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Balls 8 was a NASA Boeing NB-52B mothership. It derives its nickname from its NASA tail number 52-008: leading zeroes plus the number 8. Among USAF personnel it is common practice to refer to aircraft whose tail number is a single number preceded by multiple zeros as "Balls" and the last number of its tail number. It was retired from active service with NASA on December 17, 2004 after almost 50 years flying service. Balls 8 was famous for dropping aerospace research vehicles for 106 flights of the X-15. Like its NB-52A predecessor, a pylon was fitted under the right wing between the fuselage and the inboard engines with a 6-by-8-foot (1.8 m 2.4 m) section removed from the right wing flap in order to accommodate the X-15's tail. It flew a total of 159 captive-carry and launch missions in support of the X-15 program, from June 1959 until October 1968. It also flew missions supporting the X-24, HiMAT, Lifting Body vehicles, X-43, early launches of the OSC Pegasus rocket and numerous others. Balls 8 was originally an RB-52B that was first flown on June 11, 1955; and entering service with NASA on June 8, 1959. It was the oldest active B-52 still in service at the time of its retirement. It was modified at North American Aviation's Palmdale facility in order to allow it to carry the X-15. The modified bomber first was used to launch the X-15 on its fifth flight, on January 23, 1960. Balls 8 was the last B-52 in service of any type other than the H model. It also had the lowest total air time of any operational B-52. It is now on permanent public display near the north gate of Edwards Air Force Base. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





Freediving is any of various aquatic activities that share the practice of breath-hold underwater diving. Examples include breathhold spear fishing, freedive photography, apnea competitions and, to a degree, snorkeling. The activity that garners the most public attention is competitive apnea, an extreme sport, in which competitors attempt to attain great depths, times or distances on a single breath without the assistance of self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba). Freediving is a technique used with various aquatic activities. While in general all aquatic activities that include breath-hold diving might be classified as a part of freediving, some sports are more accepted than others. Examples of recognized freediving activities are (non-) competitive freediving, (non-) competitive spearfishing, freediving photography and mermaid shows. Less recognized examples of freediving include, but are not limited to, synchronised swimming, underwater rugby, underwater hockey, underwater hunting other than spearfishing, and snorkeling. The discussion remains whether freediving is only a synonym for breath-hold diving or whether it describes a specific group of underwater activities. Freediving is often strongly associated with competitive breath-hold diving or Competitive Apnea. Freediving is also a recreational sport, celebrated as a relaxing, liberating, and unique experience. Many snorkelers may technically be freediving if they perform any sort of breath hold diving - it is important to stress the importance of training and supervision when making this association. Like other water sports, freediving is associated with therapeutic properties. The experience of freedom in an underwater environment makes free-diving somewhat of a personal and spiritual journey for many. Yoga is used by many practitioners to increase focus, breath, and overall performance. he human body has several adaptations under diving conditions, which stem from the mammalian diving reflex. These adaptations enable the human body to endure depth and lack of oxygen far beyond what would be possible without the reflex. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



Parahawking is an activity that combines paragliding with falconry. Birds of prey are trained to fly with paragliders, guiding them to thermals for in-flight rewards and performing aerobatic maneuvers. Parahawking was developed by British falconer Scott Mason in 2001. Mason began a round-the-world trip in Pokhara, Nepal, where many birds of prey such as the griffon vulture, steppe eagle and black kite can be found. While taking a tandem paragliding flight with British paraglider Adam Hill, he had the opportunity to see raptors in flight, and realized that he could combine the sports of paragliding and falconry.Citation needed He hopes that others will also be interested in the combined endeavors.Citation needed He has been based in Pokhara ever since, training and flying birds during the dry season between September and March. The team started by training two black kites, but have since added an Egyptian vulture and a Mountain hawk-eagle to the team. Only rescued birds are used none of the birds have been taken from the wild. Mason and Hill documented their endeavors, with help from colleague Graham Saunders-Griffiths, in a film entitled Parahawking. In addition to being named Best Debut Film at the 2003 Festival International du Film de Vol libre in St-Hilaire, France (held as part of the Coupe Icare), and winning top prize in the 'Air' category at the 5th Hory a Mesto international festival of mountain films in Slovakia, Parahawking was a finalist in the category of 'Best Film on Mountain Sports' at the 2003 Banff Mountain Film Festival, and competed for the title of 'Best Documentary' at the 2004 Cervino International Film Festival. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



"I've fallen... and I can't get up!" was a catchphrase of the late 1980s and early 1990s popular culture based upon a line from a United States-based television commercial. This line was spoken in a television commercial for a medical alarm and protection company called LifeCall. The motivation behind the systems is that subscribers, mostly senior citizens, would receive a pendant which, when activated, would allow the user to speak into to an audio receiving device and talk directly with a dispatch service, without the need to reach a telephone. The service was designed to appeal particularly to seniors who lived alone and who might experience a medical emergency, such as a fall, which would leave them alert but immobile and unable to reach the telephone. In 1989, LifeCall began running commercials which contained a scene wherein an elderly woman, identified by a dispatcher as "Mrs. Fletcher", uses the medical alert pendant after having fallen in the bathroom. After falling, Mrs. Fletcher speaks the phrase "I've fallen, and I can't get up!", after which the dispatcher informs her that he is sending help. Taken at its face value, the commercial portrays a dangerous situation for a senior, with perhaps dire consequences: an elderly person suddenly incapacitated at home, unable to get help, perhaps for hours or even days. The "I've fallen and I can't get up" ad had the double misfortune of being unintentionally campy and appearing often on cable and daytime television. The fact that the commercial was a dramatization (as clearly stated in the beginning of the commercial) using bad acting also contributed to the humor. The combination made "I've fallen... and I can't get up!" a recognized, universal punchline that applied to many comedic situations. All of these factors made the ad memorable, ensuring the line's place in pop culture history. According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, after first applying in October 1990, LifeCall registered the phrase "I've fallen and I can't get up" as a trademark in September 1992 until its status was cancelled in 1999. In October 2002, the similar phrase "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up!" became a registered trademark of Life Alert Emergency Response, Inc. In June 2007, the phrase "I've fallen and I can't get up!" also became a registered trademark of Life Alert. Both phrases are currently used on their website as well as in their commercials. The phrase is made out, however, to be much less campy. It is now usually followed by a narrator that talks about the reason behind why such a situation would be severely serious, giving the impression that the people behind the infamous commercial never intended it to have any humor behind it and didn't want the phrase to be used in any humorous manner. Another catchphrase which was also used by an elderly man named Mr. Miller in the same LifeCall commercial, and also humorously popularized, was "I'm having chest pains!". [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



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