The way the employees behaved is consistent with this explanation.
Edit: I should have said no more than that the excessive reaction of the security people suggests there may be something dubious happening at this McDonald's that they don't want filmed. But there are other less dramatic things they might be doing besides money laundering: using undocumented labor, for example.
I'm French and have been living in Paris my whole life. In France you're not allowed to take pictures or movies of people without their consent. If you try to take pictures of strangers in the subway you will be heckled and possibly assaulted, and the police will do nothing to stop it.
I'm not defending my country here -- I'm a photographer and resent this a lot, this attitude is stupid -- but this is how it is.
> No one at an ordinary McDonald's would even notice such a device.
Every fast food and most retail shops now have "private security" who are untrained/uneducated people standing at the door and watching people come and go. I would bet none of them speaks a word of English so it's unlikely the letter from a doctor in the US meant anything to them. They felt entitled to prevent the taking of pictures in the restaurant and felt they were being played with false official documentation.
(Go try and take pictures at any McDonald's in Paris or any other fast food joint and you'll be met with extreme hostility, and possibly physical aggression).
This privatization of security is a very big problem and a scandal in its own right (the rule of law means the state has a monopoly on legitimate violence) and I try hard to never comply with what those security people tell me, and tell them to call the police if they're unhappy -- the fact is that they have absolutely zero legitimate power but since nobody knows it, they have a lot of semblance of power.
But I would be very very surprised if McDonald's in France (on the Champs Élysées!) had restaurants that were a mafia front. Undocumented labor is a more likely possibility, but again, no restaurant or in fact no retail place in Paris will let you take pictures inside their premises without a very strong confrontation. Go ahead and try.
How embarrassing to have produced an instance of the indignant and uninformed speculation that I so often groan to find at the top of HN comment threads.
You can take pictures of monuments; you can take "general" pictures in the street; you can take pictures of people sitting at the same table as you in a restaurant.
But if you specifically target a stranger in the street, or take pictures in a shop, etc. then it will cause a stir.
Actually, some architects and building owners forbid photography, for intellectual property reasons. Freedom of panorama (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_panorama) can be complicated.
A French court ruled in June 1990 that a special lighting display on the tower...was an "original visual creation" protected by copyright. The Court of Cassation, France's judicial court of last resort, upheld the ruling in March 1992. The Société d'exploitation de la tour Eiffel (SETE) now considers any illumination of the tower to be under copyright. As a result, it is no longer legal to publish contemporary photographs of the tower at night without permission in France and some other countries.
Different as compared to what? Google “right to bear camera” and you will find many documented cases of policepersons, people in charge, and passersby harassing photographers, in cases photographers that were not using their equipment. These take place in countries that are otherwise considered civilized, all over the world.
Do you mean “different” as in “elsewhere, terrorism would have been invoked at some point”? http://photographernotaterrorist.org/
Although McDonald's isn't a public space, there would be several rungs in the ladder between "sir, you can't take photos in here" and a physical altercation.
Despite this being the law, it can still get you in trouble with the police (in the US).
"Droit à l'image" covers use, duplication and distribution of pictures of people, and only if said people can be identified on the picture. I don't know about any french law that forbids actually taking pictures of people in a public place. In a private area, there's Code Pénal, Art. 226-1, and even then, the law says that unless they explicitly disagree, their consent is assumed. Once the shot is taken, you don't have the right to publish the image without their explicit consent, and if no consent of publication is given, you can publish the image as long as people cannot be identified.
(FWIW one can take and publish pictures of goods to one's heart's content, provided it causes no harm)
> If you try to take pictures of strangers in the subway you will be heckled and possibly assaulted, and the police will do nothing to stop it.
There is no legitimate reason for a nearby police member not to try to stop someone physically assaulting someone else, whatever the reason of the assault may be. Their duty is to at least inquire into the situation.
In France the photographer is considered the perpetrator. The police are more likely to help the people being photographed to not be photographed (if necessary, by taking the camera by force), than to protect the photographer. ("More likely" is an overstatement; the most likely behavior is that the police won't do anything either way).
Are you serious? So you say that in France, I can just beat up a random guy with a camera and claim that they tried to take a picture of me? And the police will just say "yeah, whatever, carry on. Need a stick?" Not very credible.
Actually, the only situation when police really don't do anything, is when you come to them with petty crimes/misdemeanors and are unable of right away identify, or provide something to easily identify the offender. I've rarely seen the police not acting when evidences of identity are provided. Like in this case. If they didn't react... it's probably because the victim wasn't European... so taking on this case would be complicated and probably end in nothing. Because most often, when the victims are strangers the case tend to end in the trash after a while. And policemen don't like the idea of doing work for nothing. But they should do it. And act more often than not.
Note : Actually the Police may be doing something, but he OP don't know it. Because what's true about French policemen, is that they're horrible at communicating.
Also, if it were done in front of a policeman, he may do something (or not -- if he's in charge of monitoring traffic he won't do anything about an altercation between pedestrians) -- but in most places there isn't any policeman.
If you go to the police after the fact and say that someone hit you in the face because you were taking a picture of them, then I guarantee you will elicit zero sympathy and will be made to wait a looong time before anyone writes down your complaint (which will go nowhere anyhow).
But of course circumstances matter; if you shoot people in the street then even policemen monitoring traffic will intervene; if someone cuts your arm in half because you were carrying a camera then the police will help!!
Maybe one other explanation for this incident is the amount of hidden camera documentaries airing on national TV recently. I can imagine these security agent being briefed to avoid at all costs having another Super Size Me shot at their location.
The reaction can be mild "Hey, WTF??" to aggressive (being punched in the face).
In the US, if you go to the police saying "I entered this guy's home and took a Coke from his fridge, and next thing you know he punched me!! For a can of Coke!?! Can you believe that! Please arrest him!" the police will likely tell you "you're lucky you didn't get shot".
In France the photographer is considered the perpetrator. The police will not help him (and maybe worse if he insists...)
Also, "assault" is very different here than in the US; grabbing someone by the arm or pushing him around isn't considered assault (more like a disagreement).
That said, you can get very far with asking first: many people, if asked, won't mind being photographed (but you have to ask every person, and respect every decision, which would make the whole process pretty complex).
And please the ... "Also, "assault" is very different here than in the US; grabbing someone by the arm or pushing him around isn't considered assault (more like a disagreement)." the description of what happened is not just "grabbing someone by the arm". But anyway you're wrong, because even in that situation, grabbing someone by the arm an pushing him around is quite exactly the main case of application of Article 222-13 of the Penal Code, under the condition n°8. And the Criminal Chamber of the Cour de Cass' has said millions of times that an actual physical assault is not needed to qualify assault (which in France is called 'violence volontaires'), but only a psychological one, or something that shocked emotionally someone is enough. So yeah... it's maximum 3 years and 45k€ in fine for each of the 3 perpetrators.
Oh, and by the way... if you think that punching a man in the face just because he entered your home without authorization and took a Coke is enough to justify legitimate defense your totally wrong. And you should go live in Florida with Mr. Zimmerman. No it's not. The legitimate defense of property (because the guy wasn't menacing you physically, just abusing your property require some details like : Asking the guy to drop the can and get the fuck out of your house before attacking him physically. And that the retaliation is proportionate. The punch, if soft, would pass this test. The gun certainly not, not for a Coke. And if you broke is nose and jaw, probably not.
Please everyone, do not take what anyone saying his french as an expert opinion on French society and French law (sadly, this also includes me).
But according to the letter of the law you appear to be mistaken: article 222-13 of the Penal Code says the exact opposite of what you make it say.
Article 222-11 says that acts of violence resulting in more than 8 days of "ITT" (incapacité totale de travail) carry a penalty of up to 3 years in jail.
Article 222-13 says that acts of violence resulting in less than 8 days of ITT carry the same penalty if and only if they satisfy one of 18 special cases.
This means that acts of violence that
1/ result in up to 7 days of ITT (total work inability)
2/ do not satisfy any of the 18 special cases
don't carry any penalty AT ALL.
In plain English: if two adults fight and the fight doesn't result in one of them being unable to work for more than a week, then no one can be charged with anything.
And, plus, your lecture of the French customs is radically different from mine. I do not recognize myself and my compatriots in what your describing. Never saw someone react like your saying of photography. So maybe... you should remember that you're not Levi-Strauss, you just saying what you think about french... It's a commonplace your spreading like "French people are cocky and smell" or "Americans are stupid, you know that they don't believe in evolution". What you're describing is at most a fringe behavior. Neither you nor I are sufficiently aware of the inner complexity of French society (or American, of Papuan) to make so bold judgments. You say it's normal. I say it's not. Who's right ? I'm as French as you are, and no less expert than you (by no less I mean => Not at all). It's you say, I say. No solution for it.
Then you say that it's not about the letter of the law, but how it's enforced. Ahh, then we are coming to a matter that I know a little better than anthropology, see, because I actually had to deal with the police, I've spent time in prison (happily not as an inmate), I've studied law and you know... it's applications. Because, even if a lot of people think we keep our heads in the letter of the law, we actually spend a lot of time trying to understand what's actually the practice of it. And heck, I even had to go report some small felonies that against my very person, and not other people.* And what you're reporting as the "attitude" of the police, is pretty much what almost every layman think of them. Because most of the population despise the police, and think they're useless etc. etc. But you know what, It's not accurate. Yes there is some truth to it. Yes the police won't do all that the law ask them to do. Yes they do a lot of abuses (holy shit, a "PV d'arrestation" is some of the funnier readings you can find around, it's what I read when I need to take a break). And yes, you can come up with a lot of stories of people who had terrible experiences with them (but yeah you know what, no one who had good experiences with the police brags about it), and cases where the police did nothing about a serious case etc. etc. The French police tv series like PJ, Navarro, etc. are full of those. But, well, go to a tribunal, and look at the roll of cases you'll see that the second or third chief of accusation is "violences volontaires ayant entrainé une ITT de moins de 8 jours" (behind small drug related affairs and small theft). But you're right almost half the time it's not because of the 222-13 of the Penal Code. But under Art. R.625-1 of the same Code (section reglémentaire). It's a misdemeanor, fifth class. 3000€ of fine. It's not much... but you should not forget that the 21 special cases described in the 222-13 that transform the misdemeanor in a felony are really broad. And in the situation described, it is almost certain that the Special case n°8 is qualified (if more than one person participated in the assault, but there is a lot of special case so broad as : if the person was drunk or under effect of some drug, if the person acted upon premeditation, because of the race or sexuality, if the victim is an infirm, pregnant, old, under 15 etc). The Public Ministry knows how to make sure you can be arrested under the 222-13.
But, then anyway, even if you fall outside of the the 21 special cases, you can still have a financial penalty.
And by the way, even if ITT has the word Travail in it (work) it has nothing to do with your work capacity (yeah I know, it's an horrible name, legal people are trying to change it to Total Temporary Incapacity)(heck, how would we measure it for babies?). It measures how your day-to-day life was affected. If your disturbed in your normal routine (be it crying all the day for mommy to clean your mess if your a baby) for a week, then you have an ITT of 7 days. But if your emotionally distressed for a week... it's the same. Even if you can still go to work. Anyway, as I said, is a standard measure used by doctors to communicate with the Justice. Break a jaw, and you've got 15 days. A nose ? Between 6 and 20 days. Bruises ? 3 days. Difficulties to sleep after the fight because of stress and nightmare ? between 2 and 10 days (depending on you capacity to lie to the doctor). Got two of those ? Sum it.
So yeah in a bar fight where you only end up with some bruises, no one is going to the jail. Only a 1000€ fine, and 500€ in damages most of the time. But a fight of 2 picking up on somebody ? Felony. And it's what we have there.
But why are you talking about this ? I thought you were all about how the laws are enforced and not the letter. Well, and you know what, based on what I've seen (Créteil/Bobigny) (and it's maybe anecdotal), those kind of cases clutter up the Tribunal de Police. Seriously. And to a lesser extent, the Tribunal correctionnel. And in a lot of those cases of "small" assaults, there was some kind of non-violent provocation. Of course if you punch someone in the face and get punched back, the case is not going to a tribunal, but if you say : Fuck you to some one and get a big punch in the face, you should go to the tribunal, your probably winning easily, not much, but still, somewhere a policeman will hear you and send your case to the Public Ministry, who will be pissed off, with this, but at least make a Rappel a la Loi if it's a misdemeanor.
So in this case, where there wasn't even a provocation in my understanding (but for you, it seems that all French people get mad at people taking photos), there is no reason not to follow up and pursue those 3 guys at MacDonalds. And from my experience, had he been French or at least European, the police would have (maybe they are and we do not know) (Well... if the story is true... obviously).
I've actually met a person in jail who had punched someone in the face, after being called son of a bitch, but the victim fell with his head against a chair and passed out for several hours. The perpetrator was in recidivism situation so he ended up with 6 month in prison.
In plain English : Please stop saying what things ARE. And start saying what you feel/think things ARE. Principally when you're speaking as if you where an expert, and mainly conveying "conventional wisdom" which most of the time is not totally accurate, to be kind.
PS : You should read the annotated version of the law, you know the 'Code Penal' Red Book by Dalloz, not just legifrance. Because legifrance does not have the jurisprudence, and analysis of articles and interconnections in the law.
That is exactly the reason why I always make a point of "bragging" about having a positive experience with the police. Which has been about 2 or 3 times (fire, mugging, and a local robbery I happened to witness). Glad to have them. Even though afaik they never caught those responsible for the last two, it's how they dealt with the victims that makes it count.
Steve Mann says it was a factor of luck: "I also contacted the Embassy, Consulate, Police, etc., without much luck".
But IMO it could also be that he didn't have a clue what he was doing. What was he expecting to accomplish with the embassy or the consulate??
You're not going to have much "luck" with an embassy unless you're being arrested or personally held at the police station.
And you're not going to have much "luck" with a consulate unless you need assistance with formal documents regarding international relations such as passports, visas or permits for international trade.
And the police. Correct me if I'm wrong but if I'd be in New York City, say in a posh area near Wall Street, and I get into a scene in a McDonalds where somebody physically assaults me. I go to the NY police and try to explain, either in French or in broken English with a very thick French accent, how much "luck" do you think I would have?
I would go to the police for one thing and one thing only, which is to file a report so I can make an insurance claim. Because that's the only person who speaks your language and gets paid for helping you and has a 24/7 worldwide hotline: your travel insurance agent! Not to mention they have a lot of experience with exactly these kinds of troubles.
Especially if it's about damage to his important medical aid, which surely the same anonymous doctor that wrote the letter that supposedly explains he requires it for medical reasons, told him he might want to consider insuring separately before travelling abroad.
Also the employee-client relationship is radically different to what people in the US, Canada or UK are used to. Generally people are polite, but in case of any sort of conflict employees are protected and the client is assumed to be wrong and told to fuck off. As opposed to "the client always being right". There must be a middle ground somewhere.
The closest to France I've ever come was reading "Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong: Why We Love France but Not the French" ( http://www.amazon.com/Sixty-Million-Frenchmen-Cant-Wrong/dp/... ) and it made this point: in France, a store is considered an extension of the proprietor's home, and a customers is like a guest who has decided to drop in. He must first find the proprietor and introduce himself, and he must be on his best behavior.
...but it is entirely congruent with the point being made here.
I prefer it here, by the way. I think the UK system is rather balanced.
Its is not the police's job to judge if anybody acted in self-defense or not, the job of the police is to show up(!) and restore order. Judges do the rest. Also in France.
But if you try to take pictures of strangers -- anywhere -- you will generate a very aggressive reaction.
These rules are not written down so they're hard for strangers to understand; it's very possible for a tourist to feel photography is totally "free" in France when visiting tourist locations, and then find herself in the middle of a fight because she took her camera out of her bag at the wrong time in the wrong place (never in the subway for example!)
The funny thing with these kinds of "rules" / customs is that you internalize them; I can't even imagine myself taking pictures in the subway...
Of course I didn't go shooting strangers directly in their face. I think I'd you do that most anywhere people will get upset because what business do you have taking a close-up picture of a stranger without their permission? That's an intrusion just about anywhere.
At least in Paris, I found the city to be crowded with tourist snapping photos of everything. I didn't see anybody giving the slightest care. I had always imagined France to be a photo-friendly place considering the reverence for film and art and being the birthplace of photography. Perhaps I didn't see enough but, at least, it's hard for me to imagine people getting violent over photographs just based on my personal experience. Because with the amount of tourist taking pictures there would be blood running on the streets.
> The funny thing with these kinds of "rules" / customs is that you internalize them; I can't even imagine myself taking pictures in the subway...
I've lived in several countries, and have inadvertently offended people in all of them. Well-travelled, educated people, who don't realise that some specific cultural norms are just that - cultural.
I suppose a UK/US person would never consider it apporpriate to take photos in a bathroom for example.
I'm confused about how this aversion to cameras can possibly hold when nearly everyone is carrying one or more cameras at all times. Does everyone in Europe avoid using their smartphone except in the privacy of their own home? As cameras shrink and are built into pretty much everything, is this culture changing, or are products simply going to be built without cameras for the European market?
Exactly, "not of people (in the bathroom)". Would you take photos of people in a bathroom. If you're male, would you take photos of men at the urinal?
Does everyone in Europe avoid using their smartphone except in the privacy of their own home?
No of course not.
I am male, and no, that would seem weird to me. On the other hand, I wouldn't feel that I could legitimately assault someone who was.
No of course [people don't avoid using smartphones in public]
You say "of course", but I can't figure out how universal cameras are consistent with a culture that fears cameras in public.
If a dozen people on a subway car are using smartphones (and therefore could be taking video or photos right now), how do others react?
Does the answer change when a dozen people are wearing Google Glass?
Also, why do people seem dismissive of questions like these? :)
Tell that to all the kids on Facebook ;-)
But the spirit of bambax' and others' messages is true: in Europe, customer is not king and should behave in a way that pleases the shopkeepers or restaurant owners. This is more true the closer you are to the capital or the city's hot spot.
And more generally, one has to develop a sense of what is right in a particular place, not assuming that the same customs apply as in your home country. Americans don't have a good record at that, I'm afraid. As someone pointed out, you're bound to inadvertently offend people, but rushing into a place with a camera is a good way to start learning from your mistakes.
That being said, the violence displayed by this particular personnel is completely over the top and should not be tolerated, not by customers and not by law.
Except for all the photos in the blog post.
Its possible because they're there. Anything beyond that is arguing against the reality of the photos on the web page.
I naturally assumed that if Mann was going to offer the documentation to defend his wearing of the special glasses, to someone in France, then he would have been prepared with a notarized official French translation (heck, he's from Canada...).
If he seriously tried to give English-only documentation -- and that was really his plan to convince people in France that his glasses were legit -- that seriously changes my opinion of the events.
And actually, official translation are horribly expensive.
But as far as the translation goes, you can get forms for the country you're going to. That's how it was for Turkey, anyway. I don't know about France.
The form is multi-lingual (English/French/Turkish, in my case). The doctor fills in the forms and as long as he pays attention to the proper medical Latin words (and stamps it!) it should be fine. At least for border officials.
Still, from the lack of details in the blog post--he only refers to it as "a letter from my doctor"--whereas he painstakingly mentions every irrelevant detail in the story, I'm guessing that letter wasn't very complete, official, or even partially translated.
And while you are right that he shouldn't have needed it, trying to calm down an angry and aggressive French person by showing them a letter written in English is not very likely to improve the situation, and is indeed likely to get torn up in the process.
Which may not be right, but it's also not very smart.
Laundering money through a fast food restaurant with a supply chain outside your control is a terrible idea. Franchises are required to purchase food centrally.
Q How much cash are you banking this week?
A 1,000,000 EUR
Q So you have sold 500,000 Big Macs.
Q Can I see your invoices for 500,000 buns please?
The profit margin is not high enough for it to be worth ordering extra stock and throwing it out. The business would effectively be paying about 70% tax. That's not digestable, even to launder cash.
More plausible reasons: Running a McDonalds franchise and significantly and systematically under-reporting revenue using unauthorised suppliers. But to involve low-level staff would seem unlikely.
This isn't exactly covert surveillance. Some bored member of staff just didn't like the look of this American weirdo with a video camera for an eye, a piece of paper that he waves around and an attitude that he is entitled to buffer everything he sees anywhere in the world and then publicly blame an entire multinational for a minor, local incident. (Not my perception, but I think it likely that it was theirs.)
I'm almost serious, because I was in this exact McDonald's in 1998 (I'm not making this up) and was verbally abused for asking for more than the provided two packets of ketchup.
In their defense, it was Bastille Day and more than a little bit crazy in there.
There are stories of people in the drug trade in Mexico having rooms in their houses full of cash that they cannot otherwise dispose of.
Usually for businesses you use nail salons, tanning, etc which have high labor and service components to price, vs. materials.
You wouldn't have to throw it out. Sell it on to other businesses.
Dr. Steve Mann, PhD (MIT '97), PEng (Ontario),
330 Dundas Street West
Canada, M5T 1G5.
but yeah, i don't think this is the best explanation. But now i can't stop picturing Ronald macdonald sitting at some backroom like vitor corleone.
I worked for Steve Mann about 15 years ago. Calling him the father of wearable computing is an understatement -- he was the father before it was even possible to create, and yet managed to make it happen essentially on his own a decade or more before it should have existed -- the JFK Apollo of wearables out of his own pocket.
However, he is probably not the least suspicious person when dealing with stupid rule following automatons -- a true hacker in that way. If anyone could make slightly scared and overly paranoid security guys worried, it is probably Steve. Super friendly if you engage with him, but not going to err on the side of social graces over pushing tech forward.
I am pretty sure this was an honest ignorant understanding by some worried people and sort of emphasized out of proportion -- I remember a similar incident at Boston Airport.
Dr Mann also says P1 "angrily grabbed my eyeglass, and tried to pull it off my head", which is also not consistent with an honest mistake.
McDonalds should apologize, but I don't think it was a conspiracy.
I don't understand the benefit to ever being anything but polite to suthority, even while resisting (legally or beyond legally, depending on how important the issue is to you). I "opt out" of rapescans all the time, and am polite, and the whole interaction goes fairly well. (I think it is security theater, but invasive pat downs aren't always inappropriate; just when there is not enough benefit. I'd draw that line as search incident to arrest based on RS and PC developed normally -- just being a passenger on a flight doesn't make you all that much more likely to be a terrorist). Protest in court, in congress, on the Internet, and during the incident, but don't be threatening or rude.
Since you say she's a friend of yours and might know more details, I'm curious what you think she did wrong.
Osama achieved million times more than what he would have dreamed of.
I highly doubt it is a front for a shady business. It would be like claiming the Apple store next to Central Park, New York City, is a front...
It is also next to a number of the finest luxury retailers in the world...
I agree. Rich folks don't go to McDonalds too often. However in Europe the brand is perceived a bit differently
I can only speak for Paris and Tokyo, and the very upper class may not eat there, but nobody else has a problem with it. It's not just American tourists keeping them in business.
+ It isn't even necessary to assume that the language barrier or anti-Americanism had anything to do with it. I mean, even in the deep South, a good old boy might try to rip a prosthesis off a black guy's head just because he doesn't like "weird Treky shit."
This story is strange precisely because it is not a scenario where an explanation springs to mind. People are known to be petty and cruel to the point of assault, but people who are employees of a company like McDonald's in a city like Paris are not.
I've experienced aggressive behaviour from a lot of white Australians. Should I make a judgement of the entire population based on those anecdotal experiences?
Aggression is everywhere, it has very little to do with your cultural heritage unless you're a bloody Spartan.
If you want don't want to be quiet about your racial prejudices, go find a forum for it. There should be plenty of mindless goons out there willing to discuss it with you. Try the youtube comments section.
The fact that you acknowledge that there exists a culture whose adherents are more prone to be adversarial means you accept OP's point.
I'm French, of no extraction. Please stop. French of Moroccan extraction are French.
Regarding the riots, that's also not relevant to the discussion but because you ask, those riots where the results of 40 years of bad policies, social rejection and latent racism.
Also, since they are not "allowed" to disavow their Moroccan nationality, virtually all Moroccans remain Moroccan, even in later generations.
Europe. It's a melting pot, always has been. There are lots of flexible definitions of nationality.
> their outlook on these matters is striking and confused
Specifically are you referring to the outlook of politicians, the media, or some other entity? I know you started with 'the British' but surely you're not making sweeping generalisations about the 60 million people who live in the UK. That would be a wee bit racist don't you think?
Identity in social science is a complex matter and trying to attack it with "most" is at best inaccurate. Please read the article on identity negotiation which will shed light to the picture.
PS: I'm not RTFM-ing you, it's just a topic that I'm not qualified to address myself, even though I know it's complex.
according to the wikipedia (which, of course, is not always correct) that is not an or but an and (at least, until the age of majority.) Even assuming that the wikipedia is correct in this case, there is a big difference between automatically gaining citizenship on your 18th birthday, and having a 'path to citizenship' and I have no idea where France is on that continuum.
But, you can ask for the French nationality before, as early as the age of 13, if you lived there the 5 preceding years.
The difference is the automaticity, at 18 it's automatic, before that it's on request.
And under 18, everyone has more or less the same rights, not withstanding the nationality.
My reading of the French law makes it look like it would solve this "problem" as the kid isn't french, so you can deport the kid and their parents. Out of curiosity, am I reading that right? that if two undocumented immigrants have a kid and the authorities deport the newborn and the parents and manage keep them out of the country until the kid is 18, the kid is not french at all, even though she was born on french soil?
So it's quite bastard... problematic.
Your reading is quite unfortunately not totally correct. A child born or not in France is in theory undeportable, even if their parents are from Mars or undocumented (which seems to be the same to some people...). Actually, under 18 it's impossible to be undocumented... because there is no document to authorize a child to live in France, they all have naturally this right. No visa, nothing.
EXCEPT (there always a fucking horrible exception), if you came into France without requesting a Visa (that is not needed... but you must request it... go figure...) and entered France coming from another state of the European Union (thanks EU for your horrible immigration law). Then the kid can be sent back to the EU country he came from... which is free to deport the kid if the law of this country allow it. (Well except if he came into France without parents... then he is not deportable again).
But then the worse is to come. If the parents are undocumenteds... well, their kid is not deportable... but they are. It's been a long time France dealt with the "anchor babies"... and in the most hypocrite way. So the parents have a choice : Go with their children, or abandon their children... I kid you not. And I let you imagine what most of parents end up deciding... And no, the answer is not what most fox news talk show hosts would think, since they think that these parents only have those children to have documents.
It's sad... but we have problems with the far right since much longer than you... the damage they've done to our law is staggering.
So the final answer is yes. A kid of undocumenteds born in France, can be deported (""""at his parents choice""""), and then he will not be able to respect the 5 years requirements, and not be French at all.
I hope the actual administration is going to change something about that... but well.. I know the won't.
(Of course, the next guy down says I'm wrong about the French citizenship rules, which I may be, of course.)
> the more people wonder whether French of Moroccan
> extraction really are French or Moroccan, the less
> French they are
Maybe the term 'French-Moroccan' has bad cultural connotations in France that you're trying to get rid of by burying the term, but the term itself, or the facts surrounding it are not inherently bad. If someone is "Chinese-American" or "Japanese-Canadian" or "Mexican-American", the term doesn't make them any less American/Canadian.
> Regarding the riots, that's also not relevant to the
> discussion but because you ask, those riots where the
> results of 40 years of bad policies, social rejection
> and latent racism.
By the tuscanian's perspective, there are no Americans, only "American of Irish extraction" and so on, while over here we all consider ourselves Uruguayans.
Something you don't understand is that those terms ("Chinese-American") are an US cultural thing.
Many of my fellow countrymen (I'm from Uruguay) are extremely shocked when they go to the U.S. ... we've learned about at most 3 races, and you people have 16 !!! One of my teachers likes an anecdote where, when filling a form at San Diego University, he had to ask the clerk what "race" he was - the clerk decided he was "Hispanic", and then there was a sub-category "White Hispanic" or "Black Hispanic". However, he's descendant from Spaniards and probably the exact same racial composition as racists from California that despise "hispanics" (there was a genocide here in Uruguay and we don't have native blood, we're all descendants of spaniards, italians and other european countries, plus some descendants of slaves).
Which? We have several, none of which is called "San Diego University."
I didn't realize that changing it to San Diego University would change its meaning, sorry (and I didn't realize you had more than one either).
I don't know which form he filled, but I found plenty on Google:
That is a gross mis-characterization of the American attitude on immigration. Americans don't want to "shut down" immigration. We Americans take pride in our diversity of heritage and our openess to those who want to come to our country and be an American. Our objection is to people who come here illegaly. We object to those who come here and thumb their nose at the law, draw benefits from our government (and therefore depriving legal citizens of those benefits) and overwhelm our system.
I'll go even further and state that people like you are responsible for the situation. I live abroad and can tell you that latent racism kills all the respect I could otherwise have for Thai people. I'm not silly so I'll move back to France in the coming months (as a direct result of the above). Unfortunately for them, French of foreign extraction don't have the opportunity I have. I'd forgive them if they burnt the bulk of Paris: they are human beings and are being bullied by a society as a whole.
HN is no place for a racist dick. Kindly fuck off.
[edited to add - I expect downvotes or even a ban for my language. I will find a way of coping with my grief, so don't worry about it]
Sorry, I know this is off-topic, but I've never really understood the "only uneducated people use swearwords" argument.
Strict logic aside, though, I've anecdotally observed that folks who swear publicly among people they don't know tend to swear easily and often, and given the inherent flexibility of most swear words, I think it's fair to say increased usage usually takes a toll on eloquence and creativity in diction. The relationship isn't necessary, but it's intuitive and observably common.
Amongst the people I know who swear with reasonable frequency, I don't see any correlation with lack of eloquence. Indeed, I can think without trying very hard think of published authors, professional screenwriters and famous Shakespearean actors who would fit into the "uses profanity reasonably casually" description.
But eloquence isn't binary; it lives on a gradient. Where there's a common, monosyllabic, four-letter word, it could be displacing another with a fair likelihood of being more interesting.
In fact, I'd argue your Shakespearean actors are far more likely to be making a compromise than an ineloquent person who'd otherwise drop the modifier or use a simplistic alternative.
So they're not rendered ineloquent as people, of course; but less eloquent than they'd be without that crutch.
I would like you to understand that when in doubt and facing two choices one should always prefer what favours human beings over any sort of ideology or other minor consideration; no matter the price (I mean it this way).
But I find your way of reversing things funny and will dismiss you as being a troll and wish you good luck on your road. It's certainly a difficult one.
Notice that the employee is covering her face. She yelled at me after I took the pic - "you can't take pictures here!". Why was she upset? Well in my case the girl covering her face in the pic was very pretty, I took it that she might be a fashion model or aspiring actress. When I ordered her co-worker was very pretty as well and was wearing what was obviously a wig.
Just a hunch, but the Paris McDonalds might offer their employees protection against cameras from tourists to protect the identity of their employees.
Edit: also found this article, this case does not seem to correlate with my hunch - motivated by menus / prices: http://www.pixiq.com/article/woman-claims-she-was-assaulted-...
Also, in theory, if you shoot with a tripod, you would need to obtain permission from a ministry somewhere, but in practice, you will seldom get bothered by the police.
In any event, photographing people in public places in France will get you more dirty looks than they would in London or NYC, for example --even if most times you will not get any reaction.
Look up Droit d'image, as it concerns France.
Oh yes you will. They will shout at you and some may try to take your camera.
Note; I don't take pictures, but to get upset about it; isn't that a bit over the top? You could kindly ask to refrain but actually spend energy and get upset for something so unimportant.
But if someone pulls a camera and specifically aim it at you, on the other hand?
I'd be pissed off too, as it is something that I'd see as extremely rude for someone to specifically target me for pictures without informing me about why they are targeting me specifically. But I've never had it happen, nor have I've been around other people who have had it happen to them, exactly because in the parts of Europe I've spent most of my life, it's pretty much considered totally unacceptable. People who want to take pictures of specific people generally do come up and ask.
Depending on context I might very well confront them about why they were doing it, and might very well be quite angry.
> Note; I don't take pictures, but to get upset about it; isn't that a bit over the top? You could kindly ask to refrain but actually spend energy and get upset for something so unimportant.
It's highly culturally and contextually dependent. If someone starts taking pictures of you specifically in the street somewhere where taking pictures of strangers is considered unusual and rude, there's every reason to wonder why someone is prepared to break strong social norms to single you out and somehow don't want to ask you first.
If you're somewhere where everyone expects to be photographed, on the other hand, and the typical purpose is known, most people will happily accept it, or stay away.
But why would you be pissed off exactly? I mean I understand you don't 'like it', but why the strong emotion. EU people are pretty open minded (I'm from the EU) and I am just surprised about the emotion level here. Whether I 'agree' or not; it seems so overkill.
The climate in France is that people should not get photographed without their permission. Even further, some claim that taking photos of their house is too much. So the whole atmosphere is a by-default hostility to photographers, which should be extra careful.
They got a bit of unwanted attention a few years after I moved away when a junkie died in the single-occupancy bathroom and nobody noticed for three days.
edit: found it - http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2000-12-19/news/0012190192_...
Definitely agree that something is shady though. Not sure what, but this reminds me of a recent article on 'The Big Mac' index, which is used as an alternative measure of inflation. Perhaps McDonald's is under orders by the French government to prevent people from taking photos of their menus (and consequently their burger prices) to hide serious inflation problems. ;)
On a side note, if you are going to be in Paris on vacation, the food capital of the world, why the hell are you eating at McD's?
In order to launder money you need to pretend you have more customers than you do have. A good way for the police/tax man to catch you is to record your business to prove that you don't have that many customers.
The same tight controls put in place by the parent org to assure they receive their full revenue share, and so that they can monitor store sales, inventory demand, and all the other good things that come with instant centralized sales info etc. etc. also prevent money laundering as a side effect.
Further, both McDonalds stores on the Champs-Elysees are corporate owned and operated. McDonalds in France has a high rate of corporate store ownership and operation compared to other countries (20% in France compared to 15% globally) because of a previous bad experience with the national franchisee (it was fought out in a court battle) and that store being a marquee store for the brand in Europe.
My only theory as to why this happen is that the staff were confronted with a situation that they were not accustomed to dealing with and that caused them to react poorly. McDonalds is a highly controversial company and because of their profile they are constantly being targeted by individuals, groups and the media (see 'supersize me', 'fast food nation', 'mclibel' etc.). The security at this store may have mistaken this visitor, who had a camera attached to his glasses which could be considered 'hidden', with somebody who was looking to expose the restaurant in some way.
I don't remember exactly what the instructions said employees were supposed to do. I believe it was asking people to leave and refer them to McDonalds corporate PR for requests to take pictures. It definitely didn't say assault them.
Clearly these guys were acting way outside of what McDonalds intended for them to do, but I think McDonalds' silly 'no cameras' policy might have incited them.
These guys even look like private security contractors, and their actions are more easily explained by the mindset endemic in that field than by criminal conspiracy.
I seriously cannot tell, and you didn't wink at the end?
Since McDonald's are easily franchise-able, I suppose they could legitimately be used as a Mafia Front... But really, Poe's Law? wink ;)
On one hand, I can't think of many above-board reasons that a restaurant employee would tackle you for having a tiny camera, or rip up medical documentation. On the other hand, the jump straight to a mafia seems a leap too far. Yet if we are going to speculate, I don't see a criminal explanation as significantly more plausible than others.
To demonstrate one of my own: Perhaps they'd recently had a bad rating/inspection from the French/Parisian health department (replace with proper name), and were really worried about some undercover story by local news stations. A bit extreme to use physical intimidation, but perhaps the manager is on the verge of losing the place?
What about French laws related to health (are they like NYC and trying to enforce health policy through food ingredient restrictions?) Could that be something they would not want getting out by accident?
What about French labor or immigration law? Could there be some violation that they didn't want documentary evidence of?
McDonald's as a corporation protects the intellectual property of their operations with great effort (but usually in the court of law--as when a manager might try to start their own burger place using the official playbook). Not sure what competitive advantage he could get from a few minutes in the store, though.
But all of these really hinge on the employees thinking that the wearer a) wasn't a government official or inspector (confrontation would just bring more heat and/or b) that the wearer was of lower or weaker status. Mall cop enforcing a poorly understood "no pictures of the mall" policy over-zealously seems like the most likely case--maybe rooted in anti-terrorism paranoia.
(Or else maybe the guy made the mistake of ordering a Royale with Cheese and these employees were not Tarantino fans...)
On top of that, "concern about the health department" has a much higher prior probability than "mafia collusion with major fast food chain".
Granted, not usually by someone with the camera literally attached to his head.
And of the other two, Perp-1 seemed to have been the manager, while Perp-2 was a customer (judging by the shades in his hair, and the "meal" in front of him).
I'm guessing the customer felt paranoid from the camera and complained to the manager.
I'm not even sure what you mean by "random" in this case; we're talking about one event. I didn't say anything about the distribution of violent assholes in McDonalds or France in general. It certainly wasn't "random" when the first violent guy brings over other employees who happened to also be violent. I don't know about France, but in the US, there are strict laws on what a commercial establishment can do to get someone off the premises. Now, mafia-run operations aside, most places would just ask you to leave and threaten to call the cops if you remain.
A cynic might think they were trying to harvest accesses from internal to Google IP addresses so that as of today they could show 'knowable infringement' aka treble damages.
It is possible I'm not cynical enough, but if I were trying to gain sympathy for my cyborg-prosthetic plight, the more I could relate it to things people are already comfortable with, the better.
I think the simplest answer is the most likely: That franchise has bumped prices up above what McD's corp allows for and/or has figured out a way to game the computers so they are underreporting their revenue and thus are paying much less in franchise fees than they should be. Given its prime tourism spot, people don't complain, but if pictures got back to corporate, there would be problems.
I've been following his work for some years (decades) now, and while he is an "interesting" person, he has made many leaps in both design and tech involved, as well as testing.
All I know is we have three things:
1) A patent for the 'eyetrap' issued in 2003 with another 8 years or so to run.
2) A huge company with > $100B in the bank who has made a big publicity play betting on their technology that, on the surface clearly infringes.
3) No statements either from either party that a license is in place. In fact the Google Glass page should say "this device is covered by patents ..." but it doesn't.
If in fact no license exists, I see a table in the square with between 100M$ and a 1B$ sitting on it with nobody watching. I would not be surprised in the least that someone decided to try and take it off the table.
Time will tell.
Google doesn't have > $100B in the bank (citation: http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bs?s=goog+Balance+Sheet). You are probably thinking of Apple.
I continue to believe that Google is perceived to be a 'high value' target by offensive litigators.
First the original article was deep-linked into the eyetap.org site. Which is to say it didn't appear as a link on the front page, in fact I didn't find any inlinks to it until this story broke and those are from blogs etc. And it was posted by an account created to post that one link on HN (not like Dr. Mann or someone who regularly participates here stumbled across it and tried to link it.)
Now if Dr. Mann had a running blog about life as a cyborg or his thoughts on wearable computing, and this just happened to come up in that blog as "Oh the saddest thing happened ..." then it might feel more natural. It has since been converted to a one-entry wordpress blog.
As I've said elsewhere, we'll see what the next steps are. Eyetap has certainly gotten a lot of publicity out of the deal so I expect the press will follow up on any fallout here as well.
 The current pace of litigation seems to be leading towards some form of Kessler Syndrome - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kessler_syndrome - but made of patents instead of orbital debris, that will finally result in all courtrooms in the world discussing nothing but technical IP cases.
Bars are traditionally popular for money laundering because everyone pays in cash, liquor has absolutely insane mark-up, and it's really easy to pour it down the drain. I imagine a fastfood restaurant would not work as well, but who knows.
Or sell it on the black market.
And none of the above are that hard to believe. Drug deals especially happen all over the place and all the time.
But setting up a venture capital fund in Silicon Valley, given today's ridiculous valuations, seems like an excellent way to launder money.
MacDonald's branding in France are really different in France than it is in the US, especially in Paris. Food is quite tasty, meat is fairly good, and even the colors are different: the flashy red/yellow has been replaced by a classy green/black two years ago.
And this specific MacDonald's is one of the biggest and best located in Paris (Champs Elysées)
Money laundering may have been a plausible explanation for a random US MacDonald's, it's really far fetched for this one.
I believe it's the same case pretty much in whole Europe. In all countries I've been to for the last two years or so (Poland, Czech Rep., Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland), the McD branding involved dark green background rather than vivid red one.
> Food is quite tasty, meat is fairly good (...)
That's generally correct, too. I have no idea about U.S. but here it seems that most of the shady reputation fast food gets is not because of the quality of ingredients, but the way they are processed to make the meals, i.e. almost exclusively fried with lots of added fat.
I can think of several better ways to launder money than running a McDonalds.
I'd say it's far more likely to be a tighter than usual security restriction due to the (perceived or real) threat from terrorism.
If I recall correctly (murky here, I didn't really care and may be mixing this with another memory or a different location) the cashier even nonchalantly covered the front-facing display with his hand (this actually took a very unusual gesture), so I couldn't see what the entered amount was. I paid in cash, the sum was tiny, and I didn't really care. It's McDonald's.
Not the case. McDonald's employees in Prague, CZ got pretty pissed at me for taking picture, and were quite rude about it. I think it's McDonald's corporate policy to not allow pictures, at least in EMEA. Lots of stores in high-traffic areas have private security. I think this incident was probably caused by power-crazed security implementing McDonald's policy in an inappropriate way.
Never been to France. Been to several McDonald's with security guards. I'm pretty sure they had CCTV. Not a front for money laundering - it was that kind of a neighborhood. Eastern Market has gentrified a bit since then ...
Anyway. A no-camera policy could be put in place to deter snoops. Guys working for the other team (Burger King). Maybe they had a bad experience with guys taking pictures of other patrons.
Ah - you're just trolling, aren't you?
For the why this reaction, I have no ideas, plain stupidity is often the good answer.
The mafia idea seems quite far fetched, if only because you'd think McDonald's would do a fair bit of work to ensure none of their franchisees are using their brand as a front for organized crime.
There are many easier ways to launder money then to do it while operating a McDonalds (which has pretty high vetting for franchises. It's not trivial to be awarded a McDonalds franchise and certainly not in a top location). And most importantly if you are doing something illegal the last thing you want to do is to draw attention to yourself. Not to mention the fact that even if they were laundering money they wouldn't exactly have much to hide from pictures from a random guy with a weird head device.
The transfers were small, equivalent to about 12,000 to 24,000 Philippine pesos (500 to 1,000 US$), and would be handed over each night at a Wendy's or a karaoke bar.
Wait, what? An international fast food franchise as a mafia front? And for laundering money? So that the mafia also has to check in with the multinational's franchise title owners?
And all that in Paris?
How about some stupid security guy noticed the device and thought (correctly) that it contained some covert camera, and that the guy that has it is possible trouble (journalist investigating the place, a pervert, etc)?
The premise that "no one at an ordinary McDonald's would even notice such a device" is also deeply flawed, what with the paranoia about a) terrorism and b) pedophile photographers these days.
They don't even have to "look for cameras" actively, all it takes is some customer to point it to them "hey, there's a guy with some strange device over there, something fishy is going on".
In parallel write/email to the newspapers etc.
Also talk to your embassy who can advise how to proceed in other ways.
You have a vision problem and need a visual aid to combat that disability. McDonalds not only commited assualt but also did it systematicaly and premeditated way indicating they are not a suitable sponsor for the para-Olympics.
If they won't deal with this issue responsibly, then sod em and shame them as publicly and in as many ways as possible; you have done nothing wrong, nothing and they are all to blame so shame them.
Also few links on FB and twitter with liberal abuse of #mcdonalds #imlovinit #mcd and the like will soon garner this issue the attention it needs and deserves.
You could see a lawyer, but it's hard to find one who can deal with this. I'd go the press/PR route (then a good lawyer will come to you) as your doing but with a few nationals who will happily run this story. Now is a good time given there large marketing event called the Olympics, leverage this time and educate McDonalds.
Last time I went to McDonalds security told me the toilets were for customers only too which I pointed out that in a civilised World we wash our hands before we handle our food and I had no desire to take my food into the toilet or leave it unattended as I had no confidence on the security being able to saftly protect my food/possesions. He appologised and I left to eat elsewere.
Ironicly I know of three people who attended a ATOS medical. One had cancer (turned out to be terminal), one had MS and the other had phsical injury including 2 fingers missing. They were all deemed fit for work apart from the one who could clearly not hold a long-bow due to the missing fingers, least thats the funny take on it. Do wonder if the French are still pissed that we let so called pesants goto war with longbow's and is the origins of the two finger jesture in the UK as a sign to the French we can still use the long bow. Those captured by the French would have there bow fingers cut off and thus a display of those two fingers was born as a in your face gesture towards the French.
Back onto the offtopic subject you may be intersted to look up how many of those deemed fit for work have died shortly after there income was cut off. If it was in any other country it would be called genocide etc.
This brings us nicely back on-topic in saying that descrimination of disabled people in any shape or form is more of a issue than race descrimination thesedays. If people are asked about Hitler and World War II and gas chambers then they go on about the victimised Jewish people and how bad it was for them (and it was a bad thing). Nobody mentions how disabled people were also given the same treatment. Church's, many still accepted forms of estabilshments have and some still do descriminate against disabeled people. Even hospitals. This I have witnessed many times personaly and it is utterly disgusting. There is one small plus side though. That is you can more easily identify genuine people from those who operate such double-standards and in that can avoid them.
ATOS is mearly a knife edge away from being audited at a level that will embarass and shame them. McDonalds are no better but sadly don't cash in on Goverment contracts so in that are sadly immune to alot of bad PR, historicaly they have done some major crimes.
And what might that percentage be? Seeing a number of moochers feigning disability for unearned dole outs, is surely the most common disgust of our times.
And if one is disabled, they should not expect to be given free handouts from money forced out at gunpoint. They need care and consideration and all volunteer help they can get.
Its time to realize that Government should be the institution for one thing and one only. Protection of individual freedom. And nothing else.
If you really think that is true then you possibly need to get out a lot more, we got this whole banking crisis, massive depression and unemployment, corrupt politicians, ecological collapse, huge civil unrest across previously stable democracies and loads of wars and all sorts of crazy shit going down.
On second thoughts, scratch that, could you please stay indoors. It is probably for the best.
But lets see what we got on your list:
- whole banking crisis,
last I checked my savings bank account was secure. And although my livelihood may be intricately connected to Big Banks, I don't think all the banks in the world are going bust. Nor is the age old concepts of banking. A lot of things which is complex and serious here, but definitely nothing here which disgusts me
- massive depression and unemployment,
This is an era of massive changes, but there will always be human activity. No matter what cooked up and muddled GDP numbers say. Again no disgust.
- corrupt politicians,
the moochers are a result of their policies, and they enable the corrupt politicians. So this is along the same lines as the disgusting stench of moochers.
- ecological collapse, huge civil unrest across previously stable democracies and, loads of wars and, all sorts of crazy shit going down
more serious issues, and a lot of call for action. But disgust? Whom are we kidding.
Looks like you have a problem reading the import of the message. Maybe you sympathize with the blood sucking moochers, or maybe you are one of them. Whatever it is, the only thing more disgusting than the dole out leechers are people who knowingly give them unearned, undeserved virtual credibility.
Personally I would pay everyone dole, unless they really don't want it. Call it a national dividend and make it a function of GDP per person. No chance then of a benefit trap, and an incentive to work on things that benefit the wealth of all.
Also, on paper, as far as I can tell, it would cost roughly the same as the current system anyway, seeing as, at least in the UK, the bureaucracy of organising the benefits system costs multiple times the amount actually paid out in benefits.
Plus, the UK benefits system actually underpays, on average, when you sum the figures of accidental underpayments vs accidental overpayments and outright fraud, so there are actually more people not receiving benefits they are legally entitled to than there are people involved in illegally obtaining them.
Now cheer up and learn to mooch a little. You are obviously working far too hard, on stuff you don't enjoy that is making you angry as hell, and in this day and age, you don't really need to. Sorry for suggesting you should stay indoors, go live on a beach and make kites for a summer while drunk or something like that instead. You owe it to yourself.
no, by moochers I mean people who live off unearned income. In this context, from forced government dole outs.
> the bureaucracy of organising the benefits system costs multiple times the amount actually paid out in benefits.
you got any citations for this?
> so there are actually more people not receiving benefits they are legally entitled to
the whole of your argument and point of view, is based on legally instituted perverse "benefits". We have instituted morally corrupt systems of welfare and people nowadays take it as a matter of fact.
> Now cheer up and learn to mooch a little
Thanks, but no thanks. You obviously feel a lot better if you spread your moral corruption to every one else. I work for my own bread.
I'm sorry he was harassed, but this story really smells of one of the oldest ways to gain media attention on the internet:
Step 1: Get screwed by a big company (this is the easy part)
Step 2: Write a blog article documenting how you got screwed
Step 3: Submit story to slashdot, digg, reddit, etc.
Keep in mind people, before you start blowing up about this "injustice" that we're only hearing one side of the story. And frankly, I'm of the opinion that cases of assault are better handled by police and courtrooms than blogs and internet mobs.
Also, the fact that the retribution Steve Mann is demanding, is that McDonald's repairs the glasses that Steve Mann invented is, well, a fantasy to say the least.
Not necessarily as huge a coincidence as you seem to think. If Steve Mann has a medical condition that is not easily rectified by existing technology, and assuming Steve Mann is reasonably intelligent, then it's no stretch of imagination that he might be compelled to do research on something that personally impacts him. Since he's a professor at the University of Toronto, I don't find it hard to believe that he is reasonably intelligent, and so this is not necessarily so hard to believe.
But on a second reading, it doesn't seem like he even necessarily has a medical condition. He refers to a doctor's letter which is for explanatory purpose. Since this device is apparently permanently attached to the skull, no doubt a doctor was involved at some point. In other words, Dr. Mann has done research into augmented vision, created a device, and had the device installed onto himself. While potentially risky, we all know people do far crazier things.
Which isn't to say that this isn't a media attention grab, but it's not as farfetched as you make out.
Documenting a medical condition which could be addressed by the use of the device is a very separate issue for medical and legal purposes.
A few years back he had airport security physically pull out wires out of him.
(apparently "a few years back" is 10 years ago. Yikes.)
Edit: a link to an old (1997) article about his glasses:
Until someone can provide a good reason why this would be chronically implanted into him, I think this all smells like hype to me.
And why no pictures of the guy trying to grab his goggles off his face? Surely there would be a snapshot somewhere of that?
From reading the New York Times article, it doesn't sound like Mann had any "implants" "forcibly removed". It sounds like they tore electrodes off his body. In other words, they pulled tape off his skin, and it caused bleeding. Unpleasant, sure, but it's not like they strapped him down and used a drill to extract chips from his brain. More like they pulled off a Band-Aid too fast.
The reason that he ended up in a wheelchair was that since he no longer had his cyborg navigation gear, he supposedly got confused while walking around the airport and hit his head on a pile of fire extinguishers. I don't even know where to start with that one.
And another comment, which may explain the doctor's note:
Years and years ago, when the earth was new, I was an undergrad at MIT and then-Media-Lab-graduate-student Mann spoke in a class I was taking. At the time, I believe he was trying to recruit people to do heavy-duty graphics work (i.e. when he moves his head side to side, his camera is taking discrete pictures of a room/building/whatever at different angles. He was working on algorithms to put them all together and make them coherent). Anyhow, the point is, I distinctly remember him saying that he got nauseous when he removed his visor. The reason was very simple. He spent all of his waking life (outside of the shower) in a 2D world. His body was so used to it, that living in 3D took some serious getting used to, and he would feel sick. My guess is that this is what happened. Ever feel like your eyes need some adjusting after staring at a 2D object (such as a movie theatre screen) for hours at a time? Now image doing that 24/7 for years and trying to re-adjust to the real world.
There was an experiment that had participants wear vision-inverting glasses for a while. Eventually they started seeing everything right-side up through the glasses. In fact, their vision was upside down after they removed the glasses!! Although they re-adjusted after a little while, it'd certainly explain Mann's temporary disorientation and the subsequent need for a doctor's note.
Also, it'd be weird to conduct such experiments on yourself and not expect weird stuff like this to happen to you from time to time, especially when visiting foreign countries.
 George M. Stratton. Some preliminary experiments on vision. Psychological Review, 1896.
>As to the relation of the visual field to the observer, the feeling that the field was upside down remained in general throughout the experiment.
>On removing the glasses on the third day, there was no peculiar experience. Normal vision was restored instantaneously and without any disturbance in the natural appearance or position of objects.
"Determined to find results, Stratton wore the telescoping glasses for eight days straight. By day four, his vision was upright (not inverted). However on day five, images appeared upright until he concentrated on them; then they became inverted again. By having to concentrate on his vision to turn it upside down again, especially when he knew images were hitting his retinas in the opposite orientation as normal, Stratton deduced his brain had reprocessed his vision and adapted to the changes in vision."
So perceptual adaptation is real, it just takes like a week to really kick in. For someone who had been wearing these glasses for years, I'm sure the effects would be much more intense.
EDIT: The paper that the follow up results were in might actually be "Stratton, G. (1897). Upright vision and the retinal image. Psychological Review, 4, 182-187"
I admit I'm not used to citing academic papers, I heard about this experiment back in high school anth/soc/psych so I just did my best to find a semi-credible reference.
I think because of the "polar bear in a blizzard" problem: you don't actually see anything informative.
"And here, ladies and gentleman, is a blurry hand covering up most of the camera's view! I promise it's someone trying to rip my glasses off!"
I don't get the point you are attempting to make. Are you doubting that he has in fact done this to himself?
> "I tried on many occasions to contact McDonald's but have not received any response."
> "I also contacted the Embassy, Consulate, Police, etc., without much luck."
IMO going to the court of public opinion is acceptable when nobody who should be dealing with the issue is actually doing so.
This is practically why we have modern media, blogosphere or otherwise.
Which highlights how he can be contacted though has no email address, but that is: firstname.lastname@example.org
McD worker: "sorry sir you can't take pictures or video of our staff"
person with recording device: "I'm not taking any pictures this is a medical device"
worker: "it looks rather like a Google glass recording device; you were recording the servers at the counter just now weren't you, I'm afraid you'll have to leave"
person: "no I won't I'm not recording anything these are just my glasses, see I have a doctor's note" [passes note carefully made to look fake but actually having real content]
worker: "sorry, please leave" [attempts to remove what he believes to be Google glass device as the person moves towards him aggressively]
It probably didn't go down like that but why is it such a stretch to believe it did?
Oh, and not to mention they tore his paperwork up.
It's a bare website (not a blog post) with nothing but a story and some contact information. If you know of a way to make this not "smell of one of the oldest ways..." do let us know.
Obviously we need to keep that in mind, but you're talking about the difference between one man's photographically documented account of an event and a theoretical response form a multi-national fast food chain's Public Relations team.
He is coming to the internet because he can't get his case handled in the way he wants to.
Obviously they aren't qualified to fix his glasses and that was a cheeky way of saying he wants them to pay for it.
All in all, he is a respectable human, who has compelling evidence of assault, who has not gotten the justice he thinks he deserves. Would you like him to give up?
He's not asking for that though. What he basically wants is a public apology and for McDonald's to FIX his glasses. This is laughable.
Notice how all aspects of this story point to how awesome his glasses are: "they help with a medical condition", "having them fixed is more important than money", "they saved photos of a crime, even after they were broken"...
For the record, I totally love his research. When Google Glass debuted I said aloud "Wow! It's Steve Mann's EyeTap!".
He said he already tried getting law enforcement involved.
Maybe he plans to use lawyers as a last ditch effort, if his internet plea doesn't work? I would think it's a bit extreme to involve them first before trying to just settle things with McDonalds directly.
> have the company pay for any damages to my property.
> I agree
You also wrote:
> he basically wants [...] McDonald's to FIX his glasses. This is laughable.
You have contradicted yourself, unless you can explain how "paying for damages" to the glasses does not entail "fixing the glasses".
1) pay for damages: provide monetary compensation for materials, labor, etc to have the experimental device replaced or restored to working order
2) fix his glasses: McDonalds takes the glasses, performs all operations in house at a corporate location, and return the device in working order.
The rest of me rejects the pedant, saying the effects of both are the same, therefore they are effectively the same statement, which I am pretty sure is reasonable and the intended meaning of those "discrepancies". :)
The infamous hot coffee MacDonalds case involved a woman who had first asked MacDonalds (or that franchise, not sure) to pay her medical bills (around 20 grand iirc for extensive second and third degree burns) and they refused. It was only after that when she sued, got a list of other complaints about the temperature and won a large judgement (reduced on appeal).
I'm not seeking to be awarded money. I just want my Glass fixed, and it would also be nice if McDonald's would see fit to support vision research.
Which means in any sane interpretation to be that he wants McDonalds to pay for whatever it costs to repair or replace his property, but he is not seeking punitive damages for the assault, he just wants his glasses fixed. And he thinks it would be nice if McDonalds made a gesture of donating something to vision research, to show they are actually sorry.
I agree this story smells in a dozen different ways. Rather than the mafia I'm wondering if Steve Mann is perhaps seeking to establish some documentation in order to assert IP rights against a very wealthy company which has made very public announcements about glasses that augment your vision and take pictures of what you see.
For that reason I think we'll see more on this story.
Perhaps because it is Europe?
I recall reading news articles a few months ago about a case in Europe where a man robbed a bank, and the police had surveillance photos of his face and wanted them shown on the news on TV, and the TV station blurred the photos because their interpretation of privacy laws was that since the suspect was merely accused, not convicted, it would violate his privacy to show his face.
This is the most ridiculous thing I've seen on this page yet.
I don't know about you but that movie has played out so many times as to be cliche. Generally the professor's college is the one doing the suing as they get assignment rights to research but that doesn't seem to be the case here.
I'll be the first to admit I'm awfully cynical about patents these days, and I sure as hell know that if some patent litigator saw Mann's patent he would ask Dr. Mann if he was being compensated by Google. If not that same litigator would probably have a moment of giddyness as he offers to get him that compensation. Could be a big payday, and money is a powerful motivator.
I'll take it all back if Mann says that Google has already licensed the patent. Otherwise my bet is on the legal sharks.
Here's some background reading: http://www.theverge.com/2012/6/26/2986317/google-project-gla...
So while "anybody who has anything to do with wearable computing" knows about Dr. Mann's work, apparently those same people at Google seemed to have missed that connection when the started filing patents about wearable displays.
So, I agree with you. Everybody working with wearable computing should know about Dr. Mann's work. And anyone putting out a 'revolutionary product' which looks strikingly similar to the Eyetap product would, acknowledge that debt and perhaps show how they learned from what had gone before.
So if you're right, then I'm right too.
I think the argument was that he hardly needs an altercation at a McDonalds in 2012 to establish documentation. He's been doing the wearable computing stuff for decades, publicly.
Also, why would he, if he's after some sort of reasonably amicable settlement?
I don't know, maybe because not everyone like a mob with pitchforks?
In Europe it is illegal to publish photos of someone without their consent unless that someone is a public figure.
This is also why he might have gotten a rather negative reaction...
As for the demand for money to pay for the cost of replacement, it is hardly a fantasy given that this is probably their liability and they clearly can afford it.