June 2008

13 June 2008
Panic buying
Rob Fisher

Drivers of fuel tankers start a four day strike today.  Motorists are being warned not to “panic buy”.  Panic buying is perfectly rational behaviour:  a given individual is more likely to get fuel if they join in than if they abstain.

This strike is about pay rather than tax and only affects Shell.  Will people understand this or will they stock up on fuel regardless?

10 June 2008
Rob Fisher

A new low-cost airline charges by weight—including passenger and luggage.

Well, not really.  But it seems like quite a good idea.  I always get charged for an extra kilo or two of baggage when I fly on Ryanair—it’s just impossible to pack everything in 18kg.  Why should people get to carry extra fat for free?

Upgrade: Travel Better.

Security Bullying
Rob Fisher

Via Slashdot comes the story that the TSA (the people in charge of security in American airports) will refuse to let you on the plane if you refuse to show your ID.

But ID is not a requirement for travel:  if you say you lost or forgot your ID, they’ll let you on the plane, subject to extra searches.  Chris Soghoian writes:

The change of rules seems to be a pretty obvious case of security theater. Real terrorists do not refuse to show ID. They claim to have lost their ID, or they use a fake.

To me this doesn’t seem like security theatre at all.  It’s simply that officials don’t like those who refuse to respect their authority.  They respond by behaving like bullies.  It’s no different to me being told off for holding a camcorder at a security checkpoint, or some bloke being told to change his T-shirt.