According to the Nissan press release, the e-NV200 camper can be ordered and customized from any Nissan dealer in Spain. And while I’ve already anticipated scorn on this side of the Atlantic for a 40kWh battery and 124 miles of range, I actually could see this being quite popular in European markets. Where I grew up, for example, in South West England, I could take a van like this to most of the South West coast, and a large chunk of Wales, and a single fast charge would open up most of the South of the country.
Yes, this wouldn’t be practical for truly long distance road trips; but man, you could have some fun, low carbon adventures in it.
Last week, CNN reported that the Transportation Security Administration is considering eliminating security at U.S. airports that fly only smaller planes — 60 seats or fewer. Passengers connecting to larger planes would clear security at their destinations.
To be clear, the TSA has put forth no concrete proposal. The internal agency working group’s report obtained by CNN contains no recommendations. It’s nothing more than 20 people examining the potential security risks of the policy change. It’s not even new: The TSA considered this back in 2011, and the agency reviews its security policies every year. But commentary around the news has been strongly negative. Regardless of the idea’s merit, it will almost certainly not happen. That’s the result of politics, not security: Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), one of numerous outraged lawmakers, has already penned a letter to the agency saying that “TSA documents proposing to scrap critical passenger security screenings, without so much as a metal detector in place in some airports, would effectively clear the runway for potential terrorist attacks.” He continued, “It simply boggles the mind to even think that the TSA has plans like this on paper in the first place.”
We don’t know enough to conclude whether this is a good idea, but it shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. We need to evaluate airport security based on concrete costs and benefits, and not continue to implement security theater based on fear. And we should applaud the agency’s willingness to explore changes in the screening process.
There is already a tiered system for airport security, varying for both airports and passengers. Many people are enrolled in TSA PreCheck, allowing them to go through checkpoints faster and with less screening. Smaller airports don’t have modern screening equipment like full-body scanners or CT baggage screeners, making it impossible for them to detect some plastic explosives. Any would-be terrorist is already able to pick and choose his flight conditions to suit his plot.
Over the years, I have writtenmanyessays critical of the TSA and airport security, in general. Most of it is security theater — measures that make us feel safer without improving security. For example, the liquids ban makes no sense as implemented, because there’s no penalty for repeatedly trying to evade the scanners. The full-body scanners are terribleatdetecting the explosive material PETN if it is well concealed — which is their whole point.
There are two basic kinds of terrorists. The amateurs will be deterred or detected by even basic security measures. The professionals will figure out how to evade even the most stringent measures. I’ve repeatedlysaid that the two things that have made flying safer since 9/11 are reinforcing the cockpit doors and persuading passengers that they need to fight back. Everything beyond that isn’t worth it.
It’s always possible to increase security by adding more onerous — and expensive — procedures. If that were the only concern, we would all be strip-searched and prohibited from traveling with luggage. Realistically, we need to analyze whether the increased security of any measure is worth the cost, in money, time and convenience. We spend $8 billion a year on the TSA, and we’d like to get the most security possible for that money.
This is exactly what that TSA working group was doing. CNN reported that the group specifically evaluated the costs and benefits of eliminating security at minor airports, saving $115 million a year with a “small (nonzero) undesirable increase in risk related to additional adversary opportunity.” That money could be used to bolster security at larger airports or to reduce threats totally removed from airports.
We need more of this kind of thinking, not less. In 2017, political scientists Mark Stewart and John Mueller published a detailed evaluation of airport security measures based on the cost to implement and the benefit in terms of lives saved. They concluded that most of what our government does either isn’t effective at preventing terrorism or is simply too expensive to justify the security it does provide. Others might disagree with their conclusions, but their analysis provides enough detailed information to have a meaningful argument.
The more we politicize security, the worse we are. People are generally terriblejudges of risk. We fear threats in the news out of proportion with the actual dangers. We overestimate rare and spectacular risks, and underestimate commonplace ones. We fear specific “movie-plot threats” that we can bring to mind. That’s why we fear flying over driving, even though the latter kills about 35,000 people each year — about a 9/11’s worth of deaths each month. And it’s why the idea of the TSA eliminating security at minor airports fills us with fear. We can imagine the plot unfolding, only without Bruce Willis saving the day.
Very little today is immune to politics, including the TSA. It drove most of the agency’s decisions in the early years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. That the TSA is willing to consider politically unpopular ideas is a credit to the organization. Let’s let them perform their analyses in peace.
Happy Birthday in Japanese: お誕生日おめでとうございます (Otanjoubi Omedetou Gozaimasu)
“Congratulations on your birthday!” In Japan, they celebrate Shichi-Go-San, which literally means 7-5-3. These are lucky numbers and children go to a Shinto shrine on 15th November if they had a lucky birthday that year. They pray and give thanks for their good health and strength. All children go when they are three years old, boys when they are five, and girls when they are seven.
OFTEN, people with disabilities or the elderly folk find it hard to travel due to the lack of facilities and services.
But with more and more people seeking good accessibility, companies are leveling up and going barrier-free to accommodate these travelers.
According to The World Bank, one billion people, or 15 percent of the world’s population, experience some form of disability. One-fifth of the estimated global total, or between 110 million and 190 million people, experience significant disabilities.
And of that figure, more than 26 million adults with disabilities travel for pleasure and/or business, taking 73 million trips, according to an Open Doors Organization (ODO) study.
Train stations in Japan are the worst by far for the disabled. Elevators are inconveniently placed, many stairs don’t include escalators or wheelchair lifts, and there is no physical barrier at most platforms preventing someone from falling on the tracks (though that is rapidly changing.
However, Japan has several advantages for the disabled. For example, there is almost universal walking guides for the blind, audible signals for crossings, and train station agents wearing white gloves will help anyone who needs it. The further one gets outside of the metropolises the less these measures are in place.
Read the article for the whole story. I’m curious if you have a story about this you’d like to share. If so, please do so on your social network of choice and link to this post.
It’s not just federal employees who are spying while you’re flying. The Department of Homeland Security has been training airline and airport staff on how to “spot the signs” of human trafficking, with a list about as asinine and broad as the above TSA criteria. So far, this has led to an array of travelers getting harassed and detained because some airline attendant had a “hunch” that interracial families are probably human traffickers.
The latest example, told in full absurdist splendor by the Daily Mail, involves Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant Wesley Hirata informing the authorities that there was an Asian man with three Caucasian girls on a flight. The Mail calls Hirata and her colleagues “heroes” for “alerting cops to [a] human trafficking suspect who boarded a flight with three young girls.”
Two of the “young girls” were adults. The FBI investigated and found no evidence of anything bad going on. “Regardless,” the Mail reports, “Hirata has said he’s pleased” with himself for calling the FBI on some totally innocent travelers.
Sadly, this is only one of many ridiculousexamples. There are valid, useful ways to address human trafficking on airplanes. Giving flight attendants criteria that basically describes “people” and then celebrating them for being wildly wrong is not one of them.
I am a big fan of planning for “the Big Dark”, where the power is out for more than 3 days. Analog systems, like printed and hand-written records, will be more useful.
Remember: Emergency preparedness isn’t only for you. it is also so others can contact you when something bad happens to them.
There are drawbacks, mostly around family dynamics this article assumes are moot when emergencies happen.
Note: These are my recommendations. Your mileage may vary. I look forward to constructive input on how best to prepare in the digital age.
Keep an off-line list of emergency info & numbers with you
There was a time where people either knew important numbers and information or carried a address book – a printed out, dead tree address book – and a much of change to use a pay phone (remember those?) to call people. We need to embrace at least a subset of that.
Your health insurance information should be in here. Insurance providers, policy information, doctors information, and maybe prescriptions information should be included.
In certain countries you may need your ID number as well (though US residents should NOT carry their Social Security card or number).
How about this: keep the numbers of your family and close friends in case your phone dies. I could not call anyone except my children if my phone failed, and they don’t often answer their phones – especially from an unknown caller.
As I’m living in a foreign country I carry a card or two that I can use to get me home. In case you’re traveling, disoriented, or inebriated having a card or two to help you get home can be a life saver.
Carry a bit of cash with you, too, in your wallet.
Keep an off-line list of emergency info & numbers at home
This should be a superset of what you carry with you. Your actual cards and birth certificates and stuff (if they are not in a safe deposit box already) should be in a ready-to-carry locked fireproof box in case of emergency. Bank account information, other financial records, and whatever else needed to rebuild after a disaster should be in here.
Throw some currency in the box, too. While it is in there it isn’t working for you, gaining interest or buying food. But if the power goes out no credit or debit card will help. Having cash will help.
I’ve used the Do Not Disturb feature in iOS since it was introduced. This feature allows you to set “quiet times” when your device won’t alert you with notifications, including phone calls and text messages. It can be activated manually or set to activate at recurring times. I have my set to activate from 10:00 p.m. – 6:00 a.m. each day, mainly to avoid “wrong number” calls at all hours of the night.
You have always been able to set a specific group of people you want to exclude from the Do Not Disturb settings. This can be a group you designate in your Contacts or your iPhone’s Favorites list. For years I’ve created a contacts group called “VIP” that I had excluded from Do Not Disturb that included family and a few close friends and other important numbers. While this is handy, it may not cover everyone you want to be able to reach you in the event of an urgent matter. With iOS 10, you have more granular control and can now set contacts on an individual basis to bypass the Do Not Disturb Settings.
To activate the feature select the contact card you want to exclude, edit the contact and select ringtone. At the top of the ringtone menu you’ll now see a toggle for “Emergency Bypass”.
I am not sure if Android offers a similar feature.
[Android] Use Google’s Trusted Contacts App
Trusted Contacts runs on top of a pretty simple concept, with the tap of a button an approved list of people can request your location from wherever they may be. Users will need to manually approve who can request their location, and once a request is sent, the user will have 5 minutes to approve or decline the request before the app automatically approves and sends it.
This app takes things up a notch as well by adding offline support, in a sense. If a user heads outside of active cell service and internet access, the app will report the last known location for that user 5 minutes after a request is sent. Contacts can also “walk each other home,” virtually. This essentially enables one user to keep track of another user’s location as a live feed.
… Before you can share your location, though, you first have to go through the process of adding contacts to the application…
How to add contacts:
Open the Trusted Contacts application
If this is the first time setting up the application, Trusted Contacts will walk you through adding contacts
To set up new contacts, either tap on the Add contacts button found at the bottom of the home screen or open the menu by selecting the Menu button in the upper left-hand side of the screen and tap on the Add contacts option
Here you can search through the contacts on your device and select Add next to the individual to send them an invitation to be a trusted contact
Basically take a picture of contact information and make it your device’s lock screen. Tailor the content to provide what is needed without going overboard. Imagine you are passed out on the sidewalk and the only thing people can get to is your phone’s lock screen. What is the critical information you can provide on there that doesn’t open you up to identity theft?
I find this more useful than the login banner message most devices support. One doesn’t have to wait for the message to scroll, where almost all users put the contact email or phone number.
What other things, simple and inexpensive and effective, that folks should do?
I don’t particularly care I’ll miss Christmas and New Year’s. I could do without both. Christmas to me means traffic jams and hypo-consumerism. New Year’s is mostly an opportunity to screw up one’s sleep schedule. Unless the calendar is forgiving, all too soon one returns to work.
I used to volunteer to work those holidays, I liked them so little. I won’t miss them here.
Thanksgiving? Well, that’s another thing entirely.
I love the weather in New England and Michigan this time of year. I love well cooked turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, rolls, green beans, etc. I love pumpkin beer (though it’s creep earlier and earlier reduces the draw for me). I love watching football.
Most of all, I love spending it with my family. It can be just me and the kids. It can be the whole clan or something inbetween.
I wonder how I’ll do that day here. Some of my colleagues and friends here have already volunteered to take my mind off of it.
The partner leading my consulting practice asked me about moving to Tokyo in December of ’15. I remember I was in my Brussels hotel room just before Christmas when he floated the notion. By February it was more than a mere notion. By April I would be starting “Any Day Now”.
It’s November, week 45 of 2016, and I’m at long last on the ground with all (most all) of my things.
I’m documenting my Tokyo experience, at least the personal side of things, in a few new places.