Clearing O’ The Links

It’s Friday, lunchtime, before a holiday weekend. You know what that means… time to clear out the links….

  • Fashion Sense. A surprising number of articles on women’s fashion have caught my eye. If there is a general theme, it is on how women (so much more then men) are apparently obsessed with body image and how others perceive their bodies. The first, from the NY Times, has to deal with the start of bikini season, and how the bikini has morphed from simple beachware to a badge of fitness. It notes that, when originally introduced, the bikini wasn’t a scary garment: there was little need to prepare for waring one, and no one worried about a few extra pounds or visible hair. That changed, and now the obsession is on having the perfect bikini body. Interesting article—I recommend reading it. By the way, did you know that there are age limits for things like bikinis? According to Style magazine, 47 is the cutoff for a bikini, 61 for swimsuits altogether, and 35 for a miniskirt.

    Clothes can be a significant problem for women, especially women athletes. Two stories highlight this. Dunbar High School in Washington DC has switched to skorts for girl’s track meets; the girls find less modesty concerns than with the short skirts that were required previously, or with what was visible with the short short shorts. In the other direction, the professional badminton dress code is being called sexist, because it requires female athletes at the elite level to wear skirts and show leg. Now, much as I enjoy watching these sports (OK, you caught me, I really don’t watch sports, but when I do, these are more enjoyable to watch), I don’t think that any athlete should be required to wear sports outfits that either cause them embarrasment or impact their performance.

  • Understanding the Law. Two articles that caught my eye, both related to understanding the laws. The first has to do with light bulbs. The NY Times has a good article on what the light bulb legislation really says. Hint: It doesn’t make incandscents unavailable, nor does it mean you need to stockpile them. The law does not ban the use or manufacture of all incandescent bulbs, nor does it mandate the use of compact fluorescent ones. It simply requires that companies make some of their incandescent bulbs work a bit better, meeting a series of rolling deadlines between 2012 and 2014. Furthermore, all sorts of exemptions are written into the law, which means that all sorts of bulbs are getting a free pass and can keep their energy-guzzling ways indefinitely, including “specialty bulbs”, as well as three-way bulbs, silver-bottomed bulbs, chandelier bulbs, refrigerator bulbs, plant lights and many, many others.

    Another interesting article deals with the requirement for underinsured motorist coverage in California. Did you know that when you purchase $100K of insurance, you won’t get paid $100K? The law only requires payment of your limit less the coverage the other motorist has. This means if you have $100K in coverage and they have $50K, your coverage only need pay up to $50K additional, for a total of $100K. AB1063, currently in development and supported by consumer groups, would correct this problem… but it is opposed by the insurance industry, who appear to be winning in delaying it.

  • Airplanes. A few articles on airplanes. The first concerns Boeing (or is that Boing!) and their plans regarding the 737. Right now they are deciding whether to build an all-new airframe, probably based on the composite approach used for the 787, or to just reworking the existing 737 airframe, tweaking it with new energy efficient engines. They are attempting to battle the competition of the A320 (and A319) in the smaller single-aisle aircraft market. The 737 has certainly been a workhorse and money-maker for Boing!, beginning design in 1964 and having its first flight in 1967! It is currently the only single-aise aircraft in production at Boeing (the passenger version of the 707 ended production in 1978; the 717 (which is really a 3rd generation DC-9) in 2006; the 727 in 1984; and the 757 in 2004).

    The other articles all focus on an Airbus airframe, in particular, the A330 that served as Air France 447. The black boxes are starting to yield details, such as the fact the captain was absent when the descent began, that the pilots seemed confused by all the alarms, that they didn’t follow standard procedures and were having trouble with stalling and icing, and that they were never trained for this type of emergency. The information gleaned from black boxes so far has corroborated the original hypothesis that suggested that the plane plummeted to the ocean surface on its belly. In addition to the pitot tube findings, this is sure to create a bunch of lawsuits for Air France, given that it looks more and more like pilot error was involved.

  • Paying the Bills. The NY Times has an interesting article on how many people are using blogs to pay the bills. I’ve been doing this journal at LJ since 2004, but I’ve always wondered (a) how many folks are reading it, and (b) whether advertising would be worth the hassle of changing platforms. My blog is more general interest, so I would think advertising would be of less interest. Still, in these economic times, … So I’m curious: are you an active reader of this journal? Do you think I should explore moving to a platform where I could advertise? [LJ and FB users: don’t worry—I would still feed any RSS feeds of the site to both LJ and FB].