Gems from The Economist, part 1

I have a stack of 8 copies of The Economist beside my desk with dog-eared pages and circled quotations, saved, of course, for the blog. Without further ado…

From the Sept 9 issue, a leader entitled, “Welcome aboard.” This mock speech by a flight attendant reveals how airlines are often less than forthcoming with their fliers regarding airline safety.

It opens, “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. We are delighted to welcome you aboard Veritas Airways, the airline that tells it like it is. Please ensure that your seat belt is fastened, your seat back is upright and your tray-table is stowed. At Veritas Airways, your safety is our first priority. Actually, that is not quite true: if it were, our seats would be rear-facing, like those in military aircraft, since they are safer in the event of an emergency landing.”

It continues in witty fashion, including, “Your life-jacket can be found under your seat, but please do not remove it now. In fact, do not bother to look for it at all. In the event of a landing on water, an unprecedented miracle will have occurred, because in the history of aviation the number of wide-bodied aircraft that have made successful landings on water is zero.”

The article concludes, “We appreciate that you have a choice of airlines and we thank you for choosing Veritas… Cabin crew, please make sure we have remembered to close the doors. Sorry, I mean: ‘Doors to automatic and cross-check.’ Thank you for flying Veritas.”

From the Sept 23 issue, a brief article about the hTAS2R38 gene in humans. What this means to you and me is that different people have different types of taste buds. The research seems to suggest that broccoli really does taste bad to some people, okay to others, and good to still others–including me.

The same issue continues the food theme with a snippet about meat grown in vats rather than on animals. This meat could avoid bacterial contamination and could also be modified to include healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Eating cultured meat “would allow vegetarians to have their meatloaf and eat it too.”

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