Thursday, October 09, 2008

Barack Obama's $3 Million 'Overhead Projector' Actually Pretty Cool

From Gizmodo

During the last Presidential debate, John McCain delivered this line about his opponent with withering comtempt:

"[Obama] voted for nearly a billion dollars in pork barrel earmark projects, including, by the way, $3 million for an overhead projector at a planetarium in Chicago, Illinois."

I'm already tired of hearing these guys talk, but that caught my ear. A $3 million dollar projector? What does that even look like? Gearlog did some digging and found out that appropriation was requested by the planetarium to replace an awesome (but obsolete) 40-year old Zeiss Mark VI star projector with a newer model (pictured above).

Anyone with a planetarium in town will remember the Mark VI from school field trips: the 2.5 ton, 1350 watt giant (pictured below) can project a dynamic image of thousands of stars and constellation onto the ceiling of a massive dome for the viewing pleasure of a reclined audience. Its replacement would be much more impressive: the Universarium Model IX, which is a $3.5 million dollar astronomical projection unit capable of accurately representing a night sky in full color and motion. Politics aside, that's not exactly your school's transparency projector. You can check out the spec sheet at Zeiss's official site.

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