Ten New Things

A collection of the interesting, entertaining
and downright strange from around the web


As sung by the RAF Photographic Reconnaissance Unit during the Second World War.

When you’re seven miles up in the heavens,
And that’s a heck of a lonely spot,
And it’s fifty degrees below zero,
Which isn’t exactly hot,
When you’re frozen blue like your Spitfire,
And you’re scared a Mosquito pink,
When you’re thousands of miles from nowhere,
And there’s nothing below but the drink –

It’s then you will see the gremlins,
Green and gamboge and gold,
Male and female and neuter,
Gremlins both young and old.

White ones’ll wiggle your wingtips,
Male ones’ll muddle your maps,
Green ones’ll guzzle your glycol,
Females will flutter your flaps,
Pink ones will perch on your perspex,
And dance pirouettes on your prop,
There’s one spherical middle-aged gremlin
Who spins on your stick like a top.

They’ll freeze up your camera shutters,
They’ll bite through your aileron wires,
They’ll cause your whole tail to flutter,
They’ll insert toasting forks in your tyres.

This is the song of the gremlins
As sung by the P R U,
Pretty Ruddy Unlikely to many,
But fact nonetheless to the few.

A piece of mail from a pilot
to his girlfriend in November 1943.

Astonishing Legends: Gremlins  (listen to podcast here)


The Roald Dahl Aviation Story that Disney Refused to Film

The RAF pilot-turned-children’s-author starred a gremlin in his first book.
Via Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine

It’s well known that “Fifinella” was the official mascot of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), the all-female units that flew non-combat ferry flights during World War II. Perhaps less well known is that Fifinella was taken from The Gremlins, Roald Dahl’s first children’s book.
Read more 

The ’60s Soviet Space Probe That Crashed Into Wisconsin


Via Atlas Obscura
When Sputnik IV hit the streets of sleepy Manitowoc, it ushered in the age of space junk. This ring at the intersection of Park and North 8th Streets in Manitowoc marks where Sputnik IV smashed into the street in 1962.

Read More

Some Pilots Are Using Their Flight Paths to Draw in the Sky


It has to be some of the largest artwork ever created.
Via Atlas Obscura

IN GENERAL, THE SKY ISN’T a great medium for creativity. Your options are limited to a banner pulled behind a plane, or using special smoke to write giant letters that will get swept away by the wind—maybe before you reach the end of the message. But there’s another way that pilots express themselves, though it’s not immediately apparent to the ground-bound. Using a flight tracking program called CloudAhoy, pilots around the country have been drawing some intricate designs in the sky for a contest to see who can most effectively merge their skills in the air with their creative flair.

Read More 

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