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14 Flight Attendant Slang Terms Explained

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Like every occupation, the airline industry has its own lingo. Today we'll be sharing some slang so you can be in the know, too. And know just how bad it could be if Blue Juice splashed all over a Lounge Lizard touching up her Landing Lips before sitting in the Sharon Stone Jumpseat.

1. Blue Juice, n.

The lavatory water is blue. So when we call the pilot to say, “The lav is out of blue juice,” you may want to hold it.

2. Commuter, n.

A crew member who lives in one city but takes a plane to their base city to get to work. These are tired crew members.

3. Concourse Shoes, n.

High-heeled pumps flight attendants wear to walk though the airport, changed out for comfortable (usually ugly) flats once in the air. Would you believe there is a market for used flight attendant shoes on eBay? Now, I would love to sell my smelly old shoes but I find the idea… rather creepy.

4. Crashpad, n.

Commuters sometimes share an apartment with 20 or more other commuters so they don’t have to pay for a hotel room between trips. I’ve never had a crashpad because one bathroom for 20 people sounds icky.

5. Deadheading, v.

Flying as a passenger on company business to get to work. (Nothing to do with The Grateful Dead.) You may have to deadhead to New York to work a flight back to Los Angeles so you are deadheading to New York. We like deadheading!

6. Dinosaur, n.

Really senior flight attendant. Just about every flight attendant starts off thinking they will only fly a few years. But as the years go by, the time off, and the flexible schedule and travel perks just get better and better, so you end up sticking around (forever and ever).

7. Jumpseat, n.

The uncomfortable fold-down chairs we sit on.

8. Jumpseater, n.

An off-duty crew member hitching a ride when there is no passenger seat available. This makes you sort of homeless and generally standing around the bathrooms in flight.

9. Landing Lips, n.

The snappy gorgeousness you see after we reapply lipstick before landing in order to look fresh for the “buh byes.”

10. Lounge, n.

The rooms downstairs where we have couches and computers and where we sign in and brief for trips.

11. Lounge Lizard, n.

A commuter who doesn’t have a crashpad and doesn’t want to pay for a hotel between trips. They sleep on the couch in the lounge overnight. The lizard part is because they can’t take a shower. Glamorous!

12. Mini Me, n.

A small trash cart that is half the size of the big trash cart. Crew members have been known to climb into the big trash cart to scare passengers!

13. Seniority Rules, n.

Ever wonder why you see older flight attendants on longer flights? The airline industry is an odd duck in that we only get paid when we are in the air — not while boarding the plane or, worse, waiting to pull away from the gate to takeoff (we hate it just as much as you!). Most people prefer to get paid when they are at work, so junior flight attendants are stuck with the four or five short flights a day where they are only getting paid half of the day. So if you’re on a short flight you will have younger and cuter (and poorer) crew members. Like any occupation, you pay your dues and it slowly gets better and better — one reason why there are so many dinosaurs.

14. Sharon Stone Jumpseat, n.

The jumpseat that faces the passengers. This goes back to the movie Basic Instinct, where the actress crosses and uncrosses her legs. Extra caution is required to sit here while wearing a dress.

Confessions of a Fed-Up Flight Attendant is a Yahoo Travel series where “Betty” describes the harrowing, real-life situations she and her comrades in the sky face every day, 35,000 feet away from a foot massage and premium whiskey.

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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva
Man Buys Two Metric Tons of LEGO Bricks; Sorts Them Via Machine Learning
May 21, 2017
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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva

Jacques Mattheij made a small, but awesome, mistake. He went on eBay one evening and bid on a bunch of bulk LEGO brick auctions, then went to sleep. Upon waking, he discovered that he was the high bidder on many, and was now the proud owner of two tons of LEGO bricks. (This is about 4400 pounds.) He wrote, "[L]esson 1: if you win almost all bids you are bidding too high."

Mattheij had noticed that bulk, unsorted bricks sell for something like €10/kilogram, whereas sets are roughly €40/kg and rare parts go for up to €100/kg. Much of the value of the bricks is in their sorting. If he could reduce the entropy of these bins of unsorted bricks, he could make a tidy profit. While many people do this work by hand, the problem is enormous—just the kind of challenge for a computer. Mattheij writes:

There are 38000+ shapes and there are 100+ possible shades of color (you can roughly tell how old someone is by asking them what lego colors they remember from their youth).

In the following months, Mattheij built a proof-of-concept sorting system using, of course, LEGO. He broke the problem down into a series of sub-problems (including "feeding LEGO reliably from a hopper is surprisingly hard," one of those facts of nature that will stymie even the best system design). After tinkering with the prototype at length, he expanded the system to a surprisingly complex system of conveyer belts (powered by a home treadmill), various pieces of cabinetry, and "copious quantities of crazy glue."

Here's a video showing the current system running at low speed:

The key part of the system was running the bricks past a camera paired with a computer running a neural net-based image classifier. That allows the computer (when sufficiently trained on brick images) to recognize bricks and thus categorize them by color, shape, or other parameters. Remember that as bricks pass by, they can be in any orientation, can be dirty, can even be stuck to other pieces. So having a flexible software system is key to recognizing—in a fraction of a second—what a given brick is, in order to sort it out. When a match is found, a jet of compressed air pops the piece off the conveyer belt and into a waiting bin.

After much experimentation, Mattheij rewrote the software (several times in fact) to accomplish a variety of basic tasks. At its core, the system takes images from a webcam and feeds them to a neural network to do the classification. Of course, the neural net needs to be "trained" by showing it lots of images, and telling it what those images represent. Mattheij's breakthrough was allowing the machine to effectively train itself, with guidance: Running pieces through allows the system to take its own photos, make a guess, and build on that guess. As long as Mattheij corrects the incorrect guesses, he ends up with a decent (and self-reinforcing) corpus of training data. As the machine continues running, it can rack up more training, allowing it to recognize a broad variety of pieces on the fly.

Here's another video, focusing on how the pieces move on conveyer belts (running at slow speed so puny humans can follow). You can also see the air jets in action:

In an email interview, Mattheij told Mental Floss that the system currently sorts LEGO bricks into more than 50 categories. It can also be run in a color-sorting mode to bin the parts across 12 color groups. (Thus at present you'd likely do a two-pass sort on the bricks: once for shape, then a separate pass for color.) He continues to refine the system, with a focus on making its recognition abilities faster. At some point down the line, he plans to make the software portion open source. You're on your own as far as building conveyer belts, bins, and so forth.

Check out Mattheij's writeup in two parts for more information. It starts with an overview of the story, followed up with a deep dive on the software. He's also tweeting about the project (among other things). And if you look around a bit, you'll find bulk LEGO brick auctions online—it's definitely a thing!

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Nick Briggs/Comic Relief
What Happened to Jamie and Aurelia From Love Actually?
May 26, 2017
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Nick Briggs/Comic Relief

Fans of the romantic-comedy Love Actually recently got a bonus reunion in the form of Red Nose Day Actually, a short charity special that gave audiences a peek at where their favorite characters ended up almost 15 years later.

One of the most improbable pairings from the original film was between Jamie (Colin Firth) and Aurelia (Lúcia Moniz), who fell in love despite almost no shared vocabulary. Jamie is English, and Aurelia is Portuguese, and they know just enough of each other’s native tongues for Jamie to propose and Aurelia to accept.

A decade and a half on, they have both improved their knowledge of each other’s languages—if not perfectly, in Jamie’s case. But apparently, their love is much stronger than his grasp on Portuguese grammar, because they’ve got three bilingual kids and another on the way. (And still enjoy having important romantic moments in the car.)

In 2015, Love Actually script editor Emma Freud revealed via Twitter what happened between Karen and Harry (Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman, who passed away last year). Most of the other couples get happy endings in the short—even if Hugh Grant's character hasn't gotten any better at dancing.

[h/t TV Guide]