Majority of British Air Travelers Surveyed ‘Don’t Trust’ Female Pilots

Aeroplane
Flickr/Vox Efx

Fifty-one percent of British air travelers “don’t trust” female pilots, citing their inability to handle pressure, according to a poll conducted by U.K.-based travel site sunshine.co.uk and reported by The Daily Mail.

Twenty-six percent of respondents said the pilot’s gender was irrelevant while 14 percent were less likely to trust a male pilot. Respondents who did not trust a man heading the cockpit, cited their “hot headedness” and ability to be easily distracted as reasons for their distrust.One possible reason for the unease about female pilots: their relative rareness. Ten percent of respondents said their previous crews had been exclusively male. And the Huffington Post points out a 2010 FAA report that notes of the 266,000 commercial pilots in America, only about 8,715 were female.

One Good Reason Why Space Travel Will Happen In Your Lifetime

space travelThe idea of space travel for all of us has been the stuff of dreams for centuries. Long before we had electricity or telephones, we looked to the stars, hoping to travel there some day. Science fiction writers fueled the fire and instilled in many of us a solid belief that some day we would travel beyond our earthly bounds. In the last half-century we have walked on the moon, built a permanent orbiting space station, shuttled space workers back and forth from Earth and more. Now, the ground floor opportunities for a space travel industry are being built, the foundation is being laid and ideas are being hatched to make a profit out of it.

Bechtel is an engineering, project management and construction company respected around the world. Founded in 1898, Bechtel has worked on over 22,000 projects in 140 countries on all seven continents of the planet. They provide infrastructure, power generation, communications and more with a work force of 53,000 people. In a “there’s no place left to go” sort of way, Bectel looks to the sky.

Planetary Resources is a new group of world leaders committed to expanding the world’s resource base so that humanity can continue to grow and prosper. The group is not comprised of world leaders like presidents, kings and dictators, but people that make things happen like Google’s CEO Larry Page, film maker James Cameron, United States Air Force General T. Michael Moseley (Ret.) and Sara Seager, Ph.D., Professor of Planetary Science and Physics at MIT. To these people, exploring the unknown and making a living off of it is familiar ground.

We first met Planetary Resources in May of last year in the article “Space Travel: Hurry Up, We Have Mining To Do” when Gadling reported Chris Lewicki, President and Chief Engineer, stating, “Our mission is not only to expand the world’s resource base, but we want to increase people’s access to, and understanding of, our planet and solar system by developing capable and cost-efficient systems.”

Now, it appears that the moon, stars and planets have aligned and something is about to happen.

In a move that has an undeniable flavor of entrepreneurship, the start-up mechanism that enables forward-thinking ideas to blossom, Bechtel and Planetary Resources are collaborating to mine near-Earth asteroids for raw materials.To do that, they will have to develop innovative and cost-effective robotic exploration technologies.

“As we pursue our vision to expand the resource base beyond Earth; we’re extremely excited to announce this partnership with Bechtel. They are a world leader in the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) industry,” said Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of Planetary Resources on the organization’s website.

It’s that “expand the resource base beyond Earth” part that should be of interest to us and shore up dreams of space travel for all some day. Venturing into space has always been an investment in the future at best, more commonly known as a space program that is a government budget item that can and has been cut.

Here, we have respected leaders of today’s world looking to the stars in a way not thought of since the gold rush period of the 1800s. Back then, because of that burning desire for gold, San Francisco grew by leaps and bounds. Roads, churches, schools and railroads were built and along the way agriculture and ranching expanded.

Mining asteroids? Could very well be the profit-centered technology enabler that ends up putting us in space.

If the whole idea sounds a little bit familiar, it might be due to 1998’s Hollywood blockbuster “Armageddon,” which had normally deep-sea oil drillers frantically trying to destroy an asteroid before it collided with Earth and wiped out civilization.

Let’s pause a moment to re-live that historic event via this video:


Armageddon had a budget of $140 million and was in international box-office success, grossing over a half $billion. Also on this hot space travel topic, our friends at Huffington Post tell us “Studies have found that around 7,500 near-Earth asteroids exist, most of which are worth between $1 billion and $25 billion each if their resources were sold on Earth.”

So there you have it: Science Fiction fuels real-world ideas and everybody makes money.

Want to be part of it all? Planetary Resources is enabling us too, promising exclusive behind-the-scenes information by joining their mailing list and a learn more library.

[Photo credit – Flickr user by Gerard Stolk]

New world’s tallest building planned for Saudi Arabia

tallest buildingLess than two years after the Burj Khalifa opened in Dubai, Saudi Arabia‘s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has announced a new world’s tallest building to be built on the Red Sea resort town of Jeddah. The Saudi building is planned to be 172 meters (564 feet) taller than the Burj and will stand at 1,000 meters or 3,281 feet. It will be part of the $20 billion “megadevelopment” Kingdom City and will house luxury condos, offices, and of course, a hotel. The prince has signed a $1.23 billion deal with the Bin Laden Group, the largest construction firm in Saudi Arabia and unaffiliated with Osama Bin Laden, to complete the new tallest building in five years.

Last month, Gadling explored the 2,717 foot Burj Khalifa. Gadling and Huffington Post blogger Melanie Nayer was one of the first guests at the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong earlier this year, currently the highest hotel in the world. Check out our gallery below of the world’s tallest buildings.

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Image of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa by Flickr user Jason Rodman.

VIDEO: 50 state stereotypes in 2 minutes

Enjoy poking fun at other American states? You might enjoy this video posted by our friends at Huffington Post Comedy covering all 50 state stereotypes in 2 minutes and change. From Alabama

Our state bird is the NASCAR” to Wyoming

We don’t have any gay cowboys, alright? Okay, maybe a few gay cowboys…”, no state is left unparodied (read the video transcript here). Lest you think video creator Paul Jury is making snap judgements, you may want to read his new book States of Confusion, chronicling his post-college 48-state road trip.

Have a good sense of humor about how others see your state or country? You might also enjoy this map of US state stereotypes as well as maps from other countries. Follow Gadling and AOL Travel’s Road Trip Across America this summer and see how the states live up to their reputation.

On long-term travel, snobbery & judgmental blogging

If you read Gadling, there’s a half-decent chance that you read other travel blogs, too. Don’t worry. We’re cool having an open relationship. We read other sites, as well. Some have the financial backing of investors or media companies. Others are independent labors of love written by one or two people who enjoy travel, started putting words to HTML and hoped that someone would read the stories they shared. Many of the travel blogs that have been popping up lately focus on round-the-world (RTW) travel, career breaks and long-term (or, seemingly, permanent) travel. It’s that last category of traveler (and their corresponding blogs) that has begun to grind my gears.

I love travel. I assume you, a Gadling reader, loves travel. But is traveling all of the time – with no home base – really that fantastic? Furthermore, do people who adhere to that lifestyle have the right to belittle those with stable lives and jobs? There’s been a lot of idealizing of traveling permanently and, quite frankly, I find a lot of it condescending. It’s time for a reality check.One of the most well-trafficked sites dealing with long-term travel is Nomadic Matt. That’s also the name by which the site’s founder, Matt Kepnes, is known. Matt has been traveling virtually non-stop since 2005. At 29, he’s known very little of adult life beyond traveling. Which is why I was so insulted by his recent post, “Why We Travel,” on The Huffington Post. For someone with such limited exposure to the “real world” of steady jobs, rent payments and the stresses of daily life, he has some very firm opinions on why his lifestyle is far superior to the alternative that the vast majority of Americans call normal. The following quote is indicative of the message he was attempting to convey in his post:

“In this modern world of 9 to 5, mortgages, carpools, and bills, our days can get pretty regimented and become pretty boring. Typically, our days rarely exhibit huge change. Under the weight of everything, we often lose track of what’s important to us and what are goals are. We get so caught between commutes and errands or driving the kids to soccer, that we forget how to breath and to smell those roses. When I was home I could plan out my days months in advance. Why? Because they weren’t going to be much different — commute, work, gym, sleep, repeat. Yet on the road, every moment represents a new beginning. No day is the same. You can’t plan out what will happen because nothing is set in stone.”

I should note that I know Matt. I like Matt. The limited time we have shared has been pleasant and he seems like a nice guy. However, I do not think that his perma-travel lifestyle is one that should automatically be envied or revered. In fact, I don’t want that life at all.

What someone at the age of 29 who has been traveling for much of his adult existence could possibly understand about the life that he rails against is actually less perplexing than his broad generalizations about those of us who do not abide by his philosophies. While there are certainly countless people who are lost in a sea of TPS reports and hollow pursuits, to write off all people with stable, non-travel lives as working stiffs is condescending at best and offensive at worst.

There are more than enough “mommy bloggers” – many of whom also write about travel – who enjoy driving their kids to soccer while also taking them on holidays from Disney World to Djibouti. Is there a trade-off that comes with starting a family? Well, the number of blogs out there about taking kids on trips all over the globe would indicate that there doesn’t have to be. And for the people who do stay home or perhaps only occasionally take traditional vacations, if they are happy, why is that bad?

While defining why he travels, Matt says, “[w]e want to see the world, see something different, see something change. Travel allows for change…We all want something different from our daily routine, something to challenge us.” Again, these are generalizations and gross misrepresentations that diminish the enriching and often diverse lives that people with roots firmly planted in one place have created for themselves.

His post also neglects to mention things like hobbies, families, friends, social functions and fulfilling lives that include careers and pursuits that make those so-called working stiffs happy. I have friends who are not travel writers. They have jobs in fields such as marketing, education, law and insurance. They are husbands, wives, parents, dog owners, volunteers and caregivers. They are also drummers in bands, founders of supper clubs, distillers of whiskey and triathletes. In short, they are well-rounded human beings.

I’m not alone in believing that people can have stable lives, travel only occasionally and still enjoy everything that the world has to offer. Over on the Resident Wayfarer blog [Disclosure: I know the author but am respecting his/her wish to remain anonymous], a post addressed this very topic. “To me, travel can’t define a life, travel must be the thing that holds a mirror back up to yourself, to your life, and forces you to see it in a different light, through different eyes, reversed.” In other words, travel provides a broader context within which you attempt to understand things, including yourself. The post closes with the following declaration:

“I remain the person with a home base that I love, a well-balanced wanderlust, and a pretty low bullshit-o-meter.”

In a very succinct manner, the author managers to sum up why not everyone with a 9-5 feels the way Matt suggested that they do.

Over on SoSauce, Alisha Miranda also expressed her disdain for judgmental travelers who view their opinions on the subject as the gospel. [Disclosure: I am also friends with Alisha] She wrote,

“…don’t tell me the right and wrong way to travel. I don’t want to hear it. I’m doing fine on my 2 passport stamps and don’t need your worldly views dragging me down for whatever reason you feel necessary. I’ll travel however I want, whenever I want, to whereever [sic] I want. The lifestyle I choose as a traveler is entirely my decision…It seems like travel writers these days won’t tolerate anything less than a full-time backpacking lifestyle.”

To insinuate – or outright declare – that there is only one way to travel is narcissistic and condescending. It insults your audience and creates a false debate about the nature of travel. A debate that is actually more about the writer than it is about travel.

People travel for myriad reasons. Be it to take a break from work, introduce their children to Cinderella or learn about new cultures. They also do it to run away. Or to avoid a reality that scares or confuses them. Is eschewing the “real world” to travel permanently as difficult as those long-term travelers suggest? Is it more challenging than raising children, being an active member of a community or pouring yourself into a hobby that becomes a passion?

It seems to me that creating a fulfilling life – however you define that – is your own business. It may include travel. It may not. The travel could be road trips to ride roller coasters, all-inclusive getaways to tropical beaches or, yes, packing up completely and leaving your current life behind. That’s up to you. And you know yourself a whole lot better than any writer does.