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Why Is Seattle's CenturyLink Field So Loud?

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If you've ever watched a Seattle Seahawks home game on TV, you've surely heard the commentators talk about how loud it is at CenturyLink Field. ("By golly, Jim, it's loud in here," or something to that effect.) It's true—the stadium is remarkably noisy. Last season it was awarded the Guinness World Record for the loudest open-air stadium in the world when it reached 137.6 decibels during a Monday night game against the Saints. Is that loud? Yeah, it's pretty loud.

This noise isn't just for setting world records. Because of the cacophony of shrieks, hoots, and hollers, the Seahawks have the best home field advantage of any team in the NFL. Opposing offenses can't hear play calls, and because of this they rack up false start penalties at an extremely high rate.

But why is CenturyLink so loud?

Is it because Seattle's fans love their team more than you love yours and they're able to yell louder because of this? Are their lungs more powerful because of the crisp Pacific Northwest air, which allows them to push out more impressive screams? In short: not exactly.

While Seattle's fans are enthusiastic, CenturyLink reaches those record-breaking decibel levels because of its design. Paul Allen, the billionaire owner of the team, explicitly wanted a stadium that would be loud, so he approached architect Jon Niemuth with this request. The place, which was built in 2002, is constructed to be loud.

CenturyLink sits on the smallest footprint of any stadium in the NFL. Despite this, it's not small. It holds 67,000 fans, and they are piled steeply to form a tube of swirling sound. As Niemuth told Sports Illustrated, “If you’re trying to create a container, the bigger the cup you can make it the better.”

Sound escapes upwards in open-air stadiums (it's why domes are always so loud), so to counter this, about 70% of CenturyLink's seats are covered by canopies. These canopies are shaped like parabolas, and they point the sound back at the field. Adding to all this are the aluminum bleachers that fill the stands by the north end zone. When stomped on, these create an almighty racket.

Put all these factors together, and you have a recipe for one loud stadium.

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Why You Should Never Take Your Shoes Off On an Airplane
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What should be worn during takeoff?

Tony Luna:

If you are a frequent flyer, you may often notice that some passengers like to kick off their shoes the moment they've settled down into their seats.

As an ex-flight attendant, I'm here to tell you that it is a dangerous thing to do. Why?

Besides stinking up the whole cabin, footwear is essential during an airplane emergency, even though it is not part of the flight safety information.

During an emergency, all sorts of debris and unpleasant ground surfaces will block your way toward the exit, as well as outside the aircraft. If your feet aren't properly covered, you'll have a hard time making your way to safety.

Imagine destroying your bare feet as you run down the aisle covered with broken glass, fires, and metal shards. Kind of like John McClane in Die Hard, but worse. Ouch!

Bruce Willis stars in 'Die Hard' (1988)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

A mere couple of seconds delay during an emergency evacuation can be a matter of life and death, especially in an enclosed environment. Not to mention the entire aircraft will likely be engulfed in panic and chaos.

So, the next time you go on a plane trip, please keep your shoes on during takeoff, even if it is uncomfortable.

You can slip on a pair of bathroom slippers if you really need to let your toes breathe. They're pretty useless in a real emergency evacuation, but at least they're better than going barefoot.

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

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Big Questions
Where Should You Place the Apostrophe in President's Day?
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Happy Presidents’ Day! Or is it President’s Day? Or Presidents Day? What you call the national holiday depends on where you are, who you’re honoring, and how you think we’re celebrating.

Saying "President’s Day" infers that the day belongs to a singular president, such as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, whose birthdays are the basis for the holiday. On the other hand, referring to it as "Presidents’ Day" means that the day belongs to all of the presidents—that it’s their day collectively. Finally, calling the day "Presidents Day"—plural with no apostrophe—would indicate that we’re honoring all POTUSes past and present (yes, even Andrew Johnson), but that no one president actually owns the day.

You would think that in the nearly 140 years since "Washington’s Birthday" was declared a holiday in 1879, someone would have officially declared a way to spell the day. But in fact, even the White House itself hasn’t chosen a single variation for its style guide. They spelled it “President’s Day” here and “Presidents’ Day” here.


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Maybe that indecision comes from the fact that Presidents Day isn’t even a federal holiday. The federal holiday is technically still called “Washington’s Birthday,” and states can choose to call it whatever they want. Some states, like Iowa, don’t officially acknowledge the day at all. And the location of the punctuation mark is a moot point when individual states choose to call it something else entirely, like “George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day” in Arkansas, or “Birthdays of George Washington/Thomas Jefferson” in Alabama. (Alabama loves to split birthday celebrations, by the way; the third Monday in January celebrates both Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert E. Lee.)

You can look to official grammar sources to declare the right way, but even they don’t agree. The AP Stylebook prefers “Presidents Day,” while Chicago Style uses “Presidents’ Day.”

The bottom line: There’s no rhyme or reason to any of it. Go with what feels right. And even then, if you’re in one of those states that has chosen to spell it “President’s Day”—Washington, for example—and you use one of the grammar book stylings instead, you’re still technically wrong.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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