Monday, July 21, 2014

Airline Travel and Spam

I've deliberately avoided writing about any of the terrible news we've been hearing lately -- the conflict in Gaza, the airline crash in the Ukraine. But let me just ask -- was anyone else surprised to hear that there are surface-to-air missiles capable of shooting down a passenger jet at cruising altitude? I would have thought 33,000 feet was entirely too high for a ground-based missile to reach, but apparently not. It raises questions about the security of airline travel all over the world. What's to stop enterprising terrorists from taking a missile launcher out to sea on a ship, for example, and striking at an overhead flight path?

And how do airlines cope with global trouble spots in general? Some were apparently already avoiding Ukrainian airspace while others were not. Do airlines fly over Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran? Before this incident I would have felt relatively safe flying over those countries, believing all the conflict to be "down there" while I'm "up here," but clearly that's a false sense of security.

Anyway, it's pretty mind-boggling.

Of course, none of this will keep me from getting on a plane in about a week and going back to the states. We have to fly. That's just modern life. We can't curl up in a ball of avoidance, can we?

In other news, I have been getting the strangest spam e-mail lately. Every day I get multiple e-mails about Dr. Oz endorsing Forskolin. I had to look up Forskolin to see what it even is -- some extract of the coleus plant that's supposed to treat all manner of ills. How anyone making or selling Forskolin got my e-mail address I will never know. Attention, Forskolin marketers: I DO NOT WANT ANY.

And in still other news, a photo acquaintance from Flickr has turned me on to a cool project by the Royal Photographic Society to photograph every street in London between March and October. I've contributed a couple of pictures to the competition, and I will no doubt upload more. It's an interesting challenge to pick a street and go find something photo-worthy -- there's always something.

(Photo: Catching some rays at Camden Market, on Friday.)


  1. Great picture!

    Yes I was surprised to learn that planes way up there can be shot down and yes we can not let that stop us from flying. Good lord. How I wish we could turn more of our cleverness in the direction of creativity and fun rather than bigger and more powerful way to destroy each other. May it be so!

  2. Dr Oz's name is used to endorse everything. He is everyone's all purpose charlatan, though perhaps not intentionally. Perhaps.

  3. "Forskolin" sounds way too much like "foreskin."
    Creep, creep, creepy.

    I hope your pictures become part of London's posterity!

    And no, I had no idea that anyone could shoot a plane flying that high down from the ground. It's absolutely terrifying. Makes having to take your shoes off to go through security seem that much more ridiculous, doesn't it?

  4. I"ve been thinking the same thing about air travel and like you, it won't stop me but it does give me one more thing to worry about. I do wonder why the Malaysia Airline after the bad luck they've already had would still fly over a war zone. Surely they knew that other planes had been shot down in that area recently.

  5. forskolin? I'm with Ms Moon. I'm flying to Oregon in a few weeks. glad I won't be crossing any international borders.

  6. Reya: It would be nice, wouldn't it?

    Angella: Yeah, I wondered whether he REALLY endorsed it, or if that's just the claim. I never pay any attention to him anyway. I barely know who he is.

    Ms Moon: I agree! At first I thought maybe it was actually DERIVED from foreskin, which is a terrifying thought. That's why I looked it up!

    Sharon: Maybe they figured they'd be high enough that they wouldn't be mistaken for a military jet. Apparently several airlines were still using Ukrainian airspace at the time of the crash, including Lufthansa. Air France and British Airways had already diverted around Ukraine, though.

    Ellen: Well unfortunately, as we've seen, domestic travelers are not immune from terrorism -- but overall it is less likely, I'm sure.

  7. Yep, next time I have to travel for the company I'm driving!

    Love that picture!