Sunday musings: Digital Health Pass, Non-travel budgets, Why oceans are blue

Today we ponder just how will the world know whether someone really has a COVID vaccination or doesn’t. These new Digital Health Pass apps and controls will be more and more important as controls on airline flights begin. IATA is working to figure this out for all airlines. We also focus on budgeting for travel. After all, it is not a requirement. And finally, we answer the question about why the ocean is blue. Bet you don’t know.

This Digital Health Pass will be ready for widespread airline use as early as March

Now that vaccines are on the travel horizon, many of you will be getting vaccinated. Others will be getting tested for the COVID-19 virus. The big question will be which traveler really has been tested or vaccinated. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has developed a Digital Health Pass app. This app may allow verifying those with true vaccinations from those without. Already, scammers have begun selling the vaccine and testing verifications on the Web.

IATA’s Travel Pass will enable travelers to upload and store COVID-19 test results and vaccine records — much like an easy digital version of yellow paper vaccination cards but a lot harder to falsify.

“Unlike paper, we also get the opportunity to inspect digital watermarks. That means organizations can look at those digital watermarks and say, “‘Well, who gave this to you? Did they give it to you and only you?,’ and, lastly, ‘Has it been tampered with?'” said Jamie Smith, senior director of business development at Evernym, a software company specializing in self-sovereign identity products. “And they can do those checks nearly instantly. That becomes really, really powerful.”

Before COVID-19 took over our lives, Evernym and IATA were already involved in a partnership to create a contactless identity app. Hayden credits this and other examples of existing technology with helping to hit the fast-forward button on the development of the Travel Pass mobile app — hopefully landing it in our hands right on time this spring.

5 budgeting tips for travel — even if we can’t go anywhere yet

Travel for most of us is a luxury. We want to go to Disney World. We’d love to take a cruise. Others want to head to a beach vacation or off to the mountains to ski with their families. But, we do not have to take that trip. We have to budget to do what we want to do with our money.

“There are no hard and fast rules about what percentage of your budget should go to travel,” Schlesinger, CBS News business analyst and author of the book “The Dumb Things Smart People Do With Their Money: Thirteen Ways to Right Your Financial Wrongs,” says.

She says you can figure out your discretionary spending by subtracting your rent, bills and groceries from your income then put whatever, if anything, is left over toward future adventures.

Unlike fixed costs like your rent or car insurance, travel is a discretionary item, which means it’s not one of the essential parts of your financial responsibilities.


Get refunds in cash when airlines cancel your flightWhy is the ocean blue?

This is one of those questions like why is the sky blue. We may or may not know that the color of the ocean is based on the way the water absorbs and reflects wavelengths of light. Others might not care and consider the question trivial.

In order to understand why the ocean is colored blue, it helps to understand why things, in general, have color, and it all has to do with some fundamental physics.

The way our eyes work is that we only see things when light bounces off of them and hits our retinas. We can’t see absorbed photons, and this has important consequences for color. For instance, leaves are green because red and blue wavelengths are absorbed by chlorophyll, while green photons bounce back towards our eyes. In the fall, leaves appear bright yellow and red because deciduous plants stop producing chlorophyll for the winter.

Likewise, experiments have shown that when light passes through pure water, red photons are absorbed, as well as short-wavelength light such as violet and ultraviolet. If that’s so, why is a glass of water, well, colorless? First of all, it’s not exactly colorless, since even a glass of water has a slight blue tint.

Travelers United Poll Results — Are you afraid to travel?

This poll shows a split of those planning travel this year — 47%. And, those still afraid to travel — 53%.