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acme (189)

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Leon Brocard (aka acme) is an orange-loving Perl eurohacker with many varied contributions to the Perl community, including the GraphViz module on the CPAN. YAPC::Europe was all his fault. He is still looking for a Perl Monger group he can start which begins with the letter 'D'.

Journal of acme (189)

Tuesday January 01, 2002
09:00 AM

Flights 2

[ #1850 ]
I arrived safely back in London last evening and partied the year away, arriving at Big Ben just in time. It was cool, as I've never been in London for the New Year.

Thanks for your little messages everyone.

I wrote the last journal entry in Boston and Miami on a piece of paper and typed it in at a very slow Internet cafe in Cancun. There are lots of typos and it doesn't flow properly, but of course that is fine. That's how I was at the time.

We arrived at our resort and they gave us lots of cocktails, and pointed us to the beach and the sun and told us to relax. We did. It was a bit of a party week. Lots of frozen Margaritas. A snow party. A foam party. Snorkeling. Sailing (I love Lasers). Sun. Sea. Lots of beach.

Every evening before heading out to dinner we'd watch a little bit of CNN and learn some more about our flight in and Richard Reid. This was less than relaxing, especially when an FBI agent said it would have blown a hole in the plane. My parents were sitting in the row in front, about a foot from his shoes!

We've talked about this with everyone during the week. It makes an interesting lunching/dining topic. We've told the story many times, and it's probably good that we've done so. It's hard to completely get rid of stress. One of the doctors was at the same resort as us and he says that the sedative given was pathetic and would have had little effect. Lots and lots of talk.

Our flight back was interesting. There were security checks all over the place, and they were all useless. The staff were all tired, and they never properly searched my bag once. They never searched side pockets or deep inside the bag. The security checks are to reassure people, they are not actually effective. I don't know what checks can be. Anyway, Cacun->Miami was fine. Miami->Paris was not. It was the same kind of plane. We were in the same kind of seats. It was the same people as AA63 and everyone was on edge. But it was fine. We got home, eventually. And had a new year. All I want to do now is go back to work.

Last year we canoed down a river in Venezuela, slept in hamocks and climbed the Angel Falls. This year we wanted a holiday without adventure. Ha! We are just all lucky to be here, and that's my New Year's message.

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  • Realistically, it is impossible for a truly secure flight to occur. Security checks are an attempt at psychological defense: they're meant to deter people from bringing things there in the first place. Once the thing is there, security's only hope is really that the person will become nervous and give themselves away.

    I'm glad you're okay.


    You are what you think.
    • Well, from what I know El Al [] (Israel's plane company) has to deal with terrorism problems (bombing and such). They have very long and expensive but efficient security measures.

      One of Bruce Schneier's recent Crypto-gram had a long discussion about these issues: Crypto-gram, September 30, 2001 [].

      • Spiffy...! My only experience (my very *limited* experience) with flying has been five or six flights in the U.S. I had heard that security measures in Europe were pretty stringent, but I'd never thought to find out about Israeli security issues.

        My only real point was that *any* security measure can, eventually, be defeated.


        You are what you think.
  • your holiday. I found these photos [] taken on the plane by a passenger...don't know if you want to look at them but....