In addition to his podcast series, my friend Addison Schonland has recently unveiled a couple of nifty and useful resources for those who follow the airline industry. One is AirportButler.com, which offers reports that offer targeted results from DOT consumer air travel data. Even better is AirInsight.com, which makes the useful information logged in the Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ endless spreadsheets and data sets easy to access and use. Take a look!
Archive for the ‘Evan’s Reviews’ Category
On American.com today, I review Aviation Infrastructure Performance: A Study in Comparative Political Economy, edited by Clifford Winston and Gines de Rus. The book, which I highly recommend, includes several reviews of how other countries’ aviation infrastructure sectors have performed under varying levels of privatization — and what lessons could be learned for the United States.
Should We Privatize Airports? [The American]
One of the reasons aviation intrigues me is the spatial/geographical aspect of the industry, and I find resources like Airline Route Maps to be both useful and endlessly engaging.
But I want to recommend a new site I’ve been enjoying for the past few weeks: Strange Maps. The blogger posts unusual maps that he comes across. Today’s entry is a Yugoslav map of the planned invasion of the United States; other maps have included a cartogram of the United States based on number of country music songs referencing a state and a map of Europe done in marzipan. Strange Maps: highly recommended for your feed reader or bookmarks.
For the past week I’ve been reading Dark Side of the Moon: The Magnificent Madness of the American Lunar Quest, an engaging revisionist history of the manned space program by Gerard J. DeGroot. DeGroot’s main argument is that while the development of space technology like satellites, planetary probes, and space telescopes has been useful and productive for humanity, the manned space program was a colossal waste of money driven by several factors: misinformed anticommunism (we were actually way ahead in the “space race,” even though the Soviets hit most of the “first” milestones), military-industrial interests (lots of jobs at McDonnell, Grumman, and Northrop emerged from the space race, not to mention the massive civilian growth of NASA), flights of fancy (the space-travel fantasies of boosters–no pun intended–like Wernher von Braun), and finally, a desire for prestige.
The moon shot was the great pinnacle of the prestige drive. DeGroot documents over and over how genuine scientific interests were neglected in the pursuit of the immensely complicated task of sending a man to the moon and bringing him back. “As Johnson had outlined in his memo, the main reason to go to the Moon, or indeed to do anything in space, was prestige,” DeGroot writes. “Americans feared that Soviet space exploits would damage the reputation of the United States and cause countries around the world to go communist.” He quotes numerous officials and journalists of the day making explicit the role of prestige in the manned space program.
He also quotes persuasive critics of this government-run prestige program (more…)