Synchronized Kites in Laredo

September 26, 2011 By: erik Category: Beach, Spain, Stuff I Found, Travel, Videos, Weird

Synchronized Kite Flying ThumbnailWhen I was sitting on the beach yesterday, I noticed something off in the distance out of the corner of my eye. In a split second, my unconscious pattern recognition neurons decided I’d seen a flock of birds. After several seconds of gazing at the phenomenon a kilometer down the beach, I’d determined that they were too big to be birds, and the flying was too orderly. They must be kites, my brain suggested, but…but…how?? They were flying in perfect formation, up, down, swooping, soaring, diving… What they really reminded me of was Boids, the artificial intelligence algorithm – one of my favorites! – that demonstrates how lifelike natural flocking behavior can be mimicked with very, very few lines of code.

Spanair A320 Legroom is a Disgrace

July 25, 2011 By: erik Category: Complaining, Photos, Spain, Travel

Spanair A320On my recent return from the United States, I had the displeasure of taking Spanair flight JK 6116 from Madrid to Bilbao on an Airbus A320. I’m not a big air traveler, but I take about ten flights a year. This A320 had the least amount of legroom on any plane I’ve ever been on. Spanair should be ashamed of themselves for cramming so many seats onto this aircraft.

Airline Security and Underpants Bombs

November 22, 2010 By: erik Category: Offspring, Reviews, Travel, USA, Weird

Nora in her Lufthansa BassinetOn Saturday, we flew from Bilbao to Munich to Charlotte. There are a few good anecdotes from the journey to share, so I thought I’d commit them to the Internet.

I was expecting extra tight security, as that’s what the US and European media are all atwitter about. In the Bilbao airport, it was early in the morning, and the Guardia Civil agents that run the airport security seemed pretty disinterested. I didn’t even have to take my laptop out of my bag. I had to put the bag that normally hangs from Nora’s stroller through the x-ray machine, but it contained a large bottle of water, a pocket knife, and various canisters of powder. I asked if the stroller should go through the machine too (it has before), but the agent said I could just walk through the gate with it, leave it on the other side, walk back through, and then walk through it myself to make sure I didn’t beep. He then casually glanced under the stroller where the plastic cover was, but didn’t remove it or look under it. There was plenty of space to hide a semi-automatic handgun under there. And off we went to our gate…

Tags: ,