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FAA Data Shows Exploding Batteries Are Rare, Small Risk

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the but-you-don't-want-to-be-there dept.

Power 183

ericatcw writes "While the US government is intent on adding new rules around the shipment and carrying of Lithium-Ion batteries on passenger and cargo planes, data from its own Federal Aviation Agency show that the risk of being on an airplane where someone — not necessarily you — suffers a minor injury due to a battery is only one in 28 million, reports Computerworld, which analyzed the data (skip to the chart here) using the free Tableau Public data visualization service. Getting killed in a car accident, by contrast, is 4,300 times more likely. Opponents say the rules could raise the cost of shopping online and add hassles for fliers and consumers."

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Sanity (5, Insightful)

BSAtHome (455370) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107002)

Unfortunately, sanity is not the most common attribute for rule-makers. It is all about perceived risk, not actual risk.

Re:Sanity (1, Interesting)

eparker05 (1738842) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107116)

If the FAA wanted to reduce our risk, they would require us all to own smart phones (and Li-Ion batteries). How many dangerous car trips could be avoided if we all had mobile internet? How many unruly passengers would be pacified by the plane's WiFi?

Re:Sanity (5, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107302)

How many unruly passengers would be pacified by the plane's WiFi?

Gas masks for the cabin crew, and a cylinder of knockout gas for the passengers would be just as effective, and would avoid the monthly service charges.

Re:Sanity (3, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107324)

At least I could sleep on the plane for once. Sign me up!

Re:Sanity (4, Interesting)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107376)

Don't even need knock out gas. Just drop cabin pressure, everyone will fall asleep eventually.

This would have seriously pissed me off when I was traveling to India. I took 6 spare batteries for my SLR. (Electricity was shaky, and I could get almost a full week of shooting with out recharging)

Re:Sanity (5, Insightful)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107470)

It is all about perceived risk, not actual risk.

That's because hindsight is 20/20. If a battery explodes and downs a flight, suddenly lots of noisy people are going "Why would they even let something that stores as much energy as a battery on a flight in the first place?!?!?" and people start shaking their fists. I personally blame the sensationalist media.

Re:Sanity (5, Insightful)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107766)

Another part of the problem is the absurd legal system that makes people forget that unforseen risks are just that: unforseen.

If you die in an accident that could have been avoided, but only if someone had foreknowledge of the future, then well, you died expanding humans' knowledge. Accidents, even death, are just a part of life. We need to live with them.

And yes, before some smartass youngun tells me I don't know what I'm talking about, I'm old enough to know what its like losing family members to accidents. I'm not being callous, I've just realized that no amount of hand wringing and fist shaking will bring them back, or even mitigate the feeling of loss. This realization actually makes grief easier to deal with, not harder.

Re:Sanity (2)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108788)

True.

Sadly the media would have you think otherwise, and the vast majority get their opinion handed to them on the TV.

I get my opinions from the /. groupthink hivemind.

Re:Sanity (4, Insightful)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108130)

Risk management in NOT just about the odds of some event or action happening like almost everyone seems to think. It also has to take into account the impact of the event or action. Low risk low impact, don't worry so much. High risk low impact, still don't have to worry that much unless the frequency is an issue. Low risk high impact (like death), take actions to prevent it. High risk high impact, just don't even bother.

Re:Sanity (2, Funny)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108464)

Fat has an energy density of at least 38 MJ / kg (I'm not sure if that's how much energy your body can extract from it, or if that's the actual energy content).

The battery in my Macbook Pro is 60 Wh, which is 216 KJ. So if the person sitting in the seat next to you has even 1 kg of fat on him (not even considering the rest of what he's made of), and the person sitting next to me on the plane always has WAY more than 1 kg of fat, that's 176 times as much energy.

Your seat mate has about as much chance of exploding and bringing down the plane too.

Re:Sanity (3, Insightful)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108486)

Spontaneous human combustion happens far less frequently than battery fires.

Re:Sanity (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108580)

Battery fires are very unlikely to actually bring down a plane. Or kill anyone.

Even on the ground, where there are a lot more batteries, I've never heard of anyone being killed, or even really injured, by a battery. Now, if you believe in spontaneous human combustion, it does actually kill people occasionally, although it has never brought down a plane (or caused a fatality on one) either.

Therefore, both fat people and batteries are likely safe to fly on planes, although the fat person might be somewhat more dangerous, judging by our experience on the ground.

Re:Sanity (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108692)

...although it has never brought down a plane (or caused a fatality on one) either.

We agree. This is the reason I made my original post. When a battery (or a fat human) goes up and takes out a plane, they'll question why they allowed it in the first place.

I think you took my nitpick of your analogy as a rebuttal. Wasn't intended to be, and I apologize for giving off that impression.

Re:Sanity (1)

woopate (1550379) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108652)

Actually, I've always wondered how easily one could induce a Lithium battery's explosion, and if one could manage it on a flight. Even though the explosion would be small, and only one or two people would suffer minor injuries, and, if you're damn lucky, pierce the hull and cause a decompression and the masks to fall out.

But despite it's low effectiveness in killing everyone on board, it would set the media off. I mean, seriously, a BOMB actually going off on an AIRPLANE in FLIGHT? That'd go a long way to meet the supposed terrorist agenda of reducing our freedoms.

Re:Sanity (3, Funny)

vivian (156520) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108754)

OMG he said the B word in the same sentence as mentioning an aircraft. He must be planning to bow something up. Quick - arrest him & throw him in Gotmo!

Is it just me or has our society reached an unprecedented level of paranoia? with a 1 in 28 million chance of being on a flight with an exploding battery, does that mean there are more than 28 million flights since we started flying with these batteries, and in all that time there has been only one incident? Seems like a hell of a lot of flights - there's probably a better chance of someone tripping over carrying a cup of water and causing a short in some wiring or something.

Re:Sanity (2, Funny)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108802)

Where is Gotmo?
Is that the new notInTheUSSoWeDontHaveToAccountForOurActionsThere replacement for Gitmo from the Obamma administration?

(FWIW, not nazi-ing, just too easy to poke at both administrations at the same time. Ying-Yang and all that jaz)

Re:Sanity (5, Insightful)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107500)

I wish people logically applied statistics to all of these decisions. It always horrifies me that people state that human lives are invaluable and then go making decisions to that end. Which does of course put a value on a life but it does so at pretty much random. Some safety features or systems could save lives at a few hundred bucks each. But often we get safety laws put in place where it saves lives at the cost of trillions of dollars each (aka, it will likely never save a single life), certain types of chemical bans is an example of that.

Stating that human lives are invaluable is a demonstrably false statement that nearly everyone has heard and the vast majority accept (though they won't practice it). Were it true, it'd be near impossible to leave the house due to the risk of death clearly not being worth whatever job you might have, cars would be horrifying death traps, yaddayadda, we'd all end up being terrified paranoid hermits. With hospitals blanketing the countryside.

Re:Sanity (1)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107828)

we'd all end up being terrified paranoid hermits

Speaking of statistics, I think that slashdot would have a highly concentrated level of paranoid hermits living in their mother's basement.

ducks thrown keyboard...

Just sayin!

Value of Human Life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31108434)

Economists have already solved this problem. Instead of trying to place their own values on human life, they determined how much people actually value themselves. Jobs that come with higher risk only attract workers at high enough pay. Comparing how much higher that pay is versus similar but lower risk jobs allows for a realistic value. In the end it turns out that most people value themselves at around $5 to $10 million dollars. The EPA came up with around $7 million dollars so this seems pretty well accepted.

Re:Sanity (4, Informative)

rockNme2349 (1414329) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108496)

This is already known by anyone in the field. IIRC the EPA values each American life at around $7 million. They use this figure to make decisions on whether safety features are worth the cost. I believe the value is based around the gross output of the average working person over the span of their life.

Re:Sanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31108696)

Or at least I'd hope they'd use statistics that make sense. What are we to read of "1 in 28 million" when there will be 2.75 billion airline passengers [iata.org] next year? Does that mean no regulation of laptop batteries will cause 100 airline deaths? Obviously not. The article's 'being on a flight with someone injured by a battery' quotation? First, what on earth does that mean on its own, but does that mean that only 1 person injured by a laptop will fly just once, since most planes hold 100-ish passengers?
 
The sheer incomprehensibility of this statistic convinces me this is either meant as irrational shock journalism or ignore-the-man-behind-the-curtain reassurance.

Re:Sanity (2, Funny)

tpstigers (1075021) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108760)

My life is immensely valuable. It's the value of everyone else's life that's in question.

Obama wants to peep your cell phone. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31108198)

Warrantless tracking of your cell phone. LOL, just LOL! So tell me - how's that Constitutional law "professor" working out for you? I guess they don't study the 4th amendment at Harvard Law - just how to subvert it.

Re:Sanity (4, Interesting)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108396)

Unfortunately, sanity is not the most common attribute for rule-makers. It is all about perceived risk, not actual risk.

The university I go to is basically banning bake sales and 'cooked goods' sales on campus for fear of the event that someone might get sick from it.... nevermind the fact that they've been going on nearly daily for decades without issues... nevermind the fact that there haven't been any complaints about it and the buyers are fully aware of the food and its production/delivery.

Move along and keep your head down, it is now illegal to look up because you might accidentally look right at the sun and suffer eye damage...

(sarcastic example of the bleak future of this kind of thinking)

Re:Sanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31108564)

Unfortunately, sanity is not the most common attribute for rule-makers. It is all about perceived risk, not actual risk.

cars would be horrifying death traps, yaddayadda, we'd all end up being terrified paranoid hermits. With hospitals blanketing the countryside.

Re:Sanity (1)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108576)

There's more actual risk from 'motherfucking snakes' on the plane than from batteries.

Re:Sanity (2, Funny)

Evil Shabazz (937088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108820)

This will help the FBI fight child pornography. Won't you think of the children?

The real problem (3, Interesting)

kill-1 (36256) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107048)

I think the real problem is that people could make their Li-Ion batteries explode intentionally.

Re:The real problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31107164)

Obligatory xkcd [xkcd.com]

Re:The real problem (5, Informative)

RajivSLK (398494) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107196)

This rule also applies to the shipment of batteries on Cargo planes...

Re:The real problem (2, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108710)

This rule also applies to the shipment of batteries on Cargo planes...

Its interesting you should mention that.

If you follow the Skip to the Chart link in the above story that is where a very large portion of these incidents did happen, on FedEX and UPS cargo planes.

More happened there than any other airline that was broken out individually.

(There is another large category of Not-Given airlines, I suspect most of these could well be contract freight carriers because the ground/air ratio of incidents matches that of the known freight carriers more closely than it matches the named airlines.)

Granted these freight carriers probably handle many times as many batteries of each type than your typical passenger plane.

Subtracting out Lead Acid, which hardly ever is carried on passenger planes any more (I don't believe they are allowed), cuts the total incidents almost by half.

Of the incidents that involved these cargo planes, slightly more than half happened on the ground (loading/unloading) rather than on the plane.

If you remove those that are likely freighters, the numbers become vanishingly small.

Re:The real problem (0, Redundant)

Ohrion (814105) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108186)

XKCD called it first here. http://xkcd.com/651/ [xkcd.com]

Re:The real problem (1)

dcavanaugh (248349) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108410)

I think the real problem is that people could make their Li-Ion batteries explode intentionally.

I agree. All it would take is a paper clip and a laptop with a fully-charged Li-ion battery. Or they could custom-build a battery with smaller cells but the same voltage, then use the space they save for bad stuff. I doubt it would be caught on X-ray.

Pretty soon, all laptops will have to be in checked baggage (and subject to the junk fee, of course)

Re:The real problem (2, Informative)

Hollovoid (942476) | more than 4 years ago | (#31109058)

Most modern batteries (like the ones made where I work) have short circuit protection built in from the ground up, so simply using a paperclip would only make it get a little warm before it shut itself down (latest gen models can even reactivate when the short circuit condition is rectified). This is done by both a chip that monitors the battery, and the separator itself in extreme conditions.

Perspective. (3, Insightful)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107060)

Getting killed in a car accident, by contrast, is 4,300 times more likely.

That is probably very close to the same odds as being on a plane targeted by terrorists; look how calmly we are responding to that threat.

Re:Perspective. (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107218)

"Getting killed in a car accident, by contrast, is 4,300 times more likely."

That is probably very close to the same odds as being on a plane targeted by terrorists; look how calmly we are responding to that threat.

Actually, the odds of being on a plane targeted by terrorists is probably no more than one thousandth of that. But since we go ape shit over the threat of terrorism, and its risk is at least as much as exploding batteries, then obviously we must respond to exploding batteries no differently. It's only consistent to do so.

Re:Perspective. (1)

MeNeXT (200840) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107482)

there is money to be made by going ape on terrorism... on the other hand nobody is willing to pay any more to make cars safer.

Re:Perspective. (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107508)

There is money to be made both ways. If someone made an affordable indestructible, uber safe car, that had decent power and milage it would sell like crazy.

Re:Perspective. (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108034)

There is money to be made both ways. If someone made an affordable indestructible, uber safe car, that had decent power and milage it would sell like crazy.

But it's so much cheaper profitable to make a car that looks like it's indestructible, uber safe with power and pretend high fuel efficiency instead. Why do you think SUVs got so popular?

And yes, the fuel efficiency tests can and have been gamed. How else would a V8 corvette get a 30 mpg rating and be on Top 10 fuel efficient cars lists (something I was shocked by a couple years back). They had designed something that prevented shifting from 1st to 2nd unless while accelerating aggressively. The fix was a $50 part at the dealership, but this meant that in EPA tests the car was shifted from 1st to 4th. There's also obscenely high gearing on some cars to have high hp and high mpg.

Re:Perspective. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31108042)

but then no one would buy v2.0 of that car because v1.0 is good enough. that kills your business.

Re:Perspective. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108412)

The trouble is, you can't(outside of fairly particular situations) engineer yourself away from tradeoffs...

By comparison to the cars of 50 years ago, never mind 100, cars are affordable, quite tough, quite safe, and amazingly powerful and efficient. However, you can still have lower cost and better milage in exchange for a lighter, less safe body. You can get more mileage and less power, or less milage and more power.

Because we have CAD, and better steels, and superior machine tools, and decades of various advances, you can now have more of everything; but everything you have you still traded off against something else.

Re:Perspective. (3, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108490)

I figured it out for another story a few months ago. Terrorists would have to detonate a nuclear weapon in a Hiroshima scale attack about every four years to bring the terrorism risk up to the fatal car accident risk.

Re:Perspective. (4, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107606)

Getting killed in a car accident, by contrast, is 4,300 times more likely.

That is probably very close to the same odds as being on a plane targeted by terrorists; look how calmly we are responding to that threat.

Furthermore, we've banned terrorists from getting onto planes, but have we banned people from driving cars on the plane???

Re:Perspective. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31108708)

There have been no fatal accidents ever recorded involving someone driving a car on a plane.

Therefore statistics prove it is actually safer to drive a car on a plane than on a public road.

I love statistics.

Re:Perspective. (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31107916)

The difference being that batteries don't become more encouraged to explode when other batteries explode and the damage caused by battery explosions is minimal at best.

Not the Problem (0, Insightful)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107100)

The problem is with intentional detonation. Nobody (sane) is saying that li-ion batteries pose a safety hazard from accidental detonations.

Re:Not the Problem (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31107130)

Jesus h christ you're dumb.

Re:Not the Problem (4, Funny)

shermo (1284310) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107408)

I was going to mod you down, but then I saw you used the correct homonym "you're" so I couldn't bring myself to do it.

Re:Not the Problem (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 4 years ago | (#31109064)

Good for you! I mean, you could have laid into him/her/it for the h christ bit, but then you probably wouldn't have earned that shiny new +5 funny!

Maybe it was a case of not wanting to wear out the shift key?

Re:Not the Problem (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108272)

Still not a real risk.

1 time 3000 people died, compared to the roads which claim 42,116 Americans a year. Heck about 100 people a year die from lightning. So over the last 45 years lighting is more deadly than terrorists.

If just one life is saved, it's worth it. (5, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107140)

We could make air travel even safer by making the planes travel slower. Cut the speeds by half or more. No one needs to travel 500mph. That's just an unnecessary luxury, nay, an irresponsible thrill. We should limit aircraft to no more than Mach 5%, and require that their wheels are never more than three or four inches above the ground, so that in the event of a lift failure, there's not far to fall.

There are other measures that can be enacted to improve airline safety even further, and if it saves even one life, we should enact them, too. It's unacceptable that anyone should die as a result of anything they do.

Re:If just one life is saved, it's worth it. (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107278)

We could make air travel even safer by making the planes travel slower

I read that line, and my first thought was, "Oh God, he's one of those". Then I read the rest of your comment and realized you were being sardonic.

Re:If just one life is saved, it's worth it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31107356)

Reminds me of Amtrak.

Re:If just one life is saved, it's worth it. (4, Insightful)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107396)

I know you were being sarcastic, but still, the thing the argument misses is the hidden cost of flying planes slowly (or not at all). For one, more people would use cars, which are less safe than planes. There would also be the reduction in general wealth and efficiency, which indirectly costs lives. Now, if a large group of people really did want such measures taken, the market would give them flights that went more slowly, took even more hours to board due to extra security checks, etc. These people surely exist, but they either aren't willing to pay the costs their approach would involve, or it's an untapped market.

Re:If just one life is saved, it's worth it. (1)

Dragoniz3r (992309) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107520)

Yeah, but if everyone drives cars, it's a win, cuz then the terrists can't crash the planes into buildings.

Re:If just one life is saved, it's worth it. (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108060)

Is [google.com] that [rhinocarhire.com] so? [sussexfiredepartment.com]

Re:If just one life is saved, it's worth it. (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107848)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground_effect_vehicle [wikipedia.org]
You can have better fuel efficiency and be safe near the ground.
The problem is you need a really good design or really good in flight computer assistance to make up for a lack of really good design skills.
Could a start up with new money gain traction to build a quality large scale craft thats cheaper to run than established politically connected players?

Re:If just one life is saved, it's worth it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31108052)

Could a start up with new money gain traction to build a quality large scale craft thats cheaper to run than established politically connected players?
short answer: no.

lazy answer: I've participated and read research on ground effect vehicles, as well as modeling them. Unless there's a novel design out there that hasn't been shown they would only fulfill a segment of transportation that's much slower than planes, yet with costs exceedingly expensive. And unless they're flying over smooth water, there are way too many complications to make it useful IMO.

Re:If just one life is saved, it's worth it. (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108436)

Could a start up with new money gain traction to build a quality large scale craft thats cheaper to run than established politically connected players?

Hasn't happened yet and we've known about ground effect vehicles for at least half a century. My answer is thus, "no".

The FAA is generally pretty good about this... (1)

zQuo (1050152) | more than 4 years ago | (#31109200)

The FAA employs economists to assess the economic and risk impact of possible regulations, such as exploding batteries.

One that came up a few years back was whether to require infants to have their own airline seats. Sounds like an obvious safety issue. Require every child to have a seat, then they are safer, no? The FAA economist did an assessment that the increased cost of travel to mothers and families would lead many to travel instead by car. This would lead to many more infant car deaths on the highways than would ever be saved by a child in it's own seat really making a difference in a plane crash.

I was quite impressed that the FAA was considering the bigger picture. This is just another example of how *some* gov't agencies show some sanity.

Re:If just one life is saved, it's worth it. (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108358)

Score +1: Sarcasm. Bazinga implied.

Re:If just one life is saved, it's worth it. (2, Interesting)

jowifi (1320309) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108740)

Actually, these already exist. They're called maglev trains.

Re:If just one life is saved, it's worth it. (1)

Z8 (1602647) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108798)

There are other measures that can be enacted to improve airline safety even further, and if it saves even one life, we should enact them, too. It's unacceptable that anyone should die as a result of anything they do.

Right on, one simple measure is to have all the seats face backwards. People have known that this arrangement is much safer for around 50 years [airspacemag.com] but nothing is done. So much for safety being the top priority.

oblig xkcd (0, Redundant)

bdrewery (1317617) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107158)

Re:oblig xkcd (4, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108166)

Maybe we should have a story feature that adds an automatic link to the appropriate xkcd comic. I think it would be more useful than the current twitter or facebook links.

theater (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31107234)

While we're using stats, the likelihood of a terrorist flying your plane into a building is even lower, especially given that the cockpit is locked now. [...]

and presumably ... (2, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107240)

Opponents say the rules could raise the cost of shopping online and add hassles for fliers.

... somebody, somewhere, wants exactly that.

You know what else is rare? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31107300)

Getting blown up by terrorists.

Re:You know what else is rare? (3, Interesting)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107364)

Getting blown up by terrorists.

True enough ... the problem is that the government will simply say, "yes, but just imagine what would have happened if we hadn't spent all those billions of taxpayer dollars on security, pawed through all that underwear, and stolen all those laptops."

Re:You know what else is rare? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31107658)

Getting blown up by terrorists.

True enough ... the problem is that the government will simply say, "yes, but just imagine what would have happened if we hadn't spent all those billions of taxpayer dollars on security, pawed through all that underwear, and stolen all those laptops."

And we all reply "...nothing."

Probably risk (1)

Binder (2829) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107368)

and what is the probability of someone successfully blowing up a plane using liquids?
zero!

Who are these people who feel safer when... (5, Insightful)

paulsnx2 (453081) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107380)

... the people running our security repeatedly prove to be absolutely clueless?

Let's look at a list, shall we?

They want to ban batteries when there isn't any scientific proof of an interesting risk.

They ban knitting needles when nobody has ever hijacked a plane with knitting needles.

Liquids are banned outside 3 oz amounts held in a quart bag despite their own scientists failing to demonstrate how such fluids can be used as an explosive, and the only terrorist to date that has used fluids only succeeded in burning himself.

They banned pilots from carrying tweezers after 9/11. Why, because pilots might honestly hijack themselves should they find tweezers in their pocket?

Pocket knives continue to be banned, and are thrown away costing consumers millions in lost property without any evidence that having pocket knives adds to any risk to anyone.

Canes *are* allowed on planes. Clearly a better choice of a weapon than a pen knife.

Cell phones clearly thwarted a attack on the capital on 9/11, but the use of cell phones on planes continues to be banned.... despite no evidence that cell phones pose any risk to navigation equipment (despite years of claims otherwise without scientific proof).

A MIT student is nearly shot while picking up a friend at the air port because her T-Shirt had a proto board mounted between her boobs. It had blinking lights and wires.... Seriously, I can understand how a regular person might not understand the situation, but don't they actually train security people? And if they are not trained, are we safer?

I could go on. That's just off the top of my head.

Seriously, when are we going to make rules based on actual risk? When are we going to admit you can't eliminate all risk? When are we going to deal with risks we can address, and accept risks we can't do anything reasonable about?

Re:Who are these people who feel safer when... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31107538)

A MIT student is nearly shot while picking up a friend at the air port because her T-Shirt had a proto board mounted between her boobs. It had blinking lights and wires.... Seriously, I can understand how a regular person might not understand the situation, but don't they actually train security people? And if they are not trained, are we safer?

There were failures of judgement all around on that one. Frankly, I would expect more thought from an MIT student.

Re:Who are these people who feel safer when... (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#31109124)

The problem is that it's not her job to worry about idiots holding guns. It shouldn't be her job. It should be THEIR job to respond appropriately to threats. Otherwise, why in the fuck are we even paying them? We can get any asshole with a superiority complex to harass people randomly just as well and probably for less money.

Re:Who are these people who feel safer when... (4, Insightful)

RoboRay (735839) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107708)

I feel that if they are going to ban liquids because somebody tried to make a bomb with liquids, they need to look at a far greater risk... solids. Every single bomb every brought aboard an airliner, except that one particular liquid bomb, was made from solid materials. They present a clear and consistent danger to all travelers and therefore must be prohibited from aircraft cabins. All solid materials that cannot fit into a single quart-sized bag must be removed from the passenger before passing through security and placed in their checked baggage. There is no valid reason that anyone would need more solid materials than that aboard an airplane.

Re:Who are these people who feel safer when... (2, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108786)

It's worse than that. According to British intel (via news), female suicide bombers already have (reportedly by Al Qaeda) explosives in breast implants. No joke. It wont be long before men implant explosives too via surgical methods. And who cares if they will come down with infection. They will die for their "cause" anyways, so it's a moot point.

Until this religious shit is sorted out, I recommend we start profiling - within reason. That, or we just let planes explode in the air if and when that happens. I'm not saying it's right, but that might be the only option as there is nothing we can do about it aside from surrender to their theocratic fascists ways. And between you an I, that's never going to happen to me without a fight. I'm sure I'm not alone with this POV.

Re:Who are these people who feel safer when... (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107714)

The only way that we are "safer" than pre-9/11 is because now when someone tries to hijack a plane passengers are going to outnumber the hijackers and subdue them. Before 9/11, you complied with the hijackers, ended up in Cuba somewhere, the hijacker gave up, or shot someone and then the police stormed the plane and you were back where you were supposed to be in a few hours. Now anytime someone does something to try to take over the plane, they will be tackled and taken down.

Re:Who are these people who feel safer when... (1)

MorderVonAllem (931645) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108202)

I wish I had some modpoints because this is exactly the direction I feel it has gone. Every instance after 9/11 of an attempted bombing/hijacking that I've seen has been thwarted by other passengers. What makes it worse is that these "attempts" should have been thwarted at the security checkpoints if they were really worth a damn. Just recently in California a man walked right through security with a fake badge and "deported" a woman to the Philippines. Waste of money....

Re:Who are these people who feel safer when... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108526)

Darn, there goes that excuse to the boss for ending up in Cuba.

Re:Who are these people who feel safer when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31108878)

Of course this has a huge downside. I'm not afraid of an actual attack while on a plane but rather the collective panic that would break out upon someone being accused of terrorism. What is stopping two or three people from instigating passengers to gang up on an innocent person/people with a well-orchestrated act? What if this happened many times over the course of a few days?

Re:Who are these people who feel safer when... (2, Informative)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107946)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine_Airlines_Flight_434 [wikipedia.org]
showed what liquids could do.
The "terrorist to date" that has used fluids succeeded in killing and getting himself off the flight.
The problem is a laptop was recovered from the plot and might have pointed to 911 ect.
So they want to ban liquids but promoted people dont really want to much chatter about the past ;)

Re:Who are these people who feel safer when... (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108360)

Seriously, when are we going to make rules based on actual risk?

Not anytime soon. Most rules are based on the revenue they can generate.

Re:Who are these people who feel safer when... (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108386)

Cell phones clearly thwarted a attack on the capital on 9/11, but the use of cell phones on planes continues to be banned.... despite no evidence that cell phones pose any risk to navigation equipment (despite years of claims otherwise without scientific proof).

Fool! There's lots of proof that the cell phone's wi-fi power fluctuations and, uh, midichlorians will disrupt the plane's navigation system and flux capacitor and make the plane crash into the nearest school for bunnies. There will be screaming bunnies on fire if you use your phone on the plane!

Seriously, I'm all for ending the stupidity in airline security, but let's just let this one slide, okay? Do you hate the guy who talks loudly on his cell phone while at a coffee shop or on the bus? Now imagine being crammed next to that guy for five hours. Seriously, flying sucks enough as it is without every jackass with a phone flapping away and going "Can you hear me now? No? I'll talk louder then!"

If there's an emergency, you can still bust out your phone and use it just like you can today.

Re:Who are these people who feel safer when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31108730)

I agree that cell phones on planes needs to be banned, just for the over-sized and over-voiced jackasses using it.
On the other hand, I always wondered why something that runs on 2 AA batteries can screw up a multi-million dollar aircraft's systems.

Re:Who are these people who feel safer when... (1)

KiahZero (610862) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108948)

The only one who's absolutely clueless here is you. The proposed rule doesn't ban batteries.

17. In Sec. 175.10, paragraph (a)(17) is revised to read as
follows:

Sec. 175.10 Exceptions for passengers, crewmembers, and air
operators.

                (a) * * *
                (17) Except as provided in Sec. 173.21 of this subchapter,
portable electronic devices (for example, watches, calculating
machines, cameras, cellular phones, laptop and notebook computers,
camcorders, etc.) containing dry cells or dry batteries (including
lithium cells or batteries) and spare dry cells and batteries for these
devices, when carried by passengers or crew members for personal use.
Each installed or spare lithium battery must be of a type proven to
meet the requirements of each test in the UN Manual of Tests and
Criteria, and each spare battery must be individually protected so as
to prevent short circuits (by placement in original retail packaging or
by otherwise insulating terminals, e.g., by taping over exposed
terminals or placing each battery in a separate plastic bag or
protective pouch) and carried in carry-on baggage only. In addition,
each installed or spare battery must not exceed the following:
                (i) For a lithium metal battery, a lithium content of not more than
2 grams per battery; or
                (ii) For a lithium-ion battery, a rating of not more than 100 Wh,
except that up to two batteries with a watt hour rating of more than
100 Wh but not more than 300 Wh may be carried.

Re:Who are these people who feel safer when... (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 4 years ago | (#31109028)

The cellphone ban exists for 2 reasons:
1.Although evidence to date hasn't backed up the "cellphones are dangerous to aircraft systems" argument, the testing that has been done has not tested all combinations of cellphones and aircraft systems (and seats where the cellphone user is sitting) and therefore there may be a situation where a cellphone sends out radiation that does interfere with an aircraft system.
and 2.Regardless of the effect on aircraft systems, any cellphone would be seeing so many towers at once (if it wasnt too high up to see any at all) that it would cause issues with the mobile network.

As for security, show me any modern aircraft with a standard set of equipment present (even before baggage, cargo and passengers are loaded) and I can find ways to kill people with that equipment. Or even to damage the planes systems enough to cause serious problems for the pilots (especially if I can access the hatchways into the avionics bays, cargo areas etc)

Banning knitting needles, bottled water and nail files has done nothing to make flying safer. It was done to make the sheeple (who dont know any better) feel safer.

Although I dont support terrorism as such, if I was a terrorist, I would just strap as much explosive as possible to my body and walk into the security lines at JFK and then blow myself up. It would send the air transport network into chaos as passengers are concerned that their airport may be the next one hit.

Thank you Randall Munroe (0, Redundant)

Nexzus (673421) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107382)

http://xkcd.com/651/ [xkcd.com]

/Probably not the first.
//Definitely won't be the last.

That's the point (2, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107406)

Opponents say the rules could raise the cost of shopping online and add hassles for fliers.

Isn't that the whole point of these rules?

don't just sit there (3, Informative)

drfireman (101623) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107426)

For what it's worth, you can comment on the proposed legislation here:

http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#documentDetail?R=0900006480a75fb2 [regulations.gov]

Of course, do your research first.

research (4, Funny)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107952)

Of course, do your research first.

I did my research; I read the summary on slashdot!

Are people looking at the right proposal? (2, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107576)

According to this post [slashdot.org] and followups, the rulemaking that people are quoting is already in force.

In particular this comment by bwcbwc:

The regulation link in the main article is a regulation that already took effect in January. The new regulation under discussion is the one referenced by parent. And that regulation ONLY discusses Li-ion batteries. Nothing about NiMH or Alkaline except to contrast their relative safety with the fire risks of lithium.

Don't fall for scare-mongering industry whores that masquerade as journalists.

"Sec. 171.12 North American shipments.

                (a) * * *
                (6) Lithium cells and batteries. Lithium cells and batteries must
be offered for transport and transported in accordance with the
provisions of this subchapter. Lithium metal cells and batteries
(UN3090) are forbidden for transport aboard passenger-carrying
aircraft.
                (i) The provisions of this paragraph (a)(6) do not apply to
packages that contain 5 kg (11 pounds) net weight or less lithium metal
cells or batteries that are contained in or packed with equipment
(UN3091).
"

There are similar provisions for international travel, but citing a different regulation.

Re:Are people looking at the right proposal? (1)

CFD339 (795926) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108828)

11 pounds net weight or less of lithium batteries is a LOT of batteries. You'd need 7-10 typical laptop batteries to meet that quota.

Re:Are people looking at the right proposal? (1)

KiahZero (610862) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108972)

It's probably too late to stop the avalanche of fail created by a few idiots who can't read the links they're providing. As I said a few times in the other post, the proper cite is PHMSA-2009-0095 [regulations.gov] .

my order: (1)

Mishotaki (957104) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107662)

28 millions batteries please... and i'd like to make sure that it will be air mail... and that if anything happens, i get reimbursed with an extra for my trouble

As common as getting injured in a car accident is (2, Interesting)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 4 years ago | (#31107948)

It's far less likely that someone will get injured in a car accident while on a commercial airliner than than it is that someone will get injured by an exploding battery on a commercial airliner.

Shipping warning labels for li-ion batteries (1)

penguinchris (1020961) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108540)

I got a Nexus One, and they give you free overnight FedEx shipping, meaning it traveled on a cargo plane to get to me. There's a huge label on the shipping box warning about the lithium-ion battery inside, and that the carrier shouldn't handle the box if it is damaged. I was pretty surprised to see that on there; kind of stupid.

Studies show hetrosexuals rare in Linux (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31108700)

And they often abandon the shit eating OS after they find out that the community is infested with faggot cock smokers.

Re:Studies show hetrosexuals rare in Linux (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 4 years ago | (#31108776)

I really do wonder, how did you get a mod of insightful?

Re:Studies show hetrosexuals rare in Linux (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31108892)

because it's true. it's fucking true and you all know it but you just won't admit it. a bunch of fags and fag sympathizers.
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