Allow us to explain NASA's new supersonic X-Plane
NASA is developing something called an X-Plane that could potentially bring back supersonic speeds to the skies.
NASA is developing something called an X-Plane that could potentially bring back supersonic speeds to the skies. Not only is that super-fun alliteration, but it is also very exciting for travelers wishing to get from New York to Los Angeles in two hours. The X-Plane travels at about 940mph and should be able to break the sound barrier without the pesky sonic boom thing that us mere mortals on the ground can't stand. According to Wired, the sound will be more akin to "a car door closing" than a big ol' boom.
How is NASA doing this? Well, they aren't. They're paying Lockheed Martin $245 million to turn their Low Boom Flight Demonstrator (catchy name!) into a supersonic plane. A key difference between this and a commercial plane is the fact that the Low Boom (for short) flies at 55,000ft in altitude, a full 4 miles higher than commercial aircraft. Which makes sense, as the technology, sadly, is mostly for science, as the Low Boom is only 96ft long and only holds one person. It could be 10 years until this technology hits us regular folk.
It might be hard to for our younger readers to imagine, but back in the sepia-toned 1980s when I was growing up we had these magical planes called Concordes that went 1,354mph—nearly 400mph faster than the X-Plane. The Concorde ceased production in 2003 due to "increasing maintenance costs" (and a high-profile crash outside of Paris in 2000).
No word on whether they'll fly this supersonic over Seattle, as that's about the only chance the city has of getting the Supersonics back.
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In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.
- Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
- The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
- Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.
- For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
- These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
- Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.
- In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
- This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
- Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
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