MISSION DUCT TAPE
Two Danish men intend to blast into space with their homemade rocket ship. The Edmonton Journal reports that engineers Peter Madsen and Kristian von Bengston have nearly completed construction of their ambitious project in an old submarine hangar in Copenhagen. Weighing nearly eight tons, the do-it-yourself space vehicle has been made using cork and duct tape, along with steel, polyurethane and other materials. The cork will form the rocket’s heat shield. The engineers have also made a space suit from “valves and pipes from the hardware shop.” With no assistance from the Danish government, they plan to launch the vehicle as the first amateur rocket to carry a human into space. No liftoff date has been announced.
BELLY UP TO THE BAR
Anyone who’s ever had difficulty ordering a drink in a busy bar should try changing their body language. As reported in The Telegraph, scientists at Germany’s Bielefeld University have identified the basic elements of body language a bar patron needs to increase his or her chances of getting served first. After closely analyzing bar behaviour, the researchers discovered the most successful tactic, which occurred in 95 per cent of drink orders, was standing squarely toward the bar with the head facing forward. Staring directly at the bartender was successful in 86 per cent of the orders, closely followed by leaning on the bar. Interestingly, only 1 per cent of customers received their drinks after their server noticed them perusing a menu.
THE ENGLISH BEAT
Is your child struggling in English class? Get them to a music lesson. Fox News reports new research from Northwestern University has shown that music education can improve children’s reading and language skills. The study gave 124 Chicago high schoolers special tapping pads to measure how well they could keep beat with a metronome. The students were also fitted with electrodes to monitor how their brains responded to the sounds. It concluded that those with the best rhythmic skills also had the best neural responses to sound, which scientists believe enhances language and reading abilities. “Sound is bound to meaning; you’re always making sound-to-meaning connections,” said study author Nina Kraus.
THOUGHT DU JOUR
“To govern is not to write resolutions and distribute directives; to govern is to control the implementation of the directives.”
Joseph Stalin (1879-1953)