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Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, Ella Morton
anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, centre right, Charles Lindbergh, colonial rule, Colonization of Mars, cosmic microwave background, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, double helix, East Village, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Frank Gehry, germ theory of disease, Golden Gate Park, Google Earth, Haight Ashbury, horn antenna, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, index card, Jacques de Vaucanson, Kowloon Walled City, Louis Pasteur, low cost airline, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, mutually assured destruction, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, phenotype, Pluto: dwarf planet, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, Tunguska event, urban sprawl, Vesna Vulović, white picket fence, wikimedia commons, working poor
But following months of inpatient rehabilitation, McCloy was walking, speaking, and able to return home. Vesna Vulović Vesna Vulović has no memory of what occurred on January 26, 1972. That afternoon, the 22-year-old Serbian flight attendant boarded JAT Yugoslav Airways Flight 367 in Stockholm, bound for Belgrade with a stopover in Copenhagen. She wasn’t scheduled to work—she had been mixed up with a different Vesna—but took the opportunity to visit Denmark and add some miles to her tally. The Stockholm-to-Copenhagen leg of the journey was unremarkable. Then came the two-hour flight to Belgrade. About 40 minutes after takeoff, the plane exploded. Twenty-seven people died. One survived: Vesna Vulović. Vulović fell 33,330 feet (10,159 m), earning her a place in the Guinness Book of Records for surviving the highest fall without a parachute.
QI: The Book of General Ignorance - The Noticeably Stouter Edition by Lloyd, John, Mitchinson, John
Admiral Zheng, Albert Einstein, Barry Marshall: ulcers, British Empire, discovery of penicillin, Dmitri Mendeleev, Fellow of the Royal Society, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, invention of the telephone, James Watt: steam engine, Kickstarter, Kuiper Belt, lateral thinking, Magellanic Cloud, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, Olbers’ paradox, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, placebo effect, Pluto: dwarf planet, trade route, V2 rocket, Vesna Vulović
A 1987 paper in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association studied 132 cases of cats that had fallen out of high-rise windows in New York. On average they fell 5.5 storeys. Ninety per cent survived, though many suffered serious injuries. The data showed that injuries rose proportionally to the number of storeys fallen – up to seven storeys. Above seven storeys, the number of injuries per cat sharply declined. In other words, the further the cat fell, the better its chances. The most famous human free-falls are Vesna Vulović, who fell 10,600 metres (34,777 feet) when a terrorist bomb destroyed her Yugoslavian airlines DC-10 in 1972, and Flight Sergeant Nicholas Alkemade, an RAF tailgunner who leaped from his burning Lancaster in 1944, falling 5,800 metres (19,000 feet). Vulović broke both legs, and suffered some spinal damage, but was saved by the fact that her seat and the toilet booth it was attached to took the impact.