Flight Attendants, Please Prepare for Cross-Check

Emergency Exits

How many times have you heard this announcement over the airplane PA? “Flight attendants, please prepare for cross-check”. Probably every time you fly, but have you ever considered what it actually means when they say Cross-Check?

A Cross-Check is done by a flight attendant just before the plane is ready to be pushed back from the gate before takeoff. The flight attendants must make sure that the emergency escape slide is engaged before flight. This cross-check must also be done once the plane arrives at the gate before opening the door.

If the door where to be opened before disarming the emergency escape slide, it would automatically deploy on to the tarmac.

This is a great video that demonstrates opening the door with the slide disarmed, and then with it armed.

Are Olympic Medals Made of Real Gold and Silver?

London 2012 Olympic medals made by The Royal Mint, Llantrisant / Medalau Llundain 2012 wedi’u cynhyrchu gan y Bathdy Brenhinol, Llantrisant

Before the 1912 Summer Olympics, the medals were made from solid gold. Now there is only 1.34% gold in the Olympic Gold medals, the rest is 93% silver and 6% copper. The Silver medals are made up of 93% silver and 7% copper, and the Bronze medal is made up almost entirely of copper.

source: CSS Money

Are the Flags Still Flying on the Moon?

Apollo 12: Conrad Unfurls Flag
It turns out that all but one of the US flags from the Apollo program are still standing upright on the surface of the moon. Recent photos from the Lunar Reconaissance Orbiter show a shadow than changes throughout the day, this has led researchers to believe that the American flags still stand 43 years after they were placed. The only flag that is no longer upright was the one planted by the crew of Apollo 11, which was knocked over by the thrust from the space craft on liftoff.

source: BBC News

Facts About Eggs

Wise Bread has a great post containing 10 facts about eggs.  Did you know that there are more egg colors than just brown and white?

Different breeds of chickens produce different colors of eggs. In addition to the typical white and brown, some chickens produce blue, blue-green, reddish-brown, or even speckled eggs. A great place to look for atypical egg colors is at your local farmers market; one vendor at my market sells a dozen eggs in a mix of blue, white, cream, and brown.

via 10 Fantastic Facts About Eggs | Wise Bread.

Why Does Airline Food Taste so Bland?

New research on the affects of background noise and how we perceive taste.

While louder noise reduced the reported sweetness or saltiness, it increased the measure of crunch.
The research is reported in the journal Food Quality and Preference.
It may go some way to explaining why airline food is notoriously bland – a phenomenon that drives airline catering companies to heavily season their foods.
“Theres a general opinion that aeroplane foods arent fantastic,” said Andy Woods, a researcher from Unilevers laboratories and the University of Manchester.

via BBC News – Background noise affects taste of foods, research shows.

How Old is the International Space Station?

The International Space recently celebrated its 10th year in full operation.

The second decade of a new era in human history — when not everyone lives on our home planet — began Nov. 2, 2010, as the International Space Station crossed the 1.5 billion mile mark of its travels with six residents on board and six visitors en route.

On Oct. 25, the station also set a record for being the longest continuously inhabited spacecraft. On that day, the International Space Station eclipsed the previous record of 3,644 days set by the Russian Mir Space Station. With each new day, NASA and its partners are pushing the envelope of human achievement in space into uncharted territory.

via NASA – 10 Years and Counting.

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Did you know that Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo is a grammatically correct sentence?

“Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.” is a grammatically valid sentence in the English language, used as an example of how homonyms and homophones can be used to create complicated linguistic constructs. It has been discussed in literature since 1972 when the sentence was used by William J. Rapaport, an associate professor at the University at Buffalo. It was posted to Linguist List by Rapaport in 1992. It was also featured in Steven Pinker’s 1994 book The Language Instinct.

via Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

How Many Words Did Shakespeare Know?

Here is an interesting piece on how two statisticians estimated how many words William Shakespeare may have known.

This argument was repeated with a third, fourth, fifth sample, and so on. Each sample corresponds to discovering a new and different complete works of Shakespeare. For each sample, it is possible to estimate the number of new words that appear that have not appeared before. With each new sample, the number of new words decreases, but the total number of words used increases. Eventually, given enough samples, the number of new words approaches about 35,000. This means that in addition the 31,534 words that Shakespeare knew and used, there were approximately 35,000 words that he knew but didn’t use. Thus, we can estimate that Shakespeare knew approximately 66,534 words.