DINNER PARTY INTEL: The case of the incredible shrinking airline seat
Topics to impress this week.
1. It’s a squeeze
US authorities have been called to solve what a judge has described as "the case of the incredible shrinking airline seat". Seats in the economy cabin have steadily decreased in size from an average of 89cm in the 1970s to 79cm, and in some planes to 71cm.
A judge rejected the Federal Aviation Authority’s argument that seat size is irrelevant to getting off a plane in an emergency. She instructed the authority to reconsider an advocacy group’s assertion that shrinking airline seats imperil passenger safety.
2. Feather in the cap
Flamingos have flown from the catwalks of Milan to the wardrobes of hipsters. Bloomberg says there’s is no better proof of the fickle nature of fashion than the flamingo, which now adorns everything from US$1,495 Givenchy dresses to $40 shower curtains. Google searches for "flamingo" hit a record high in May. The bird has been resurrected as the design element of the moment, thanks to US fashion designer Marc Jacobs, who in 2014 put flamingos on a collection that included a black satin embroidered flamingo bomber jacket. Other labels followed suit.
3. China’s Africa outpost
China formally opened a military base in Djibouti — its first overseas base — with a flag-raising ceremony this week. The base underscores China’s growing influence in Africa, though the country has denied that the "logistics" facility is an attempt to exercise its military muscle. It will enable better support for Chinese patrols in waters off Somalia and Yemen that protect trade, the government said. The base provides Djibouti with a healthy income. The country also hosts US, Japanese and French bases, and the foreigners are allowed to do pretty much whatever they like.