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Sleep your way from SF to LA in Cabin

by Lloyd Alter (@lloydalter) –

cabin in evening

© Cabin

Who needs a Hyperloop when you can have a private pod? Speed isn’t everything.

Flying is pretty miserable these days; by the time you fight your way to the airport, get through security, wait for the plane to actually take off and then get to where you are going at the other end, it is often faster to drive. Flying also has a big carbon footprint; about the only form of transport that’s worse is driving alone in your car.

cabin pods© Cabin

That’s why Cabin, a double decker sleeper bus that runs between San Francisco and Los Angeles, is such an interesting idea. It leaves at 11 PM and slowly drives for eight hours (the trip normally takes seven) which saves even more carbon and gives you enough time to get a good night’s sleep in their comfy pods that come with air conditioning and melatonin-infused water. If you can’t sleep, there’s a little lounge where the staff will serve you tea.

This is truly a wonderful idea. It’s fuel efficient and apparently quite comfortable. TechCrunch’s Megan Rose Dickey found the road rough on the way to LA but slept right through on the way home. She concluded:

Flying means I have to get to the airport at least an hour early, and deal with security lines and potential delays due to weather or some other nonsense (think SFO’s runway construction). Driving means I have to be awake in the car for several hours and even if I’m a passenger, I can’t fully stretch out my legs. With Cabin, I can board up to 10 minutes before the bus departs and pass out on a real, albeit small, bed.

Cabin relaxing© Cabin

The co-founder and President Gaetano Crupi tells Digital Trends that it is a bit of a throwback to an earlier age of travel, where getting there really was part of the experience. “What they would book is a cabin for that journey, and that personal space, that cabin, was as exciting as the destination itself.” This isn’t quite the Orient Express, but it does have its charms.

“We were especially intrigued by the idea of falling asleep on Friday night and telling your car to take you somewhere very far away so you could spend Saturday there,” Crupi said. “That was the point that we really were interested in because this would make your neighborhood feel like it was a 500-mile radius area.”

This is not the cheapest way to get between the two cities; there are regular buses and even flying that costs less if you buy right. But at $115 each way, it is a lot cheaper than a hotel. Decades ago, when there were overnight sleeper trains in Europe, I knew people who would buy Eurail passes that gave access to sleeper accommodation. They would see Rome and Paris on alternate days, sleeping on the train every night. People could do that between LA and San Francisco and never need a hotel. Not TreeHugger correct, but cost-effective.

It’s not a Hyperloop, but it is a really sensible idea; speed isn’t everything.

 

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School Violence Prevention – Warning Signs-Part 3

by Robert D. Sollars –

The 1st post in this series focused on a potential mass shooting inside a school. The last one was about the attitudes people have, both parents and administrators that prevent potential problems and create them. Now we will explore the actual warning signs in order… all 22 of them that I’ve collected, starting with Mid-Buchanan Middle School in Faucett, MO. In 1988 (Nathan Faris). Keep in mind that you may come up with better descriptions and more signs. I don’t pretend to have all the answers or that this is the definitive all-inclusive list.

Some of these have an explanation and other should be self-explanatory. But I will warn you with these. Just because someone you know will have one or two of these doesn’t mean much. But when they start exhibiting 5, 6, 10, or more of these…

Attendance Problems

Bullying – both being the bully and being bullied. There are enough incidents where the one being bullied turned the tables on their tormenters

  • Continual Excuses – Are they constantly and consistently pushing the blame for something off on someone else, more so than other teens?

Concentration Problems

Cruelty to Animals – this doesn’t have to be an incident of killing & gutting. Cruelty has many facets to it, think about starving, teasing, kicking, and burning

  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse – don’t forget prescriptions and inhalants. And by prescriptions I mean check your medicine cabinet to ensure they are all there
  • Fascination with Weapons – Live in a Household that holds hunting a fundamental right? That’s fine, it goes beyond that. As if a switch was flipped and they want to have bladed weapons, firearms, bomb making materials, & such.

Free Expression – If they are creative and like to write short stories then this will be hard to spot and know if they really feel that way or not. A lot of teenagers like to write, or compose, dark brooding stories or songs. If they do…it’s okay as long as other signs aren’t there.

Impact on teachers/counselors/administration/parent time – It builds gradually over time and takes up a considerable amount in the long run. From 5 minutes to an hour a few months later. And there is sometimes where it can start taking longer because of disciplinary issues.

Inconsistent Work Habits/Decreased Productivity – This doesn’t just mean not taking out the trash on time. All of their work suffers, from homework, part-time jobs, working at home chores, it all adds up

Mental Illness – one of the hardest to spot because of the innumerable signs of it as well

New Religious/Political Fervor – Can we say ISIS or other religious entities that encourage killing others to satisfy their God? Then of course there is rancor over the past Presidential election as well

Obsession with Military/Police Tactics

Poor Health and Hygiene – This goes far beyond the Nirvana grunge or pigpen of Peanuts fame

Poor Relationship Skills – From parents, other students, teachers, and so on

Safety Concerns – tripping and running into things. Again, not so unusual for an awkward teenager, but this goes beyond that

Serious Stress – You may not know what’s stressing them out personally. Divorce, addiction, medical issues, college entrance exams are potential issues. And it doesn’t have to be about them. Friends, family, or others they care about.

Threats both open and veiled – With these you absolutely can’t forget with social media threats. It’s increasingly becoming a platform to say things that kids don’t believe have any consequences.

Unshakable Depression – keep in mind that depression can easily be concealed by a smile and attitude.

Unusual or Changed Behavior – not so unusual for a teenager with raging hormones and growing up stress but…

Violent Music, Movies and Video games – Teens are unlikely to watch the normal things we watched as kids ourselves, Andy Griffith, The Brady Bunch, Benson, Starsky & Hutch, Star trek, and etc. And our music…

 

I feel the need to reiterate here that one or two of these signs are probably a teenager being a teenager. However, when these signs begin to add up and you have 4, 7, 9, 10, or more then you should begin to worry. Especially if they occur over a short period of time.

Now the question becomes how do you know how to recognize these students, how do you prevent another Columbine from occurring at your school? The answer is simple and yet very complex and at the same time difficult to ascertain.

The easy answer is to encourage people to ‘see/notice something say something’. It is becoming so cliché at this point, but it is your most effective weapon in preventing an incident.

Yes I know the unwritten code of teenagers, no snitching. But sometimes you have to do everything short of bullying them to get a teenager to fess up. And secondly…listen to what they tell you about school, friends, ‘the losers’, and so on. By listening to them and looking at their social media sites (and don’t call it snooping or call their privacy rights into question – they don’t exist at this point), then you may just get a handle on it and spot these signs before they can open the gates of hell to splatter blood in a deadly rage.

Robert D. Sollars assists businesses and their employees to lessen their risk of WPV as well as other security/customer service related issues. You can follow him on twitter@robertsollars2.

I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

 

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Gate A-4

 

naomi_shihab_nye

Gate A-4 By Naomi Shihab Nye:

Wandering around the Albuquerque Airport Terminal, after learning my flight had been delayed four hours, I heard an announcement: “If anyone in the vicinity of Gate A-4 understands any Arabic, please come to the gate immediately.” Well— one pauses these days. Gate A-4 was my own gate. I went there.

An older woman in full traditional Palestinian embroidered dress, just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing. “Help,” said the flight agent. “Talk to her . What is her problem? We told her the flight was going to be late and she did this.”

I stooped to put my arm around the woman and spoke haltingly. “Shu-dow-a, shu-bid-uck, habibti? Stani schway, min fadlick, shu-bit-se-wee?” The minute she heard any words she knew, however poorly used, she stopped crying. She thought the flight had been cancelled entirely. She needed to be in El Paso for major medical treatment the next day. I said, “No, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late, who is picking you up? Let’s call him.”

We called her son, I spoke with him in English. I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane. She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it. Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and found out of course they had ten shared friends. Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian poets I know and let them chat with her? This all took up two hours.

She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life, patting my knee, answering questions. She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies— little powdered sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts— from her bag and was offering them to all the women at the gate. To my amazement, not a single traveler declined one. It was like a sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the mom from California, the lovely woman from Laredo— we were all covered with the same powdered sugar. And smiling. There is no better cookie.

Then the airline broke out free apple juice and two little girls from our flight ran around serving it and they were covered with powdered sugar too. And I noticed my new best friend— by now we were holding hands— had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing, with green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.

And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought, This is the world I want to live in. The shared world. Not a single person in that gate— once the crying of confusion stopped— seemed apprehensive about any other person. They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too.

This can still happen anywhere. Not everything is lost.

 

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School Violence Prevention – Attitudes

This is one post that many people, especially administration and parents, don’t want to read. Or if they do, they will merely say to anyone who will listen I/we don’t do those things. Unfortunately, those are the people that probably are the worst offenders and are courting a blood-spattered public relations nightmare worthy of any of the slasher movies of the 80s within the school.

People who have the attitude of It Can’t Happen Here?

Administration

The administration of any educational institution, from public, private, & for profit, all are duplicitous in denying the below listed attitudes and the fact that school violence could happen. From secretaries in the office all the way through the school board & superintendent or President.

They simply never even think about what could happen because they are so wrapped up in their own little horrible lives. I have heard, several times, that the school has a plan so let the risk manager, security or whoever, worry about that crap. We have a school to run.”

Parents

Some of the biggest offenders are the parents. The reasoning behind that statement that no doubt incites thoughts of Molotov cocktails through windows and over turning vehicles. Who knows their kids better than a parent, supposedly? Parents are the ones that are tasked with knowing their kids and raising solid first class citizens. But far too many times, the parents ignored both the warning signs & attitudes.

“They are my little angel! They’d never do anything like that! He’s such a good boy! He’s a little troubled but nothing violent… Just because he plays shootem up’s, listens to that violent rap stuff, and loves those R rated gory movies…”

But without further ado:

  • CHH (can’t happen here) or Ostrich syndrome. The biggest attitude that causes violence. From the differing reporting systems that say that a fist fight is not violence to teasing a younger/smaller student isn’t bullying.
  • NIH (not invented here). This basically means that the school refuses to do something that they themselves haven’t thought of. Or because it’s too “far out-of-the-box”. Or worse, someone might get into trouble and get disciplined or fired.
  • Communication. How well does the school communicate with the parents and students? An incident in June 2016 where a student threatened to shoot up a school, Greenbelt, Md. June 14, wasn’t reported to parents until 4 days later. Why, “Because it wasn’t a credible threat…at the time”
  • Unequal enforcement of policies/procedures. Some kids deserve to be treated differently and be given special privileges. In my high school years it was the athletes, smart kids, cheerleaders/pep squad, & etc. along with their significant other of the second, and I’m sure it hasn’t changed that much. But it has to be tempered so that they don’t appear to be teachers/administration’s pet.
  • Perceived unequal treatment. The key word in here is perceived. Whatever someone perceives to be true then it will be true, whether that truth is reality or not.
  • Authoritarian style of administration- it needs to be strict, but flexible. There is always a reason for someone doing what they do. If you utilize a zero tolerance policy on everything then you potentially will instigate the violence you thought you could stop. You should toss out the zero tolerance policies, because they cause more trouble than they are worth.
  • Stereotyping. We all stereotype people and kids are the worst at bullying, teasing, & ignoring those who are slightly different than what is considered normal in school.

Those are for the kids, teachers, & administration, but what about the parents? There are several ways that parental attitudes can get into the violence act as well. And most parents will never realize it, mainly because of having CHH:

  • Not My lil angel
  • Helicopter parenting – They don’t let the kids fail and learn. You can’t protect those lil angels their entire life. Worry about and offer advice when needed but protect…
  • Denial of a problem, akin to not my lil angel
  • Living in a Fantasy World- it has to be different ‘just for my kid because they’re special’. Of course they are special, all children are. But unless they are physically or mentally disabled…
  • Continual excuses. Well they are going through a difficult time. The school is racist. The teachers are against them. The school isn’t built right for them. And on and on and on and on.

How many parents do you see like this when taking your child to school, at the PTA meetings, or extracurricular activities? If you look long and hard at yourself and others, I’m sure you can see it too.

                Here’s a huge surprise for everyone, all parents want the best for their kids in school & life. We are  ALL  wanting the best for them, they are our future after all, and are willing to look past some minor imperfections and stand up for them. But sometimes, it blinds us to a larger issue that needs attention.

That issue related blindness can, and usually will, cause problems down the road. Whether that blindness causes us to deny anything wrong or berate the school or teachers for perceived slights doesn’t matter. We have to open our eyes to see what the issues are. Then we need to ensure that our kids get to see the counselors, therapists, or whoever to possibly stop… whatever.

(The next post will be on the warning signs of a teenager who may Go Columbine)

Robert D. Sollars assists businesses and their employees to lessen their risk of WPV as well as other security/customer service related issues. You can follow him on twitter@robertsollars2.

I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

 

 

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David de Rothschild and The Real Cost of Living (Video)

david de rothschild image

David de Rothschild is up to more than the upcoming adventure on the Plastiki. He also has a show on the Sundance Channel coming out called Eco Trip: The Real Cost of Living. While at a screening of the show in San Francisco last night, he stopped to talk with us about consumables and environmental activism. Click through for video. Eco Trip is a show starting up on the Sundance Channel, in which David de Rothschild explores exactly what impact things we take for granted in daily life, like water bottlesor chocolate, have on the environment. It’s a fun, informative, and inspiring idea and we asked more about his thoughts on consumerism.

David on the impact of products, and thinking about what it is we’re buying.

Then we asked what he’d take out of the marketplace immediately if he could (besides human beings).

And on what we need to do to make the idea behind Eco Trip part of our daily thinking.

On Tuesday, April 21st, Sundance Channel, catch the newest episodes of Eco Trip and find out the origins and environmental impact of consumables we don’t often stop to really ponder.

More on David de Rothschild
David de Rothschild Sets Sail on Plastic Ship
12 Warriors, Adventurers With Really Loud Green Messages
The TH Interview: David de Rothschild – Part 1
The TH Interview: David de Rothschild – Part 2

 

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Voice search and its impact on the travel industry

 https://www.tnooz.com/

In years past, there was a dominant form of agricultural practice – sharecropping.

A landlord would rent out his land, and farmers would rent it and pay in harvested crops. There was usually no other way for the farmer to get land, so the landlord was king!

Today, decades later, the king and farmer are still tied in a forced romance, only today, we call the king Google, and the farmers – brands in the hospitality sector.

NB: This a viewpoint by Abdulrahman Jogbojogbo, head of content at Hotels.ng.

Save for a few like Airbnb that have managed to create a very strong brand name, most of the players in hospitality rely on search for most of their traffic.

Users are more likely to search for say, hotels or flight listings on Google than go directly to sites like Russia’s Ostrovok or Nigeria’s Hotels.ng.

The hospitality industry’s heavy reliance on search engines makes them susceptible to new search trends and major changes in search algorithms thereby affecting traffic to their site, and ultimately, revenue.

Currently, voice search is one of the two major trends in search mostly driven by the mobile device that players in hospitality must optimise for – the other being local search.

These trends have the potential to create new opportunities as well as punish brands that do not acknowledge them fast enough.

Continued growth in mobile and its impact on SEO

The growth of the mobile device, while less ascendant remains significant. In countries like India and Pakistan, the growth numbers stay high as a large percentage of the population adopt the internet for the first time.

To tap into new markets that the mobile device’s ubiquity allows, brands must optimise for users that interact with the web primarily through mobile devices and that don’t necessarily have great internet speeds.

Google has also continuously made requests for lightweight mobile pages that load fast and can be cached on their servers easily so as to create better mobile experiences for users. Compliant sites are said to have Accelerated Mobile Pages, AMPs.

It is expected that soon, AMPs contribute to Google’s ranking factors. AMP will then be an SEO factor that serves brands on two fronts – better mobile experiences, and higher rankings on search engine result pages.

The voice search phenomenon

More than ever, users are making search queries online using their voices. It’s easy, fast, convenient, increasingly reliable, and allows for hands-free interaction with smart devices.

It’s a trend that has seen more growth in younger demographics, and one that is led by an aggressive battle by tech giants for our voice.

The battle for our eyeballs seems to be nearing saturation as the mobile devices and desktops seem to have evolved to a possible final form.

OK Google, Cortana, Alexa and several other voice assistants have made voice as a search interface a big trend that must be reckoned with, and optimised for.

Growing influence of voice search on SEO

Users interact differently with search engines with their voices than they do with text queries.

With voice, search queries become more natural, longer, and conversational.

Think about it, if you were speaking to your phone, how would you make a search query? “cheap London to Lagos flight” or “Get me a list of the cheapest flights from London to Lagos”?

My guess is that, it’ll be something closer to the latter.

Users are also increasingly becoming aware of how sophisticated new voice AIs are, and are as a result expecting smarter and accurate responses.

This changes search dynamics for brands in hospitality and requires improved SEO solutions.

To satisfy this trend, content on websites must be optimised to follow a conversational tone, to offer responses to anticipated queries, and to optimise for longer keywords that voice searches are typically characterised by.

A simple and easily implementable optimisation task to start with would be the creation of FAQ sections on important web pages that ask questions users would ask and in the language that they would use while providing useful information that satisfy the queries.

A possible, and purely anticipatory outcome of continued dominance of mobile and voice searches is the voice schema markup.

In addition to images and texts that describe the content on web pages online, voice recordings that describe a page’s content may be included in every page’s meta files, offering a feedback from search engines to the user whose interactive interface with the engine is his voice.

Voice searches also give rise to local searches – searches that have geographical confines.

An example would be “show me restaurants near me”. Optimisations for local searches is another ball game that can be assessed in respectable detail in this guide.

Voice search opens a box of new possibilities such as rise in local searches for the major players in the hospitality sector. It’s interesting to anticipate the outcome of this phenomenon and see how it tilts the dynamics of the hospitality brands – Google romance.

NB: This a viewpoint by Abdulrahman Jogbojogbo, head of content at Hotels.ng

 

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A Republican senator just defended his Muslim opponent against Islamophobic trolls.

Deedra Abboud is running for the Arizona U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by Jeff Flake.

Photo via Deedra for U.S. Senate 2018.

On July 18, Abboud, a Muslim and an attorney and a Democrat, posted a tribute to the First Amendment on her Facebook page.

“In their infinite wisdom, the Founding Fathers decreed that this nation would separate church and state, and in doing so protect both institutions,” she wrote. “Government would be free from religious overreach, and religion would be free from government interference.”

Many of the replies, as first reported in AZ Central, targeted Abboud on the basis of her faith.

“F*** you Muslim b*tch,” wrote one commenter.

“Nice try but your first love is Satan (AKA Allah) and your second love is to a litter box your “people” come from,” wrote another.

“Sorry no room for Muslims in our government. Nice try though you are quoting the Muslim brotherhood,” another responded.

While many of her supporters replied with words of encouragement, one voice was unexpected: Abboud’s political opponent.

Flake reached out to Abboud on Twitter to express his sympathy and urge her to ignore the bigots.

Hang in there @deedra2018. Sorry you have to put up with this. Lots of wonderful people across AZ. You’ll find them. http://bit.ly/2u7TP36 

Roberts: Arizona Senate candidate under attack for being Muslim

Responses to Deedra Abboud’s Facebook posts have ranged from disturbing to just plain scary.

Abboud thanked Flake for rapidly and unequivocally denouncing those harassing her.

Thank you @JeffFlake for leadership in rejecting behavior that doesn’t reflect our American values. AZ’s amazing people deserve more of this https://twitter.com/JeffFlake/status/887490249013825536 

Many others on Twitter — supporters of both candidates — applauded Flake for putting politics aside to stand up for civility.

Hang in there @deedra2018. Sorry you have to put up with this. Lots of wonderful people across AZ. You’ll find them. http://bit.ly/2u7TP36 

Bravo. Decency should always be the norm. Thanks for making a point of being decent.

Hang in there @deedra2018. Sorry you have to put up with this. Lots of wonderful people across AZ. You’ll find them. http://bit.ly/2u7TP36 

Sen Flake thank you. You have more class than many people in your party. Your actions with this & the shooting in VA make Arizona proud.

Others encouraged the Republican senator to spread the word to others in his own party — including its leader, whose campaign and administration frequently employed incendiary anti-Muslim rhetoric.

Hang in there @deedra2018. Sorry you have to put up with this. Lots of wonderful people across AZ. You’ll find them. http://bit.ly/2u7TP36 

Thanks for saying the right thing Senator Flake. Please express this sentiment to the president as well.

Abboud’s campaign manager Joseph Harris says in an email that his candidate hopes to “focus on this being an opportunity to change the landscape.”

“Our elected leaders should be leading in the civil discourse, of calling out behavior that does not reflect our American values, of being competitive without character attacks,” he says.

Flake and Abboud don’t agree on much, but they don’t have to in order to model respectful disagreement.

Abboud supports preserving the main provisions of the Affordable Care Act while Flake supported Ted Cruz’ measure allowing insurers to resurrect “bare bones” health plans. Abboud supports net neutrality while Flake recently introduced a bill that would allow internet service providers to collect more personal information from customers.

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Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images.

One thing they seem to agree on — attacks on an opponents faith are out of bounds and disputes are better approached from a place of mutual respect.

Props to Abboud for using the harsh words directed at her as a teachable moment.

And props to Flake for demonstrating that even in an age of heightened partisan rancor, politics doesn’t have to be personal.

 

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