HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS – EPISODE 1
Yes, it's a television commercial. Yes, it's sentimental and it's sappy. But it's really cute too.
OAKLAND GHOST SHIP PHOTOGRAPHS
Undoubtedly you know of the terrible warehouse fire in Oakland, California that killed 36 of the artist residents last week. It is an unspeakable tragedy.
From news descriptions, I thought it must have been a sort-of indoor homeless encampment but then I saw a group of pre-fire photographs of the interior in Rolling Stone magazine. Here are a couple of them:
Apparently, the fire was the result of unsafe electrical wiring but it certainly was a thousand times more beautiful than I imagined. There are more photos here.
NOW THEY'RE CHARGING FOR OVERHEAD BINS
Yes, you read that right. United Airlines intends to start charging for space in overhead bins.
As the Washington Post reports:
"As part of the company’s new pricing tier, Basic Economy, passengers who purchase the airline’s cheapest fares will only be allowed one personal item that must fit under a seat...
"The move marks the first time a large U.S. airline limits low-fare customers to one carry-on bag that fits under a seat, Reuters reported. The company expects such fare initiatives to add $1 billion to its annual operating income by 2020, as more customers pay to check luggage or select higher fares for two carry-on bags."
You know if one airline invents a new charge, others won't be shy to copy it. I think I'll stay home from now on if it involves a commercial airplane. You can read more here.
OH NO. AND NOW THIS
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) proposed Thursday that the ban on using cell phones on airplanes be lifted. Another agency, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been making efforts to allow phone calls in flight since 2013. As USA Today reports:
"FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler argued the ban is obsolete because planes essentially carry their own cell towers, preventing cellphones from interfering with ground-based relay stations, which justified the original ban. But the availability of voice calls via Wi-Fi prompted the FAA's action."
If phone calls become permitted in flight, the prospective rules require that passengers be told if calls are allowed on flights before they purchase tickets. The DOT is soliciting public comment on whether this notification is sufficient or if calls should be banned on airplanes within, to or from the United States. You can do that here for the next 60 days.
Since I no longer need to fly for work this, along with fees for the overhead bins, is pretty much enough to keep me out of airplanes for the rest of my life because here is how I think it will go:
- Phone calls will be allowed on airplanes
- The requirement to tell passengers before they purchase tickets will stand
- The airlines will charge extra for flights will no phone calls
(The cartoon is by Bill Bramhall of The New York Daily News.
JEANNE ROBERTSON ON THE STYLE IN NEW YORK CITY
It has been too long since I've included comedian Jeanne Robertson in these Saturday lists. This one came from Sunday TGB music columnist, Peter Tibbles.
FAKE NEWS FOOLS MAJORITY OF AMERICANS
According to a report in Buzzfeed about a new survey from Ipsos Public Affairs, fake news headlines fool Americans about 75 percent of the time:
”The results paint a picture of news consumers with little ability to evaluate the headlines that often fly toward them without context on social media platforms,” explains Buzzfeed.
“They also — surprisingly — suggest that consumers are likely to believe even false stories that don’t fit their ideological bias. And the survey calls into question the notion — which Facebook has reportedly begun testing — that consumers themselves can do the work of distinguishing between real and fake news.”
Perhaps I'm fooling myself, but I don't think I've ever believed a fake news story. But then, I rarely go far afield online from traditional news sources and well-known alternate news sources.
This new data comes from an online survey of 3,015 U.S. adults conducted between November 28 and December 1. You can read more about it at Buzzfeed.
Dear god, how will our country survive.
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS – EPISODE 2
Yes, another sappy holiday commercial, this one from the German supermarket chain Edeka. But this old man is really clever about getting his family home for Christmas. (I think this is from 2015 and I may have posted it last year, but who cares.)
DO NOT DOWNLOAD ANDROID APPS OUTSIDE OF GOOGLE PLAY
As I alluded to above, I don't stray far from mainstream websites of any kind and I certainly don't download from anywhere that I don't believe is 100 percent safe. Not everyone is as careful as I am:
”For criminals, the malicious Android app business is booming,” reports Wired. “It’s easy for a hacker to dress software up to look novel, benign, or like the dopplegänger of a mainstream product, and then plant it in third-party app stores for careless browsers to find.
“Once downloaded, these apps may even seem normal (if a little janky) but they can spread ransomware or types of malware that exploit system vulnerabilities to steal data or take over a whole device.
“Don’t want this drama on your phone? The key to protecting yourself is staying away from sketchy app stores, and only downloading software from Google Play.”
Wired further reports that Google vets all the products in the Play store for safety. A few slip through but are usually caught quickly. Although the Apple store is much less severe, malware does sneak through sometimes.
You can read more here.
A MURMURATION OF STARLINGS
Once in my life I saw this phenomenon in person and it is awesome – in the best sense of that word. It is stunning to see.
This one was filed by wildlife cameraman and travel journalist Dylan Winter. When he shot this five years ago, says the YouTube page, he was sailing around the United Kingdom in an 18-foot boat. You can find out more about his journey here.
Meanwhile, besides being amazing and beautiful, I find this murmuration wonderfully calming to sit back and watch.
Interesting Stuff is a weekly listing of short takes and links to web items that have caught my attention; some related to aging and some not, some useful and others just for fun.
You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog IF you include the name of the blog and its URL.