November 26, 2007

I'm back (but not really)

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at November 26, 2007 10:15 AM

Just a post to keep the page alive—I'm back in Berkeley from Thanksgiving (in Vegas) and my high school reunion (in Connecticut), but now I really need to finish my thesis very soon. A couple notes from yesterday:

An easy way to get the full-service treatment from the TSA is try to get through security with an expired driver's license (even if it only expired three days ago). This also entailed filing some kind of form with my name on it so I'm probably on the watch list now. However, as I learned Thursday, flying on the day it expires is allowed. Now I have to fit in a trip to the DMV, and renewing my license now will ensure that I end up taking a job in some other state, requiring me to do it again in a few months.

I had to make two stops on my way back from Connecticut: my actual connection in Philadelphia, and an "unscheduled fuel stop" in Denver. (I myself sometimes make unscheduled fuel stops in my car, but when the airlines do it I find it somewhat worrisome.) With computer use prohibited during all the takeoffs and landings I had lots of time when I was forced to do something other than work on my thesis, and I took the opportunity to finally read Philip K. Dick's classic novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (which as you probably all know was the inspiration for Blade Runner). I liked it, and while it was a short novel with a light prose style, it was extremely rich and coherent thematically. The book is concerned with the nature of the distinction between "real" and "artificial", and addresses this from many directions at once, with almost every principal element of the plot and the setting illuminating a different aspect. I'm inclined to write a full review, but I don't have time so I'll stop here and get back to work.

Tags: Books, Travel

That's an awesome book. There are definitely worse things to be stuck reading on a plane.

Posted by: such.ire | November 26, 2007 11:38 AM

sorry i missed you while you were out this way.

Posted by: shellock | November 26, 2007 12:14 PM

That book is on my list of things to read. (On the bright side, I did finally read Neuromancer, so I am occasionally knocking things off my list.)

I tried getting through the airport on an expired driver's license once. (I lost my unexpired one at the Paseo and I found an old one and decided to use that as an ID rather than pay for a new one since I don't drive anyway.) A TSA person at the airport was starting to give me some grief and indicated that I would have to go to the baggage check to fill stuff out and get them to sign it and so on when I told them I would show them my passport and that averted the problem --- though I don't necessarily recommend switching your form of ID in mid-stream as the best way to approach things. (Before that, I didn't actually realized expired IDs would be a problem. I don't actually understand why that's any less valid than a current one. It shows the same birth date; it just means I can't drive with it.)

Posted by: Mason | November 26, 2007 4:25 PM

Mason: I think there are a couple arguments for invalidating expired DLs as identification. The first is that the mechanism for ID is comparison to the photo, so the photo needs to be reasonably up-to-date. The second is that if an expired DL still functions as ID, it creates a perverse incentive: most people will get a new DL right away so they can legally drive, but now they have a redundant ID card. Why not sell it to a similar-looking individual to use as a fake ID? Obviously even without this lots of people have no trouble getting fake IDs, but you don't want to make it too easy to supply them.

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | November 26, 2007 5:51 PM

Yes, but expired passports are always accepted as ID even for the proof of citizenship/eligibility to work when you get a new job.

Posted by: Jenny | November 27, 2007 6:49 PM

Jenny: I didn't know that. I could see using an expired passport as proof of citizenship (along with some other form of ID to prove the passport's yours) since citizenship doesn't expire, but I'm surprised it's taken as ID on its own.

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | November 27, 2007 9:38 PM
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