“The Universe: A Walk through Space and Time” is a new interactive exhibit at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium.

Terrorism and civil rights

The International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., lends its expertise to a new exhibit at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center in Skokie, Ill. “Spies, Traitors and Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America” looks at how the United States seeks to maintain civil liberties and individual rights during times of conflict and crisis.

The exhibit at the museum, 9603 Woods Dr., offers stories of espionage, treason and deception that have played out in America since its beginning — a topic again at the forefront since terrorists struck on U.S. soil on Sept. 11, 2001.

For details on the Illinois Holocaust Museum and the “Spies” exhibit, see ilholocaustmuseum.org.

Taking up space

Another museum exhibit takes visitors to a completely different place — outer space.

“The Universe: A Walk through Space and Time” opened on Friday at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, 1300 S. Lake Shore Dr., and features interactive displays that delve into some of our most vexing questions: How big is the universe? How did it begin? Are we alone in it? The exhibit pairs with Adler’s Grainger Sky Theater showing of “Welcome to the Universe” to offer an experience the planetarium is billing as “Summer of the Universe.”

Multimedia displays in the exhibit explain the formation of stars, planets and galaxies, and touch screens allow guests to investigate deep space.

“The Universe” is presented in the Adler’s newly renovated Pritzker Hall of Cosmology. For details on the exhibit and visiting the museum, check adlerplanetarium.org.

Andrea Zani

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Q. What’s up with families not being able to sit together on an airplane? Do the airlines hate families?

A. Of course airlines don’t hate families, but they love revenue more. To increase earnings, airlines now may charge a fee for window or aisle seats, premium seats, and seats selected more than 24 hours in advance of a trip. If you’re a family of three or more, you may face paying a fee or sitting apart when all the free seats are already booked.

The airlines have little wiggle room when it comes to switching people around, given how full planes are these days. Last year, planes flew at an average of 83 percent capacity, according to Bureau of Transportation statistics.

But you still may be able to ask the airline to reseat you to avoid having your 4-year-old seated between two strangers. Call the airline directly and, if nothing is open the first time you ask, check back 24 hours before your flight, as that’s when some seats might be released.

If that doesn’t work, your next recourse is to ask the gate agent or flight attendant. And if that still doesn’t work? Beg your fellow passengers. Someone eventually might volunteer to move so said 4-year-old can sing to you instead of them all the way home.

Los Angeles Times

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