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RECORD DIVE: World needs more maniacs like Baumgartner

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EDITOR’S BLOG. On Sunday, Austrian adventurer Felix Baumgartner made history with his free fall to from an altitude of almost 40 kilometers above Earth. At the edge of space, he took a deep breath and stepped off the platform of the capsule hanging under the balloon that had carried him from the ground. Preparations for that step had taken five years. And then he fell, fell and fell, and set a new world record while at it.

The images and videos of the daring attempt were of course all over the web. And, with them, on Monday came loads of comments, some of which were positive, some not so positive.

VIDEO: See Baumgartner step off the platform

Some people did not at all appreciate the free fall, where Baumgartner became the the first human being to fall through the sound barrier. What’s the point, someone wrote on Facebook. What’s all the fuzz about, another asked. Why do we care about a maniac trying to kill himself in space with all the troubles that are going on down here? Or, as a Mirror columnist pointed out, is it not just a big show-off?

[pullquote]It’s these brave men, and some women, that have moved the world forward, step by step, a little piece each time[/pullquote]

I could not disagree more. I think it is fantastic. You might write me off as a nerd or news junkie, but as with all major news stories – important to mankind or not – I try to gather as much information as possible. I collect and digest it all, and then, as all the facts lay there, I come up with an opinion.

RELATED: How Baumgartner made his historic dive

And my opinion is that the world needs more of these maniacs, not less. It’s these brave men, and some women (there should be more women), that by setting new standards, breaking old barriers and succeeding with the impossible, have moved the world forward, step by step, a little piece each time. These events are those that can unify a whole planet, whatever the religion, state border or skin color. Simply put, these people are heroes.

As far as travel is concerned, Baumgartner’s historic jump is interesting, too. During the next few decades, space tourism is set to take off, literally, and future tourists in space can now rest assured, if nothing else, that it is possible to escape safely to Earth from up there if the spaceship breaks down.

Baumgartner about to step off his capsule.

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The editor of the Traveling Reporter works as a business news editor, and is a frequent traveler. When not doing any of that, he spends time on his boat and tries to figure out where to travel next. Two of his top destinations are the Philippines and San Francisco. Email Erik! Follow the Traveling Reporter at Stumbleupon, Tumblr, Chime In, Pinterest, Google+, Weibo, Storify, Facebook, Traveldudes, Myspace.