Airplane Oxygen Masks Make Their Own Oxygen
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Have you ever wondered where they store the oxygen for the emergency masks aboard airplanes? With airlines finding more ways to save costs and fill the plane to capacity, it would be impractical to use heavy, bulky oxygen tanks. Especially when there's another way: create your own oxygen. There are plenty of non-gas chemicals that are rich in oxygen—take a look at the O3 in sodium chlorate's chemical formula, NaClO3, for example. All it needs is a little bit of heat, and sodium chlorate (or barium peroxide, or potassium perchlorate) quickly gives off its oxygen atoms so that you have air to breathe. That's why flight attendants instruct you to tug on the mask. That tug creates a small explosion that will generate the heat it takes to make the chemical in question release its oxygen. The chemical reaction only lasts for a maximum of about 20 minutes, but that's usually enough time for the plane to descend to a safe breathing altitude. Still, it's extremely important that you put your mask on as soon as possible, since it only takes about 30 seconds in dangerously low cabin pressure for a person to pass out. Attention all passengers, we would now like to direct your attention to the airplane videos below.
The Denver International Airport Is The Unassuming Home To Countless Conspiracies
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It's difficult to narrow down all the strange features of the Denver International Airport to the single most bizarre. It's as if the builders (who somehow went $2 billion over budget) purposely made the airport mysterious. According to a dedication marker inside the airport, the "New World Airport Commission" is responsible for building the DIA, yet the New World Airport Commission doesn't exist. Some conspiracy theorists believe this mention is a nod to the New World Order, aka the New Nazi Party, who they claim were the real funders of the project. Theorists cite the fact that the airport's runways make a swastika-like shape as further evidence. A giant statue in front of the airport has become a sort of creepy mascot for the DIA: the "Blue Mustang." This 32-foot-tall blue horse with glowing red eyes has been dubbed "Blucifer" by the locals. The glowing red eyes, for some, hint at the statue's evil energy. It doesn't help that the massive mustang killed its sculptor after falling on him and severing an artery. Other conspiracy theories about the airport include these wild claims: it is the headquarters of the Illuminati, it's imagery portrays satanic messages, and it's hiding secret bunkers in case of an apocalyptic war. Watch the video below for more mysterious features of the DIA, including whatever might be going on in the ground beneath it.
The First Tobacco-Powered Plane Took Off In 2016
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Tobacco use has declined big time in the last 40 years, which is good news for public health. Unfortunately, it's bad news for tobacco farmers, and anyone who lives in a place where the crop still plays a large role in the economy. That's why many are looking for alternative uses for tobacco that could keep the crop in business without keeping people addicted. One of those uses addresses another global problem: oil production. Among the toxic ingredients in tobacco is tar, which is made of hydrocarbon compounds just like those in petroleum. This makes it a prime candidate for creating biofuels. Cultivated in South Africa, Solaris tobacco is genetically engineered to be very low in nicotine but high in oil, making it perfect for producing fuel. In July 2016, the first biofuel-powered commercial planes in Africa carried 300 passengers from Johannesburg to Cape Town, partially powered by Solaris tobacco plants. Boeing has said it plans to use biofuel in routine flights soon.
Airplane Wings That Can Shape-Shift
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U.S. Air Force researchers are working on what they call a Variable Camber Compliant Wing, which can change its shape mid-flight. The wing would operate autonomously, changing its camber depending on flying conditions to maximize the plane's aerodynamic efficiency. By flexing into a shape with low camber, the wings would enable the plane to travel faster and save fuel. A high-camber shape, on the other hand, would increase the drag on the aircraft.
Key Facts to Know
Nearly a century before the Wright Brothers' famous flight, Sir George Cayley wrote papers stating that propulsion, control, and lift were the basic requirements for flight. 0:46
The word "camber" can be used to describe the curvature of an airplane wing. 1:39
Air Force engineers have developed wings that can change their camber in mid-air, called Variable Camber Compliant Wings. 2:25
The Hyper-Fast Future Of Flight
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This new concept jet could potentially make the world feel a whole lot smaller. The Antipode hypersonic jet promises outlandishly fast travel times around the world-think 32 minutes to fly from New York to Sydney, New York to Dubai in 22 minutes, and New York to Hong Kong in 26 minutes. Designed by Canadian engineer Charles Bombardier, the plane will be able to fit 10 passengers. The Antipode will fly at elevations of 40,000 feet (12,192 meters), and at speeds of over 12,430 miles per hour (20,000 kilometers per hour). The incredible designed will be fueled by reusable liquid-oxygen or kerosene rockets.