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The World Almanac Wakes Up With Whoopi: #2

As promised last week, here's my second World Almanac for Kids visit with the Wake Up With Whoopi crew. We did this on August 2, but it makes sense to post it today because today is the anniversary of an event I mentioned on-air.

Yup, August 16 is the day that Capt. Joe Kittinger set a particularly astonishing set of records in 1960. And in my excitement to talk about inventors, parachutes, and insanely high-altitude free-falls, I mixed up a few key details. Most notably: Kittinger didn't jump from 18,000 feet, that was the height at which his main parachute opened; he actually jumped—out of a balloon dubbed Excelsior III—from an altitude of more than 100,000 feet. In the process, he set records for highest balloon ascent and highest parachute jump, and also set the record for fastest speed attained by a human without the assistance of an engine.

As penance for my fact-flubbing, I offer this video of his jump, which is far more interesting than listening to me talk. But you can still click here to listen to the show and catch up on some other facts (accurate ones!) about the first Census, National Inventors' Month, and how some of those off-the-wall "National [Something-Very-Strange] Month" holidays come about in the first place.

Kittinger speaking at the Kircher Society Meeting (Part 1; be sure to click on parts 2 and 3)


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