WTF Fun Fact 13675 – Boeing’s In-Flight Wifi Test

When Boeing set out to improve in-flight WiFi, they needed a solution to simulate how human passengers would affect signal strength and distribution. Enter the humble potato.

Yes, you read that correctly. Boeing used sacks of potatoes as stand-ins for passengers. This innovative approach, dubbed “Project SPUDS” (Synthetic Personnel Using Dielectric Substitution), played a crucial role in enhancing wireless connectivity on aircraft.

Boeing’s Use of Potatoes as Human Substitutes

So, why potatoes? The reason is scientific. Potatoes, due to their water content and chemical makeup, absorb and reflect radio and wireless signals similarly to the human body. This makes them ideal subjects for testing the in-flight wireless network, as engineers sought to ensure strong and consistent WiFi signals across all seats.

Boeing filled airplane seats with sacks of potatoes to mimic a fully booked flight. This setup allowed them to measure the WiFi signals’ behavior accurately. Engineers could then adjust the placement of WiFi transmitters and receivers in the cabin to optimize signal strength and distribution, ensuring passengers could enjoy stable and fast internet access.

From Spuds to Solutions

The use of potatoes went beyond mere convenience. It offered a cost-effective and efficient method to test and refine in-flight WiFi systems. Traditional methods of using human volunteers for such tests were not only time-consuming but also less reliable due to the variability in human behavior and positioning. Potatoes, on the other hand, provided a consistent and controlled environment for testing.

Project SPUDS showcased how thinking outside the box—or the sack, in this case—can lead to innovative solutions to complex problems. Boeing’s engineers demonstrated that sometimes, the most unconventional tools can offer the best answers.

Impacts on In-Flight WiFi

The research and adjustments made possible by Project SPUDS significantly improved the quality of in-flight WiFi services. Passengers now enjoy better connectivity, with fewer dead zones and stronger signals throughout the cabin. This improvement enhances the overall travel experience, allowing pa

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Source: “Boeing engineers use spuds to improve in-air Wi-Fi” —

WTF Fun Fact 13674 – Sloth Facts

Everybody loves weird animal facts, but we were surprised at how much fun we had learning about these sloth facts.

Sloths, those slow-moving creatures often seen hanging from the trees of Central and South America, captivate many with their laid-back lifestyle and seemingly permanent smiles. But there’s more to these creatures than meets the eye.

Masters of the Slow Lane

First and foremost, sloths are known for their exceptionally slow movement. This deliberate pace is not just a quirk; it’s a survival strategy. By moving slowly, sloths become difficult to detect by predators such as eagles and jaguars. Their slow metabolism, suited to digesting leaves with low nutritional value, necessitates this leisurely pace.

One cool sloth fact: A sloth can take up to a month to digest a single meal!

Aquatic Sloth Facts

One of the most surprising sloth facts is their proficiency in water. Despite their arboreal lifestyle, sloths are excellent swimmers. They can hold their breath underwater for up to 40 minutes, an ability that surpasses that of many aquatic animals.

This skill is facilitated by their ability to slow their heart rates, conserving oxygen while submerged. Swimming is also the only time sloths move swiftly, using their long arms to propel themselves through water.

Furry Sloth Facts

Sloth fur is a mini-ecosystem. The greenish tint of their coats comes from algae that grow in their fur. This symbiotic relationship benefits both parties: the algae gain a place to live, and the sloths receive camouflage, blending in with the greenery of the forest.

Furthermore, the fur hosts a variety of insects and microorganisms, some of which are found nowhere else.

Sky-High Bathroom Breaks

Sloths descend from their tree-top homes about once a week to relieve themselves on the forest floor. This behavior puzzles scientists since it puts the sloth at risk of predation. One theory suggests this ritual helps maintain the ecosystem in their fur, fertilizing the algae they host. Another idea is that it aids in reproduction, allowing sloths to leave their scent on the ground for potential mates.

Built-in Umbrella

Sloths have adapted to their rainy environment in remarkable ways. Their fur grows in the opposite direction of most mammals, from their stomach to their back. This unique growth pattern allows water to run off more efficiently during rainstorms, essentially providing a built-in umbrella. This adaptation ensures sloths stay as dry as possible in their damp forest habitats.

Solitary Sloth Facts

Sloths are solitary creatures. They spend the majority of their lives alone, coming together only to mate. Even then, interactions are brief. Their solitary nature is reflected in their territorial behavior, with individual sloths having their own preferred trees and branches. Despite their isolation, sloths are not completely antisocial. Mothers are nurturing, caring for their young for months, teaching them which leaves are best to eat and how to navigate the treetops.

Night Owls of the Forest

Contrary to what one might expect, sloths are not always sleeping. Though they can sleep up to 20 hours a day, sloths are primarily nocturnal and become more active at night.

During the day, they rest in the safety of the treetops, conserving energy for their nightly activities. This nocturnal lifestyle helps sloths avoid diurnal predators and find food with less competition.

Pretty cool, right? Who knew?!

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Source: “A Sloth Can Hold Its Breath for 40 Minutes Underwater — and 6 Other Facts For International Sloth Day” — Travel + Leisure