CLOSE
Original image
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum // YouTube

National Air and Space Museum Offers Audio Tours in Klingon

Original image
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum // YouTube

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. is home to a 19th century hang glider, the world’s first military airplane, and, as of June 28, the original Starship Enterprise. In case the museum hadn’t already made their excitement surrounding Star Trek’s 50th birthday this year apparent, they recently contracted linguist and language-creator Marc Okrand to record audio tours for them in Klingon, io9 reports.

Okrand knows Klingon better than anyone else on Earth. He first became involved in the Star Trek franchise in 1982 when he was asked to dub the Vulcan dialogue in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. That led to him developing a complex Klingon language for the series and films, and eventually authoring The Klingon Dictionary.

Audio clips from the tour are now available to listen to on the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum website or through the museum’s GO FLIGHT app. For a look at Okrand’s recording process, you can watch the video below.

[h/t io9]

Know of something you think we should cover? Email us at tips@mentalfloss.com.

Original image
David Hancock/Stringer/Getty Images
arrow
technology
The World’s First ‘Flying Car’ Goes Up For Sale on eBay
Original image
David Hancock/Stringer/Getty Images

Aircraft collectors now have the chance to bid on a futuristic piece of history. As designboom reports, the Moller M400 Skycar, allegedly the first-ever vertical-take-off-and-landing vehicle (VTOL), is being auctioned off on eBay.

For decades, Moller International has striven to build flying cars that they dub "as safe, efficient, affordable, and easy-to-use as automobiles." The company reached a milestone in 2001 when their Skycar first achieved lift-off. More than 15 years later, the invention hasn’t quite taken off like they’d hoped it would: The VTOL never received FAA approval or made it past the prototype stage.

Because the Skycar isn’t legal to fly, Moller is marketing it as more of a museum piece than an aircraft for weekend joyrides. But the listing does state that the company is willing to support any efforts from the buyer to make it "the world’s first FAA approved VTOL capable flying car."

The original M400 Skycar from 2001 is currently going for a starting bid of $1 million and a "buy it now price" of $5 million. Even though owners can't fly it themselves, Moller claims the vehicle is in the same state it was tested in in the early 2000s. You can see what Skycar looks like in action below.

[h/t designboom]

Original image
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
arrow
History
New Evidence Supports Theory That Amelia Earhart Died in Japanese Captivity
Original image
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Since Amelia Earhart’s attempt to circumnavigate the globe came to an abrupt end in 1937, numerous theories have been attached to her fate. Some arguments, like the idea that she ran out of gas and crashed into the Pacific, are supported by experts. Others, like the theory that she changed her identity and lived in New Jersey into her old age, have more fringe appeal. Now, NBC News reports that a newly uncovered photograph may shed light on the real story behind her disappearance.

The photo shows a woman with cropped hair and pants sitting on a dock while a man with a receding hairline stands behind her. A facial recognition expert who studied the image believes that the figures are likely Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan, the navigator onboard the plane with her during her final journey. The photograph is thought to date back to the time of their disappearance in 1937.

Behind them is a Japanese ship tugging a barge with an object on it estimated to be around 38 feet in length. The Lockheed Electra plane Earhart was last seen in measured 38.7 feet. If the photo is authentic—and one forensic expert is confident it is—it makes a convincing case for speculation that Earhart was captured by Japanese forces following her crash landing.

The story goes that the pilot and her navigator were taken into Japanese custody either in the Northern Mariana or Marshall Islands. This is supported by accounts from local school kids, who said they saw Earhart being taken away. Her fourth cousin, Wally Earhart, has also claimed this to be true, though he refuses to name his sources. Until this point most experts suspected that Earhart and Noonan died at sea or as castaways. If they were found by the Japanese, they would have likely died in captivity.

The newly discovered photo, labeled “Jaluit Atoll,” sat untouched in a National Archives file for decades. Retired U.S. treasury agent Les Kinney stumbled upon it in 2012, and former FBI executive assistant director Shawn Henry was called in to examine it. Henry will share his in-depth observations when the documentary Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence premieres on the History Channel on Sunday, July 9.

[h/t NBC News]

SECTIONS

More from mental floss studios