In case you need a refresher, here's a picture of the Space Shuttle carrier, showing the shuttle itself mounted in position:
In that picture, you can easily see the little pylons where the shuttle itself attaches to the plane. Obviously, a neat solution to a significant problem, and much faster than sticking it on a boat and floating it through the Panama canal. It was creative thinking like this that inspired me to want to work at NASA when I was a little kid*.
Yet I have recently come across some information that highlights the fact that apparently not everyone who works at NASA is a rocket scientist. Those very same connection pylons that latch the shuttle to the carrier plane apparently are designed with a little warning, which is shown on little signs painted on their side (click on the image for better detail):
You know, all warning signs are there for a reason. I just can't stop giggling when I think of the situation that prompted the placement of those signs.
Ah, government bureaucrats...
NASA Chief: "Johnson! Get over here! The black side goes *down* you nincompoop!"
Johnson: "Oooooh. Is *that* why the tail ripped a hole in the roof of the plane?"
NASA Chief: "Dammit Johnson, do I have to put a *sign* on all the pylons?!"
* Well, that and the movie Spacecamp. Leah Thompson + Kelly Preston = HOT! Plus, the added bonus of a pre-Gladiator/Walk The Line Joaquin Phoenix as Max, the requisite annoying little kid who's obviously too young to actually go to SpaceCamp but exists in the story purely to convince 11-year olds like myself that we're perfectly capable of surviving the trip, and are indeed essential to America's space program, even if NASA doesn't acknowledge it and rejected the application I sent in immediately after seeing the film.