Taking security seriously

Authorities in Doncaster airport – aka Robin Hood Airport – have been acting in a way that might have given even the Sheriff of Nottingham pause. Or, at least, shown him how wonderfully easy controlling the peasants would have been if he’d just had the sense to wage The War on Outlawry.

An mildly jokey throw-away tweet line by a frustrated traveller has earned him a criminal record and cost him his job and just under a thousand pounds.

The offending tweet said:

Crap! Robin Hood Airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!

Note that this was just a tweet, presumably meant to be read by people with enough knowledge of the English language to recognise the normal conversational use of figure of speech. It wasn’t a “threat” delivered to the airport. Obviously the tweeter never imagined that anyone connected with Robin Hood Airport would read it. Nor, guessed that EVEN THOUGH everyone involved on the airport side says they knew full well it wasn’t really a threat, that he would still end up destroyed by it.

Or have terrorists now got into the habit of casually tweeting their intentions?

In that case, the ruination of one ordinary man’s life is a small price to pay for winning the War on Terror. Or the War on Twitter.

Or the War on Photography, even. As, it seems the “potential terrorists” are still up to their old dastardly tricks of taking photographs of well known landmarks. So, it’s a great comfort to us all that the police are still on the ball and stopping professional photographers from getting shots of London buildings.

How thoughtful of the City of London police to keep us safe. Carrying on with the good work of Robin Hood airport. (When you find this post through a google search, Mr Hood, you’ll see how impressed we are with your vigilance. And clearly, you won’t detect any irony, as you don’t recognise figures of speech.)

If imaginary figures can turn in their graves, there’s a man wearing a green hoodie rotating at mach 1 somewhere in the residual bit of Sherwood Forest.

Gorgeous Beach Scene

I found this on Flickr and loved it. It is a stunning picture with great compositional elements and spot on focusing.

I love the colours and the overall feeling of sunset tranquillity it gives.

montserrat A

montserrat A

montserrat A,
originally uploaded by Manel ^ Urindar.

Stunning landscape and a good reason for browsing through Flickr pics.

While it can be argued that flickr has a mixed bag of images (in terms of quality), it is undeniable that there are some stunning captures there.

I’m a Photographer not a Terrorist

Spread the word – especially if you live in the UK. If you live elsewhere see if there are similar protests in your country. Visit Photographer Not a Terrorist.org to find out more.

Atheist Blogroll Photography Competition

I was going to post about this last weekend, but I figured it would be better waiting a while so this can serve as both an advertisement and a reminder.

Mojoey has initiated the 2009 Atheist Blogroll Photography Competition and you have from now until 15 September 2009 to get your entries in. In the words of the great man himself:

I am pleased to announce the 2009  Atheist Blogroll photography contest. This year’s contest is open to any member of the Atheist Blogroll, their family, friends or significant others. By request, I’ve also opened the contest up to members of the Atheist Nexus too. We have five categories this year.

  • Atheism/Religion
  • Travel and People
  • Self-Portrait
  • Altered Images
  • The Natural World

The deadline for submissions is September 15, 2009.  Send your photographs as a .jpg file to the Atheist Blogroll.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? As always there are rules (but these are not onerous):

  1. Contestants may send up to three photos per category.
  2. Each submission must be an original work and may not have won any other contests.
  3. When sending your photographs, you must adhere to the following restriction: Actual file size may not exceed 2,048 KB (2 MB) and must be in .jpg, .jpeg.
  4. Submissions by persons under that age of 18 require parental consent.
  5. No Pornography – I follow the, “I know porn when I see it rule.”

Some important points to note about your submissions:

These fields are required.

  1. Category
  2. Title
  3. Caption and camera information
  4. Where and when the photo was taken: Los Angeles, May 2008
  5. The name or pseudonym of the photographer.
  6. A link the the artists blog or Atheist Nexus page. If a friend of an Atheist Blogroll member, then a link the members blog is appropriate.

By sending a photo you are granting the right for the photo to be displayed at Deep Thoughts as part of the 2009 photography contest or as part of a Google collection linked to the 2009 photography collection. All other rights remain with the artist.

If you are interested and want to find out more – such as how to enter – then check out the original post on Deep Thoughts. This is a great, fun, competition which seems very easy to enter so get out your SLR/Compact/Phone/Whatever and take some pictures. When you’ve done that (and turned them into JPEG if needed) get them off to Mojoey and see if you can win.

Also, Mojoey is looking for people to help with the judging so, if that is more up your street give it a go – but make sure you let my pictures win 🙂

They steal your soul

Police in Greater Manchester have been walking around with hand-held cameras filming parolees and “people they don’t like the look of” with the intention of putting video footage on Youtube.

How beautifully ironic that police in some parts of the country are arresting and dearresting people carrying cameras with intent to capture images, while their colleagues in other places are doing that exact thing as a supposedly powerful crime-fighting tool.

What is it about the magic of cameras? There is a probably mythological idea that certain tribes believed that photographs somehow stole your soul. Our society seems to hold to a contradictory belief that photographic images are at the same time both “terrifyingly dangerous” and “the solution to every social problem”. Which of these beliefs is the most obviously irrational? (Rhetorical question)

This reminds me of a post on the Register that showed pictures of Google Street View vehicles, taken by the people who were themselves featured on Google Street View taking the pictures on the Register. The Register suggested that

Surveillance feedback loops threaten fabric of time and space

Ugly word, ugly actions

A photographer was arrested for taking photographs in Kent – and apparently also for being tallish in a public place (according the Register, although this bit of the story may be apocryphal). Well, being tallish seems safer than looking a bit Brazilian.

Medway Eyes has links to several magazines and newspapers that discuss this infuriating story. (Eg, Henry Porter in the Guardian.)

The wrongness of this incident is self-evident. (For instance, let’s start with the misuse of anti-terror laws to harass people or with the de facto imposition of a requirement to show ID…..)

However, I’m getting soooo tired about banging on about the loss of civil liberties that I won’t bother here. Please take it as read.

Instead, I’m just going to whine about the word “de-arrested” According to Amateur Photography:

A spokesman for Kent Police confirmed this morning: ‘We can confirm that on Wednesday 8 July, at approximately 12.30pm, a man was arrested on Military Road, Chatham. After a short period of time the man was dearrested and no further action will be taken.’

“Dearrested”. It’s not a word.

I’m all for making up words on spec but surely any inventions should add something to the English language, not just make speech uglier, to no purpose.

What’s wrong with “freed”? Maybe “freed” was rejected because it carries a subliminal association with the concept of “freedom,” whereas “dearrested” just reminds you of “arrest.”

There’s a subtle suggestion that the condition of being arrested is the default state, with “dearrest” (sic, not “dearest”, please try to keep up) being the anomaly.

Obviously, being “dearrested” is infinitely preferable to being arrested. But, then, who’d have thought – ten years ago – that using your own camera in a public shopping street could lead to you getting arrested in the first place?

On 9th July, the Metropolitan Police issued guidelines to its police officers to point out that taking photographs was not a crime, but apparently the Home Office was not altogether behind that seemingly innocuous message. And it certainly doesn’t seem to have filtered through to the Medway towns.

In any case, if taking photographs is somehow a crime, how can anyone square that with the ubiquity of CCTV in Britain? There must be scarcely more than ten feet of public space that isn’t being photographed on a 24-hour -a-day basis. The Register pointed out a truly amazing statistic:

As if to underline Britain’s status as the West’s most monitored society, the BBC’s Freedom of Information requests showed that authorities on the Shetland Islands have more CCTV cameras than the San Francisco Police Department.