February 18, 2009

Get ready for the government to look at you with X-ray eyes.

The Transportation Security Administration wants to see you naked... at the airport... from a discreet high-tech distance. The new scrutiny begins today... in Tulsa.

119 comments:

Jim said...

It's just the new administration's way of checking for loose change.

Host with the Most said...

Passengers at the test airports will be instructed to go through the new scanners. Anyone who doesn't want to go through will be allowed to refuse and instead go through a metal detector and receive a pat-down, White said.

Can a massage be thrown in with an upgrade package?

Host with the Most said...

Wait until the scans of famous people start appearing on You Tube and elsewhere.

You know they will.

onparkstreet said...

Weird. Even your x-rayed innards aren't private anymore. Someday, a bunch of crazy libertarian astronaut space-colonizers are gonna take the Rocket ship Ayn Rand to some remote planet, and, uh, probably find scanning equipment there, too. You can just never win.

Haha and just the other day I linked to this geeksugar post about a little hand-held device that scans dressing rooms for hidden microcameras (it's for paranoid, dateline nbc watching women).

Paranoia doesn't seem so paranoid, anymore, though.

Curtiss said...

How many new conspiracy theories will this generate.

What will they be?

Ron said...

Doesn't being nude in Tulsa violate some kinda Federal statute?

Henry Buck said...

The market for prosthetic penises is going to skyrocket.

Trevor Jackson said...

For some reason, this reminds me of the old Jack Handey quote: "You know how they say Jesus lives inside you? Well, I hope He likes tacos, 'cause that's what He's getting."

SteveR said...

What's next? Are they going to start leaping tall buildings with a single bound?

JohnAnnArbor said...

Henry has a point. There are going to be some amusing pranks people will pull.

"Um, what's that thing wrapped around his right leg? No, it COULDN'T be..."

rhhardin said...

What happens if a nudist goes through nude?

Big Mike said...

The government has a problem. No, not the problem about people trying to smuggle things on board aircraft that shouldn't be on board aircraft, like guns and explosives and tarantula spiders ...

Nope, the problem is that a few years ago the government started up an expensive program where people could arrange to get a full FBI background investigation and this would entitle them to a special pass that lets them bypass the security scanners at the airport. And not enough people are using it. So now the people in Tulsa, at least, will have more of an incentive to use that program.

Don't laugh too loud, Professor. Dane County Regional is next on the list!

Smilin' Jack said...

The new scrutiny begins today... in Tulsa...

...that hotbed of terrorism. As always, the TSA is focused like a laser on the real threat.

tim maguire said...

I predict that a suspiciously large percentage of randomly selected passengers will be attractive women.

Quayle said...

So what! They already own almost every other part of us.

Given the massive takeover by the Feds under Pelosi, Reid, and Obama, I predict that pretty soon we'll have a cabinet post for the Department of Hidden Orifices.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Big Mike, that program exists? I had heard it proposed, but not that it actually went forward. When proposed, those with security clearances were going to be able to get those passes pretty easily, I thought.

Bissage said...

Scanning from a discreet high-tech distance is all well and good . . . but there will still be occasions when airport security has to get up close and personal.

Original Mike said...

You're big on getting the science correct, right? I commend you, but given that you should take the word "x-ray" out of the title. These scanners use radio-frequency energy, not x-rays.

Michael H said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ron said...

You know those screeners will be hoarding pics for their annual "Sexiest Passenger In Tulsa" competition....

Seven Machos said...

Just out of curiosity, when the people watching these streaming nude videos see 14-year-old girls, will they be prosecuted with felonies? I certainly hope so. No one is above the law.

jeff said...

Well let's see. I have been peeing in a cup since 1988, I was in a road block in South Arizona to make sure I wasn't a illegal alien, was in a road block in Northern Arizona to make sure I wasn't going to blow up Hoover dam, I am stopped in a number of road blocks at home to make sure I am not drunk (although they seem to focus on where I am going, where I have been and do I have my papers), if I am a passenger in a car and the driver runs a red light, I can be removed and searched. My car may or may not be searched without my permission depending on how truthful the cop is and what the supreme court has ruled that particular day. Frankly, if I can keep my shoes and belt on and not stand in a ridiculously long line where I can view 5 other metal detectors sitting unused then I don't care if they flash my picture on the screens where they show the arrivals and departures. The privacy train has long ago left the station.

bearbee said...

But this is brilliant.

Accomplishes security checks AND creates a national health database. Do a full body scan then transfer the persons data into the proposed national health database, saving the cost of a trip to radiology for chest x-rays, mammograms, etc.

It's just the new administration's way of checking for loose change.

And scoops up all that loose change to offset costs.

Efficient and brilliant.

Lem said...

discreet high-tech distance

Sorry honey... it looks like we are only going to see each other at conventions.

traditionalguy said...

Dolly Parton would exceed the available screen size and she would have to be carried off two abreast. Old Joke Warning. The government will soon start a new Database on the true size of all women and men. Another Bill Clinton type could use the tapes himself and his State Trooper scouts would be free to do other work.

Curtiss said...

How long will it be until the TSA is called TitS and Ass?

Original Mike said...

They probably could calculate your BMI and spit out dietary recommendations as you collect your shoes. Then they could send that off to their new medical records database. Next time you go to the airport and your BMI hasn't decreased they could issue you a warning.

ElcubanitoKC said...

Airplane!!!

Jeremy said...

Somebody should tell them that X-ray Specs don't really work. They're just feathers pressed between sheets of cardboard.

Seriously, the wiki article on backscatter xray has a an actual image if you want to see just how much detail you can get with on of these. These, being a backscatter x-ray machine, not X-ray Specs.

Original Mike said...

From what little bit I've read, these are not backscatter x-ray imagers.

Lem said...

It will give face recognition software a whole body of data to work with.

Is that a nose ring? or are you just back from Cabo San Lucas?

Joe said...

The lack of these devices has been directly responsible for the epidemic of airline hijackings we've had since 9/11.

(And where are the bomb sniffing machines? I'm so nauseated by all those airplanes blowing up. Someone must pay!)

Lem said...

We are going to have Pamela suing for compensation ;)

Lem said...

Pamela sues for what the market will bare.

Pogo said...

I don't mind the new scanners.

It's the TSA colonoscopy that worries me most.

And last time through they advised me to have my prostate checked out.

Chip Ahoy said...

That does it!

* slams laptop lid *

* opens laptop, types *

For now on, I'm flying charter.

Big Mike said...

JohnAnnArbor, the most recent info I have on it is that in August 2007 the TSA told Congress that the program was a bust (not to be confused with the Pamela Anderson and Dolly Parton jokes in this commentary).

ElcubanitoKC said...

"Joey, have you ever seen a grown man naked?"

save_the_rustbelt said...

Is that a gun in your pocket or are you glad to see me?

Lem said...

Then you are going to have your hypochondriacs shopping for airport scanners...

I heard they got the latest and the greatest at La Guardia...

Yea, but the one at LAX is wide open.

Lem said...

It’s no big deal... a see-thru negligee cancels out the x-ray, I'm sure ;)

Hey Cuba.. que pasa?

ElcubanitoKC said...

Lem, qué bolá bróder?

Lem said...

I thought you were gone men.

Can you believe Aroid? (that's what they are calling Arod in NY)

ElcubanitoKC said...

Shocking...not really. Just look at those guys. One can smell the juice through the TV. De madre, hermano! And then it's "I didn't do it" "Maybe I did it, but I was too young to know better (at age 23...)" and finally "I did it because 'society' pressured me to do it..."

William said...

If there were any real erotic potential to this technology, the porn industry would have perfected it years ago.

Leland said...

1) The faces are blurred
2) The images are deleted immediately
3) The reviewers are in a seperated closed room

So what's the point?

Oh, and the alternative is being patted down? So if I'm bothered by the government peering through my clothes, I can let them feel me up?

Upside, every teenage boy going through puberty will want to grow up to be a TSA agent.

Lem said...

he also said he got it in DR..

Even if he did.. ese hijo e puta, he just draged a country (and his "causin") down with him.

Robert said...

My sympathy is with anyone who has to see me. Definitely worse than shorts.

Lem said...

..not to be confused with the Pamela Anderson and Dolly Parton jokes in this commentary.

My understanding is that b4 Palin arrived on the scene it was the Pamela’s and the Parton’s double plays (thought maybe not exclusively) that gave nurture if not voluminous sustenance to this blogg ;)

Big Mike said...

Lem, you should be posting on the thread about the 7 deadly sins. I think your mind is in the gutter so you can look up skirts.

Does Hillary wear her famous pants suits because of you?

Donna B. said...

I think it's absolutely wonderful - the machines cost 17x more $$ and is twice as slow as the metal detectors. How cool is that for government work?

Lem said...

Does Hillary wear her famous pants suits because of you?

Naaa.. it's because of these ;)

There's no music there.

Psychedelic George said...

Way Back:

X-Ray Spex

1978

Back:

The Future's So Bright

(I gotta wear shades)

1986.

Boom-time song.

Now:

We don't need no damn song. We livin' x-ray. Bring on da radiat-shun

Issob Morocco said...

I would prefer Bob Welch's Ebony Eyes to inspect me.

muddimo said...

Tulsa!? This is not going to be pretty--no, really.

Jeremy said...

Original Mike,
You could be right. The article says that it uses "no radiation." OTOH, it says the machine uses "millimieter waves" which, frankly, sounds made up.

dbp said...

Original Mike said...
They probably could calculate your BMI and spit out dietary recommendations as you collect your shoes.

Not only that, but they could send that data on to your airline to determine if you get an in-flight meal, or not.

It is all for our own good. And at least these images appear to be slimming, unlike the old backscatter technology.

Original Mike said...

Jeremy - wavelength of 1 mm is infrared territory. Think "heat waves". It is radiation in the technical sense, but not what the public would think of when they hear the term "radiation".

Jeremy said...

Telling the public that they're not being blasted by x-rays, but instead being blasted with "heat waves" probably isn't gonna be a winning strategy. So "millimeter waves" it is. Thanks for the lesson. The only thing I remember from Physics 202 was that the Prof somehow worked the phrase "dead cat" into every lecture, ie., "If you're swinging a frozen dead by the tail over your head, the FREQUENCY is long it takes to make one revolution. The AMPLITUDE is how big of a circle the cat makes..."

chuckR said...

Waiting to see what happens to the first guy who tapes a hand shaped piece of aluminum foil to the front of his underwear. Ya never know how those milliwaves will affect the old generative organs.

Probably a business opportunity there....

EDH said...

I'm surprised Titus hasn't commented on how this will be like an ultrasound that will enable him to enjoy his "loaves" before they are pinched.

Original Mike said...

My favorite scientific euphamism along these lines is from the debate over irradiation of food to kill pathogens. The issue is how to label these foods (I personally think that they shouldn't be labeled. You determine they're safe and then that's that). The Luddites want big splashy warning labels with skull and crossbones (slight exagarration, but only slight). The industry wants an inconspicuous label that says, "Contents have been picowaved". (The wavelength of gamma rays used for this process is on the order of picometers.)

Lem said...

The new scrutiny begins today... in Tulsa.

The hairs.. and the hairs not.

Saynomore, saynomore.

Cedarford said...

Quayle said...
So what! They already own almost every other part of us.

Given the massive takeover by the Feds under Pelosi, Reid, and Obama, I predict that pretty soon we'll have a cabinet post for the Department of Hidden Orifices.


Pelosi herself is an orifice, IMO...but don't blame them, this is a Bush Admin brainchild. You know it is a Bush legacy because it is massively expensive, addresses a minor security weakness, assumes the Muslim radicals that dare not be named as the only threat are massively stupid, was funded in panic back in 2002..

*****************
No X-rays. RF. Meaning that any wannabe Islamoid Evildoer with any brains, and there are lots of them as anyone who has fought Hez, AQI, or tried "outwitting" Irans Mullahs can attest to -- knows right away they will not defeat any attempt that uses "drug mule - like bodypacking" to move weapons or explosives on board.
Or underwire bras. Or shoes that contain a steel shank with some team of 4 Islamoids have actually made a razorsharp 9" knife many times more lethal than boxcutters from, then reassembled the shoe around using weak glue. Undetectable unless the scanner team tries ripping each such boot apart.

Safest and best is the body-packed suicide bomber, which would defeat 10s of billions of "high tech scanners'. Give the martyr a small dose of opiates to calm them and to stop peristalsis for a few hours, then pack their colon with 10 lbs of C-4. Or the female volunteers vaginal canal with less, but still 8-10 times more than the shoe bomber had...

Or after all this asinine Bush era "100% safety, no money spent on anything is too much, no inconvenience to the general public is too much, no amount of fascistic adulation of the Government heroes in any uniform is too much.." philosophy.....

Maybe we can mature enough to know that the bad guys will occasionally get by security and we have to accept that because an Open Society cannot exist with North Korean style airtight security and monitoring of the whole populace rather than profiling that segment where we know the risk is.
Maybe we can mature enough to recognize that just because an inner city Momma with an IQ of 80 or some Oakie Zeke is given a TSA uniform and a secure, benefits-loaded Fed Gummint job - that when they spout "We have to be perfect and smarter than the enemy everyday" we are not compelled (yet) to believe it.

And even if we make air travel include colonoscopies and vaginal searches if THAT terror tactic is tried...we live in a target-rich environment in Open America where other high-value terror targets are easy prey. Shopping Malls, grade schools, multiple fires set in high wind, tinder dry conditions amidst dense housing...

Proving the maxim that even a stopped clock is right as applied to pompous unlikeable Senators - John Kerry said for America to work well again we have to accept we cannot live in a "zero casualties ever!!" reign of fear and excess security and learn how nations that have lived with terror or violent internal insurgencies return their population to normality. To accept a small number of terror casualties like they do casualties from auto accidents, construction mishaps, living in Tornado Alley...an unavoidable, not "acceptable" risk, but one where the cost to budgets and the functioning of society is just too high to pursue "Zero Tolerance!". Since it will always be with us and it would financially break us and psychologically dispirit us to try to create impervious security or fight 12-80 simultaneous wars to try to eradicate more angry people seeing force is their last resort than to recruit people...

Finally, lets just say that the Libertarian conspiracists do have a point - much of the "anti-terror" security apparatus and 100s of billions for Homeland Security and new high tech weaponry for "Your Government Heroes" - can be turned against a disaffected American populace in revolt. And a belief that "things could fall apart and threaten us Elites" may be behind the great interest of senior Gov't people, Hollywood's megabuck crowd, CEOs, and hedge fund managers sudden interest in buying remote, largely self-sustaining "spreads" in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho. Not their sudden love of cows and pastures and two working nat gas wells on their land...

blake said...

Wonder if its been tested for effect on the unborn...

Bumsurf said...

Thank goodness they won't be using microwaves. If they were the cold salami that I always carry in my front pocket when I pass through the Minneapolis Airport security would explode and my meeting at the men's room would be a mess.

Skyler said...

Instantly deleted is about as meaningful here as it was when gun background checks were instantly deleted.

I think if they were really intent on avoiding more hijackings, they would issue a knife to each and every passenger. That would be a lot less intrusive and cheaper.

Frankly, I don't want the drooling half-wits in the TSA to be ogling naked women on the job.

Smilin' Jack said...

These are microwaves, not x rays. But don't worry, it won't be like that time you put the cat in the microwave as a kid. These machines are run by TSA screeners, and we all know how intelligent, diligent, and highly-trained they are. Nothing can go wrong.

AllenS said...

Hall and Oates and AllenS sing Private Eyes:

Private eyes
Theyre watching you
They see your every move
Private eyes
Theyre watching you
Private eyes
Theyre watching you watching you watching you watching you

I see you, and your pee pee
Is that a dildo, or are you glad to see me
X-ray eyes, I can see
Everybody's wee wee
♪ ♫ ♪ ♫

Freeman Hunt said...

I might be okay with it if it made airport screening faster. But the article says this takes twice as long. So I have to wait longer, and now some guy in a little room is looking at me naked.

Also, these scanners cost 17 times as much as metal detectors. Yow! And won't screeners be, perhaps, even more likely to miss threats. Before, they'd hear a beep and know that the source had to be found. Now they have to visually inspect an image of the entire body. Seems like a lot could be missed that way.

Simon said...

Thank goodness this didn't happen a month ago, or it would be a sure sign of our tyrannical rethuglican oligarchy's unconstitutional, illegal commitment to destroying our right to privacy! Luckily it happened on President Obama's watch and is therefore a limited, prudent, and sensible security measure to which no one could object without wanting America to fail. Phew! We sure dodged a bullet there!

Smilin' Jack said...

Now they have to visually inspect an image of the entire body. Seems like a lot could be missed that way.

Pamela Anderson could walk through one of these with an AK-47 strapped to each leg, and no one would notice.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

So let me get this straight. They give you the choice to decline the new scan and if you do decline it, you get through security faster?

Hmmm, which do I choose?

I swear, you just couldn't make this stuff up.

Jason (the commenter) said...

With all the problems this system has I have to assume the manufacturers are big campaign contributors.

Michael H said...

Let's look at all airline passengers naked, but, for heavens' sake, let's not eavesdrop on terrorists' cell phone calls.

Big Mike said...

Cedarford, I'm a frequent flyer and I think 100% is just about right.

The Achilles heel for your rant, is that neither you nor anyone else wants to decide where the point it becomes too expensive to take further precautions lies. And I'm 100% sure that neither you nor any elected politician wants to go up to a grieving family member and try to convince them that their blown apart loved one was "unavoidable" due to considerations of privacy and cost.

Big Mike said...

Freeman, the TSA's rule is that guys look at guys and women look at women. That doesn't mean no pervert will look at you, but at least it will be a female pervert and not a male.

God help us guys if Titus becomes a TSA screener.

David said...

Blake said...
"Wonder if its been tested for effect on the unborn..."

The unborn also find this creepy and weird, but their comments are funnier.

Ralph said...

I was about to say that it looks like Tituslikestostripsearch will soon be losing his job.

Michael Hasenstab said...

Freeman, the TSA's rule is that guys look at guys and women look at women. That doesn't mean no pervert will look at you, but at least it will be a female pervert and not a male.

Sure, that makes sense, because Question 6A on the TSA's employment application is "Are you now or have you ever been a pervert?"

No worries, they'll be screened out.

Methadras said...

I worked on helping to develop these systems. I still have components sitting here on my desk from the various development phases that these devices have gone through. Just as a clarification like in the article, they don't use x-rays, they use millimeter/sub-millimeter wave in passive mode, meaning they don't ping you because they are not emitters. In actuality you are the emitter and the devices are sensitive enough to detect that emission. The deepest they can get is to interpenetrate beyond the skin by about a few millimeters. We used to dial up the sensitivity enough that you could see faint striation of musculature and I was often a test subject for scan.

They originally were developed to detect non-metallics, but in reality, they will most likely just look under clothing and probably no deeper. You may not even see actual anatomy if they are calibrated properly. The software is basically looking for tell-tales like pipe shapes, cube like shapes, etc. The software is the discriminant and helps the user determine what it is for secondary inspection.

Jeremy said...

Michael - forget the perv question, can the Fed Gov't even ask your gender (male female trans other?) on an employment application?

Jeremy said...

software is basically looking for tell-tales like pipe shapes, cube like shapes, etc.

You know, for a lot of folks, if it wasn't for the pipe shapes and cube-like shapes, they wouldn't have any shapes at all.

Skyler said...

Beyond the creepy perv TSA moron issue, a lot of good points have been brought up.

Child pornography. Looking at naked pictures of children going through this machine has got to have some problems.

Gender of the victim. How do they decide what gender someone is? Is nothing private anymore? What if you can't tell? Do they ask, "excuse me but we can't tell if you're male or female."

The images will most certainly need to be saved, it can't be that they are deleted immediately. The images will be needed in court, no? And the pervs in TSA won't erase the good ones, anyway.

Methedras has some interesting, but conflicting, insight.

If we are our own emitters, how is it that the milliwaves are penetrating our skin? How on Earth are we milliwave emitters? That doesn't even make sense. I choose to conclude that you don't know what you're talking about, absent further explanation.

Simon said...

Big Mike said...
"Freeman, the TSA's rule is that guys look at guys and women look at women. That doesn't mean no pervert will look at you, but at least it will be a female pervert and not a male."

Isn't that a rule that presupposes a heteronormative society? The reason for the rule is to limit the situations in which men are placed in a position to obtain a level of sexual gratification from the use of official authority, by ogling women. But the rule, properly stated, is based on attraction not gender; it simply assumes that men will be sexually attracted to women and vice versa. In a society where homosexuality has come out of the closet, so to speak, does the rule continue to make any sense? To serve the purpose of the rule, surely the criterion should be not that men observe men and women observe women, but that people are observed by persons sexually attracted to the other gender.

JohnAnnArbor said...

How on Earth are we milliwave emitters? That doesn't even make sense.

All objects of a certain temperature emit a characteristic radiation pattern. We emit infrared, which is picked up by night vision equipment. Millimeter waves are just longer infrared waves.

Warmer objects emit more. Warm stuff up enough, and it glows. You know, fire, light-bulb filaments, etc. We're colder than that, but we're still emitters.

Methadras said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
blake said...

To serve the purpose of the rule, surely the criterion should be not that men observe men and women observe women, but that people are observed by persons sexually attracted to the other gender.

Ah, but that's only half of the equation; the other half is how the observed feel about the gender of the observer, isn't it?

So, we need at least five gates labeled for the observers: straight women, straight men, gay women, gay men, other.

Ah...now that's good "fairness".

Methadras said...

Methadras said...

Methedras has some interesting, but conflicting, insight.

If we are our own emitters, how is it that the milliwaves are penetrating our skin? How on Earth are we milliwave emitters? That doesn't even make sense. I choose to conclude that you don't know what you're talking about, absent further explanation.


Sklyer, I've engineered, designed, developed, and worked on these systems. You aren't emitting millimeter wave emissions specifically, but you are essentially a reflecting source for RF frequencies from other sources. You do emit body heat which can be detected by (FL)IR systems, but the millimeter wave detector filters out everything except those waves and the software discriminates and stitches a picture together from the multiple wave channel inputs in that particular system. The system I worked on had nearly 200 wave channels and were passive so they didn't bath you in RF actively.

Systems designed by L3 are actively bombarding you with millimeter waves, so it makes there system active. I hope that makes sense.

Methadras said...

Jeremy said...

software is basically looking for tell-tales like pipe shapes, cube like shapes, etc.

You know, for a lot of folks, if it wasn't for the pipe shapes and cube-like shapes, they wouldn't have any shapes at all.


Hehehe, that's true. I just meant that the software looks for pipe-bomb shapes or plastic explosive shapes. The software we had could discriminate am all plastic Glock with ceramic bullets. Pretty cool stuff.

Lem said...

The TSA will look at us with Predetory Eyes.

Simon said...

Blake, that's true. There are other problems, too: employers would have to ask the sexual preference of applicants, and the civil liberties brigade would have a field day. And then what do you do about bisexuals and supposed "transgender" persons - can you refuse to employ them on the grounds that they don't fit into the system that's been created? The only sensible answer is yes, but then the civil liberties and the - what's it called? The "queer studies" people? - will get terribly cross.

What a can of worms has been opened these last few decades...

Ralph said...

Does this mean that since my normal body temp is 96.5 that I'll be invisible? Free airfare!

Lem said...

OT..

Idiot Tube alert ;)

Judge Bork is on one of the CSPAN.

Revenant said...

Child pornography. Looking at naked pictures of children going through this machine has got to have some problems.

Pictures of naked children aren't child pornography. The pictures have to be taken or possessed for prurient reasons, if I understand the law correctly. You could look at pictures of naked kids eight hours a day for five days a week and so long as you were doing it for legitimate security reasons there wouldn't be any cause for arrest.

This is moot, of course, since the government is (in fact if not in theory) above the law when it comes to kiddie porn. The government has actually *distributed* kiddie porn in an attempt to entrap buyers, for example.

Simon said...

Lem, is that the interview he did with Gene Meyer? I watched the other week, with some amount of sadness. His mind is still working, and he's still productive in print, but he seems to be in physical decline - he gets tired quickly, and thereafter starts losing his place. Not long for this world, I fear.

There is a certain irony here: If Bork were on the court, even I would be thinking that the evidence suggests it's time for him to retire. So, if the liberals hadn't kept Bork off the court, Barack Obama would almost certainly have the opportunity to dramatically alter the ideological balance of the court in the next four years. As it is, you have Tony, who's healthy and wouldn't leave the court of you put a gun to his head.

Cedarford said...

Big Mike said...
Cedarford, I'm a frequent flyer and I think 100% is just about right.

The Achilles heel for your rant, is that neither you nor anyone else wants to decide where the point it becomes too expensive to take further precautions lies. And I'm 100% sure that neither you nor any elected politician wants to go up to a grieving family member and try to convince them that their blown apart loved one was "unavoidable" due to considerations of privacy and cost.


1. Nothing you wrote convinces me this massively expensive and intrusive scanning system does anything other than reward defense contractors...that offers no significant security advantage. A a critic of other onerous security steps has stated, it is pure security Theatrics for the travellimg public to convince than that their government employee Heroes in uniform are protecting them.

2. And that serious bad guys will just see it as one security barrier affecting 3400 of the 120,000 possible high value targets in America they can strike. Or stay with the 3400 airports and simply defeat it by bypassing the scanners as airport employees, vendors..or using alternate strategies like body-packing explosives, use of ceramic knives, sharpened boot shanks, CS gas..or just hitting passengers on the ground with truck bombs or fuel trucks hitting the lang security line queques.

3. The days of America saying it is OK for people to die like flies in dangerous inner city neighborhoods, or in hurricanes, or 95,000 dead from medical error, 18,000 dead every year from lack of health insurance as "too expensive to fix" but the Federal Government will spend unlimited billions to save a few people at best from "Muslim Evildoers" are over.
We no longer have the money to pay for Homeland Security extravaganzas against a distant low level threat that except for nukes and biowar - can only kill in the low hundreds in any attack now deemed credible.

4. "I'm 100% sure that neither you nor any elected politician wants to go up to a grieving family member and try to convince them that their blown apart loved one was "unavoidable..."

I believe the era of the Victim's Family with unlimited moral authority is rapidly coming to an end. Pushback has to happen, no matter how "shocked, outraged! how little we regard their lost family member!" for a lack of a 28 billion dollar a year program to guard against Muslim attackers after the 1st shopping mall or hotel is hit in the West.
I already have said publicly in a published newspaper article in 2005, that a local "9/11 Family Member" who "demanded" that we inspect every ounce of material being shipped, flown, or trucked into this country be inspected or it be banned - is entitled to our full sympathy, but not our full deference in attempting to dictate to others or divert scarce resources better used elsewhere, by moral blackmail.

Reactions in the paper and on it's website were extensive, and about 80% were fully in support of my position that Victimhood does not give the Jersey Girls, Cindy Sheehan, and others trying to play that card carte blanche.

Kirk Parker said...

Original Mike,

Aren't you off by a factor of 10? My sources say 1mm is the top end of the microwave spectrum, and 0.1mm is the far low end of infrared.

Meth,

"The software we had could discriminate am all plastic Glock"

You're talking about a "blue gun", right? In real life there is no such thing (with a completely all-plastic barrel and chamber.)

Lem said...

Lem, is that the interview he did with Gene Meyer?

Yes it is.

I hear what you are saying.. still, small consolation compared to the impact he would have had he been given the chance to serve.

Lem said...

Palin 2012

Ralph said...

I thought Bork looked really ill ten years ago. Decades of smoking catches up to most people.

Original Mike said...

I don't know, Kirk. I'm an x-ray guy (and we don't talk wavelength, we talk photon energy). I glanced at this when I made the comment, and it is a little difficult to decipher.

All I know is it ain't x-rays.

Duscany said...

I saw a video of this with a middle aged male bureaucrat as the subject. Two things I noticed. The resolution is incredibly high and this man had an eight inch pepperoni in his pocket. All I can say is the scanners are going to get a lot of snickers when they find tattoos, rings and pins in suprisingly intimate places.

Methadras said...

Kirk Parker said...

Meth,

"The software we had could discriminate am all plastic Glock"

You're talking about a "blue gun", right? In real life there is no such thing (with a completely all-plastic barrel and chamber.)


No. At the time we actually worked with Glock, H&K, S&W, and a couple of others to develop prototypes for an 'all plastic' gun. Let me clarify what that means within the context of what I worked on. You are right, as of the current state of highest end plastic polymers, you cannot have a barrel of a gun be made out of plastic. Yet. However, you can have it fabricated out of ceramics and non-metallic impregnated varieties at that. The main body, grip, etc. can be plastic, but the barrel and slides were made out of ceramic. I can't get into specifics of what type of blend, but we had it and we used it. It was made to be fired, but it's primary purpose was for detection.

We had several state of the art metal detectors in-house and none of them detected it. But the millimeter-wave detector saw it without a problem. It saw it better when it was heated up by body heat. Stood out like a sore thumb.

Methadras said...

Next stop is Terahertz cameras. Those are awesome.

Kirk Parker said...

Methedras,

Fascinating. I take it that for the intended purposes of evading a security check, such a firearm wouldn't really need to have a long operational life. Scary...

Methadras said...

Kirk Parker said...

Methedras,

Fascinating. I take it that for the intended purposes of evading a security check, such a firearm wouldn't really need to have a long operational life. Scary...


Nope. Just get it past security and what is done with it beyond that you can take a guess. It only has to work once and that was one of our operating motto's at time. Once the mechanic and hardware are in place, the rest of the real magic is in the software.

Eli Blake said...

I wonder why this is suddenly a big issue now, but those of us who raised this a couple of years ago were told it was necessary to fight terrorism.

The fact is, any invasion of your privacy that is developed under one administration will remain in place and be expanded during the next administration.

Say what you will about Jimmy Carter, but the four years of the Carter administration have been virtually the only period between Calvin Coolidge's appointment of J. Edgar Hoover to head the FBI in the 1920's and the present when we've had an administration that did anything at all about slowing down the rate of government intrusion on personal privacy. Every other President, from Coolidge to Obama (so far), regardless of party, has come down heavily on the side of Government snoop agencies as opposed to individual privacy.

Unless we all are united in opposing it, this will continue. The game they play, pushing things through during a Republican administration against Democratic opposition, or a Democratic administration against Republican opposition, ultimately has one winner-- the Federal bureaucracy, and one loser: all of us.

blake said...

I wonder why this is suddenly a big issue now,

'cause they're rolling it out now?

but those of us who raised this a couple of years ago were told it was necessary to fight terrorism.

Not here you weren't, were you? I sure don't remember that.

I agree with your basic premise, otherwise.

reader_iam said...

I wonder why this is suddenly a big issue now, but those of us who raised this a couple of years ago were told it was necessary to fight terrorism.

And for those of us who saw this sort of thing as a potential issue quite literally decades ago, those of you who insist on speaking of it in "[OTOH a] couple of years ago" terms seem so political, opportunistic and, above all, short sighted.

Because from the former perspective, it's so NOT hard to see the longer term trend ... and every politician, political bloc and equivocating, justifying follower who insists on narrowing the tide, and more important the scope, of history--just and only to serve their own, partisan(=shared-responsibility ducking) narrative.

I mean, really: Come on. Who's zoomin' whom?

blake said...

Good point, Reader.

Eli sees the threat in the "x-ray specs" but presumably not in the stimulus' health care review and rationing provisions.

Methadras said...

This isn't new. They have been showcasing this technology for the last few years, it was quiet, it was discrete, but it's made the media. I've got clippings and other videos for example of L3 communications CEO talking to some talking head about this very technology. The company I worked for at the time was a competing interest, but we were light years ahead of L3, but we were small. They just threw money at it and L3 had way more lobbyist money to dole out for DARPA contracts. We just got table scraps and risk funding. Guess who won?

Zoe Brain said...

Simon

Yes, and then we can get rid of those stupid rules about all the others that don't fit the system.

Blacks, Women, Jews, Catholics, the Irish....

I guess my views are coloured by my experiences. I'm Intersexed, born with a body neither 100% female nor 100% male. I'm lucky that I don't look it, but my documentation is contradictory, and that causes problems.

People like you also cause problems, and there's a good case that you be blacklisted and forbidden from gaining any employment whatsoever, just as you propose for others. You don't fit in, you see.

Of course, you think the same about me. Bit of an impasse, that. How about... we employ, or don't employ, based on skill, talent, ability to do the job, and not on prejudice or bigotry? And for those groups who've historically been given the short end of the stick, we make it quite clear that the historical persecution they've had is a Bad Thing(tm), and not in the interest of the nation, nor the principles for which it stands.

After a couple of generations, such laws can then be discarded as no longer necessary. And they should be, to avoid creating a privileged aristocracy in their turn.

Getting back on-topic, there's a good albeit brief article on this technology at TechLifePost. Though I can't be objective about its quality as I wrote it.

Revenant said...

I wonder why this is suddenly a big issue now, but those of us who raised this a couple of years ago were told it was necessary to fight terrorism.

For the most part the same people complaining about dippy airport security today were doing it then, too.

This has nothing to do with Barack Obama being President. I doubt either he OR George Bush has any desire to look at me naked, although I have my suspicions about Rahm Emmanuel. :)

Revenant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
downtownlad said...

They'd be lucky to see me naked.

Methadras said...

downtownlad said...

They'd be lucky to see me naked.


Right. The millimeter wave view of your body would send the machine into tilt mode from your sheer fabulousness.

Simon said...

Zoe - yawn. As my comment made abundantly clear, in some contexts, consideration of sexual preference is a factor of "ability to do the job" rather than of "prejudice or bigotry" (assuming, arguendo, that we accept the concept of "intersexed" - which I take it is a euphemism for "transgendered" rather than hermaphrodite).

Zoe Brain said...

Simon - "hermaphrodite" is both inaccurate and deprecated, but is closest to what I meant.

Some people have what used to be called "serial hermaphroditism". Born looking female, changing to looking male later. Less than 1% of such natural changes go the other way.

To define terms:

Intersexed - born with a body neither 100% male nor 100% female. There's hundreds of different medical syndromes in this category, some genetic, but most not. Can affect just one sexually dimorphic body part or many.

Transsexual - someone born with cross-gendered neuroanatomy. Male brain in female body or the reverse. That's an over-simplification, different parts of the brain can be cross-gendered to different degrees.

Requires hormone replacement to avoid problems with brain/hormone mismatch, and in cases where the body map in the lymbic system is affected, surgery too. A form of Intersex.

Transgendered - anyone not conforming to being normally male or normally female in every respect, psychologically or biologically. Many of those with biological conditions don't like being called "transgendered", as that category includes fetishistic transvesitites, politically-motivated gender outlaws etc. But they don't get a say in what others call them.

Any of the above face real problems due to scanners like this. They also face real problems caused by most people being completely ignorant of rare congenital medical conditions, and get anathematised for their "gay lifestyle choice".

It's perfectly legal to fire someone just for being gay in 32 states. But it's legal to fire them just for being transsexual in 37.

As I said,my personal experience as one of the handful of recorded cases of IPSR - Idiopathic partial sex reversal from a male appearance at birth to a female appearance later - colours my views. Bigots make no distinction between those who change appearance as a result of an endocrinal anomaly, and those who change appearance through medical treatment.

Here's some light reading for you, peer-reviewed articles available on the net:

Male-to-female transsexuals show sex-atypical hypothalamus activation when smelling odorous steroids. by Berglund et al

Male–to–female transsexuals have female neuron numbers in a limbic nucleus. Kruiver et al J Clin Endocrinol Metab (2000) 85:2034–2041.

Sexual differentiation of the human brain: relevance for gender identity, transsexualism and sexual orientation. Swaab Gynecol Endocrinol (2004) 19:301–312.

A sex difference in the human brain and its relation to transsexuality. by Zhou et al Nature (1995) 378:68–70.

I've found though that most people who think "sexual orientation" is relevant for any job other than prostitution don't care about the science. They know what they know, and mere facts won't change their minds. Gays, Intersexed, Transsexuals, they're all part of the Jewish GLBT agenda to subvert society and pollute our precious bodily fluids. There are exceptions, but they're almost as rare as people like me.