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Driving truck, and then just driving

When I used to look for summer jobs, I always thought it would be instructive, if not entirely profound, to drive truck. I knew a few kids who had satisfied the CDL paperwork and suddenly boasted routes up and down I-5 transporting garlic and tomatoes. But the convenience of service jobs abounded, and I never got around to climbing aboard a rig; however, the romance of the job lingered until various high school classmates and then a member of my family joined the fleet and could properly devastate my illusions of the itinerant life. I had envisioned my career on the road as similar to an Altman film (more Nashville than Short Cuts), but the reported facts held me in a snare...

For the people I knew, driving truck involved abject loneliness, emotional eating, and a codependent relationship with The Flying J. I didn't even really get that you just slept in your truck, which perhaps lessened the glamor (I have a thing for hotels--the cheaper the better). So to better understand my beloved truckers, I began reading trucker blogs, such as Adventures in Trucking and Truck Driver Blog. I wanted to know how they kept themselves awake, conscious, sentient while driving such distances--I certainly have issues with road stamina, but could I improve it if trucking were my career? According to statistics, maybe not:

  • A 1995 National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) study found that of 107 heavy truck crashes, fatigue was a prominent factor in 75% of the run-off-the-road crashes, with 68% of long-haul drivers and 49% of short haul drivers suffering fatigue-related crashes. Working long shifts not only radically increases the risk of performance errors due to lost alertness and drowsiness, but it also impairs a trucker's ability to gain proper restorative sleep even when they have sufficient off-duty time for sleep. (Federal Highway Administration or FHWA, 1997)
  • The rist of a crash effectively doubles from the eighth to the tenth hour of driving, and doubles again from the tenth to the eleventh hour of driving alone. (FMCSA, 2000).

I'm not sure how many of you out there drive truck for a living, or know people who do, but I'm sure most of us have dealt with road fatigue. How do you stay awake? I have to listen--almost exclusively--to country (maybe it's the conspicuous narrative) and then if that doesn't work then some piston-esque energy drink and lots of deep breathing. When the breathing gets shallow and long on the exhale, you'd better pull off the road and get your Flying J on.

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This Hidden Button Gives You More Room in a Plane's Aisle Seat

If you prefer the window seat on planes, you undoubtedly have your reasons—the view, using the wall as a head rest, not having people climb over you to get to the bathroom. But an obscure button on the aisle seat armrest could make you rethink your seat selection.

Even frequent flyers may be surprised to learn that unlike the armrest closest to the window, the armrest next to the aisle isn’t actually fixed in place, even though it seems to be at first tug. As Time points out, there’s a button hidden underneath the armrest, near the hinge, that lets you lift it up. This will give you a little extra elbow room (but watch out for beverage carts).

While this tip should come in handy on long flights and when you get up to retrieve your bag from the overhead bin, the primary function of this feature is safety. It allows for "a quick and easy escape should you need to make an emergency exit from the plane," Time reports. Although, if few people know the button is there, its usefulness is rather dubious.

“I’ve been traveling pretty consistently for eight years, and not once on any plane has anybody actually said that you can use this to slide in and out much more comfortably if you’re on the aisle,” says vlogger Mike Corey. Watch Corey demonstrate how to operate the button in the video below.

[h/t Time Magazine]

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FBI
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A New D.B. Cooper Suspect Has Emerged
FBI
FBI

The identity of skyjacker D.B. Cooper—a well-mannered passenger on Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 305 who parachuted out of the skyjacked plane heading to Seattle in November 1971 with $200,000 in cash—has long intrigued both law enforcement and amateur sleuths. One theory posited that Cooper may have even been a woman in disguise.

In July 2017, the FBI officially closed the case. This week, they might take another look at their archival material. An 84-year-old pet sitter from DeLand, Florida named Carl Laurin has made a public proclamation that a deceased friend of his, Walter R. Reca, once admitted he was the country’s most notorious airborne thief.

The announcement is tied to the publication of Laurin’s book, D.B. Cooper & Me: A Criminal, a Spy, and a Best Friend. And while some may discount the admission as an attempt to sell books, the book's publisher—Principia Media—claims it vetted Laurin’s claims via a third-party investigator.

According to Laurin, he and Reca met while both were skydivers in the 1950s and kept in touch over the years. Reca was a military paratrooper and received an Honorable Discharge from the Air Force in 1965. Laurin suspected his friend immediately following the skyjacking since he had previously broken the law, including an attempted robbery at a Bob’s Big Boy restaurant as well as several banks. But Reca didn’t admit guilt until shortly before his death in 2014, when he handed over audiotapes of his confession and made Laurin promise not to reveal them until after he had passed away.

Principia Media publisher/CEO Vern Jones says he expects skeptics to challenge the book’s claims, but says that the evidence provided by Laurin was “overwhelming.” The FBI has yet to comment on any of the specifics of Laurin’s story, but an agency spokesperson told The Washington Post that “plausible theories” have yet to convey “necessary proof of culpability.” Nonetheless, someone at the Bureau probably has a weekend of reading ahead of them.

[h/t MSN]

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