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Sponsored: The Modern Sapien: Book One: The American – Sci-Fi, Apocalyptic, Satire Book Review

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Sponsored – this review is sponsored by writer of The Modern Sapien, John Michael Thomas.

 

PREMISE

For the most part, I’ve been stuck inside since March, due to COVID-19. I’ve had to cancel plenty of travel plans, and have been cooped up in my place due to my pre-existing condition making COVID a higher threat for people like me. While I have been daydreaming and planning future trips – late in 2021, hopefully – I’ve been trying to improve my knowledge base and read more. The author reached out and asked if I’d do a review, and I said I’d be happy to read and review. I purchased The Modern Sapien on Amazon for $2.99 for Kindle, and there is also a paperback and Kindle Unlimited subscription option.

Per the author, The Modern Sapien “…takes place in future phoenix, and is a satirical take on the way we live. It’s sci fi cyberpunk.” Sounds good to me, I’m a huge fan of sci-fi, alternative history, and the like from authors like Robert Conroy or Harry Turtledove, so this should be a fun review. I’m writing this as I read through it, which is something I have not done before.

Cover art from Amazon

 

Initial Thoughts

I’m not even 10% into the book, and it lives up to what he said – satirical take on the way we live. Set ~80 years in the future, the EU has launched their neucular arsenal against what’s left of the United States, based in Phoenix, and people are not only not afraid, they welcome the destruction. Lots of discussion about warring hash-tags and selfies and the misery olympics, between presumably better-off people of Phoenix ‘almost’ dying and having conniptions, and the “poverty-stricken Malawi” saying welcome-to-my-everyday-life in Africa. Definitely a very reputation-oriented culture in this book, which reminded me of the episode “Majority Rule” by FOX’s Orville by Seth McFarlane, where citizens rate each other and appearance is everything.
The book’s structure of data entries from various character’s point of view is a bit jarring, not entirely setting the stage for readers to grasp. Who is this person, why is this person the perspective that is important – is not entirely clear. Similar to the World War Z book where it’s told from different person’s perspectives, perhaps later in the book they’ll tie together somehow.
Modern Sapien paints a fantastical, disparate picture of the world 80 years in the future, due to the devastation from something called the “Seattle Hack” led by evil villain Jeff Bezos, and how companies became conglomerates and their own city-states to survive. There’s a online universe called the Nexus, which is similar to the Oasis from Ready Player One or the Matrix virtual reality, but with the real-life costs of the movie Surrogates, where the humans still need nutrients to survive. It is strongly anti-consumerism, I think, highlighting the reverence and honor paid to the Red Solo cup for example, as a goal to be achieved – everyone wants an authentically created one, rather than a “fabricated” product.
A quarter of the way in, the book starts to explain the setting. I’m a bit confused why it’s brought up here, when it should have been at the beginning, but I just shrug and move on.
I learned a lot more about encryption than I cared or needed to know, but interesting nonetheless, at a very basic level.

Relatable

While it is sci-fi and futuristic, it is relatable, such as when the Japanese kid at his graduation party (called adulting party) gets mobbed by far off relatives he barely knows, or is forced by his parents to make small talk and say hello to people he just could not care about. I certainly understand that feeling, as growing up I was told to go say hi to this person or talk to that person, and I just hated feeling like a talking, dancing monkey.

There’s a very good Handmaid’s Tale vibe of sacrificing freedoms for security with protection military and drones. Give up your guns, and everyone is safe (thanks to the drones)

Very distinct sci-fi vibe, maybe steampunk I could see as well.

 

Themes

As I’m progressing through the book I’m getting a very weird Brave New World vibe where everything, everyone has its place. The satire continues, as the author mocks vegetarians, war hawks, gun nuts, the younger generation, social media obsession, consumerism, religion, and many other topics. Very interesting, making me develop a mental ??? as I’m reading through it.

 

CONCLUSION

I did notice and do some double-takes over various typos in the book, which I assume an editor would have caught, which can change the wording or meaning of the sentences. That’s not ideal, but a good first effort. I would certainly read more about other books in the series once they are released, and for a reasonable $3 for 200+ pages, I’m pretty pleased with this purchase, sponsored or not. It boots you off to this parallel world where things are different, yet vaguely the same. I was not expecting some of the NSFW language or scenes I found in the book, so I wouldn’t prescribe it for young adults, but to each their own.

You can purchase a copy or learn more about the book on Amazon here.

 

 

Sponsored – this review is sponsored by writer of The Modern Sapien, John Michael Thomas.

Featured Image is from Pixabay. Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links which, should you click through and/or make a purchase, grant me a commission. Also, I only post in the best interest of my readers. Lastly, thank you for supporting my blog and my travels. 

What do you think of my writing? Have any questions? Let me know in the comments, or reach me directly at TheHotelion@gmail.com! Like my posts? See more here, on TravelUpdate! Follow me on Facebook (The Hotelion) or on Twitter and Instagram: @TheHotelion

By: The Hotelion
Title: Sponsored: The Modern Sapien: Book One: The American – Sci-Fi, Apocalyptic, Satire Book Review
Sourced From: travelupdate.com/the-modern-sapien-american-sci-fi-apocalyptic-book-review/
Published Date: Tue, 17 Nov 2020 01:41:35 +0000

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Vacation

What could you order from Ansett Airlines’ inflight bar in the early 1970s?

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People have always liked to drink on board flights, especially people from Australia. Therefore, it should be no surprise to anyone that there was an inflight bar offering in the 1970s.

Ansett Airlines were a major player in the Australian domestic market up until their demise in September 2001. For many years, there were two domestic airlines, Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) and Ansett.

Ansett’s Inflight Bar

At the time, Ansett operated Boeing 727s, Douglas DC-9s and Fokker F27 Friendships on domestic routes in the country. Airline tickets were quite expensive, with tariffs agreed upon by both airlines thanks to Australia’s weird two-airline policy at the time.

While tickets were expensive and food complimentary, you still had to pay for a drink at the bar. Here is an inflight bar menu from the era, showing the drinks available and their prices.

Clearly the pricing is astounding by today’s standards – 30 cents for a beer? I’ll have thirty-three please! I like how Australian gin is 35c while the imported gin is just 5c more. Which would you choose?

You can tell it is from another era as you can buy cigarettes on board. These price up at 45c, a far cry from the extortionate prices people in the west pay these days for a smoke!

Overall Thoughts

The on board offering is pretty comprehensive for internal flights, and I imagine you’d be hard pressed not to find something you might like. In those times, all payments would have been by cash as well, which would have meant a lot of coinage being handled on board.

Of course, things haven’t changed too much over the years. On many airlines you pay for your drinks just as they did back in the 1970s. Shame the prices aren’t the same of course!

Did you ever buy drinks on board flights from the inflight bar back in the day? Do you still? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

To never miss a post, follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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Featured image by Daniel Tanner on Airliners.net via Wikimedia Commons.
Menu image by Ikara on Australian Frequent Flyer.

By: The Flight Detective
Title: What could you order from Ansett Airlines’ inflight bar in the early 1970s?
Sourced From: travelupdate.com/ansett-airlines-inflight-bar-menu/
Published Date: Thu, 19 Nov 2020 15:03:14 +0000

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These Shrimp Leave the Safety of Water and Walk on Land. But Why?

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The shrimp stop swimming at dusk and gather near the river’s edge. After sunset, they begin to climb out of the water. Then they march. All night long, the inch-long crustaceans parade along the rocks.

The parading shrimp of northeastern Thailand have inspired legends, dances and even a statue. (Locals also eat them.) During the rainy season, between late August and early October, tourists crowd the riverbanks with flashlights to watch the shrimp walk.

Watcharapong Hongjamrassilp first learned about the parading shrimp, and the hundred thousand or more tourists who come each year to see them, about 20 years ago. When he started studying biology, he returned to the topic. “I realized that we know nothing about this,” he said: What species are they? Why and how do they leave the safety of the water to walk upstream on dry land? Where are they going?

Mr. Hongjamrassilp, a graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles, decided to answer those questions himself. His findings appeared this month in the Journal of Zoology.

Working with wildlife center staff members, Mr. Hongjamrassilp staked out nine sites along a river in Thailand’s Ubon Ratchathani province. They found shrimp parading at two of the sites — a stretch of rapids, and a low dam.

The videos they recorded revealed that the shrimp paraded from sundown to sunup. They traveled up to 65 feet upstream. Some individual shrimp stayed out of the water for 10 minutes or more.

“I was so surprised,” Mr. Hongjamrassilp said, “because I never thought that a shrimp can walk that long.” Staying in the river’s splash zone may help them keep their gills wet, so they can keep taking in oxygen. He also observed that the shells of the shrimp seem to trap a little water around their gills, like a reverse dive helmet.

DNA analysis from captured shrimp showed that nearly all belonged to the species Macrobrachium dienbienphuense, part of a genus of shrimp that live mostly or fully in freshwater. Many Macrobrachiumspecies spend part of their lives migrating upstream to their preferred habitats.

Most parading shrimp that Mr. Hongjamrassilp captured were young. Observations and lab experiments showed that these shrimp probably leave the water when the flow becomes too strong for them. Larger adult shrimp can handle a stronger current without washing away, so they’re less likely to leave the water.

Walking on land is dangerous for the little shrimp, even under cover of darkness. Predators including frogs, snakes and large spiders lurk nearby, Mr. Hongjamrassilp says. “Literally, they wait to eat them along the river.”

And the shrimp can survive on land for only so long. If the parading crustaceans lose their way, they may dry out and die before they get back to the river. A few times, Mr. Hongjamrassilp came across groups of lost shrimp dead on the rocks, their once-translucent bodies baked pink.

Yet most navigate upstream successfully, and scientists have spotted other freshwater shrimp around the world performing similar feats, scaling dams and even climbing waterfalls.

Leaving the water when the swimming gets tough may have helped these animals spread to new habitats over their evolutionary history, Mr. Hongjamrassilp said. Today, the number of parading shrimp in Thailand seems to be declining. He thinks tourist activity may be a factor, and learning more about the shrimp might help protect them.

The study’s authors made “some really excellent observations,” said Alan Covich, an ecologist at the University of Georgia who was not involved in the research. But understanding why the Ubon Ratchathani shrimp move upstream, and how far they travel, will require more research, he said.

“The most surprising thing to me was that it attracted so many tourists,” Dr. Covich said. He doesn’t know of any other example of people gathering to appreciate a crustacean in quite the same way.

“We have crayfish festivals, we have all kinds of things,” Dr. Covich said, “but generally it’s people eating them, not watching them move.”

By: Elizabeth Preston
Title: These Shrimp Leave the Safety of Water and Walk on Land. But Why?
Sourced From: www.nytimes.com/2020/11/18/science/shrimp-parade-thailand.html
Published Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 17:02:07 +0000

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Will Aer Lingus launch transatlantic flights from Manchester?

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There are reports that Aer Lingus have applied for 1,500 slots at Manchester Airport for the Summer 2021 season. This will allow the airline to base four aircraft there and service flights to the United States.

At present, there have been no press releases from the airline stating what is going on. Even so, it probably makes sense for the Irish airline to do this in the current market.

Aer Lingus And Manchester

From what is known, there will be three Airbus A321LRs and an A330 based at Manchester. These will operate non-stop services to New York JFK, Boston, Chicago and Orlando, and the season starts on 28 March 2021.

With Thomas Cook having gone out of business, there is likely space for another competitor. New York and Orlando will see competition from Virgin Atlantic, while the other two routes have no airline flying at the moment.

Aer Lingus has been connecting passengers over Dublin very successfully from the UK regions for a while now. Due to this, they will have visibility on traffic patterns, potential yields and more, making this an informed decision.

I imagine they also hope to cream off some of the connecting traffic that routes through London Heathrow on British Airways and Amsterdam on KLM among others. It would prove to be quite successful.

Transatlantic Joint Venture Approval

The US Department of Transport has tentatively given its approval for Aer Lingus to join the oneworld transatlantic joint business. This is operated by American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia and Finnair.

These airlines coordinate schedules and pricing, share revenues and expenses. For the consumer, it means more choice – those making a booking on British Airways across the Atlantic will also see options on American Airlines on the BA web site as one example.



Theoretically, it would allow people seeking flights on the British Airways web site to automatically be given options to fly non-stop with Aer Lingus, along with the Manchester-London Heathrow-US city connecting itinerary.

Whether Aer Lingus will join the oneworld alliance, even in a oneworld connect capacity remains to be seen. Frequent flyers would welcome it, especially those in Ireland.

Overall Thoughts

No doubt the boffins have been working behind the scenes to see if the business case for transatlantic flights from Manchester stack up. As things have proceeded as far as a slot application, I would guess chances are good that it will go ahead.

Either way, let’s see if this happens and if it does, whether Aer Lingus will stay for the long haul. If they can make more money elsewhere, they’ll up sticks and leave. Regardless, it is an interesting development in European aviation.

What do you think of Aer Lingus starting transatlantic services from Manchester? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

To never miss a post, follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
All my flight and lounge reviews are indexed here so check them out!

Featured image by N509FZ via Wikimedia Commons.
Aer Lingus A321neo LR by Pitmanaaron via Wikimedia Commons.
Business class cabin via One Mile At A Time.

By: The Flight Detective
Title: Will Aer Lingus launch transatlantic flights from Manchester?
Sourced From: travelupdate.com/aer-lingus-manchester/
Published Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 18:03:48 +0000

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