Pale Blue Dot – Animation from Ehdubya on Vimeo.

As travelers, we know the world is full of new places and experiences. This video puts us in our place as a planet and a pixel of the universe. Next, TSA and DHS take a look at language, but not in a way that we should really accept. Finally, a look at the possible ending of the ban on electronic devices during takeoff and landing in planes.

An animated adaptation of Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot

As Voyager 1 becomes the first man-made object to break free from our solar system, this is a good time to reflect on how tiny a speck of the vastness of space we are. So far, Voyager 1 is the ultimate traveler launched from Earth into the vast cosmic arena. How much longer will it be before man follows?

Thirty-five years ago …, the Voyager 1 launched into space in a quest to explore the outer solar system and carried with it the Golden Record, an ultimate mixtape of humanity’s sounds that was also a record of how Carl Sagan and Annie Druyan fell in eternal love. There’s hardly a better way to celebrate the Voyager’s legacy than with Sagan’s iconic, timeless, infinitely humbling yet awe-inspiring Pale Blue Dot (public library), based on the photograph of the same title taken by the Voyager 1 in 1990.

The language of Homeland Security

It’s a little bit creepy. Homeland Security is scanning all of our Twitter and Facebook posts looking for words that may indicate we are terrorists. It’s a bit like searching our files without a warrant. This keyword search is part of the layers of security we now enjoy as travelers.

DHS has been forced to release a list of keywords and phrases it uses to monitor various social networking sites. The list provides a glimpse into what DHS describes as, “signs of terrorist or other threats against the U.S.”

The information sheds new light on how government analysts are instructed to patrol the internet while searching for domestic and external threats.

Here is the full list of keywords being searched by DHS.

When will the ban on electronic devices end? Study under way, but not so fast.

The Wall Street Journal takes a close look at the new panel that will be studying use of electronic devices in planes during takeoff and landing. Scott McCartney’s advice — Not so fast.

The crucial point is that there really is evidence of the potential for a problem. The nonprofit RTCA Inc., a high-level scientific group made up of industry experts that advises the FAA on technical issues, said in a lengthy study in 2008 that emissions from transmitting personal electronic devices, or T-PEDS, could interfere with critical aircraft systems.

The panel conducting the RTCA study included representatives from airlines Boeing Co, Airbus, cellular providers, equipment makers and government regulators. The work was thorough, and yet it doesn’t get much attention — probably because people who want to lift the ban find it doesn’t support their case.

Regulators believe there is a chance that electronic emissions from passenger devices could interfere with navigation instruments, so best just to turn them off for takeoff and landing. It’s hard to see how a new panel is going to come to a different conclusion.