Books with murder verboten on planes?

Sometimes, I can’t figure out for sure if there is a collective complete brain shared among all the people making up the dumb rules we have to live with since authorities successfully used intelligence methods to stop a terrorist attack. This latest involves a man travelling from London to Berlin. Because he had forgotten to remove a cream from his luggage, he was subjected to extra security screening. I don’t like that (which you already know if you’ve read much of my recent posting) but I can live with it – that’s a rule we know about, and he made a minor error and had to pay for it.

While security officers were checking his back, they found a book titled “Murder in Samarkland” which greatly concerned them. This story of former British ambassador Craig Murray’s [bad] experiences in Tashkent (Uzbekistan). That is, it’s based on factual events. But that didn’t seem to matter security personnel.

“Is that about terrorism?”, asked the lady that examined my onboard luggage. “Humm, well, it contains mentions of that, but it’s about your former ambassador to Uzbekistan and more about diplomacy”, I replied politely. “Does it have al-Qaida in it?” I looked a bit confused. “What?” – “Well, I have to check this with my manager, the rest of your stuff is fine, though.”

The manager then came after a minute or two. “Hello Sir, can you tell me about this book?” “Sure, it is about Craig Murray, former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan.” “Where, if I may ask, did you buy this book?” – “Well, it is available at any Waterstones here in Britain. I just bought my copy in the Angel branch yesterday.”

“I am afraid you cannot take this onboard, Sir.” You must be kidding me. I just spent 20 pounds on a book that, despite arousing some controversy in the UK, should not be banned onboard a flight to Germany. I understand that the terror plot (which coincidentally seems to have an Uzbek dimension) makes for some overwrought nerves.

More wow moments in time. Yes, a book is allowed, unless it has a scary word in the title.

[tags]More troubles for air travellers, Book with “Murder” in the title not allowed on a plane[/tags]

Nuts? Electricity = Ahhhhh

Sometimes, I marvel at the things we try in our attempts to make everyone “normal” in life. The latest thing I’ve chuckled over is electroshock, just because I wonder how the idea that this would help someone ever came up. Specifically, this bit on electric shock being used to treat the insane at Modern Mechanix (from the way back in November 1940 issue of Popular Science) made me think about this.


Insane Patients Helped by Electric Shock Treatment

Fighting insanity with electric shock is the most dramatic recent advance in the field of medicine. At the New York State Psychiatric Institute, in. New York City, seemingly hopeless cases of the most common forms of insanity, schizophrenia and dementia praecox, have been shocked back to apparent mental health by the new treatment. Electrodes, at the ends of a caliperlike instrument, are placed just in front of the ears on the patient’s head. From seventy to 100 volts of current pass through his brain. The result is a violent convulsion resembling an epileptic seizure.

In some cases, a single electric shock achieves what seems to be a medical miracle, restoring the patient to sanity. Previously, insulin, snake venom, and metrazol, have been used to produce shock. The electric treatment is painless, leaves no after effects, and costs less than shock-producing drugs.

[tags]Modern Mechanix, Insane patients helped by electric shock[/tags]

British Airways considers aerial photography dangerous?

Well, this is just shockingly unfathomable. While flying home from India, Josh Simons wanted to take a few landscape photos at 35,000+ feet. After snapping only a few pictures, a flight attendent closed his window shade and informed him that aerial photography is not allowed on British Airways flights for security reasons. WTF?

On my recent trip back from India on Britis h Airways, I was inspired by Julieanne Kost’s recent book, Window Seat (not to be confused with another book of the same title by Dicum) to snap some landscape photos at 35000 feet. I think we were over Iran at the time. After taking several shots, imagine my surprise when one of the BA attendants closed the window shade and informed me that it was against British Airways policy for passengers to take such photos for security reasons. I thought she was kidding, but the head attendant confirmed what I had been told. And that it had nothing to do with where we were flying.

One commenter on the article says his checks with other employees of British Airways indicate this aerial photography ban is not company policy, but could not account for Josh’s experience.

[tags]British Airways bans aerial photography?, Photos from 35000 feet considered a security risk?[/tags]

T-Shirts can now be security risks

Poor Dave Osborne. Seems he was a threat to everyone on his flight. Thankfully, someone in security knew how to eliminate the threat.

A TOURIST was told to turn his T-shirt inside-out at an airport — as a picture of two guns on it was deemed a SECURITY RISK.

Dave Osborne, 21, was bound for Newark, New Jersey, when guards hauled him out of the queue for his Guns N Rollers T-shirt.

They told him the two pistols on the front could constitute a security risk and upset passengers.

He was ordered to turn his top inside out before boarding.

The design engineer from Lichfield, Staffs, said: “I am all for extra security but this was just plain stupid.”

I agree, Dave. I agree.

Last night bosses at Birmingham International Airport apologised and said security guards “over-reacted”.

Gee, you think?  You know, I’m really thinking I need to add a “Stupid people/procedures” category for my site.
I won’t post the image, as the site has a right-click blocker saying “Blah, blah, protected image.” Yes, this is easy to disable, but if they don’t want me posting their image, I won’t. Just hit the site to see the security risk just recently discovered by the amazingly brilliant people who are protecting us all.

[tags]Security providers proving dumber over time, T-shirt a security risk due to scary word[/tags]

How to stop mouth-breathing

Sadly, this device to stop mouth breathing won’t stop mouth-breathers.


You can make sure that you breathe through your nose during the day, but one-third of your time you are asleep.
The Davis Chin Supporter scops mouth breathing and thereby prevents snoring, also the various throat and ear troubles directly due to mouth breathing. It’s fine mesh canvas or linen fits like a glove and washes like a handkerchief. It will add to your good health and spirits. Measure size around crown of head and point of chin. By mail, postpaid, Cotton— $2.00, Linen—$3.00, Mesh—$4.00.
Dept. P. C. 507 Fifth Avenue

Ad originally from the March 1922 issue of Physical Culture magazine. Information taken from the post at the Modern Mechanix blog.

[tags]How to stop mouth breathing, No longer mouth breathing != no longer mouth breather[/tags]

Fox reporter attacked while investigating crook

It’s nearly 8 minutes long, and the volume is screwed up in the second half, but this video is still worth watching.  A Fox news reporter was meeting with someone who had been defrauded.  During the meeting, the wife of the crook badgers the two men.  Then, the crook shows up and attacks like Sean Penn on a young camera-man.  The reporter takes a pretty significant beating.  But the cops show up and all ends right.

[tags]When crooks attack, Fox reporter attacked by crook[/tags]

Foxtrot FTW

I’m a week late on this, but as I’m still catching up on a lot of the news of the world from recent traveling and auto-repair (done by me, glorious handy-man that I am not), I feel self-forgiving. That out of the way, how accurate is this Foxtrot from last week? Sounds a lot like my wish for how to live.  Anyone else act/think this way?

[tags]Foxtrot, Labor day, The working man[/tags]

Stupid Security 2006 call for nominees

Privacy International has opened up their Stupid Security 2006 contest with a call for nominees. If you aren’t familiar with the contest, I recommend looking back at the 2003 winners (the last year the contest was held).

Here’s some background for this year’s contest.

We’ve all been there. Standing for ages in a security line at an inconsequential office building only to be given a security pass that a high school student could have faked. Or being forced to produce photo ID for even the most innocent activity.

(long article follows)

Continue reading “Stupid Security 2006 call for nominees”

Cool retro Nintendo clock

(via Destructoid)

nintendo_clock.jpgWhen I first saw this on Destructoid, I thought about picking it up. Then I noticed the same problem the Destructoid poster noticed – no power plug. This clock only runs off batteries. While I suppose that would make it good for travellers who want a cool clock to wake them in the morning, I’d like to have something like this that I could just leave on my nightstand and have it wake me every morning. But I’m just cool like that, you know. 🙂

If you are interested, you can pick one up at ThinkGeek for ~$25.  It even includes what is being called a mini-game, but I find it hard to give it full credit as a game, even mini:

Playing the Mini-Game:
Push “select” until you see a series of zeros (this is your previous high-score in the game). Push the “start” button and the game will begin with a sound from Super Mario Bros. The object is to push the “A” and “B” buttons as rapidly as possible within 10 seconds. The two small numbers on the right represent the number of seconds remaining, while the large numbers on the left indicate the number of button pushes (your score). If you score above 160 then a secret alarm sound will be unlocked. After you play the game once, the clock will remember your previous high-score.

I don’t think the quarter comes with the clock, either (nor do batteries, for that matter).

[tags]Retro Nintendo clock, Travel clock for retro-heads[/tags]