Water pollution could dampen the Olympics
We've forgotten everything about pre-9/11 air travel
An argument about whether shoulder straps on airline passenger seats make sense leads to a question about why the window shades on a plane have to remain open during takeoff and landing. One response cites the need for passengers to remain oriented in case of a crash. But we seem to forget that the hijackers of the pre-9/11 era used windowshades to control passengers' ability to see what was going on outside (and, presumably, to signal rescuers). It's as though we have completely forgotten how things used to be. That's unfortunate, since we ought to remember why we do things -- lest we do them for no good reason at all.
Jay Leno raises $100,000 in one night for Iowa flood victims
Democratic convention planning nightmares: Hilarious or foreboding?
Counting up all of the voluntary self-regulations -- from biodegradable balloons to multi-colored foods to hand-sorted trash to impossible-to-find organic domestic-union-made baseball caps, organizers for the upcoming Democratic National Convention are finding a big gap between good intentions and reality. On the surface, it's kind of funny. But then when you dig deeper, and find that some attendees are upset that the Republican-affiliated Coors Brewing Co. will be helping with the bioenergy production. Good intentions -- like having an efficient, air-and-water-friendly convention -- are a fine thing. But the number of self-imposed rules and regulations, many internally contradictory or just plain wildly inefficient, may give the rest of the public some idea of how an over-eager batch of people might want everyone else to behave, and how they might impose their will via legislation if given a free hand to do so. It would all seem different if they were setting up rewards for good behavior -- like charging $1 extra for every plastic cup used, redeemable upon its return. But instead, they're going to hire hundreds of garbage monitors.