Weissman has a chocolate lab, Bolé works with labs
Manny was supposed to be on Flight 815, and serendipitously missed it because he was drinking the night before.
With reference to the photo caption, "direct observation" is a method in social sciences where people in an experiment are studied by a removed observer (usually without the participant's knowledge in order to prevent people from acting unnaturally). "Participant observation" methods involve a researcher as a participant (i.e. joining the team) to learn about the phenomenon from the inside. Both are methods the DeGroots, as social scientists, would know about.
Being described as 'dapper' could have some reference to colloquial British slang, where 'dappers' is sometimes used to mean funny
However dapper is generally used as an adjective meaning well-groomed, even in britain.