How to avoid strangers on the bus

Wired lets us know about a sociologist who recently spent 3 years traveling around on a bus talking to strangers about how to not have to talk to strangers. Despite the incongruous data retrieval process (the people talking to her are obviously not good at not talking to strangers), the tips are fairly obvious and straightforward.

Avoid eye contact.
Lean against the window and stretch out your legs.
Sit on the aisle seat and listen to music to pretend not to hear people asking for the window seat.
Place a large bag or multiple items in the empty seat to make it time-consuming to move.
Look out the window with a blank stare to appear crazy.
Pretend to be asleep.
Put your coat on the seat to make it appear already taken.
If all else fails, lie: Say the seat has been taken by someone else.

How to avoid strangers on the bus

If you’re flying with pets, don’t fly Delta

This Gawker article summarizes the findings pet-travel related findings of the Air Travel Consumer Report from the DOT. While Delta flies more pets than most airlines (according to a Delta spokesperson), only .2% of the animals they carried were injured or died. Still seems pretty high to me.

The report, available online, confirms that 19 of last year’s 35 in-flight pet deaths happened on Delta planes. That’s up from 16 in 2010. The second most deadly airline for pets was American, with 5 deaths. Delta also led the pack in terms of pet injury, with 5 out of 9 total incidents occurring on Delta flights.

Via The Daily What

If you’re flying with pets, don’t fly Delta

Why do first class passengers get to skip TSA lines?

Whenever I travel by plane I become furious at the different things we have to do in the name of security. The TSA has a hard job, to be sure, and they get a lot of criticism. That said, the ban on liquids and having to take our shoes off impact… Well, these arguments have been made before. I’ve always noticed the first class line that lets travelers with more expensive tickets skip to the head of the line. Usually when I notice this, I’m filled with a white rage that dissipates by the time I get where I’m going and I forget to look up why this is. Turns out that first class passengers get to skip the TSA line because…the TSA isn’t responsible for the TSA line, the airlines are. This is, obviously, bullshit. If the TSA wanted to dictate a policy in this regard they could. In any case, I guess it’s good to know the answer, even if it is just as infuriating as most of airport security.

The T.S.A., whenever it is called on the carpet (which is often) about the two-tiered system it countenances, responds with the same piece of casuistry. The rich are scanned the same way as everyone else, the T.S.A. insists, but the formation of the queues themselves is not our department. “That real estate in front of the checkpoint is owned by the airlines,” one spokeswoman told USA Today in 2006. (The law is not crystal clear. It gives supervisory responsibility for the entire airport to a T.S.A. “federal security director.”)

Why do first class passengers get to skip TSA lines?

Chuck Klosterman’s travel trouble

Like much of the east coast, Chuck Klosterman’s travel plans appear to have been impacted by yesterday’s weather. He documented his path through the several stages of traveler grief on Twitter, and then he stopped. Either his flight left, he ran out of batteries, or something more nefarious happened. In any case, enjoy.

-If I am allowed on this flight, I will become a better person. I will change. I will do whatever it takes. 6 hours ago
-Nothing is off the table. 6 hours ago
-I feel like I have entered a new level of desire. Things are clear now. I will give up everything for one thing. 4 hours ago
-If you (a.) need a kidney and (b.) control runway traffic at JFK, I’m ready to negotiate. #NotAHighQualityKidneyToBeHonest 3 hours ago
-How many people in this airport would kill a stranger with a hammer in exchange for air travel? #EveryoneExceptMaybeMyWife 3 hours ago
-A woman in the terminal is trying to stretch her legs by goose-stepping. The guy next to me is talking about Douglas Adams like he’s alive. 3 hours ago
-“My mother is optimistic about this flight,” says the goose-stepper. “That’s better than nothing.” #ActuallyIt’sTheSame 3 hours ago
-Maybe I should start wearing a sweater around my shoulders. I’ve probably been living wrong. This is my fault. 2 hours ago
-None of these people with sweaters around their shoulders seem upset. It’s like they understand the big picture, you know? They get it. 2 hours ago
-FYI: They don’t sell SARS masks in Huson News. 2 hours ago
-Whatever happened to SARS? That used to be so hot. 2 hours ago
-“My brother went to Simon’s Rock,” says the redhead sitting across from me. “He said, ‘Never go there. It’s a fishbowl.’ That was his take.” 2 hours ago
-Oh my God. The guy at the gate just got a phone call. Oh my God. What does this mean? What does this mean? Why isn’t he reacting? 2 hours ago
-WHY IS HE NOT REACTING? This dude is the Robert Parrish of Delta employees. React! React! YOU ARE ALIVE, MAN. 1 hour ago

This seems like as good a place as any to continue the Chuck Klosterman blog project Chuck Klosterman Chuck Klosterman Blog Project.
-Klosterman recently started selling his essays for $0.99 a pop. People keep predicting this is the future of essay writing/magazine articles, but I think it’s going to take a second to catch on. If there’s a good delivery system, though, all bets are off.

-Back in September, he had 5 ideas to make the NFL better. I agree with all of them.

Lastly, How Modern Life Is Like a Zombie Onslaught, which makes some good points about the Twilight series.

Chuck Klosterman’s travel trouble

Steven Johnson’s Auspicious Start To Guest Blogging

On January 14th, Steven Johnson was celebrating the release of his newest book, The Invention of Air by blogging for a couple weeks on Boing Boing. One of his first posts, was about how safe air travel in the US had become and that a child had a better chance of being elected President than dying in a plane crash.

25 hours later, while BoingBoing commenters were debating the veracity of this claim, US Air Flight 1549 landed in the Hudson. Johnson quickly vowed not to talk about aviation safety anymore.

In somewhat related news, US Air won’t charge travelers for their tickets.

Steven Johnson’s Auspicious Start To Guest Blogging