Should Airplanes Look Like Birds?

Currently a Boeing 747 gets 0.2 miles per gallon; a more aerodynamic plane would reduce drag as it cruises through the air and increase lift, which translates to better fuel economy.

Like their automobile counterparts, airplane engineers have been looking for ways to safely send those 70-ton metallic birds into the air on a leaner fuel diet to cut down on carbon emissions and rising transportation costs. Earlier this year, engineers Geoffrey Spedding at the University of Southern California and Joachim Huyssen at Northwest University in South Africa put their heads together to tackle that airplane fuel efficiency conundrum. After reconfiguring the typical plane design in order to maximize the plane’s aerodynamics, they came up with a brilliantly basic answer: Airplanes should look more like birds.

Why Henry David Thoreau was drawn to yoga

The famed author headed to the pond thanks to Indian philosophy.

Image: Public Domain / Shutterstock / Big Think
Personal Growth
  • The famed author was heavily influenced by Indian literature, informing his decision to self-exile on Walden Pond.
  • He was introduced to these texts by his good friend's father, William Emerson.
  • Yoga philosophy was in America a century before any physical practices were introduced.
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How to vaccinate the world’s most vulnerable? Build global partnerships.

Pfizer's partnerships strengthen their ability to deliver vaccines in developing countries.

Susan Silbermann, Global President of Pfizer Vaccines, looks on as a health care worker administers a vaccine in Rwanda. Photo: Courtesy of Pfizer.
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  • Community healthcare workers face many challenges in their work, including often traveling far distances to see their clients
  • Pfizer is helping to drive the UN's sustainable development goals through partnerships.
  • Pfizer partnered with AMP and the World Health Organization to develop a training program for healthcare workers.
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Photo: Shutterstock / Big Think
Personal Growth
    • A recent study from the Department of Health and Human Services found that 80 percent of Americans don't exercise enough.
    • Small breaks from work add up, causing experts to recommend short doses of movement rather than waiting to do longer workouts.
    • Rethinking what exercise is can help you frame how you move throughout your day.
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