Carbon offsetting

British Airways gave us the option of paying extra for carbon credits to make up for our air travel. We didn’t take them up on the offer. There are a number of reasons why I feel carbon offsetting is a bad thing. The first is that by removing the guilt, it encourages people to continue a profligate lifestyle, rather than actually changing their behavior. For example, if Al Gore genuinely gave a crap about the environment, he would stop flying by private jet so much.

Flying back to England

It had been some four years since I had last visited England. Given how little time off Americans get, visiting my family means not actually having a proper vacation that year, so I don’t get to go back as often as everyone would like. This time the visit was for a particular event: my brother Edward was getting married. I know I have some friends who don’t really understand the whole “marriage” thing.

Flight from hell

I’ve had some pretty hellish experiences on plane flights. I’ve traveled from the UK to the USA while suffering from the ‘flu, on a plane filled with rowdy cheerleaders. I’ve been trapped for several hours on a motionless plane in Chicago, with all the ventilation and air conditioning turned off. However, a recent news story is putting my experiences into perspective. An elderly woman died near the start of a flight from India.

Sometimes a variable name is just a variable name

OK, this is the most obsessive e-mail I’ve received in a long, long time: I read your HUMAN_DNA.H from GNU humor pages, and I like it very much. However, I don’t get it why you name Penis variable *jt, and Vagina *p? Does jt and p stand for anything? (Any complaints about the humorous quality of the joke should, of course, be addressed to British Airways, Ingrams Drive, Redditch.) I must confess that there is an extra layer of joke hidden there.

St Petersburg, intro and day 1

I was lucky enough to visit Russia about a year after the collapse of the Soviet Union, in the summer of 1993. My girlfriend at the time had lived and studied in Leningrad, and had made friends with a family there. We decided to go visit them. Day 1 We arrive at Leningrad airport. It has “ST PETERSBURG” on the top in obviously brand new letters. I see row after row of identical Aeroflot planes.

The paper that backed Fascism

On the plane home, there was only one British paper to choose from—the Daily Mail. XQ had taken a copy of the Mail with her when she left for Germany; she had wanted to be able to show the German kids what a British tabloid newspaper was like, but had been too embarrassed to buy The Sun. As luck would have it, that day the Mail had had a two-page spread by Paul ‘Why oh why” Johnson, entitled “What if we had made peace with Hitler?