Weekend what we’re reading: He carries on — she checks, Owl wings, messages from space

by Charlie Leocha on December 1, 2012

This weekend we read about the battle of the sexes in airplanes and hotels — the differences between men and women exist even where we don’t think they do. We examine the airflow over an owl’s wing and see how it might help create stealth aircraft. Finally, we learn how we can sign up for messages from the International Space Station when it orbits overhead. It is as close as most of us will be to getting postcards from space.

The battle of the sexes — in the air
She like the window seat, but pulls the shade down. He likes the aisle seat, but also likes to look out the window. She checks her bag because she needs her face creams and shampoos. He always carries on because he hates waiting for bags or losing them. Scott McCartney takes a look at these differences in the sexes.

These differences play out in hotel rooms as well. Plus, according to men, women are treated differently and get away with more.

As more women join the ranks of road warriors, gender differences are becoming more noticeable, according to airline data, interviews with airlines crews, frequent travelers—and years of fielding traveler questions and complaints.

Airlines with entertainment systems, such as Virgin America, say women prefer movies and men are more likely to tune into live news and sports. Blankets get used more by women than men, airlines say.

Hyatt Hotels set up hotel room “labs” to study behavior and found interesting differences between men and women. One example: Women like to read in bed while men like to read in chairs. So Hyatt stepped up installation of more power plugs bedside for e-readers and tablets.

Owl wings may inspire stealthier aircraft

I’m always fascinated with how man mimics nature. The earliest flying machines were replicas of bird wings that a man could flap. Anyone who has visited the Leonardo Da Vinci exhibitions at Milan’s National Museum of Science and Technology has seen wild creations. New studies take a look at how the flight of an owl might help modify aircraft wings.

While the owl is commonly associated with wisdom, make no mistake — it’s a vicious predator of the night. Its main weapon is its stealth, as it silently dashes through pitch black catching prey off-guard. This remarkable ability of noiseless flight has intrigued scientists who are looking to develop aircraft inspired by the owl.

The owl has a special plumage that allows it to fly on the sly. When air airfoils travel through a shape, be it the wing of a bird or a plane, turbulence is created. The turbulence is significantly amplified towards the trailing edge of the wing, which also causes noise to occur.

Subscribe to messages from the space station

Ever want to know when the space station is soaring across space right above your house? Better yet, getting a message when you could look up into the night sky and see it reflecting sunlight would be magical.

Now, a new service will text you when the International Space Station is orbiting overhead.

It’s the third brightest object in the sky after the sun and the moon, but most people still couldn’t tell you where the International Space Station is.

But now a new service from NASA called Spot the Station will send you a text message when the station is over your house.

Once you know where to look people should be able to see it easily – even without a telescope.

You can sign up for the service by visiting http://spotthestation.nasa.gov.

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