Southwest Pilot Holds Flight For Murder Victim’s Family

Most days we are bombarded with sad news so it is refreshing to read a story about a good person. The good person happens to be a pilot at Southwest Airlines who held up a flight to get a murdered victims family on board. The circumstances were that a 3-year-old boy was body slammed by the live in boyfriend of the daughter. Life support was going to be pulled and the child’s grandfather was trying to get to Denver in a hurry.

Even though he arrived at the airport two hours early, between baggage check in and going through security, the grand dad was still running late.

The article stated that:

According to him, everyone he talked to couldn’t have cared less. When he was done with security, he grabbed his computer bag, shoes and belt and ran to his terminal in his stocking feet.

Little did grandpa know that the pilot of the Southwest plane he was trying to get on board was being held up by the pilot. When the man reached the gate the pilot was waiting and the man thanked him profusely. The pilot stated that the plane wasn’t going anywhere without him and that the pilot wasn’t leaving without the grand dad.

Comments welcome.

Source – Elliott

Protecting Ourselves Against Firesheep

There should be an image here!Clearly, we have a real problem with how we utilize our public Wi-Fi hotspots along with how we view our security at these venues. And thanks to that darn Firefox plugin, it seems like all is lost and no longer can we surf the Web in quite the same way again.

To a point, this is true. However, if you want to take some of those extra security precautions to heart and whenever possible, use SSL/TLS security when possible for your account logins.

For instance, did you know that Twitter and Facebook both have secure socket layer logins available? Neither did I until I started using the right add-ons for Chrome and Firefox.

For Firefox users, I recommend looking into Force-TLS as an example of implementing security into browsing. And for Chrome users, check out KB SSL Enforcer to make sure you are always going to the SSL protection logins for social media and banking Web sites. Now for the downside to using either of these options. Some sites don’t have an HTTPS option and will deliver daunting messages like “page cannot be displayed” or “untrusted Web site.” That is the downside to using this option.

So is this something to recommend to the less tech savvy for help in avoiding Firesheep and other related exploits? Not really. No, your best bet is to simply have them make sure their bookmarks for social media sites, email, and banking are done with HTTPS rather than using the plugins. While I am confident that these plugins could be helpful down the road, currently it does provide a consistent experience to the degree where casual users can trust the value of either add-on. Eventually, this may change. But in the meantime, either use a remote desktop solution while away from home or at the very least, let SSL/TLS be your guide from a manual perspective.

Chrome Extension Store Coming

Do we really need to see a marketplace where people can buy Chrome browser extensions? Well, I guess it could work. Android’s marketplace has done fairly well. But will people be anxious to buy some extensions, even if most of them remain free? I tend to doubt it.

Now if we see Chrome embracing feature rich apps instead, well, this very well could be enough to get people willing to drop a buck or two on some cool applications. Apps that are able to sync data and further blur Web from local software could could do well in this space.

Now the real question is whether or not Google can take something like this, being first to market, and make it cool. Opera has bounded around this area for a few years now. However, its widget approach never really took off to a point where it changed the way we looking at software, either. So until Google rolls this out the door, it’s anyone’s guessing game.

Human-Powered Ornithopter Becomes First Ever To Achieve Sustained Flight

There should be an image here!Aviation history was made when the University of Toronto’s human-powered aircraft with flapping wings became the first of its kind to fly continuously.

The “Snowbird” performed its record-breaking flight on August 2 at the Great Lakes Gliding Club in Tottenham, Ont., witnessed by the vice-president (Canada) of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), the world-governing body for air sports and aeronautical world records. The official record claim was filed this month, and the FAI is expected to confirm the ornithopter’s world record at its meeting in October.

For centuries engineers have attempted such a feat, ever since Leonardo da Vinci sketched the first human-powered ornithopter in 1485.

But under the power and piloting of Todd Reichert, an Engineering PhD candidate at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS), the wing-flapping device sustained both altitude and airspeed for 19.3 seconds, and covered a distance of 145 metres at an average speed of 25.6 kilometres per hour.

“The Snowbird represents the completion of an age-old aeronautical dream,” says lead developer and project manager Reichert. “Throughout history, countless men and women have dreamt of flying like a bird under their own power, and hundreds, if not thousands have attempted to achieve it. This represents one of the last of the aviation firsts.”

The Snowbird weighs just 94 lbs. and has a wing span of 32 metres (105 feet). Although its wingspan is comparable to that of a Boeing 737, the Snowbird weighs less than all of the pillows on board. Pilot Reichert lost 18 lbs. of body weight this past summer to facilitate flying the aircraft.

With sustainability in mind, Aerospace Engineering graduate students of UTIAS learned to design and build lightweight and efficient structures. The research also promoted “the use of the human body and spirit,” says Reichert.

“The use of human power, when walking or cycling, is an efficient, reliable, healthy and sustainable form of transportation. Though the aircraft is not a practical method of transport, it is also meant to act as an inspiration to others to use the strength of their body and the creativity of their mind to follow their dreams.”

The Snowbird development team is comprised of two University of Toronto Engineering graduate students: Reichert, and Cameron Robertson (MASc 2009) as the chief structural engineer; UTIAS Professor Emeritus James D. DeLaurier as faculty advisor; and community volunteers Robert and Carson Dueck. More than 20 students from the University of Toronto and up to 10 exchange students from Poitiers University, France, and Delft Technical University, Netherlands, also participated in the project.

“This achievement is the direct result of Todd Reichert’s dedication, perseverance, and ability and adds to the already considerable legacy of Jim DeLaurier, UTIAS’s great ornithopter pioneer,” said Professor David Zingg, Director of UTIAS. “It also reflects well on the rigorous education Todd received at the University of Toronto. We’re very proud of Todd and the entire team for this outstanding achievement in aviation history.”

Click here to see video of this historic event.

Elizabeth Raymer @ University of Toronto

[awsbullet:Weider History Group]

Browser Minefield

This latest issue surrounding Internet Explorer sadly affects Firefox users as well. What is so sad about the entire thing is that even for those trying to use the clearly better browser, Microsoft has still managed to force an update that is creating problems for users despite the fact that they are not using a Microsoft browser — awesome.

While it is true that one must access a compromised Web site for this issue to be a threat, it is just one of those things that can actually be difficult to avoid. The worst of it was that for non-Windows 7 users (aka most people), you were hard pressed to remove the plugins no matter what you tried as they were not really something that could be easily disabled.

Microsoft then went about correcting the issue. And in turn, we see Mozilla no longer blocking the plugin any longer. Not very wise on Mozilla’s point if you ask me. While I see no real problem with Microsoft offering (with great sloppy thought behind it) an add-on for Firefox, pushing its add-on WITHOUT asking the user’s permission was insane. And clearly, Mozilla is fine with this. Go, Firefox! Not.

[awsbullet:mozilla firefox]

Happy Birthday, Amelia Earhart

Vanished aviatrix Amelia Earhart would be (and maybe is, if she’s still alive on some remote South Pacific island — or New Jersey, depending on who you ask) 112 years old today.

With only 7,000 miles more to go that would have completed an around-the-world flight, Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan went missing somewhere between New Guinea and Howland Island (about 1,700 miles southwest of Hawaii) on July 2nd, 1937.

Because no definitive evidence has ever been found of Earhart, Noonan, or their Lockheed Electra 10E aircraft, the mystery of their disappearance fuels ongoing speculation as to their fate even today, 72 years since their last radio transmission was received. Did they simply run out of fuel and sink into an ocean that descends in some places to more than 30,000 feet? Were they on a mission from the United States government to spy on potentially hostile, pre-World War II Japanese outposts and captured? Did they merely adopt new identities for some unknown reason and live well into the late 20th century? It’s possible we’ll never know for sure.

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However intrigued we are by the Amelia Earhart mystery, it’s important to remember that she accomplished a lot of firsts in her almost 40 years of (documented) life on Earth. Wikipedia cites her records and achievements as:

  • Woman’s world altitude record: 14,000 ft (1922)
  • First woman to fly the Atlantic (1928)
  • Speed records for 100 km (and with 500 lb (230 kg) cargo) (1931)
  • First woman to fly an autogyro (1931)
  • Altitude record for autogyros: 15,000 ft (1931)
  • First person to cross the U.S. in an autogyro (1932)
  • First woman to fly the Atlantic solo (1932)
  • First person to fly the Atlantic twice (1932)
  • First woman to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross (1932)
  • First woman to fly non-stop, coast-to-coast across the U.S. (1933)
  • Woman’s speed transcontinental record (1933)
  • First person to fly solo between Honolulu, Hawaii and Oakland, California (1935)
  • First person to fly solo from Los Angeles, California to Mexico City, Mexico (1935)
  • First person to fly solo nonstop from Mexico City, Mexico to Newark, New Jersey (1935)
  • Speed record for east-to-west flight from Oakland, California to Honolulu, Hawaii (1937)

Amelia Earhart remains an inspiration not only to women, but to anyone who’s ever dared to chase a dream just for “The Fun of It,” as she would say. Happy birthday, wherever you may be, Queen of the Air.

Aerospace Manufacturing And Design

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Aerospace Manufacturing and Design delves into all aspects of the production of commercial, military and private aircraft and the new equipment that will ensure manufacturers are aware of the latest technology to produce products competitively and profitably.

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