It's spelt Eyjafjallajokull…

but it’s pronounced FLIGHT CHAOS! Thousands of people all over the world have been effected by the volcano in Iceland, affectionately known as “The Big Belch” (well, no, not really, but what it IS known as I can’t write in a PG-13 blog!). From where I sit in central Germany, the only physical evidence is a bit of a haze on the horizon and dusty windows. Some of my Brit friends at NICE on Friday were pooh-poohing the whole mess — “oh, it’s not that bad really, they’re overreacting” — and complaining about the inconvenience — one of Sheridan’s friends is stuck in Seattle, for example. Apparently, however, those with means have avoided too much inconvenience.

So what’s the big deal? How does an invisible cloud of ash cause so much havoc? It’s apparently not a health hazard, except to those with respiratory conditions, although it can harm grazing animals. The worse effect is on our food supplies — food imports have been effectively closed for the time being.

Originally, I thought the airlines had grounded themselves for safety reasons, but I’ve since realized that the flight ban was instituted by the various European governments. Airlines are losing millions of dollars a day, and grumbling about not being allowed to fly… even though the risk is considerable.

What would you do? Would you risk flying through this cloud, knowing it could effectively kill the jet engines and make the airplane’s windscreen impossible to see through? Of the thousands of flights a day, it’s likely that only a few would be affected. but even one out of a thousand is too many. Should the airlines be allowed to play Russian Roulette with their passengers’ lives?

I think I’ll stay home and eat local produce for a while.

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