Frisky Passenger Faces Prison

Ever take a trip with your spouse or significant other, and suddenly find yourself “in the mood” at 20,000 feet? You may want to keep that affection in check. Some guy from California might go to jail for getting it on with his girlfriend in the air.

Carl William Persing has been convicted of interfering with flight attendants and crew members after he and his girlfriend “made other passengers uncomfortable” by “kissing” and “embracing.” After they asked him to take his tongue out of his girlfriend’s mouth, Persing got miffed, threatened the attendants — twice — and found himself in an awkward conversation with FBI officials upon arrival in North Carolina.

Sounds like he was acting like a jerk, so fair enough. I know I wouldn’t want to watch anyone suck face — let alone when I’m stuck with them for a cross-country flight. But because it all happened on an airplane, Persing was breaking federal law, and has thus been convicted of a federal felony — which means he’ll probably serve jail time.

Wow. I can only imagine the conversation with other inmates while he’s in the slammer.

“Why are you in here?”
“I robbed a bank. What about you?”
“I. Uh. Made out with my girlfriend on an airplane.”

Doesn’t exactly make him sound like a force to be reckoned with.

Blind Pilot Makes Successful International Flight

If there’s one thing common to all adventure travelers, it’s the drive to overcome adversity. One British man exemplifies this spirit — flying 13,500 miles from London to Sydney even though he’s completely blind.

Under the supervision of a sighted co-pilot, Miles Hilton-Baber took to the skies for 59 days in a microlight aircraft, competing with snowstorms, freezing temperatures, and torrential downpours. When the trip was completed, not only had Hilton-Barber fulfilled a life-long dream, but he’d also raised a possible $2 million for Seeing is Believing — a charity that works to prevent blindness in developing countries.

And if you think that’s impressive, you should also know that he’s climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Blanc, run marathons in the Sahara and Gobi deserts, and made an attempt at the South Pole. This man is proof that people really can do anything they set their mind to.

World’s #1 Flight Attendant Calls it Quits at 85

In the old days, if you wanted to be a flight attendant, you had to be young, single and slim. That’s how things were when Iris Peterson got her start back in 1946. But during her more than 60 years in the airline industry, the world’s #1 Flight Attendant fought to end that kind of discrimination. Now, at age 85, she’s finally retiring.

Most of her work was through the Association of Flight Attendants — the attendants’ workers’ union. In 1953 she became the first official lobbyist for the organization (then called the Air Line Stewards and Stewardesses Association), and she quickly set to work changing policy. Not only did she see the repeal of archaic regulations — such as the one requiring that stewardesses had to leave the job when they got married — but also worked toward increased safety on airplanes, especially when engineers were creating the world’s first jumbo jet.

In fact, many of the things we take for granted on modern airplanes were directly affected by Peterson.

I’m always amazed when I read about people with such a passion and dedication to their careers. I wonder, how many travelers never realized they were flying with an industry legend?

[via Neatorama]

Emotional Maps: a New Way to Navigate the City

While it may seem obvious, it’s worth noting that the best experiences I have while exploring cities around the world are never to do with what’s there — museums, important landmarks, etc — but instead revolve around how the place makes me feel.

One artist is making it easy for travelers like me, by making maps based not on an area’s geography, but rather on the emotions evoked by different areas within an urban landscape.

It works like this: volunteers agree to wander around a city while wearing both a GPS device and a sensor similar to that which is used in lie detector tests. Their thoughts on what they saw and felt when the polygraph recorded a quickened heartbeat are then recorded by the artist, who in turn uses the information to create “emotional maps.”

As you might suspect, a number of marketing and advertising companies want to use the findings to better target consumers, but the most interesting find — at least for me — is that people respond to social interactions far more than any piece of architecture. This means you’re far more likely to connect with a city full of interesting people, rather than someplace that has impressive buildings or attractive landscapes.

Might be useful information for the next time you’re planning that urban getaway, although — at least for the moment — London and San Francisco are the only cities the artist has completed.

“Women’s town” puts men in their place

Let’s pretend you’re in a relationship where gender roles are traditionally defined. Sick and tired of feeling obedient to her husband, and blindly accepting his every arbitrary decision, the woman finally cries “I wish, just once, you could walk a day in my shoes, buster! Then you’d know what I have to put up with!”

Now, thanks to a rather odd initiative by the Chinese government, you can make that dream a reality.

The country is building the world’s first “women’s town” — a place where women run everything, and men get punished for disobedience. With a motto of “women never make mistakes, and men can never refuse women’s requests,” the town claims to be emulating the traditional male/female dynamic in the areas of Sichuan province and Chongqing, but appears to be more about having fun with a novel gimmick (or just putting men in their place).

So, by 2008 (or so), tour groups will be able to enter the town, and women in the group will immediately be given total control. They chose where to go shopping, where to eat, where to stay, and any man who disagrees is punished by washing dishes or “kneeling on an uneven board.”

Sounds like this is where Chinese men are heading every time they forget an anniversary.