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Friday Buzz: When Airplane Arguments Get Ugly

Flying isn't always fun, but a little tact—and the avoidance of a tool called the Knee Defender—can ensure that things don't get heated in the air. Also: Google kills a key feature that search engine gurus loved.

In-flight passenger etiquette is a hot topic these days, thanks to the Knee Defender, a once-obscure device that caused a major incident about a week ago.

Here’s what happened: Two passengers on a United Airlines flight from Newark, New Jersey, to Denver got into an argument because one of the passengers wanted to recline her seat, but the man sitting behind her prevented her from doing so. He’d installed the Knee Defender—a device that effectively locks a seat in the upright position—onto his tray table. The flight attendant asked him to remove it; he refused. The female passenger threw a cup of water in his face, and, next thing you know, the plane gets diverted to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, where the fighting passengers were left behind.

Sound like your worst travel nightmare? Probably. But rather than resort to carry-on gizmos (airlines are starting to ban the Knee Defender, by the way), it might be more useful to brush up on your airline etiquette.

The Wire‘s Arit John and Shirley Li have a few suggestions that may make the awfulness of flying a little more tolerable. Among them: Ask before you recline, don’t put your feet up, and be nice to the people in the middle seat.

Google+ Loses Its Big Perk

If you hear your local search engine guru sobbing at his or her cubicle today, this is why:

On Thursday, Google announced that it was removing authorship attribution capabilities from its search engine, citing low uptake by publishers and a lack of value for individual users.

This is a big deal, because the authorship strategy had been one of the main hooks for publishers to jump onto Google+, with the promise of higher search traffic for those who added their authorship data to their blogs. In the end, the value proposition proved to be an insufficient reason to keep the concept around.

“Google is always relentlessly testing search quality, and there are no sacred cows,” Search Engine Land‘s Eric Enge wrote. “If Google is not seeing end users valuing something they try, out, it will go.”

For those who enjoyed this feature, join Google Reader fans in shedding a tear. (ht @Techmeme)

Other good reads

This may sound odd, but try taking a power nap after drinking a cup of coffee. You’ll be glad you did, Vox says.

Speaking of coffee, a coffee cantina is an idea Velvet Chainsaw Consulting’s Jeff Hurt recommends to help shake up your next event.

Overwhelmed by your data? Here’s some advice from the Nonprofit Marketing Blog.

Use the Knee Defender at your peril. (via Knee Defender's Facebook page)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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