November 8, 2006

China copies English town

Permalink | November 8th, 2006

China copies English town

China, often regarded as the copycat capital of the world with fake designer bags and even counterfeit cars, has added a new string to its imitation bow — an English town.

An hour’s drive from Shanghai’s skyscrapers in the suburb of Songjiang lies Thames Town, complete with pub, fish-and-chip shop and even a bronze statue of Winston Churchill.

There is a neo-Gothic church as well as Georgian- and Victorian-style terraced houses that would not look out of place in the poshest parts of London.


October 2, 2006

Frequent flier uses miles for space

Permalink | October 2nd, 2006

Richard Branson unveiling SpaceShipTwo

Nearly one year ago Virgin Galactic announced that Virgin Atlantic frequent flier miles could be redeemed for a trip to space — assuming that you had the required 2 million miles. Well at least one person does. Alan Watts just secured his seat aboard the inaugural commercial space flight scheduled for 2008. Watts was personally contacted by Sir Richard Branson who commented, When we first contacted Alan to let him know he had qualified for this unique offer, I think he thought it was a prank call.

August 23, 2006

Ryanair puts the fun back into flying

Permalink | August 23rd, 2006

Ryanair security procedures

Back on Friday European budget airline Ryanair threatened to sue the British government over the cost of implementing the new security measures. The airline claims that under the law, it’s the government’s responsibility to shoulder the brunt of the financial strain the new requirements have placed on all of the airlines. Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has also been outspoken in his desire to have the government restore normal operations saying, If they allow these restrictions to stay in place, then the government will have handed the extremists an enormous PR victory.

To further their cause, Ryanair has started two new campaigns, Let’s Beat Terrorism: Keep Britain Flying; and the highly effective, New Airport Security Procedures: Put Fun Back Into Flying, which depicts a crowd of naked people standing around their luggage (which Ryanair actually posted on their own website).

August 22, 2006

Padded bras threaten national security

Permalink | August 22nd, 2006

Victoria's Secret padded bra

Ever since liquids and gels have been included on the list of banned items in carry-on luggage, taking eye drops, lip moisturizers, and even gel-cap medication with you on the plane has been next to impossible. But there is one liquid filled item still moving freely through the security lines, padded bras.

Even though liquid and gel filled padded bras can carry 7 ounces or more of liquid in the cups (more than enough to cause significant boom), the Transportation Security Administration has not included them on the new list of items forbidden from carry-on baggage. The TSA has further stated while they encourage women to pack their bras in their checked luggage, this is being recognized as a “sensitive issue” and that women will not be poked nor questioned about the contents of their underwear.

Attack of the killer boobs.

August 11, 2006

Liquids on a Plane

Permalink | August 11th, 2006

Liquids On A Plane

John Castle tries to add a little humor in light of yesterday’s news that the most mundane, comforting items — eye drops, bottled water, lip gloss, even books, on some international flights — had joined the list of items banned from carry-on baggage. This latest ban was implemented after British Officials announced Thursday that they had thwarted a terrorist plot to ignite liquid based explosives aboard several planes travelling from the UK to NY.


August 10, 2006

UK airports ban gadgets

Permalink | August 10th, 2006

Belfast Airport security warning

After the announcement that British officials had thwarted a plot to blow up airliners using explosives smuggled in carry-on luggage, heightened security measures were quickly put into place; including a ban on all gadgets on flights originating from the UK to NY. British Airways, along with other airlines, have notified passengers that no electrical or battery powered items including laptops, mobile phones, iPods, remote controls and electronic key fobs can be carried in the cabin and must be checked in as hold baggage. There has been no official word as to how long this ban will remain in effect.

August 3, 2006

How to clone an e-Passport 101

Permalink | August 3rd, 2006

United States e-Passport

In a bid to increase security and make document forgery more difficult the United States plans to start issuing new e-Passports, complete with a built-in RFID chip, in October. However, despite the government’s assurance that the data on the RFID chip is safe, at least one person has already devised a way to clone the chip.

The RFID chip embedded in the e-Passports will contain your personal identifiable information that immigration officials can use to verify your documented information. Unfortunately the data on the chip is not encrypted. Enter Lukas Grunwald, a security consultant and RFID expert. Grunwald says it took him only two weeks to figure out how to clone the passport chip, with most of that time devoted to simply learning the standards. Grunwald plans to demostrate his technique at the upcoming Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas.

Previously: RFID passports are flawed

Official: Design of the New U.S. e-Passport (U.S. Department of the State)

June 12, 2006

Airfare wars, arming the people

Permalink | June 12th, 2006


The web has made it undeniably easier to search, compare, and purchase airline tickets online. However, while many feel that sites such as Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz are providing them tools to beat the system, they are sorely mistaken. The problem is that even at those sites the real customers are the travel companies — not you.

The trick is understanding the airlines’ complex algorithms (which analyze demand, competitors’ prices and other data) that are used to determine ticket prices. It’s those algorithms which can cause the price of the exact same flight to fluctuate hundreds of dollars in a matter of days, and sometimes hours.

Enter Farecast, a new web based service that aims to monitor and analyze price data, and attempt to predict when airfares might rise and fall and by how much — and more importantly, when they might hit their low point. “Farecast leverages the power of data to put you back in charge, or at least more in charge.”

From SF to DC with no ID

Permalink | June 12th, 2006

Department of Homeland Security

In this post 9/11 world, it’s impossible to fly without some type of government issued identification; at least that is the thinking of most of us, including John Gilmore. Gilmore, the co-founder of Electronic Frontier Foundation, recently argued in court that it was unconstitutional to require passengers to show identification when flying. Losing that battle, he took the issue to a meeting of the Department of Homeland Security privacy advisory committee.

Gilmore stated that while signs posted at the airport and the TSA website clearly state that showing ID is mandatory, the official policy revealed by judges’ ruling in his case is that airline passengers either present identification or be subjected to a more extensive search. He then went on to challenge the official policy by daring committee members to hand over their IDs, mail them home, and attempt to fly from San Francisco to Washinton DC. Only one committee member took the challenge, sort of.

Do you dare?

[full article after the jump]
Continue reading »

March 20, 2006

BMW teams up with Airbus

Permalink | March 20th, 2006

BMW teams up with Airbus

What happens when you combine the luxury of BMW with the new Airbus? Travel with style.

Airbus A350 will unveil its new A350 twinjet at the Aircraft Interiors Expo 2006 exhibition in Hamburg next month that will feature opulent interiors by BMW. Airbus has linked with BMW Group Designworks to design a new interior on the A350. The ultra-luxury cabin will boast of high-end luxury features like the A350 chief engineer Dougie Hunter says, “We can project onto the ceiling whatever is appropriate for the mood required – for example the night sky or clouds etc.” Hunter says that, “a concept around the door two area has a bar area and seating for economy while the entrance area will feature a dome to give the feeling of spaciousness or openness in the cabin.”

[via Born Rich]