Up Goes the Digital Cloud: Wi-Fi in the Sky

In today’s Wall Street Journal there’s a story that US airlines will soon offer WiFi in the sky. (Stephen Dubner is blogging this, too.)

The good news is that crackberry and MySpace addicts and bloggers won’t have to twitch in ADD and withdrawal while in the sky.

But it also leaves the window open, of course, for people to natter on their cell phones while their butts fly from one coast to the next. I must be one of a zillion or so people who think this is a miserable idea. Cell phones are damned handy, but we’re still negotiating the social contract, and here’s a place it needs to be chiseled onto the tablets: THOU SHALT NOT USE THY PHONE WHILE FLYING.

I’m against using cell phones while driving (that’s a public health issue, far as I’m concerned. And I’m really concerned–because I commute by bicycle.)

The reason I’m against using phones while in flight is because the person sitting one inch from you can’t get away from your inane blather (or mine). Nor can the person who’s 9 inches behind you, or 13 inches in front of you, or 29 inches away, or 44 inches away … you get my drift. You can go on and on about what you had for lunch, but we can’t turn around and throttle you into silence. In other words, it’s a public sanity issue.

My humble proposal is an idea that comes out of carpooling: silence. In some carpools, there are no radios, no cell phones, and no conversation. Headphones? Fine. Books? Sure. Tetris on your cellphone? Why not? IM? u bet. Just keep your trap shut.

… or else I’m starting to invest my money in any company that shows decent promise developing a Maxwell Smart Cone of Silence. Any suggestions?


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