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You should always leave your window shade open on an airplane January 9, 2019

Posted by Ian in Uncategorized.
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Sara Stewart, CNN • Updated 27th December 2018

(CNN) — Air travel is a struggle under the best of circumstances. 

Legroom seems to shrink with every trip, and the argument about whether it’s rude to recline one’s seat rages on (though some airlines have limited the pitch of the seat, which to this anti-recliner seems a fair compromise).

But there’s one issue that seems to be getting worse: The Great Window Shade Debate. 

When did it become acceptable that, upon boarding an airplane, most people immediately slam down their shades, creating what a friend of mine has referred to as a “flying coffin”?

If I may speak for the claustrophobes, this is some serious, and seriously anxiety-inducing, BS. 

As if commercial flight wasn’t physically limiting enough to begin with, the expectation is that instead of being able to look peacefully out the window — as we SOAR into the SKY — we are all now immediately expected to bury our heads in whatever devices are permitted to be turned on. And shame on anyone who dares to cast a glaring beam of (gasp!) natural light across someone else’s screen.

It has become common for the flight crew to actually demand that everyone on board lower their blinds out of courtesy to sleepers or entertainment-watchers. Sorry, but no. Humans are diurnal — we sleep during the night, not the day, a biological truth that doesn’t change just because you’re on a plane. 

What’s more, if it’s a night flight, it’s dark outside anyway, and if it’s a red-eye, there’s likely going to be a kickass sunrise to make the nightmare that is a red-eye worthwhile. 

Don’t like the light? Get a sleep mask.

Given the popularity of those stupid-looking, overstuffed neck pillows that you now see adorning the necks of 90% of travelers in airports, I can’t believe it’d be a hardship for regular fliers to shell out for a scrap of fabric to cover their eyes.

One popular theory on air travel forums is that requiring everyone to lower their shades significantly reduces the amount of demand on a flight crew for cabin service. (I’m reminded of the futuristic human race in the prescient Pixar movie “WALL-E,” too morbidly sedentary to get out of their hover-chairs and engaged only with their devices.) 

Turn on and/or tune out, and you won’t think about needing sustenance? Not to disparage the hard work that flight attendants do, but give me a break. Depriving travelers of natural light so you can sit on your butt for most of the flight is obnoxious and insulting. 

There’s absolutely no defensible reason one should be expected to fly in darkness during a daytime flight. Speaking as someone who lives in a relatively sunless area of Pennsylvania, I savor the chance to get up above the clouds for a change. 

Yes, there have been studies that show that UV rays can be harsher in an airplane than on the ground. There’s a solution for that. It’s called sunscreen, which you should be wearing on your face every day regardless of where you are in the stratosphere.

The only real recourse is to always, always reserve a window seat when you book your flight. It remains an unspoken rule that the window seat person controls the shade, no matter how much of the other kind of shade they may get for leaving it open. (Be sure to jump on ratings site SeatGuru.com when you buy, because there are a lot of misaligned windows out there, and there’s nothing more deflating than arriving at your row only to discover your window is actually so far forward that it technically belongs in the quasi-legal province of the person sitting in from of you.)

There is, however, an obvious drawback for anyone who might have, say, drunk a cup of coffee or a beer before the flight. Is inconveniencing your seatmates because you have to pee three times during a flight worth it to preserve your little scrap of daylight? 

I say yes, it is. 

I say fight for the right to window-gaze, even if it comes at the expense of bumped knees and awkward butts in faces, and side-eye from flight attendants. If people weren’t so willing to ensconce themselves in gloomy dusk like airborne TV-addicted vampires, none of this would be necessary, and frequent bathroom-goers who also like nature could feel free to reserve aisle seats instead. 

Apparently there’s a French company called Vision Systems at work on updating window shade technology, creating digitally dimming windows that don’t require you to touch their germy handles. 

This sounds like a mixed bag for those of us who love the view: Will the windows dim automatically? Are they at the control of the flight crew or the passengers themselves? And, heaven help us, apparently the same company is also working on turning windows into just more screens: The new material “combines particle tech with a video display, which passengers can use to flip on an interactive map, see flight information, or communicate with the crew. The idea, Vision Systems says, is ‘to enhance the value of the window seat,’ ” Wired.com reported.

Sorry, but my definition of “enhanced value” would be a trip in which no one harangues me about the outdated joy I take in looking out the window and actually appreciating the beauty of flight.

Sara Stewart is a film writer at the New York Post who divides her time between the city and western Pennsylvania, where her husband is a professor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.




Santa Claus ditches sleigh for water skis, makes a splash on Okanagan Lake — December 24, 2018

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If you thought you spotted Santa Claus water skiing on Okanagan Lake, your eyes weren’t playing tricks on you.

via Santa Claus ditches sleigh for water skis, makes a splash on Okanagan Lake —

Samsung is reportedly developing a curved battery for its foldable phone July 4, 2018

Posted by Ian in Mobile, Tech.
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galaxy-x-foldable-796x450Samsung is reportedly leading the race to build foldable smartphones with the development of a curved battery that it can produce in large numbers.

The Korean conglomerate is said to have figured out a way to make large-capacity batteries that can store between 3,000mAh and 6,000mAh of power, reports ITHome. If the news is accurate, it’d be a far cry from the 210mAh flexible cell design that the Samsung SDI subsidiary came up with four years ago.


You may read more about it here.

A Millennial Job Interview March 6, 2018

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Apple to stop iTunes Store access for first-gen Apple TV, Windows XP, and Windows Vista February 28, 2018

Posted by Ian in Tech.
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1st-gen-appletv-100750790-largeTech companies (especially Apple) want us to use the latest products the company has to offer. They want to make money from the sales, but they also develop and implement new technology that older devices can’t support at all (or can’t support it in a way that’s acceptable to the user). Eventually, each product’s time runs out, as is now the case with the first-generation Apple TV.

More from Macworld

‘Would you burn the Mona Lisa if it was sent?’: Our horror bureaucratic bungle February 26, 2018

Posted by Ian in Environment.
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It’s a bungle that has floored botanists around the globe and embarrassed the Australian government. How did 105 priceless and irreplaceable historical plant specimens, sent here by the French, end up being destroyed by biosecurity officers?

via The Sydney Morning Herald

Elon Musk quits AI ethics research group February 25, 2018

Posted by Ian in Tech.
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99956130_mediaitem99940050One of the most vocal critics of AI quits the ethics board as Tesla utilises the technology.

via Elon Musk quits AI ethics research group — BBC News – Technology

Replika app provides chats with dead friend February 24, 2018

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Is this weird?

An entrepreneur makes an app that lets her have conversations with a virtual version of a deceased friend.

via Replika app provides chats with dead friend — BBC News – Technology

The Dark Side of Wireless Technology February 23, 2018

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Smart Meter News

The Dark Side of Wireless Technology

New film explores hidden health problems linked to constant connectivity
By Conan Milner, Epoch Times
January 9, 2018 6:11 pm Last Updated: January 9, 2018 6:11 pm

Wireless technology is modern magic. For the price of a device and a data plan, you are granted the power to communicate and connect to the World Wide Web through a pocket-sized screen. But some evidence suggests this magic has a dark side, and we may be paying more for it than we realize.

With an estimated 4.8 billion cellphone users worldwide, it’s hard to fathom that something so commonplace could pose health problems. Besides, since the…

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Intel’s New Smart Glasses February 21, 2018

Posted by Ian in Internet, Tech.
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