Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

"Quick Takes" Continued...

Issue: "Obama," Nov. 15, 2008

Talk is not cheap

Combine a nanny-state bureaucracy and a politically correct culture and what do you get? Administrators for the United Kingdom's National Health Service have paid more than $360,000 in case Laotians or Cherokee Indians need translation services to access the taxpayer-funded health system. Official records reveal no Cherokees live in England while only one Laotian lives there. The costly service also ensures NHS operators can communicate in Esperanto, the failed language construct.

Strange smells

In space, no one can hear you scream. But can they smell you if you haven't bathed recently? If not, it can only be because space has such a distinctively innate smell, says NASA. The U.S. space agency commissioned chemist and odor specialist Steven Pearce of Omega, a fragrance manufacturing company, to recreate space's odor. According to interviews with astronauts and tests performed on gear used during shuttle flights, Pearce reports space tastes like chicken. "For them, what comes across is a smell of fried steak, hot metal and even welding a motorbike," Pearce said.

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