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The things that didn’t make it in:

This week, after a nightmare of last-minute changes and formatting errors, I finally turned in the print copy of my thesis to the good folks at OCAD U. It’s a design thesis for the Strategic Foresight and Innovation program, and it’s called “Loss Prevention: Customer Service as Border Security.” It’s just shy of a hundred pages long, and four of those are the bibliography. However, in any piece of writing there are always bits of information you discover at the last minute and can’t incorporate. Here are two of those pieces, both of which I discovered the day I turned in my thesis.

  • Canada Border Services officer admits to harassing travelers, banning them unnecessarily Dave linked me to this piece the day my thesis was due. I considered including it, but the document was already full of stories about bad border guards. (This story would have lent some nice balance, though — most of those “bad lieutenant” stories came from the United States.)
  • Ali H. Soufan discusses humane interrogation I listened to an interview on CBC Radio with Mr. Soufan as I prepared my document for printing. I seriously considered adding a quotation from this piece, but it’s probably good that I didn’t — had no time left, and the document probably would have exploded like a disorganized bureau with one more sock wedged inside. That said, anyone who’s interested in alternative methods of information gathering in a security context should take a look at both Mr. Soufan’s career history and his written work.

I’d also like to point you Paul Graham Raven’s great piece at Futurismic, The Canonical City, in which he explores the idea of border spaces as a sort of extended phenotype. Paul wrote the piece as part of the Border Town online art exhibit. This is related to the show in Detroit that I just returned from, where I installed some design fiction about the future of border security.

I’m still wondering what to do about these pieces of information. I’m considering editing them into my copy, and then releasing a 1.x or 2.0 version of the thesis online. Since the original is already Commons-licensed, and since the IP is already mine, I can give a better version to more people without requiring an expensive university library login. How I’ll manage to do that in between editing vN, figuring out a possible new job, writing up a couple of stories, attending two Thanksgivings…that’s the real science fiction scenario.

  • Madeline Ashby… a science fiction writer, futurist, speaker, and immigrant living in Toronto. She writes a column for the Ottawa Citizen. She is represented by Anne McDermid & Associates, and Jason Richman at UTA. You can buy her books here.

    She has worked with Intel Labs, the Institute for the Future, SciFutures, Nesta, Data & Society, The Atlantic Council, the ASU Center for Science and the Imagination, and others. Her short fiction has appeared in Nature, FLURB, Tesseracts, Imaginarium, and Escape Pod. Her other essays and criticism have appeared at BoingBoing, io9, WorldChanging, Creators Project, Arcfinity,, MISC Magazine, FutureNow, and elsewhere.

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    vN vN (The Machine Dynasty, #1)
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    Company Town Company Town
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    iD iD (The Machine Dynasty, #2)
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    Social Services Social Services
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    A Clock Stopped A Clock Stopped
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  • Madeline 's bookshelf: read

    Designing for Interaction: Creating Innovative Applications and Devices (2nd Edition)Super Natural Cooking: Five Delicious Ways: To Incorporate Whole & Natural Ingredients into Your CookingGluten-Free Girl and the ChefPeople Crossing Borders: An Analysis of U.S. Border Protection PoliciesHalf the Day Is NightThe Magicians

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