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ExtraBITS for 19 March 2012

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We have a lovely collection of ExtraBITS links for you this week, including a hint that we may someday see more lenient electronics usage policies on airplanes, Glenn Fleishman’s thoughts on the Mike Daisey controversy, answers to oodles of iPad questions via a MUG meeting on MacVoicesTV, and a cool demonstration of the scale of the universe.

FAA to Review Electronics Use on Planes -- Nick Bilton of the New York Times stumbled on this story by calling to pester the Federal Aviation Administration about its antiquated rules surrounding the use of electronic devices during taxi, takeoff, and landing (and our perennial favorite, sitting on the runway for hours). Instead of giving him the runaround, the FAA unexpectedly changed its tune, saying that it has decided to take a fresh look at the use of personal electronics on planes.

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Mike Daisey Revelations Don’t Surprise -- This American Life, a public-radio show that tells stories about people, retracted their episode that was largely a reduced form of Mike Daisey’s monologue, “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs.” Daisey didn’t meet the people or see the things he said he did. Glenn Fleishman explains at Macworld how this didn’t surprise him because of his acquaintance with Daisey and his methods.

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TidBITS Staffers Answer MUG iOS Questions on MacVoicesTV -- Speaking remotely to a packed house at the Apple iCloud sub-group of the Villages Mac Users Group, Joe Kissell and Adam Engst fielded numerous iOS questions from the audience in this MUG meeting recorded by Chuck Joiner for MacVoicesTV. If you’re relatively new to iOS, you’ll pick up a wide variety of usage tips, including a Car Talk-inspired solution involving electrical tape.

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Interactive Demonstration of the Scale of the Universe -- Apologies in advance to iOS users for pointing to a Flash-only resource, but Cary and Michael Huang’s “The Scale of the Universe” interactive page on NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day site is a fascinating update to the classic “Powers of Ten” video created in the 1960s by designers Charles and Ray Eames. We were particularly amused to see Boeing’s Everett, Washington aircraft plant (on the scale of Vatican City) and the virtual Minecraft world (larger than Neptune).

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