From June 23 to July 17, the City of London Festival will draw visitors from around the world for a wide range of events and activities. This summer’s festival will include an inflatable bowler hat, a popular symbol of London’s history.
The inflatable bowler hat will be set up in Paternoster Square, next to the iconic St. Paul’s Cathedral. It will stand over 10 meters (30 feet, or over three stories) high.
The bowler hat will be able to seat up to 212 people. It will be the site of over 100 public events, including children’s theater, cabaret, comedy, musical, and circus performances, as well as debates on themes related to justice, money, and power in London.
The inflatable structure is patterned after the design of the original bowler hat, which was created in 1849 by St. James Street’s Lock & Co., the world’s oldest hat shop. It was originally intended to protect a gamekeeper’s head from overhanging branches, but over time the bowler hat became a part of every City worker’s uniform. By the 1950s, the bowler hat had also become popular with businessmen. It has also been worn by characters in several famous movies, including “A Clockwork Orange” and James Bond films.
Festival organizers chose the inflatable bowler hat because of the hat’s status as a symbol of London’s history. They expect it to bring added fun to the festival and allow the public to enjoy artistic and cultural events in a unique venue.
Performances of the opera “Madame Butterfly” at the Sydney Harbour will include an inflatable sun and moon as part of the set.
The sun measures 12 meters (36 feet) in diameter, and the moon is 6 meters (18 feet). The sun is supported by a large platform that floats on the water. It is constructed with thick sail cloth and is inflated by two fans and lit up with 12 LED lights. Four anchor lines hold the platform in place. The anchor lines must be checked every day to be sure that a boat has not run over them and cut them, which has happened in the past.
The sun and moon will be inflated by theater technician Andrew Tindal-Davies, who refers to himself as an “Orb Master.” He will be inside the sun during the entire performance of the opera. He will be positioned behind the lights so that audience members will not be able to see his shadow from the shore, where they will be watching the performance.
In addition to the inflatable sun and moon, the large outdoor set also includes a Japanese bamboo forest, two working cars, two cranes, a live orchestra, and two fireworks displays.
This is the third year that Handa Opera will perform a series of shows on Sydney Harbour. They will perform 20 times, beginning on March 21.
Puccini’s opera is about an American naval officer who visits Japan and marries a local woman, whom he nicknames Madame Butterfly. The cast of the opera consists of 60 artists, both local and international.
Engineers at aerospace firms Northrop Grumman and L’Garde have been working for the past year on a design for an inflatable aircraft that could one day be used to study the atmosphere of Venus.
The unmanned concept vehicle, the Venus Atmospheric Maneuverable Platform (VAMP), would be carried to Venus’ orbit on a carrier spacecraft. The VAMP’s design calls for a 151-foot wingspan, larger than NASA’s space shuttle. However, it would weigh just 992 pounds. It would deploy and inflate with hydrogen or another buoyant gas and then detach and fall slowly into the planet’s atmosphere.
VAMP would travel through Venus’ atmosphere 34 to 43 miles above the surface. It would use propellers powered by solar panels to travel high in the atmosphere during the day. It would travel lower at night using batteries or an advanced stirling radioisotope generator, which converts heat generated by the radioactive decay of plutonium-238 into electricity.
If it flew at an altitude of 43 miles, the inflatable aircraft could carry up to 44 pounds of equipment. If it flew at a slightly lower altitude, it could carry 10 times that weight. Data would be transmitted back to Earth via the carrier spacecraft, which would continue orbiting Venus.
The VAMP would be carried around Venus by strong winds about every six days. The inflatable aircraft could study Venus for about a year before it gradually lost all of its buoyant gas.
Scientists involved with the project say it could be achieved using existing technology. They want to study Venus’ atmosphere to understand how it changed from a place that could have once supported life to the extremely hot planet that it is today. Similar aircraft might one day be used to study Mars and Saturn’s moon Titan.
In honor of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, the Josephine Ford Cancer Institute at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, in conjunction with the American Cancer Society, will display a 32-foot-long by 14-foot-high inflatable replica of the human colon on March 10. The inflatable colon shows healthy and unhealthy polyps and explains diseases.
Over 136,000 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer every year. It is the second most common type of cancer and one of the most preventable. Early detection and treatment can dramatically increase survival rates. There has been a significant decline in colon cancer rates in the past 15 years due to colonoscopy screenings becoming more commonly performed.
Ninety percent of colon cancer cases occur in people over 50. Doctors encourage anyone over the age of 50 and those with a family history of colon cancer or other risk factors to have a colonoscopy. If a polyp is found, it can be removed before it becomes cancerous.
The event’s organizers hope that by walking through the inflatable colon, people will better understand the colonoscopy process and the importance of early detection and treatment. They hope that visitors will be less afraid of the procedure after walking through the inflatable colon.
A 2013 study funded by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control concluded that similar inflatable colon exhibits improved the public’s knowledge of colon cancer and interest in screening.
The hospital will also host a panel discussion about colon health and answer questions about health, prevention, screening, and treatment.