Dan Phiffer Dan Phiffer is an Internet enthusiast based in Troy, NY

On the Border of Greece and

From Scott Carrier’s Home of the Brave podcast:

Four days ago, the European Union decided to allow only refugees from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan into Northern Europe, stranding thousands of people at the Idomeni transit camp on the border of Greece and Macedonia. This report is from the Idomeni camp, where a variety of protests are ongoing by Iranians, Pakistanis, Moroccans, and Somalis who say they’d rather die than be sent home.

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See also: an earlier episode with interviews of Donald Trump supporters


Sovereignty, holograms, and international sports

I was reading a story today on the Guardian’s Comment Is Free website and fell into an internet rabbit hole. I’ve always understood that Native Americans who live within U.S. borders enjoy a certain sovereign status similar to that of a nation state. Declaring yourself as an independent state is pretty straightforward, the more complex part is proving your legitimacy at actual border crossings.

I got curious about this seemingly basic question: who is allowed to cross U.S. borders, and how does one qualify? (more…)

What is a border?

From Jason Kottke’s weblog:

Today I learned that the US government considers the US border as extending 100 miles into the country. This means that states like Maine, Michigan, and Florida are entirely within the border area and 2/3 of the US population lives within the border.


In an update to the post he explains that the border is actually more complicated than that. “Precise” and “linear” seem not at all how you would describe how borders actually behave in the world. There’s the 100 mile wide extended border, the functional equivalent border, and within those, the physical terrain where border stops occur and humans start getting involved. What your rights to privacy are in these areas seems pretty open to legal interpretation, and those rights are often abused by border patrol officers.

In addition to the This American Life episode he links to, it also reminds me of the On The Media series about the experience of being detained. It also makes me think of Francis Alÿs’s performance/video The Green Line where he physically traced the “green line” border through Jerusalem using a can of green paint.