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26th July 2012

7:58am: Auto brand reliability. No surprise here.
From Land Rovers have a 71% chance of breakdown, finds used car survey:
The British-built off-roaders were found to be by far the least reliable make, with the self-titled “stylish” Italian manufacturer’s cars second worst, according What Car? magazine and insurer Warranty Direct.

By contrast, Japanese car-makers continued to dominate the top of the reliability survey, with Honda pre-eminent for the seventh year in a row.

The annual survey, of 50,000 cars between three and ten years old, showed Land Rovers had a 71 per cent chance of breaking down compared to just 10 per cent for Hondas. Alfa Romeos were next worst, at 55 per cent, followed by Jeep and Renault at 52 per cent.

However, other luxury car brands, such as Saab, MG, Mercedes Benz, Jaguar, Audi and BMW were all found to have a four in ten chance or greater of breaking down.
The BBC adds:
Owners of used Hondas have a 10% chance of their cars suffering a breakdown, according to the survey of 50,000 Warranty Direct policies.

US carmaker Chevrolet was the only non-Asian marque to rank as one of the 10 most reliable used cars.

Some 22% of Chevrolets break down at least once each year.

By comparison, the worst performing Japanese brand was Nissan, with a failure rate of 25%, just ahead of South Korea's Kia at 26%.

By contrast, seven in 10 Land Rover owners will experience a breakdown in any given year, the survey said.
British and Italian cars least reliable, and Japanese most reliable? Shocking.

Results are similar in the States, but this survey was just released recently.
9:02am: I'm guessing this is old news to my friends who work with hotels for cons.
From http://www.gadling.com/2012/07/19/10-cups-of-coffee-5-cookies-and-175-for-wi-fi-the-ugly-trut/:
A glass of filtered waters costs $7.50. An order of whole-wheat ricotta pancakes goes for $39. A cookie will cost you $5.25. A bowl of pretzels is 40 bucks and Wi-Fi will set you back $175 per computer. These are just a handful of price quotes my wife received from a chain hotel in Washington, D.C., while planning a recent meeting for the hospital she works for in our nation's capital.

...

But those fees are just the tip of the iceberg. Hotels can really crush you on the A/V and technical charges. At this hotel, if you need an LCD projector to show a power point, they charge you $1,500, and even if you bring your own projector, as my wife did, they still charge you a mandatory setup fee of $800.

Perhaps the most laughable fee is a $250 charge for putting on "background music" during a reception. Wouldn't it be nice if you could sell $2 bags of chips for $40, get $250 for popping in a cd of elevator music, and charge $5 for cookies or a bottle of water that costs you only 25 cents?
(Edited to fix formatting.)
9:05am: This kid's got a future.
From BBC News Manchester:
An 11-year-old boy boarded a plane from Manchester to Rome on his own without a passport, tickets or boarding pass.

He mingled with families to get through checks in Terminal 1 on Tuesday. He was found mid-air on the Jet2 plane after passengers became suspicious.

The airline said no head count was carried out on this flight and they would now become mandatory.

...

The airport spokesman said the boy passed through security checks but was not asked to show any documentation.

The boy went straight to the nearest aircraft that was boarding - the flight to Rome.
The Economist's Gulliver blog adds:
The incident has generated lots of serious talk of investigations and staff suspensions. Justine Greening, the transport secretary, will be "urgently reviewing" with both airport and carrier "exactly what happened". That is as it should be, of course: if all 11-year-olds stop paying for tickets, airline finances will soon look even uglier than they currently do.

What everyone seems to be ignoring in the rush to condemn is the phenomenal achievement by the child concerned. Aged 11, most boys can do little other than watch television, play football and fight with their sisters; this child blagged his way past at least three security checks onto an international flight.
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