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Ford Mustang celebrates 56th birthday as the world’s best-selling sports car

The first-generation Ford Mustang entered the market on April 17, 1964. Today marks the 56th birthday of Ford’s iconic pony car, and it’s doing so by celebrating two milestones. According to HIS Markit, the Mustang is the world’s best-selling sports car. It also earned the best-selling sports coupe title for the fifth straight year.

This makes the Ford Mustang the best-selling sports car in America for the last 50 years. Now in its sixth generation, the iconic Mustang name lives on with the arrival of a new Mustang Mach-E electric SUV later this year. “We’re proud of our growing Mustang stable and performance variants,” said Jim Farley, chief operating officer, Ford Motor Company. “We are honored to serve our owners, enthusiasts, and fans for 56 years and counting.”

Without a doubt, the Mustang is also the world’s most recognizable muscle car. Ford sold 102,090 units of the Mustang in 2023, but it also ruled the sports car market around the world. In fact, Mustang sales nearly doubled in France while Germany and Poland saw a 33-percent and 50-percent rise in sales, respectively. “From Sweden to Shanghai, more and more driving enthusiasts are enjoying the feeling of freedom and the American open road in these new Mustangs,” added Farley.

Currently offered in up to 12 trim models globally, the Ford Mustang offers a wide range of choices for both muscle car and sports car enthusiasts. According to Ford, this is the greatest-ever performance lineup offered by the American carmaker since the Mustang’s inception 56 years ago.

Even the base Mustang EcoBoost Fastback with a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-banger with a standard six-speed manual gearbox is a scorcher. It has 310 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque with base prices starting at around $27,000. Meanwhile, the convertible model starts at below $33,000. The Mustang GT offers a 460-horsepower 5.0-liter V8 motor with a standard manual gearbox at less than $40,000.

But the big daddy of all Mustangs is the Shelby GT500. It’s the baddest and most powerful Mustang ever built. Editor-in-chief Vincent Nguyen said it best: “The 2023 Ford Mustang GT500 is all about the numbers.” Powered by a massive 5.2-liter aluminum V8 engine equipped with an Eaton supercharger providing 12 psi of boost, the Shelby GT500 has 760 horsepower and a tire-shredding 625 pound-feet of torque to play with.

The Shelby Mustang GT500 is as savage as it gets. Ford claims a zero to 60 mph time of less than 3.0-seconds and a quarter-mile run of 10.8-seconds at 131 mph, but the chief took it further as he test-drove the GT500 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway last year.

Managing three runs at the dragstrip, the GT500 destroyed the quarter-mile in 11.4 seconds and a zero-to-sixty time of 2.101 seconds. “The GT500 is more than capable of giving the Hellcat Redeye a serious run for the money,” said Nguyen.

Happy 56th birthday, Ford Mustang!

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Inside The World Of Tiktok

If you were a teenager and somebody on the internet told you that you could make hundreds of dollars a week simply by dropping things off at the post office, you would listen. And that’s exactly what’s happening on TikTok as “hustling” teens turn to drop shipping fake AirPods as a lucrative revenue stream.

Head below for an in-depth look at the process, and Apple’s tips for how to protect yourself…

AirPods are one of the most popular Apple accessories; one would be hard-pressed to go a block in Manhattan without seeing at least five people enjoying music from their AirPods. They have become so popular that super clones have started to emerge, clones so close in appearance that many people would have trouble figuring out if they were real. Despite being nearly identical in appearance, these clones are entirely different on the inside.

The method

TikTok is filled with “hustlers” recommending methods to make some money on the side, and recently the selling of AirPods has been the large majority of these videos. Here’s the method; one buys replica AirPods from sites such as PandaBuy, AliExpress, and Alibaba and sells them on eBay, Offerup, Craigslist, etc., as genuine.

It’s illegal

If these AirPods were real, there would be no issue, but of course, these are replica AirPods made in sweatshops in China. They are made under poor regulations and don’t have the same drivers, microphone, silicon, or battery. These devices are going in people’s ears, and due to poor regulation, they can be extremely dangerous, with reports of fires and melting prevalent all over the internet.

However, these are illegal to sell. US officials recently cracked down on the importation of 1000 pairs of fake AirPods Pro, and this is just a tiny fraction of the illegal AirPods that are imported. They are filled with stolen intellectual property and copyright infringement. Also, selling fake AirPods as genuine constitutes fraud, even if they are “1:1.”

Despite this, my TikTok For You Page is stacked with different people trying to sell fake AirPods or trying to sell the method to sell fake AirPods. And these aren’t adults, most are teenagers, some looking like they could be barely thirteen.​​ These young teens tell about their experiences selling fake AirPods, and with no guilt or regard for the law, they talk about how they scam innocent people out of their hard-earned money.

Why it’s so hard to tell

Even for somebody well-versed in tech, telling these replica AirPods from genuine AirPods is challenging. There are three main reasons for this, outside appearance, H1 cloning, and serial number spoofing. When you buy replica AirPods, you would see the genuine-looking box and packaging, open it up to see real-looking AirPods, open the AirPods, and see the same H1 pairing experience.

If you checked Apple’s website and typed in the serial number, it would say they were genuine. That’s right; the clones have a replica H1 chip with nearly complete functionality. The serial number is also “genuine.” They take the serial number off a real pair of AirPods and print it on the back of thousands of replica AirPods.

Due to this scam, when somebody checks Apple’s website, they see that the serial number is listed as genuine. Because it is hard to tell if they are authentic, these teenagers are not worried about the legal repercussions.

What you can do

There are a few things you can do to keep yourself safe. If you suspect your AirPods are replicas, you can visit your Apple Store, and they will check for you. While it’s a shame, I cannot recommend buying second-hand AirPods from sites such as eBay, Offerup, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and Mercari because the places are filled with these replica AirPods.

I spoke to an Apple retail employee who wishes to remain anonymous, and they said that these are the best ways to keep yourself safe when buying AirPods.


AirPods do not come with plastic wrapping. Instead, they now use a pull tab

Apple’s boxes will be seamless, and there will be no visible cardboard

The printing on the box should be high quality

The image on the front is embossed, and you should be able to feel the height difference

There should be a 1-meter lightning to USB-C cable, and with AirPods Pro, there should be replacement ear tips

Inspecting the device

If you run your finger over the back of the pairing button, you should not feel an increase or decrease in height

The pairing button should be firm and tactile, and below the hinge, it should say Designed by Apple in California and assembled in either China or Vietnam, depending on the model

The hinge should open smoothly and silently and should also be highly rigid

There should be no visible seams or marking on the AirPods

The ear tips should have small XS, S, M, and L markings

The employee says that despite these methods, the best way to avoid purchasing counterfeit AirPods is by going through Apple or an Apple Authorized Reseller and not looking for too-good-to-be-true deals.

Stay safe out there!

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Saving Greenland Could Save The World

Every year, about half of Greenland’s ice losses happen on the edges, through glaciers like Jakobshavn. But another half is lost through melting on its surface. This melting comprises turquoise lakes and rushing aquamarine rivers and thin lapis creeks. Unlike the island’s biggest glaciers, we already know a fair amount about how much the ice sheet’s surface is warming. For nearly thirty years, a Swiss scientist named Konrad “Koni” Steffen has been taking readings on temperature, wind, solar radiation, and melting at a station known as Swiss Camp, on the central ice sheet. Located about fifty miles east of Jakobshavn’s calving front, Steffen’s camp has weather towers that collect data on the surface environment several times a minute; the information is then transmitted to him in Europe and the United States (he has offices in both Zurich and Boulder) every hour. But the observations aren’t limited to one location. over the past few decades, he has set up a system of eighteen installations around Greenland that measure weather on the ice sheet. Every spring he checks on these towers by setting out from Swiss Camp, moving from one site to another either by snowmobile or by turboprop. “It is really by chance that I ended up studying the ice sheet,” he says.

The station over time had become a destination spot for visit- ing dignitaries seeking to find a kind of ground zero for global warming; Al Gore had been there, along with so many journalists, politicians, and European princesses and princes that Steffen could barely list them all. The true value of Swiss Camp was in the growing record of observations, however. Steffen calculated that between 1990 and 2023 average temperatures on the ice sheet had increased by about 2.8 degrees Celsius, or 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Over the same time period, the total area of the Greenland ice sheet that was vulnerable to surface melting had increased by around 65 percent. Carl Benson would barely have recognized the place.

In talking about the melting in Greenland, glaciologists sometimes like to describe the relationship between rising temperatures and diminishing ice with mock simplicity: “When it gets hotter,” they say, “ice melts.” And yet the surface of the ice sheet has turned out to be far more complex than it once appeared. In recent years, studies have observed that meltwater from the ice sheet doesn’t necessarily run off Greenland into the oceans; occasionally it stays in the firn, trapped like water in a huge sponge. In 2013, a team of scientists even discovered an aquifer under the snow in east Greenland, containing extraordinary reserves of water that covered an area the size of West Virginia. Conceivably, the water could be released quickly, in a flooding gush, in the near future.

Jon Gretner’s new book Ice at the End of the World is on sale now. Courtesy of Penguin Random House

In sum, the ice surface is beset by a variety of forces brought on by changing climates. The surface is getting darker, for instance, thanks to a combination of industrial soot, dust, microorganisms, and algae, which have settled upon a “dark zone” on the ice sheet’s western region. This dust, black carbon, and biological life now form an ecosystem that flourishes during the warmer months. But the danger is that the darker Greenland’s ice gets, the more solar energy it absorbs. And the more solar energy it absorbs, the more it melts and the darker it gets. This feedback loop is known by glaciologists as the albedo-melt loop (albedo is a measure of surface reflectivity). And unfortunately, it is reinforced by another self-perpetuating process. As Greenland’s ice sheet melts and drops in elevation, just as it has at Koni Steffen’s Swiss Camp, its ice becomes more vulnerable. Lower altitudes enjoy warmer temperatures; they allow lakes to creep farther up the ice sheet with each passing decade. Therefore it now appears that the more Greenland melts, the more Greenland melts.

At its current pace of erosion, Greenland’s ice sheet adds about one millimeter of water every year to the world’s oceans; at this rate, the ice sheet could last seven thousand years. Yet no glaciologist in the world seems to think this will be the case. An astonishing study published in December 2023 concluded that the ice sheet was now melting faster than at any time for at least the past 350 years, and that the “nonlinear” response of the ice to warmer temperatures would lead to “rapid in- creases” in Greenland’s sea-level contributions. With its mellifluous, singsong Swiss accent, Koni Steffen’s voice tends to soften the bleakness of his outlook. Yet in his reflective moments, he predicts the melting ice over time will lead to a painful migration of 300 to 500 million people, globally, away from the coast. “Greenland isn’t pausing at 2100,” he says. “It continues like this, the warming. And it gets worse and worse. Most people think we can model until 2100, and that 2 degrees centi- grade is not so bad. But it won’t stop there. And the melting won’t stop there. The curve gets steeper, and steeper, and steeper.” one evening in Greenland, he says darkly: “There will be a change coming, and obviously a change that we have not seen in thousands of years.”

It may be the case that the collapse of some glaciers in West Antarctica and Greenland is unstoppable. But for the moment there is great uncertainty when it comes to the ice sheets. It may take one hundred years or three hundred years or five hundred years for some glaciers to fall into the ocean, due largely to the way they will break, sliding backward in the process, sometimes pausing for years or decades on a bedrock bump, as sea waters around and underneath them warm. In any event, amongst glaciologists there seems a consensus that the situation is urgent now, even if it isn’t yet at the point of being catastrophic. “We’re not positive if we’ve already triggered it or if we’re really close,” Pennsylvania State University geoscientist Richard Alley says of a West Antarctica collapse. “I think almost everyone would agree that it’s either one or the other.” But Alley also thinks that if we have committed to losing West Antarctica, “Greenland just became way more valuable.”

This can require a bit of explanation. It’s largely due to the fact that Greenland’s ice sheet sits within a bowl and is ringed by mountains, just as German polar researcher Alfred Wegener’s expedition discovered almost a century ago. Even with its deep glaciers, the losses of ice are constrained to a certain degree by the island’s geography, and by the limits in how glaciers can only push ice into the sea by threading through narrow mountain passes. That isn’t to say that Greenland couldn’t contribute many feet of sea level rise over the next few centuries. But with Greenland, says Alley, “we have a little more leeway.”

To meet the Paris Agreement goals, which attempt to limit average global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, “the wealthier parts of the world would need to be zero carbon energy by about 2035,” Kevin Anderson, a climate scientist at the University of Manchester, explains. “And the poorer parts, including China, would have to deliver zero carbon energy by about 2050. And by that I mean everything—cars, planes, ships, industry, all of the energy would be zero carbon by 2050, globally, for us to have a reasonable chance of the two-degree framing of climate change.” It’s not that we lack the technological tools, Anderson says. It’s that the enormity of the task, and the sacrifices involved, haven’t yet sunk in. “I think it will be hugely challenging,” he adds.

And yet the alternative—not to try or achieve the goal—would be dire.

Excerpted with permission from the new book ICE AT THE END OF THE WORLD: An Epic Journey into Greenland’s Buried Past and Our Perilous Future by Jon Gertner. Published by Random House, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York, Copyright © 2023 by Jon Gertner. All rights reserved.

Ford Active Drive Assist Adds Hands

Ford Active Drive Assist adds hands-free Mustang Mach-E driving: The details

Ford promised hands-free driving for the new Mustang Mach-E, and now it’s explaining how it’ll deliver that, with a new system designed to leapfrog Autopilot and Super Cruise in the automaker’s EV. Part of the freshly-updated Ford Co-Pilot360 system, Active Drive Assist will use a combination of attention monitoring and various sensors to support hands-free driving on over 100,000 miles of divided highways in the US and Canada.

Ford has had adaptive cruise control for some time now, which can track the speed of the vehicle in front and help with lane-keeping. Where Active Drive Assist differs, however, is in allowing drivers to actually take their hands off the wheel and – while the system is running – keep them off. Currently, you’d need to be regularly applying some degree of torque to the wheel in order to satisfy the system that you’re poised and ready to take over.

Like with Super Cruise, GM’s hands-free system currently offered on select Cadillac models, Ford is using an infrared camera mounted ahead of the driver to monitor their attention. That can track head and eye position, regardless of whether it’s day or night, or if the driver is wearing glasses or sunglasses. If they’re not paying sufficient attention to the road, Active Drive Assist will flash up warnings on the Mustang Mach-E’s digital cluster, and eventually demand they resume manual control.

“It’s a key element to ensure that the driver stays in the loop of the driving task, and that the driver is watching the road” Chris Billman, engineering manager for Co-Pilot360, explains. Ford’s research suggests it’s only about 7 minutes into a car taking over some of the driving responsibilities before the person at the wheel starts considering doing something else.

When activated, Active Drive Assist will use its front facing camera and radar, and its front corner radar, to position the Mustang Mach-E in the center of the lane. It’ll only work on pre-mapped, divided highways, and indeed Ford has been cautious about how it refers to the system so that owners don’t assume they’ve bought an autonomous car. “We carefully select names for our features – we make them intuitive, we don’t overpromise or imply that the features can do more than they can,” Billman suggests.

A large part of that is how Active Drive Assist is communicated within the vehicle. On the one hand, Ford wanted its activation and handover to be as smooth and imperceivable to passengers as possible. “When the system is switched on,” Darren Palmer, Global Director for BEV at Ford boasts, “the passengers would not even notice the system has come into play.”

At the same time, though, the driver needs to immediately know what’s in control, and what’s expected of them. That, Palmer says, is one of the main reasons the Mustang Mach-E still has a dedicated driver instrumentation display.

“It’s a complicated thing to communicate to people, the states that the vehicle is in,” Palmer explains, “so the team used a human-centered design approach to do this, and tried out all manner of graphics, color, and different information to see which of them would be understood by the most people without education.” Areas where Active Drive Assist is available will be flagged, the Mustang Mach-E prompting the driver to use it when that’s possible.

There’ll be animations showing whether they should take the wheel or release it, and a “protective bubble” overlaid on a graphic of the car to show when the system is active and keeping the EV in its lane. Indeed, the whole color-scheme of the display turns blue when Active Drive Assist is operational.

Where In The World Is The Huawei P50?

“For reasons that are known to everyone, Huawei has faced challenges to its supply chain, which have impacted go-to-market plans for this flagship device overseas. Despite these challenges, the HUAWEI P50 Series has been very well received in China since its debut in July and we look forward to making it available soon to consumers overseas. Huawei will continue to bring more innovative products to international markets from across our entire product portfolio. This includes our smartphone line-up, where we have just announced the global launch of the HUAWEI nova 9, as well as PCs, Tablets, Audio & Wearables and more.”

Today Huawei held its first European phone launch since it unveiled its own operating system, HarmonyOS, but it wasn’t for the phone you might have been hoping for.

Instead of announcing a global launch for either the P50 or P50 Pro, Huawei chose to unveil… the Nova 9. It’s a capable enough mid-range device, to be sure, though comparisons to the uncannily similar (but Google-compatible) Honor 50 aren’t going to do it any favours.

But no-one was eagerly awaiting the Nova 9. With no Google support and no 5G option, its appeal is inherently limited. That might fly with a budget phone, but not a mid-ranger like this. Strangely though, people might be more forgiving of those flaws in the flagship P50, which at least brings a market-leading camera to the table.

The P50 is still coming to international markets…eventually. Huawei’s now confirmed that the P50 series will launch outside China in “early 2023” – almost a year after its Chinese debut.

Let’s recap.

Huawei normally announces its P-series flagships each spring, often in March. While March 2023 brought us the P40 series, March 2023 came and went without any sign of the P50. June brought us the official launch of HarmonyOS 2.0 – the company’s new Android rival – but the only sign of the company’s next flagship was a 45-second teaser tacked onto the end of the show.

The two phones – a P50 and P50 Pro, but no souped-up Pro+ model – were eventually unveiled in full this July, before going on sale in China in August.

From a hardware perspective, the phones are undeniably impressive. The top-tier Pro model is most exciting, with a curved, 120Hz OLED display, an IP68 rating, and both 66W wired and 50W wireless fast charging – all while still weighing less than 200g.

The cameras are the biggest draw though, with a new system Huawei has dubbed ‘Dual Matrix’. A 50Mp, f/1.8 main camera is paired with an unusual 40Mp, f/1.6 monochrome shooter, with a 13Mp ultrawide and 64Mp, 3.5x periscopic lens rounding out the rear quad camera array.

Few outside of China have had the chance to test the P50 or P50 Pro’s cameras out in person, but on paper they look fantastic. More to the point, Huawei’s track record here is meticulous, and I have little doubt that when the P50 phones eventually reach the rest of the world they will comfortably compete with the best of Apple, Samsung, and Google.

The problem is that by the time the P50 does launch in Europe, that camera hardware will be a year old. Perhaps more importantly, so will the chipset.

The P50 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, while the P50 Pro sits in an odd position, with two different versions available: some models use the 888, while others use Huawei’s in-house Kirin 9000. In either case, both are 4G – a stipulation of Huawei’s US trade restrictions limits it from buying 5G chips.

Huawei’s Kirin 9000 supplies are dwindling, and those same trade restrictions have also effectively prohibited the company from manufacturing any more, or developing new silicon. That means it’s stuck with Qualcomm for now.

The Snapdragon 888 launched back in December 2023, and remains Qualcomm’s flagship chip – only superseded by the overclocked 888+. However, Qualcomm is almost certain to announce its successor – the Snapdragon 898, going by the rumour mill – at the Snapdragon Tech Summit this November, with phones like the Xiaomi 12 and Samsung Galaxy S22 expected to launch with it early next year, and others tipped to debut before 2023 is done and dusted.

When the P50 finally arrives in the West in “early 2023” it will be a flagship phone – the Pro model almost certain to cost close to €1,000 – that arrives with no support for Google services, no 5G networking, and a ‘flagship’ chipset that’s already over a year old.

Who would buy that?

I suspect that Huawei’s continued delays do at least mask a solution to one of those problems. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the phones arrive next year with a few tweaks compared to the Chinese hardware – most notably the inclusion of a 4G version of the new Snapdragon 898.

Huawei has released ‘New Edition’ versions of handsets like the P30 in the past, though in that case the changes were mostly cosmetic and clearly intended to prolong the sales life of the company’s final Google-compatible flagship phone.

This would have be a more substantial update, but since the P50 Pro has already been built to work with both Kirin and Snapdragon silicon, it doesn’t seem beyond reason that it could be rigged for a third chip. It’s possible that Huawei could also pack in tweaks to the camera or display spec, but don’t get your hopes up.

Keeping the camera specs and design details the same would save on R&D costs, and help buy Huawei more time to develop its next true flagship – the expected Mate 50 is already behind schedule. Huawei could even give the updated P50 a second launch in China with the new chip, giving it a new lease of life in its core market.

No doubt delaying the P50’s global launch by almost a year wasn’t Huawei’s first choice, and as much as anything the global chip shortage has presumably had an impact. Qualcomm can’t build enough Snapdragon 888 units to meet demand, so it’s no surprise that it wouldn’t prioritise a 4G version it’s only making for Huawei.

I’m not going to pretend that upgrading to a Snapdragon 898 will be without its challenges for Huawei – or that it will turn the P50 into a bestseller. But without Google and 5G, the firm needs to lead with powerful hardware and camera chops that turn those shortcomings into acceptable compromises – and if this year’s Chinese hardware launches unchanged next spring, that simply won’t be the case.

Happy Birthday To You Who Won’T Read This

Happy Birthday To You Who Won’t Read This

Today is my wife’s birthday. She isn’t sentimental about birthdays or most holidays, so I won’t get in trouble for not remembering to wish her a happy birthday before she ran out the door, rushing to get our son to pre-school on time. I’ll probably get in trouble for how much I spent on her present. She asked for a spa day. A massage and a facial. I’ll never understand why women like to get their faces poked at as a gift, but she doesn’t understand why I sit in front of the television twiddling my thumbs for hours at a time.

The Internet has made us connoisseurs even of things about which we know very little, so after some investigation I discovered a very nice hotel in our area also had one of the top-rated spas in the country. I ordered her a gift package called the “Indulgence,” which includes five hours of treatments and pampering, including lunch. I can ruin the secret and tell you this because my wife has almost no interest in following technology, so she won’t be reading this column.

The spa required me to come and pick up the gift card in person. I would have liked to simply hand my credit card over to my Web browser and be done with it, but that couldn’t happen. They couldn’t even send the card overnight, and like a good procrastinator, I only discovered this spot yesterday, so there wasn’t time for me to wait for the spa to send it by mail. So, while she was dropping off our son, I was on my way downtown to speak to a living, breathing person about a gift card purchase. How quaint.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. That wasn’t actually the first birthday errand I had to run this morning. First, I had to take a trip to the airport. Over the thanksgiving holiday, my wife lost her cell phone. She wasn’t sure at first when it happened, but by the time we had picked up our rental car and installed the rented car seat in Newark, New Jersey, she realized that it was missing. So, we did what everyone does when they realize their cell phone is missing. We gave it a call, then sat quietly and listened for it.

My mind is trained to ignore cell phone ringing. I’m not sure when this happened, but ringtones don’t catch my attention as easily these days. It’s the same for car alarms. I wonder if any thief has ever been stopped by a car alarm. Most of the time when I hear a car alarm, I get annoyed at the car’s owner for letting the alarm wake me up in the middle of the night. I don’t ever think that the car might be getting broken into as I’m trying to fall back asleep, and I certainly never run to the window to see what’s the matter.

We’re at a point where it might be better to simply leave the car unlocked with the alarm turned off than to risk a false alarm at 2AM. I used to leave my car unlocked in my driveway. The other day I opened the door to find the glove compartment and center console open and tossed. Someone had broken in, or whatever you call it when no actual breaking is involved. There is nothing of value in my car whatsoever, not even interesting or important paperwork. The mess was a hassle, but the most expensive thing in my nine-year-old Camry is the child’s car seat in the back. As long as that was still present, I was completely unperturbed. But now I keep my car locked, mostly out of spite to the would-be robbers.

In any case, the phone did not ring. Like I said, I tune out ringtones, but I can somehow sense a phone vibrating across the house. It’s like a Spidey-sense. Spider-Man can sense danger, I can sense a phone on vibrate. Still, nothing.

It didn’t take her long to remember what had happened to it. She had tried to cross through a security gate with the phone in her pocket. It was a forgivable mistake, even for frequent travelers like us. We were loaded for bear on that trip, with all our usual carry-ons, plus a stroller, a toddler and an armful of winter coats for when we got off the plane in the frigid northeast. We live in Texas, so a hoodie counts as a winter coat here.

I was trying out one of those new-fangled x-ray-friendly laptop bags. It would have been extra convenient, except that the TSA decided to pull me aside so they could swab it, which more than eliminated the time saved using the bag. They also swabbed my son’s carry-on. He’s two. His carry-on has Lightning McQueen on the front, and a bumper shaped like a car tire. He hasn’t even seen the movie “Cars,” but he pointed at the carry-on in the store and said “car,” so we bought it for him. Needless to say, it hadn’t been involved in any bomb-making scheme, so we were free to go. But in all the commotion, she forgot her phone in the little plastic and rubber bowl that she sent through the x-ray. The TSA, so mindful of my x-ray-friendly bag and the diapers and change of clothes in my son’s tiny suitcase, were not kind enough to call after her to retrieve her phone.

The lost and found offices were also closed for the holiday, so we weren’t even positive it was at the airport until Monday. I’m not sure how this could be, that it is impossible to get in touch with the TSA over the phone. Clearly there are people working, but they don’t answer the phone. We tried calling her cell phone repeatedly, but they did not answer that phone, either. Oh well, at least the phone was safe and secure when I called after the weekend.

The TSA made me prove it was mine over the phone before they would put it aside to make sure nobody else claimed it. Stupidly, I gave them the only verifying information I could think of: the password to unlock the phone. Thankfully, cell phones today can’t hold a charge beyond a day or so. The phone wouldn’t power on. They decided to put the phone aside until I brought a charger to the airport and verified my claim in person. At last, a dead battery proves useful.

I noticed when I woke up this morning that some of our mutual friends had been leaving happy birthday messages on her wall. Thanks to Facebook, they had beaten me to the punch, and also reminded me that I had forgotten to say “Happy Birthday” before she left the house. I had thought about it last night before bed. I should have set an alarm on my phone.

Now I have three months to think of a plan for Valentine’s day. Like I said, she’s not sentimental, but I’m setting the alarm on my phone right now.

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