I’m always amazed with people sending image capturing devices into space with weather balloon. So far, most of them were using small devices like mobile phones or flip cam. Except this 2 guys from Cygnus Project who decided to send a Nikon D300s into space.
YES, a freaking DSLR.

Check out their Flickr photostream.

Follow their Facebook page for more updates. It seems like they lost the camera during the 2nd launch. Hope they find it back soon.
PS: How I wish I could do something similar some day. But don’t think it’s possible in Singapore since we are surrounded by water.

Hi Jun Yi, Christopher, Jia Han, Ria, Jason, Michelle and Kenny
I’m writing this open letter to all of you with regards to the NUS Rag Day 2010 opening ceremony that is organised by the 31st NUSSU EXCO. In case you all forgot what happen, here is a Youtube video.

I’m not sure if you guys are aware of the harmful effects of balloon release. If you don’t, please spare a few minutes to read this website by Marine Conservation Society.
I don’t know why is here a need to release balloon for a charity project like NUS Rag Day. Surely there are better way to mark the opening of a Charity Project.
I hope that you guys understand the harmful effect of balloon release. Here is a small request from me. Please put a ban on balloon release in NUS. Write it down somewhere in the NUSSU constitution so that your future EXCO will not repeat the same mistake again. I hope I don’t have to write another open letter to the next NUSSU EXCO.
Thank you for your time.
Yours faithfully
DK

My blog entry regarding the *SCAPE balloon release was retweeted several times yesterday. Someone also posted the link to the blog entry on *SCAPE’s facebook fan page. I guess the message is loud enough. We don’t want balloon release. It does no good to the environment.
I’m glad that *SCAPE finally respond to the issue on their facebook page.

Thanks for the concern and comments you have made regarding the balloon release during our Launch Festival. The information has been noted and *SCAPE will take care to avoid such incidents in the future.
Moving forward, *SCAPE is committed to work together with you and push your environmental concerns forward! Tell us your ideas on how we can publicize and educate others regarding other environmental causes.
Tell us how *SCAPE can play a part in improving the environment! Suggest events, topics, campaigns, or anything that can further publicise the causes you feel should be more made known in Singapore. *SCAPE might just start a new activity to back these causes up!
We look forward to hear from you. 🙂

Salute to *SCAPE.
And thank you everyone for helping to spread the message. Let’s hope this is the last time a local company or organisation have balloon release.

I got a couple of SMS and emails from friends and blog readers last Saturday regarding *SCAPE doing a balloon release during their launch on 19 June 2010. The first thing that came to my mind was: What the Fuck were they thinking?

What is *SCAPE trying to do? Are they trying to tell our youth that balloon release is ok? “Hey, it’s the *SCAPE opening, the brand new park for the youth at Orchard. So why not just release 500 balloons into the air and see how they fly. Isn’t that a beautiful sight?”

Yes, 500 balloons floating in the air is a beautiful sight. But what about 500 balloons floating in the open sea for weeks or months? Or 500 balloons in the drains or forest as rubbish? That is not a beautiful sight. And you know what? That 500 balloons that Scape Park released on their opening night is most likely in the sea or the forest now. Good job Scape Park. Why not just give all attendees 500 deflated balloons and let them litter on your sparking new park?

I’ve been saying this again and again on my blog that balloon release is harmful to the environment. If we are lucky, the balloon just end up as litter in the sea or forest. If we are not lucky, a sea turtle or bird might mistook the balloon as their prey and choke on it. Balloon release is unnecessary and I still do not understand why any organization would put balloon release as part of their event.
It sadden me every time when I see ignorant organisation doing balloon release without researching or thinking. Common sense would tell you that the balloons that you release will fall back to earth as litter. Yet I do not understand why do they want to do it in the first place.
I can only spread the message on my blog. I’m glad I managed to convince some organizations to remove balloon release from their event. But there is only this much I can do. Please, if you are reading this, help educate the people around you. Tell them the harms of balloon release. Tell them not to take part in any activities that have balloon release as part of their program. If you see any events about to do balloon release, walk up to the organizers and tell them about the harm of balloon release.
As for the *SCAPE, my only question for them is: What kind of message are you sending to our youth? After reading their mission statement, I know 1 thing for sure that they failed in cultivating social responsibility.
PS: All photos on this blog were found online. I wasn’t at the event. If I am, I’ll most likely walk up to the organizers and tell them to stop the balloon release.
Update: *SCAPE responded on their facebook.

Wow, my blood was boiling at a new record high in the Singapore Book of Records too when reading this article.

Kotex held a party celebrating womanhood at Siloso Beach on Jun 20. To mark the event, over 1,300 balloons were set free, setting a new record in the Singapore Book of Records.
A spokesperson for Kotex says: “Kotex set free over 1,300 balloons containing myths and secrets about a woman’s body this Saturday (Jun 20) at the Life’s a Beach party at Siloso Beach!
“This is a brand new record in the Singapore book of Records!

Why is it that everybody likes to release balloons into the air to signify something? For goodness sake, 1300 balloons released in Sentosa. For what this time? Dispelling the myths and secrets about a woman’s body? You mean these 1300 “miracle balloons” can dispel the myth and secrets. Let me tell you what does mass balloon release signify. It signify that your company doesn’t care about the environment.
Let me remind everyone that what goes up must come down. Same goes for the 1300 balloons being released by Kotex last Saturday. Imagine the beach littered with deflated balloons. And balloons are known to pose as a threat to marine life. Releasing the 1300 balloons at Sentosa means that a large percentage of the balloon might end up in the sea. Did the organisers take that into consideration before implementing mass balloon release in their event?
Yes, this is indeed a new record in the Singapore book of Record, beating Marriage Central’s 1000 balloon release in March this year. Interestingly enough, the maximum number of balloons allowed for mass released is 500. So how exact did Kotex or its agency managed to apply for a permit for 1300 balloons? Or did they applied for a permit in the first place?
I personally think that 500 limit for mass balloon is too much. In fact, mass balloon release should be banned in Singapore. Releasing balloon in the air is like littering. If there is a $1000 fine for littering, why should we allow people to openly release 500 balloons in the air?
It’s very disheartening to see people doing mass balloon release in Singapore without researching on the impact that it might cause. Perhaps more education is required. Please, help spread the message. Stop mass balloon release in Singapore.

Argh, why is it that all these non profit organization likes to release balloons into the air so much huh? Earth Hour released 60 balloons to signify the 60 minutes of earth hour. Marriage Central released 1000 balloons to signify soaring love. Now Pink Dot also release balloons into the air. For what? So what does “releasing of balloons” signify this time?
When will people ever learn that mass release of balloons is bad for the environment? Its considered littering. Except this kind of “litter” goes up to the air first before coming down to earth several kilometers away. If the balloon lands in the sea (which is very likely considering the fact that Singapore is surrounded by sea), it might pose a threat to marine life. I really hope everyone read this article by UK Marine Conservation Society on mass balloon release. Please, stop mass balloon release.
I hate to ruin the party here. I have nothing against Pink Dot or LGBT. In fact, if you read my past blog entry about the Aware Saga, you will know that I’m neutral on LGBT. I’m totally against any form of discrimination against LGBT and I’m glad that Pink Dot is doing something to bring about awareness on the issues faced by LGBT. In fact, I was nearby during the event and I pop by for a while to show my support although I’m not wearing pink. (Sorry lah, I don’t have any pink clothes) I think by the time I reach there, the balloon release was already over. Didn’t know there was a balloon release. Else I would have written to the organisers to ask them to reconsider.
I really hope the balloon release is because of ignorance. Many people have mass balloon release as part of their event activities without knowing that it causes much harm to our environment.
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I hope the organisers will find other ways to put their message across next time. You don’t need to release any balloons to spread your message. Holding on to the balloons works just as well.
Update: Thanks to Andrew for informing me that the Mass Balloon Release wasn’t part of the program and volunteers from pink dot also went around asking participants not to release balloons. Good job guys! 🙂