UX of Directional Signs at Border Crossings

I occasionally watch the TV show Border Security and one of the things that always bothers me is when they have someone who was driving in the U.S. near the border without intending to cross into Canada, but took a wrong turn and ended up at the border crossing.

Definitely street and road signs are often confusing; there have been many times I’ve missed an exit or taken the wrong turn because I couldn’t figure out what the signs were telling me. But I would think that near an international border they would do everything possible to make sure people don’t cross the border accidentally.

Oddly, if you wind up at a border crossing, they don’t let you just turn around and go back. Even if you didn’t intend to enter Canada, once you are at the border you are considered to be entering Canada and all the relevant laws and rules apply. If you weren’t planning to cross the border, you probably aren’t prepared and this can cause big problems: you probably don’t have your passport with you, you may have items in your car that are legal in the U.S. but not in Canada (guns, for example), or your immigration status in the U.S. may not allow you to leave and re-enter the U.S. Read more ›

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Badass Woman #4: ImeIme Umana

ImeIme UmanaIn January, ImeIme Umana was elected the first Black woman president of the Harvard Law Review.

A law review is a scholarly journal focusing on legal issues. The editors of the Harvard Law Review are 92 students who are selected on a mostly competitive basis, and then the editors all vote on which editor will be president. The law review president is basically the highest position a student can hold at Harvard Law School — and the Harvard Law Review is one of the most prestigious law journals in the world, with the largest circulation of any law review.

Past presidents of the Harvard Law Review include Barack Obama, who was the first Black president of the law review in 1990. Read more ›

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Badass Woman #3: Phyllis Frye

Phyllis Frye sits behind the bench in a judge's robe.In 2010, Phyllis Frye became one of the first two openly transgender judges in the United States. She currently serves as an Associate Judge for the City of Houston Municipal Courts.

Phyllis was born Phillip Frye around 1950, a time of very rigid gender roles. Phillip didn’t understand why his body didn’t match his brain, why he wanted to be in the Girl Scouts instead of the Boy Scouts, why he wanted to wear dresses. And he thought he was the only person who had these types of feelings. As a teenager, he got caught trying on his mother’s dresses, but covered it up with lies.

In college, he married a woman and they had a son, and Phillip later joined the Army. He continued to dress in women’s clothes in secret, until his wife caught him. He underwent numerous therapies that didn’t “cure” him, and Phillip’s wife eventually divorced him. He got kicked out the Army and tried to commit suicide. Read more ›

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Badass Woman #2: Mary Two-Axe Earley

Mary Two-Axe EarleyHere’s another Badass Woman I’d like to tell you about. Mary Two-Axe Earley was a Mohawk from Canada who fought for the rights of Aboriginal women.

Mary Two-Axe was born on the Mohawk reserve of Kahnawake, Quebec, in 1911. She grew up there and in North Dakota, and when she turned 18, she moved to New York City, as many Mohawks did at the time.

In Canada, the Indian Act (first passed in 1876) determines who legally has status as a native person in Canada. Those who have status are often referred to as “Status Indians,” and they are recognized under federal law and have access to certain government programs and services. Read more ›

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