Whenever I see stories like this one, where the Mayor of Stockton has two computers and a phone seized at the US Border when returning from overseas, I am reminded of this Mitchell and Webb skit. We are supposed to be the good guys aren’t we? Is this really how the good guys operate? Don’t we use warrants and the like?
I think we can all relate to this article about the hassles of flying with our Nobel Prizes can’t we? Mind you I would back a Nobel for the person who invents a way to make flying stop feeling going to jail. Still we can all relate to this conversation can’t we?
And they’re like, ‘Uhhhh. Who gave this to you?’
‘The King of Sweden.’
‘Why did he give this to you?’
‘Because I helped discover the expansion rate of the universe was accelerating.’
Passenger accidentally ejects while flying with an air show team, actually I am surprised it doesn’t happen more often given the wide variety of passengers that fly with these teams. While reading this I was thinking this was the likely result if somehow the Flibbertigibbet was ever conned into flying on one of these. I like this quote:
As one observer said: “What a trip. That guy took off in an Astra, came down in a parachute, and landed back at base in a helicopter. Not bad for a for a single flip.”
The plane crash today in the Hudson river with everybody on board surviving was a miracle. Like all miracles I think it had some help. The strict requirements for pilot training helped here, the pilot kept his head and did an good emergency landing. The aircraft safety training the crew went through paid off as well. I can almost recite the British Airways safety briefing by heart, but I still tried to pay attention every time it came on, if nothing else to give me a moment to focus on what was being said. The aircraft safety improvements made over the last few generations of planes paid off, planes are tougher and safer now. The training the Coast Guard paid off, they got everyone off before the plane sank, I bet they never thought they would use some of that training but they took it seriously and today it saved lives. I am pretty cynical. I have always assumed if I was in a plane that went down it was all over, but it is nice to have some of that cynicism knocked out of me today. Thanks to everyone that made that miracle possible today.
Right after 9-11 I flew to the UK and back and there was very heavy security, but nobody minded at all. The risks were still unknown and we all wanted to be safe. Now however we are pretty aware of the risks, ranging as they do from shoe bombs to chemical bombs and the like but airport security seems to getting stupider rather then smarter as time goes on.
Two stories today tell a story of airport security that is rapidly spinning out of control. The first is a story from the Houston Chronicle about how to avoid the security people stealing from you. Not in the third world, but here in the good old US of A. Remember these crooks are the ones we are trusting to keep the bombs out of our planes if they can be bothered when not stealing cigars.
The second story shows how incredible stupidity has come to dominate the whole airport security theater, a flyer at Heathrow wasn’t going to be allowed on a flight because he had a picture of a cartoon robot on his shirt. The threat we were protected from? The robot had a gun.
I want to fly safe, I want people keeping bombs and bad people off my flights, but these idiots and thieves are making a mockery of airport security. We can’t let this go on like this.
An odd circular argument I stumbled across today from Iain Murray at the National Review Online, he is arguing that by canceling flights to hold safety inspections the airlines may be pushing people to drive, which is more risky than flying and that some may die in accidents. Thus safety inspections may be killing people. The clear hole in the argument is that the only reason flying is safer than driving is because safety is such a huge priority that they would rather cancel flights then risk accidents from uninspected flight gear. If the airlines were to carry on without being held to an extremely high safety standard, which includes canceling flights for inspections then I expect the safety level of flying would quickly become much lower than that for driving. Planes often plummet when things break, cars don’t. Anyhow, his argument seemed odd to me, what do you think?