Mitt Romney: Why Won’t Plane Windows Roll Down?

In his latest gaffe, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney lamented the fact that airplane windows don’t roll down.

Romney’s wife Ann’s plane had to make an emergency landing Friday (Sept. 21) because of an electrical malfunction. Discussing the incident at a fundraiser the next day, he said: “When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no — and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open…”

Here’s why they don’t do that: Gravity tends to keep air molecules concentrated near the ground, so the atmosphere thins out as you go up. The air becomes so thin at 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) or so that airplane cabins must be pressurized above that altitude to prevent occupants from suffering from hypoxia, or lack of oxygen. Because temperature and pressure go hand-in-hand (i.e. low-pressure air feels cold), pressurization is also necessary to keep cabins sufficiently warm.


At 35,000 ft. (11,000 m), the typical altitude of a commercial jet, the air pressure drops to less than a quarter of its value at sea level, and the outside temperature drops below negative 60 degrees Fahrenheit (negative 51 degrees Celsius), according to The Engineering Toolbox. Exposed to such conditions, you would quickly die.

Update: Romney was joking. The New York Times’ Ashley Parker, who wrote the original report about the Beverly Hills fundraiser that quickly got spread around the Web, told New York Magazine today that Romney had been joking. Parker said that while her report didn’t explicitly indicate Romney was joking, “it was clear from the context” that he was. 

So, Romney was joking after all about wanting to have plane windows that roll down. Still, we gotta ask… Do you think he really WAS joking about it? Are you going to vote for him this November?

Source: Yahoo News

Image: MSN Now

Al-Qaeda Underwear Bomber Was ‘Double Agent’

A man who volunteered as a suicide bomber for a terrorist group intent on blowing up a U.S.-bound plane was working instead as an intelligence agent for Saudi Arabia, The New York Times reported Tuesday, citing American and foreign officials.

The double agent departed Yemen, traveled through the United Arab Emirates and gave the bomb and information about al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to the CIA, Saudi intelligence and other foreign intelligence agencies, the newspaper said. The bomb, which was intended to pass undetected through airport security, was given to the FBI, which was poring over it, the newspaper said.

The Times, citing officials, said the agent works for Saudi intelligence, which has “cooperated closely” with the CIA for years. The officials, who would not identify the man, said he is safe in Saudi Arabia, the newspaper reported.


Citing a senior American official, the newspaper described the device as sewn into “custom fit” underwear and able to be detonated in two ways. That redundancy may have been an attempt to ensure that an attempt to blow up a jet over Detroit in 2009, which failed because the bomb did not detonate, would not be repeated. The primary charge in the latest device was high-grade military explosive that the Times, quoting an official, said “undoubtedly would have brought down an aircraft.”

The device investigators were studying is more sophisticated than were previous ones and represents a disconcerting advance in al Qaeda bomb-making techniques, officials said Tuesday. But lawmakers said more such devices may exist, and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, said the release of information about the device could complicate an effort to seal the long-term threat.

In light of the recently foiled bombing attempt, should authorities make further revisions in airport safety procedures? Tell us what you think!

Source: CNN

Image: France 24