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  #1  
Old 05 July 2008, 07:06 AM
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Ponder A Bra's Tale

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As a young woman, Betty Jenkins received a gift from her mother that was meant to attract the attention of young men. But as Jenkins, who is now 94, tells her niece, the attention she got wasn't the kind she was expecting.

The gift was an inflatable bra that was designed to enhance its wearer's figure. A straw-like tube was used to inflate pads in the cups.

But things didn't go smoothly during a plane trip in South America. The plane was flying near the Andes Mountains when Jenkins began to feel pressure and sensed there was a problem.

It turned out the cabin was not pressurized, and the bra was expanding.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...oryId=91943477
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  #2  
Old 05 July 2008, 10:29 AM
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Wouldn't that be the least of your problems?

A short trip to the bathroom would have fixed that.

Quote:
"As the thing got bigger, I tried to stand up," Jenkins said, "and I couldn't see my feet."
And supposedly nobody else noticed before the thing blew up.

Quote:
The plane made an emergency landing, and Jenkins was handed over to the police. She was ordered to strip, as the officers looked for what they assumed could only be a bomb.

After she showed the officers the hole in her bra, Jenkins was allowed back on the plane and her trip continued.
So that's when they finally realised!
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  #3  
Old 05 July 2008, 12:13 PM
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Headline of the day:

"Airplane makes emergency landing due to exploding bra"

Last edited by Der Induktionator; 05 July 2008 at 12:26 PM. Reason: landing
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  #4  
Old 05 July 2008, 05:48 PM
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Ponder StoryCorps producer responds to NPR exploding bra doubts

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Our little post the other day on the application of the ideal gas law in discussing the NPR/StoryCorps segment on the exploding bra of a now-94-year-old woman caught the attention of StoryCorps Senior Producer, Michael Garofalo. Mr Garofalo wished to respond to our post and several commenters who noted that the exploding bra story was the stuff of urban legend, such that snopes.com traced back to a 1958 Reader's Digest story the original description of an inflatable bra exploding in an unpressurized airplane cabin.
http://scienceblogs.com/terrasig/200...responds_t.php
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  #5  
Old 05 July 2008, 06:40 PM
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Jeez! It's spoil sports/smarty farty-types like Snopes.com and Mythbusters that ruins everything! I wanna believe a woman's bra can blow up! Dang it, I wanna believe!!!
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  #6  
Old 05 July 2008, 07:03 PM
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Airplane

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Every StoryCorps story that we put on the air is extensively fact-checked, as was Ms. Jenkins's story. We were aware that a similar story appeared on an urban legend site so we were particularly thorough in our efforts to nail this story down.
Maybe it's just me, but I would expect "extensive fact-checking" to encompass something a bit more than "We talked to someone who claimed it's true, and we verified her story by talking to someone else who said it could be true!"

- snopes
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  #7  
Old 05 July 2008, 07:29 PM
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The part about her being 94 now was a big red flag for me. How old was she supposed to have been when her mother gave her that bra, and how long have inflatable bras been around? The original Reader's Digest story appeared in 1958; someone who's 94 now would have been 44 in 1958.
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  #8  
Old 05 July 2008, 07:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
The part about her being 94 now was a big red flag for me. How old was she supposed to have been when her mother gave her that bra, and how long have inflatable bras been around? The original Reader's Digest story appeared in 1958; someone who's 94 now would have been 44 in 1958.
Inflatable bras were commonly available at least as early as 1952.

- snopes
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  #9  
Old 05 July 2008, 08:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
Inflatable bras were commonly available at least as early as 1952.

- snopes
If she's 94 now, she would have been 38 in 1952, which strikes me as a bit old for what supposedly happened in the story.
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  #10  
Old 08 July 2008, 04:59 PM
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I have been mulling this story over since I heard it last week. I have the same issue about its veracity.

If the woman received the bra as a young woman, say under 30 (so the flight was in the 1930 to 1943 (making her between 16 - 30 years old). when did commercial air travel begin in South America? Probably within this time frame, so that part might be plausible.

Of course, if inflatable bras were not around before the war, this is pretty overblown, as a problem, that is.



Ali "push and lift" Infree
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  #11  
Old 10 July 2008, 05:12 PM
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I say this at the risk of sounding very ignorant, but wouldn't it be difficult to breathe? I thought that was why flights are now pressurized, and that oxygen masks would drop if there was a loss of pressure. Perhaps if they flew low it wouldn't be necessary to pressurize, but I thought that flying over the mountains meant that they had to fly high.

I also wondered why inflatable life jackets, that also have tubes to blow in to manually inflate, would not have also inflated. Maybe they didn't use these types of life jackets back then?

Any insights are appreciated!

Phan
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  #12  
Old 11 July 2008, 02:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom View Post
I say this at the risk of sounding very ignorant, but wouldn't it be difficult to breathe? I thought that was why flights are now pressurized, and that oxygen masks would drop if there was a loss of pressure. Perhaps if they flew low it wouldn't be necessary to pressurize, but I thought that flying over the mountains meant that they had to fly high.

I also wondered why inflatable life jackets, that also have tubes to blow in to manually inflate, would not have also inflated. Maybe they didn't use these types of life jackets back then?

Any insights are appreciated!

Phan
Generally speaking, unpressurized passenger planes didn't go much above 8,000 ft, as opposed to the 26,000+ that modern planes fly. The life jackets would have had to be pre-inflated at or near sea level for them to expand.
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