Why a V-shaped plane may make a whole lot of sense

When it comes to climate change, today's airplane pollution is a real problem.

Image source: TU Delft
  • A new partnership between the Delft University of Technology and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has been announced along with a plan for a striking new plane.
  • The Flying-V is a plane that's all wing, and promises a 20% reduction in fuel use.
  • Riding in the Flying-V as it banks may not be for the faint of heart.
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Technology & Innovation

Magnetic north isn’t even close to where it used to be

You won't notice much of a difference unless you're north of the 55th parallel, though.

(Kirk Geisler/hobbit/Shutterstock/Big Think)
  • Magnetic north has recently been moving north from Canada to Russia in a cold hurry.
  • It's moving about 33 miles a year instead of the usual 7 miles.
  • World navigation models had to updated ahead of schedule to catch up with it.
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Surprising Science

The government’s secret UFO reading list is revealed. Wow.

FOIA release sheds light on the DOD's own struggle to understand UFOs.

(Vladi333/SONY/Big Think)
  • A just-unclassified Department of Defense reading list on UFOs is stunning.
  • The DOD is wondering if the truth lies in some of the most far-out theories.
  • Science fiction has nothing on science fact.
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Surprising Science

A new study proves parachutes are useless

A new study flies in the face of anecdotal evidence and raises questions about how we read data.

Yeh et al.
  • Scientists working at medical schools across the United States discovered that parachutes don't lower the death rate of people jumping out of airplanes.
  • The study flies in the face of decades of anecdotal evidence.
  • The findings should be carefully applied, due to "minor caveats" with the experimental structure.
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Surprising Science

What people smuggle onto airplanes — and why

Most of those who try to sneak stuff onboard succeed.

(James R. Martin/Shutterstock)
  • 32.4 percent of American travelers try to sneak forbidden items onboard.
  • 87.7 percent of them succeed.
  • It's mostly about recreational drugs, but also about explosives, poisons, and infectious items.
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Politics & Current Affairs