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Thursday Flakes: Flight Delays, Couchsurfing and the Yakuza

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I guess it’s about time I start doing travel flakes again.

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TOPSHOT-CZECH-PRAGUE-FEATURE Photo by MICHAL CIZEK/AFP via Getty Images

Today’s Flakes was written on a train in the middle of Slovakia, which is a beautiful country with lots of great hiking and beautiful castles. It’s been a while since I’ve done a travel Flakes so I figured it’s only right that I do a quick recap of where I have been. I have been moving around a lot more than I usually do in the last six months from hiking an active volcanoes in Guatemala, to basking in the greatness of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and peering at the Astronomical Clock in Prague.

Since I have been in Europe, it’s been a bit of a struggle to watch some of the Husker games. I had to go to sleep at halftime of the Northwestern and Michigan although I was able to fully watch both of the painful losses to Minnesota and Purdue. Is it Nebrasketball season yet? Feel free to post any travel questions you have for me in the comments below and I will try to answer them today. Anyways onto Flakes...

Flakes

Nebraska Football Numbers Statistics and Lies: Ohio State Edition | Football | Corn Nation

I adore Adrian Martinez but his inability/unwillingness to run the ball is now leading to bad decisions in the pass game. I don’t expect to see Logan Smothers start on Saturday, but if he gives Nebraska a better chance to sustain longer drives, I wish we could at least give that option a try.

Mailbag: Nebraska’s QB Situation, Coaches From the Past Turning It Around and More | Sports | Hail Varsity

This week’s edition includes questions on Nebraska’s quarterback situation, the women’s and men’s basketball teams, and we even squeezed an NBA thought or two in here.

Padding the Stats: Martinez, Frost and What Ifs | Football | Hail Varsity

Against Purdue on Saturday, it was pretty squarely on Adrian Martinez’s shoulders. Nebraska’s fourth-year starting quarterback threw four interceptions (one more than he had thrown in Nebraska’s first eight games combined), one of which put points directly on the board for the Boilermakers. He completed less than half of his passes and didn’t add much on the ground outside of one short touchdown.

Nebraska Recruiting: Huskers Talented Enough to Have Better Results Under Frost | Football | Hail Varsity

The Huskers have out-recruited Illinois, Minnesota and Purdue by a wide margin in the Frost Era. On paper the talent is there to secure more wins than losses against those opponents. Yet against those opponents the Huskers are 4-8 under Frost. Two of the four wins are against the Illini.

Huskers Hit the Road for Illinois | Volleyball | Huskers.com

Illinois is 16-7 (8-4 Big Ten) after securing its fourth straight win last Saturday with a 3-1 upset of Penn State on the road. Raina Terry finished with a team-high 17 kills, and Megan Cooney turned in 14 kills. Diana Brown had 52 assists with nine digs and guided the Illini to hit .299. Illinois has gone 4-0 since falling to Nebraska in a sweep on Oct. 16 in Lincoln.

Huskers Prepare for Big Ten Fall Championships | Tennis | Huskers.com

The Nebraska men’s tennis team is set to compete in the Big Ten Fall Championships this weekend as they send four players to East Lansing, Michigan. Junior Shunya Maruyama, sophomore Nic Wiedenhorn, and freshmen Calvin Mueller and Roni Hietaranta will be the four Huskers making the trip.

Travel

Airlines Bracing for the Good, Bad and Ugly of Holiday Travel | Travel | Travel Pulse

Despite great optimism that air travel over the holidays could be as brisk as ever, there is a looming perfect storm that could disrupt the lucrative six-week period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. “It’s going to be messy, to say the least,” Helane Becker, senior research analyst at Cowen and Co. and one of the most respected airline analysts in the world, said on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” program.

The Best and Worst US Airports for Flight Delays | Travel | Travel Pulse

The Family Vacation Guide recently revealed the U.S. airports facing flight delays most and least frequently based on data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ “Airline On-Time Statistics and Delay Causes” for the period of July 2019 to July 2021. Here’s a look at the 10 airports that fare the best and the 10 that fare the worst when it comes to punctuality heading into the holiday season.

Five Ways to Get Into Airport Lounges For Free | Travel | Airfarewatchdog

Did you know that you can gain access to airport lounges even when flying in economy and/or on a low-cost carrier like Spirit or Allegiant? You do not need to be flying first-class to enjoy the benefits of a little pampering before your flight.

13 Ways to Travel More Responsibly | Travel | Conde Nast Traveler

As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, our choices will have more weight than ever. Here, how you can do better by the places you visit and the people you meet; the planet; and even yourself.

Sturgeon Spearfishing: Fishing for the Living Dinosaurs of the Midwest | Travel | Conde Nast Traveler

In a total whiteout, with wind and snow whipping my face and no way to tell when the ice I’m standing on stops and the white sky starts, I notice small boxes of color that I recognize as ice shanties across Wisconsin’s Lake Winnebago. In the distance, I hear a chainsaw roaring through the ice, while a couple of teenagers whiz past me on four wheelers. It’s sturgeon spearfishing season in Wisconsin, and the shanties are inhabited by those hoping to spear a beast of a sturgeon.

A Country Being Unified Through Hiking | Travel | BBC

Decades after a civil war littered its landscape and scarred its national psyche, Lebanon is using hiking to teach tourists about the country, and its people more about themselves.

How a Portuguese Fishing Village Tamed a 100 Foot Wave | Travel | BBC

When the first swell of the big wave surfing season, which generally runs from October to March, rolls in, the road to the fort and the cliffs surrounding it fill with thousands of people. All of them are hoping to catch a glimpse of the world’s best big wave surfers attempting their profession’s ultimate feat: risking everything to ride the monstrous, skyscraper-sized waves generated by Europe’s largest underwater canyon.

Paradise Lost: The Rise and Fall of Couchsurfing | Travel | Input Magazine

The once-utopian accommodations site, now headed by an alum of surveillance-analytics firm Palantir, has gone back on its always-free ethos.

The Rest

The Remarkable Story of Man Who Found 162 Bowling Balls Under His House | Sports | ESPN

Olson yanked the first cinder block up with his hands. He took a step back, surprised to see that the ground underneath the steps was sand, not dirt. As he peered into the dark area in the middle of the hole he just made, he couldn’t believe what he saw: three bowling balls, half-covered by the sand. “No way,” Olson said out loud.

Mexican Villages Try to Preserve Authentic Day of the Dead | Culture | Associated Press

While kids in Mexico City donned Halloween-style costumes based on the Netflix series “Squid Game,” people in the village of Arocutín were more concerned with the flower arrangements and candles meant to guide the spirits of the dead home. Residents of Arocutín started hanging up traditional garlands of marigold flowers early morning Sunday to adorn the entrance of the small local cemetery.

Why We Place too Much Trust in the Machines | Future | BBC

While many people might claim to be skeptical of autonomous technology, we may have a deep ingrained trust of machines that traces back to our evolutionary past.

Japan’s Yakuza Crime Networks Are Shedding Members | Crime | Washington Post

Noodle chef Takashi Nakamoto moves so deftly as he boils, strains and arranges his signature plates of udon that it’s easy to overlook the brutal reminder of his former life: his missing left pinkie. Over three decades, Nakamoto rose through the ranks of the Kudo-kai, a violent syndicate of the once-powerful yakuza, a Japanese criminal network whose membership has been chipped away by more-aggressive law enforcement.Noodle chef Takashi Nakamoto moves so deftly as he boils, strains and arranges his signature plates of udon that it’s easy to overlook the brutal reminder of his former life: his missing left pinkie.Over three decades, Nakamoto rose through the ranks of the Kudo-kai, a violent syndicate of the once-powerful yakuza, a Japanese criminal network whose membership has been chipped away by more-aggressive law enforcement.

Can MasterClass Teach You Everything? | Internet | The New Yorker

When MasterClass launched, in 2015, it offered three courses: Dustin Hoffman on acting, James Patterson on writing, and Serena Williams on tennis. Today, there are a hundred and thirty, in categories from business to wellness. During the pandemic lockdown, demand was up as much as tenfold from the previous year; last fall, when the site had a back-to-school promotion, selling an annual subscription for a dollar instead of a hundred and eighty dollars, two hundred thousand college students signed up in a day.