The Cry Baby is on sabbatical ....

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Best job in Europe: Spanish air traffic controller – earn $500,000+ a year

Artistic picture of Air Traffic ControlImage via Wikipedia
Want to know what one of the best jobs in Europe is? Air traffic controller in Spain. Granted, it's a high stress job that many of us would not want to do, but the remuneration is staggeringly good. The average pay is $500,000 a year. Ten controllers were paid between $1.1 and $1.3 million last year, while another 226 were paid between $630,000 and $770,000, largely because of lucrative overtime payments. The problem is, the virtually bankrupt Spanish government can no longer afford the astronomical payouts and are trying to cut their pay to just below  to just below $300,000, which is still 10 times Spain’s average salary. The air traffic controllers reaction was to stage wildcat strikes stranding thousands of passengers. The Spanish government had to put the military in charge of air traffic control to get planes flying again. 

Aside from the effects of the economic collapse, the Spanish have another reason to try and reign in the air traffic controllers. Even though borders were relaxed with the coming of the European Union, they remained intact for air traffic. Europe currently has 39 national agencies as well as Eurocontrol. The U.S. has one agency – the FAA. European air-traffic agencies' operating costs per flight are 75% above the FAA's, largely due to their high labour costs.

Europe is now trying to implement a "Single Sky" solution, that would unify air traffic control under one agency. Like most financial and labour related issues in Europe, they face and incredibly tough battle, that must be fought fiefdom by fiefdom, each of which is very deeply entrenched. The Single Sky kickoff is slated for next January. The Spanish controllers, working under the supervision of their military, did make some concessions, but there is still a lot of air miles to go to achieve any meaningful solution

Video: After the Rapture - what the world might have looked like for the rest of us

Howard Camping might have gotten the math wrong ... but what if all the believers did get squirted out of our universe like watermelon seeds on May 21? What would the world be like for the rest of us non-believers? You can wait to October to find out (if Howard has his slide rule properly calibrated this time)  or have a look at this video by  The Thinking Atheist:

How long do animals live? Infographic from the 1930s tells all

From Information is Beautiful comes this beautiful vintage graphic from the 1930s showing the lifespans of various animals.  I'm guessing lifespans haven't changed much in the animal kingdom, while the life expectancy of homo sapiens continues to grow longer, at least in the first world. Sadly, the lifespan difference between those living in first and third world countries is vast. According to the United Nations, the longest life expectancy is in Japan (82.6 years) and the shortest Swaziland (39.6 years). 

Back to the animals. Here's what Information is Beautiful has to say about this graphic:
"Then there’s ISOTYPE – the International System Of TYpographic Picture Education. It was an early infographical form, originated in the 1930s by Austrian philosopher and curator Otto Neurath “as a symbolic way of representing quantitative information via easily interpretable icons.” Again, it’s eye-popping how modern these images look. Despite being fashioned from woodcuts and hand-printing methods. Gorgeous."