6 Flight Attendants Gone Wild

They're authoritative, courteous, and could win an Olympic gold in Complimentary Beverage Pouring. But flight attendants have baggage, too. Read on for 6 first-class examples of flight attendants who brought their own turbulence to the job.

1. Attention Passengers: This Is Captain Morgan Speaking

Atlantic Southeast Airlines flight attendant Sarah Mills didn't have to leave the ground to reach a comfortable boozing altitude. In 2007, she showed up to work with a blood alcohol level which was technically low enough to legally drive, but not low enough to keep her from dropping the f-bomb and threatening to punch boarding passengers. The flight from Kentucky to Atlanta was cancelled when a replacement flight attendant couldn't be found. Mills admitted to drinking whiskey aboard, but pleaded not guilty to terroristic threatening and public alcohol intoxication. The question remains: Did she BYOB or chug a few of those tiny bottles of Jack Daniels?

2. The Public Duress System

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Back in March, American Airlines Flight 2332 from Dallas to Chicago was delayed when a flight attendant delivered a 15-minute rant over the plane's public address system. But this tirade wasn't about stowing portable electronic devices. As the pilot taxied the aircraft to the runway, the flight attendant rambled about the airline's bankruptcy and impending technical difficulties, announcing, "I'm not responsible for this plane crashing." Four passengers had to help another flight attendant restrain her co-worker. The plane returned to the gate and the entire crew was replaced.

3. To Blog, Or Not To Blog

Wikimedia Commons

Remember when people didn't realize that blogging about their jobs might get them fired? Back in 2004, flight attendant Ellen Simonetti was suspended and then fired for her blog "Queen of Sky: Diary of a Dysfunctional Flight Attendant." Simonetti's Internet prose was more about travel tips than steamy mile-high club anecdotes, and the flight attendant even kept her employer anonymous. But Delta Airlines didn't appreciate pictures of the perky blonde goofing off on an empty plane and climbing inside the overhead compartment ... in uniform. D'oh! In 2005, Simonetti sued Delta for sex discrimination and retaliation, eventually settling out of court. She became an advocate/cautionary tale for bloggers, scored a book deal, and may even have her own biopic in the works. The sky's the limit!

4. Take This Job and Shove It Down The Evacuation Slide

No list of flight attendants gone postal (er, continental) would be complete without mentioning Steven Slater. The JetBlue flight attendant made headlines in 2010 when he quit over the public address system ("I've been in this business 20 years. And that's it, I'm done."), grabbed two beers from the plane's food service galley, deployed the emergency evacuation chute, and slid himself right out of a career. Accounts vary as to what triggered the Office Space-worthy meltdown after an otherwise ordinary flight from Pittsburgh to NYC. Slater says he was hit on the head with luggage by a cursing passenger who refused to wait until the fasten seatbelt sign was off to remove her bag. Other witnesses said it was your typical encounter with a rude passenger, no big deal. Slater later tried to recant and go back to work, but formally resigned a month later. To some, he's a working-class hero. JetBlue called him reckless ("Slides can be as dangerous as a gun") and said he was probably drunk and suffering from mental problems.

5. Skyway Robbery

Ever feel like you're getting robbed when a full flight gets cancelled for no apparent reason, or you're given a single cup of soda to get through a cross-country trip? It could be worse—sometimes airline employees actually steal your stuff. In September, Horizon Air flight attendant Wendy Ronelle Dye was arrested near Portland after swiping a passenger's iPad. When the device went missing, the passenger checked a tracking app he'd installed and found it with Dye's personal belongings. The flight attendant claimed that the iPad was turned in as a lost item. When the passenger got it back, he discovered that Dye had already stored some of her personal information on the tablet. Back in February, a male flight attendant named Jean Paulino stole about $140 and two driver's licenses right off the X-ray machine at a Newark Liberty International Airport security checkpoint. Police arrested the man as he prepared to board a flight to Washington. Turns out, Paulino wasn't even a flight attendant!

6. Southwest Airlines's Got Talent

Most flight attendants are cordial. But if you're lucky, you might fly with a dancing, singing, safety-enforcing triple threat. With beatboxers, rappers, and Elvis impersonators in the crew, Southwest Airlines knows how to keep passengers on the edge of their cramped, hardly adjustable seats. Too bad they don't pass out popcorn...

Oli Scarff, Getty Images
How a Particle Accelerator Is Helping to Unearth Long-Lost Pieces of Art
Oli Scarff, Getty Images
Oli Scarff, Getty Images

A particle accelerator is revealing the people in 150-year-old photographs whose features had been lost to time, Science News reports.

For the first time, Madalena Kozachuk, a Ph.D. candidate at Canada’s Western University, and a team of scientists used an accelerator called a synchrotron to scan daguerreotypes, an ancestor of modern photography.

before and after image of a damaged dagguereotype
Kozachuk et al. in Scientific Reports, 2018

Invented by French painter and physicist Louis Daguerre, daguerreotypes were popular from around the 1840s to the 1860s. They were created by exposing an iodized silver-coated copper plate to a camera (the iodine helped make the plate's surface light-sensitive). Subjects had to sit in front of the camera for 20 to 30 minutes to set the portrait, down from the eight hours it took before Daguerre perfected his method. Photographers could then develop and fix the image with a combination of mercury and table salt.

Because they’re made of metal, though, daguerreotypes are prone to tarnish. Scientists can sometimes recover historical daguerreotypes by analyzing samples taken from their surface, but such attempts are often both destructive and futile, Kozachuk wrote in a study published in Scientific Reports.

Kozachuk found that using a particle accelerator is a less invasive and more accurate method. While some scientists have used X-ray imaging machines to digitally scan other historical objects, such instruments are too large to scan daguerreotypes. Reading the subtle variations on a daguerreotype surface requires a micron-level beam that only a particle accelerator can currently produce. By tracing the pattern of mercury deposits in the tarnished plate, the researchers were able to reveal the obscured image and create a digital photo of what the daguerrotype looked like when it was first made.

before and after image of a recovered dagguereotype
Kozachuk et al. in Scientific Reports, 2018

“When the image became apparent, it was jaw-dropping,” Kozachuk told Science News. “I squealed when the first face popped up.”

Scanning one square centimeter of each 8-by-7 centimeter plate took about eight hours. The technique, though time-intensive, may allow museums and collectors to restore old daguerreotypes with minimal damage.

“The ability to recover lost images will enable museums to expand their understanding of daguerreotype collections, as severely degraded plates would not otherwise have been able to be studied or viewed by interested scholars,” Kozachuk wrote.

[h/t Science News]

Courtesy of October Films
This Scientist's Idea of the 'Perfect' Human Body Is Kind of Terrifying
Courtesy of October Films
Courtesy of October Films

The perfect human body has the legs of an ostrich, the heart of a dog, and the eyes of an octopus, according to anatomist Alice Roberts. And it’s utterly terrifying.

With the help of anatomical artist Scott Eaton and special effects designer Sangeet Prabhaker, Roberts created a life-size replica of herself that fixes many design flaws inherent to the human body, Motherboard reports. Roberts unveiled the sculpture on April 23 at the Science Museum in London. On June 13, the BBC released a documentary about the project.

Among the flaws Roberts’s sculpture corrects are humans’ inferior ears, spine, and lungs. Roberts borrowed anatomy from reptiles, birds, and other mammals to create a Frankenstein-esque creature straight from the island of Dr. Moreau.

The sculpture of Alice 2.0, left, with Alice Roberts, right
Courtesy of October Films

The sculpture has legs like an ostrich because, as Roberts says on her website, the human knee is complex and prone to failure. Like humans, ostriches are bipedal, but they are far better runners. Bird-like lungs that keep air flowing in one direction, not two, make running and other aerobic activities easier for the perfect human to manage. And a chimpanzee’s sturdier spine and a dog’s heart (which has more connected arteries, leading to lower heart attack risk) make Roberts’s alternate self more resistant to injury and disease.

Roberts’s ideal human body also has skin like a frog that can change shades based on the environment, and large, bat-like ears that amplify sound. Roberts also fixed humans’ backwards retina, which produces a natural blind spot, by borrowing from octopus eye anatomy.

Perhaps most disturbing of all is the baby head poking out of the sculpture’s marsupial pouch. Roberts says marsupial pregnancy would be far easier on the human body and more convenient for parents on the go.

“This could be a human fit for the future,” Roberts says at the end of a trailer for her BBC documentary.

[h/t Motherboard]


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