Tagged: Science

Airbus just flew its incredibly bizarre BelugaXL for the first time, and it looks amazing

I have a bit of a thing for big, weird planes. The Airbus Super Guppy is one of my all-time favorite things ever, so when I heard that Airbus had a new mega-transport plane in the works I couldn’t wait to see it. The BelugaXL is that new plane, and the company just performed its very first test flight. It is glorious.

The BelugaXL is an absolute behemoth, capable of hauling a whopping 50 tons — bringing its total takeoff weight to nearly 230 tons. There’s absolutely no reason such a massive thing should be capable of getting even an inch off the ground, but thanks to the wonders of physics it flies just find.

The plane is the successor to the already-huge Beluga, featuring 30% more capacity, and is expected to enter service in 2019. It’s designed to carry huge loads, including aircraft parts that simply couldn’t be transported by any other means. A huge section of the plane’s front end flips wide open to allow cargo to be loaded and unloaded, and large items are fully secured for the flight to avoid any shifting or sliding which could spell disaster for the plane.

The plane is 20 feet longer than its predecessor and has a huge list of upgraded components. It’s a serious machine with a serious job, but that hasn’t stopped Airbus from having a little bit of fun with it.


With a name like BelugaXL, it’s clear that Airbus sees the similarities between the plane and the massive mammals that dominate ocean waters. As a little nod to that fact, the plane’s first flight was flown with an incredibly charming paint job featuring a wide, smiling mouth and a pair of huge eyes. It seriously looks like a whale. I’m in love.

McDonald’s salads tainted with poop have now infected 163 people in 10 states

The entire concept of McDonald’s serving salad has always seemed wrong and unnatural, but now you have a health reason to only ever eat Big Macs: 163 people in 10 states have been made ill by salad contaminated with fecal matter. That’s poop. Your salad has poop on it.

It’s not just a mild stomach bug, either. The Food and Drug Administration has said that the problem is caused by the Cyclospora parasite. While healthy individuals should recover from a cyclospora infection without treatment, patients with weakened immune systems can be at a higher risk, and three people have been reported hospitalized so far.

The illnesses are a result of a tainted batch of lettuce from a McDonald’s supplier in Streamwood, Illinois, according to the company. “We have removed lettuce blend provided by Fresh Express’ Streamwood, Illinois, facility,” McDonald’s told USA Today. “Many restaurants already have a new lettuce blend supply, while we expect all identified restaurants will have new supply in the next few days.”

The bad news is that replacing the infected lettuce won’t stop new cases from developing overnight. The infection takes at least a week or two to take hold, according to the CDC, and it may be up to six weeks before patients experience symptoms. The most common symptom is watery diarrhea, although patients might also experience a loss of appetite, weight loss, cramping, nausea, and fatigue.

“McDonald’s is committed to the highest standards of food safety and quality and we continue to cooperate and support regulatory and public health officials in their investigations,” the company said in a statement.

Ex-NASA engineer build’s world’s largest Super Soaker, and it’s ‘basically a bomb’

We’re right in the heart of summer, which means getting sprayed down with a water gun sounds like a pretty nice way to spend an afternoon. That is, unless that the water gun pointing at you is seven feet long and fires a stream of liquid at 2,400 psi and 243 miles per hour.

Mark Rober is a former NASA engineer who is now a YouTube sensation, and his latest build is literally one for the record books. His seven-foot-long Super Soaker is now the top dog in the Guinness Book of World Records, and the video he released showing its incredible power makes it easy to see why.

The gun, which is fashioned to look like the classic Super Soaker 50, which was the first model of the brand and the first popular pressurized water gun to ever hit toy stores. That original Super Soaker was capable of firing a stream of water at 40 psi, which is fine when you’re battling your friends in your swimming pool or back yard, but Rober wanted something a bit more powerful.


His oversized replica doesn’t work quite the same way as the original water gun — there’s no pumping and the tank that holds the water is actually in the handle rather than the large green cylinder that graces the top of the device — but it’s a lot more powerful. Using pressurized nitrogen to push the water out through the tip of the gun, the principal is the same, but the stream moves much, much faster.

According to Rober, the water is pressurized to 2,400 psi. To give you a frame of reference, that’s roughly eight times as much pressure as the hose on a firetruck. Yeah, you wouldn’t want to get in this thing’s way.

Rober shows off how powerful the stream is by slicing things in half, like a banana, hot dog, and even an entire watermelon. He even equipped the tip of the gun with a swappable nozzle so he can select either a super fast, thin stream, or maximum water output. The gun took six months to construct, but it was most definitely worth it.