Archive for Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Heard on the Hill: KU geography students hope to obtain aerial photos using weather balloon; Christian fraternity growing slowly but steadily; stop by Kansas Union to taste students’ recipes

March 2, 2011


Your daily dose of news, notes and links from around Kansas University.

• I heard from a team of KU geography students who will be sending a camera up in a weather balloon to catch some aerial photos of Lawrence.

It’s part of an assignment for their graduate-level course, and they’re documenting their efforts on this blog.

They hope to use the aerial photos to add to what they already know about the geography of the area using existing photos.

Yes, attaching a camera to a rented airplane would likely be cheaper and more reliable, but that’s not necessarily the point, one team member told me. First and foremost, that’s not what their assignment asks. They have to use their ingenuity to construct something that accomplishes the same task using a budget. They’re also looking for ways to involve local elementary school kids in the project somehow.

And besides, weather balloons are just kind of neat. No need to take my word for it, ask this dad and his son, who sent a camera and an iPhone up in space using a weather balloon and tracked it back to earth, and came up with this really cool video that made its way around the Internet last fall.

I’ll keep up with the KU students as their project continues.

• Speaking of blogs (at least I was about five paragraphs ago), one that I'm reading a lot recently is Kansas Athletics photographer Jeff Jacobsen's "Here I Stand" blog. Good photos, along with some good stuff about Kansas Athletics, too.

That's mixed in with some lighter stuff about him and his family, like an amusing story about biking on a muddy day.

• The University Daily Kansan recently caught up with a fraternity only open to Christian men that I first wrote about in 2009.

Beta Upsilon Chi is growing at a slow but steady pace, and has 27 members so far at KU. They’ve got strict anti-hazing policies, and also don’t allow members to drink until they’re 21. They hope to keep growing, and have recently faced struggles in getting their name out there, according to the Kansan. Happy to help here at Heard on the Hill.

The fraternity exists as a student group, but isn’t registered with KU’s Interfraternity Council.

They also don’t allow non-Christians to join, which led me to ask in 2009 whether they were violating KU policy that doesn’t allow religious discrimination.

Nope, at least according to a KU spokesman, who told me the fraternity had a constitutional right to form their group. (That’s been defended in court by the fraternity’s attorneys, by the way.)

And, hey, they do allow everyone to come to their open parties.

• Next Tuesday, March 8, might be a good time to stop by the Jayhawk Room on Level 5 of the Kansas Union, because you’ll be able to sample a variety of recipes submitted as part of the Student Union Activities student recipe contest.

Taste testing is open to all KU students, and runs from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The winner receives gift cards, and will be featured on the menu of the Impromptu Café in the Kansas Union in March.

Where’s that Top Chef guy when you need him?

• The parties are always open here at Heard on the Hill. All you’ve got to do to join in is send a tip to


Tristan Moody 7 years, 1 month ago

I really wish people would stop with this misconception. Yes, the balloons reach quite a high altitude, but even the maximum altitude that these reach (20 miles or so) is less than half the altitude of even the most liberally defined boundary of outer space. The sky is black, but the atmosphere is still thick enough for a parachute to work. These balloons are not going into space--not even halfway.

Tristan Moody 7 years, 1 month ago

I'm not offended so much as I think bad science journalism has become too prevalent.

ahyland 7 years, 1 month ago

These KU folks used the term "near space," which seems to fit here.

That possibly would have been a good distinction to make, vs. "outer space," instead of just using the generic term "space."

Thanks for the feedback!

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