Wednesday, March 28, 2007

T Minus 1 Day - Houston, we have a problem

2 days ago I was detained by immigration authorities due to some question about my passport. I assure everyone that my travel papers are in order, I have no criminal record in any country, and I am no threat to the UK. However, while this mysterious issue is investigated I have been detained near Gatwick, away from Imperial College and computers.

There is a good chance I will not be released in the morning and will not be there at 12:30. I am working on a way around this, so as not to disappoint those who are awaiting my talk. Some day I may comment on upside-down immigration laws. In the meantime, there is work to be done.

8 Comments:

Blogger Kea said...

Hmmm. I wonder what they are thinking...

7:23 PM  
Anonymous mog said...

this is better than porn

8:31 PM  
Anonymous a quantum diaries survivor said...

Louise, I am in the conference room, it's Thursday morning, talks are about to begin, and I just received an updated program which does not contain your talk any longer.

I am puzzled...
T.

9:49 PM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Hello Tommaso: I emailed the conference my powerpoint file. This is turning into a disappointing week stuck at Gatwick. (At the IAU Meeting in Bali a number of presenters were kept out of the country.)

10:16 PM  
Blogger nige said...

I just can't believe this.

The jobsworth immigration officials at Gatwick are idiots!

I hope you sue them for wrongful detention!

They let terrorists into the country on the way to carry out 9/11 and more recent attacks, but they hold up innocent people on the way to a important science conference with vital results.

I'm guessing that maybe the problem is your passport needs renewing within the next six months or whatever, and they have a regulation about people needing more than six months before the passport expires. They are just complete morons, maybe they are all part-time string theorists or arXiv censors who just can't be rational.

This is really sad.

Frankly, I'm suspicious of why they picked on you. That nutter from arXiv who emailed the conference, trying to get your talk stopped, may also have also sent some sort of moronic email to UK immigration as a "tip off" to get you held up long enough to stop the talk going ahead!

Remember, Lubos Motl for example has written about this sort of thing:

http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=123/#comment-1768

Lubos Motl Says:

December 19th, 2004 at 10:11 am

"... Of course that I think that Oakley’s [alternative theorist] comments about funding of these amazing [stringy] projects are horrible. It’s an approach of a totally uniformed terrorist. People like Oakley should be dealt with by the US soldiers with the gun - and I am sort of ashamed to waste my time with such immoral idiots."


So there's the evidence that the arXiv dominating mainstream of string theorists think of alternative ideas as terrorism which should be dealt with by US soldiers or their backups, UK immigration officers.

I wouldn't think it improbable for that Marxist guy at arXiv to have arranged this detainment.

What happens is, immigration receives a tip-off, then they use some trivial technicality about the expiry date or visa of the passport to detain people.

British officialdom is really impossible in cases like this, because it's often a sewer of jobsworths and petty tyrants. They may have lots of arbitrarily implemented regulations, but they have very little common sense in certain ways.

11:43 PM  
Anonymous Sam said...

A friend reminded me today that Sir Isaac Newton and Thomas Edison are both people who abused their position to silence other natural philosophers many of whose theories were perfectly valid.

I'm not saying either of these people didn't make great contributions, but their actions were sometimes very questionable.

These facts are often glossed over in accounts of their lives.

2:10 PM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Nige, once again you are dead-on right. This is absurd.

Sam, I hope we never give in to that temptation. Consideration of alternate ideas is always welcome.

5:49 PM  
Blogger Pandabonium said...

Welcome to the new world order.

I tell people that I don't mind if they call me "conspiracy theorist" if they don't mind me calling them "coincidence theorist". :^)

10:25 PM  

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