Pilot Program


For 50 years, Snoopy has been NASA’s official safety mascot. Every astronaut wears a sterling silver Snoopy pin into space and presents it personally afterward to an employee or contractor as a special commendation for outstanding achievements related to safety.

Each year, fewer than 1 percent of the aerospace program workforce receive the award; it’s the highest honour recognizing the people who work to keep astronauts safe.

On the Quiet

Image: Wikipedia

To avoid alarming their visitors, hospitals typically alert their staff to emergency situations by announcing “codes” over the public address system. Alberta uses these:

Code Red: Fire
Code Blue: Cardiac arrest/medical emergency
Code Orange: Mass casualty incident
Code Green: Evacuation
Code Yellow: Missing patient
Code Black: Bomb threat/suspicious package
Code White: Violence/aggression
Code Brown: Chemical spill/hazardous material
Code Grey: Shelter in place/air exclusion
Code Purple: Hostage situation

These haven’t been standardized; a few other systems are listed here. One common variation is “Paging Dr. Red” or “Paging Dr. Firestone” to alert staff of a fire. Sometimes “Code Clear” is announced when the emergency has been dealt with.

For similar reasons, airlines refer to dead bodies as “Jim Wilson.” American Airlines’ help desk for funeral homes is called the American Airlines Jim Wilson Service.



  • By age 14, Harry Truman had read every book in the Independence, Missouri, library.
  • In honor of Ray Bradbury, a web page censored by a government returns HTTP error status code 451.
  • Wyoming, Wisconsin, is in Iowa County.
  • Vincent van Gogh and Salvador Dalí were both named after dead brothers who had preceded them.
  • “Virtue is insufficient temptation.” — George Bernard Shaw



Salman Rushdie suggested that if Robert Ludlum had written Hamlet it would be called The Elsinore Vacillation.

Larry Rosenbaum observed that a gigolo is a million million billion piccolos.

The Greek god of theatrical criticism was named Pan.

Most pygmy hippos in American zoos are descended from William Johnson Hippopotamus, a pet given to Calvin Coolidge.


Illinois considers Pluto a planet.

“It is as if children know instinctively that anything wholly solemn, without a smile behind it, is only half alive.” — Iona and Peter Opie, The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren, 1959


  • Queen Victoria and her future husband, Albert, were born with the help of the same midwife.
  • Ulysses Grant and Harry Truman had the same meaningless middle initial.
  • SLICES OF BREAD is an anagram of DESCRIBES LOAF. (Dean Mayer)
  • France’s longest land border is with Brazil (via French Guiana).
  • “A creed is an ossified metaphor.” — Elbert Hubbard

(Thanks, Tony.)

Free Air Conditioning


Between the 1880s and the 1960s, the flag of the Turks and Caicos Islands featured an igloo. When Britain decided that the colony needed its own flag, it commissioned an artist to paint a suitable local scene. At the time, the salt industry dominated the local economy, so he sketched a man working on a quay between two piles of salt. When this was sent to London, the Admiralty artist apparently mistook these for ice, not knowing that the Turks and Caicos lie southeast of the Bahamas, and he helpfully added a door to the right pile.

Amazingly, the error remained in place until 1966, when it was discreetly removed before a state visit by Queen Elizabeth.

(Thanks, Charles.)



Rather than follow daylight saving time, the state of Arizona observes standard time throughout the year.

But the Navajo Nation observes daylight saving time throughout its territory, including the part that lies in Arizona.

And the Hopi Nation, which lies entirely in Arizona, surrounded entirely by the Navajo Nation, doesn’t.

So the Hopi Nation is a region that doesn’t observe daylight saving time inside one that does inside one that doesn’t inside one that does.

Related: Ontario contains an island in a lake on an island in a lake.