I have lots of plans. For example, plans of things I wish to blog about but don’t–either due to time or inspiration.

Why I became a vegan in the first place, why I became a vegetarian in the first place, how my opinions on both of these have changed, and how I wish I could give them up but I can’t.

My parents donated to Wikipedia and Wikileaks. Previously, they have donated to SIAI (the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence) and the Hunger Project. Dad normally makes a point to also donate to microfinance groups. I have donated to MSF, but no longer do so. I have also donated to BNB, and would like to do so more. I would really like to find a good water infrastructure group, but they’re all kind of a let down in the end.

Citizen Photojournalism
Why I believe that, for the most part, photojournalists aren’t people and citizen photojournalists are leeches. I cannot emphasize “for the most part” enough here.

Seeing the Protomen At PAX
And how much I loved it.

Seeing the Protomen at the Middle East
And how it scared me.

The Death of Steve Jobs
And incidentally Iilya Zhitomirskiy. I don’t care that either of these people have died and I sort of think it’s important to explain why.

As a Pennsylvanian (almost the same way as someone whose parents moved to the US from Italy is Italian–almost) I have strong feelings about what happened, as do many people I know. However, I think this is really just window dressing for a bigger issue in which I think we shouldn’t vilify pedophiles and how they need help. The relevance of this has almost passed out of the news. I also think writing it would get me into a lot of trouble. Part of why I want to is so people will argue with me about it and help me shape my argument.

Oh dear gods, these are just the ones I’ve been thinking about today. I have a backlog list of others.

Fly, 02

Many people have been linking to things about Mrs. Shoshana Hebshi’s experience on Frontier Airlines Flight 623. I think awareness of what has happened, is happening, on planes is good. But, it’s not enough.

I wrote the following letter and e-mailed and mailed it to the TSA and Frontier Airlines. I implore you to write your own letter to these people.

You can reach the TSA:

Phone: 1-877-EEO-4-TSA (1-877-336-4872).



Jennifer K. Carmichael, Director
Transportation Security Administration
Office of Civil Rights and Liberties (TSA -6)
601 12th Street
Arlington, VA 20598-6006

Frontier Airlines has a contact page with a webform.

You can also

Call: 800-432-1359 (“other options” then “complaints and compliments”)


Attn: Customer Relations
Frontier Airlines, Inc.
7001 Tower Road
Denver, CO 80249-7312

My letter.

Jennifer K. Carmichael, Frontier Airlines,

I’m not going to talk about laws, policies, or practices right now. I’m not going to talk about rights, safety, or balance. I’m not going to talk about my political opinions. I am going to talk about manners.

When I walk into someone on the street, I apologize. When I spill a drink, I apologize. When I fight with my roommates, we apologize. We don’t act like children, refusing to say anything or letting bitter, meaningless words escape. We explain, and we mean it.

Frontier said it wasn’t going to apologize to Flight 623 passenger Shoshana Hebshi, or the two men who sat in her row, because, they said, safety is the most important thing. Apologies are not about whether anyone thinks what happened is justifiable: apologies are about recognizing that you were wrong. Frontier, and the security officials, was wrong and this resulted in three people being inconvenienced and humiliated.

When you inconvenience and humiliate someone, you should apologize. You might think what you did had reasons, and they might be good, understandable reasons, but you still apologize. When you make a mistake, you thank the person you put out, especially someone as understanding, polite, and polished as Shoshana Hebshi has proven herself to be, for their time. Then you apologize.
The least they could do is apologize to people they wrongly accused of being terrorists.

Director Carmichael, I also think you should apologize to the three people on Frontier Airlines Flight 623. I think you should apologize to everyone who has felt uncomfortable, unsafe, or discriminated against in their experiences with the new security measures, but it is imperative that you apologize to Shoshana Hebshi and the two men that were sitting next to her. Tell them you’re sorry.

However, I do understand that you may not be entirely comfortable, or familiar, with offering apologies. I believe DeBrett’s does a good job clearly stating the things I learned when I was a child. If you read over these guidelines, and follow them, even the hardest apology will be a breeze. If you’re not sure how to word it, I will happily help you.

A sincere apology should always be offered when your actions have had a negative impact on other people. Even if you do not fully understand why someone is so upset, respect their feelings, and accept that your actions are the root of the problem. Don’t pass the buck, or use your apology as a way of blaming someone else. Take full responsibility for your actions.


An apology will be much more persuasive if you acknowledge the fault: “I’m sorry I was so late” is more specific than a simple “I’m sorry”, and actually recognises the other person’s grievance. Never temper your apologies with accusations or insinuations: it will negate its impact. If you have committed a real faux-pas consider sending a handwritten note – but only after you have offered a verbal apology, otherwise it will look like cowardice.

Faithfully yours,