Two types of travel…

Mountains road.jpg

Mountain road (source

Robert Louis Stevenson once said: “There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” It seems, when you’ve taken a step forwards it’s highly illogical to retreat unless the situation so ambiguous that makes you to take a second thought. The following reflection is going to be not about thoughts or ideas. It’s about varieties of travel and its motives.

Modern people got needs. We won’t discuss where did they originate: in civilized times or much, much earlier in a dawn of human civilization. What is important, is the fact that modern human conditions in Western European countries and in the North America, promote travels as a lifestyle. Meanwhile, in Central, Eastern European countries and in the other states, they are part of basic needs, because people usually travel or… to describe it more correctly take trips as a part of labor migration.

To get a meaningful understanding of this delicate matter, you should know that many scientists tried to make a useful model of human needs. In this case, we’ll stay classy and will use hierarchy of needs developed by Abraham Maslow. Some people now think that he was wrong and his model is a very trivial concept. But there is a known fact, that it is much easier to criticize somebody’s work that to make a something innovative, effective, productive and complete. Except this, it’s hard or even impossible to find some concepts or classification made by those, who express their resentment.

According to A. Maslow needs can be grouped in 5 type in a hierarchical order (from the lowest to the highest). Among them: physiological needs, safety, social needs, esteem, self-actualization. Where can we place the travel or the need of travel?

First off, we need to determine two type of travel: one based on the need to get a knowledge and the inspiration, which financed as a typical or extraordinary vacation and one based on necessity: business travel, labor migration, training courses and other trips related to work or income.

When we say: “travel” most people around the world would imagine the picture of luxuries hotels, swimming pools, five-stars service, leisure, many shades of turquoise water near the shores of Caribbean Beaches. One might say: “Hold on a second! Are you talking about Caribbean Sea where The Pirates of the Caribbean are?”  I would say, that I meant The Caribbean Sea in general, but the entertainment industry created a beautiful image of the travel to all these unforgettable places. The movie mentioned earlier, was filmed there, but movie didn’t make an attraction, because the sea with its features was there all alone. What filmmakers did, is to add some popularity.

Interesting thing is, that in this case nobody imagined a dim water of polluted, cold Baltic Sea or the Barents Sea, perhaps the Chukchi Sea. This means that as far as imagination goes there are a lot of famous move scenes comes to your mind. Basically there is nothing wrong with that, except the fact that these places are available for those, who can afford it financially.

Many people cannot do it. Even if they could, it seems that they won’t be able to fully appreciate an advantage of such place. It’s like a school group came to Paris to visit the Louvre and after the tour what the remembered is the entrance which has a shape of a pyramid (actually it calls The Louvre Pyramid). The point is, that they weren’t ready to appreciate masterpieces of art, not unless like  the art connoisseurs for whom every detail is valuable, mostly esthetically. The bottom line here is, the appreciation of high-culture and related activities, including five stars vacation it’s a state of mind that you can develop along with a habit to some respectful pecuniary achievements.

The keyword for second type of travel is necessary. The obligatoriness is a part of life situation.  Many people experience an influence of changes in the society, that makes them face new problems such as unemployment or lack of decent jobs. People lost their confidence and hope for a better future.

In some societies the culture actually based of joyless tradition connect with past.  One can be surprised how cultural deformation can affect people’s mind. When I use word “deformation”, I mean deviation from normal or maybe common lifestyle that usually suppose to accompany the people of civilized society.

Well, it’s not a topic for now, but what is essential here is the understanding that when tragedy hit a nation or a society, people didn’t really think about the travel as a way to get entertained or get new excellent pictures, they think about survival in the meaning of brutal fight for a life or softer need of existence in the civilized times in uncivilized circumstances.

News feed is full of this kind of information. This causes migrations, domestic or international trips. Today’s life is completely different that it was 20 years ago. There is progress indeed, but not all countries in the world are part of it. That’s why when people travel with the idea of great rest it’s their self-actualization need which is positioned in the highest place of the hierarchy, while when people travel because they need to get a job etc., it’s situated much lower, somewhere between physiological and safety needs.  Therefore, this second type of travel can be considered as a basic need, while first one it’s a matter of a choice and the development of higher needs.

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People are distracted…

People are distracted by sudden and unexpected twists on the international level, lately. There are different comments about it. Bloggers and journalists call them changes, politics, tensions and they got a point. Whatever it is, it happens so fast that people are not able to follow it. Technically, these events can be considered as changes cased by mentioned above. They are like traces of the brush, which an artist has put on the picture. The picture in this case is the history of humanity, and the artists are politicians, social activists, decision-makers. In present days, they are literary preparing a ground of economical and social reality for future generations. Do they realize it?

News is not so intense as mass media try to show us. The news agencies intensify the information steam for the sensation. It is good for rankings and its increases their audience. The bigger audience they have, the bigger income they will get.

When you try to read news portals they are kind of “punching” you with “breaking news” and other banners. As far as I can guess that was a reason, why popular internet browsers have developed such option as “reading mode”. It is very useful and helps to concentrate on the important stuff.

There are a lot of different methods to make a news feed. For example, in the USA, the Fox News channel is all about domestic events and news. They use “sandwich” technique that is not too disturbing for a viewer. They put the bad news then the good news and so on. The CNN is about international news. Their technique is diverse, but their news feed mostly focuses on negative events such as: conflicts, wars, economical crisis etc.. The competition between the news agencies make news too bright and to intense.

Some people got “their” methods to protect themselves from changes and information. They’ve stopped watching news.This solution doesn’t solve the problem. They still have a fear of changes and negative influence of information, plus they closed themselves for new ideas. It seems that it was a step forward to the ignorance. To avoid it, it’s important to know what is going on in the world we’re living at, but to be calm about the events, and do not take it too seriously unless you need to take some measures.

The interesting thing is that most of information are based on negative events. Some of them can strike fear into the audience, because of the way how they were shown. Is everything bad? No, it’s not! Where are events with the positive impact on those who will read, hear or watch about them? They are among us, you just need to see it. Except that, people are looking for something exiting and new, that they’ve never heard before. In this point, they do not appropriate news about something mediocre that they have everyday, even if it’s something good and accessible.

Cell phone “armor” that protected its owner in Paris…

There is a story behind the every story. This one took place in Paris around 11:00 PM during the ongoing deadly mayhem. One man who would like to stay anonymous and called himself Sylvester was walking on the street. In modern days most of us use the cell phone as a little helper and communication device. He was no different, but the circumstances were. From looks of thing we can conclude that he wasn’t aware that in that evening particular street was dangerous with the possibility  either to get wounded by bullet directly or by the ricochet.

He was talking on the phone about his business. He was just a pedestrian walking on the street with his phone…

In other part on the city multiple shots were fired… Echo of ongoing action could be heard from far away. People were scared running for their lives… Local residents got confused for a moment and then they scared for their lives as well. In other part on town those who were brave enough started to film what was going on. In that time they didn’t know what was happening. That is why on video you can hear the question: “Qu’est-ce qu’il se passe?” [What’s going on?]

Meanwhile, when Sylvester was crossing the street near the Stade de France – the stadium in the Paris, suddenly powerful exposition blown away everything to a small bits. Debris were flying around… Some of them has hit Sylvester… Happily his cell phone took an impact and saved man’s life. Latter, shocked survivor said if cell phone didn’t shield his head he would receive life-threatening injuries and wouldn’t be alive.  The cell phone literally protected him.

Source: 14/11/2015 CNN

Facebook and German government are working together…

It’s not a secret that many people in Germany are not happy because of refugees who came from Syria, Afghanistan and other Arabic countries. What are they worrying about? Generally, their concerns go as far as safety and culture protection. These two issues impact people’s mood and social perception of the situation. This is a reason why yang people are against the idea to give them an asylum.

In modern world the best way to share your thoughts and ideas is to use social media. Many people have account on Facebook, where they wrote their views, described fears, showed attitude. The government has considered it as negative trend, mostly with hate speeches.

Social networking service can be a source of legal troubles. Three days ago German government asked Facebook Inc. to help monitor and shut down groups which are based on xenophobic views(1)(2). This means that the hate thoughts about immigrants will be punished as the law requires.

The non-profit organization called Voluntary Self-Monitoring of Multimedia Service Providers(3) will make sure that all prohibited content will be removed from the Facebook. Therefore, German users should be careful what are writing about and be more politically correct, I guess. Is this good idea? We’ll see it later.

From looks of things, it’s needleless to remind that Facebook keep all your data and you should use caution when you write about different topics even if you think that they pure and simple. It’s because your friends, family, neighbors, colleagues read it and can get their own conclusion about you (sometimes very superficial, wrong and unfair).

References:

1. Facebook Hate Speech: Site Teams With Germany To Quell Migrant Attacks – Fortune [Internet]. [cited 2015 Sep 17]. Available from: http://fortune.com/2015/09/15/facebook-hate-speech-germany/

2. Bender R, Schechner S. Facebook Outlines Measures to Combat Racist and Xenophobic Content. Wall Street Journal [Internet]. 2015 Sep 14 [cited 2015 Sep 17]; Available from: http://www.wsj.com/articles/facebook-outlines-new-measures-to-combat-racist-and-xenophobic-content-1442242351

3. Donahue BJP. Facebook to Target Racist German Posts Amid Surge in Refugees [Internet]. Bloomberg.com. [cited 2015 Sep 17]. Available from: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-14/facebook-to-target-racist-german-posts-amid-surge-in-refugees

How tourists saved passengers in France

Train was going to Paris. Passengers were calm and enjoyed the travel. Suddenly, one passenger realized that man with the backpack is acting suspicious… Spencer Stone woke up by the mayhem. Crew members were running scared. After attacker was pacified, Spencer Stone was saving wounded Mark Moogalian with Anthony Sadler assistance.

True story. On August 21, 2015 train Thalys 9364 from Amsterdam was heading to Paris[1]. Passengers were mostly calm and enjoyed their travel. Crew members were on their stations dealing with everyday routine. That was a high-speed train and the journey from on capital to other takes about 3.5 hours, but that day was about to be different.

In that day among the passages were three American citizens who visited Europe in that time and wanted to see as much sights as they could during short amount of time. It seemed that travel was going as scheduled. Two of them Spencer Stone – a member of United States Air Force (USAF)[1], and college student Anthony Sadler decided to take a nap, while third one Alek Skarlatos – former Army National guardsman was fully up and enjoyed the trip.

The train already crossed the border of France and was on his way to Paris. Some of the railroad cars were empty because in that day there were not so many passengers as usually. Meanwhile, one of them was heading to the bathroom and had a backpack with him. People didn’t pay too much attention to bearded man who walked though the car. His name was Ayoub el-Qahzzani – the 26-year-old Moroccan national, who lived in Spain from 2007 to 2014. Local authorities kept an eye on him after he was promoting jihad and was connected with drugs trafficking[2].

Outside the train the scenery was beautiful and some of the travelers were fascinated by it, while for those who traveled a lot it was just the view from the window. Suddenly, one passenger realized that man with the backpack spent some time in the bathroom, which was unusual… After some time, when the train was passing Oignies, Pas-de-Calais (France), the man with the backpack came out armed with automatic rifle AK-47, also known as Kalashnikov[3].

In that moment Frenchman was going to the toilet as well. After he saw armed man, he tried to neutralize him with the bare hands, but fell to the floor. Second passenger Mark Moogalian – a 51-yers old professor of the Sorbonne[1] tried to take out the riffle and got shot to the neck. The injury was serious, as bullet went though. He had no other choice but to play dead. Another bullet ricocheted the conductor. After that the riffle malfunctioned.

Shots were fired. No one really knew what bearded man with the backpack and AK-47 had in mind, but situation got life-threatening for all passengers. Many of them though that they are going to die…

Veteran Alek Skarlatos for a few milliseconds didn’t believe that he’s heard gun fire, and then he realized that his worst suspicions were real and vivid. Spencer Stone woke up by the mayhem[4]. Crew members were running scared. Until that time Anthony Sadler was still asleep but rush and noise woke him up.

Alek Skarlatos decided to get him and yelled it to Spencer Stone. In the moment he was hesitating a little and wasn’t sure was his idea good or not, but after he saw Spencer going to the gunman, he followed him[5]. They didn’t know that AK-47 is no more functional[6]…

A member of USAF took huge risk and attacked man with a gun. It appeared that attacker had an office knife, known as box cutter. He injured Spencer multiple times. His friend Alek acted rapidly and neutralize him with riffle’s shoulder stock. Two more passengers Chris Norman and another Frenchman came to help. After attacker was pacified, Spencer Stone – trained EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) was saving wounded Mark Moogalian with Anthony Sadler help.

On August 22, 2015 United States President Barack Obama called them personally and thank for what they’ve done[7].

On August 24, 2015 French President François Hollande and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve honored brave men, who stood up and protected 554 passages. They got National Order of the Legion of Honour, established by Napoleon Bonaparte – a medal that is the highest decoration in France[3].

How did this happened that European Union is so unprotected and Americans risked their lives to save people? The answer is easy. First, it’s because Americans traditionally have can-do spirit that found the nation. Second, these men were trained soldiers and student was sharp and clever. Third, in Europe because of individualism and selfishness many people are “trained” to be afraid of danger and run away. Well, those two things are natural, but in some countries it’s quite fashionable. Forth, in western European countries politicians think they are safe just because it’s European Union, but what they don’t see that there is an uncivilized threat in civilized time. Firth, sadly in some societies bravery is not a value anymore. This is how Europe changed.

References:

[1]        “2 U.S. service members overpower attacker on train in Belgium – CNN.com,” CNN. [Online]. Available: http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/21/europe/france-train-shooting/index.html. [Accessed: 13-Sep-2015].

[2]       M. Townsend and K. Willsher, “France train shooting: Europe on high alert after attack by armed gunman,” The Guardian, 23-Aug-2015.

[3]       “France train shooting: Hollande thanks ‘heroes’ who foiled gunman,” BBC News. [Online]. Available: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34023361. [Accessed: 13-Sep-2015].

[4]       “Megyn Kelly Full Exclusive Interview With The 3 American Heroes On The French Train – YouTube.” [Online]. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCIeXQqTFBg. [Accessed: 13-Sep-2015].

[5]       A. Chrisafis, “France train attack: Americans overpower gunman on Paris express,” The Guardian, 22-Aug-2015.

[6]       A. Nossiter, “A Shot, a Glimpse of an AK-47, and U.S. Servicemen Pounced on Gunman on Train to France,” The New York Times, 22-Aug-2015.

[7]       “Obama Calls Americans Who Subdued Gunman on French Train,” WSJ Blogs – Washington Wire, 22-Aug-2015. .

[1] 65th Air Base Group, Lajes Field, Azores, Portugal.

Mysteries of our time. Flight MH370. Part 3: A signal after the disappearance*

In some point, there was a feeling that plane suddenly disappeared in the air… Latter British company – Inmarsat made unexpected announcement. According to the company’s officials they had been receiving a signal during 7 hours after the plane despaired. It allowed them to calculate plane’s speed… Meanwhile, available information about the flight MH370 is so limited that plane announced vanished.

Flight MH370 was newer found. The event became a case of delicate matter. Different aviation agencies from all over the world tried to solve the mystery. They analyzed available data, marked flight course and possible crash site. Sadly, but after a wide scale search and rescue operation even a smallest part of Boeing 777-200ER wasn’t found. In some point, there was a feeling that plane suddenly disappeared in the air…

The investigation revealed some preflight details of enigmatic event, which didn’t give the answers. According to the officials, an aircraft with 239 people has crashed somewhere in the Indian Ocean. Is it possible that such a big plane as Boeing 777 can fall down the sky without a trace? Well, they didn’t give direct answer to that, but they noticed that it could sink rapidly… It’s very doubtful, because even if the wreckage sunk, there are a lot of plastic part on the plane that can drift on the water.

The official theory states that the Indian Ocean is a big space, which is very hart to cover with the search missions. Except that, there is some part of it which is not properly surveyed yet. Therefore, there is chance that plane’s debris if there was a crash, could have been overlooked by rescuers. This assumption sounds realistic, but still all collaborative affords couldn’t be so inefficient. Theoretically, they supposed to detect something, but they didn’t.

Few days after the disappearing there were such theories as: terrorism, pilot suicide, mechanical failure, cyber hijacking. It was almost impossible to determinate a possibility it, because crew didn’t send a distress call. Even if there was an intruder in the crew cabin, he didn’t contact to Air Traffic Control either. As it was mentioned before, the situation looked like in one second there is plane in the air and suddenly few seconds later it’s gone. It sounds mysterious but in real life it probably was different.

According to the investigation materials, there keyword in this case is a device called transponder that somebody switched off. Basic function of the devise is to send and receive radio signals from the ground without it, plane loses connection with a radar and disappears from the screen. That is exactly what happened in this particular situation.

Why would somebody do it, remains unknown. It could be a technical glitch, but the switch was an analog. That means, that it can be turned off either manually or because of short circuit. But if there was a problem with electronic, the power could go off and that’s how they ended up with turned off transponder.

In previous article called Mysteries of our time: Flight MH370. Part 1 there is an information that military radar still could see the plane for almost two hours before it got missing. Latter British company – Inmarsat was getting a signal from a plane for more than 7 hours. This fact makes the situation even more mysterious. How it possible is that plane is missing, but the company had a signal for a while? Where did it come from? These are questions without answers!

According to the company’s data, during 7 hours after the despairing plane was sending signals which allowed them to calculate a speed of the aircraft. They said that it was in a motion. It raises even more questions.

The whole situation reminds an endless chain of the questions and there in nobody to give answers. Investigator found clues, but those were just partial pieces of information which did not allow to see a whole image. Somebody can argue with that, because it’s investigators’ job to find a true. And as far as we know it, they are looking for it. Meanwhile available information about the flight MH370 so limited that plane unofficially pronounced vanished.

 

Read also: Mysteries of our time: Flight MH370. Part 1

                  Mysteries of our time. Flight MH370. Part 2: The timeline of search & rescue missions

[*] Warning. This is not an official statement neither from responsible authorities or official investigation reports. This is a fact build reflection based on information from listed sources. It made by enthusiasts who want to know, what really happened. The information can be uncompleted or inaccurate in some point, because some of hidden information that was unreachable to the authors.

Sources:

  1. http://www.cnbc.com/id/101485972 (Retreived 2015-07-03)
  2. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/malaysia/10714907/Revealed-the-final-54-minutes-of-communication-from-MH370.html (Retreived 2015-07-03)
  3. http://www.livescience.com/44228-photos-missing-malaysian-flight-370.html (Retreived 2015-07-03)
  4. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/austria/10898385/13-planes-vanish-from-radars-over-Europe.html (Retreived 2015-07-03)
  5. http://mh370.mot.gov.my/download/FactualInformation.pdf (Retreived 2015-07-03)
  6. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/07/flight-mh370-disappearance-timeline (Retreived 2015-07-04)
  7. http://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/article/1830548/could-plane-spotted-maldivian-islanders-really-be-mh370 (Retreived 2015-07-05)
  8. http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31736835 (Retreived 2015-07-05)

What will happen if your country lock down your bank?

Because of financial problems, Greece shut down banks. It is obvious that outgoing transactions also blocked. This caused serious problems for all cardholders. Just imagine, you are a tourist in one of the most developed countries of the world, but you have no money, because your country foolishly locked down your bank. 

Today the Associated Press published an article titled «Honeymoon is over for Greek couple who went penniless in NYC». It says that, because of financial problems in Greece, the country shut down banks. However, it was difficult to suspect that they blocked credit cards. Perhaps this also applies to all non-cash transactions.

When I read this article was deeply impressed, for a moment imagined myself in their place. They came to the U.S. with the hope to have a good time, to visit tourist attractions and got into unpleasant situation. They had money on the account, but it was blocked because the country got financial issues. It seems to me that it is a very extreme challenge to be far away from home with the lack of money.

When they’ve realized that their credit cards are blocked, they decided to visit fast-food restaurant and spent all they had for a meal. Under the circumstances, it was a very hard decision. But somebody could ask, couldn’t they get money from their families? It is obvious that Greek banks also blocked outgoing transactions, which caused serious problems for all cardholders. Therefore, family members weren’t able to support them financially.

Interesting fact is that Greece is not some third world country, but it is a member of the European Union. But it is obviously, that the methods of their financial policy are very desperate. It’s probably because they used all financial help from Germany and other countries and didn’t put their economy on the right track.  In addition, they probably do not care about their citizens and economic consequences of such action. Therefore, we should remember that not all countries that are considered economically developed, really know how to act during the crisis.

Would you like to be like this poor couple? Just imagine, you are a tourist in one of the most developed countries of the world, but you have no money, because your country foolishly locked down your bank.  You barely know the language, and you need to do something, you need to look for help. This is a challenge not for everybody, but it teaches us a lesson that you need to be ready for all kind of weird, disagreeable circumstances.

What would you do if your linguistic skills were so limited that it was only enough to visit a souvenir shops and check in and checkout at the hotel? You feel the tension, right?  But before the trip, you were convinced that your account balance is fine, but you check it out just to make sure. Your savings were there. This inspired you to great expectations about your future vacation or honeymoon (like in this case).

You were about to have a time of your life, but something was coming… It was like a hurricane that you didn’t expect or tornado that showed up earlier that was forecasted.   It suddenly changes everything. In this case, someone the other part of the world has blocked your dream by locking down your bank account.

You have to survive somehow and return home. All of this sound like an example in a book published by some Academy of survival…  For these tourists – it was real.

Common affords lead them to a solution. They’ve visited Greek embassy first, but it seems that they didn’t provide them with a help they needed. Therefore, another step they took is to visit the Greek Orthodox churches in Queens, New York where parishioners donate them money.

It remains unclear was it enough to stay in New York for a while or not. Another unknown detail, do they have tickets back home or not? But the most important question is it wise to return to the country with broken economy?

Source (07/03/2015): http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/honeymoon-is-over-for-greek-couple-who-went-penniless-in-nyc/ar-AActSJF?ocid=U220DHP