Archive for November 2010
Our family tree research goes back to Valentin and Catherine Russwurm and slams into a wall. Because when these paternal ancestors emigrated to Canada, around 1840, they were completely cut off from the world they left behind. At the time, although crossing an ocean was do-able, it was a biggie. I imagine there was correspondence, for a time, but none survives as far as we know. Letters took a very long time back then. But those were the choices people had. Back then, if you decided move far away from your family, for work, or a better life for your own children, you very likely will never see them again.
Contrast that with today. The methods of transportation have become better and faster and cheaper. Travel is easy. Communication can be instantaneous.
So making the decision to go to school or take a job thousands of miles away or on the far side of an ocean have been made with the understanding that you will be able to go home, you don’t have to say good bye to your family forever.
The problem is, the TSA scanning issue clearly shows just how drastically “they” have changed the rules.
People who do not comply with invasive searches can be faced with being cut off from their families forever as a direct result. Legally.
Because the government assumes everyone is a terrorist.
I’ve just written about Human Rights and the TSA in my Oh! Canada blog. Although I should be writing my NaNoWriMo novel, I’ve been following the issue on boingboing, and of course, being me, making comments. (Who’d have thought that a website devoted to neat stuff and adult toys would end up being one of the 21st Centuries most vocal advocates for democracy?)
There has been a call for people who are flying to be with family for Thanksgiving tomorrow to opt out of the BS Scanner process in protest. We’ll have to see what happens but there are a couple of comments I read on boingboing that bear repeating, so I wanted to include them here. And because boingboing (unlike, say, CBC) publishes under a Creative Commons License I can happily and legally reprint the words of others.
Lots of people have ideas about disruptions, as part of the opt out, but it seems to me that this is
the best advice on Opt-Out
It is clear that the TSA are changing the rules at the last minute so that the traveling public are uncertain (FUD factor). Additionally, the ‘blame’ for delays will be passed on to anyone who, for whatever reason, refuses the porn scanner and, should they also object to having their personal areas groped, to be labeled as potential terrorists. The onus being placed on you complying and not spoiling other people’s travel plans by them having to close a security area should you attempt to go through again.
There is a simple solution.
1. Refuse the x-ray as there is uncertainty regarding their safety – a simple check on the interwebs will show this differing opinion.
2. In a normal voice, but sufficient for those in proximity to you can hear, emphasis should be placed on point 1 above.
3. Opt for a pat down IN PUBLIC. Do NOT go to a private area.
4. Ask questions. This is important. If you are about to be touched by a stranger it is important that you understand the WHY and the HOW of what they are proposing.
5. Ask for the person about to pat you down to put on a new pair of gloves within your sight.
6. Ask for a copy of the rules to ensure that you are both complying properly and also that the rules are being properly enforced. How can you comply if you do not know what the rules are and are?
Above all, be polite and do not be embarrassed or made to feel at fault for ensuring the TSA are able to do their job properly and protect the traveling public. Similarly, if you are clearly complying and being nice there is no reason for the bottom inspectors to detain you. You know it make sense…”
They might not like it, but it’s not against TSA policy as long as you’re not shooting their video monitors or holding up the line. From their site:
“TSA does not prohibit the public, passengers or press from photographing, videotaping or filming at security checkpoints, as long as the screening process is not interfered with or slowed down. We do ask you to not film or take pictures of the monitors. While the TSA does not prohibit photographs at screening locations, local laws, state statutes, or local ordinances might.”
It might be handy to have this printed out in case an agent tries to demand otherwise.”
flatfive in reply to Anonymous
#232: Ask for a law enforcement officer to witness the search. They abide by different rules than the TSA (the Constitution, for example), and they often don’t much care for their assignment to hang out with the government Rent-a-Cops. And by all means, if something happens you don’t like, tell the cop you want to press charges, then and there.”
Also, probably a good idea to have a lawyer on speed dial, with whom you’ve talked to about this prior to the day of travel.
flatfive comment on “Don’t TSA me, bro: Boing Boing open thread, and new rules for those who refuse patdown”
how far is too far
I agree with most of what lectroid and a few other commenters have said concerning better ways to react to the TSA officers and the policies they are being told to carry out.
“I’m so turned on” and fake boner jokes may get attention, but they are also more likely to get you, and your valid concerns, written off.
It is always a good idea to speak with passion, listen with respect, and assertively but humanely broadcast your message. I really do appreciate the stunts some people have pulled to bring more attention to the issues (naked protests, etc.), but in the long run treating everyone–your fellow passengers, your frisker, your congressman, and your mom–with respect and consideration will help ensure that your message won’t be thrown out with all the other jerks and bad jokes. Respect and righteous anger really can coexist. I want the TSA officers and my political representatives understand and hopefully agree with me. They are less likely to do that when I’m mocking them. You don’t have to degrade or mock someone to vocally disapprove of or try to arrest their actions.
I’m having a hard time imaging the effectiveness or longevity of Gandhi’s or Thoreau’s messages of civil disobedience had they been carrying exaggerated sex toy, feigning orgasms, or dehumanizing their assailants. Even when they themselves were being dehumanized. Nonetheless, you are free to do any of these!
I want my foes to know I see them as human beings, which is exactly why I am so disappointed in their actions. Be angry, be articulate; just don’t be a huge asshole.”
“The correct definition is this: terrorism is a tactic. It is force applied with the primary goal of causing fear among a population in order to affect political change.”
This seems to accurately describe what the TSA is doing (albeit by order of a third party). American citizens are being terrorized by their own government.”
I may be old fashioned, but I think human rights and freedoms are very important.
A friend of mine who would like to remain nameless says,
There’s a concept called “seasoning” used to refer to how a pimp breaks the will and reduces the ego of a woman in the process of coercing her into prostitution. It could be considered brainwashing, or thought reform, or, in other words, the steady creation of a holographic crisis in her brain, developed with the intent that she reach a breaking point. Increasingly terrible things happen to the woman at the hands of the perpetrator of the violence. Eventually, the woman comes to think of the abusive relationship as “normal” (with normal being whatever doesn’t require identifying adjectives.)
Seasoning is also used to describe the process someone goes through in abusing a child. He practices hurting her. He gets better at it. Eventually, hurting her is normalized for him, and possibly for her.
A third application of this notion happened in pre-WWII Germany. In anticipation of violence in the streets – to which it was in the interests of the government that people were inured – pornography became more and more violent. Individual acts of violence became normal: and, indeed, people became inured. Because of a combination of this inurement and their inculcated fear, most people kept walking when someone was being beaten in the street.
Now, people stand in long lines at airports and watch while other people are publicly humiliated by being sexually fondled. They stand, passively,listening and watching while children scream in protest with their parents standing by helplessly or even holding them while they’re molested.
To me, this looks like another kind of seasoning; the beginning of the process of normalizing acts of brutality carried out by government authorities, unencumbered by interfering members of the public.
Just a little theory. I don’t think there’s a conspiracy. There doesn’t have to be.”
On the lighter side (!) I will end with a link to:
Robomonkey’s awesome music video:
Have a safe Thanksgiving.
EFF: Common Sense and Security: Body Scanners, Accountability, and $2.4 Billion Worth of Security Theater
Acknowledgment: Thanks to Xeni Jardin and boingboing for using
Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs-NonCommercial 1.0 Generic License
When I decided to get down to it and finally write a novel for NaNoWriMo last year, it was a last minute thing. I didn’t have much time to think about it, and so I pulled the title out of one of my favorite lines from Shakespeare. This line was important, because my debut novel is partly a coming of age story, and it’s a little bit crime fiction, with a look at relationships, and a bit of suspense, the real underlying theme for me has always been honesty.
Juliet cautions Romeo not to swear his love on anything as changeable — untrustworthy — as the moon. She’s telling him he bloody well better not lie to her.
Although I most certainly would have read Larry Niven’s story of the same name, and probably still have the paperback of his Inconstant Moon collection somewhere since I was a voracious science fiction reader and a big Niven fan back in the day, it was a huge surprise to be told that my debut novel inadvertently shares the title of a Larry Niven short story and collection. It’s been so long since I read it that I had forgotten Larry Niven used it as a title.
But of course, he will have swiped the phrase from the same source I did: “Romeo and Juliet”. Niven would have chosen the title because it references the physical moon, I chose it because Juliet’s speech from the balcony scene was wonderfully appropriate. Funny thing is that my big worry was that people would read my title and look at my book cover and think it was a vampire story.
My Inconstant Moon isn’t SF or a vampire story either…. at least not in the literal sense anyway. Not that I haven’t read my share of both, just that it’s not.
It’s amazing how many titles the Bard has provided.
If you censor books for using words we would rather not hear, we’ll end up with a Pandora’s box of ‘bad’ words holding even greater power. I believe it is far better to expose ‘bad words” to the light of day, because shining a light on the bad ideas that are invariably behind the bad words diminishes their power.
Once upon a time my child’s elementary school wrestled with the issue of whether they ought to ban a book called “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.” Which is why I went out and bought a copy. And then the rest of the series. Movies. Even going so far as to send away for the UK’s Royal Mail Harry Potter stamps…
Sometimes censorship is the most potent form of advertising.
If you censor books because of the ideas within, there is no way to challenge the idea. Instead of taking the opportunity to disprove it, or learn from it, or educate about it, you give the idea additional mystique.
The only way to guarantee free speech is to protect all speech.
Even speech we might not agree with.
The American Library Association lobbies against banning books.
The moment you start to ban bad books,
you place good books at risk.
But for one minute, let’s put all of that aside…. why on earth would any sane rational being even consider allowing any retail business to dictate our morality?
I learned about “Speak Loudly” from @Ren_Thompson and the Amazon Issue from @GeneDoucette
There’s so much beautiful Victorian and Edwardian architecture on the University of Toronto campus that it’s really easy to overlook this Great War Memorial. What at first glance appears to be a decorative border along the top begins with the numerals 1914 and the word Ypres, and is followed by other place names of the battles fought by Canadians in France during the “War to End All Wars.”
In 2010 prospective students tour the U of T campus concerned with the problems of the 21st Century.
The Great War was a long time ago. Yet if we look inside the memorial, we can see the names of the 628 young men educated at this university who lost their lives in the trenches of Europe and were buried in Flanders Fields.
A doctor educated at the University of Toronto wrote the most famous poem of the Great War, so it is no surprise to find the poem carved into the left side wall.
The 45 year old Dr. John McCrae died of of pneumonia in January of 1918, “over there,” so he didn’t live to see the ceasefire that marked the end of hostilities on 11 a.m. on 11 November 1918.
The war to end all wars clearly did not.
You’d think we would have learned something from it. Instead, Canadians are today serving and dying in a war not so romantic as Dr. McCrae’s Great War, but every bit as deadly.
Canada’s mission in Afghanistan is winding down and so far in 2010, 14 Canadians have died in action
In Flanders fields, the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands, we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
John McCrae B.A. 1894 M.B. 1898
Way ahead, its already day NINE.
And I’m merely… caught up.
So naturally, I’m reading and writing posts in the forum.
And of course, here I am… well, ahem, putting together yet another NaNoWriMo blog post.
Some NaNoWriMo Blogs
Writers have this weird habit of not only writing, but writing about writing. Wierd, eh?
For an into to NaNoWriMo and insight into some of the challenges faced by a student taking on the challenge, you’ll want to check out: Nessies Crazy Rambles: NaNoWriMo!!
Wow… I’m going to have to come back and read this one all the way through after November. It looks to be an excellent blog that’s sharing both the NaNoWriMo journey and the WIP: Writing In Your Dirtiest Pants
My Identi.ca friend @Zotz is not only blogging his NaNoWriMo novel trying to round up a musical score & get it recorded to complement his novel, and it’ll all be under a CC by-sa license: Baldy – A Bahamian Shaggy Dog Story,
My Twitter friend @Danisidhe is giving NaNoWriMo a go this year in addition to running her wonderful Twitter #Storycraft live chat that I’ve *sniff* had to miss a lot recently!‽! Check out Do you NaNoWriMo?
And, well, my husband has been beset with work stuff, so although he’s written some words, he’s resigned to not making the NaNoWriMo 50,000k, yet determined to have fun within it anyway. And of course although our son has signed up too, and is giving every indication of participating in NaNoWriMo, if anything he’s even more reticent about actually saying anything about it to either parental unit.
If you’re a NaNoWriMo writer and want to be my writing buddy, this is the direct link to me on the NaNoWriMo page. I’ll buddy you back if you like, but you’ll need to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me nanomail dent me or tweet me your link info
So, almost done here… to make matters worse, I am actually seriously considering popping out to a NaNoWriMo “non-Kickoff, non-Halfway, non-TGIO Social EventTM!” where there will be socializing and a *cake tour*
Like >I< need cake! Part of my reason for loving NaNo is that it’s a perfect excuse to not have to have cake for my birthday. Or a birthday for that matter
From @NaNoWriMo: 2010 Tally:
197,110 authors have written a cumulative total of 914,221,952 words so far
And the Canadian Stats say:
we’ve written 2,148,045 NaNoWriMo words to date! Woo hoo!
⇒ nanowrimo diary: halfway
It’s been a tough week.
The dread “Canadian DMCA” Bill C-32 went though parliamentary second reading and to committee. I think I’ve exercised remarkable blogging restraint, since the digital locks provision of the so called “Copyright Modernization Act” that seeks to modernize us right into a 19th century monopoply by handing the reins of total control of digital distribution to manufacturers and powerful media corporations by granting legal supremacy to digital locks under Canadian copyright law. This is so incredibly important since it has the undeniable potential to kill off any possibility of digital self publication in Canada. Which is why the issue is so important to me as a self publishing writer.
And then there’s the CRTC’s incredible blunder in giving the green light to Bell Canada’s infamous Usage Based Billing scheme, which will allow Bell to deliberately inflate the cost of the Internet to discourage Canadians from using up the Internet. On purpose. Which will of course effect Canadian Culture (again due to handing control of distribution over to powerful corporate interests) not to mention the Digital Economy– the fastest growing sector of the Canadian Economy will be deliberately curbed. And then of course there’s the dreadful secret International “ACTA” treaty which intended to impose the USTR’s dream of global domination on the sovereign nations of the world has not been signed, but apparently isn’t dead yet either.
These issues are important to me because they attack the Internet and how we use it. These misguided policies could stop Internet communication and sharing of information about important democratic issues, stifle whistleblowing like Wikileaks, and suppress culture… like NaNoWriMo. A great deal of NaNoWriMo happens online. If UBB makes the Internet unaffordable to the average Canadian, or at best a luxury to be loarded and sparingly doled out, where will that leave us.
Canadian NaNoWriMo writers have written 1,098,869 words so far on only day 6.
That is FREAKING AWESOME.
(Although I would never say anything like that aloud, it is something one of my characters might say.)
NaNoWriMo is awesome.
Yesterday, I finally got my outline written, in spite of all the aforementioned political stuff.
My outline is done, WOO HOO!
So now I know what scenes there will be and what comes next, who is who and what is what.
Of course it isn’t written in stone. As I continue to write and the characters get more and more real I am quite sure that they will insist on alterations and amendments. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten to the end of writing anything longer than a piece of flash fiction without having to redraft the outline even once. And I even got my word count up too. That’s pretty darned amazing.
And now I’ve got to pack up and hit the road… there’s a Write-In happening at Whole Lotta Gelata that I don’t want to miss.
I’m loving NaNoWriMo in spite of politics. Nya!
I was going to be ready long before November 1st. Hah. Almost a whole month to get ready to write. think I will? Or will all the prep happen in the last few days before lift off?
First I have to self-pub last year’s novel. Then I get to prep the new one.
27 October, 2010
Urk. Less than a week to get ready to write.
Five days. *gulp* Teacher interviews tomorrow.
A garbled phone message may mean distant relatives may be dropping by. So here I am. Running late, AGAIN. I’m still working on my self-pub of last year’s novel, “Inconstant Moon.” I am hoping to have the final proof uploaded to Create Space before NaNo begins. But right now the most important thing is prepping for this year’s NaNo. Self pubbing is slowed up; I’m waiting for a bit of fresh-eye feedback. Hoping to be ready to go before NaNo… fingers crossed.
Got the cover redesign almost done. But I finally got some decent work done on the outline.
Running late, AGAIN. Still working to self-pub last year’s novel, “Inconstant Moon,” hoping to have the final proofed version uploaded to Create Space before NaNo begins. Then I can begin serializing it whilst writing this new one.
But right now the most important thing is prepping for this year’s NaNo. Finally got some decent work done on the outline. It’s coming along. The worst of it is – I know better. The best of it is, I’m having fun….
2 November, 2010
Last night was the first write in. I’ve enough of the outline to begin writing, so I’ve made my word count. So that’s the priority today. Except…. Last week the CRTC renegged on the conditions Bell needs to satisfy in order to go ahead with Usage Based Billing. So that will be happening in 90 days. Since I think UBB is a horrible idea that is incredibly detrimental to Canadians, about a year ago I started a public Service Blog to raise awareness of UBB since the media (much of it owned by Bell, like the Globe and Mail and CTV for instance…) So that’s all coming to a head right during NaNoWriMo.
Today the infamous Canadian DMCA, Bill C-32, went for it’s second reading. I was developing characters for the novel, and working on the outline to some extent but clearly I was more tuned in to Copyright. It’s so frustrating because the one MP who seems to get it, the NDP Digital Critc Charlie Angus, is still messing around with the CD levy, which is not only a bad idea for consumers, it’s a worse one for artists. Too tired to get into it now, but that’s one of the blog posts I haven’t written yet.
So Bill C-32 is front and center during NaNoWriMo too. Well, the only thing for it is to do NaNoWriMo first, and only AFTER I’ve made my daily wordcount, and finished the outline or whatever, THEN I can check email and approve comments or write blog posts.
This is necessary because it’s day 2 and I’m already behind… a mere 2,332 words so far. This is especially important for me as I’m planning to write the entire first draft of this novel during November.
(Rather than NaNo’s suggested 50,000 words, that’ll probably be more like 100,000 words total).
This will be the last post here until I’m caught up.