The ignorance expressed in this passage is beyond anything I've encountered in a long time. In my letters to Matlin and the editors at Slate (thus far unanswered), I did my best to rein in my temper, turning instead to one of my most reliable and, I think, useful analogies: High-tech cockpit equipment assists pilots in the way that high-tech medical equipment assists doctors. It has vastly improved their capabilities as professionals, but it by no means degrades the experience and skill required to perform at that level, and has not come remotely close to rendering them redundant. Thus, modern commercial airplanes can "fly themselves" about as much as the modern operating room can perform a surgical procedure "by itself."
Except of course that someone saw fit to publish them. And apparently thought that visiting 30 airports in 3o days was worth doing. Big fan of pat-downs?
Anyway, I'm wondering if this will eventually lead to an epic battle between Slate and Salon. Since everything I've ever seen from Slate has made me want to go back in time and uninvent the Internet, my side is already chosen.