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Things They Don’t Tell You

When you fly across the country in an airliner you receive a radiation dose equal to a chest x-ray. You are above the denser atmosphere that normally shields you from the radiation coming in from space.

Pilots, especially those with military experience, know this, which is one of the reasons they don’t want to go through the full-body scanners. No one will tell them how much or what kind of radiation the scanners use, so they have no way of knowing how much additional radiation they are receiving.

The machines used to scan the carry on baggage at the check point probably leak like a sieve, like the early microwave ovens that would knock out pacemakers. Who knows if anyone has has ever scanned them for leaks. I would assume that the only time there is any maintenance on them is when they fail.

You can’t make an informed decision if no one will provide you with facts.


1 Suzan { 11.18.10 at 11:48 am }

And they won’t be doing that without a fight will they?

Someone has to engage on this soon.


2 Bryan { 11.18.10 at 2:14 pm }

If Kryten or I were to decided to take out an airliner, nothing we used would be classified as a weapon. There are a lot of common objects already on the aircraft that make effective, if inelegant weapons, and most people have an arsenal in their pockets, if they think about it with the right frame of mind.

What they are doing is responding, after the fact, to single incidents that were usually attempted by incompetents. People have to take off their shoes because an elementary school drop-out couldn’t figure out how to light a fuse. Even Wiley Coyote could light a fuse!

Liquids are limited because the government doesn’t understand that you can’t turn an aircraft toilet into a chemistry lab.

Fondling children does not make our aircraft safer to fly, nor does irradiating air travelers.

3 Badtux { 11.18.10 at 9:40 pm }

And if a *pilot* decided to take out an airliner, all he’d have to do is wait for his copilot to go to the bathroom, lock and jam the door behind him, and then kill the engines and push forward and sideways on the wheel or stick until the airplane spiraled into the ground. Granted, there are failsafes in most aircraft and alarms would be whooping and sticks shaking and all that, but those can be over-ridden for a reason — because there are situations where the failsafes can interfere with necessary disaster avoidance on the pilots’ part — and there you go.

In short, making the pilots go thru these x-ray machines is ridiculous, each of them has a 100 ton deadly weapon in his hands the moment he hits his seat.

– Badtux the Baffled Penguin

4 Bryan { 11.18.10 at 10:45 pm }

Just pushing the throttles all the way forward in a landing approach, given the time it takes for jet engines to spin up is much simpler. Actually, bad throttle control is the root cause of a lot of accidents with two pilots in the cockpit. The modern jet aircraft can become a brick very quickly if the engines can’t maintain speed. Landing already involves approaching stall speed.

5 hipparchia { 11.19.10 at 11:22 pm }

Liquids are limited because the government doesn’t understand that you can’t turn an aircraft toilet into a chemistry lab.

well, *i* can turn most anything into a chemistry lab…


6 Bryan { 11.19.10 at 11:56 pm }

You know how to use a match to light a fuse, so you are over-qualified for al Qaeda.

7 Kryten42 { 11.20.10 at 12:02 am }

If Kryten or I were to decided to take out an airliner, nothing we used would be classified as a weapon. There are a lot of common objects already on the aircraft that make effective, if inelegant weapons, and most people have an arsenal in their pockets, if they think about it with the right frame of mind.

Heh heh heh… 👿

Hey!! You is givin away secret tradcraft stuff there m8!! You better be armed and lookin over ya shoulders! You’ll have the VSP’s after you! 😉 😈

Yeah… I can easily use many *weapons* that nobody would even suspect is a weapon. And I’m *very* good with ceramic blades, can even cut aluminium. 🙂 But more importantly, I *know how things work* and all about stress points etc. Yeah… taking out an aircraft is pretty easy. And I know where I can even get an ex SF special ‘chute (very compact and no metal, but you have to know how to use it and how to land properly if you don’t want broken ankles or knees). 🙂 Heck, I can even make an IED on an aircraft with only needing to take on a couple small items to make it work. I’m also very good at *Social Engineering* and know how security works. I’ve NEVER had any problem with Customs or security checks anywhere, even in paranoid places! 😉 I still have my web belt that has a few undetectable items secreted in it (like a nylon garrote, and a saw line – a short length of diamond coated nylon with a finger loop at each end, and a couple small ceramic darts & a pick).

It’s usually the *last person you would ever suspect* who is the one you should be really worried about! 😉 😆

And yeah, Badtux is totally correct about Pilot’s. Same with the driver of a car! They can be far more deadly than an idiot with a gun.

8 Bryan { 11.20.10 at 12:13 am }

Well, the people in charge apparently can’t understand the meaning of “suicide bomber” when they talk about the use of torture, so they certainly can’t actually secure the aircraft, or prevent a professional from taking out an aircraft.

Now you have Congresscritters saying that the solution is to return to the use of private security companies, like the people who failed to detect the 9/11 team. Most of the clowns advocating this are talking to the companies that would be involved. I’m sure that “campaign contributions” are not part of the conversation, because we all know that Congresscritter are “all honorable men” 😈

9 Kryten42 { 11.20.10 at 12:23 am }

I know!! Isn’t it seriously amazing? Gawd… people are just *SO* damned stupid! *SIGH*

But seriously, to take out an airline, you just have to know where and how to start an electrical fire. It’s really very easy!

If people had any real clue, they’d never get on a plane. Look at all the stupid problems Quantas is having now, ever since they greedily and stupidly outsourced all their maintenance & service to Asia! And they were warned. Greed wins every time!

10 Bryan { 11.20.10 at 11:04 am }

All managers are taught in MBA programs anymore is “reduce costs”. That is be the be all and end all of every “business” decision made. That is the only way they know to increase profits. It doesn’t occur to anyone that better designs that lead to better products will increase profits because that increases costs at the front end and executives won’t be around for the pay off.

When gambling replaced investing as the driver of the “markets”, innovation died.

11 Badtux { 11.20.10 at 1:34 pm }

The thing about the private security companies is an end-run around the fact that these searches are a blatant violation of the 4th Amendment of the Constitution, which requires a warrant for search and seizure, and eventually some court is going to so rule. The actions of private security companies aren’t covered by the 4th Amendment’s restrictions. I was baffled about the creation of the TSA in the first place, since it was clear that putting the airline gates under TSA control was a blatant Constitutional violation, so…

And look: It’s not as if the TSA is anything other than security theatre anyhow, as you guys have so clearly pointed out. So why *not* just abolish the TSA and put the airlines and their security contractors back in charge of the security gates? It could hardly make the situation worse, given that the TSA is staffed by Curly, Larry, and Moe anyhow :twisted:.

– Badtux the Realist Penguin

12 Bryan { 11.20.10 at 3:41 pm }

If you look at it, TSA was a form of airline bail out and a shift of liability. I’m not sure that airlines want to take on the liability.

The way things are structured you waive your 4th amendment rights when you buy the ticket. The waiver is buried in the purchase agreement for the ticket. You agree to be abused in exchange for being allowed to enter the over-packed viral soup that aircraft travel has become.

13 Badtux { 11.20.10 at 4:25 pm }

Yes, I know that’s what the TSA claims, and that there has been at least one court case that has upheld it. But the 4th Amendment doesn’t control the actions of individuals, it controls the actions of the State. If you read the actual text, it claims that the State shall not do these things without probable cause, and for those not under State supervision the courts have interpreted this to mean that a police officer must have a “reasonable suspicion” to even ask a person for permission to perform a search. I find it hard to believe that there is a reasonable suspicion that each and every airline passenger is a terrorist :twisted:.

A grant of liability to the airlines could have been done with a simple stroke of the pen, and the TSA could have been simply a grant program where the TSA reimbursed the airlines for the cost of running the security checkpoints. The fact that the TSA is set up the way it is, is because the Shrubbery could have cared less about the law (“it’s just a piece of paper”) and putting the airport screeners under direct Federal control gave the Federal government that much more opportunity to assert control over the population. The security checkpoints at airports and federal buildings aren’t there to stop terrorists. They’re theatre — theatre to acclimatize Americans to being searched by Federal security agents every time they want to move around the country, theatre to acclimatize Americans to heavily-armed goons asking for their papers whenever they want to exercise their rights as Americans to petition their government or move about their country, but above all theatre to reassure Americans that their government is “doing something” — even though what it’s doing is useless and good for nothing except wasting taxpayer money on nonsense.

– Badtux the Theatrical Penguin

14 Bryan { 11.20.10 at 7:46 pm }

If they use private contractors, it won’t be a Federal law, but there are state laws that will kick in that are more restrictive in many cases.

The real problem is the people who administer these programs, not the people who interact with the public. As long as the managers are Jack Bauer wannabees who believe they are on a mission to save America, they want people to see they are doing the job by overreacting to everything. This is one massive CYA operation that wastes time and money for everyone involved. These people are like the professional paranoids who were in charge of security at NSA headquarters and saw everything, including Furbys, as a threat.

The point that everyone seems to miss is that while all this theater is going on, a real threat can slip throw the gaps. Personally I think the shoe and boxer bombers were just al Qaeda jerking our chains to make us dance. They were probably ROFL watching what the West has done as a result.

15 Kryten42 { 11.20.10 at 8:33 pm }

Interesting you mention that Bryan. 🙂 I was thinking similar thoughts when those events occurred. 🙂 It’s very easy (especially these days) to find someone willing and stupid enough to do something stupid. 🙂 The problem the USA has with al Qaeda is, you better figure out their long-term game plan or you will have a lot of trouble. They would love nothing more than to see another GOP Whitehouse, the Tea party and Rethugs serve al Qaeda’s purposes perfectly. The tp’s and Rethugs are way too stupid and arrogant (and careless) to want to believe it or give a damn. But someone better. *shrug*

And you know, to be perfectly honest, al Qaeda really doesn’t give a damn about the USA. You are just a very useful recruiting tool, and a way to garner sympathy from people with money & power for their cause. They yank your strings, and you do their dance. Simple as that.

You mark my words! 😉 😛

16 Bryan { 11.20.10 at 9:03 pm }

As near as I can determine the unifying goal of all of these Muslim whackoes is to remove any and all non-Muslim influences from their sphere, so they can live happily ever after in the 13th century. Once the West is removed, then the Shi’ia-Sunni conflict can be settled once and for all. They want a return to the Caliphate. with each of the individual groups believing the Caliph will be a member of their belief system.

That is probably what would happen if the West actually got serious about weaning itself from oil and left them to their own devices.

17 Badtux { 11.20.10 at 11:19 pm }

Bryan, the airlines, if they were running the security program, would have motivation to keep it from being too onerous because that hits their bottom line. Sure, that also gives them motivation to be sloppy… but given that the airport security screenings are all about theatre anyhow, so what? It’s not as if the TSA has stopped any attempts, every attempt that’s been stopped has been either the airline passengers, or good intelligence work.

As for the granting of legal immunity, the Federal government has a long history of preempting state laws when it comes to legal liability.

Regarding the goals of these Muslim whackos, yeppers, I think we should just take them on their word here, because their actions seem to reflect their words. Why has al Qaeda struck in Britain and the USA, but not in Switzerland or Norway? Could it have something to do with the fact that Switzerland and Norway don’t have troops in the Middle East and don’t support dictators in the Middle East? Hmmm, naw, that’d be too simple. 😈

– Badtux the Reality-based Penguin

18 Bryan { 11.21.10 at 9:11 pm }

The biggest problem with TSA is that they hired the same people that were doing the job before 9/11 and it took them a while to even eliminate the undocumented workers and criminals among them. Then they hire the companies that had the old contracts to train them.

Every police academy in the country teaches frisking and no one confuses it with fondling because it is done quickly. You don’t just look for weapons, you are also looking for escape tools and drugs. There are several reasons to make people “assume the position” but among those reasons is that tightens clothes against the body and it gives easy access to make things quick.

If they would actually have an academy system and in-service training, people would be a lot happier with the process and security might be improved. Our local airport has retired police and military working the job, and they don’t try to pretend that some of crap is anything other than theater.

I’m not sure the Republicans are ready to override “states rights” under the current conditions.

We must be wrong on those intentions, Badtux, because all we have are facts to support our argument.