These Innovations Make the Future of Air Travel Look Pretty Fly

first_imgMost people have a complicated relationship with air travel. On one level, flying is pretty awesome. What’s cooler than a 75-ton metal beast that can climb to an altitude of seven miles and blast across thousands of miles in a matter of hours? On the other hand, no one enjoys the long lines, terrible food, and cramped quarters. Fortunately, the future of air travel is looking at least a little brighter.During last month’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany, several aviation industry innovators received Crystal Cabin Awards for excellence in aircraft interior products and concepts. To get a feel for the possible future of air travel, check out some of the Crystal Cabin Award winners and finalists.1. Decent HeadphonesWatching a movie on an airplane can be pretty rough. Not only is all the good stuff edited out or altered (“Freeze, rubberducker!”), but the headphones they give you are exceptionally awful. They’re made of cheap plastic, they hurt your ears, and you can barely hear anything out of them. Phitek, a headphones company based in New Zealand, recently revealed their answer to the unacceptable state of economy headphones. These headphones are designed to last much, much, longer and deliver high-quality sound. Since they’re built to last, these headphones could help airlines cut down on waste. Also, they look pretty snazzy.2. Larger SeatsIf you weigh more than 250 pounds, you probably hate flying more than most. Not only must you squeeze your ample body into a tiny seat, but you have to endure the looks of disdain from passengers on either side of you. Fortunately, German company SII Deutschland has developed the Special Accommodation Needs for Toddlers and Overweight Passengers (SANTO) Seat. The concept is simple — a larger seat. Wow, someone give them a Nobel Prize. The SANTO seat is one and a half times the size of a regular seat, and can make air travel safer for overweight folks and passengers traveling with small children. It also makes good use of the rear of the aircraft, where the fuselage narrows.3. Solar Cell Window VisorsEvery day is a sunny day when you’re at 36,000 feet — why not take advantage of it? That’s exactly what the folks at B/E Aerospace are doing with their “Solar Eclipse” window visors. The idea is to collect solar energy via thin solar cells, then allow passengers to use that energy to charge their electronic devices mid-flight. This stellar innovation won the Crystal Cabin Award in the Greener Cabin, Health, Safety & Environment category. The Solar Eclipse is not in production yet, but B/E Aerospace is working on it.4. More Space for Carry-On LuggageWhen Boeing designed their 737s, they probably assumed that most people would check their bags. Unfortunately, many airlines now have checking fees of $25 or more, and overhead bins are almost always stuffed to the gills. Thankfully, Boeing recently announced larger overhead bins for their new 737s. Instead of laying luggage flat, these new bins make it possible to lay luggage sideways, allowing enough space for six average-sized bags instead of four. Again, a simple improvement, but super necessary.Related: Best in Class: The World’s Best Business Class Cabins5. Actual High-Speed InternetHigh-speed internet on airplanes is a modern marvel that no one should take for granted. That said, the Wi-Fi on most planes is kind of terrible. It’s not unusual to spend 30 minutes trying to watch a 30-second clip of ducklings and kittens becoming friends. “Exede in the Air,” a new satellite-powered internet solution from ViaSat, claims to deliver at least 12 Mbps to each passenger — not just the whole plane. This is more than enough bandwidth to stream movies and get some serious work done. Exede in the Air is already being used on Jet Blue and American Airlines flights.6. High-Tech Entertainment SeatsConsidering the ridiculous number of entertainment options available today, it’s crazy how few goodies there are on your average plane. Well, Panasonic seeks to remedy that with their new “Jazz Seats,” which can turn any aircraft cabin into the battle bridge of the USS Enterprise. These seats, which are meant for economy class, have more features than you can shake a USB stick at. Each Jazz Seat boasts a 13.3-inch touch-capable screen, USB and HDMI ports, headphone jacks that put out high-definition audio, and charging platforms that can juice your devices via induction. Check out the many other features by reading this article from Digital Trends, our brother site.The next time you have to fly in the crowded and sweaty economy class, just close your eyes and dream a little dream of the future. Flying coach may be pretty awful at the moment, but if airlines decide to step up their game with the above innovations, flying could actually be pretty fly. Radical V-Shape Plane Design Imagines Passengers Seated in the Wings Editors’ Recommendations Major Airline Admits to Monitoring Passengers Via Onboard Cameras The Peached Tortilla’s Fried Rice Recipe Is Just Plain Delicious 8 Great and Useful Housewarming Gifts Ideas Could You Handle a Marathon, 20-Hour Nonstop Flight? last_img read more

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Threeperson Team to Review Special Education Programming

first_imgTwo retired educators and an education professor have been named to a three-member team to look at whether special education programming and services are achieving their desired results. The review will also consider the impact of special education programming and services on children in the school system in Nova Scotia. The review may include but not be limited to such topics as teacher education, transition planning for 18-21-year-olds, inclusionary practices, integrated services and programming support as well as others that may be identified by the review committee in the coming weeks. “We want to ensure that each student is receiving a quality education,” said Education Minister Karen Casey. “This review team will identify our successes and where we can do more.” Walter Farmer, a retired school administrator from Enfield, Hants Co.; Miles MacDonald, a retired school principal from Guysborough; and Lynn Aylward, a professor with Acadia University’s education faculty, Wolfville, Kings Co., will form the committee. Together, they have a broad range of classroom, student services and administrative experience. The review will provide an opportunity for parents, educators, school board members and staff, school advisory council chairpersons and advocacy organizations to share their thoughts on special education programming and services. Dates, times and locations of these forums will be announced soon. In addition to the forums, interested parties can send written submissions to the Department of Education or comment through the department’s website. Contact information and a specific web address will be included with the announcement of the forum schedule. A final report, with recommendations, is expected by the summer. The three team members will be supported by an advisory committee of six representatives from prominent advocacy groups. All six people are members of the Special Education Program Services committee, which meets regularly with Department of Education officials. The advisory committee will be Ron Brunton, Nova Scotia Teachers Union; Mary Jess MacDonald, Nova Scotia School Boards Association; Annie Baert, Learning Disabilities Association of Nova Scotia; Mary Rothman, Nova Scotia Association for Community Living; Patricia Murray, Department of Health, children’s services; and Vicki Harvey, Autism Society of Nova Scotia. “Nova Scotia released its special education policy in 1996 and the department has worked closely with educators, parents, students and advocates to establish programming that helps students with special needs to succeed,” said Ms. Casey. This policy, supported by the Education Act and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, guides school boards in the development of educational programming for students with special needs. As in the other provinces across Canada, Nova Scotia supports inclusive learning for all students. In May 2000, the education minister established the Special Education Implementation Review Committee to report on the roll-out of the province’s special education policy. The committee reported back to the minister in June 2001, making 34 recommendations to address challenges that had been identified. All 34 report recommendations have been acted upon. About one in five students needs additional help at some time in their public school experience. This can range from a one-time assessment interview to ongoing support for students with long-term medical or health needs. The Department of Education is investing $118 million in formula funding this year to support students with special needs. Since 2003-04, almost 175 resource teachers, speech language pathologists, school psychologists and other education professionals have been hired in the public school system.last_img read more

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Closing Bell TSX closes higher traders look to Fed meeting for clues

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market closed higher Monday as traders bought into stocks beaten down in a string of recent declines while hoping for more clarity from the U.S. Federal Reserve on whether it might start to ease up on stimulus measures.Here are the closing numbersTSX — 12,288.90 +101.54 0.83%S&P 500 — 3,452.13 +28.57 0.83%Dow — 15,179.85 +109.67 0.73%Nasdaq — 1,639.04 +12.31 0.76%The S&P/TSX composite index finished up 101.53 points at 12,288.9.The Canadian dollar was down 0.08 of a cent at 98.26 cents US.U.S. indexes also closed positive but well off the highs of the session after a published report a day before the start of a two-day Fed meeting said the central bank will indeed indicate a tapering off of its bond purchases.The Dow Jones industrials backed off from a gain of 192 points to close up 109.67 points at 15,179.85. Gains started to fade after the Financial Times said Fed chairman Ben Bernanke will use a news conference Wednesday to signal the bank will start to cut back on its US$85 billion of bond purchases each month.The Nasdaq climbed 28.58 points to 3,452.13 and the S&P 500 was ahead 12.31 points to 1,639.04.Markets have been volatile since late May when Bernanke first mentioned that the Fed would consider cutting back on the bond purchases if economic data — particularly job growth — improved. Triple-digit swings on markets have become almost commonplace.But the stimulus measures, known as quantitative easing, have been popular as they have kept interest and bond yields low and kept a rally going on stock markets practically non-stop since late last year.Craig Fehr, Canadian markets specialist at Edward Jones in St. Louis, observed that there has been a growing sense that the Fed will move slowly when it withdraws stimulus.“I think the market is starting to warm up to the idea that the tapering is a very deliberate word — there’s going to be a slow, wind-down of monetary policy that is not sustainable,” Fehr said.Speculation on the Fed tapering its bond purchases has depressed equity markets and markets in Toronto and New York retreated more than one% last week. At the same time, bond yields have been rising, pushing mortgage rates higher. And that has raised worries that rising rates could derail the recovery in the housing sector.Investors were encouraged by data Monday showing that most U.S. homebuilders were optimistic about home sales in May.And the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Monday leaped to 52 this month from 44 in May. The index hasn’t been that high since April 2006, just before the housing market collapsed.In corporate news, Brookfield Asset Management Inc. (TSX:BAM.A) is selling its Longview forestry assets in the U.S. Pacific Northwest through deals totalling nearly $3.7 billion. Weyerhaeuser Co. (NYSE:WY) will acquire Brookfield’s Longview Timber for $2.65 billion. KapStone Paper and Packaging (NYSE:KS) will acquire Longview Fibre Paper and Packaging for $1.025 billion from the Toronto-based company. Brookfield shares rose 94 cents to $36.89.All TSX sectors were higher with the consumer staples sector the biggest advancer, up 2.15% with Shoppers Drug Mart (TSX:SC) ahead 87 cents to $45.85.Commodity prices were mixed Monday and the energy sector gained 1.44% as July crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange slipped eight cents to US$97.77 a barrel. Canadian Natural Resources (TSX:CNQ) advanced 80 cents to C$30.July copper was unchanged at US$3.20 a pound and the base metals sector was 0.42% higher. HudBay Minerals (TSX:HBM) rose 10 cents to C$7.81.Financials also provided lift with Manulife Financial (TSX:MFC) up 30 cents to $16.03.The telecom sector was also higher following some steep losses. Interest rate sensitive sectors such as real estate, telecoms and utilities have been punished lately as speculation about cutting back on the QE program has had the effect of pushing U.S. Treasury yields sharply higher.The sector was also pressured after Ottawa quashed the idea that big telecoms could take over the spectrum of smaller players. Federal Industry Minister Christian Paradis said current rules would stand, leading Telus Corp. (TSX:T) to abandon its plan to buy Mobilicity.On Monday, the component was ahead 0.27% and Telus advanced 21 cents to $34.93.August bullion fell $4.50 to US$1,383.10 an ounce and the gold sector was also up about 0.27%. Kinross Gold Corp. (TSX:K) gained five cents to C$5.97.Markets also found support from a solid showing from the latest reading of manufacturing in the U.S. Northeast. The Empire manufacturing index rose more than expected in June, to plus 7.8 from minus 1.4 the prior month.However, results of the survey were mixed as the new orders and shipments balances components fell further into negative territory. The employment balance also fell.“Overall, the rise in sentiment on the headline balance is encouraging,” said CIBC senior economist Andrew Grantham.“But we will need to see firm indicators of orders and shipments improving as well to say that U.S. manufacturing has really turned a corner.”Here’s what investors were watching today: New York Times’ Paul Krugman warns Canada vulnerable to a ‘big deleveraging shock’A look ahead at the Fed rate announcementON DECK WEDNESDAYECONOMICS NEWSUNITED STATES8:30 p.m.Consumer Price Index (May): Economists expect 0.2% rise from the month before, 1.4% year over year Housing starts (May): Economists expect 11.4% rise from month before Building permits (May): Economists expect 3% decline from month before CORPORATE NEWSUNITED STATESAdobe Systems Q2 earnings: Analysts expect 34¢ a share read more

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