This week we're checking out some beautiful national parks in Europe you should visit, learning about how in-flight Wi-Fi on aeroplanes works (besides poorly) and diving into the unusual origins of many US city names. Welcome to Lifehacker's Thinking Cap, a series where we round up interesting, informative and thought-provoking podcasts, interviews, articles and other media that will teach you something new, inspire you and hopefully cap off your week nicely.
How Wi-Fi on Aeroplanes Works (Other than Poorly)
It's no real secret that Wi-Fi on flights generally... isn't the best, but how exactly does it work? Is the plane essentially a giant mobile tower, constantly in contact with cellular networks on the ground? Or is there some other technology at play, maybe satellite?
Well, this TechQuickie video explains how it all really works, and how it's pretty miraculous that you can get internet access in your plane, seated sometimes dozens of thousands of metres in the air. But even though it's miraculous, it's not the most reliable — so Linus also explains how in-flight Wi-Fi might get more reliable in the future. [via TechQuickie]
The Food We Eat
This week's TED Radio Hour on NPR takes a deep dive into our relationship with food, how both climate change and economic factors will slowly change our food supply and, inevitably, the types of foods we're able to eat and how often we're able to eat them.
From a great discussion on how diets has changed over time with Mark Bittman (formerly of the New York Times), to the future of food — namely insects, the food source that some of the world has chosen to forget — with Marcel Dicke, the whole episode is amazing to listen to. [via NPR]
The Unusual Origins of 39 US City Names
From the absurd to the arbitrary, many US cities were named for interesting reasons — like Atlanta, being named after the Western and Atlantic Railroad, which was a much better name than "Terminus", its original name. Philadelphia, on the other hand, actually does mean "brotherly love", which is more than the city's motto, and Jacksonville being named for Andrew Jackson despite the fact that he never actually spent time there. Then there's the fact that we have no idea why Dallas is named as such, and theories abound as to where the name actually came from. All of this — and a ton more — in this video from Mental Floss. [via Mental Floss]
11 Beautiful European Parks You Should Visit
This list of 11 beautiful parks in Europe — many of them National Parks in their respective countries — is also worth checking out if you're planning an overseas holiday.
While the graphic is geared towards "if you only had a day", obviously you would never be able to explore 11 different national parks in a single day — but each park is considered as a day trip, complete with something to do when you're there, something you should absolutely see and an animal you can expect to encounter while you're there. Check out the full thing below. [via Medway Travel]
The Clouds of Iceland
Wrapping things up this week is a beautiful time-lapse video of Iceland, a place I'd very much like to escape off to visit right about now, that's full of beautiful scenery and gorgeous shores. I stumbled on this one because many of the scenes can be seen in one of my favourite Chrome new tab extensions, Delight, which shows you a little time lapse scenery with every new tab. Whether you install it or not though, enjoy the video — and have a great weekend. [via Jonathan Mitchell]
That's all for this week. If you have thought-provoking stories, interesting podcasts or eye-opening videos, share them in the comments below!
Title illustration by Nick Criscuolo.