I, like most other people here, went through the security checkpoint. Unlike everyone else, they decided to search my suitcase. The security lady asked for permission and then took everything out: clothing, umbrellas, a jacket, and a box of crackers. She searched all the pockets: nothing. Apparently the jacket was suspicious; She sent it through again. Nothing.

The lady in the next lane waved a 10-inch knife and asked the lady in my lane if it could go on. I can only assume she answered yes.

She put everything back in and sent it through again. Still suspicious. They took everything out. It looked like this was going to take a while, so I used the opportunity to put the tickets I was holding back in my bag. When I looked back up, the security woman was brandishing a scissors and saying “This can’t go on board.” “I don’t remember packing that,” I said. I let her confiscate it.

I called my Mom. She doesn’t remember packing it either. Is there some sort of terrorist plot to plant scissors in innocent-looking people’s suitcases? I can’t see why this would be useful. How would they know what plane I’m on? Once I’m on the plane how would they get the scissors? They could threaten me, but if they have a threatening implement already, then why do they need the scissors? Perhaps it’s some sort of Matroishca-doll system. They use their fists to get the infant to give them the squeaky mouse, they use the squeaky mouse to scare the toddler into giving them a copy of A New Kind of Science, they use ANKS to bludgeon a 5th Grader into giving them a wedge block, and they use the wedge to get me to give them the scissors. Those are some pretty clever terrorists.

Update: False alarm. My Mom called. Apparently it was the scissors she was using to cut loose threads from my tie last night. It must have fallen in. The nation can go back to Yellow Level Terrorist Alert.

Waiting for Wireless

Now I am at O’Hare Airport, sitting outside the Admiral’s Club while businessmen walk in and out. I am looking for a wireless signal, the signal I used last time I was here, but not finding it. Of course, last time I was here, I had an Admiral’s Club card. This time I have a Mileage Plus Card, but despite the airline ologopoly—or perhaps because of it (have to keep up appearances, you know)—I doubt they will accept it.


According to the announcement I just heard, Mr. Valenti is going to miss his flight.

I think of what I’d say if I ran into him. “Jack!” I’d exclaim, as if we were old pals. “Going to the Eldred case?” Of course he was. “Going to be a good one.” “Hey, remember when you had that debate with Lessig?” I’d ask. “You said you were starting a new task force to make movies legitimately available on the Internet. What ever happened to that?” I imagine him mumbling and looking down at his watch. His plane is going to leave soon; he has to run.

Another announcement: Mr. Michael McKenna needs to call his office. Good thing these airline announcements keep me up to date.

Automatic Flush Toilets

I want to talk about something personal. I, on occasion, go to the bathroom. Sometimes at bathrooms that are not my own. In two such instances, just today, these bathrooms had new toilets. I like new bathrooms, they’re clean and generally more functional and less likely to come crashing down on your head. But these new toilets had one of those sensing systems that automatically flush for you.

Now I am short and the sensing system was mounted up tall in both instances. In the first, at my old high school (where you think some people might be a little short…), the flush went off once accidentally. OK, I thought, I can handle one mistake. Then it went off again. Here at the airport, it misfired three times.

This is annoying and inexcusable. Have they not heard of user testing? Do they expect only tall people to use these bathrooms? This problem must be remedied immediately. I recommend releasing a Service Pack on the manufacturer’s web site.


I’ve arrived in D.C.—once again, I’m sitting a block away from my hotel on the sidewalk borrowing someone’s connection. Trip was very smooth, had lunch with Lisa and went to the Spy Museum (pretty cool, but could have been better). Now for the meetings and parties.

Sorry for not responding to your email. I’m rather busy. ;-)

posted October 08, 2002 04:39 PM (Personal) #


The Numbers Don’t Lie
Our Dumb Pipeline
Eldred Press Watch
Iran Pushes UN Intervention Against US
Apple: Heinous DVD Pirates
Trip Notes
Mr. Swartz Goes to Washington
Elsewhere, Elsewhen
A Sad Day for America
Heaven on Earth
Larry on Larry

Aaron Swartz (