Thirty-Two Feet per Second, per Second
You don't get a lot of second chances, though, in the rocket business.
("Mad Mike" Hughes)
Today, a man launched himself hundreds of feet into the air on a steam-powered rocket ship he cobbled together in his garage. He was attempting an altitude of roughly 5,000 feet, ostensibly because he wanted to personally observe the curvature (or lack thereof) of the Earth. (Nevermind that commercial airliners routinely fly at altitudes in excess of 35,000 feet and offer free WiFi.) Like many, he was unwilling to take the aerospace industry's word that our planet is, if not precisely a globe, still globe-enough for the math to work out. And so he built his very own spaceship to have a look (and maybe a bit of publicity) for himself. The results were predictable. "Mad Mike" is no longer with us.
If in 1998 you had told me the Internet would threaten to tear modern civilization apart at the seams, I might have believed you. I would not, however, have imagined the medium's ability to amplify humanity's natural inclination to self-destructive foolishness. Yet here we are, riding homemade rockets into the dirt.