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The first rule is: we do not talk about Flight Club

Posted on April 10th, 2017 at 19:36 by John Sinteur in category: News


Witnesses say passengers had already boarded on Sunday evening at O’Hare International Airport when United asked for volunteers to take another flight the next day to make room for four United staff members who needed seats.

The airline offered $400 and a free hotel, passenger Audra D. Bridges told the Louisville Courier-Journal. When no one volunteered, the offer was doubled to $800. When there were still no bites, the airline selected four passengers to leave the flight — including the man in the video and his wife.

“They told him he had been selected randomly to be taken off the flight,” Bridges said on Facebook. She said there was no incident involving the man until he was told to give up his seat.

The man said he was a doctor, and that he “needed to work at the hospital the next day,” passenger Jayse Anspach said on Twitter.

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  1. This article from Bloomberg is eerily prescient:

  2. Why would an airline forcibly remove anyone? Isn’t that against the law? Of course, they could have just shot him if it was in Florida.

  3. @Will — nope it was in Chicago where I think the poor Dr. came close checking out. Chicago police — “no lives matter.” HHmmm I see…not much difference from Florida –disregard comment.

  4. United claimed the flight was overbooked. It was not. It was full but they needed four seats for employees. Airlines can deny boarding in overbooked situations, however, the rules for seated passengers are different. The conditions that allow the removal of a seated passenger do not include “overbooking”. This passenger, who was unlawfully removed from the plane, and assaulted, will be living in a much nicer house soon.

Truth, Lies and Democracy: Journalism in the Age of Trump

Posted on April 10th, 2017 at 17:52 by John Sinteur in category: News


…That was nearly half a century ago, in what is now seen as a golden age of journalism. As the 45-year anniversary of Watergate approaches, let’s do a fast-forward to today, and stretch our imaginations about a Nixon scenario redux.

There would, of course, be no bungled break-ins, no clumsily bill-stuffed pockets, no Keystone Kops “gotcha” scene in Democratic headquarters at 2:30 a.m. Instead, Nixon could, perhaps, rely on hands across the water to cross the keyboard with kompromat, via computer — releasing compromising material against his opponents. He could go online himself with lies and smears against them, work with or inspire hate sites and racist, misogynist, Islamophobic trolls to create false news and threaten those who call out his attacks or support his foes, and dismiss any accusations of wrongdoing, corruption or racism as the work of a “lying, biased media.” He would condemn the investigation as that favorite tactic of the far right — fake news.

This is a US presidency like no other in living memory. In a democracy, it is not normal to say, without shame or remorse, that war is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength. It is not normal to denounce evidence-based fact as fake news. It is not normal to concoct toxic lies that can have power over the lives of millions of people. We have been down that road before. We know it ends badly.

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The Internet of Cows Is Real

Posted on April 10th, 2017 at 9:38 by John Sinteur in category: News


Something I learned today is that cows tend to start walking around a bunch when they become fertile and “sexually receptive.” This is actually true of a range of different mammals and has to do with related increases in estrogen secretion. The mood hits one evening and a fertile cow starts cruising the barn—the rest is nature.

Well, the rest is nature but it’s also big business. Ranchers are just as interested in cow procreation as the cows are themselves (maybe more so?) because baby cows equal grown-ass cows and grown-ass cows equal cash money. As it turns out, using information technology to detect cow fertility/receptivity (estrus, properly) is an area of active research and innovation. Cow estrus can pass in as little as six hours, and it usually occurs in the middle of the night. It’s an easy thing to miss, in other words. And missing your chance to knock up a cow is like flushing money down the toilet.

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  1. I live in dairy country. The hardware/feed stores stock all kinds of armpit length rubber gloves for your digital technology 🙂