Now you can have airline food without leaving the ground

Airline meal

A new service brings a new whole dimension to armchair traveling. Now you can have that, um, special airline food in the comfort of your home. A German online grocery store is launching "Air Food One."

The new service will deliver food once a week from LSG Sky Chefs, which provides meals for many international air carriers. And this ain't no economy class fare. It's all business — in more ways than one. Mashable reports that LSG Sky Chefs sees it as an opportunity to sell the food that isn't consumed by air travelers — and would otherwise be thrown out. And if you've ever wondered about the value of that meal in business class. Air Food One will sell meals for 9 to 10 Euros, or about 12 US dollars.

The ultimate test for a would-be British spy was special agent Fifi

During World War II, Britain was training spies and sending them into German-occupied Europe to gain intelligence. And one agent wtih loose lips could endanger the whole network of spies. So Britain wanted to test the new recruits. Enter "special agent" Fifi.

The spy being tested would be instructed to meet another spy in a public place. That spy would "by chance" see Fifi, invite the "stunning blond" over and introduce her as a French freelance journalist who had been a helpful acquaintance. That spy would then be called away, leaving Fifi in the company of the student spy for the evening. The tactic was known as "provocation," according to files recently released by Britain's National Archives.

Legend had it that she seduced the spies, though the files don't go into such detail. However, it seems clear that an evening with Fifi often nipped a promising spy's career in the bud. One the files noted how Fifi was able to learn virtually everything about the spy in a single night.

Fifi was actually Marie Christine Chilver, who grew up in Latvia, had an English father and was caught in France when Germany invaded during the war. She helped an injured young British prisoner of war escape from occupied France with her. And the soldier noticed her talents as "one of the expert liars of the world." 

Paper or Plasma? Your brain may read differently from a screen

Neurological research suggests that we use different parts of our brain when we read from paper than from a screen. There's "deep reading" which tends to be linear. We use it when we immerse in a book or read to understand details. Then there's non-linear reading, of the sort when we skim or, say, move from item to item on a web page.

PRI's The Takeaway talked with Manoush Zomorodi, managing editor and host of WNYC's New Tech City, who has looked into the research. “The problem is that many of us have adapted to reading online just too well," he says. "And if you don’t use the deep reading part of your brain, you lose the deep reading part of your brain.” That conclusion is controversial, but maybe you should reconsider your subscription to our daily Global Scan.

This cookbook should come with a liability waiver

You may have heard of the Ig Nobel awards. They are a mirror image of the famed Nobel awards: given to "honor" research that is so odd and seemingly useless, it is best ignored by other scientists. Like the discovery that herrings communicate through farts.

Well, this year, the Ig Nobel "committee" is publishing its first-ever cookbook, with recipes by the Ig Nobel researchers based, loosely, on their discoveries. PRI's The World describes a few of them, like the recipe for Fartless Herring. Or the one from the guy who discovered that mallard ducks participate in homosexual necrophilia. Yum.

In South Korea, even relaxation is competitive

South Korea has a reputation for being a heavily plugged-in, highly competitive and emotionally stressed culture. So what better way to show it than with a little competitive relaxation?

On Monday, October 27, the performance project Duo Elect2ronic-ship (Jeongiho) will hold a "spacing out" competition in downtown Seoul. "We selected Monday, when people are starting a new week with a heavy heart after the weekend, and we chose the center of Seoul, which will be filled with office workers in the middle of the day, when they are busy with work," explained an organizer.

"This will create a dramatic visual contrast with the scene of the spacing out contest,” she told Korea's Hankyoreh newspaper. The group will select 50 competitors, who will sit in chairs and do nothing for three hours. At the end, the winner will be the one with the slowest heartrate and "the most absent-minded" appearance. And just to make the point that even relaxation is hard work, the winner will walk away with a trophy modeled after Rodin's "The Thinker. 

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Weather around the world

Hurricane Odile just won't quit. After pounding Los Cabos in Baja California Sur on Sunday, the remnants of the storm are causing heavy rain in the southwestern US. According to, the storm's circulation is pumping tropical moisture north. There's been some flash flooding in Arizona and forecasters warn of potential flooding in New Mexico, Texas and possibly Oklahoma through Sunday.

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