tea, amigurumi, Concorde, Valentine card

The internet has been subject to a barrage of random questions from me this week including how they roll tea leaves, why we don’t fly at supersonic speeds anymore, and what to do with yarn bits.

» Tea is without question my beverage of choice, jasmine tea being my most favored. [And for an affordable, everyday bagged tea, I’m all about Good Earth’s Green Jasmine]. Too often though, I sip inattentively, engaged in another activity; but when Bubbling Spring, Clouds and Mist, Curled Dragon Silver Tips, Jade in the Clouds, Purple Bamboo, Rain Flower, Snow Dragon, or White Monkey Paw hit my cup I’ll be sure to recall the care, effort and pride that goes into every cup thanks to this insightful article: China’s Legendary Spring Green Teas

» I was just gifted a bunch of random bits of yarn. These little crocheted creatures might be just the perfect use for it: Free Amigurumi Patterns | via How About Orange

» Need a last minute Valentine card? Check out these adorable printables: Free Downloadable Monster Valentine Cards or check out some of these ideas I posted from last year: [weekend projects] Stuff to Make

» Having done some travel lately, I began to wonder why there are no commercial supersonic flights anymore. After all, there was a time when one could travel between New York and Paris in under three and a half hours  (albeit for a high ticket price — that round trip flight cost $8,148 in 2000). Now we’re back up to over eight hours for the same trip. Even though the Concorde may no longer exist to ferry us across the ocean anymore, I wondered why no one else has come in to fill in the gap. While there may be no definitive answer, most of the reasons seem to point to economics1:

  • Cost of fuel: Supersonic jets hold less passengers and are fuel hogs when not travelling at supersonic speeds. In fact, the Concorde would use up almost 2% of it’s maximum fuel load just in taxiing to the runway. That alone made it expensive to operate, and then consider that in 2003 when Concorde was made it’s final flight, the average price of a barrel of crude oil was $27.69, and today that cost has increased over 257% to around $99.
  • Expensive maintenance: Jets like the Concorde are apparently quite costly to keep in good operating condition, including needing extra attention to their exteriors. Interestingly, the reason the Concorde was white was that it needed to be covered with highly reflective paint so it’s structure wouldn’t overheat when travelling at Mach 2 speeds. But, in 1996, for a promotional stunt with Pepsi, Air France briefly painted the body of one of their Concorde jets blue (excluding the wings). That plane was subject to flight restrictions due to the paint application.
  • Sonic boom: Concorde traveled at supersonic speeds primarily only over water, as supersonic travel releases supersonic sound. And sometimes those sonic booms can do some damage to windows and plaster work, and generally make people in the area where they occur cranky as the Oklahoma City sonic boom tests revealed.
All that said, there might still be hope for faster planes before we figure out teleportation (but not before 2040): EADS Hypersonic Commercial Aircraft 

1Sources:

The Know How Company, British Airways: Celebrating Concorde, The Australian Frequent Flyer, InflationData.com, US Centennial of Flight Commission

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