Gravity Outage at MIT, 8 April 2010

What can I say? We had a gravity failure near my lab today.

(Click on any of the photos for a larger view.)

Fortunately, the gravity outage was confined to a roughly 10-foot square of someone's rec room, so I was able to document it from below without floating away.

The inverted room is suspended from an enormous decorative arch outside the Media Lab. The arch was built when the Media Lab building was built; it's not part of the hack (at least, not part of this hack). I would guess that the top segment of the arch is about 50-60 feet long by about 15 feet wide near the middle, and the columns support it about 30-40 feet above the plaza. The first two photos show the whole plaza looking west toward the Great Dome from the atrium of building E25.

I took these photos with my camera phone, and some details are difficult to see in them. Among the items in the inverted room are:

To prevent injury to anyone below in case someone carelessly flipped on the gravity breaker without checking first if anything was floating above, the persons responsible used six large bands (of fabric? I couldn't tell) looped over the arch to immobilize the room. The rules of hacking (yes, there are rules) forbid damaging permanent structures by, for example, drilling holes or using adhesives to attach anything to them.

And cats always land on their feet, anyway.

George Moody