Completely Random Facts of the Week – Issue 56

February 29, 2016

randomfactsheader56The weekly collection of random and fun facts.  In this week’s edition: Dinner Literally in the Sky, A Not So High Temperature, A Wine Bottle’s Backside, The Giant Big Bird, and Headphones that Aren’t a Steal.

Alastair Campbell/Flickr

Dinner in the Sky is a restaurant service based out of Belgium which uses a crane to lift its diners, table, and waiting staff over 150 feet into the air. Even adrenaline junkies need to eat dinner, now anyone can do it with them. The concept was started in May 2006, and according to the Dinner in the Sky website, has gone to 45 countries. The idea hasn’t been limited to dinner either. The company has done an Opera in the Sky, a Beach Bar in the Sky, a PokerMatch in the Sky, and an Internet Cafe in the Sky. The company behind it is called appropriately, Events in the Sky, and they even offer more options such as a wedding or a meeting, and you guessed it–it’s in the sky.

The only permanent Dinner in the Sky location in the United States is in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas site is on an 8.8 acre site with a permanent steel tower that rises 200 feet. The tables accommodate 22 eating patrons who sit in six-point harness, racing-style chairs. There is a platform in the middle that allows up to three chefs to do their work, and the chairs even swivel so you can talk to your neighbor. An open fire isn’t allowed due to safety regulations, but there is electricity and a gas barbecue can be used. How much is it to enjoy a dinner in the sky? In Las Vegas the packages for dinner start at $290 per person, and this includes a complimentary photo. Enjoy your meal.  Source, Source

thermometer-789898_640The city of Miami has never recorded a temperature of 100 degrees or more in its history. The record has been 98 degrees. It hit that temperature on a number of days in the months of June, July, and August. Miami’s location next to the Atlantic with its mostly easterly winds contributes to its inability to break the 100 degree mark. That’s not to say it isn’t hot in Miami. The city averages around 63 days of temperature greater than 90 degrees.

But Miami isn’t the only city in Florida to not hit 100 degrees. According to the Southeast Regional Climate Center, Tampa, Florida has only reached 99 degrees, and Key West, Florida, farther south than any other city, has had a record high of only 95 degrees. It seems it pays to be by the water, but there is that thing called humidity to deal with.  Source, Source, Source

puntThe indentation at the bottom of a wine bottle is called a punt. No one really knows for sure why it’s there, but they started when the bottles were made by glassblowers. Sometimes the bottoms became deformed with bumps on the bottom. The bottle couldn’t stand up so an indentation was made to allow the bottle to stand upright. Punts also adds structural integrity to the base of a bottle that holds a liquid that is under pressure, such as a champagne bottle. But punts don’t appear to have anything to do with the quality of what’s inside even though they’re still used today in many bottles of wine.

Why is it called a punt you may ask? Because the glassblower used a tool called a pontil rod, or “punty”, that was attached to the hot glass bottle. When this rod was broken free it left a pontil scar, or bump, as was mentioned previously. Not coincidentally, the punt is also called the “kick-up”. You can see how this could also be a soccer or football reference, right?   Source, Source

Selena N. B, H./Flickr

That great, big, yellow bird on Sesame Street, Big Bird, is 8 feet, 2 inches tall. He’s been on Sesame Street since the premiere of the show in 1969 and has always been six years old. He lives in a nest in the back of 123 Sesame Street, has a teddy bear named Radar, and lives next to the always lovable Oscar the Grouch. The bird’s species is unknown, but it’s no stretch to say that he’s big–a really big bird.

Carroll Spinney is the man that has played Big Bird for 46 years, and he even plays his neighbor, Oscar the Grouch.  To get into Big Bird, Spinney has to don the orange legs first and then the yellow body. His right arm is extended over his head to control Big Bird’s head, and his left hand controls Big Bird’s left hand. There is no way to see out of the costume, so Spinney has to look at a monitor that is attached to his chest to see the other puppets around him. He tapes his lines from the script to the monitor in his suit. All this is going on in an eight foot tall suit with a man that is not nearly that tall. Source, Source  

Alexander Kaiser/Wikimedia

Sometimes all it takes is excellent marketing, and this is apparent for the “Beats by Dre” headphones. The New York Times first reported that it cost around $14 to make the headphones that can sell for up to $450. Avery Louie, A prototype engineer at Bolt, a venture capital firm, reverse engineered the headphones and came up with a cost of $20.19 for a particular pair of $199 Beats headphones. One example that gave the headphones a different feel were from metal parts that were found to add weight and quality without having any functionality. 33% of the weight of the headphones were from these parts.

Interestingly, this wasn’t the first time the headphones had been reverse engineered to find their true cost. A previous set of headphones had been broken down by Louie but were found to be counterfeit. The cost wasn’t much different in the end. The counterfeit pair’s materials came in at $16.89.

The company that makes Dre Beats headphones was sold to Apple in May 2014 for $2.6 billion in cash and $400 million in stock revealing that sometimes it might only take a name to successfully sell a product. Source, Source

Another edition is all done. See you here next time and remember to annoy those around you with your new knowledge.

Need more random facts? Check out more from the Random Facts of the Week.

About the author 

Daniel Ganninger - The writer, editor, and chief lackey of Knowledge Stew, the author of the Knowledge Stew line of trivia books, and editor of Fact World and the Knowledge Stew sister site on Medium, our ad-free subscription sites. I hope you learn many new things here that add to your knowledge.

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