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The Image Of Things To Come: Airbus Folding Airplane Seats

This is only slightly worse that the Ryan Air proposal for standing-only sections.

Oliver Wainwright, Airbus’s folding saddle seat could be the cattle-class future for cheap flights

If you thought low-cost air travel couldn’t get any more bleak, then Airbus has a treat in store for you. The aeroplane manufacturer has now filed a patent for the what looks like a human battery-farm, but is in fact the future of budget flights: racks upon racks of folding saddle-seats for even more passengers to be jammed onto aeroplanes, packed in knee-to-rump.

While some airlines have already removed their folding tray tables and squeezed leg-room down to brutal knee-capping levels, Airbus have gone one step further, doing away with the idea of proper seating altogether. In their ultra-economy vision, seating aisles will instead take the form of long horizontal poles, from which bicycle-like saddles and small back and arm rests will pivot out, on to which humans will be placed, skewered together like table-football players.

“The design of the seats has to be optimised so that they present the smallest possible bulk,” says Airbus, explaining that the saddle-style seat has been developed “in order to reduce the distance needed to accommodate the legs of passengers between two rows of seating devices.”

The result, according to the patent diagram, is what looks like a line of people doing a sit-down conga, perching on each other’s knees. There barely a whisker of airspace between their limbs, let alone anywhere to place their over-priced soggy sandwiches. And you can forget about having a nap, unless your neighbour has a particularly forgiving shoulder.

Here’s the RyanAir ‘vertical seating’:

I was a little bit surprised that the report didn’t spend much time tackling the hardest issue, which is why do they need to have so much revenue? It’s because their cost structure is made for print. When you look at how much revenue comes from print and the scale of their operation because of print, the challenge that they’re facing moving forward is how do they move into a post-print world….

It just seems like if you’re reading a secret internal report for The New York Times, the things that people would be stressed about, isn’t that, oh, the website’s not good enough, or they haven’t moved fast enough with this feature or that feature, but more like how do we deal with this very different cost structure of our future business, compared to our past business.

Finally getting to Felix Salmon’s really great Medium interview with Jonah Peretti. This point about the NYT innovation report was absolutely my reaction. That said, the problem is that the cost structure is both the most vital thing to address, and at the same time the one thing that never truly will.  (via markcoatney)

Elop Continues His Losing Strategy: It’s Time For Him To Go

In Stephen Elop’s breezy and somewhat callous email to former Nokia staffers at Microsoft (‘Hello there’ is a poor start to firing 12,500 people), he showed that he’s continuing the losing play of fighting against Android+Samsung (and hundreds of other Asian-based competitors with Windows+Nokia. Of course, Elop might be a bit blasé since he’s fired 50,000 since taking the job as CEO of Nokia.

Elop wrote in that memo, 

In the near term, we plan to drive Windows Phone volume by targeting the more affordable smartphone segments, which are the fastest growing segments of the market, with Lumia.

Om Malik is merciless in a recent post, pointing out that this strategy has been failing since Elop — that lunkhead — wrote the 'burning platform memo' three years ago, and pushed Nokia to drop its own Symbian OS and MeeGo activities, and adopt Windows.

Nadella’s strategy is more nuanced. He wants Windows phones to be the leader in dual use: when users need business and personal capabilities on the same phone. You don’t hear that nuance in Elop’s memo.

I bet that Elop will soon be out, and Nadella will put one of his more trusted and less tarnished executives in place.

How Bad Is The Drought Out West?

The drought in the southwest continues to worsen:

John Metcalfe, To End California’s Drought, More Than 1 Foot of Rain Needs to Fall in a Month

Every so often there comes an image that really brings home the West’s damnable dryness. There was that photo of California’s disappearing Folsom Lake, for instance, and now there’s this: a map showing how much rain must fall in one month to end the reigning drought.

NOAA

The map, tweeted out by NOAA, is an illustration in impossible outcomes. (It’s dated for June, though with practically no rainfall in California since then it’s safe to assume it still applies.) Though the northern and southeastern parts of the state would require a relatively modest-sounding 3 to 6 inches of rain to escape drought, the parched Central Valley (where so much of America’s food is grown) needs a biblical dousing of 12 to as much as 15 inches. To put that in perspective, 15 inches of liquid precipitation is equal to 12.5 feet of snow.

Now here’s the probability of that rain bomb happening: zero. Forecasters see drought in July not slacking off but persisting or intensifying, according to this outlook from the Climate Prediction Center:

It’s going to get worse, too.

How long will it take before people start moving east, where the rain is?

Why Invade Gaza? So Israeli Kids Can Have A ‘Normal Summer’

Here’s the worst rationale I have seen for an Israeli invasio of Gaza: so Israeli kids can have a ‘normal summer’:

Jodi Rudoren, Israeli Invasion of Gaza Is Likely, Official Says; Brief Cease-Fire Is Set Mark Regev, Mr. Netanyahu’s spokesman, said an invasion of Gaza was “definitely an option.”

“It’s being discussed,” he said. “I can’t go beyond that.” Asked about the military official’s characterization of the likelihood as “very high,” Mr. Regev said, “That’s a professional opinion of the military.” Then he added, “But you can be assured that opinion was expressed by the military to the political wing.”

Mr. Netanyahu has been fending off demands for a ground operation from some members of his cabinet and party. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who has been at turns partner and rival to the prime minister, reiterated his call for a more substantial campaign against Hamas on Wednesday, as did Yuval Steinitz, the minister of strategic affairs, who has been a Netanyahu stalwart and frequent mouthpiece.

“It is not possible to ensure summer vacation, a normal summer for our kids, without a ground operation in Gaza,” Mr. Lieberman said during a visit to Ashkelon.

“We don’t need to rule Gaza or build settlements in Gaza,” he added. “We need to ensure that all Hamas terrorists run away, are imprisoned or die.”

But the Palestinian kids don’t get a normal summer, do they?

My true religion is kindness.

The Dalai Lama