The vortex and the dandelion seed: a newfound physics of flying

A new paper (“A separated vortex ring underlies the flight of the dandelion“) published in Nature tells how dandelion seeds create a vortex that keeps them floating through the skies. This little video shows and tells the story of that: (Thanks to the ever-discovery-filled Cocktail Party Physics for bringing this to our attention.) UPDATE (October […]

Airline Upgrade Guilt – an examination

Do people with high levels of guilt-proneness tend to have a heightened sensitivity to injustices – what happens if they get an unexpected airline upgrade for example? This question has been examined by professor Anna S. Mattila and professor Lu Zhang of the School of Hospitality Management, The Pennsylvania State University, US along with professor […]

Earliest reported human flight in Britain (some time near the year 1000)

The earliest reported human flight in Britain happened, if it happened, long. long ago. Alison Hudson reports, in the British Library’s Medieval Manuscripts blog: It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a… Monk? …did you know that the first recorded pioneer of man-powered flight in the British Isles was an Anglo-Saxon monk from Malmesbury Abbey called Eilmer (or […]

Up in the air, junior bird man: from Ireland to Africa, lawnmower-ly

With a spirit somewhat akin to that of Ig Nobel Prize winner Troy (built a suit of armor to protect against grizzly bears) Hurtubise, comes “One man’s dream project to fly from Ireland to Africa by lawnmower gets under way this week“. The story is reported, with that headline, in The Journal: A FEW MONTHS […]

Simulated High-Altitude Taste Testing of Tomato Juice

The taste of tomato juice has been tested at high levels —or, rather,  at simulated high levels. This study contains details about that: “Odor and taste perception at normal and low atmospheric pressure in a simulated aircraft cabin,” Andrea Burdack-Freitag, Dino Bullinger, Florian Mayer, Klaus Breuer, Journal für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit, March 2011, Volume 6, […]