Sunday musings: Titanic to sail again, Air turbulence tips, Dashboard Alexa

TitanicToday we consider whether or not we will might plan on taking a replica of the Titanic across the Atlantic on the same route where the ocean liner met its fate with an iceberg. We get some air turbulence tips from AARP. And, we learn that Amazon’s Alexa will not only be with you at home, but will soon be keeping you company while you drive.

Titanic II will set sail in 2022 following the same route as the original

Anyone who wants to sail on the same transatlantic crossing on a new ship called the Titanic II, a replica of the original Titanic, can make plans now. Tempting fate with an iceberg will still be possible, however, there will be plenty of lifeboats, life jackets, and safety features. Stay in touch with your travel agent for more news.

The 1912 voyage, which was immortalized in the 1997 blockbuster Titanic, starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, was tragically cut short when the steam ship hit an iceberg. Over 1,500 people lost their lives, more than two-thirds of those on board.

“The ship will follow the original journey, carrying passengers from Southampton to New York, but she will also circumnavigate the globe, inspiring and enchanting people while attracting unrivaled attention, intrigue and mystery in every port she visits,” the Blue Star Line’s chairman Clive Palmer said, according to MSN.

Conquer your fear of air turbulence

AARP has some suggestions for travelers who have a fear of turbulence when flying. Since virtually no planes have fallen out of the sky because of turbulence, the question is always one of the passengers’ fright and imagination. So, if this is one of your fears of flying, read up and fasten your seatbelt tightly.

Click here to subscribeAccording to psychologist David Carbonell, fearful passengers can experience a range of unpleasant in-flight symptoms, from clenching the armrest and holding their breath to bursting into tears. Flyers might struggle with disturbing “what-if” thoughts or rely on alcohol or prescription medication to get through a flight.

It’s all about control, Carbonell says. “Fearful fliers aren’t afraid of crashing,” he says. In many cases, “they’re afraid of getting afraid.” Carbonell advises his clients to take note of their symptoms beforehand and actively check in with themselves throughout their flight. This way, he says, you’re working on managing your responses to fear (which you can control) rather than the fear itself (which you can’t, or at least not as easily).

In extreme cases, when anxiety causes a real panic attack, Carbonell suggests the sufferer focus on breathing. “The first thing you need to do is sigh,” he says. Exhaling helps relax the muscles of the upper body. From there, you can start to breathe deeply, avoiding the shallow breathing that makes panic worse. Distraction techniques (such as trying to conjure up memories of a beloved family pet or forcing yourself to write your name with your nondominant hand) aren’t likely to do you much good once the panic sets in.

Amazon Echo Auto puts Alexa on your dash

Many of us are using Amazon’s Alexa at home to time cooking, wake us up, listen to music, and turn lights on and off. Now, an automobile version of Alexa is being introduced. Through voice commands, Alexa will be able to turn on lights at your house, find gas stations, make phone calls, listen to audio books, and limitless music.

The Echo Auto is a small device that sits on top of your dash and allows you to connect to your phone via Bluetooth, then to Amazon’s cloud via your phone’s cell signal to bring massive amounts of functionality to your car with its new real-time OS.

The Echo Auto device packs eight microphones into its small design to help with the noise cancelling that is so necessary inside a car. The device is also location-aware and can use location-based triggers for Alexa Routines. As an example, Alexa can turn your home’s smart lights on and unlock your smart door locks when you pull into your driveway.

It will also interface with Waze and Apple Maps to send directions to your phone. So, if you ask Alexa to find the nearest Starbucks, it will direct you to it and tell you how late it’s open. During the presentation, Dave Limp, head of Alexa for Amazon, placed a call with the device, which is a particularly exciting option for owners of vehicles without hands-free calling capability. It will also interface with Apple Maps and Waze.