"enhanced" Stephen Hawking


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Seattle, WA

CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND—Nobel Prize-winning physicist Stephen Hawking stunned the international scientific community Monday with his latest breakthrough, a remarkably advanced cybernetic exoskeleton designed to replace his wheelchair.

Above: Physicist Stephen Hawking strolls the Cambridge University campus in his new million exoskeleton.
Hawking, paralyzed since early adulthood with the degenerative nerve disease ALS, unveiled the new creation at a press conference at Cambridge University.

"I am faster, stronger... better than before," Hawking told reporters via his suit's built-in voice synthesizer.

The hulking, hydraulically powered titanium-alloy exoskeleton is expected to assist the famed Brief History Of Time author tremendously in his ongoing theoretical physics research. "With the new exoskeleton, Stephen will be able to safely handle radioactive isotopes in the high-radiation area of the new supercollider particle accelerator. And his new robo-arms are capable of ripping open enemy tanks like they were nutshells," said Cambridge physics chair Sir Geoffrey Neville Shropshire-Kent.

The exoskeleton is also equipped with special infra-vision goggles, which will allow Hawking to observe sub-atomic phenomena firsthand.
"Wait a minute," said Hawking, testing out the high-tech infra-vision goggles for the first time. "I see now that the curvature of space-time follows previously unmeasured vectors that I will need to recalibrate in my equations. Also, there appears to be some sort of trouble on the moon."

Among the suit's other features: laser terminals; oxygen pressure-tanks for deep-sea and outer-space research; jet boots; and the most advanced crime-lab database in the world.

Constructed in Hawking's secret underground headquarters over the last two years by the famed scientist and his orphaned teenage sidekick and research assistant Hawk-Lad, the exoskeleton has already proven invaluable, not only in increasing the paralyzed Hawking's mobility, but in rounding up the notorious international gang of diamond thieves known as "The Fearsome Four."

The $55 million exoskeleton, which Hawking operates through slight movements of his left wrist, is powered by a pair of bio-morphogenetic servo-motors, and boasts the most advanced cyber-robotic technology anywhere, freeing Hawking of the wheelchair in which he has been confined for much of his adult life and giving him greater freedom of movement when engaged in battle.

"Beware, would-be evildoers," Hawking said. "My crimefighting powers are as infinite and unknowable as the very universe itself."
As for the future, Hawking said he plans to continue teaching and hopes to take a sabbatical in Italy with his wife and nurse. But primarily, he will focus on preparing for his greatest mission yet: a descent into a black hole in mid-1998.

"Only by penetrating the event horizon itself will I be able to observe the effects of singularity on neutrino decay and complete my research," Hawking said. "It should also prove invaluable in the construction of my new Anti-Gravity Gun. It may be our only hope for stopping Monstro, The Living Behemoth."

Hawking has already received the International Science League award for his invention, as well as a prestigious chair at the Helsinki Cybernetics Institute. He is also widely regarded as the favorite to win this year's Nobel Prize For Physics, and he recently received an honorary key to New York from Mayor Rudolph Giuliani after saving the city from the Galactons.

Yes, the Onion can be very good. :)

After the "hanging chads of Florida" fiasco, they had a great article about how Serbia was sending peacekeepers to the USA to "ensure democracy took place". They can be very observant at times. :)

i have the deepest respect and admiration for this man and, from the anecdotal evidence, i'd say that he'd probably find it amusing too :)

as for where you and my parents went wrong... well... for them, it would have been in the 2nd grade when i had my first Evel Knievel Stunt Motorcycle... and you've gone wrong by not realizing that my first Evel Knievel Stunt Motorcycle was broken on christmas morning and for not replacing it yet :)

some of you may not know whom Evel is... so, for you:

Born in in the wide-open copper mining town of Butte, Montana October 17, 1938, Robert Craig Knievel was raised by his grandparents. At age eight he saw Joey Chitwood's Auto Daredevil Show which he credits for his later career choice to become a motorcycle daredevil.

Outstanding in track and field, ski jumping and ice hockey at Butte High School he went on to win the Northern Rocky Mountain Ski Association Class A Men's ski jumping championship in 1957 and to play with the Charlotte Clippers of the Eastern Hockey League in 1959. He then formed the Butte Bombers semiprofessional hockey team, acting as owner, manager, coach and player.

He worked in the copper mines as a contract miner, skip tender and diamond drill operator. After a stint in the US Army where he pole vaulted and ran the 220 on the Army track team, he ran his own hunting guide service in Montana. During that time he learned that excess elk were being slaughtered in Yellowstone Park and decided to launch a campaign to save them and relocate them to areas open to hunters. In 1961, at age 23, he hitch-hiked to Washington, D.C. with a pair of elk antlers and presented his case to a John F. Kennedy Presidential Aide, Congressman Arnold Olsen, Senator Mike Mansfield and Interior Secretary Stewart Udall. As a result the slaughter was stopped and the animals have since been regularly captured and transported by the US government to areas in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.

In 1962 Knievel broke his collarbone and shoulder in a motorcycle race. While on the mend he took a job as a salesman for the Combined Insurance Company of America, selling in one week a record total of 271 policies. He credits much of his personal success to company president W. Clement Stone's philosophy of maintaining a positive mental attitude. He later opened several Honda dealerships in Washington state, drumming up business by offering $100 off of the price of a motorcycle to anyone who could beat him at arm wrestling.

In 1965 he began his daredevil career when he formed a troupe called Evel Knievel's Motorcycle Daredevils, a touring show in which he performed stunts such as riding through fire walls, jumping over live rattlesnakes and mountain lions and being towed at 200 miles an hour behind dragster race cars holding on to a parachute.

In 1966 he began touring alone, barnstorming the Western states. Evel did everything himself, including truck driving, ramp erecting, promoting and performing his ever longer and more dangerous motorcycle jumps. In the beginning he charged $500 for a jump over two cars parked between ramps. He steadily increased the length of the jumps and then on New Years Day 1968, he jumped 151 feet across the fountains in front of Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. Successfully clearing the fountains, his landing was a disaster, and his injuries put him in the hospital in a coma for 30 days. While recovering, he decided to make it his goal to jump the Grand Canyon. In the next few years the payment for his performances increased to $1 million for his jump over 13 buses at Wembley Stadium in London and over $6 million for the Snake River Canyon jump.

International media attention to Evel's heroic, death-defying feats and his popular messages to the world's youth, promoting abstention from drugs and a healthy lifestyle with a positive mental attitude quickly transformed him into a National Icon. He became America's Legendary Daredevil. Though having attained super-star status, and genuine friendships with other stars like Elvis Presley, Jackie Gleason and Muhammed Ali, he remained affable and accessible to ordinary working people and children.
[size=+3]Some career highlights include: [/size]
  • Jan. I, 1968 - Crashed in an attempt to clear the fountains at Caesar's Palace in Los Vegas
  • Sept. 20, 1970 - Successfully cleared 13 cars in Seattle, WA
  • Jan. 8, 1971 - Again clearing 13 cars he drew a then record crowd to the Houston Astrodome
  • Feb. 28, 1971 - Set World record at Ontario, CA by jumping 19 Dodge cars.
  • May 10, 1971 - Crashed in an attempt to clear 13 Pepsi Cola trucks in Yakima, WA
  • March 3, 1972 - Suffered serious injury in San Francisco's Cow Palace when his motorcycle crashed in a very difficult landing area.
  • Feb. 18, 1973 - Taking off from the highest ski-style jump ramp ever used he thrilled the crowd of 35,000 by flying over 50 cars stacked in the center of the Los Angeles Colliseum
  • August 20, 1974 - In his last jump before the famous do-or-die Snake River Canyon attempt, he soared 135 feet over 13 eight foot wide Mack Trucks at the Canadian National Exposition.
  • Sept. 8, 1974 - After two unsuccessful unmanned test flights Evel decided to keep his word to his fans and risked his life in a specially constructed rocket powered "Skycycle" in an attempt to clear the Snake River Canyon in Idaho. Even though he made it across the quarter mile wide chasm, strong winds blew the malfunctioning parachute back into the canyon, landing just a few feet from the swirling river in which he would have surely drowned.
  • May 31, 1975 - A record crowd of over 90,000 at Wembley Stadium in London, England watched as Evel crashed upon landing, breaking his pelvis after clearing 13 double-tiered buses.
  • October 25, 1975 - Defiant after the Wembley crash, Evel successfully jumped 14 Greyhound buses at King's Island in Ohio.
In the winter of 1976 Evel was seriously injured during a nationally televised performance of an attempt to motorcycle jump a tank full of live sharks in the Chicago Ampitheater. For the first time a bystander was also injured when a cameraman was struck, eventually losing an eye. Knievel, who suffered a brain concussion and two broken arms, decided to retire from major performances but continued to do smaller exhibitions around the country with his son Robbie, establishing him as his successor.

Evel still holds the all time ABC's Wide world of Sports TV viewing audience record for his 52% of household share when his Kings Island performance was broadcast in 1975.

Two major motion pictures by Warner Bros. have featured Knievel; "Evel Knievel" starring George Hamilton as Evel in his life story and "Viva Knievel", a thriller starring Evel as himself. Viacom Productions did a made for TV movie starring Sam Elliot as Evel, plus Evel again starred as himself with Lindsey Wagner in an episode of the popular 1980's TV series "Bionic Woman".

In the late 1970's and early 1980's the Evel Knievel Toys produced by Ideal Toy Co. and other products such as pinball machines, bicycles, watches, radios and other accessory items sold over $300 million dollars in entertainment to America's children. Knievel was credited with re-vitalizing the poorly performing toy industry in the 70's.

In a career as an artist in the 1980's he painted mostly western and wildlife scenes and sold thousands of limited edition prints in art galleries nationwide.

His motorcycle and memorabilia display by the Smithsonian Institute in their Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. has immortalized him as America's Legendary Daredevil.

In September, 1974 he was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated Magazine. He is listed in Who's Who and the Guiness Book of World Records as having broken 35 bones. There is a river in Arkansas named after him.

Evel has been an avid golfer most of his life and continues to play regularly. He enjoys all sports and likes to watch and wager on football, basketball and hockey games.

He has been a generous contributor to charities and currently is promoting the work of the "Make a Wish Foundation", an organization that arranges the fullfillment of the dreams of children suffering from terminal illnesses.