Salon's Patrick Smith, author of the excellent Ask the Pilot column relates the incredibly frustrating -- and quintessential -- story of the day a surly TSA screener confiscated the airline-issue, safe-certified knife from his luggage (part of his hotel stayover emergency kit):
"No, this is no good. You can't take this."
"It's serrated." He is talking about the little row of teeth along the edge. Truth be told, the knife in question, which I've had for years, is actually smaller and less sharp than the knives currently handed out by my airline to its first- and business-class customers. You'd be hard-pressed to cut a slice of toast with it.
"Oh, come on. It is not."
"What do you call these?" He runs his finger along the minuscule serrations.
"Those ... but ... they ... it ..."
"No serrated knives. You can't take this."
"But sir, how can it not be allowed when it's the same knife they give you on the plane!"
"Those are the rules."
"That's impossible. Can I please speak to a supervisor?"
"I am the supervisor."
There are those moments in life when time stands still and the air around you seems to solidify. You stand there in an amber of absurdity, waiting for the crowd to burst out laughing and the "Candid Camera" guy to appear from around the corner.
Except the supervisor is dead serious.
Realizing that I'm not getting my knife back, I try for the consolation prize, which is getting the man to admit, if nothing else, that the rule makes no sense. "Come on," I argue. "The purpose of confiscating knives is to keep people from bringing them onto planes, right? But every person on my flight was legally handed one of these knives with their meals. How can you ... I mean ... it just ... At least admit to me that it's a dumb rule."
"It's not a dumb rule."
White cops from Aiken, SC improperly stopped a car driven by a black woman (they claimed the stop was motivated by temporary tags, but driving with current temporary tags is not grounds for a stop), then improperly questioned her passenger, who voluntarily gave them his ID, then induced a drug dog to “alert” on the […]
Amendment 90 to France’s penal reform bill provides for five year prison sentences and €350,000 fines for companies that refuse to accede to law enforcement demands to decrypt devices.
In 1996, in the midst of the Clinton administration’s attack on the Internet and cryptography, Grateful Dead lyricist and EFF co-founder John Perry Barlow sat down in Davos, Switzerland, where he’d been addressing world leaders on the subject of the Internet and human rights, and wrote one of net-culture’s formative documents: The Declaration of Independence […]
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Bluetooth speakers may be convenient to use, but many of them just aren’t that powerful. Sure, it may be fine if you’re seated in front of the speaker. But move across the room, and you may strain to hear what’s coming from those tiny drivers.There’s a reason why the G-BOOM Wireless Bluetooth Boombox (now $79.99 in the Boing […]