JODY VICTOR®

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Holland America cruise line is saying goodbye to its only small ship, the 835-passenger Prinsendam. Holland America sold the ship and it will be put into service with a German cruise company. The Prinsendam is scheduled to sail away from the Holland America fleet, July 1st, 2019.

The Prinsendam is thirty percent smaller than any other vessel in the Holland America fleet at thirty-seven some tons. And it has been the only ship in their fleet that could carry less than a thousand voyagers. In fact, many of their ships carry two thousand plus people.

Among Holland America travelers, the Prinsendam has something of a cult following as its small size allows it to take some unusual itineraries. The Prinsendam previously sailed under other cruise companies and didn’t join the Holland America fleet until 2002.

The Prinsendam leaves the fleet as Holland America prepares to christen one of its largest ships yet, the 2,666-voyager Nieuw Statendam. Still under construction in an Italian shipyard, the Statendam will be ready in December.

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s City Hall and Elon’ Musk’s the Boring Co. have negotiated a plan to build tunnels between O’Hare International Airport and the Loop in which autonomous passenger trains—built by The Boring Co.—would take travelers back and forth between the two destinations at speeds exceeding 100mph.

Musk’s company was chosen by Emanuel’s administration for the project from among four competing companies to provide this quick transportation between Chicago’s downtown and the airport. While the two parties are still negotiating, Chicago is hoping to solve this transportation issue as the gridlocked roads and dated L trains are not an elegant or efficient solution for getting to and from the airport.

The Emanuel administration is counting on Musk’s Boring Company’s tunneling technology, which is yet unproven, over more conventional high-speed rail options. Those more traditional rail options had been the primary solution to the airport transportation issue until recently.

The Emanuel administration and Boring Co. officials haven’t set a project completion timeline as of yet—or its estimated cost. However, they stated that Boring intends to pay for the entire project. Which would include the construction of a new station at O’hare International Airport. Boring Co. would also finish construction on the Block 37 super-station begun under previous Mayor Richard M. Daley.

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Two tourists who were scheduled to travel around the moon and back via a SpaceX rocket will have to wait until 2019 (at least). James Gleeson, SpaceX spokesperson, confirmed the delays in the trip that was first announced last year. No date was given for when the trip might happen.

According to Gleeson, SpaceX is still planning on flying private citizens around the moon. The company, owned by Elon Musk, hasn’t offered very specific reasoning behind the delay beyond technical and production challenges.
SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket only launched in February and it was delayed several times of the past few years.
Musk announced the mission in August 2017 and it will be the first manned moon mission since the last Apollo mission in 1972—46 years ago.

If and when the mission does launch, it will be in the SpaceX Dragon V2 space vehicle—this vehicle hasn’t yet gone through thorough testing, however. The mission won’t land on the moon, but would come very close as it circles around it.

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Flaws in the design of the “smart” luggage made by Bluesmart Inc. is causing the company to close its doors. Several major airlines have banned the luggage due to its lithium batteries—which could ignite and set fire to cargo compartments.

The company was started in 2014 with an impressive $2 million crowdfunding campaign.

The lithium batteries in question powered a GPS that users could track through their cellphones—which is the major selling point of the luggage. The batteries, however, also acted as a charging station for other devices, auto-locking mechanisms and a scale the weighs the bag.

The design flaw isn’t so much the lithium battery itself—other manufacturers have stayed in business as their designs avoided the issue—but the fact that to remove a Bluesmart battery one has to remove four screws and unplug at least three wires. The other makers’ batteries are easily removed.

Overall, these kinds of smart bags become just normal luggage without a power source to run features like the GPS tracking.

The company has already come out and stated they won’t be responding to any requests for refunds or replacements and will not honor any warranties.

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Ashley Spencer, Philadelphia native, boarded a flight bound for Cleveland this past Saturday in hopes of having her eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA), an extremely rare autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in a person’s blood vessels, treated at the Cleveland Clinic.

As it turned out, it was Spencer’s severe peanut allergy that almost killed her. 28 year old Spencer believes the bag of chips she ate pre-flight may have triggered the allergic reaction. On board the plane she went into anaphylactic shock. Thankfully a Dr. Erich Kiehl was on flight and agreed to help Spencer. Along with assistance from a North Carolina doctor, Kiehl, of the Cleveland Clinic, gave Spencer four shots from an EpiPen to stem her allergic reaction.

Spencer was rushed to a hospital in Pittsburgh where the plane made an emergency landing.

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