airports and planes

‘We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t.’ –Bukowski


{ John Schnabel }

Prepare to receive cavalry. Prepare to receive soup.


These days, the TSA’s major role appears to be to make plane trips more unpleasant. And by doing so, it’s encouraging people to take the considerably more dangerous option of traveling by road. […]

A longer list of TSA’s confiscations would include a G.I. Joe action doll’s 4-inch plastic rifle (“it’s a replica”) and a light saber. […]

Researchers at Cornell University suggest that people switching from air to road transportation in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks led to an increase of 242 driving fatalities per month—which means that a lot more people died on the roads as an indirect result of 9/11 than died from being on the planes that terrible day. They also suggest that enhanced domestic baggage screening alone reduced passenger volume by about 5 percent in the five years after 9/11, and the substitution of driving for flying by those seeking to avoid security hassles over that period resulted in more than 100 road fatalities.

{ BloombergBusinessweek | Continue reading }

They wanted to know if I had something in my pockets

{ US man with huge penis stopped at airport }

Coming out with a whopper now. Rhapsodies about damn all.


One of the nightmare scenarios for modern society is the possibility of a global flu pandemic like the 1918 Spanish influenza which infected about a quarter of the global population and killed as many as 130 million of them.

An important question for policy makers is how best to limit the spread of such a disease if a new outbreak were to occur. (The Spanish flu was caused by the H1N1 flu virus that was also responsible for the 2009 swine flu outbreak.)

One obvious idea is to close international airports to prevent, or at least dramatically reduce, the movement of potentially infected individuals between countries. But is this the best approach?

Today, Jose Marcelino and Marcus Kaiser at Newcastle University in the UK, provide an answer. They say a better approach is to cut specific flights between airports because it can achieve the same reduction in the spread of the disease with far less drastic action.

{ The Physics arXiv Blog | Continue reading }

And let all the fly skimmies, feel the beat


{ MCA tribute at the airport | Chris Chapman }

Everywhere I go both coasts wit toast


When you fly trans-Atlantic, why does the plane not go straight? One would think the shortest route would be a straight line from say NYC to London… but the plane makes a curve…

What is a straight line on the globe may appear as a curved line on a flat map. Use a globe and hold a piece of string tight against it with one end at each of the two cities you are flying between. You might find that this gives you a very different path than if you drew a straight line on a map. (…)

For example, a direct line from Toronto to Tokyo goes through Alaska and Siberia. On a flat map with the north pole at the top, this would look like an arch. (…)

Notice that the red line is shorter than the blue line. The sphere has a smaller circumference as you get closer to either of the polls than it does at the equator (closer to the blue line)
If you were to fly directly to your destination on a transatlantic flight (let’s say along the blue line), you would have to fly a much further distance than if you bowed up north over Greenland (and flew closer to the red line) for a bit.

{ Askville | Continue reading }

North Atlantic Tracks (NAT) are trans-Atlantic routes that stretch from the northeast of North America to western Europe across the Atlantic Ocean. They ensure aircraft are separated over the ocean, where there is little radar coverage.

These heavily-traveled routes are used by aircraft traveling between North America and Europe, flying between the altitudes of 28,500 and 42,000 feet, inclusive. Entrance and movement along these tracks is controlled by special Oceanic Center air traffic controllers to maintain separation between airplanes.

The primary purpose of these routes is to provide a Minimum Time Route. They are aligned in such a way as to minimize any head winds and maximize tail winds impact on the aircraft. This results in much more efficiency by reducing fuel burn and flight time.

To make such efficiencies possible, the routes are created daily to take account of the shifting of the winds aloft. (…)

Concorde did not travel on the North Atlantic Tracks as it flew to the United States from the United Kingdom and France from a much higher altitude, between 45,000ft and 60,000ft. The weather variations at these altitudes were so minor that Concorde followed the same route each day, traveling to and from Europe to North America on fixed tracks.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

If I exorcise my devils well my angels may leave too


{ Kill Devil Hills is a town in Dare County, North Carolina, USA. Nearby Kitty Hawk is frequently cited as the location of the Wright brothers‘ first controlled, powered airplane flights on December 17, 1903. The flights actually occurred in Kill Devil Hills. | Wikipedia | Continue reading Photo: First flight of the Wright Flyer I, December 17, 1903, Orville piloting, Wilbur running at wingtip. }

By Jove, I often wanted to see the Mourne mountains. Must be a great tonic in the air down there.


I answered, “If you’re a terrorist, you’re going to hide your weapons in your anus or your vagina.”

“Yes, but starting tomorrow, we’re going to start searching your crotchal area–this is the word he used, ‘crotchal’–and you’re not going to like it.”

“What am I not going to like?” I asked.

“We have to search up your thighs and between your legs until we meet resistance,” he explained.

{ The Atlantic | Continue reading }

photo { Ralph Mecke }

Women are a universal problem in our business

Valise I have a particular fancy for


Transportation Security Administration
Service Animals

It is recommended that persons using an animal for assistance carry appropriate identification. Identification may include: cards or documentation, presence of a harness or markings on the harness, or other credible assurance of the passenger using the animal for their disability. (…)

Monkey Helpers

When a service monkey is being transported in a carrier, the monkey must be removed from the carrier by the handler prior to screening,

The service monkey must be controlled by the handler throughout the screening process.

The service monkey handler should carry the monkey through the walk through metal detector while the monkey remains on a leash.

When the handler and service monkey go through the walk through metal detector and the detector alarms, both the handler and the monkey must undergo additional screening.

Since service monkeys may likely draw attention, the handler will be escorted to the physical inspection area where a table is available for the monkey to sit on. Only the handler will touch or interact with the service monkey.

Security Officers have been trained to not touch the service monkey during the screening process.

Security Officers will conduct a visual inspection on the service monkey and will coach the handler on how to hold the monkey during the visual inspection.

The inspection process may require that the handler to take off the monkey’s diaper as part of the visual inspection.

{ | Continue reading }

I could fly through the air and stick to the wall


{ Mr. Toth has built a precise replica of a first-class cabin from a Pan Am World Airways 747 in the garage of his two-bedroom condo in Redondo Beach, Calif. The setup includes almost everything fliers in the late 1970s and 1980s would have found onboard: pairs of red-and-blue reclining seats, original overhead luggage bins and a curved, red-carpeted staircase. | Wall Street Journal | Continue reading }

Global 2. This is the Chicago Center watch supervisor. Please understand we’re doing everything we can.


The European Union is funding ambitious programs aimed at monitoring human behavior in an effort to identify deviance and pick out potential terrorists. The implications for privacy are myriad. (…)

One system involves a network of cameras in airports that can measure your speed and alert the control room should it seem excessive. The system knows terrorists tend to be nervous and almost never stop for coffee. This makes a speedy traveller a suspicious traveller.

You may also want to think twice about using the airport bathroom more than once. There is a good chance you will be picked out for an extensive security check.

{ Der Spiegel | Continue reading }