Things they don’t tell you about air travel

Whenever I’m on a plane it is about the only time I’m sorry that I live remotely to the most isolated capital city in the world. People complain about the long haul flights to various destinations, well I had to catch a long haul just to get to the long haul connection. It gives you a lot of time to think about the realities of air travel.

1) If things get really bad, the pilots have ejector seats.
They may be called ‘captains’, but they have no intention of going down with the ship.

2) Unless you are Ralph Fiennes or Tiger Woods you aren’t nailing a flight attendant.
Lets face it, flight attendants have standards.

3) First class is a myth. They wouldn’t be seen on the same plane as ordinary people.
Rich people are afraid they might catch poor.

4) If you see gremlins on the wing, you have been lucky and received the non-watered down alcohol.
Keep drinking, you might see Elvis and Hendrix.

5) Yes, the seats are deliberately designed for people smaller than you.
Airplane designers were assured that no-one over 180cm and 70 kilos would ever go anywhere.

6) The bookings system takes into account claustrophobia in the seating assignments.
They immediately assign the claustrophobics to seats between the largest people on the flight.

7) People with a fear of flying are catered for.
Their in flight movies are ‘Airplane’ and ‘Alive’, plus they are spared from all the turbulence warnings. Comes as a real surprise.

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    Science writing explained

    Language is very important for scientists, as they are often authors as well. Their medium is the communication of data and knowledge to further understanding. The problem with science is that a lot of scientists prefer to make their statements as vague and non-committal as possible. In keeping with my previous explanations of music reviews and book reviews I have found a few science terms explained. This list has helped me, I hope it helps you.

    Book Review: The Black Echo by Michael Connelly

    The Black EchoThe Black Echo by Michael Connelly
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    It took a while to work through my to-read list and make it to my signed copy of The Black Echo. I met Michael at the Sydney Writers’ Festival, had the customary quick chat and walked away with a couple of his books signed – made it worthwhile bringing that book from home. This gives you an idea that I have roughly a 8-9 month to-be-read list that isn’t really becoming any shorter.

    For those crime genre fans who haven’t heard of Michael Connelly or his Harry Bosch series, I’d suggest that the rock you are living under is a little cramped and this book should encourage you out into the fresh air. When Michael writes a crime novel it is an intensely good read from a master in the genre. Don’t believe me? They asked him to come on the TV show Castle because of his writing cred. If I have one criticism of the Bosch series it is that not every book is as compelling as this one. I was not a fan of City of Bones, despite it being an adequate crime novel.

    Of course, I can’t post a Michael Connelly review without my favourite moment from his appearance on TV. Enjoy.

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    E-Readers Are Cool

    That’s right, E-readers were the gift of gifts this holidays. Now the Pew Institute have crunched the numbers to look at who was buying them and how this has changed over time. Report here.

    The researchers performed phone interviews with 2,986 people and asked them, “Are you cool enough to own the greatest gadget since Maxwell Smart’s shoe phone?” With an error rate of 2.2%, the results were as follows:

    • E-readers and tablets were owned by 10% of people in December 2011.
      • This was 19% in January 2012.
    • The proportion of people owning at least one of these two increased from 18% to 29%.
    • Tablet owners are likely to be under 50 years old and have graduated college.
      • They are also likely to make enough money to buy lots of apps and books.
    • E-readers are more popular with women and the 30-49 age group.
      • E-readers are still pretty popular with anyone under 65.
    • College graduates and rich folks also love E-readers.
    • You should own an E-reader.

    I have my E-reader, the new Kindle. I still love my pile of dead tree books, but I also love my Kindle.

    My Kindle and a DTB

    Men don’t cry

    Real men hide their feelings. Why?
    Because it’s none of your fuckin’ business!
    Men do not cry. Men do not pout. Men jack you in the fuckin’ jaw and say…
    Thanks for comin’ out.

    Being a man is largely frowned upon in our society these days. Yet, in the movies, books, even some TV shows, real men are revered. Clint Eastwood made a career out of being a man. Lee Child created Jack Reacher, a man for men and women. Even Hollywood is catching on now and having their boyish stars grow some stubble to look more like men, although Ryan Reynolds can pull off the boyish look as long as he wants.

    Things you won’t hear a real man say:
    Yes I would like to watch a romantic comedy.
    Twilight is a terrific film series based on some fantastic novels.
    I have no idea what this sport is about.
    I will stop and ask for directions.
    So we went back to her place and hugged.

    Book Review: The Hunter by Richard Stark

    I know, another book review and none of my usual wit and original material. Bear with me, I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately to make up for the fact I’m back at work. Christmas holidays are always too short.

    The Hunter: A Parker NovelThe Hunter: A Parker Novel by Richard Stark
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I like gritty, unless we are talking sandwiches. The crime noir genre really is all about gritty and Parker is the quintessential character embodying this.

    Once again I’m late to the bandwagon. Clearly Australia doesn’t have enough German and Japanese influences to have clear bandwagon schedules. Or maybe it is just me, but I prefer to blame others for my failings, like many great men before me. There was a point here about being late…. Oh yes, Richard Stark – aka Donald Westlake – and his Parker character are not new entities, thus my reading of my first Parker novel is probably well overdue.

    The reason I came to this series was two-fold. The first was I had recently watched the director’s cut of Mel Gibson’s Payback. The director’s cut was much more faithful to the source material than the original version, despite being made more friendly to a wider audience. The second reason was that I have also been reading a lot of Ed Brubaker’s graphic novels, such as Criminal. At the back of each edition of Criminal there are essays on crime movies and books that started and were highlights of the genre. The Parker series caught my attention for this reason.

    Needless to say, I can’t argue with history, this is a good book. Actually I could argue with history, as it is generally perspective based rather than objectively measured, but that is just the science nerd in me, rearing its ugly head. In my perspective though, the Parker series is well worth getting into.

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