Saturday, April 12, 2014

Tilburg University visit

Was invited to share work experiences with about-to-graduate master students at alma mater as a part of Economic Business weeks Tilburg organized by . First visit to UvT in 2 years since graduation. Met nice people, had a pleasant chat with a few university officials, formally became a member of alumni association. Was totally worth three-hour train trip.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Firefox - uninstalled

Why I hate airport security rules

On my previous trip from Paris to Amsterdam I was once again forced to leave behind a few items at the security checkpoint. Not for the first time, but after this occasion I grew pissed off enough to right a post on why I don't respect those rules.
First, about my understanding of what a rule (or, in that case, airport security regulation) is - although, obviously, nobody cares about my understanding :). Rule is supposed to be unambiguous, or at least designed to be close to that. And in fact, a lot of rules we deal with in every-day life are such ("Don't enter the shop with an ice-cream", "Do not kill people" etc., and if something is not clear enough, you have numerous documents written in sleep-inducing language, called legal, where extra explanations are provided. Airport security rules, contrary to those mentioned above, are open to interpretation. Talking about European rules, there is a pretty formal list that can be found  here. Funny enough, although such list exists (even having some interesting items in the list, like that one
 blunt instruments - (objects capable of being used to cause serious injury when used to hit), including:-baseball and softball bats,-clubs and batons, such as billy clubs, blackjacks and night sticks,-martial arts equipment;
so what about duty-free items can I hit somebody to death with a bottle of champaign? Or even a suitcase - oh, believe me, it's heavy enough to kick sh*t out of somebody.), some other statement on the same web-site say that "you need to refer to your airport rules for verification of what is allowed". Basically, it leaves the "rules" to the interpretation of the local airport services. On most airlines' web-sites in the section describing carry-on luggage regulations you are also very likely to see the phrase similar to "Before your flight, therefore, please check the website of your departure airport to find out which hand luggage regulations are in force there." (Lufthansa web-site). So, let's imagine I follow that advice. I will navigate to CDG web-site only to discover

CDG Security Tips

As with most airports in the EU, there are strict regulations on which items may be carried within your hand luggage. Liquid restrictions apply so ensure all your hand luggage liquids, gels and gas items are stored seperately in the airport-regulation plastic bag.
Airport security strongly advises against passengers accepting luggage from other travellers, and from leaving their own luggage unattended.
Not an extensive list, is it? And once you arrive at the airport, right before the security point you will see the stands with a notice on restricted and prohibited items, similar to the one referred before. The main difference though, is that after every dangerous good category there is an addition
Any blunt instrument capable of causing injury, including, but not limited to
And believe me, most of the people working there don't listen to whatever you tell them about false perception of danger or even common sense.
I really hope that sooner or later officials will realize that the real way to safer stay on board is not additional restrictions, but better information exchange and identifying potential hazards long before people even arrive at the airport.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

On air travel comfort

Tall people, are you also annoyed by the fact that the height, at which windows in an aircraft are located, is just not convenient for enjoying the views on a sunny day? I literally have to pull my body down and pretend to be in a laid-back mood, or bend my neck to the extent that makes me fall asleep or start reading a book. Boeing, Airbus, any technology in mind to make it adjustable? 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

On girls-meeting probability theory

Today my topic is girls :) I've never written on it before, although it's definitely stated among my interest on the blog description. But now, after a bottle of a perfect Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, I have enough determination to admit that I was looking forward to flying anywhere in expectation of meeting some of nice examples with a broader outlook for interesting things in life than mine, plus being beautiful enough to forget about their stupidity if that wasn't the case :)
So, what do I have in that respect to date? The answer is really knocking down - nothing, or, better said, nobody. I've never been seated to a person I had really pleasant flight with, during all my travelings. Never, ever!!! Does it make me seem like a chronicle looser? Not at all! Last time I flew with Emirates I was seated alone in a 3-seat row on the overbooked flight, since 2 other travelers missed the boarding, effectively making me flying almost like a business class passenger on my longest flight so far. But the question forced me, as a person with a strong mathematical background, to calculate what the odds are of such a miss.
According to flightdairy I had 86 flight I could have recalled. According to the aircraft types, average capacity of the aircraft boarded was about 130 people. Being potentially seated with 1.7 people (due to the limited ability to communicate to an aisle-seated person, when taking window seat), my odds of not being seated next to an attractive girl (here, I assume, below real-world levels, of at least 1 hot girl) are (1 - 1.7/128) = 0.9867. So, in 86 flights, my odds of meeting no one who falls into the target category are approximately 0.32, which is much more than I expected. And which makes me think that I just haven't flown enough, and that's why I'm planning my next trip to Israel in May :) It also reminded me of my favorite tennis player's, Stanislas Vavrinka, tatoo - "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better."