September 29, 2010 · 11:00 am
Some years ago on trip to India, I remember having passed through the security check just before getting into the airplane at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam. However in the subsequent flights I have taken from there I never saw this again… until last summer, on another trip to a non-Schengen destination, Tunisia.
Here is the picture I took.
X-ray scanners and metal detectors at Schiphol, Amsterdam.
As you can see, in terminal 1 departures D of Schiphol airport, the security control is located just where each boarding gate is.
You can imagine how much this measure reduces the hassle passengers experience in airports. To take that flight, we arrived at the airport, dropped our luggage, showed our boarding pass and passport to an official (no long queue, no removing of personal belongings…), walked to our boarding gate and only there we made a small queue for the security control… The difference: that queue is composed of just the people who will come in your flight, you are seeing the airplane out there, there is no rush, they are seeing you, you are not missing the plane…
I tried to get the numbers from Madrid-Barajas airport but I did not find them (if any one has better estimates or a reliable source, please feel free to contribute), nevertheless, from having seen the different terminals I can figure out that:
- It may have around 230 boarding gates among all the terminals (over 60 between T1, T2 and T3, around 90 in T4 and over 60 in T4S).
- It may have no more 50 than x-ray scanners…
If you wanted to install 2 per boarding gate, you would need to invest in buying and staffing more than 4 times the number of x-ray scanners and metal detectors than the ones that there are now… It would be so easy… if just air traffic controllers did not suck up a whole 30% of AENA yearly costs [pdf, 741 Kb] (~1bn€)…
Filed under Aerospace & Defence
Tagged as AENA, airport, ATC, Barajas, Madrid, metal detector, Schengen, Schiphol, T4, Tunisia, x-ray scanner
July 27, 2010 · 12:00 pm
Beginning of June I bought at Schiphol airport the book “The Next 100 Years; A Forecast for the 21st Century”, by George Friedman (author of “America’s Secret War”). I receive sometimes at the job reports and articles by Stratfor, the intelligence and forecasting firm that George Friedman founded. This was one of the reasons that raised my attention, the other were the headlines that could be read in the front page “2020: China Fragments”, “2050: Global war”…
Cover of "The Next 100 Years".
Friedman’s book tells us that when thinking about geopolitics we should be aware of:
- Experience tells us that we should expect the unexpected.
- We should not be confused by passing chaos and cyclical crisis.
- Humans and countries are not that free when taking decisions, but they see limited their options by several constrains. He goes looking for such constrains.
If he had written the book in 1900 he would have pinpointed the following three things as defining for the century:
- Collapse of European Imperial System
- Quadrupling of World’s population
- Revolution in transportation & communications.
Now, at the beginning of the XXI century he guesses the three defining issues will be:
- The rise of American power
- The end of the population explosion
- The development of technologies to deal with a declining population.
You may wonder “the rise of American power?”, yes he makes the case that North American power has just started and it’s here to last: technology, economic power, control of the World’s seas (US Navy), military power, access to both Atlantic and Pacific oceans…
As he says, the USA “had the ultimate aim of preventing any major power in Eurasia. The paradox, however, is as follows: the goal of these interventions was never to achieve something –whatever the political rhetoric might have said- but to prevent something. […] Its goal was not to stabilize but to destabilize. […] The USA has no interest in winning a war outright.”
With this in mind, he explores what may happen in the next hundred years: Russia trying to reassert itself, China fragmenting, Poland, Turkey & Japan as rising powers, some of them starting a global war, space-based power generation, Mexico challenging the US…
Filed under Books
Tagged as America's Secret War, book, China, communications, George Friedman, Japan, Mexico, Poland, population, Russia, Schiphol, space-based power generation, Stratfor, The Next 100 Years, Turkey, U.S. Navy, USA, World War
June 30, 2010 · 12:00 pm
I bought this book together with some others in the Books & News shop of Schiphol airport in Amsterdam in a recent trip to NL. I have read about this book sometime ago as it had been discovered in the computer files of Michael Crichton after his death.
I had read most of his last books so I was determined to buy this last one as soon as I would find it and so did I.
I found this book quite different from his last novels (Next, State of Fear, Prey…), but still, it was a quite entertaining reading about pirates in the Caribbean hunting treasures, fighting warships, storms, hurricanes, aborigines…
I would remark its very vivid descriptions everything related to sailing, firing cannons, the Caribbean, etc. One more thing I liked it about it is that it leaves the reader rested with all vengeances possible, well taken. I do recommend the book (387 pgs.).
Lastly, I found out in the Wikipedia that there will probably be a movie about this book by Steven Spielberg and even most intriguing: there is yet another novel by Crichton coming posthumously in 2012!
Filed under Books
Tagged as Amsterdam, Books & News, Caribbean, Michael Crichton, Next, novel, Pirate Latitudes, Prey, Schiphol, State of Fear, Steven Spielberg, Wikipedia