Airline taxes and surcharges demystified – Intro

It’s a familiar scenario, at least in our household – we find a fantastic airline fare online and are shocked to find that, once taxes and surcharges are added, the price has doubled, or more. Well, let’s say we were once shocked; now it’s a normal way of life and something we come to expect.

But why should a £1 cheap fare have £50 in taxes? What, exactly, are they taxing?

Most airlines don’t tell you, or they don’t make it obvious where the charges come from. But U.S. Airways’ website does. Continue reading

For computers, it’s not easy being green

Society has become tuned in to the effects of global warming in recent years, but green computers remain a relatively unknown concept in mainstream society. There may not be an Oscar-winning documentary or famous global summit to educate the public, but green computing is a massive emerging issue in our climate-conscious society.

A lot of fuss is made over the impact of airplanes and cars on carbon emissions, but a recent study found that electronic devices such as computers are responsible for 2% of all carbon emissions – the same as airlines.

This is a huge chunk of unnecessary waste going up into our atmosphere, and for all the flak given to the airline industry, the computer industry has emerged relatively unscathed. Thankfully, IT giants like Google, Microsoft and Intel have, in recent years, been proactive on the issue and vowed to make green computing a priority. Continue reading

When the news becomes old in Baltimore

Baltimore City – not to mention the Internet – is abuzz this week over video footage of a police officer reprimanding a skateboarder, which ended up on YouTube. The video has divided all those who see it, from the “Way to go! Kids shouldn’t talk back,” crowd to those who think his brutality and reactions were way out of line, especially when dealing with a 14-year old.

What has emerged as a secondary issue from the incident is the posting of the video on YouTube. The confrontation occurred sometime last summer but has only recently become public via the popular video-sharing service. In the span of that half year, the parents of the teenager in question never pressed charges, the police officer continued to do his job, and nobody seemed harmed by the situation.

Now that it’s a public spectacle, however, the officer has been suspended from duty and there’s been fruitless scrambling in the media to locate the person who shot the video. Continue reading