|Helene Alberti Demonstrates the Greek Law of Cosmic Motion (Leslie Jones Collection, Boston Public Library)|
Brookline, Mass.: Inventor Helene Alberti of Brookline, Massachusetts, successfully harnessed the Greek Law of Cosmic Motion (or something very close to it) today. It was overcast when Alberti and her team of assistants approached the crown of a nearby hill chosen for its cosmic alignment and gentle slopes. "Already, boys" she cried as they buckled on her harness and affixed her extendable wings. The wings, she explained, were not the primary means of initial lift - that was where the bicycle wheel came in, and she held it aloft and spun it gently to accumulate the cosmic energy in their surroundings. The wings were mainly for gliding in flight and in landing, she said, although they could assist in the launch phase.
Three times she spun the wheel, faster and faster, to no avail. Looking concerned, she gave it another spin. Again, nothing. As she made ready for a fifth attempt, one of her assistants noticed something. "Hey, I think you got a flat," he said. "Holy crap," cried Alberti. "How did that happen? It was holding air fine when we left the house!" She waited impatiently as her assistants got out their tools and a patch kit (they forgot the spare tube, naturally).
Squared away, she once again took her position, held the wheel aloft and gave it a healthy spin. For a moment nothing happened. Then a strange blue glow began to radiate out from the wheel. It spread out along her wings and radiated in pulses, gaining in intensity. "Ha!" she cried, and began to run down the slope, taking bounding leaps. Two, three, four times she sprang into the air, higher each time. Then with one final bound, she left the mortal ground entirely, and soared off into the heavens.
"Madame Alberti!" called out one of her assistants. "You forgot your CO2 cartridge! What if you get another flat? Will you be able to land?"
"Never you mind, son!" she cried. "Where there's a wheel, there's a way!"
And with that, she vanished from sight. There has been no trace of her since.
(For more on Ms. Alberti, click here.)