Colin's Journal

Colin's Journal: A place for thoughts about politics, software, and daily life.

April 3rd, 2004

Bits and Bobs

Swan on Lake Ontario.Last weekend we were travelling to Arkansas, so I needed to purchase a book to keep me entertained on the flights. I chose an author new to me, Alastair Reynolds, and a book called Chasm City.

The book is far-future science fiction incorporating many tried and tested space travel ideas. The writing was generally good, but the relationships between the characters often felt false. Characters interacted in peculiar ways; conversations lacked emotion and actions seemed driven only by plot requirements. Even at 616 pages the book felt rushed, as though the plot fit but the story didn’t.

At some point I’ll try his earlier book, Revelation Space, which is selected as being the superior of the two in the Amazon reviews.

The news that the US will be fingerprinting and photographing all visa-waiver country citizens from September is marginally better than the previous plan, making us obtain a US visa, but it still disappointing. The introduction of biometric passports next year will make this a moot issue anyway.

The UK passport service is currently saying that they will place digitised photos into the new-style passports, but leave space for one other biometric identifier. Depending on what this second identifier is, and the most logical is a fingerprint, then all countries that you enter and leave will be able to record this information anyway.

Treating people as criminals isn’t just a policy for people crossing international borders; the UK is also planning to introduce biometric identify cards for the entire population. State interference in everyday lives seems to be the direction we are heading in.

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Copyright 2015 Colin Stewart

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