it is science-FICTION. Noone would like to watch a spaceship travelling through space, never finding any life. (Let alone girls in mini-skirts). It is boring and depressing.

    Also it is kind of heavy on our responsibility to even consider that we might be the only life in the universe. This would suddenly give us a great burden not to mess it up. Now we can just say: Ah well theres an infinite number of solar systems so there is bound to be other life forms, implicitly concluding that if we mess it up it doesn't matter.

    So the chances that curiosity finds what we are really looking for: "The proof that we are/were not alone", are extremely small (2 class M planets in one solar system are extremely remote, and probably only happens in science fiction). So no Martians will be found...

    However Curiosity serves a far bigger purpose. It is the stepping stone to more useful inventions. You can see it as Formula 1. Racing in circles has no purpose, but the inventions made in Formula 1 benefit every car manufactorer in the world. (active suspension, abs, traction control, power steering etc etc). So when we do find a planet capable of sustaining us, we can try to go there and fullfil our ever tingling urge..

    the urge to multiply..

  29. Sean Timarco Baggaley

    Are you going to condemn everyone who thinks this way?


    If you're going to express an opinion on something you know feck all about, you don't then get to complain when someone who knows rather more about the topic calls you an ignorant fool. Not all opinions have equal value and, while I'm happy to protect your right to express one, I am not morally, ethically, or legally obliged to agree with it.

    There is even less excuse today than there was a generation ago for being wilfully ignorant on a subject you intend to hold forth about. The internet has been around for nearly two generations now; the world-wide web for nearly one generation. Even sodding Wikipedia is over a decade old now. There's really no excuse for such behaviour any more. None. If you can't be bothered to make sure your opinion is an informed one, I have only one question for you: Which part of the word "sapiens" do you not understand?

    Life's too short to suffer fools, gladly or otherwise.

  30. Alistair

    Baumgartner "opinion" piece.


    Felix jumped out of tin can, using equipment and tools and technology that will help improve the overall understanding, safety and functionality of the space program (in general).

    Felix opined that "we should be saving the world" instead of "spending money to to put man on mars"

    Lewis popped a cork and ranted on Felix.

    RedBull sponsored the tin can, the foil wrapper and the publicity of the jump.

    RedBull makes some concoction that is supposed to perk you up when you're tired.

    Personally, I'd be taking Felix aside and having the same conversation I had the other day with my middle child (quite a bright soul, very good with general science concepts, but needs a bit of assistance with "Grand Scheme Of Things" things). It took a while for me to explain why *I* believe that putting machines (or Man) on Mars and hopefully bringing (Man) home (please note, that is the gender neutral, collective term Man) is a very good thing in terms of humanity.

    I'd by Lewis a drink, clearly not that horrid stuff that RedBull sells, and pat him on the back firmly to help him clear his throat.

    And I'll point out that although I'll never drink one of those gawdawful concoctions that RedBull manufacture I *will* give them kudos for sponsoring this stuff. And ask that the NEXT time they decide to try this, they give me a call.

    I can still replay the video and marvel at that damned view .... I WANT to stand there and look at it myself, it looks SPECTACULAR!

    Mine's the one with a copy of "Skydiving for Geeks" in the pocket.

  31. Flakey

    Some called him....

    ...a daredevil. I say a daredevil would have performed the jump in a mankini and beany hat.

  32. ericstob

    he's right

    Sorry but he's right - we don't have the right technology yet.

    We should be spending the money on particle colliders and fusion containment research, and fundamentally advancing physics rather than engineering technical feats that do not actually propel science forward.

    Our mars rovers are far more effective laboratory technicians than humans would be.

    We need another 40 years, this is the wrong generation to go to mars.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You will all die ON EARTH dreaming about space

    Blew my mind that all of the comments are just Reg nuthuggers. After reading the article I was pretty disappointed that somebody trying to use their moment of fame to talk about the condition of our planet gets slammed by a bunch of trade rags that do nothing but bitch and inspire bitching and complaining.

    Seriously, take five minutes and think about what you've done with your life and what you'll do with it before you die. Probably nothing too important. I guess people who think we're trashing our earth are still categorized as idiots. What a shame. Sometimes I wish I was a fkn horse or something that couldn't understand how stupid our species was...

    1. Simon Brown

      Re: You will all die ON EARTH dreaming about space

      I'm not against saving the world I just think that the money to do it shouldn't come from the NASA budget. Not when their budget is only half of one percent of US spending... why cut that? Why not take the money from the massive amounts spent on the US military?

      There's no guarantee that stopping NASA spending would lead to a commensurate increase in spending on saving the planet. And if it did - what a paltry, tokenistic gesture? In any case what Felix is actually saying is this:

      Right now you're spending half of one percent of the total US annual budget on space exploration that will, amongst other things, produce tools that will be used to fight climate change and experience another planet in order to be able to contrast it with this one and learn more about our own planet to protect it. We should stop doing that and instead spend the money on protecting our planet - that derisory half of one percent of the US budget... they should only spend that on protecting the planet. Instead of learning about the things that will protect the planet...

      Hence the derision.

      No-one here is anti-saving the planet. It's just that we don't know HOW to save the planet. And taking funding away from the people finding out HOW to do it isn't going to make that search any quicker...

    2. Franklin

      Re: You will all die ON EARTH dreaming about space

      Oh, FFS.

      "We shouldn't explore Mars before we fix the Earth" is just plain dumb, and no amount of ranting about what people who realize that will do with their lives will change that.

      For one, it's not either/or. It's not like if we cease exploring space, all of a sudden all that money will be spent on "saving the earth," or that every dollar spent on space exploration is a dollar spent not saving the earth. (You do know that a lot of the stuff we learn from the space program actually benefits the 'saving earth' stuff, right? Right? No?)

      And it's not like we're talking some vast quantity of money which, if it were only spent on some other thing, would suddenly result in a saved earth. The Curiosity program, for example, cost $2.5 billion spread out over about 7 years. Wow! 2.5 billion! That's SO much money, right? Right? That's, like, a big pile! Surely that much would be enough to save the earth, right?

      Let's put it into perspective. Here in the US, we spend about the same amount of money, $2.3 billion, every October on Halloween candy. $2.5 billion sounds like a ton of money--surely, earth-saving gobs of money--but compared to the total size of the economy, it's nothing. Pennies.

      But it's pennies that make a difference. It's pennies that let us learn how planets work. And that...that makes a lot more difference when it comes to earth-saving than some M&Ms to pass out on Halloween do.

      1. Andus McCoatover

        Top banana, Franklin!

        "Here in the US, we spend about the same amount of money, $2.3 billion, every October on Halloween candy."

        WOW - yep, that surely puts it into perspective, even more so when you factor in the dental bills, cost of manufacturing in global warming for such a stupid tradition.

        Nice one, I salute you, Sir!

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: You will all die ON EARTH dreaming about space

        Here in the US, we spend about the same amount of money, $2.3 billion, every October on Halloween candy.

        This is an outrage! Are you saying we could double our Halloween candy consumption just by raiding the space-exploration budget? Why is this not being done?

        Mine's the one with the pockets full of Kit-Kats.

  34. Steven Roper
    Thumb Up

    Joining El Reg in boycotting Red Bull

    I don't drink Red Bull anyway, since the stuff tastes like putrid 10 year old cough medicine, so you can consider me a supporter of the cause Lewis!

  35. pdogguk

    I hate the phrase 'saving the planet'.

    'Saving our way of life' or just 'saving life' is what we should say.

    The planet will be fine long after we've wiped ourselves out.

  36. This post has been deleted by its author

  37. Wombling_Free

    The same Red Bull that owns a couple of Formula 1 teams?

    Yes, Formula 1 has given us some wonderful things, but I am sure that the money spent on it would be better spent saving the planet, too, wouldn't it Felix?

    I would hazard a guess that more money is spent on F1 than on planetary exploration probes per year, too.

    It's rather sad that Felix doesn't seem to understand how science or economies work, maybe he should look how much is spent on military crap we really don't need compared to the space program, even when you count manned space flight!

    It's even sadder that he doesn't seem to know that all of the 'care about the environment' ideas that have become fashionable since the 1960's came about ENTIRELY due TO the space program - as it took orbital observation to support the science that maybe humans are affecting the planet in adverse ways.

    It's sad that someone who clearly has some skill doesn't actually do some thinking or pay much attention to the world around him, and comes across as a bit of an idiot.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    $2.3 billion, WOW what a lot of money.

    Um, it's what an average supermarket retail company turns over, per quarter, in two small nations with a total population of about 30 million.

    It's about 4 new airliners.

    It's what a local State government just found it had in the bank due to some sloppy accounting.

    Dr. Evil had it right - ONE MILLION DOLLARS! Bwahahahahahaa!

    A billion is the new million. A million doesn't even buy you a HOUSE in Sydney.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Perspective.

      That's rather ironic using houses in Sydney to try and put billions and millions of US$ into perspective.

      Sydney is also littered with 2 bedroom 'units', probably the average home for city dwellers, for which you'd get at least 3 for a million US$. Sydney was a generally a cheap place for expats to set up home, before the recent economic downturn.

  39. Antoinette Lacroix

    If you think Red Bull tastes like cat urine

    just say so.

  40. TrishaD


    The Register says:

    "Look - Great Guy jumping out of tin can"

    Commentards 'Mutter mutter, balls of steel, modern hero, inspiration.....'

    The Register says:

    'Look - Bad Guy mouthing off about space research'

    Commentards - 'Mutter, mutter, idiot, didnt do anything special, stupid idea ....'

  41. mhenriday

    Now, at last, we have the lexicographically correct definition of «blinkered FOOL» -

    anyone whose opinions or priorities happen to differ from those of that intellectual giant, Lewis Page. Can't the Reg promote this towering genius to the post of Assistant Executive Editor, so that he need only associate with his peer ?...


  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a bigoted rant - typical of one intent on hoovering up, and laying waste all the planet's resources.

  43. Trustme

    Usual whining drivel from the Reg's resident Victor Meldrew

    I really have got to the point where, when I see "Lewis Page" as the author, I inwardly groan because I know it's going to be a piece of irrelevant, self-righteous and self-serving offal. Once again I've not been left disappointed. So Baumgartner suggests spending money on saving our own planet before trying to understand others. And? Why is that a bad suggestion in and of itself? Especially as it's such a generalised statement and one that could be equally applied to many things, including his own freefall jump. He, personally, believes the money could be better spent, a postition I don't happen to agree with but he's entitled to it and it doesn't reflect on his grasp of, well anything, that's all implied by the article. He didn't suggest WHAT specifically to spend it on, so a string of disingenuous suggestions and assumptions followed in a crass attempt further demonise him. And the suggestion that we should all boycott Red Bull purely because somebody dared to question Lewis' Mars mastabatory fantasy is simply ludicrous, and does Lewis REALLY speak for EVERYONE at the Reg? Are they going to boycott the drink (and alienate a potential advertiser) just because Lewis is blowing again? If the nearest thing you can get to a fact is saying "Presumably" you're a piss-poor journo. The headline should have read:

    "Lewis Page sadly turns out to be blinkered FOOL"

    For that we have plenty of evidence!

    1. hplasm

      Re: Usual whining drivel from the Reg's resident Victor Meldrew

      Perhaps you shoud leave off the Red Bull.

      And stop reading stories you know will make you rant.

  44. Scott Pedigo

    How Baumgartner could make Lewis' head explode:

    Baumgartner: "I think the billions spend sending a rover to Mars would have been better invested right here on Earth, reducing carbon emissions, by building... a nuclear power plant."

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This boy is an extrovert ass

    I learned that Red-bull is a nasty, unhealthy, stupid concoction; so I stopped drinking it ages ago.

    The problem is not that money is spent on space exploration rather than here; it is that the financial system is fraudulently structured (by rich power crazy banker crooks, corrupt lawyers, corrupt accountants, corrupt politicians, and ignorant public) and incompetently managed (by neoclassical economist clowns, and centralist spendthrift politicians); all of this causes colossal waste, decay, poverty and wealth transfer to the smart rich.

    If we want things to get better, the fractional (even Zero) reserve banking fraud must end, the state monopoly on currency must end, to allow multiple competing currencies, and the fraudulent neoclassical economics must be replaced my more realistic economics which addresses it's faults rather than lets them fester for many decades, as Steve Kean and many others have pointed out!

    What we need is Capitalism, which requires Capital (things of real value), not fiat illusions, the freedom to live and trade without a tangled fog of mostly unnecessary and destructive legislation and regulations. Most crime could be dealt with if common law and commercial law were correctly and honestly applied, without corrupt protections like limited liability, fake corporate 'person' rights, and corporate IP.

  46. Stoli89

    I understand his point, but it is completely misguided. Instead of diverting minscule funds away from sapce exploration, we should be diverting a portion of funds away from defense. The US spent 3% of GDP at the height of the Cold War. Now its spends ~ 7% on defense (~700 Bio DoD + 400 Bio defense related). If only a portion of that money (50 Billion) were diverted to alternative energy tech, like the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor, we could be on a zero carbon emission trajectory within a costs at or below coal (without even including coal's true costs on society). LFTR relies on a fuel which could power the global population at US per capita consumption needs for over 1,000,000 years. It produces 1/10,000 the waste of conventional nuclear and its waste decays to background in less than 300 years, NOT 300,000 years (like conventional nuclear). It's fuel is NOT suitable for nuclear weapons fabrication and it operates at atmospheric its much much less costly to build. The USA also successfully ran this tech as a prototype for over 7 years at ORNL (a national lab). Top scientists for the Manhattan project as well as the inventor of the H-bomb are all on record stating THIS is the technology for a safer future. Unfortunately, the corporatists and war mongers had the final say.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Arificial Gravity & Radiation Shielding needs sorting before sending anyone to Mars.

    Felix is right about sending people to Mars, we know that the human body isn't suited to weightlessness, it affects Astronauts bones & eyesight etc. Machines do it so much better. It would be interesting to send someone to Mars in a newsy sort of way, but I'm not sure of the scientific benefit over & above what robotic missions can do.

  48. Matthew 17

    Felix is a basejumper...

    Why would anyone value his opinion on science, engineering or space exploration?

    The $13M spent enabling him to jump from a balloon was gobbled up by all the scientists and engineers that designed and built the equipment needed to let him do it.

    I hope the publicity stunt was worth the expense for Red Bull but as the BBC documentary the other day illustrated, Felix is no astronaut nor is he made of the 'right stuff', hiding from the project for a year whilst costs spiralled is illustration of that alone.

    Base and big balloon jumping is cool mind so I'm prepared to cut him some slack.

  49. Dana W

    Red Bull is vile anyway.

    Amp is MUCH better than Red Bull anyway. If you get Amp over there, give it a try, it packs Red Bull's kick, but actually tastes and smells like something you mighty actually WANT to drink.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Red Bull is vile anyway.

      It's medicine, tasting horrible is the point!

  50. JDX Gold badge

    What about the blinkered attitude that anyone who doesn't agree with you has a blinkered attitude?

  51. Stevie Silver badge


    "Away with you, Baumgartner. "

    Indeed yes, sir, be away with you. Your opinions are as out of place as a porcupine in a monkey's pajamas!

  52. Rhiakath Flanders

    I actually agree

    He does have a point, there, he may just not have exposed it properly.

    I do think we should focus on maintaining a planet, before expanding to another one.

    If we keep this up, we go to mars, very cool, and a great advance, no doubt about it. And then we begin to ruin it, just like we're doing with earth.

    If on the other hand we focus on developing ourselves, in our habitat, and trying not to screw it up, yes, we will be behind schedule looking for new planets, but maybe we won't have to, so soon. ( I'm not counting overpopulation, just destroying the environment )

    "Even supposing we could somehow, with this very limited amount of money, transform the Earth into a very paradise ... sooner or later we would detect a large approaching asteroid or comet,..."

    So, finding a way to go to mars is the way? Are there no asteroids there?

    There are. By focusing on expanding before maintaining, we will be destroying more planets early, and then later trying to save them or ditching them altogether.

    By focusing on maintaining before expanding, we will be able to keep earth, and when we finally get to mars, we will be able to get it done right.

    He just stated his opinion, he doesn't have to give all the answers...

  53. MrXavia

    Did anyone hear him compare his feat to walking on the moon??

    Seriously he said (and I can't remember what tv show it was) something along the lines of..

    'I've had lots of young people contact me telling me this is great, this is out moon landing'..

    Seriously he said that and didn't actually say anything to show he disagreed with his jump being compared to the moon landing...

    It was a skydive from very high up, in a space suit, sure there was a lot of tech, and it was a long dive, but still it was not like walking on the moon.....

  54. Ross K

    What a shite excuse for... article. Must be a slow news day, eh Reg?

    As he's not a policy-maker or in any kind of position of power, Baumgartner's opinions on space travel don't really matter any more than those of Lady Gaga or the Pope.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Human Nature

    It's human nature to search for ever more thrilling experiences. Which is what Felix has done with his hobby.

    It's also human nature to try and fix problems on our own planet, which is what Felix has suggested, but It's also human nature to try to leave this planet.

    So I don't see why people are getting their knickers in a twist.

    Presumably many posters here, are also happy with many Indian and Aboriginal people (people who were better at looking after the planet's resources) getting wiped out by the White man, to later afford him to go into space.

    Regarding Mars, the only way to explore it properly in the next half a century, is the 'one man one way' proposal. Where we will totally bottle it, despite their being no shortage of volunteers.

  56. This post has been deleted by its author

  57. Jim Lewis

    I previously didn't expect to hear anything of much sense from Felix, but now I realise he is in fact a wise and insightful man.

    As he has literally benefited from a perspective few other people have I think it is right that he expresses the view that this planet we are currently hell bent on destroying is our only home and will remain so for a very long time.

    Hear hear Felix!

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