Saturday, January 03, 2015

Something To Chew On While Squeezed Into Coach When It's A Toasty 0˚ Out

A few things I ran into or got sent my way lately that are worth thinking about.

1. Why Airlines Want to Make You Suffer  BY 

"JetBlue distinguished itself by providing decent, fee-free service for everyone, an approach that seemed to be working: passengers like the airline,  and it made a  consistent profit. Wall Street analysts, however, accused JetBlue of being “overly brand-conscious and customer-focussed.” In November, the airline, under new management, announced that it would follow United, Delta, and the other major carriers by cramming more seats into economy, shrinking leg room, and charging a range of new fees for things like bags and WiFi."

Wu argues that it pays airlines to make you suffer so passengers have to pay to suffer less - buy food, buy an aisle seat, buy a digiplayer, etc.  With all the flying we've been doing to visit my mom, we've enjoyed the benefits of 'elite status' on Alaska Airlines.  But that will end eventually and we'll become cattle again.  And Alaskans don't really have the options like driving,  or taking  buses or trains.  A key point in the article is the lack of competition.  Probably the most evil aspect of all the airline charges for me is the change fee.  It's totally gouging the flier.  If you change online, it costs the airline nothing (or practically nothing.)  And since most flights are full anyway nowadays, changes won't cost them seats, especially if they graduate the fee from nothing to something the week before the flight.  And the anguish they cause people who want to change, but would take a big financial hit if they did, is real.  It's one of those "just because we can" fees.

2. S sent me this long Outdoors article on how fake meat is going to revolutionize eating, save energy, and reduce global warming.
"I dumped meat a few weeks ago, and it was not an easy breakup. Some of my most treasured moments have involved a deck, a beer, and a cheeseburger. But the more I learned, the more I understood that the relationship wasn’t good for either of us. A few things you should never do if you want to eat factory meat in unconflicted bliss: write a story on water scarcity in the American Southwest;  How much shit is in my hamburger?'; watch undercover video of a slaughterhouse in action; and read the 2009 Worldwatch Institute report 'Livestock and Climate Change."

It has cameo parts by Bill Gates and NY Times food writer, Mark Bittman.  It focuses on Beyond Meat where they are rethinking how to get the taste and texture of meat from plants.  As a mostly vegetarian who believes the meat industry is bad for animals and bad for the environment and for consumers' health, this all sounds like good news.  But there's still a part of me that knows that every solution has its own new problems. 

3.  Another unfortunate layout design in Alaska Dispatch News this week.   Do I even need to explain why I think this photo should not be next to this headline and story?  As a blogger I understand how easy it is to miss this sort of thing.  This is just friendly teasing.  But it's two like this in two months.  
*The screenshot is from the online version of the paper edition that you need a subscription.

4.  And the Los Angeles Times had a front page article on Anchorage's first year with no temperatures below zero degrees.  The title, "Temperatures in 2014 were too toasty for Alaska,"  reflects Outsiders' wit when it comes to Alaska.    Never mind that no one in Anchorage thinks of 0˚F as toasty, except maybe after two weeks of  -20˚, which hasn't happened in many, many years.  The point isn't that it's toasty, but that the warming temperatures, which anyone who's lived in Alaska for 20 years or more can attest to, is changing everything from when we plant in the spring, to the amount of ice we have to deal with on sidewalks and streets, and the wildlife we see, and the disappearing acts of nearby glaciers..  Throughout the state, it's melting permafrost, which, besides affecting roads and structures built on permafrost, also is beginning to release methane.On the positive side, that stereotypical impression keeps people from moving to Alaska.
It's also interesting that while the Alaska weather, cutesy headline and all, was on the front page, a more prosaically titled article, "California was Warmest in 2014" showed up on page 3 of the California section of the paper.  (Actually, the online version I linked to shows that the Times does like the word "Toasty" when talking about weather.)

1 comment:

  1. In Fargo tonite, it's -16F and -48 WC. Toasty is relative, don't you think?


Comments will be reviewed, not for content (except ads), but for style. Comments with personal insults, rambling tirades, and significant repetition will be deleted. Ads disguised as comments, unless closely related to the post and of value to readers (my call) will be deleted. Click here to learn to put links in your comment.