Page 240. " which I guess was Philippinish "

The Philippines
Public DomainThe Philippines - Credit: NASA
The official language of the Philippines, an archipelago of over 7,000 islands in South-East Asia, is Filipino.  It is based on the indigenous Tagalog language but also incorporates some Spanish and English words, reflecting the Spanish and American colonisation of the islands.

Learn Filipino

Page 240. " kind of like a Möbius strip "

Mobius Strip
GNU Free Documentation LicenseMobius Strip - Credit: David Benbennick
A Möbius strip is a band with only one side.

Some conveyer belts are designed as Möbius strips, as it spreads the wear across the whole belt.

 

 

Page 242. " Here's his Purple Heart "
Purple Heart in case
Public DomainPurple Heart in case - Credit: United States Marine Corps
 Let it be known that he who wears the military order of the purple heart has given of his blood in the defense of his homeland and shall forever be revered by his fellow countrymen.

      -  George Washington

 

The Purple Heart is awarded to those who have been injured or killed while serving with the US military.

Page 243. " right after the picture of Jean-Pierre Haigneré "

 

The Haigneres with Vladimir Putin
Creative Commons AttributionThe Haigneres with Vladimir Putin - Credit: Presidential Press and Information Office, Russian Federation

 Jean-Pierre Haigneré is a former French Air Force officer and astronaut lucky enough to find another astronaut to marry. Her name is Claudie Haigneré and they have an asteroid named in their honour (asteroid 135268 Haigneré).

 

Page 248. " the Empire State Building was the tallest building in the world "
40th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, Manhattan. (December 05, 1935)
Public Domain40th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, Manhattan. (December 05, 1935) - Credit: New York Public Library
Burj Khalifa
Creative Commons AttributionBurj Khalifa - Credit: Joi Ito

While the Empire State Building dwarfed other buildings at the time of its construction, it has since lost its claim to being the tallest structure on Earth.

The world's tallest building is now the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The structure was opened on 4th January 2010 and stands at 828 m (2,720 ft) tall, twice the height of the Empire State Building.

Scale of tall structures
GNU Free Documentation LicenseScale of tall structures - Credit: Astronaut
Page 249. " where Carey Grant waited in vain for Deborah Kerr "

Sleepless in Seattle (1993) was inspired by An Affair to Remember (1957).  Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan manage to meet at the top of the Empire State Building, unlike Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr.

Page 250. " St. Elmo's fire will stream from your fingertips "

St Elmo's fire, a coronal discharge from a grounded object in an atmospheric electric field, has been scaring and delighting sailors for centuries.

Find out how it works here