Zoom June 2013

The wind is at your back blowing at a steady 15 miles per hour, optimal conditions for flight. Clutching the bridal point, the spot where the spooled “steering” line attaches to the kite, you let out some rope. As the kite rises, you let out some more, pulling to increase altitude. Barring kite-eating trees and fickle winds the kite should soar into the blue. Time has not changed the mechanics of flight. From the Chinese inventor flying a bamboo-framed, silk model some 2,800 years ago to the modern nylon and plastic version kids fly today, a kite remains aloft because the pressure above it is less than the lift below. That natural wind is critical—running to launch a kite ends disappointingly if there isn’t a gust to sustain it. While Ben Franklin is often associated with a kite, it made history long before him. In ancient China, kites were used as a form of execution when the condemned strapped to them were thrown from a tower. That is until 559 AD, when Yuan Huangtou glided to a soft landing.

michael isenbek

Michael Isenbek, Associate Editor, dabbles in both fiction and nonfiction writing, coordinates the Pulse event listings and writes the text for "Zoom," among other editorial tasks. He has a Master's Degree in Liberal Studies and a Bachelor's Degree in Cultural Studies with a concentration in Journalism from SUNY Empire State College.