No, white people, we don’t get to decide what’s racist

Boston Review editor Simon Waxman wrote a piece this June in the Washington Post, saying that the US Army's┬ádecision to name its weaponry after Native American tribes - like the Apache helicopter above - is worse than the Washington Redskins' decision to keep its gross racial slur name. Waxman is white and not of Native … Continue reading No, white people, we don’t get to decide what’s racist

A Qantas of solace

Qantas announced its financial results today. Predictably, they were a car crash (Qantas still hasn't had a plane crash [*], but they're definitely a crash). $646 million operating loss, and $2.6 billion in one-off write-offs from revaluing the company's aircraft fleet. No rock and roll fun. Fiddling and burning As Qantas CEO for the last … Continue reading A Qantas of solace

Why security and safety theatre is the worst

Safety and security are brilliant. Safety and security theatre is bullshit. If you support safety and security theatre measures, which includes nearly all routine airport security, you are helping to make everyone worse off and nobody safer. Whilst world-travelling over the last month, I discovered that most European carriers [1] now allow the use of … Continue reading Why security and safety theatre is the worst

Long-haul flying: we’ve never had it so adequate

Something which gets neglected by most travel writers - I think because long-haul economy-class flying is inherently a bit shit - is the immense extent to which the actually-flying bits of the long-haul rigmarole have improved over the last 15 years. The pre- and post-flying bits have worsened, of course, which makes short-haul flight far, … Continue reading Long-haul flying: we’ve never had it so adequate

Only sentimentalism could have saved the Australian car industry

There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth over the news that Toyota will follow its fellow foreign-owned carmakers GM Holden, Ford and Mitsubishi in ending car assembly in Australia. But at least from an economic point of view, there shouldn't be. The basic problem for the Australian car industry has nothing to do with … Continue reading Only sentimentalism could have saved the Australian car industry

Ronnie Biggs wasn’t a hero or a villain, just an idiot

The death of Great Train Robber (which, rather like the Holy Roman Empire, is a descriptive phrase that falls down on all possible counts) Ronnie Biggs has led to some predictable, polarised reactions: the geezer-ish "he was a fackin' legend!", and the handwringing "but he was a violent cwiminal!". Both are fairly stupid. Ronnie Biggs … Continue reading Ronnie Biggs wasn’t a hero or a villain, just an idiot

Consistency, aviation and discrimination

The average woman weighs less than the average man, as does the average child. This is undeniably true. By far the most important cost for the average aeroplane flight is fuel, which is directly dependent on total take-off weight. This is undeniably true. The average woman joining a passenger aeroplane flight carries more luggage than … Continue reading Consistency, aviation and discrimination