Wireless

It looks like more and more airplanes will soon have wireless capability during flights. American Airlines announced today that they will be adding wireless to about half of their flights over the next two years.

I’m all for Internet while in the air. Unfortunately, it seems like most airlines plan to charge $7-13 for service, depending on the length of the flight and type of device used (laptop vs. Blackberry). Once the service becomes standard in the airline industry, though, I hope competition will eliminate or reduce those fees.

I’ve heard some critics lament the new wireless options, claiming that the air is one of the few places left these days where one can avoid that ominous feeling that there’s important e-mail to be read on your phone or computer. Overbearing bosses will now be able to invade space once inpenetrable. Such is life and technological innovation, though.

So, bring on the wireless. And don’t forget to check DanEnglish.com from 30,000 feet up!
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Insurance Fraud

An interesting article on the huge increase in insurance fraud in cities hard hit by the financial crisis like Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Looks like people who bought cars they could not afford during the whole $0 down 0% interest loan scheme a few years ago are regretting their decisions and torching or dumping their wheels for the insurance payments.
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Live Free or Die

New Hampshire, with its famous state motto “Live Free or Die”, is one of the last great states of the Union left relatively untouched by the government. No income taxes, no sales taxes, no motorcycle helmets, and, my favorite, no seat belt laws for aduts. No seat belts? Yep. New Hampshire is the only state in the country that doesn’t mandate seat belt use by adults. Though I always wear my seat belt, every time I cross the border I’m sure to unclick my belt for a few minutes... just because I can.

Who is Uncle Sam to tell me that I need to protect myself from my own stupidity? If I feel like taking the risk of flying through my windshield in an accident, so be it. Live free. Or die.

When it comes to government, I’m a huge fan of the saying “Do whatever floats your boat unless it sinks someone else’s”. Well, as far as I can tell, my seat belt use, or lack thereof, isn’t sinking anyone else’s. Therefore, I should be free to wear it as I please.

Well, poor New Hampshire is falling victim to its liberal neighbor, Massachusetts. The state, with its beautiful scenery, good schools, clean air, and low cost of living, has become an attractive option for those looking to escape Massachusetts. The only problem is that the escapees bring their government-breathing-down-your-neck ways with them. So, as southern New Hampshire becomes politically more purple, the elected officials there have gained the ability to change the state.

The new Democrats elected this year have decided to strike quickly and end one of the liberties that makes the state great. They want to force you to buckle up. The idea of protecting you from yourself and the thought of the revenue from tickets just makes them giddy.

I can only hope that the
real New Hampshire resident’s interviewed in this Wall Street Journal article cause a big enough stink to sink the legislation.
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UK Trip

I spent last week in the UK visiting a few friends who are studying abroad there for the semester. Spent most of the time in London, except for a night in Oxford, which is about two hours north of the city. I had never been there before, so it was definitely great to see a different part of the country. But, in both London and Oxford we managed to cram a ton of sight seeing into a relatively short amount of time and successfully visited the majority of attractions in the city. I even got to see my first Broadway play, Avenue Q, and the dining hall at Christ Church at Oxford that inspired the Harry Potter dining hall scenes.

A few memorable moments from the trip and cultural differences that caught my attention:

- A girl we met on the bus one night on our way home told Rich that someday she’ll be proud to be able to say, “I met the Prime Minister of America on a bus one time in London”. I guess that’s a compliment...
-They don’t use card strips to read credit cards over there. Instead, each card has a chip in it that is inserted into a reader. It makes the whole process a bit slower.
-There’s no iced coffee anywhere!

-East Acton does not equal Aldgate East. One night we got distracted by the word “east” and ended up at the wrong bus stop about an hour in the opposite direction. Needless to say we were very late for my first Indian dinner.
-A coffee shop in Oxford had quotes from famous musicians like Bob Dylan and the Beatles framed all over the walls. Somehow, a Greenday quote was deemed worthy enough to share a wall with such music giants.
-Flavored potato chips are popular there. Walkers (Lays) makes prawn (British for shrimp) flavored chips. Why anyone would want to eat chips flavored like shrimp beats me.
-American music is everywhere. Malls, pubs, loud iPods on the bus, you name it.
-No one puts bumper stickers on cars in Britain. Not sure if it’s because the US is more politically active or because the Brits care more about their cars.

-The vast majority of sinks have separate hot and cold faucets, which makes getting warm watter quite difficult. I was taught that you have to turn on both faucets, catch the cold water, and then move your hands to the (boiling) hot water to make the combination warm.
-Though the British drive on the left side of the road, there is absolutely no visible consensus as to whether or not that transfers to walking. So, people walk all over the sidewalks and constantly run into each other.
-Brits have funny accents. They just do.
-Obama is a star over there too (see this entire shelf dedicated to him at a convenience store)

More pictures are up under “My Photos- UK 09”


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March

We got the most snow I’ve seen in D.C. the other day: 3 or 4 inches maybe. Although I’m told a few other local colleges cancelled classes, we just got a 12 noon start time.

The stock market is at levels not seen since 1996. My fake portfolio for a school stock competition isn’t doing much better... There have been a number of articles on Politico describing bankers’ feelings towards the White House. A legislator from Florida kindly
reminded Treasury Secretary Geithner today that every time he opens his mouth the market falls farther.

In other news, it looks like the Democrats will be bringing the fight for universal government health care back to the table. A conservative group, Conservatives for Patients Rights,
launched ads across the country today against the President’s plans.

Apologies for the lame post. Had one midterm today and another tomorrow. I’m counting down the days until I get the chance to get out of here and head to London...


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