Thursday, April 24, 2008

Flying the Sarcastic Skies

Some funny quotes from the pilot on flight UA830, (4.21.2008) to the best of my memory:

(before takeoff)
"Well, folks, the baggage handlers said that they were done loading, but they're clearly not. If you're sitting in the back right-hand part of the plane, you probably have a better idea what's going on than I do."

(after departing about 30 minutes late and landing) "We were able to make up about 10 minutes in the air. Apparently no good deed goes unpunished as someone else has taken our gate."

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Google Transit now in Rhode Island

A semi-Earth Day related post for Earth Day:

Google Transit now covers RIPTA buses in Rhode Island. I will use it for all my route planning needs. (In fact, I don't have a choice as the official RIPTA trip planner now simply embeds Google Maps.) Unfortunately, while the service is quite useful now, imagine what it would be like if it included systems that actually connect? Currently, the Bay Area appears to be the only area in the US which covers multiple systems (and it already has its own multi-system route planner). I think Google has an initiative to help transit agencies publish their information (which allows us to use alternative route planners).

The trip planner passed my sanity check: I asked for directions to the airport and it was smart enough to know that one should never take the 20 (it always leaves earlier and arrives later than the 14 -- not sure what its purpose really is).

Also, some tiny annoyances involving the walking direction. Walking directions currently lack detail (known bug) and you need to do more searches to get distances or routes for these (though strangely, timing information is given instead). There are also no controls on the preferred amount of walking distance.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Tea in Honesty

No, this isn't an article about Honest Tea. Nor is it even a big deal, but as I sit here with my smoke detector having its second false alarm of the day, I thought I would share this.

It's hard to say if this happens more often in the tea industry than others, but there's a certain lack of honesty for many of these tea flavors. Take Good Earth's Red Tea Raspberry. The front of the box (seen here) shows pictures of raspberries, which isn't surprising. Until you look at the ingredients:
Rooibos, Chicory Root, Chamomile, Hibiscus, Ginger Root, Rose Petals, Spearmint, Licorice Root and Natural Flavors.
As I see it, even if those "Natural Flavors" are raspberry, they're a bit too far down the list for that flavor to invoke raspberries.

Here's another example: Republic of Tea's Wild Berry Plum (seen here). Again, the box shows what appears to be wild berries and a plum in the background. The ingredients read: China green tea, black currant pieces, natural flavors. At first glance, this might seem worse than the first case, but wild berry is another name for black currant, (in case you didn't know) so the only missing item is pear. Also, unlike the previous example, this tea actually tastes something like pear and black currant (I was told that I should add sugar if I wanted the raspberry tea to taste like raspberries).

How widespread is this? Please post your mistitled teas to comments. Also, your thoughts on why the tea companies do this. I guess raspberry teas sell better than "Chamomile Hibiscus Ginger Rose" teas (or whatever the real name should be). Neverthless, I won't be buying it anymore since I was looking for something that actually had raspberries in it.