Your mugshot was constructed..
.. by a British plumber.
Have a nice weekend :)
“Excuse me, sir, may I see your passport?” You have to give credit to white-collar Americans, even the seven-foot Richard Kiel cosplay US government thug in front of me: they are so polite. The odd thing was that I haven’t reached the States yet. I haven't even boarded the plane. In fact, I am still at Heathrow and had been …
Ugh. Shitty American chocolate:
There's PGPR (polyglycerol polyricinoleate) which is why KitKat bars taste/feel like motor oil.
Then there's butyric acid in Hershey's bars. It is present in, and is the main distinctive smell of, human vomit. It's why they have that faint taste of vomit and the rubbery feel.
People give me that stuff and wonder why I trash it instantly. "But I thought you *liked* chocolate!?" I do... that's not chocolate.
Historically i believe Mr. Hershey used sour milk to make chocolate, specifically to differentiate from American made. I'm not sure what they do to it nowadays...
Like so many things, we are biased by our first exposures in life. I too crave a little bit of childhood when Terry's easter eggs, and wine gums are concerned. In Oxford there is a co-op on Walton St which was perilously placed between my college and my flat - that way leads to calorific despair....
But America is a big place and there is some *awesome* chocolate made here "european style", if you want to think like that... "endangered species chocolate" (www.chocolatebar.com). Genius marketing because the chocolate tastes almost as good as their mission statement....
I'll get my coat...
for daring to step off the kerb, sorry sidewalk when there was no moving traffic in sight....
'Jaywalking is Felony, punishable by a year in Jail, SIR!'. ***
The wonders of the USA.
Smile please, give us your finger prints and don't even dare to talk back to the Immigration Officers even when asked a direct question as it could be used in evidence against you.
*** I'm not exaggerating here. This was shouted at me less than 3 months ago.
I got dragged off to a private chat, when I wasn't sure of the address I was staying at.
They also don't get humor at that point, nor the fact I could of just put down any old hotel name and it wouldn't of been an issue. Hey Ho, there were no rubber gloves involved and didn't miss my flight so i didn't mind all that much.
I always wondered what the hell "jaywalking" was, and why most countries have no concept of it. Turns out that it was more or less invented by the US automotive industry - apparently it was their way of fighting back against negative publicity when the first cars started killing pedestrians on the roads.
The BBC ran a brilliant article about it: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-26073797
"Re: Jaywalking - an artificial crime
I used to think that Jaywalking laws served no purpose. Then I had to drive around Sleaford a few times. In a really badly planned town I can see them being useful."
The only planning in Sleaford revolves around the Grammar being kept as far away as possible from the(*) High School.
(*) Boys Grammar & Girls' secondary high school for the unfamiliar.
Worst place in the country for getting stopped by traffic police. Been stopped in Sleaford more times than I've ever been there (almost). Last time was "for driving at dusk with spotlamps on".
Slightly embelished (but not much), 'tis the weekend..
Me: they're not spotlamps.
Him: Yes they are.
Me: (whatever) It's not dark.
Him: It is now.
Me: How did you see them from behind?
Him: You've a tail light out.
Me: (tries to get out of car but pushed back in) to look.
Him: It's an offence.
Me: What is? Now it's dark I can see them in my mirrors.
Him: Number plate light.
Me: Not a tail light then?
Him: Got ID?
Me: (had enough at this point so getting sarky) Yes.
Him: Care to show it to me?
Me: Nope. Never carry my licence with me. It got stolen once. Had no end of hassle off you chaps because of it.
Him: You do know I can arrest you for that?
Him: Get out of the car
Me: Can't. You won't let me.
Him: I need to know this car isn't stolen.
Me: I've told you my name. Has my car been reported stolen? I ought to be the first to know!
Him: Have you any ID?
Me: I've got a wallet
Him: Show it to me.
Me: (resisting urge to ask how he knows it's not stolen). Need to get up.
Him: Is this your credit card?
Me: (it really did go on like this for quite some time)
while(adinfinitum) #Terry Prachett
Him: Is this your <whatever>
Me: (leaving it until last) oh, & my advanced drivers thingy.
Him: Thrusts all my bits back at me. Does u-turn & just fucks off. Not a word.
It was mildly asmusing because he stepped into the road. We're just before the boy's grammar school, Ledenham side (where he picked me up). A couple of young lads caned it past out of town, "wanker" was all I heard. Pretty much figured that out for myself chaps!
As an aside, I was on crutches with 15" of staples down my stomach, a knackered knee & shoulder. At no point did he ask if I was capable to drive.
> for daring to step off the kerb, sorry sidewalk when there was no moving traffic in sight...
That's because most Americans are too stupid here to actually look before they cross the road. You would not believe how many people in Orlando die that way. It's even worse because they've started turning off road lights at night because they can't afford the electricity.
I might actually be convinced to give up voting rights to live in a free country.
Because that's what we have here in North America. Voting rights, and tremendous restrictions on daily activities. Jaywalking. Foolish speed limits. Drinking laws. Walking on the grass. Militarized policing. You name it.
I've been around the world a few times, and other places (not North America) typically have more day-to-day freedoms. Even if they're a military dictatorship. It's weird.
I think, it´s weird that 43% of US citizens don´t understand that every no vote is two upvotes for the existing system that takes away their daily-life-freedom with sometimes most bizarre laws. Go and vote for the liberals or the greens or whatever just to express your unhappiness with the reps or dems. If you don´t vote you give two votes to the ones you don´t want. two- nil for the ones you don´t like if you don´t vote. one-one if you vote against what you don´t want and win a vote against them even though your chosen party does not stand a chance to be elected. The 43% of non voters like in the last elections could make a difference if they only could get there arses up to vote for anything against what is not what they want.
simple, isn´t it?
"Re: What wonderful society - North America
I recently discovered that in America, it's generally illegal to drink alcohol in public!"
Same here in most city centre's. Trouble is you can't tell when & where so methinks the secret is to just get bladdered & not give a shit until the 'morrow.
I grew up behind the Iron Curtain and then I lived a couple of years in the Land of the Free (among many other countries). The U.S. of A felt strangely familiar to the old country: the love for everything military, the universal hatred for the government, the hollow patriotism and the potholes.
Arriving at JFK I usually catch myself whistling 'back to USSR'...
Yes, Mr. Dabbs, we'd love to have you visit our lovely West Coast sometime. One problem though - it seems you're not good looking enough. Since our average IQ can be calculated by summing the IQ of the top 5 YouTube music video stars (Miley, Shakira, your dreaded Wil.I.Am, Psy, Demi) and dividing by 6, we need a different way of judging your worthiness in our smiley faced state. Maybe if you looked like our favorite 007, Pierce Brosnan.
On metadata - I suspect you're being associated with the cumulative search terms used by all of your followers. I just searched for 'puppies frolicking in grass'. Good luck, you bestialitiy pedo drug addict!
Was that Lexington, Ky, or Va or Ma... so many states have the same city names! In any case they are in the eastern US. And yes, people do live in funny mock castle style house in parts of SF. I had an old colleague that moved there and he shared one of those McMansions...
Well you were lucky. I was once stranded for a month in the middle of deepest darkest Tennessee. The problem was I was a student with *no driving license*. Big problem. I was dropped off in the middle of town with a load of sweaty washing and a rough idea of where the laundromat was. However it was across the road and there is no pavement (=sidewalk for the Americans out there). I nearly got run over a few times jaywalking as there were no pedestrian crossings either.
Funny enough the town was strictly segregated, not sure how because there seemed to be no laws to that affect, but there seemed to be an invisible border straight through the town. The laudromat was in the 'coloured'' part of town and I was the only white face in there, they were all very helpful there, but did seem to treat me like a novelty in there. Especially with a British accent. It was all very strange and I felt like I'd jumped back to the segregation era and it was only 20 years ago. I certainly hope that it has improved.
The place I wandered to they claimed didn't have "white guys". One Black dude wanted to buy my brown jeans that had leather edging on the pockets etc. On Monday back at office (elsewhere in Ohio) they were amazed that:
1) I wasn't injured or had anything stolen
2) Car was intact when I when I returned to it.
I was last in USA in 1989. I've no desire to return as I hate long haul flights, security and can't afford to visit the more interesting to me bits such as Mountains and National Parks. Four long business trips has stated my curiosity for US Cities.
Keep up the good work Dabbs.
When asked ANY kind of question by a US govman, make an effort to be as vague and uninformative as possible. That's not because of some tinfoil-hatted theory but because they are almost all poor sods who failed the interview to enter Wallmart security. They just follow the script, and they have keywords that they have to followup on. To avoid inadvertently muttering one of these, always be as vague as possible, avoid multisyllabic words, basically avoid saying anything that you would not find in a "my first book of words" book (and make sure to avoid the more complicated ones in these, too).
If the trick questions from the government agent are occurring at the far end of a distant flight, then do not hesitate to respond roughly as follows:
"Sir (or Ma'am). I'm sorry, but I've been up for 36 hours straight getting prepared for this trip, packing, traveling to the airport, hours and hours at the airport, a very long flight. So, I'm mentally exhausted. I'm having difficulty following the mental gymnastics of your quadruple-negative tricky questions. Now... what is it exactly that you'd like to know?"
I used this once (perfectly honestly) and it worked wonders. Buddy Agent backed right off (verbally) and was instantly more accommodating. We worked through the information he needed and everyone was happy-happy.
> Yet I have often wondered at that peculiar question...
> “Tell me about your Turkish connections.”
It's simple enough. All it means is that they already knew who you were, where you had been and that information had triggered a request for a spook to "spook" you at the airport with a seemingly random (ha!) check. They already had your description. They already knew you'd been to some place that shared a border with Iraq. The "stop" wasn't random and the question about Turkey was a pre-planned, gentle reminder for you, that you were on their radar.
Your answer was irrelevant as the message (we know you) had already been delivered. That's all it was about.
"You have a naive, almost childlike, belief in the competence of government organisations..."
Not so... I have a friend who was in the TA, who volunteered for a tour to Afghanistan. His sister had (several years before) spent some time studying in South America, and had travelled to Columbia and then Cuba on a (valid) ID from the country she was studying in. Didn't have her UK passport. Pre-9/11.
Said friend was called for a security review before being allowed to go on tour. The only question was 'So, tell us about your sisters Columbian connections, and who she met with in Cuba...'
I went to a meeting for a grant application in a Country whose name I'd rather not mention to random strangers on the Internet. I'm sure various agencies know exactly where and when.
They asked a lot of questions about my boss.
They knew everything. Every trip by everyone.
The Interviewer was only prepared to admit he was NOT with the Commerce people.
It was interesting what he claimed they suspected us of. It seemed plausible even to me. In the end he told me and my colleague that either my boss was very clever or very stupid. By implication us too.
We voted for "Stupid".
My colleague was "taken away" from home that night and questioned more. He wouldn't tell us what the questions were and couldn't say where he was taken.
You only hear about stupid stuff!
I'd suggest if your friend was in the TA his background may have been more thoroughly checked than your average punter at the airport. The questions about your relatives on the standard security vetting form are almost as intrusive as the State Departments visa application for people from the Middle East. Mind you they don't seem to notice if you make stuff up on that as the 50 members of the Iraqi Navy I completed the forms for all got in and out okay and I made half of it up...
Some years back, at the immigration desk I got asked "Have you been to <some US city> on such <date>", I said no, and the guy just said "OK thanks, enjoy your vacation".
I never knew what prompted such a specific question, and the guy did not seem much bothered by my anwser.
@ Bob Wheeler
At the other end of the world, I entered Russia for the first time a few years ago. Got to immigration, and a nice lady in a big green hat peered down at me from a lectern-type thingy.
I hand it over. Nice lady riffles through it, looks at me, riffles through again.
"Do you spik Russian?"
"Excellent. Welcome to Moscow."
And that was it. The passport was full of visas and worrying entry stamps - north and south America, most of the -istans, India, Middle East, Far East... I got around a bit for the Beeb in those days.
On another occasion, at the Tajikistan/Uzbekistan border at three in the morning, I recall the taxi driver arguing with the border guard about whether the bribe for entry should be one or two dollars. I was carrying fifty thousand dollars in cash... actually, that was quite fun since I had declared it all properly on arriving at Tashkent, and the customs guy had asked to touch it. He said he'd never seen so much money in one place.
"The police rarely ask questions they don't already know the answers to.
How would they like it if I walked up to a policeman while holding a big watch and asked the time?"
Can you prove you own that watch Sir? Or, if all else fails, accuse you of being a Time Lord - "were you aware sir that the carrying of personalities within a fob, is contrary to section 7 of er,, (mumble).
that probably wasn't true a few decades ago, because technology simply wasn't there.
However if you read the Glen Greenwald article on the new Trrrst DB, and how arbitrary it is to be added to their list!!
I would be more worried about the answers they *think* they know...
Are there several training courses that the workers in the Department of homeland immigration and border controls (or whatever that particular law enforcement agency is currently called) have to go through to ensure they have not one scrap of a sense of humo(u)r or empathy left before they are let loose on the poor 'foreign' idiots that have chosen to spend some time and money in the states?
On my first and only trip so far, the first 3 words mumbled by the [clerk|guard|officer] were 'business or vacation'? which left me staring blankly at him for a few seconds whilst my sleep deprived and dehydrated brain attempted to determine the source language and translate it into my native English.
Eventually my response was 'Oh, um, holiday' ... blank stare returned for 2 seconds ... 'um, vacation, yes'. followed by the where will you be staying ('travelling all over' is a bad answer), how long, etc.
Even just a 'good morning' / 'good afternoon' to allow my brain to get into first gear would have been nice - I realise it's probably quite a mind-numbing job, but some hint of civility and human recognition might make the day a little less tedious, and make me feel less disinclined to ever visit again.
Of course, at the end of the questions, being British, I took my passport back, thanked him and then joined the next queue...
On the half-dozen times I've been to the US, they have always had a significant lack of humour.
On one trip they where very perplexed that my wife was travelling under her maiden name - we had only been married a year at that point and she hadn't renewed her passport. They just couldn't get their heads around that one.
I was stopped by Highway Patrol in USA outside Wooster Ohio.
They were very thrown by a UK British Driving Licence and a newish Irish Passport. Explaining I'd never had an Irish Licence or British Passport confused him more.
He had to radio someone but let me go. Fortunately I had a Indefinite Stay, Multiple Entry perpetual visa stamped in the Passport. I don't think too common then.
I lived and drove (legally) in Ireland for 8 years before I had to hand in my British Licence (renewed) and get an Irish one in exchange.
I heartily recommend going via Dublin or Shannon.
Not only can you have a craic in the land of the black stuff for the weekend prior/after - you also get to be pre-cleared by US immigration so come through the domestic channel on USian soil.
As a brucie bonus the America Border staff based there are basically on an all expenses 6 months trip to Ireland - so they are generally fairly relaxed and on a number of occasions have displayed a sense of humour.
No, there is no special school for these TSA & ICE people, it's just a low paying wage job, done by people who don't care much until somebody tries to make a joke. Have you ever flown to Germany or Switzerland? No humor there either, humor and niceties take time these folks don't get paid for.
As I said, it's not uncommon to be humorless. Empathy costs money too!
Too many people, too little pay and too many "wise guys" makes Jack a dull boy.
You might not go there but what if they come to you as is their wont?
I once tried to help some US Marines and indicated that if they took fire I would cover them as I was 5 stories higher than they.
They called a gun ship in on me!!! Luckily the pilots knew what a massive French flag meant and also what a green beret indicated and I got off with a very close fly past and wave from a good old boy.
All in all I have no interest getting involved with them or visiting their democratic paradise on earth.
As for Snowden and metadata, I want to know more about his work for the CIA at Dell. What was all that about? exploding laptops, shaped charge phablets, malware resident in BIOS' and disk images.
One interesting fact is that the more low quality non targeted data one has, the harder it is to mine, wood and trees etc..
At least you didn't get the gem that according to a friend who works at Gatwick security some of his colleagues like to throw in occasionally - "Has anyone put anything in your luggage without your knowledge?". Apparently the number of people who automatically just answer "no" is depressingly large.
Oh and enquiring minds want to know - did you get the steely stare from his eyes or his mouth?
"If it was without my knowledge then HOW THE F*CK WOULD I KNOW ???"
Thank you for explaining that I would never have done sufficient exegesis to get it for myself.
What annoys me the most as a frequent traveller is the fact that those twin towers are costing me hours per trip fannying around. There is a point when too much security becomes bad security.
>> those twin towers are costing me hours per trip fannying around
Strictly speaking, the most annoying fannying is the direct result of Richard Read, a Briton, and his matchstick soles and lack of braincells. Don't blame the Americans.
"Strictly speaking, the most annoying fannying is the direct result of Richard Read, a Briton, and his matchstick soles and lack of braincells. Don't blame the Americans."
I would say that the world we live in today has been shaped by US policy over the years. Do not forget who funded a lot of these people and allowed them to mutate into the organisations they are today. Do not forget that the actions of certain countries have a knock on effect and can promote terrorism by their action or inaction. We live in a febrile state of paranoia, we are alienating people left right and center and essentially generating a climate where in some sectors of the world it is cool to be a terrorist or to take the path to Jihad and become Shahid.
I don't know about "Richard Read" but Richard Reid was trained by an organisation that was supported and funded by the US in its early days. He is a mere chicken that has come home to roost there are many others.
The expansion of the US empire has shaken up the world and has a direct effect on my life, travel, personal security etc. I for one do not like it one bit
But Richard is laughing his ass off every day thinking about how badly he sent us into a spin whilst surviving the ordeal intact. Now he only has to declare himself trans gender and get re-assigned to a womens prison and he's set for life.
Those "twin towers" signified the deaths of over 3,000 innocent people from multiple countries. You should leave comments like that out of your posts you fucking troll.
You could have just mentioned the 'too much security" and been done with it but you had to bring in something truly unneccessary.
This is the same kind of security you see everywhere these days, it's NOT extraordinary.
"This is the same kind of security you see everywhere these days, it's NOT extraordinary."
His point was perfectly valid - prior to 7/11 - it WAS extraordinary.
Prior to 7/11 the UK endured a concerted IRA terrorist campaign for 28 years with 600+ civilian deaths and hundreds more incidents with a fraction of the security theatre we now have to put up with. the only meaningful incident since that time in the UK has been 7/7 at 52 deaths and you'll note there isn't a strip search getting on the UK Tube.
YMMV - but I think his point stands.
"Security" all depends on what's an issue in the country at the time and where you came from or have been.
If an American flew to Brittain in the same time period as the IRA issues, we got the third degree if you were of Irish ancestry or had an obviously Irish last name.
And for the record that's 9/11 NOT 7/11. 7/11 is the convenience store.
FWIW you can never stop the concerted efforts of a terrorist with "security", it's all theatre!
You have more camera's in your country than people, they don't HAVE to strip search you.
"This is the same kind of security you see everywhere these days, it's NOT extraordinary."
Sorry but this is crap. The UK put up with decades of US funded terrorism on its own shores. We'd go to the pubs in the city centre's & just think "fuck it". If some dignitary was expected they might seal up the bins along the route (for what use that might have been).
More US citizens died on D-Day than 9/11. By that measure all your german & japanese residents should still be in camps? Al-Qaeda doesn't have to *do* anything. It just has to have a credible voice. It is blindly obvious 9/11 was an unexpected terrorist success. Much more successful is their subsequent propaganda campaign in that they're bringing their hated western governments closer to the hard-line political system they espouse.
Just ignore them. Meanwhile, educate the susceptible such that it isn't seen as cool to go trundling off to the likes of syria.
"Just ignore them. Meanwhile, educate the susceptible such that it isn't seen as cool to go trundling off to the likes of syria"
Agreed and I think that the US has handed the terrorist brotherhood a massive victory with their actions post twin towers. In my opinion the world is now a shitty place and getting worse by the minute
In the past 50 years I can't recall a military adventure that the Americans have one, you would think they would get the message by now.
Heh, that's just reminded me of my first trip to 'murrica in the 90's - the Polish stamps in my [UK] passport gave them some cause for concern. I think they must have looked 'a bit commie'. Luckily I'd ticked the box to say I wasn't a turrrrist, so was let in ;-)
LPT: In answer to the 'where are you staying' question, it is not advisable to tiredly say 'how the fsck should I know? I've only just arrived'... :)
The other question that used to confuse us on the old visa waiver form was the one that said "are you a Nazi or have you or your family ever been involved with them' (or something to that effect).
Since my partner is descended from the five percent of her family that got out of Germany in the thirties - the rest remain in Dachau and Auschwitz - the answer was obviously 'yes'.
The reason for asking all of those obviously daft questions is actually very clever: say you're a terrorist, but you answer no to the "are you a terrorist?" question. Now when they catch you trying to set off your underpants in the loo they can add immigration fraud and lying to government officials to your charge sheet. Worth another 30 years in prison at least.
The last time I had the misfortune to set foot in the USA, the answer to "Where are you staying?" was "Nowhere, I'm getting a connecting flight in about 3 hours, assuming you let me through in time to catch it that is."
That seemed to confuse them. Mind you, it was about 3 months after 9/11 - most everything seemed to confuse them then.
Before 9/11, if you were getting a connecting flight, you didn't need to go through customs and immigration. After 9/11, that changed, although I have no idea exactly why. But it annoyed the crap out of me, connecting at LAX en route from London to Auckland. "I've just got off a 12 hour flight, and I'm just about to get on another one, and standing in queues waiting to be questioned about things that I have no wish to do, like 'visiting your country', is not my ideal for how to relax between the two."
And to give them credit, even at that difficult time, they were still human enough to let me through despite a slight show of exasperation on my part. But like I said, I haven't been back since. Nowadays, when I want to make that trip, I'll pay extra if necessary to fly via Asia.
Actually, more to the point, what's wrong with a Turkish connection. Turkey, for those Americans who are geographically challenged, is in NATO and has been for a long time. Apart from their music, which should be banned under the Geneva convention, they are very welcoming and helpful.
Actually Turkeys come from America, so, in fact they deserve what happens to them on Thanksgiving. That's the Americans settlers for you, one part of the locals they murdered in their millions via smallpox, gunpowder, and atrocious Tonto impressions, the other part they just ate.
My pleasant passport chap tried this on a recent trip to LA...
His opening gambit was - spain are out of the world cup, now I don't give a rats ass about such things, but I immediately feigned an interest.
His second question was about what I did for a living, I was terrified as I work for IBM, and he wanted to know exactly what I did. I tried to make it sound exciting, I think I got away with it to.
Last minute business trip -- problems with the testing of a controller PCB I had designed by our Israeli subsidiary -- getting in was no problem. Getting out, however, had me spending an hour with a nice officer, explaining who I was, what I did and why I had only spent 40 hours in their wonderful country.
Luckily, I had a lab notebook, schematics and a wealth of detail to bore the nice officer with. Turns out, if I had had a written letter of invitation from the subsidiary, it would have been "have a nice day and enjoy your flight"
I played it straight, they let me leave. On a Lufthansa flight, through Frankfurt, which I thought was a bit surreal.
// Oh yeah, I had to pay import duty (a couple hundred dollars IIRC) on the replacement board I brought with me.
On a Lufthansa flight, through Frankfurt,
Ah, Lufthansa. The airline that insists on seeing a printed copy of your ESTA at check-in even when the ESTA clearly says that you have no need to carry a hard copy. Thank heavens for smarthones & free airport wifi.
Getting in an out was always a bugger. I used to get asked where I was going, what number bus I was taking, where that parked in Tel Aviv, who i knew and what my rifle number was. That was back in the mid 80s when the US was just gearing up funding and training for what would become the Talaban / Al Qaeda.
Their security is very good and very exact with knowledgeable well trained operatives along with the odd spook. The US could learn some of these targeted techniques. Sadly the US learned one bad technique from the Israeli's when they fire from the drones, kill them all and let God recognize his own is the order of the day. Oooh, sorry I meant that 'collateral' damage is no longer an issue.
Why would I, a civilized human being, want to go to the terrorist state of Israel in the first place? Serious question.
 A Rabbi friend of mine has been calling it that since we were at Stanford together, 30 years ago. In his opinion, the entire hell-hole that is the middle-east makes the perpetrators responsible for the US Civil War look like pikers, and has done for thousands of years. In his words "They need to grow up and accept that they are all related, the lot of them".
 Or anywhere else in the middle-east, just so I'm not accused of being anti-semitic.
 Daftest thing about THAT bit o' lingo is that Arabic is a semitic language ...
You try telling either party that they are more closely related to each other than Europeans, Africans or Asians; that Palestinian DNA falls slap bang in the middle of the Jewish groupings, and so they are all basically blood brothers....and wait for the fireworks to fly (....or rockets, bombs, shells whatever).
Mind you expecting 'we hate them because they are "X" race' to have some logic or sense to it is just wasting time.
Look up "Y-DNA Haplogroups" and "human migration". Look at J1 and J2 groups in specific. Now place these concepts in the context of the middle east today.
In theory, you'll understand why Jews & Arabs are blood-brothers, like it or not. The entire cluster-fuck is nothing more than a glorified family feud. Which they all seem to glorify, alas. They really need to get over it, this is the 21st century, not 2,000BCE, the year dot, or 610 CE.
Me? Glad you asked. I'm N1c (Finnic). My mother's brothers are N1b (Ugric).
Never mind trying to explain why you are only in the country for 12 hours to transit by road from NY into Canada via Buffalo - it took multiple explanations (and 2 tired hungry crying children and a Mrs dying for a fag) before they reluctantly let us go. Ironically a week before 9/11
My first interview with a US Immigration Officer went on like this: 'What's your profession?' 'Computer Network Engineer.' 'Did you say Chemical Engineer?'. Then blah, blah, five minutes later, the same question, same answer, same reply. No, it was not just twice. Other five minutes later... Oh, it was just my two-year-old Pakistani visa that I had in my European passport. That was in 2007. One year after: 'Oh, I see you've been to Pakistan...'.
The writer's observation, below, is spot on.
if you call up a photo of a sports car and click on "More like this", it’ll present you with pictures of bananas. Ask a computer to extract metadata from a document about cod fishing in the North Sea and it’ll generate keywords such as "spanner", "espadrille" and "buttocks".
It goes to the heart of why wholesale data collection and mining pose such a threat to individual rights and freedoms.
They cannot get it right, even theoretically. The best and most accessible discussion of the problem of this aspect of data classification is in a couple of papers by Tom Fawcett, on something called ROC curves. ROC originally stood for "receiver operating characteristic", referring to the ability of a receiver to classify targets in noise. An analogous phenomenon occurs in pattern matching in digital data, where the term "relative operating characteristic" is used.
Googling "Tom Fawcett" ROC analysis] (without the brackets) should produce relevant results in the first few hits.
When those who govern use automated profiling as actionable information the targeted individual is in rotten fish-head soup.
The question of whether those who govern are ignorant of how data classification works or are simply using the assertion that it does to build convenient profiles on individuals they want to target is irrelevant.
As Grandpa Hargrove observed, In the limit, it doesn't matter whether they are fools or knaves. The damage will be the same.
I had one of those money dogs accost me at Gatwick airport. I had declared the money and luckily had a post office receipt to prove it was mine. It did mean that my Alcohol intake was a bit low on that flight as they wanted to keep me and have a closer look at my situation.
"I had one of those money dogs accost me at Gatwick airport. I had declared the money and luckily had a post office receipt to prove it was mine. It did mean that my Alcohol intake was a bit low on that flight as they wanted to keep me and have a closer look at my situation."
I read both those "money" as "monkey". I found it particularly amusing you had a post office receipt for it. Ordinarily I have to pick mine up from the depo.
"I read both those "money" as "monkey". I found it particularly amusing you had a post office receipt for it. Ordinarily I have to pick mine up from the depo.
No problem and I was obliged to give it a good spanking when I got to my destination.
Do not be sorry as i promise not to go ape.
That the US won the cold war, yet entering the US is now a more unpleasent experience, and the staff are ruder, than the comparable experience of entering the old communist bloc.
I have to travel to the US on business on a depressingly frequent basis. However, one thing is for sure, they no longer get any of my tourism spend and I never elect to fly on any of their drab, depressing airlines.
If you want to know why the plods and the spooks are so obsessed with metadata, blame British company i2 (now owned by IBM) for producing the #1 tool used by intelligence analysts worldwide: http://www-03.ibm.com/software/products/en/analysts-notebook
Just remember when coming to America, most of the officials you will encounter, are part of an increasingly paranoid and totalitarian section of society with pretty much no ability to apply common sense or logic.
Unfortunately for most visitors, usually the first big cities they hit (such as New York or Los Angeles) tend to be run by people who view the local police as their private oppressor force.
Once you get past that and get to know friendly locals, you'll find a great time, just do your research ahead of time to decide which things / freedoms are important to you & visit that area, as what may be not only allowed but celebrated as part of culture & freedom in one area may be something that will get you locked up for half you life in another area.
Who was it that said 'The US and the UK are two countries divided by a common language'?
Having frequently visited the US, it's my experience that most Brits get into trouble at the border by thinking that Americans are Britons with a funny accent.
Brits rather like a bit of non-conformity, Americans hate it. At the border, the trick is to put yourself in a readily-recognizeable category and conform to it. So for example, if you're going to Nevada, don't bring skin-diving gear, even if you have a good reason.
Don't joke. It's not that the border officials don't have a sense of humour, they don't have a British sense of humour. In their minds, they are under-paid and under-valued. If you seem to be making fun of them, it will not end well.
Finally, don't judge all border officials by those at big-city entry points. If you saw some of the crap that they have to put up with, you'd also lose your sense of humour fast.
Regarding you first question, that was Samuel Langhorne Clemens writing as Mark Twain.
As for the topic at hand ... I wonder why the Brits always display such rampant xenophobia when it comes to the Yanks. Gut feeling is that it's fear of the unknown ... I'm in my mid-fifties, a Yank, and have spent roughly 20% of my life in Blighty. Quite frankly, other than accent, slang and word spellings, Brits & Yanks are quite similar. Could say the same about the English and the Welsh, BTW.
Note that I'm talking about the PEOPLE, not the vast stupidity that is security theater. Seriously, Brits, on your next vacation, come visit Sonoma & Napa counties (wine country North of San Francisco). Might open your eyes. Not only world-class wines, but the local craft ales are pretty damn good, too. AND they are inexpensive, to your eyes, at ~US$4 for a 22oz bottle.
i went thru memphis once (US wife, been to US maybe 25 times, Im an old hand at this stuff) and the finger print scanner decided to break at just the moment it was my turn. Much eye brow raising, retrying, examining my fingers under a magnifying glass, retrying, swabbing my fingers (shit scary as i might hve rolled the odd hashish joint in the preceding weeks) retrying, eventually sent to back room with some majorly sweating russians, chinese, and vietnamese rejects). 30 mins later called back, they'd fixed the scanner.
"So you doing any hunting over here while with your folks? " big cheezy grin.
I could have punched him.
A j-walking terrorist with Turkish connections, moonlighting as an IT reporter, conspiring enter the country falsely claiming to be a "production manager", in order to destroy the fabric of our society through promotion of gross lawlessness. I am only thankful that the brave police officer intervened before you were able to put your plan to unlawfully cross the street into action.
Well, we now know how TERRISTS are CLASSIFIED:
The Secret (but UNCLASSIFIED) Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist by Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux
There is even a download of the same... 166 pages. No, I won't read it. It's like something amanfrommars would write.
It is easily possible to find some ACTIONABLE INTELLIGENCE based on articulable and REASONABLE SUSPICION duly signalled by a NOMINATOR who provides PARTICULARIZED DEROGATORY INFORMATION on Mr. Dabbs.
It is easily possible to find some ACTIONABLE INTELLIGENCE based on articulable and REASONABLE SUSPICION duly signalled by a NOMINATOR who provides PARTICULARIZED DEROGATORY INFORMATION on Mr. Dabbs.
Or we can just Google various combinations of suspect terms in conjunction with with "Dabbs." until we have a reasonably suspicious profile. This will give us actionable intelligence without having to involve the messy and unreliable human nominator. (A Google search of the terms "Dabbs" and "terrorist" just produced 515,000 hits. What more proof do we need to detain the blighter indefinitely at an undisclosed location.)
I won't even go via the states, not even on just a refuel stop.
Every person had to be 'imigrated' (passport inspection, stamp and fingerprint), we were not allowed any further that the single room overlooking the aircraft, and as soon as they reached the last person, we all had to be 'emigrated'. It took four sucking hours.
All this for a sucking refuel stop and the sucking plane had finished refueling within half an hour.
The vivid memory I have of my first trip to the US is having a drink in a bar, with a colleague and a mate (who was living there at the time) to see two cops chase a guy through said bar shouting "EVERY BODY DOWN!!!" swiftly followed by multiple gunshots outside as they shot/killed the perp.*
That was in Sunnyvale, of all places.
Didn't stop me visiting again. At least there was no "mistake" involved.
*Turns out the guy was running around with a fake gun trying to get shot.
Back in the 90's (long before 9/11), a colleague of mine had to go to USA for a training course. At New York airport he found himself waiting in the immigration queue behind an Arab princess, and the immigration officer definitely DID NOT LIKE Arabs, princesses or otherwise. From his vantage point at the head of the queue, my colleague heard the following conversation:
Officer: What's your name?
Princess: Princess XXX of Saudi Arabia
Officer: What's your job?
Princess: Er..., I'm a princess.
Officer: No. What work do you do? What is your job?
Princess: Err... Well, as I said, I'm a princess. I don't actually have a job as such.
Officer: OK. So you're telling me you're unemployed. Well, then, what's your husband's job.
Princess: He's Prince XXX of Saudi Arabia.
Officer: I'm not interested in his title. What's his job? What work does he do?
Princess: Well.. he's a prince. He doesn't actually need to work.
Officer: So. You're telling me you're unemployed, your husband is unemployed and you want to enter America?
At thi point, my colleague decided to move to another queue, so he never heard how that conversation ended.
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