Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Science Fair Entry Shuts Down Airport Terminal

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the baking-soda-volcanoes-impress-the-stewardesses dept.

Security 380

OverTheGeicoE writes "A graduate student was returning home from a science fair in Omaha with his handmade entry in his carry-on luggage. When the TSA discovered it, they shut down the airport terminal for several hours, until they could determine it was harmless. All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again, so before you fly with your homemade Minty MP3 player, make sure you take a look at TSA Blogger Bob's warning or it could wind up looking like this."

cancel ×

380 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Who gives a fuck? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37027278)

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

TSA is Populated by... (2)

sycodon (149926) | about 3 years ago | (#37027364)

...idiots.

Seriously stupid people who couldn't pour piss out a boot if it weren't for the instructions on the heel.

Re:TSA is Populated by... (3, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 3 years ago | (#37027540)

Of course it is. But that is completely besides the point.

In this case, something unknown was called "scary" and thus "a threat" because they were idiots. This is lowest common denominator thinking at its finest. They want Sheeple who will obey even the most stupid of requests that have no basis for except for the security theater that we have.

And enough people WANT the security theater or worse, don't give a shit either way, that they hand over their lives to the very same idiots making such stupid decisions as this, and the poor lady that had her insulin confiscated because it violated the "liquid" ban policy.

These cases will continue until such time as we comply to their every rule. Ensuring we are the sheeple they want us to be. This is why more people out to cry out loudly and go to jail exposing these tyrants with badges every chance they get. If 10,000 people did this every day, they'd change the rules.

Re:Who gives a fuck? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37027422)

Do you see the word unreasonable in there? The governments stance is that it is reasonable to screen you for explosives prior to boarding a plane.

Re:Who gives a fuck? (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 3 years ago | (#37027528)

It is reasonable to search everyone if they want to travel?

Re:Who gives a fuck? (4, Insightful)

geekmux (1040042) | about 3 years ago | (#37027462)

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

I just love it when people quote entire passages from our historical documents in some sort of futile effort to try and remind all of us of our "Rights", like they actually exist anymore.

It's almost as futile as replying to AC posts.

Re:Who gives a fuck? (1)

the linux geek (799780) | about 3 years ago | (#37027560)

Rights are inherent, and exist independently of any government. The Constitution does not grant rights; it doesn't even promise to protect them. It just says that the Federal government promises not to violate certain rights enumerated in the Constitution. Whether or not they've kept that promise is a different issue.

Re:Who gives a fuck? (2)

roman_mir (125474) | about 3 years ago | (#37027736)

actually it's not a simple promise, it's the foundation of the Union I believe, as the States had to ratify that particular historic document in order to agree to the federation. So the only question remains: how much longer before it's dissolved, because the contract has been not just completely broken, but crowds of people walked all over it, took a dump on it and used parts of it as toilet paper.

On the other hand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37027750)

On the other hand, it does legitimately look like a bomb, or at least an ignition device.

Re:Who gives a fuck? (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 3 years ago | (#37027726)

if you read the news story, it's pretty light on details.

There are pretty good reasonable reasons why you might get searched and seized. Until we get more details about what the fuck happened, it's really asinine to just quote the 4th Amendment.

BTW, if you read the TSA blog entry, the Minty MP3 player got blown up because someone left a weird box full of wires, plugs and batteries unattended in an airport.

Security Theater (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37027312)

Strikes Back!

Re:Security Theater (5, Insightful)

AdamWill (604569) | about 3 years ago | (#37027956)

except that this actually isn't security theater. It's the useful kind of security procedure that actually prevents bad stuff happening. Screening of cargo and investigation of suspicious looking bits of cargo is how they stopped the printer-cartridge-bomb plot, for instance.

It's all very well to knee-jerk off about how the TSA is full of idiots and they're trampling over your inalienable rights and freedoms and blah fucking blah, but at least spend a few minutes thinking about the context. This science project was a fairly simple, hand-built electronic device with improvised casing whose purpose isn't immediately determinable. The TSA says, and I'm happy to defer to their superior experience on this specific point, that bomb detonators they catch often look like - in fact, are - fairly simple, hand-built electronic devices with hand-built cases whose purpose isn't immediately discernible. Are you seriously suggesting it's 'security theater' to screen airplane cargo and take a closer look at improvised electronic devices? Really? If so, I'm damn well not flying on _your_ airline.

It's not like they arrested the kid and hauled him off to Guantanamo Bay or something. They found a suspicious device and performed an exhaustive investigation to figure out what it was. Which came to the right conclusion. I don't really see that anything happened wrong here.

I don't know much about electronics.. (2)

jnpcl (1929302) | about 3 years ago | (#37027322)

.. but a cursory glance at the device makes me think "This is some kid's electronics project."

The only thing in the photo that looks 'odd' is the wooden box, which is obviously (knowing that it's an MP3 player) the speaker.

The "after" photo looks like the TSA decided to be dicks after they figured out it lacked any kind of explosive capability.

Re:I don't know much about electronics.. (1)

djlemma (1053860) | about 3 years ago | (#37027546)

I don't think the item they took from the Grad student was an mp3 player. I think it was some other sort of electronic doodad- although the summary makes it confusing by posting past examples of the evils of the mintyboost. I do rather wonder what the Doctoral student thought about his work being destroyed in the name of security- it'll probably make for an interesting chapter in his thesis.

Re:I don't know much about electronics.. (3, Informative)

djlemma (1053860) | about 3 years ago | (#37027594)

And upon further reading of the article, it looks like they didn't destroy the science fair project at all. It was a completely different situation, where somebody had a minty mp3 player (or similar) in an unattended bag at the airport, and the TSA took no chances. This summary confused me several times....

Re:I don't know much about electronics.. (1)

nbauman (624611) | about 3 years ago | (#37027554)

Obviously it's an empty Altoids can. Everybody knows that empty Altoids cans are used for electronic cases.

What are Altoids used for, anyway?

Re:I don't know much about electronics.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37027598)

Obviously it's an empty Altoids can. Everybody knows that empty Altoids cans are used for electronic cases.

I use mine to keep my pot in, but fair point.

What are Altoids used for, anyway?

They're mints; don't be obtuse.

Re:I don't know much about electronics.. (4, Insightful)

DrgnDancer (137700) | about 3 years ago | (#37027586)

Honestly? As someone who has seen real improvised explosive devices? It kinda looks like one. It also looks like any of about a million other possible home electronics kits stuck into a mint tin, but a bomb is definitely one possibility. Important point to remember here is that many of the people that make this sort of thing aren't terribly good at it. Especially if they just plan to make and use the one. Small devices like this are a lot less common than they used to be in the major theaters (Iraq and Afghanistan) these days from what I understand, but we were trained to look for stuff just like this (common household goods with suspicious wiring/electronics) and found a few that would have taken off a hand or leg, or disabled a wheeled vehicle.

Thankfully most of the cheap homemade jobs don't actually explode, but a few do. I can see caution at least. Seems like they could just get him to turn in on in an isolated spot though. Couldn't be enough explosives in that to hurt anyone more than a few feet away.

Re:I don't know much about electronics.. (3, Insightful)

statusbar (314703) | about 3 years ago | (#37027706)

You know, all the device needs to do is LOOK like how a dangerous device might look like to an untrained individual. Then the person would wave it around and threaten things. Also, why does it need to be looking like an improvised explosive device? it could be looking like an improvised GPS/Radar/Radio/Cockpit jammer.

Rule #1 in first year engineering courses should be "Don't take your prototype on an airplane"

--jeffk++

Re:I don't know much about electronics.. (1)

Niac (2101) | about 3 years ago | (#37027822)

Rule #1 in first year engineering courses should be "Don't take your prototype on an airplane"

This.

The TSA sucks and blows, at the same time. But they are there, and it's not reasonable to believe that they'll do anything to handle these situations better in the future. The practical engineer should be mindful of how they transport their projects. Need to go multi-state? Fedex it to your destination, and pick it up.

Re:I don't know much about electronics.. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37027798)

"as someone who has seen real improvised explosive devices? It kinda looks like one."
Fair enough. I understand why a couple boxes with wires and odd looking kludged together electronics can look like a bomb under xray.
Here's what I have a problem with: These people said "This looks like a bomb". They then proceeded to take this object out of the suitcase, open parts of the device, arrange it on the table, put a paper ruler under the device, and take a picture of it, before conducting any render-safe operations.

These people are fucking idiots. Are they trained to go poking around devices that look like bombs? I thought that SOP for something that looked like a bomb was as follows:
1. DON'T FUCKING TOUCH IT.
2. Call the bomb squad.

What if this had been a real explosive device? They could easily have set this thing off in the terminal with all their prodding and poking, causing numerous casualties.

On the other hand, if they realized that this was not an explosive device then they should not have blown the thing up. They either handled a potential IED in a remarkably unsafe manner or they knowingly detonated a safe object. Either way, the TSA has proven their incompetence.

Re:I don't know much about electronics.. (1)

Cosgrach (1737088) | about 3 years ago | (#37027912)

1. DON'T FUCKING TOUCH IT.
2. Call the bomb squad.

What if this had been a real explosive device? They could easily have set this thing off in the terminal with all their prodding and poking, causing numerous casualties.

I am okay with that provided that the casualties are themselves. Maybe that will wake them up.

Re:I don't know much about electronics.. (1)

rickb928 (945187) | about 3 years ago | (#37027752)

They used to make you take your laptop out and turn it on to prove it wansn't a bomb. Proving of course either that it wasn't, or that they detonated it at the security gate instead of on the plane.

So this kid has what is a magnificently dangerous-looking gizmo, and they can't ask him what it is, let him demonstrate it, and get over the drama?

Next time I fly east, I'm going seperate from my wife and bringing along a MintyBoost and maybe TV-B-Gone. I'm beginning to accept just how incredibly failed this security theater is. So far, the TSA has caught NOBODY, so far as I know, and has only succeeded in confiscating 2 Micras from me, while passengers have succeeded in preventing 1 or 2 attempted explosions, and at least one was a failed attempt.

TSA is just not so effective that they deserve unflinching obedience.

The unabomber used wooden boxes If was a scanner (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 3 years ago | (#37027884)

The unabomber used wooden boxes If was a scanner after seeing some like that would tell some one that I have some thing that looks like a bomb.

Re:I don't know much about electronics.. (1)

jmcharry (608079) | about 3 years ago | (#37027924)

That wasn't an "after" picture of the device under discussion, but of something else they claim to have blown up, and showed as a warning to be clear what you are bringing with you.

Watch the video on the linked site. (3, Funny)

mingot (665080) | about 3 years ago | (#37027326)

Listen when he explains the FOUR items that each IED has: 1. Power Source 2. Initiator 3. Explosive Material ... I feel so damn safe.

Re:Watch the video on the linked site. (1)

Dogun (7502) | about 3 years ago | (#37027372)

Ignoring the lack of a #4, #1 is not always present, and #2 may be confused with #3.

Here's the reality: You fucking sue the TSA if they ever do this to your possessions. The TSA should be experts on bombs, and it should be their job to be professionals at identifying bombs. The fact that they can't only proves their negligence.

You don't get to decide whether something is or isn't dangerous when you haven't got a 12-year old's knowledge of electronics.

Three (1)

Rui del-Negro (531098) | about 3 years ago | (#37027432)

Mankind is divided into three kinds of people: Those who can count, and those who can't.

Re:Three (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37027474)

Three? Surely, you meant 10.

Re:Three (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37027676)

I think you're confusing your jokes there. That's "The world is divided into 10 kinds of people: Those who know binary and those who don't."

oblig. Monty Python (3, Funny)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | about 3 years ago | (#37027490)

Cleric: And the Lord spake, saying, "First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin. Then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it.

Brother Maynard: Amen.

All: Amen.

King Arthur: Right. One... two... five.

Galahad: Three, sir.

King Arthur: Three.

Re:oblig. Monty Python (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 3 years ago | (#37027878)

Wrong sketch.

"NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency.... Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.... Our *four*...no... *Amongst* our weapons.... Amongst our weaponry...are such elements as fear, surprise.... I'll come in again."

Re:Watch the video on the linked site. (5, Funny)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 3 years ago | (#37027632)

Listen when he explains the FOUR items that each IED has: 1. Power Source 2. Initiator 3. Explosive Material ...

4. Profit!

Re:Watch the video on the linked site. (2)

Rui del-Negro (531098) | about 3 years ago | (#37027694)

Actually I'm pretty sure #4 (according to the TSA manuals) is "a brown-skinned male", but they decided it wasn't PC to mention that.

That's more than just looking inside ... (3, Informative)

Jerry (6400) | about 3 years ago | (#37027356)

The "Minty Fresh" mp3 player wasn't just examined, or even pried open to see what was inside. It was maliciously torn to shreds. What do those Luddite TSA agents think could be hiding in a millimeter thick sheet of Aluminum lid? It looks like they put it into a blender.

This isn't looking out for "Public Safety", this is intimidation just because they can. Light your next bonfire with a copy of the Constitution. At least the paper it's written on can be used for something, even if the words are worthless.

Re:That's more than just looking inside ... (2)

mingot (665080) | about 3 years ago | (#37027386)

Cross promotion with Blendtec, I guess.

Re:That's more than just looking inside ... (3, Informative)

gregor-e (136142) | about 3 years ago | (#37027428)

I'm pretty sure it got that way because they attempted to detonate it without opening.

Re:That's more than just looking inside ... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37027478)

You gave them the power to do it. STFU

Re:That's more than just looking inside ... (2)

Ksevio (865461) | about 3 years ago | (#37027514)

More information on Minty:

Based on the comments, Nico & I felt a clarification was needed. This post purposely never mentioned a passenger because the bag was left unattended and there was no passenger available to interview. We're not implying that you cannot travel with these types of items, we're just pointing out that they could be of concern, or possibly even hold you up a little bit. Listen, we think these things are cool too, but this is just a friendly "heads up" and not a threat.

So definitely don't leave your homemade mp3 player in your unattended bag.

Re:That's more than just looking inside ... (1)

ThorGod (456163) | about 3 years ago | (#37027526)

I hear you. With all the political air being taken up by the deficit and jobs it's hard to be optimistic stuff like this is short-lived.

Re:That's more than just looking inside ... (1)

mr1911 (1942298) | about 3 years ago | (#37027536)

Don't forget they shut down the entire terminal in their massive overreaction, which has become the norm lately.

I honestly don't know if the massive overreaction law enforcement tends to have over any issue lately is because they are completely stupid or because they want to get media attention in some ridiculous effort to show they are keeping us safe. I wish it were the later, but I fear it is rampant stupidity.

Re:That's more than just looking inside ... (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 3 years ago | (#37027946)

It's probably a mix of option 2 and unnamed option 3. They want to get media attention so that they can get the public opinion on their side so that they can get more funding. More funding means more pork for security companies.

Unnamed option 3 is that they would get sued to the stone age if a bomb really went off and people found out that they knew about it and did nothing. It's a "backside save manoeuvre" on their part.

Although the rampant stupidity argument does hold water.

Re:That's more than just looking inside ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37027906)

The device which was destroyed wasn't actually an mp3 player, it seems to have been part of a fingerbox [knowyourmeme.com] with a nice surprise for anyone who sticks their finger in.

The board inside the tin appears to have been this booster [linear.com] , which would love to send 12V/2A through your finger. :)

Yeah thats how you dispose of a bomb.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37027360)

Sooo they thought it was an explosive and they smashed it to pieces to stop it from exploding? Those are some pretty advanced bomb disposal techniques.

Re:Yeah thats how you dispose of a bomb.. (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | about 3 years ago | (#37027618)

No, they blew it up in a controlled detonation. Most of the time that's the safest way to handle small bombs (or suspected bombs). If you disarm it you run the risk of it blowing unexpected and hurting the tech. They probably never even opened it. If they really thought it could be a bomb, that would be dangerous.

Look beyond the obvious (0)

Haedrian (1676506) | about 3 years ago | (#37027378)

If a kid was going to detonate a bomb, do you think it'd look like a bomb? When people hijack airplanes do they travel on board with "I'm a hijacker" t-shirts?

For me it looks like a block of wood with wires coming out. Would be too obvious if it was an IED

Re:Look beyond the obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37027420)

then i hope to god you don't work for the TSA.

Re:Look beyond the obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37027442)

If a kid was going to detonate a bomb, do you think it'd look like a bomb? When people hijack airplanes do they travel on board with "I'm a hijacker" t-shirts?

That's actually a marvelous idea.

Re:Look beyond the obvious (1)

Duradin (1261418) | about 3 years ago | (#37027446)

So someone makes a real bomb "look" like a "bomb" and waltzes right through your "security".

Use common sense, people! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37027402)

If you're traveling with your IED, just put it in checked luggage. The TSrApists only examine checked luggage for good things to steal, so put your IED in a mint box and not in a laptop or digital camera.

In this post-9/11 world, we can't be too careful (5, Funny)

jmcbain (1233044) | about 3 years ago | (#37027416)

We live in a post-9/11 world. We have to forfeit some of our rights in order to fight the terrorists. If you're not doing anything wrong, then you have nothing to fear. Think of the children.

Vote Palin 2012.

Re:In this post-9/11 world, we can't be too carefu (5, Insightful)

cfalcon (779563) | about 3 years ago | (#37027460)

Why bother voting Palin? You know there's a Democrat in the white house RIGHT THIS SECOND right? And the Democrats have had control of house, senate, and white house within the last few years, and they most certainly didn't finally fight this TSA nonsense- in fact, in the 80s, they were in favor of something like this.

Can't blame Bush anymore. Guess you'll have to accept that they are all corrupt control freaks, eh? Both major parties are opposed to freedom, privacy, and any amount of self determination. I understand that once you pick Red or Blue you want to assign all the Bad Things to the Other Color, but it's just not that simple.

Re:In this post-9/11 world, we can't be too carefu (2, Insightful)

dcollins (135727) | about 3 years ago | (#37027672)

"Can't blame Bush anymore."

I blame Bush for starting this stuff. I blame Obama for not ending it.

Re:In this post-9/11 world, we can't be too carefu (1)

magarity (164372) | about 3 years ago | (#37027742)

I blame Bush for starting this stuff. I blame Obama for not ending it.

I think it's clearly Bush's fault Obama has to blame Bush for everything.

Re:In this post-9/11 world, we can't be too carefu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37027738)

Buddy Roemer - the republican even democrats should vote for.

Re:In this post-9/11 world, we can't be too carefu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37027940)

You do realize that Democrats and Republicans are pretty much identical, right? Please tell me you're not one of those people who are all like "none of this would have happened if the guy I voted for had been elected.

Also, as far as the rest of the world is concerned, in the last election 'the other guy, that's going to fix everything' DID get elected. Yeah, see where that went?

You have a two party system. In your last election, you could vote black option 1, or white option 1. Next time, you'll probably have male option 1 and female option 1.

Re:In this post-9/11 world, we can't be too carefu (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37027504)

You forgot to add "God bless America", you filthy communist!

Re:In this post-9/11 world, we can't be too carefu (1)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | about 3 years ago | (#37027574)

You sound patriotic...perhaps a little too patriotic, comrade.

Re:In this post-9/11 world, we can't be too carefu (1)

wwbbs (60205) | about 3 years ago | (#37027746)

So the terrorists have won it seems. I'm am effectivly tormented by my government and all The Luddites whom think the sky is falling. Gets self sufficient! Educate your self. Help a neighbor, help a stranger stop the terror! Stop the complaining and do something! >> Vote Palin 2012 Sure I enjoy the farcically parody of mature decision making governments! How about taking your head out of your backside long enough to realize that it's people like her and the tea party that make the USA look so damn bad. You just about flushed the entire country due to the Palin Tea Party radical's.

Re:In this post-9/11 world, we can't be too carefu (5, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 3 years ago | (#37027808)

Your Palin comment, while designed to be funny, isn't. Have you even seen what she thinks of the TSA and all that or you just assuming? In the end, all you've done is proved you're even more shallow than she is.

She believes all of THESE kinds of examples are nothing more than Politically Correct Security. The problem is that the LEFT WING handcuffs how we do things because it might "offend" the terrorists ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H Muslims and incite them to commit acts of terrorism. So we pat down Granny's Diaper, confiscate Insulin, Fondle little kids and least ... smash a toy MP3 player.

http://freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/2630366/posts [freerepublic.com]

If you're going to criticize Palin, make sure it is legitimate. This isn't one of those cases (there are plenty to choose from)

in soviet russia, (1)

decora (1710862) | about 3 years ago | (#37027844)

palin sees you!

Re:In this post-9/11 world, we can't be too carefu (1)

future assassin (639396) | about 3 years ago | (#37027868)

> Vote Palin 2012.

I read that as Vote Putin 2012.

Profiling and bombs (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about 3 years ago | (#37027418)

So... let's see to sum this up: 12 year olds traveling with science projects are terrorists?

At what point do you go... "ok I don't really know what an IED is cause I've never seen one, the people that make them, make me piss my pants in 30 seconds or less cause I'm an overempowered baggage handler. cause I'm a glorified baggage handler, this looks like an IED, but wait it's a 12 year old kid, maybe I should exercise restraint?"

Re:Profiling and bombs (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 3 years ago | (#37027518)

Maybe not a terrorist, but surely a boy genius if he's a graduate student at 12 years old... or else you failed to make it so far as the second word of the summary. It your defense, maybe you actually read the article, in which case you would have had to make it all the way to the third word to see that he is in college.

They're not always wrong, you know... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37027430)

Even if the device is harmless, it doesn't mean they don't truly need to give it a few extra *really* careful looks.
This is not a troll. I had something similar happen to me, but don't feel a burning desire to recount it play-by-play or have the FBI file re-opened.
(Yes, really)
I will just say that it was a perfect storm of fluke events and the fact I was carrying a home-built electronics project in my *checked* luggage that caused their BAO to take extreme interest in my bag, and myself.
At some point, those of us who are building this stuff need to take a step back and remember that we're probably smarter than MOST of the TSA employees who will come across our devices. Fear of the uknown, anyone? Not exactly new.
We shouldn't be surprised when they freak out. We live in the age of shiny, plastic, crap. Bare wires scare people.

Fed-Ex may be the path of least resistance.

Stupid kid... doesn't he know yet that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37027444)

...any and all electronics devices and apparatuses are only permitted to be made by government-approved corporations.

And if you really want to get the government pissed at you (like bust down your door at 4:00AM with a swat team, shoot your dog, and smash you upside your head with an assault rifle buttstock variety of pissed-offness), try adding any form of home chemistry set along with that soldering iron and a few capacitors, diodes and transistors.

Electric toothbrush (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37027448)

Try traveling with an electric toothbrush, the kind you have to plug in and an old fashion wind-up clock packed in your suitcase. It just so happens that the end of the toothbrush cord was hidden behind the brass casing of the clock. At least that's the way it looked on the X-ray.

Our "officers?" (1)

brainboyz (114458) | about 3 years ago | (#37027454)

When did TSA monkeys go from "agents" to "officers?"

Private Property (0)

FranTaylor (164577) | about 3 years ago | (#37027458)

Airplanes are private property. If you don't like what they do, don't set foot on their property.

The airlines are not suing the government to stop the TSA, so by implication they are happy with the arrangement.

You don't HAVE to fly. There are other means of transportation.

When you board an airplane, you trade your constitutional rights away in exchange for the convenience.

You do the same thing when you drive a car, you trade away many constitutional rights when you climb behind the wheel and go out on the public roadway. Again we do it out of convenience, the loss of rights has much lower value than the utility of transportation. For example, the police can ask you to get out of your car and take a sobriety test. There is no way that the police could do this to you if your were in your own home.

Re:Private Property (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37027582)

So you expect me to believe that the constitution is suspended for anyone stepping on private property? Really? If you step into a grocery store, can the store employees imprison you forever? After all, it's private property and, according to you, the constitution is well and truly suspended.

That's the most ignorant thing I've read in a very long time.

Re:Private Property (1)

txghia58 (951109) | about 3 years ago | (#37027604)

So after they put this in every train station and bus stop you will be saying "well you should have walked".

Re:Private Property (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37027718)

Ah Ha! Finally, a voice of reason. Very rare these days it seems to me.

Re:Private Property (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37027804)

I think you missed the point of the constitution. Constitutional rights don't magically go away when you're on private property; they just don't apply to the owners. If the airline itself wants to search you (within certain boundaries of the law) then the constitution doesn't protect you, but if some police officer wants to search you then your constitutional rights still apply. For the sobriety test, the "search" is not considered "unreasonable" so it passes the constitution test.

Next time you compulsively spout off your radical wannabe libertarian rant, try and have a decent grasp of the laws your referencing.

Re:Private Property (2)

vux984 (928602) | about 3 years ago | (#37027896)

The airlines are not suing the government to stop the TSA, so by implication they are happy with the arrangement.

The fact that I'm not suing you doesn't imply I'm happy with you.

You don't HAVE to fly. There are other means of transportation.

The TSA has already asserted they have the right to screen those as well. Give them time.

When you board an airplane, you trade your constitutional rights away in exchange for the convenience.

If I were FLYING the airplane, maybe. But as a passenger in locked compartment with no access to flight controls? Why exactly is it reasonable to trade away rights for the "convenience" of being a passenger?

You do the same thing when you drive a car, you trade away many constitutional rights when you climb behind the wheel and go out on the public roadway.

Because they are DRIVING the car. The passengers in the back seat don't need special licenses or government approval, nor should they.

Or do you think one should need a national id card, and be prepared to show it at any time for the convenience of being a passenger in the back seat. After all, its just trading away rights for convenience... you don't HAVE to ride in the backseat... you could always get out and walk.

There is no way that the police could do this to you if your were in your own home.

Why not? What's the real difference between a passenger on a plane, and a guy who lives on the 12th floor of a skyskraper? He could be building a bomb in there set to take down the whole building!! You don't know he's not... you better screen him. Its just trading away rights for the convenience of living in a tower in the city... you don't HAVE to live there, there are other places you could live.

Science, eh? (2)

Rui del-Negro (531098) | about 3 years ago | (#37027466)

Meanwhile, they completely missed the real bomb he was carrying inside his bible.

Re:Science, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37027874)

Of course. Can't expect them to look inside that thing, now can we?

Science fair for grad students? (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 3 years ago | (#37027476)

I'm more interested in this fair. I've never heard of a science fair for graduate students. And what exactly did his device do? The sources all seem to just say it has a purpose and looks scary. If I were this kid I'd be more insulted than anything, that my project looks so shoddy it appears to be something an uneducated terrorist might make.

Re:Science fair for grad students? (2)

Interoperable (1651953) | about 3 years ago | (#37027564)

Yeah, I was really wondering what discipline the poor guy studies. He really needs access to some proper equipment if this gizmo is related to his Ph.D.

And aparently some people in Omaha (3, Funny)

kelarius (947816) | about 3 years ago | (#37027480)

really are that stupid since the very next day [ketv.com] some idiot was trying to bring homemade fireworks onto the plane.

Re:And aparently some people in Omaha (1)

idontgno (624372) | about 3 years ago | (#37027864)

In the interests of complete clarity, yes, the putz in question was "in" Omaha... trying to catch a departing flight to his home city... in Kentucky.

If you want to fault Omaha, you can blame them for not catching and deporting idiots fast enough. But I suspect Omaha isn't alone in that. Just look at Washington!

Dear Youth Scientists: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37027486)

To have fun, cover your Minty MP3 player with a Garmin GPS [amazon.com] shell.

I hope he won (something) (1)

ThorGod (456163) | about 3 years ago | (#37027498)

Graduate students have always been the abused 'subjects' of their professoritti-elite, but man that's just downright mean.

Stuff like this often makes me decide to drive instead of fly. Supposedly, a train ride is a good substitute for a plane trip as well.

Re:I hope he won (something) (2)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 3 years ago | (#37027608)

A train is an excellent alternative! Sure it might take a little longer and cost a little more (sometimes it's actually cheaper), but it is incredibly comfortable and convenient. Most trains have a dining car, a little car with movie, and a viewing car with large glass windows so you can sit and watch the country go by. The seats are large and there's tons of leg room. Most trains have outlets now so no need to worry about the laptop dying. Some even have wifi! Oh, bags come on for free (there's a limit to that of course, but it's pretty generous), and for longer trips you can get a private room with a pull out bed. If you have a family you can get a large private room that sleeps 4 people and has a private bathroom!

Best of all: NO TSA GOONS. Train is the best option unless you're a real frequent traveler, and have to be there and back in a day or something.

George Carlin said it best (2)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | about 3 years ago | (#37027522)

As far as I’m concerned, all of this airport security – the cameras, the questions, the screening, the searches, is just one more way of reducing your liberty and reminding you they can fuck with you anytime they want, as long as you’re willing to put up with it. Which means, of course, anytime they want. Because that’s the way Americans are now. They’re always willing to trade away a little of their freedom for the feeling – the illusion – of security.

Re:George Carlin said it best (1)

Zaphod-AVA (471116) | about 3 years ago | (#37027636)

He also said this when Clinton was still in office.

Star Simpson (0)

nbauman (624611) | about 3 years ago | (#37027530)

http://www.boston.com/news/globe/city_region/breaking_news/2007/09/mit_student_arr.html [boston.com]

Star Simpson was charged with possessing a hoax device today at Logan International Airport for wearing a sweatshirt that had a circuit board affixed to the front with green LED lights and wires running to a 9-volt battery.

Re:Star Simpson (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37027710)

You forgot the puttylike material that could have been C4 which she failed to explain when asked about it.

Re:Star Simpson (1)

v1 (525388) | about 3 years ago | (#37027722)

"Thankfully because she followed our instructions, she ended up in our cell instead of a morgue," Pare said. "Again, this is a serious offense ... Iâ(TM)m shocked and appalled that somebody would wear this type of device to an airport."

I think they have it backwards...

I'm shocked and appalled that wearing such a device to an airport has a chance of winding you up in the morgue!

Troll (2)

Rui del-Negro (531098) | about 3 years ago | (#37027556)

Look at the picture [blogspot.com] . It's a fingerbox [knowyourmeme.com] . The student was clearly trying to troll the TSA.

I guess they saw The Manhattan Project Recently. (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | about 3 years ago | (#37027576)

Since the Manhattan Project [imdb.com] has been around since 1986, they must have seen it on cable recently.

Every high school has at least one student that builds a fully functioning nuclear bomb for their science fair project.

Separate the components of your electronic device (2)

dissipative_struct (312023) | about 3 years ago | (#37027588)

So it seems that TSA Bob is suggesting that separating pieces of your custom electronics may help your luggage get through TSA screening. Since this device was found in carry-on baggage I don't know how much that would help. I often travel with custom and semi-custom electronics in my checked baggage and I've never had a problem (although I regularly find the "searched by TSA" card when I reach my destination). A couple things I do:
-Put custom electronics in my checked baggage whenever possible
-Put the parts in separate containers whenever possible
-Separate batteries, antennas, and other accessories from the devices
-Try not to travel to Phoenix (nothing to do with custom electronics or TSA, I've had two bags seriously damaged at PHX)

Also, be aware that "rubber-ducky" type antennas show up as a thin metal blade/wire on x-ray. I've had my carry-on's searched a couple times because I forgot to put an antenna in my checked baggage, although it's never been a problem once I took it out of the bag and showed it to the agent.

They played with it first? (1)

FoolishOwl (1698506) | about 3 years ago | (#37027640)

From the photographs, they opened up the battery compartment and poked around, before deciding the device was dangerous and had to be destroyed with explosives.

If they were worried it was a bomb, why were they playing around with it first?

Re:They played with it first? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37027794)

Do you really have to ask? Because they are morons. I've read that several times TSA agents ask people to turn on their laptop or camera to "prove it's not a bomb". Well, if it happens to be a bomb, they've just killed themselves and everyone in that terminal. Do they really think a suicide bomber will hesitate in detonating a bomb if he's caught? Morons, I tell you.

There has to be more to the story (1)

Matt_Bennett (79107) | about 3 years ago | (#37027642)

I travel with hand made electronic boards in my carry-on luggage on virtually every flight I've taken since 2006 (as part of my job), and I fly about 2-4 times/month. The only time my bag has been searched (triggered by the x-ray scan) was when I was travelling with a isolation transformer (about a pound of steel and copper). If what Blogger Bob is talking about was commonplace, I'm sure I'd at least have gotten my bags hand-screened a few more times.

Another Tale of TSA (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about 3 years ago | (#37027690)

Just in case you're not bored of them already, one I found in the comments to TFA: http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/28773212/detail.html [thedenverchannel.com] . Not only do they take a diabetic's insulin, they don't even manage to find all of it!

How long before airports shut down intentionally.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37027714)

...this way? What better way to ruin an airport's bottom line than with a daily scare?

And what would be the intelligent thing to do? (2)

paulsnx2 (453081) | about 3 years ago | (#37027744)

Why not ask the guy what it is. Let him explain why it is there, what it does. Maybe bring in someone with some engineering experience.

If the guy is a suicide bomber, you are already dead. If he isn't, then you have every reason to listen to him. If you can't find any place for explosives to be hiding, then it isn't dangerous.

Wires alone are poor indicators that you have a bomb. Thousands of times of devices have wires and are not bombs than devices with wires that are bombs. Maybe even millions of times as many devices as a TSA agent is going to encounter.

Bombs can be made to look totally innocent. Even if you open them and look at them.

The Intelligent thing to do is to do a bit of training as to what might really be a bomb, and who might really be a bomber, and how to call in someone to evaluate a situation quickly before thousands and thousands of dollars are spent and people's lives are disrupted by something that can be safely evaluated quickly by someone with training.

don't warn me. let me warn you (2)

decora (1710862) | about 3 years ago | (#37027832)

keep your fucking hands the fuck off my body.

you do not own us.

you are the government. you serve us. not the other way around.

Terrorists by definition (1)

ehud42 (314607) | about 3 years ago | (#37027852)

Looking up the phrase "terrorist organization" [thefreedictionary.com] , it seems obvious to me that members of a terrorist organization were present at the time the kid's MP3 player was destroyed.

And the kid was not one of them.

Looks like a bomb and you don't joke around at the (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 3 years ago | (#37027860)

Looks like a bomb and you don't joke around at the airport with stuff like that.

There are sings there saying not to even joke about having a gun there.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>