Chilean Volcanic Eruption Creates Air Travel Headaches Down Under
After starting to erupt on June 4, a Chilean volcanic complex’s ash cloud is creating a winter of discontent for travelers in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcanic complex in central Chile, seen here Saturday morning, has emitted a steady stream of ash, grounding dozens of flights in Australia.
Watch an animation of how the ash has circled the Southern Hemisphere to create a “plume of gloom” hovering in prime Australian airspace.
Ash from the eruption could stay airborne and mess up flights for months, Reuters reports.
This “false-color” satellite image shows low-angled sunlight — 10 days before the hemisphere’s winter solstice — lighting up the plume’s northern side, while the south side is in deep shadow.
NASA’s Earth Observatory describes the coloring of the image:
In this image, low-angled sunlight (10 days before the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere) illuminates the north side of the plume, while the south side is in deep shadow. The ash colum rises from a fissure about 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) north of Puyehue Volcano. The high-altitude lakes to the west of the eruption site are bright blue (likely from ash suspended in the water) and partially covered by floating pumice, a type of volcanic rock permeated with gas bubbles. Ash-covered snow is gray, and vegetation is red.
When the RSC rolls into the Park Avenue Armory to prepare for their Lincoln Center Festival residency, they’re coming with:
- 44 actors
- 23 musicians
- 10 stage management
- four assistant directors plus creative teams
- approximately 425 costumes and 350 pairs of boots and shoes for five…
View of Tahrir Square from space, captured at 11:18AM local time, courtesy DigitalGlobe. The latest from ABC News here.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” - Mark Twain
Planning my vacation made me curious as to how many Americans have valid passports. It’s an interesting question, both for comparative purposes – 75% of UK residents and 60% of Canadians have passports – and because post 9/11, governments have demanded more documentation for international travel. I think of freedom to travel as a basic right, but with regulations tightening, what percentage of Americans are able to leave the country, if only for a brief vacation?
Good data was surprisingly hard to find. A 2008 GAO report puts the number at 28%, but recent media reports have projected an increase to 30% or so.
As with every social statistic applicable to the US there are geographic disparities. I couldn’t find exact figures for states, so I extrapolated zip code-based passport issuance data from the State Department to create a choropleth map of globetrotting & stay-at-home America.
These are very rough calculations, better for comparison than exact figures. There aren’t many surprises. Alaska & Hawaii (not featured on the map because…it’s a long story) weighed in at 44% and 33% respectively, New Jersey was the only state approaching 50%, and West Virginia and Mississippi tied for last place at 13%. Full breakdown here.
To be clear: I don’t think this is evidence of American insularity, ignorance or anything of the kind. Foreign vacations are expensive. Americans don’t have the luxury of a buying a rail ticket bound for any station from Lisbon to Vladivostok, so unless we live in driving distance to Canada (“Like America…but cleaner”) or Mexico, there’s the added flight expense. Nor do we have the kind of vacation time available to most Europeans. Plus, it’s a big and beautiful country; you can spend a lifetime on domestic travel.
Still, for those with the financial means and flexible work schedules there are no good reasons to avoid seeing new things and find new ways of seeing.
Now that Missoni is giving me uber chic outfits for my trip to NYC I don’t need all the gorgeous luggage they gave me to pack everything in! This doll might be going carry-on for the very first time! Anyway, my good fortune is now yours. Target is giving away a set of Missoni for Target luggage!…
Quickie Post - “Embraced by the Underworld”
“Do you always wear bright shirts to attract attention?” No sooner did I look up and the voice was standing right in front of me. She was a middle aged woman, with an unusual confidence. It was almost as if she was a professional at interrogating strangers.
“I’m searching for a young Disney star, Debbie Ryan” she said as she scouted the room. It was then that it clicked, “this lady is paparazzi!” But I wasn’t all that worried, I knew she had bigger fish to fry. I asked a few questions about her trade, and soon her interrogative tendencies transformed to that of a sensei. For the next 15 minutes she taught me every possible paparazzi trick she knew (what dates the celebrities depart, what cars they drive, what gates the use, what airlines they fly, ect.)
It wasn’t before long, and a shinny red SUV pulled up to the US Departure doors. “I think that’s Debbie!” she said. Although I didn’t really know who Debbie was (or even looked like), an invigorating feeling shot through my body. My hands were fumbling for my camera, and I didn’t know who I was taking the picture of. I was expecting some ‘in-your face’ paparazzi (TMZ) action, and wanted to capture every minute of it!
Despite those horrible TMZ paparazzi nightmares, my new sensei actually played it cool. She gave Debbie her space, allowing her to remove her luggage from the SUV and proceed through the airport doors. While she snapped a few shots, my sensei began to ask Debbie questions like, “how was your stay?”. Debbie walked quickly and was hesitant to answer, but replied as polite as she could with a subtle smile.
The entire story however, took an unexpected turn when Debbie’s travel companion (her Mom?) caught a glimpse of me and shouted.. “I know you! You’re the 80 Days guy!” I couldn’t have imagined a better icebreaker.
What I initially imagined to be a TMZ paparazzi attack, turned out to be an awesome casual chat with Debbie and I. In the end my paparazzi sensei had an opportunity to take some great shots, and I made another friend, Debbie Ryan (whom I found out landed her own Disney Channel series called Jessie, slated to debut in Fall 2011).
Special thanks to both my anonymous paparazzi sensei, and Debbie Ryan. You two ladies made my day! All the best with your career Debbie, and all the best with your ‘fishing’ sensei.
The Dark Knight “Rises”