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Jasmine Chobanian with Aram Chobanian (left) and playwright Edward Albee at Commencement, May 2010. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky
Jasmine Chobanian, who was regarded as the “First Lady” of Boston University during the many years that her husband Aram V. Chobanian, MD, served in University leadership, both as dean of the School of Medicine and the ninth president of Boston University (2003–2005), died last Friday after a brief illness.
“Jasmine was our beloved first lady of the Medical Campus,” says Karen Antman, provost of the Medical Campus and dean of the School of Medicine. “She was a smart, savvy, warm person who started out life in the technical sciences but clearly also was deeply committed to the arts. We on the Medical Campus will miss her.”
Jasmine Chobanian was a much-loved patron of the arts and a humanitarian. She served on the board of trustees of Boston Ballet and was active in efforts to provide aid to the people of Armenia. In November 2005 the University’s Women’s Council announced the establishment of the Jasmine Chobanian Scholarship Fund and sponsored a gala honoring Chobanian for her many contributions to the University. Boston Ballet dancers Melanie Atkins, Pavel Gurevich, Roman Rykine, and Larissa Ponomarkenko performed selections from The Nutcracker, and then-provost David Campbell sang four lieder, accompanied by his wife, pianist Claude Hobson.
“Jasmine was a vivacious and caring emissary for Boston University, as she supported Aram in his roles as longtime dean of the School of Medicine and then president of Boston University,” says President Robert A. Brown. “The University has lost a true friend.”
A graduate of Brown University, Chobanian was a talented painter, and studied with Conger Metcalf at the Boston Museum School, now the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She worked for many years as a researcher at Thorndike Memorial Laboratories at Boston City Hospital. Chobanian is being remembered by friends as someone who lived life to the fullest: a world traveler, voracious reader, fascinating raconteur, nature lover, bird watcher, and sports fan.
Caroline Apovian, professor of medicine and pediatrics at the School of Medicine, says Chobanian “was at the center of the movement on the Medical Campus to unite the arts and the sciences. She encouraged many of the faculty and students to pursue their creativity, specifically in music, but also in the other arts as well. She will be deeply missed by many.”
Robert Witzburg, associate dean and director of admissions at the School of Medicine says Jasmine Chobanian was a remarkably warm and caring person. “She had her own presence at BUSM and the University, quite independent of her prominent husband, Aram,” says Witzburg. “Her smile would light up a room, and she had that rarest of attributes: the ability to respect everyone she met and to instantly put them at ease. All of us who were privileged to know Jasmine will miss her dearly.”
Jasmine Chobanian was born in Pawtucket, R.I., the daughter of the late Charles and Zabel (Russian) Goorigian. She is survived by her husband of 59 years, Aram V. Chobanian (Hon’06), president emeritus of BU, and their children, Karin Chobanian Torrice of Natick, Mass., Lisa Chobanian Ramboeck of Bronxville, N.Y., and Aram Chobanian, Jr. of Brookline, Mass. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Marc and Vanessa Torrice; her sisters Nectar Lennox of Cumberland, R.I., and Marie Vartanian of Agawam, Mass.; and her sister-in-law, Ruth Chobanian of Cambridge, Mass., as well as a large number of nieces, nephews, and friends.
Funeral arrangements are being made through the Bedrosian Funeral Home, 558 Mt. Auburn Street, Watertown, Mass. A wake will be held at St. Stephen’s Armenian Church, 38 Elton Avenue, Watertown, Mass., tomorrow, Tuesday, July 29, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Funeral services will take place on Wednesday, July 30, at 11 a.m. at St. Stephen’s Armenian Church. Burial services will be private.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Chobanian Scholarship Fund at Boston University School of Medicine, c/o Development Office, 72 East Concord St., L219, Boston, MA 02118; St. Stephen’s Armenian Church; or The Fund for Armenian Relief, 630 Second Ave., New York, NY 10016. A memorial service to celebrate her life will be held in September at a date and place to be announced.
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While nearly a week has passed since Microsoft announced its Surface tablets, details about the slates remain sketchy. What isn’t sketchy, though, are the strong opinions of technology watchers about the new devices.
Without doubt, the Surface tablets — one line running Windows RT, the other running Windows 8 — have their fans and detractors, but most acknowledge the move will be a game-changer for Microsoft, whether it’s successful or it falls flat on its face.
Sure, Microsoft has made hardware in the past with mixed success, but Surface is something different, Joshua Topolsky argues in The Verge. “The announcement of the Surface shows that Microsoft is ready to make a break with its history — a history of hardware partnerships which relied on companies like Dell, HP, or Acer to actually bring its products to market,” he wrote.
“That may burn partners in the short term,” he continues, “but it could also give Microsoft something it desperately needs: a clear story.”
How clear that story will be remains to be seen, however. The iPad is a single product. Surface will be two products running operating systems designed for different processors. That’s bound to create confusion among some tablet buyers.
On the other hand, Microsoft’s new tablet designs could bring a level of rationality to the non-iPad market that has been unseen thus far, contends Joanna Stern, of ABC News.
“Other hardware manufacturers will still make Windows 8 tablets, laptops, desktops, and crazy computers but Microsoft’s Surface will be the reference design; it is the pinnacle of how Microsoft envisions its software and the hardware working together,” she writes. “It sets the bar higher for the HPs, Dells, and other computer makers of the world.”
Whether Surface can compete for market share with the iPad has also been a popular topic of discussion since the platform’s unveiling on June 18. Its prospects among business users looks promising to Ced Kurtz, of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. “Business technology people know how to manage Microsoft networks and probably would prefer integrating Microsoft products to Apple ones,” he writes.
However, IT people have less say today on what devices employees use on the job than they have in the past, as the “Bring Your Own Device” movement gains strength in many organizations. In that case, the consumer play will be very important for Surface.
Microsoft can do well there, too, Kurtz argues, but it needs to create an ecosystem for Surface that’s similar to the one for the iPad. “If Microsoft can use its considerable muscle to generate this kind of environment for Surface, it has a shot,” he notes.
That’s something that Microsoft has done before, although it hasn’t always been successful at it, according to Don Sears of CNN Money. “There are plenty of examples of failed elements, from the Zune MP3 player to the dismal Kin phone,” he writes. “But, overwhelmingly, Microsoft has proven it can create a vibrant and profitable ecosystem.”
He also points out that Surface’s success need not be measured exclusively by how it fares against the iPad. The product is designed to compete against tablets running Google’s Android operating system, which have fared miserably in the market compared to the iPad, and the emerging ultrabook platform, with its premium on thin, light computing.
Critics of Surface, though, say the concept was flawed from the drawing board. It has an identity crisis because it can’t decide if it’s a tablet or a laptop, asserts Jay Yarrow, of Business Insider. At the reported price of $600, it’s going to cost too much, too, he adds.
Pricing is also a concern of Eric Mack, of Cnet, as well as low battery life and WiFi only connectivity. There’s also a question of whether the tablets will be as worry free as their Apple competitors, especially following the flub that occurred during the products’ introduction.
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Beyond the physical aspects of Surface, a psychological element may be the most difficult obstacle of all to the success of Microsoft’s tablet, as Ashlee Vance observes in Bloomberg Businessweek.
“Microsoft making hardware is not a natural action,” he writes. “It’s what the company does in times of desperation. With the release of Windows 8 looming, Microsoft was indeed desperate for a hardware company to do something to blunt Apple’s runaway tablet machine. The Surface tablet represents an indictment of the entire PC and device industry, which has stood by for a couple of years trying to mimic Apple with a parade of hapless, copycat products.”
Follow freelance technology writer John P. Mello Jr. and Today@PCWorld on Twitter.
The Indian jurist and former barrister Ranjan Gogoi (born on November 18, 1954) spent seven years on the Supreme Court of India, first as a judge from 2012 to 2023 and then for 13 months as the 46th Chief Justice of India from 2023 to 2023. On March 16, 2023, President Ram Nath Kovind nominated him to be a member of the Rajya Sabha. Gogoi was a judge on the Gauhati High Court before moving on to the Punjab and Haryana High Courts, where he later rose to the position of chief justice. He is currently a Rajya Sabha member of the Committee on External Affairs.Personal Details
Gogoi was an Ahom dynasty descendant who was born and raised in Dibrugarh and comes from a political family. His grandmother, Padma Kumari Gohain, was one of the first female MLAs and one of the first female ministers in Assam. His maternal grandparents were also state lawmakers. For two months in 1982, his father, Kesab Chandra Gogoi, led Assam as Chief Minister. The only Chief Justice who is also a Chief Minister’s son is Gogoi. Shanti Priya Gogoi, his mother, was a well-known social activist who started an NGO called SEWA in 2000, two years after Kesab Chandra Gogoi passed away in 1998. Four of Gogoi’s five siblings also achieved success in their separate fields of work.Carrier
Gogoi attended Cotton University for his undergraduate studies before completing his higher education at the University of Delhi’s Faculty of Law. He became a member of the bar in 1978 and worked for JP Bhattacharjee at the Gauhati High Court. In 1991, he started his own practice, and in 1999, he was appointed senior counsel by the court. From 2001 to 2010, he presided over the Gauhati High Court, and from 2010 to 2011, the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He served as the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s Chief Justice from 2011 to 2012.The Book of His Autobiography
Fact Detail NameRanjan Gogoi Date of Birth18th November 1954, Dibrugarh, Assam Alma MaterSt Stephens’s College, Delhi (Graduation), Delhi University (LLB) Official Tenure28th February 2001 – 17th March 2023 PresidentRam Nath Kovind Preceded byDipak Misra Succeeded bySharad Arvind Bobde As Judge
Judge of the Gauhati High Court
Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court
Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court
Judge of the Supreme Court of India
Chief Justice of IndiaRanjan Gogoi-Related Controversy
Ranjan Gogoi, a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, has experienced controversy frequently throughout his professional life. Ranjan Gogoi initially attracted attention when he overturned a High Court ruling in the 2011 death of a woman who was raped by a train in Kerala, for which the High Court rendered a death sentence judgment. A woman was raped in Kerala and then tossed into a train.
However, the sentence was amended to life in prison by Ranjan Gogoi’s bench. He received criticism from numerous social organizations as a result. He was also chastised for authoring an article at the same time by former judge Markandeyu Katju.Sexual Harassment Allegations
A former Supreme Court employee accused Gogoi of sexual harassment in April 2023. In papers, the woman claimed that on October 10–11, 2023, the Chief Justice forced his body against hers without her consent. Gogoi denied the accusations and called them a plot to undermine the independence of the court.
A month later, a three-judge internal investigative committee exonerated him. Several activists, prominent members of the legal community, and two retired Supreme Court justices also voiced their criticism of the procedures.Major Case Laws
Markandey Katju ‘‘Provocation’’case − Former Supreme Court justice Markandey Katju publicly expressed his disgust with the Gogoi-led bench’s decision to exonerate the accused of attempted murder in the Soumya rape and murder case, which was the subject of significant opposition and criticism. Justice Gogoi served Katju with a contempt notice, which was later overturned after Katju consented to submit a written apology, but it was determined that his words were sufficient to constitute contempt of court.
M Siddiq (D) Thr Lrs v. Mahant Suresh Das & ors − The Ayodhya Dispute Case is the common name for this situation. CJI Ranjan Gogoi and other judges rendered a decision in this matter. In this instance, the group speaking for the Hindu faction claimed that a temple had once stood on the contested territory but had been destroyed by Babur, a Mughal ruler.
The Muslim side, however, asserted that the disputed site cannot be claimed by Hindus because a mosque known as the Babri Masjid was constructed there. In this case, the court determined that a temple had been there before the Babri Masjid was constructed. The archaeological investigation that claimed to have discovered the ruins of a massive temple-like building beneath the Babri Masjid served as the foundation for the court’s ruling. As a result, the court granted Shri Ram Virajman’s deity the title to the land. The court also allocated 5 acres of land in Ayodhya for the construction of a mosque. In this case, the court also determined that Ram Janmabhoomi is not a legal person.FAQs
Q1. Who had appointed Ranjan Gogoi as the chief justice of India?
Ans. Former President Ram Nath Kovind appointed Ranjan Gogoi as the chief justice of India.
Q2. How many courts justice Ranjan Gogoi served before being appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court?
Ans. Before being appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court, justice Gogoi served two high courts namely, Gauhati High Court and Punjab and Haryana High Court.
Expressions of Faith from BU’s Class of 2023
At Marsh Chapel’s weekly virtual interdenominational service on Sunday, May 9, five Class of 2023 graduates shared stories about their spiritual journeys during their time at BU. Since services are still being conducted virtually because of the pandemic, the students prerecorded their reflections. Photo by Adele Bertschy
Student VoicesExpressions of Faith from BU’s Class of 2023 Graduating students share personal reflections during annual Marsh Chapel “This I Believe” Sunday
So much of this year’s annual Commencement season has had to change because of the pandemic, but one tradition has remained, but for the second year, with a few tweaks: Marsh Chapel’s annual “This I Believe” Sunday, where members of the graduating class are invited to share stories of their spiritual journeys at BU.
This year’s service was on May 9, the Sunday before Commencement, a tradition dating back to 1982. Each spring, undergrad and graduate students representing a spectrum of faith traditions and from all the University’s schools and colleges, are invited to submit an outline for a three-minute reflection. Several are then chosen by chapel staff to participate in the annual service.
Because Marsh Chapel’s Sunday interdenominational Protestant worship services have not been held live since March 2023, this year’s selected students prerecorded their reflections for the May 9 broadcast, which aired on WBUR-FM, the University’s National Public Radio station, as it does every week. Four of the five speakers—Afsha Kasam (MET’21), Connor Dedrick (Questrom’21), Jordan Neubauer (LAW’21), and Heidi Santa Cruz (CAS’21—were living on or near campus and were able to record their remarks in the chapel’s sanctuary. Soren Hessler (UNI’08, Wheelock’11, STH’11,’21) recorded his reflection from his home in Madison, N.J.
“One downside to prerecording is that there is no congregation to provide immediate gratitude and responses to the students for sharing their stories,” says Jessica Chicka (STH’07,’11,’19), University chaplain for international students, who oversaw this year’s event. “I hope in the coming days they will hear from others how their reflections impacted them.”
Despite the challenges in pulling off this year’s program, Chicka says chapel staff were delighted with the outcome. “The reflections are powerful. Each student has shared a piece of themselves with us through this process, and we are so thankful for their willingness to do so,” she says, adding that they look forward to being able to return to an in-person service for next year’s “This I Believe” Sunday.
“Being a woman has taught me a lot,” Kasam said in her “This I Believe” reflection. “But it’s mostly taught me to speak up, even if my voice shakes.”
Following Commencement, Dedrick will be working as a retail management trainee for the Hannaford Supermarket chain.
Neubauer will be studying for the bar exam this summer.
Now director of graduate academic services at Drew University and an instructor of Christian and interreligious studies at Hebrew College in Newton Centre, Mass., Hessler says that modern American research universities need to be places to “forge friendships and establish partnerships and its education must prepare graduates, regardless of their religious affiliation, to be co-laborers in caring for the world and the people in it.”
After graduation, she will be working at Massachusetts General Hospital as a clinical research coordinator of surgical oncology. She plans to eventually attend medical school and practice emergency medicine.
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Jake Sullivan New Head of BU’s Government & Community Affairs Replacing Bob Donahue as primary liaison with local elected officials and residents
Jake Sullivan is BU’s new vice president for government and community affairs
He will be BU’s chief liaison with the city of Boston, the town of Brookline, and the commonwealth of Massachusetts
Sullivan replaces 30-year BU veteran Robert “Skinner” Donahue, who is retiring
Few people have a better understanding of how Boston’s City Hall works than Jake Sullivan. Prior to joining BU two years ago as assistant vice president for government and community affairs, Sullivan worked for Mayor Martin J. Walsh and for his predecessor, the late Thomas M. Menino (Hon.’01). Before that he worked on Beacon Hill as a senior research analyst for the state legislature’s Joint Committee on Energy and as a staffer for former Massachusetts Congressman John Olver. Sullivan will draw on that experience when he becomes BU’s vice president for government and community affairs, starting May 1.
BU’s Government & Community Affairs office is the primary liaison between the University and local elected officials and residents. Sullivan will be responsible for relations with the city of Boston, the town of Brookline, and the commonwealth of Massachusetts, and will oversee the 10-person staff.
“Jake Sullivan brings a wealth of public affairs experience to his new leadership role,” says President Robert A. Brown. “During his two years with us he has developed an excellent understanding of our mission and values. I am confident that he will help Boston University develop new bridges to Boston and the broader community and maintain old ones.”
Sullivan replaces Robert “Skinner” Donahue, the current government and community affairs vice president, who will be a special assistant to Steve Burgay, senior vice president for external affairs, who oversees government and community affairs, before retiring at the end of the year.
In a letter sent to University senior leadership on Monday, Brown said Donahue is the “principal architect and steward” of the University’s “excellent relations with City Hall.” He cited Donahue’s role in shepherding BU’s first Institutional Master Plan through to approval in City Hall (a role he continued to play with subsequent plans) among his many accomplishments, as well as his involvement in helping secure the permits that allowed BU’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) to begin conducting biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) research.
Donahue says the time is right to step down, noting that many of BU’s long-standing projects, like NEIDL and Phase II of the Commonwealth Ave Reconstruction Project, are in good shape. “It was my desire to turn a page, and Jake was fit to take my place,” says Donahue, who had previously been director of city relations for two decades and had recruited Sullivan to work for BU. “He has had two years internally at the University to learn how things work, so it was a good place in time for a move.”
When he leaves BU in December, Donahue says, he plans to take some time off, visit family on the West Coast, and golf, before exploring opportunities at the intersection of public policy and politics.
Sullivan says the University has an excellent long-standing relationship with local communities and has been a strong neighbor and active in the communities for decades under Donahue’s stewardship. “This office is always looking for ways to deepen our commitment and highlight our involvement as a resource to our partners in Boston, Brookline, and the commonwealth of Massachusetts,” he says. “For the past three decades, Bob has led the office with integrity, transparency, and care for the community, and he was able to execute the vision of the University’s senior leadership flawlessly.”
Before joining BU, Sullivan worked in Boston’s Office of Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) for nearly 15 years. He had a number of other roles in City Hall, including director of IGR, chief of staff for the Advocacy and Strategic Investment Cabinet, and director of federal relations. He also had a leading role in creating Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a coalition of current and former mayors dedicated to fighting for common-sense gun laws, started by Menino and Michael Bloomberg, then New York City mayor. When Menino named him “stimulus czar,” Sullivan helped lead the city’s economic recovery team as it responded to President Barack Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
A graduate of UMass Amherst, Sullivan lives with his family in Dorchester.
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Last year, Alan Eustace, a computer scientist who previously worked for Google, made history with the world’s highest freefall — a plunge from 135,890 feet. He was lifted into the stratosphere by a massive helium-filled balloon, protected by only a spacesuit, and after drifting for a few minutes released his ride. On the way down Eustace broke the sound barrier and reached a blistering 822 mph. Some of the people who helped Eustace pull off this feat started a company, called World View Experience, to take customers to near space via balloon. We spoke with Eustace about his record-setting experience and his legacy as a space explorer. He just may prove to be the man who ushered in the era of balloon-based space tourism.Popular Science: Why did you want to do this jump?
Alan Eustace: I’m a pilot and a skydiver and an engineer. This project ended up being the nexus of all three.Were you attracted to the idea of setting a record?
That was in the back of my mind. But it was really more about building a life support system to explore the stratosphere. Breaking a record has been nice: I just had dinner with Joe Kittinger and my mom. That’s a fun side effect of records—you get to meet your childhood heroes.The life support system was essentially the suit that you were wearing. How did it feel to have that on?
It was definitely big and cumbersome. The breathing is kind of noisy, and when you’re not breathing it’s eerily quiet. It’s all based on bearings, so to move in a particular direction, your arm turns one direction and then a second direction. You don’t just reach in a normal way. And of course mobility is limited. You can turn your wrists right and left really easily but as far as squeezing the glove, that’s much harder.I watched the video of the takeoff, and it looks like it was fairly smooth.
Balloons are a beautiful mechanism for taking off. You’re perfectly balanced; it’s perfectly quiet; there’s no vibration as you’re going up. It’s very different from an aircraft in that it goes up at almost exactly 1000 feet per minute, from the ground all the way up to 135,000 feet. There’s no elevator feeling because you are not accelerating. There’s no jerky up and down.What could you see on the way up?
The balloon was making really slow and predictable turns that would allow you to gaze out in pretty much any direction. You see every perspective, from the ground all the way up through normal airliner altitudes, to above airliner altitudes. You start seeing the curvature of the Earth and the darkness of space. As you get higher, you see how light diffuses through the different layers of the atmosphere. You look down and you see patches of fog. It’s just a multi-layered view of what the world looks like.When you did reach 135,000 feet, how long did you linger?
There’s this thing called the detachment effect: Psychologists say you feel you’re so far away from the Earth that there’s some question about whether you want to come down. Once I got up there I was perfectly happy to come back down. I had the possibility of lingering there for up to an hour but I stayed just long enough to make sure the balloon had stabilized and to go through the normal countdown checklist. I doubt I spent more than five minutes up there. And now that I’m down I’m thinking, well, maybe I should have stayed a little longer.Can you describe the moment when you detached and the experience of freefall?
Somebody from the ground asked me on a radio call to verify that it was okay to drop. Then they had a countdown—Five, four, three, two, one. You can hear the drop—there’s a little sound—and the next thing you know you’re in freefall. But it’s zero G. There’s no way you can tell that you’re actually falling. You could be in a pool at that point.
Because of a little bit of asymmetric drag, I ended up doing a very, very slow backflip. That turned out to be wonderful because it let me see the balloon that I was falling away from. It gave me a sense of perspective. So I went around a second time. It also let me see the drogue system that we had carefully designed [to help control the fall]. It was probably about 17 seconds before it righted me and then I was facing Earth. The system that we had developed for spin resistance was working perfectly; there were no spins. I was really, really happy that the time and effort that we spent had come up with a system that was working flawlessly.Does the sensation change as you descend?
I broke the sound barrier 31 seconds into jumping. It takes 51 seconds to get to max speed, 822 mph. Normally in freefall you associate speed and wind together, but in this jump, it’s exactly the opposite. When you hear wind it’s an indication that you’re slowing down. By the time you reach pullout altitude you’re going pretty much the speed of a normal skydiver in freefall—110, 120 mph—and then you open your parachute. You slow down a little bit more as you flare, and then you land.How do you feel about commercial stratospheric balloon tourism?
It certainly would be a lot easier than the route I took! It’s an amazing perspective at those altitudes. Astronauts get that view but balloons are such a dramatic contrast from a rocket experience. I think there’s something special about being in a balloon and seeing the slow progression from the world that you know to the world that you’ve never seen before. It will be wonderful to have hundreds and thousands of people, ordinary people, get the chance to view the world the way that I did.Do you think the market will be that big?
I think we’re in a really transformational time. My generation had Apollo but this generation is going to see the personalization of space in a way that no other generation has had the ability to do.What do you think will motivate the typical balloon tourist?
Life is a series of experiences, right? People get to choose what set of experiences is going to make up the portfolio of their lives. You could choose to add the idea that you’re not just terrestrial. You can go up in the air; you can see space; you can internalize what it’s like to be off the planet.
And it’s not something that only the fittest of the fit can do. It’s not like climbing Mt. Everest, which you spend years training for and is extremely physically exerting. This is an experience that will be accessible.Your flight helped to inform a lot of the technologies that will allow this type of tourism to happen. Did you anticipate that?
At the beginning it was just a cover. If anyone found out that we were launching balloons, or if we needed to buy helium, we would just say we’re doing the space tourism thing. But later on it developed a life of its own. We started realizing that, yes, you can build balloons and, yes, you can build life support systems and, yes, you can build launch systems and, yes, you can predict the wind and weather and, yes, you can get helium trucks, and you can put all these pieces together.
When you start a project you have a dream but you don’t have plan. As you get farther into it you start to develop a plan, and then you build the technology, and then you find out whether the plan is actually going to work. I think this project gave World View the ability to see a different approach to space tourism. And I also think that my team—after watching me go up there—were jealous, and they want to have the same experience themselves.
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