Flights can be boring, and one flyer has found an interesting pastime with sociological significance. Versions of this would make for interesting projects investigating how race and gender are represented in print ads.

What blogger Fi5e did was cut out the pictures of people in the Skymall catalog and then arrange them according to a number of factors. Reported on a post titled “Skymall Liberation,” Fi5e summarizes the experiment this way:

Here is a fun way to waste a couple of hours on your next flight. Rip out all of the faces from the Skymall Catalog. You will see from all of their smiling faces that they are pleased with their liberation. The images can then be used to create data visualizations of Skymall demographics. Return the vandalized catalog to its home in the seat back in front of you for the next passenger to stumble upon.

The site includes pictures of the results laid out on the seat tray.

White vs. Non-White Skymall Images

Non-White vs. White Skymall Images

There is also a link to a Flickr site with the full images.

Of course it would be possible to conduct similar experiments with other magazines and newspapers (and some sociologists have done so in the past).

Hat tip to for the link.