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All the latest in things that fly

Published January 22, 2024

Whether it’s something in nature or something we built, things that defy gravity are just straight-up cool. So please put your seat backs and tray tables in the upright, locked position, and enjoy the latest in-flight news.

This ship will self-destruct

Glasgow University engineers are hungry to make a mark in the space industry. They’ve created a new autophage rocket technology called Ouroboros 3, and both “autophage” and “Ouroboros” point to its party trick: consuming its own plastic fuselage for fuel.

The engine works by using waste heat to melt its own plastic fuselage as it fires. The molten plastic is then fed into the engine’s combustion chamber as additional fuel to burn, alongside the rocket’s regular liquid propellants. A rocket with an autophage engine would require less propellant in onboard tanks, freeing up mass and allowing for more payload, while also contributing less space debris to the Earth’s orbit. (According to NASA, there are currently 25,000 human-made objects larger than 10 cm in diameter that could eventually hamper future missions.)

The captain has turned on the ‘don’t be a b-hole’ light

You don’t mess with flight attendants—they literally control the fate of everyone aboard the aircraft, all while maintaining their composure with travelers who make their jobs more difficult. And if you hear them call you “Philip,” that means you’re one of those annoying passengers. 

The Sun recently called attention to one of its own blog posts, in which an anonymous flight attendant said that “Philip” is someone who’s tried their patience, and has thus been singled out for “bad service” for the remainder of the flight. The name originates from the term PILP—Passenger I’d Like to Punch. Some of the most common transgressions: Over-using the call bell, loitering in the aisles and/or galley, and complaining about crying babies. (maybe get some noise-canceling headphones?)

If you avoid all those pitfalls, you may even earn the title of “Bob”: best on board.

Maybe he intimidated them

Jason Statham has already been an accomplished diver on the British national team, a high-level practitioner of several martial arts, an all-around adrenaline junkie, and, oh yeah, he’s starred in nearly $2 billion worth of movies. Really the only thing left for him to do would be to become a master of beekeeping. And wouldn’t you know it …

For his latest movie, The Beekeeper, Statham learned how to become one with the flying insects, pulling the comb, smoking the hive, and taking care of the real-life bees, and convincingly depicting an apiarist in the opening scenes of the film. As director David Ayer recently told Entertainment Weekly interview, “It’s interesting, because we see him as a rough, punch-up guy, and yet he got the zen of it—he really embraced the zen of beekeeping.” During filming, Ayer got stung over and over by the bees, but Statham was stung a total of 0—yes, zero—times. 

In the film, Statham plays a beekeeper slash pissed-off secret agent tasked with saving the world from the the evil-doers, as he does. As he says in the trailer, “I protect the hive. When the system is out of balance, I correct it.” Buzz buzz, mothertruckers.