On the afternoon of 27th March I received a telephone call, at work, from a ‘journalist’ working for the London Evening Standard. He introduced himself as Joshua Neicho, apparently partly responsible for the Letters section of that newspaper. Joshua told me he had found my details from Teh Internets after reading our postings on Blogdial concerning Heathrow T5 and the implications of design on security issues.
Now, tracking me down via Blogdial isn’t so hard to do. I’m sure Joshua would have preferred to contact Irdial, the first author of those posts, but Irdial isn’t silly enough to leave a simple trail to their private telephone number pasted all over the web.
Anyway, Joshua asked me to provide 200 words on T5, security and architecture within about 4 hours. Since this is a nice Blogdialian topic, I agreed. Fitting this writing into the last few hours of my already crowded work day was a shit, but here’s what I came up with. Not thrilling by Blogdial standards, just a concise resume of the position:
Much attention has been focussed on the architecture and security measures of Heathrow T5, but unfortunately not at the same time. Design and security at T5 are not only intimately linked, but invasive security measures (fingerprinting and photographing every passenger) are necessary precisely because of the architectural design.
BAA and the architects must have agreed on a non-segregated floorplan where passengers for domestic and international flights mix. Obviously, BAA (and HMG, who work closely with BAA on airport security) must have understood the security issues arising from this design. One may conclude that the design was intended to generate exactly this situation – a wonderful opportunity for testing biometric scanning procedures and public compliance on millions of people per year. Not only this, but that BAA, the architects and the government were complicit in the entire process!
Unbelievable? The alternative is that the architects design is flawed, but this went unnoticed by the architects, BAA and HMG until one day during the build itself! ‘Hang on! If we mix up internal and external… oh no! Now we’ll have to fingerprint everyone!’ Can one imagine Lord Rogers making such a big mistake in designing T5? I can’t.
I duly mailed this to Joshua Neicho (Old Etonian; Oxford University) asking to be kept informed of any use, and haven’t heard a peep from him since – something other bloggers have also reported. And blogged. I’m not sure what they teach students at Eton and Oxford, but I’m surprised simple manners isn’t included in the curriculum.
However, this post is to show ‘Why Print Journalism Is A Rotting Corpse’.
On 28th March, when T5 was in chaos on its opening day, here (and linked here) are the two letters chosen for the T5 design/security issue:
One, an analysis of design. The other, a tirade against invasive security. What is wrong with this picture? Forgoing my usual modesty (ahem!), may I just remind you of the first sentence of our unused letter.
Much attention has been focussed on the architecture and security measures of Heathrow T5, but unfortunately not at the same time.
The published viewpoints, editorially chosen by people like Joshua Neicho, are like having your face pressed up to a cinema screen by a long-dead shuffling zombie, swathed in the stench of nepotism, laziness, corruption and self-interest. Not to mention a lack of manners! And for putting up with that disgusting experience all you get to see is the tiny bit of the picture thats right in front of your face, distorted and given a disproportionate importance.
But you’re reading Blogdial.
Best seat in the house!