Readings: Isolated Man, Straddling Bus, Truthful Airline Magazine

Here are the three most interesting articles I’ve read over the weekend:

1) “The Most Isolated Man on the Planet” [Slate] – we don’t know his name, or whether he even has one. He is the most isolated man in the world and happens to live in the Amazonian jungle. Slate has an excellent piece profiling his existence:

He eats mostly wild game, which he either hunts with his bow-and-arrow or traps in spiked-bottom pitfalls. He grows a few crops around his huts, including corn and manioc, and often collects honey from hives that stingless bees construct in the hollows of tree trunks. Some of the markings he makes on trees have suggested to indigenous experts that he maintains a spiritual life, which they’ve speculated might help him survive the psychological toil of being, to a certain extent, the last man standing in a world of one.

2) “A ‘Straddling Bus’ Traffic Solution in China” [New York Times] – a novel idea about a bus which takes up no road space. It’s a fascinating look at what one company in the southern Chinese town of Shenzhen has proposed:

Though it is called the “straddling bus,” Huashi’s invention resembles a train in many respects — but it requires neither elevated tracks nor extensive tunneling. Its passenger compartment spans the width of two traffic lanes and sits high above the road surface, on a pair of fencelike stilts that leave the road clear for ordinary cars to pass underneath. It runs along a fixed route.

Read the article for more or watch the video below:

3) “An Airline Magazine That Makes Travelers Want to Pull the Rip Cord” [Wall Street Journal] – this isn’t your ordinary in-flight magazine. The in-flight magazine for Safi Airways tells the whole truth and nothing but the truth:

One recent edition featured a long, approving piece headlined, “Live Entertainment in Kabul: Dog Fighting.” The writer says dogs in Afghanistan don’t fight to the death, just until one proves dominant. “They are usually pulled apart before they can inflict serious damage on each other,” the article assures passengers, despite the photo of two worried Afghans carrying away a limp black-and-white behemoth from the fight.

And who would be interested in advertising in such a magazine?

The magazine’s audience attracts advertisers as specialized as its content. There are an Australian firm that offers medical services in scary places; a Middle Eastern satellite-communications company whose gear works in the phoneless hinterlands; and a war-zone car-repair service with outlets in Kabul, Baghdad and Monrovia. The ad for Alpha Armouring Panzerung, a Munich company, shows an armored Mercedes SUV cruising through the flames of a roadside bomb.

In a world where in-flight magazines only taut the beautiful and the flashy, this magazine certainly sets itself apart from the competition. No word on whether the magazine is planning a SkyMall expansion.

Editor’s note: more posts are coming this week. In the meantime, feel free to subscribe by email using the box on the right.

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