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News From The Future-36

Adafruit 63

Dr. Steve Mann, who is best known for wearing “cyborg” like cameras and devices most of his life is seeking help in contacting McDonald’s. Physical assault by McDonald’s for wearing Digital Eye Glass. He writes -

I don’t have the resources to take on a branch of a large multi-national corporation operating in a distant country, but I could use some help and advice as to how to resolve this matter, how to ensure it doesn’t happen again to me or anyone else wearing Eye Glass, and what can be done to advance Digital Eye Glass research in not just the technological realm, but also the realm of social responsibility and “culture and technology.

Here’s his blog post about what sounds like a lot of unfortunate events. If any makers out there know how Dr. Mann could get a hold of someone at McDonald’s it will probably help him as well as others who will start to “wear” more like technology like this. Please post up in the commnets. It reminds me a little bit when everyone almost overnight had digital cameras and many businesses and public spaces did not know how to deal with everyone taking photos, eventually policies and training happens – but it takes time.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. tedmeyers says:

    Sorry to say, but that’s what you get for traveling to France. Other parts of the world are not quite as civilized as the USA.

    1. Slici says:

      lol thanks for the loads of fun !! A heavily stupid McDonald’s employee doesn’t represent an entire country -__-

    2. Rahere says:

      In Paris, one is always reminded of being a foreigner. If you park your car wrong, it is not the fact that it’s on the sidewalk that matters, but the fact that you speak with an accent.

      Roman Polanski

      I’d be a bit more focused than that. The Parisians, in particular their catering sector, have a considerable reputation across Europe for being offensive and crass. The same is not true of other parts of France. That it should turn to gratuitous violence, however, sets a new low. Personally, I would rephrase your statement as saying it’s what you get for eating at MacDonalds in Paris: they are very weak in Belgium, for example, because of the low quality of their ingredients and, by consequence, staff and clientele – what Dr Mann did was a bit like rapping in the Grand Ol’ Opry, the reaction was predictable, he might well have been the only non-Arabic speaker in the place. Put the two together and nobody’s likely to be too surprised at Dr Mann’s experience. Not that it’ll change, it’s almost a badge of distinction in local eyes – not everyone aspires to emulate the US these days. A APrisian would argue why eat in MacDonalds when you have so many cafés where the food is so much better, including the burgers.
      The Golden Arches may have a reputation in the US. Over here in the UK, we are disgusted that they run the major catering outlet at the Olympics, the world’s largest branch, as they are seen as being utterly incompatible with health. Idem Coke. Fancy a $6 bottle? That’s your only option, the security goons will take your bottle of water away from you on entry into the park. No wonder they’ve still got a million tickets to sell, indeed they cannot even get the goons on parade, so they’ve had to ship troops in – welcome back from a year’s tour in Afghanistan, instead of having some time with the family, you are ordered to go work for MacDonalds. The politicians responsible for that one have forgotten that after WWII, the gang who pulled that kind of stunt got fired. Their wives most certainly are hoping one of them will flip.
      As far as the follow-up is concerned, Dr Mann then experienced my wider comment in my second sentence: he’s not French, he has no vote, he has no voice, he’ll be gone in a day or so. The same is even more true, with knobs on and raised to a steampunk design, in Belgium. Yes, it’s very short-sighted, because such experiences are passed around – like here – and it puts people off travelling. What resolution does he seek? A nonsense apology which will change nothing? Financial compensation through the courts will pretty much require him to return here to live for the next five plus years, the US isn’t the only country where the Law runs slowly. His best bet would have been to have defended himself against the assault, and face them down before a magistrate. Or do as he did, walk away and destroy their reputation from a distance, which I can but applaud. But target those really responsible, not France as a whole, but Paris food outlets in general – most of Europe will back you there – and MacDonalds Paris in specific. But we’ve been there and done that, so I for one will do much to avoid that town. Whoever said Paris is the city of romance can only have been into masochism.

    3. I feel a bit sad to see that even in a community like the Makers, people can still say stuff such as what tedmeyers said. The exact same thing could have happened in a Mcdonald in Washington (just as a comparison to Paris) or anywhere else.
      I would have thought that people reading Make magazine would have been a little more enlightened and a bit less jumping directly to conclusion.

      1. If you read the link, there is a reference to at least one other foreign visitor to that Paris McD’s being accosted, for trying to take a picture of the menu. In that case, though, the camera wasn’t bolted to her head.

        I would be careful of generalizing to all of Paris, all of France, or all of McDonalds, but you won’t find me in that McDonald’s in Paris.

        Of course, you won’t find me in any McDonald’s anywhere.

        Still, Dr. Mann may have just been overloaded by Frenchiness and looking for a little reminder of America.

        1. I obviously meant that it is awful what happened and still can’t believe something as outrageous as that happened.
          I was just reacting to the way tedmeyers generalised to a whole population a trait from a couple of people. Just ignorance and lack of savoir-vivre.

  2. Mike Calder says:

    Sorry, that’s what you get for going to McDonalds.

    Don’t raise too much of a fuss – they’ll probably sue you for defamation.

    1. tedmeyers says:

      See, that;s exactly my point, it’s not a problem with McDonald’s, but it is a problem with France, and Paris in particular. Say what you will about the lawsuit crazy legal system in the USA, but it does prevent this sort of thing (even to foreigners) — it could never happen here without, tons of media coverage, teams of lawers and McDonald’s facing multimillion dollar lawsuits — and the offending employees would certainly be fired, if not facing jail time.

      1. tatagatha says:

        At first I thought you were joking, and it was real funny. But now I can’t tell if you are serious.

        1. He is absolutely serious, and absolutely correct.

  3. jin says:

    @tedmeyers Actually I would say the opposite about the USA. Paris is a wonderful place, other parts of France are a wonderful place.Very Nice people. Other parts of Europe is amazing, south america is great, Japan is super awesome. 3 People does not make a country bad. If this is true then look at your own country its a horrible place if you go by that.

    You may find when you leave that place you live in. There are nicer and more civilazed countries then yours.

    1. Adam Flaherty says:

      Paris is a fantastic place. The people I encountered were friendly. I was actually taken aback because I was always under the impression that folks there were rude, in general. They are not. But I’m sure you’ll just have to go there and find out for yourself, like I did.

      Oddly enough, I walked past this particular McDonalds that afternoon. Imagine if we all wore a Digital Eye Glass and could send out a distress signal to passers by. I would have made a beeline to help Steve out, had I known he was in trouble.

      Now, please realize that the Avenue des Champs-Élysées is similar to high-end mall in the States with aspects of Las Vegas schmaltz thrown in. It is an amazing sight to see, but it has also been over-run with the same global brands you see everywhere else. Basically, it’s one of the most touristy places you could wind up at on a Sunday. It’s about as Paris as Time Square is Manhattan. These places are city states in themselves. They’re kind of like a consumerist Vatican and McDonalds is their embassy. I imagine these thugs Steve ran into have some form of diplomatic immunity. C’est la vie.

  4. USA, USA, USA, USA!
    OK, now, might it be worth discussing the way this highlights some really interesting implications for privacy and what “Us Vs Them” might be in the 21st century? I wonder if looking forward we may well consider nationality, race, religion and sexual orientation to be passe.. invoking only mild, 2nd millennium incarnations of hate.

  5. DJFelix says:

    This story should be running on Sky News, BBC, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, and any other nonstop news channel. How many EU disabled persons laws did they violate here? What a discrace.

  6. [...] response to NEWS FROM THE FUTURE: Assault for wearing Digital Eye Glass?, user Tommy Phillips says: If you read the link, there is a reference to at least one other [...]