If, after reading about Esther the Pig, you would not slaughter and eat her — and I promise you, if you read this story and watch the clips, you would not . . .

. . . and now that there is perfectly credible fake meat . . .

. . . let me ask you this: why not go vegetarian?

It’s better for your health, better for the planet, and, one would think, better for Esther.

The Economist reports: Motorised nose wheels will let planes leave gates by themselves.

From its mouth to God’s ears.

Even so, I’d push back (as it were) on a couple of points:

First, the Economist notes that WheelTug adds weight to the aircraft.  That seems obvious yet may not be true.

Yes, of course, this tiny motor and the wires to the cockpit weigh something; but so does the reserve fuel airlines take on in the event of unexpected delays.  (If there’s unexpectedly long taxi time or de-icing time, they sure don’t want to have to come back to the gate for more fuel.  With WheelTug, that won’t be necessary.)  After accounting for the weight of that fuel, the system may add little or nothing to the weight of the aircraft.

Second, the TaxiBot system they describe has been available for quite some time and doesn’t seem likely to catch on.

It would not eliminate the need for a tug — or allow for “the twist.”  (The twist is the ability WheelTug will give airlines to park parallel to the gate, boarding and deplaning passengers from both front AND rear doors.  It’s those two things — eliminating the need for a tug and allowing for much faster boarding and deplaning — that are the chief attractions of this new technology.)

Finally, not every airport would welcome the addition of an enormous vehicle running back from the runway to the gate area after each flight.  Airports are complicated enough places as it is.

Have you called Senators Collins, Rubio, McCain, Flake, Murkowski, Sasse, Corker, Lee, Paul, and Johnson — plus any others you can think of — about the tax scam?  Just dial 202-224-3121.  And then, if one or both your senators is Republican, go a step further.  Google over to their website and find the phone number for their local office — and call that one, too.  Not sure what to say?  Heck: just read them the highlights of this.


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