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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Tuesday November 29 2005

Friedrich Blowhard dislikes communal entertainment on a communal screen in an airplane, but sees improvement coming:

Fortunately, as politicians will say, Help Is On The Way. Actually help’s already here provided you’re on the right airline or airliner.

Help takes the form of small video screens mounted on the backs of seats. Instead of a single entertainment sequence, you can select what you view from a reasonable variety of offerings. On transatlantic flights, I prefer the maps showing the route and the position of the plane along with statistics such as altitude, airspeed, groundspeed, distance/time relative to origin and destination, and so forth. On a recent Polar flight from Copenhagen to Seattle I was able to track latitude, discovering that we peaked just shy of 78 degrees north.

As only a very occasional air traveller, I like to look out of the window (which I like to be next to), preferably not just staring at the wing, and both enjoying and pondering the mysterious things to be seen below.  For example, what is this, which I saw out of the window, seconds after photoing the Millau Viaduct, on my trip earlier this year to the South of France?

image

I still don’t kinow that that circle that you can dimly see there is all about, and would have liked to have had some clues while we flew past it.  Click on that to get the circle in closer-up and with the Photoshop contrast knob set at 50.  But I am none the wiser.

Given the restricted nature of what you see from an airplane, unless you are very lucky, I would especially like this:

SAS’s A340s have videocameras mounted so that you can select views of what’s ahead and what’s below the aircraft. This was fascinating, especially when the plane was taxiing and taking off and landing; you sort of get a pilot’s view of things.

And in a perfect world, I could rerun what we just saw, pick out a picture, and grab it on my little camera card, and show it to the likes of you!  All of which will surely happen in due course.  Why not?  Air transport is becoming ever more competitive.

Hey Brian.

I’ve just been to Ibiza in the Mediterranean Sea, and I also took a photograph of this very feature.

I’ve just got back, and I had a bit of a search around on Google Maps, and the Internet in general and came up with this, I thought you may find it of interest:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Étang_de_Montady

Cheers!

P.S. Also managed to get a photo of the Millau Viaduct. Marvellous looking thing from 37000 feet isn’t it? :)

Posted by Steve Smith on 30 September 2010

Just to follow up to my previous comment… It didn’t seem to like that address

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etang_de_Montady

Try that one

Posted by Steve Smith on 30 September 2010

Steve

Thanks.  I’ve often wondered since that trip what on earth that thing was, and now I know!  Five years later.

If you are still with me, do you mind me asking how you found my picture?  Just rootling around were you?  If you were, how nice to think that people do this.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 30 September 2010

I’ve only just got an e-mail informing me of this comment! Apologies!

To answer the question, I think what led me here was your mention of the Millau Viaduct. I had a feeling that’s what it was when I photographed it myself, but I was just doing a bit of google searching relating to the viaduct, and it picked up on the mention you make of it on your site here. Once here, I was just flicking though, and was pleasantly surprised to see you had also found interest in that circular oddity. At which point I went to Google Maps on what I surmised was the rough route we took on our flight, knowing from what angle and approximate distance we passed the Millau Viaduct, so knowing roughly in which direction to be pointing the great Google eye. After some panning backward and forward, I found the feature. Using Google Earth, you can zoom right in on a feature, and it’ll highlight articles or wikipedia entries relating to it, if there are any. And that’s about it. :)

But yeah, in short, Internet rummaging :) Fun what you can find sometimes.

Posted by Steve on 18 April 2012
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