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TSA: Confiscating Aluminum Foil and Watching Out For Solar Powered Bombs

samzenpus posted about 10 months ago | from the that's-some-good-work-there-lou dept.

United States 289

schwit1 writes "If you think confiscating aluminum foil to prevent a solar powered bomb attack on a plane is a waste of time, don't blame the TSA agent. According to a former employee most of the security people agree with you. Instead, we need to hold accountable the people sending down such ridiculous orders. From the article: 'Ridiculous restrictions and the TSA have become nearly synonymous in the post-9/11 airport, and as new, improbable terrorist plots come to light, we will likely continue to be burdened with new, absurd rules. But our best bet is to take the frustration toward the TSA agent confiscating our over-sized liquids, and re-direct it to the people at TSA headquarters who are being paid the big bucks to make the rules — the ones who make the call as to whether our toothpaste is verboten and whether our shoes will need extra screening.'"

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*Puts on tinfoil hat* (5, Funny)

mattventura (1408229) | about 10 months ago | (#46302023)

Oh wait....

(Cue tinfoil vs aluminum foil pedants)

Re:*Puts on tinfoil hat* (3, Insightful)

mrbester (200927) | about 10 months ago | (#46302085)

*Aluminium*

Re: *Puts on tinfoil hat* (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about 10 months ago | (#46302101)

Don't they know you're supposed to grind it to dust with your nail file and burn it to melt the frame?

What are they teaching you kids in school these days?

Re: *Puts on tinfoil hat* (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | about 10 months ago | (#46302273)

I've always wondered why they conficate nail files at the security checkpoint. Thanks for clearing that up!

Re:*Puts on tinfoil hat* (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | about 10 months ago | (#46302295)

I wish everyone would just go back to the original name "alumium" and end this tomayto/tomahto rubbish once and for all.

Re:*Puts on tinfoil hat* (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302441)

I wish everyone would just go back to the original name "alumium" and end this tomayto/tomahto rubbish once and for all.

Well, the discoverer got to name it, and he finally settled on aluminium, which is now the international standard name.
http://www.worldwidewords.org/articles/aluminium.htm

Re:*Puts on tinfoil hat* (3, Insightful)

Martin Blank (154261) | about 10 months ago | (#46302553)

That site appears to have it backwards. Davy settled on "aluminum" by the time he published Elements of Chemical Philosophy in 1812 (the year your link claims was when he settled on an ending of -ium. Wikipedia includes a quote from the book.

"This substance appears to contain a peculiar metal, but as yet Aluminum has not been obtained in a perfectly free state, though alloys of it with other metalline substances have been procured sufficiently distinct to indicate the probable nature of alumina."

The quote is visible from a scanned copy at this link [google.com]

Re:*Puts on tinfoil hat* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302463)

Yeah, and while we're at it let's all just adopt the Rankine temperature scale so we don't have all this Celsius/Fahrenheit BS. And "smoots" for units of length since feet/meters are dumb.

Re:*Puts on tinfoil hat* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302821)

My car gets 40 rods to the hogshead and that's the way I likes it.

Re:*Puts on tinfoil hat* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302717)

They need a lot, so they can foil all of the terrorists.

Won't somebody please think of the tinfoil hats? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302037)

The TSA already has half the world paranoid as to their intentions, and now they've taken away people's ability to put on a trusty tinfoil hat? This is the step too far.

Re:Won't somebody please think of the tinfoil hats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302565)

Tinfoil hats? Within two years no one is allowed to wear or carry anything anymore when flying.
You get a laxative 3 hours before take-off (you might have swallowd a bomb you know) and can only board when naked. The only hand luggage allowed are inmaginative handluggage.
Its for your own safety so SHUT UP and do as you are told! Obey the TSA!
Saying these measures are over the top makes you a suspect!

Re:Won't somebody please think of the tinfoil hats (1)

joaommp (685612) | about 10 months ago | (#46302627)

TSA needs the aluminum for their own tinfoil hats. Either that or their reselling it. Around here it's the copper their after.

They still have not caught a single terrorist. (5, Informative)

khasim (1285) | about 10 months ago | (#46302039)

The TSA still has not caught a single terrorist trying to get on a plane.

It's all security theatre.

Re:They still have not caught a single terrorist. (5, Funny)

tlambert (566799) | about 10 months ago | (#46302045)

The TSA still has not caught a single terrorist trying to get on a plane.

It's all security theatre.

The've all been married?

Re:They still have not caught a single terrorist. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302117)

Of course they've caught terrorist!

You just don't hear about it.... because.... because it's classified.

It's classified because... if the terrorist planners knew that their plot had failed then they would try again. If you just get rid of the ones doing it, then the plane is safe, the planners assume it's a successful mission, and everyone goes home safe and sound. Do you want the terrorists to make a new plot instead? Why do you hate freedom and democracy?

Re:They still have not caught a single terrorist. (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | about 10 months ago | (#46302309)

Actually they keep it a secret because that way they can catch more terrorists. If the terrorists would know how many of their colleagues have failed, they would stop trying and therefore wouldn't get caught by the TSA!

Re:They still have not caught a single terrorist. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302435)

Good point. We should all be grateful to the TSA for ensuring that terrorists keep trying to blow up planes.

Re:They still have not caught a single terrorist. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302447)

actually they keep it a secret so they can keep getting paid :) Just like the FBI keeps giving retards fake bombs to blow up.

Re:They still have not caught a single terrorist. (1)

Travis Mansbridge (830557) | about 10 months ago | (#46302189)

If I may play Devil's advocate.. isn't aluminum foil one of two ingredients in a simple, household-items explosive? I'm not sure why you would need to carry it on a plane with you, either.

Re:They still have not caught a single terrorist. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302237)

With the other half being a powerful oxidizer. You can make an explosive out of: powerful oxidizer + just about anything.

Re:They still have not caught a single terrorist. (2, Informative)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 10 months ago | (#46302543)

You could use it to make thermite too, but the process of preparing from foil it wouldn't be practical on a plane - it needs to be finely powdered.

Re:They still have not caught a single terrorist. (3, Insightful)

dargaud (518470) | about 10 months ago | (#46302429)

If I may play Devil's advocate.. isn't aluminum foil one of two ingredients in a simple, household-items explosive? I'm not sure why you would need to carry it on a plane with you, either.

- aluminium powder rather than simply foil
- to wrap your sandwich ? Since nowadays low-cost airlines don't even feed you on board.

Re:They still have not caught a single terrorist. (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 10 months ago | (#46302749)

Nah, foil works perfectly fine. I think it was back in grade 7 or 8, they had someone come in and show us how to make our own homemade explosives, and explained carefully how to do it. This would be going back almost ~15ish years before the fear of *insert terrorist* would try to use this to blow anything up. Funny that, I think it was a year or so after that we had the first round of natives trying to blow up sour gas pipes and wellheads using the same method here in Canada.

Re:They still have not caught a single terrorist. (2)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about 10 months ago | (#46302493)

If I may play Devil's advocate.. isn't aluminum foil one of two ingredients in a simple, household-items explosive? I'm not sure why you would need to carry it on a plane with you, either.

Flour is an explosive ingredient, (create a fine mist of flour then ignite it) while it's not going to take out the side of your ride, it would cause a very decent devision. It was a science project of mine in Junior High school, as I'm sure many have seen.

I could mention a very easy to transport, freely available and a very destructive combo as I'm sure many here can do the same, and you know were not the only ones who know.

Something else nobody hasn't brought up (all have been explosive potentials) are the toxic gases, that are so much easier to do.

One reason I like reading /. is when something questionable is posted everybody downloads it (call it safety in numbers) long ago there was a post to a file that's worth a read "Massive Chemistry and explosives book collection" https://www.google.com/#q=%22M... [google.com]
I can't find the org link on /. but I'm searching by the file name. I mention it as it's been out for many years (2008 at least), I can't imagine it being on a watch list.

Re:They still have not caught a single terrorist. (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 10 months ago | (#46302835)

Iron powder alone will also explode given the right conditions, fuel/air explosions are quite a problem in both flour and steel mills. A pile of thermite powder will burn intensely but will not explode, in a pile of thermite the aluminium "steals" the oxygen from the iron oxide rather than the air. Thermite requires a high temperature ignition source such as a magnesium "fuse" or an oxy-torch to start the reaction, where as iron or flour mixed with air just needs an ordinary match.

Lousy argumentation (2, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 10 months ago | (#46302261)

Whether you agree or disagree with the need for the TSA, the above is a lousy childish argument.

The spinkler system at my office has not put out a single fire. My smoke detector has not once detected smoke. My life insurance has not once payed out. The airbag in your car has not once inflated and safed your life. My helmet has not once protected my head from a crash.

The TSA could counter khasim logic very simply: Since the TSA has been in existence no terrorist action on US targets has been succesful.

Both statements are true. And totally irrelevant.

Re:Lousy argumentation (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302289)

Your sprinklers, smoke detectors, and airbags don't cost billions per year and have been proven to work in other cases in the past.

Re:Lousy argumentation (2, Insightful)

jhol13 (1087781) | about 10 months ago | (#46302331)

WTF?

All the "TSA's" of the world have cought exactly zero terrorists.
Can you make same claim about sprinklers, smoke detectors, insurances, airbags? Even USA wide? Even in your city? Your block?

Re: Lousy argumentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302347)

No, but many people's airbags have. The TSA it's everywhere and they haven't.

You don't need an organisation like the TSA to carry out the job the TSA does. Post 911 the primary issue was competence in carrying out process and procedure already in place.

It's useful for other purposes though.

Re:Lousy argumentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302355)

Since the TSA has been in existence no terrorist action on US targets has been succesful.

"not succesful" means that there must have been attempted actions. How many of those attempts do you know of ?

... And no, I do not really call that "underpants bomber" an example of a real terrorist (more a kind of a whacko), in pretty-much the same way I do not call the few disturbance-creating passengers (some of them which had to be physically subdued) terrorists either.

If currently a group of terrorists really want to make a kill (no pun intended) they could much easier subvert some cargo-handling personell and add a nice bomb into the cargohold.

.. Maybe the following would be more apropriate:

Since the TSA has been in existence no terrorist action on US targets have been discovered.

But if you fall for that one I have a number of anti-grizzly gemstones to sell to you. They work wonders in countries like Italy, belgium, Spain, the Emirates, Mexico and a number of other countries. Noone there carrying one of these have been attacked by such a grizzly. :-)

Re:Lousy argumentation (1)

ray-auch (454705) | about 10 months ago | (#46302661)

The TSA could counter khasim logic very simply: Since the TSA has been in existence no terrorist action on US targets has been succesful.

Boston marathon bombs were not terrorists then?

Re:Lousy argumentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302719)

"paid". "paid out". ...if you've ever been paid in your life. I'd think it's a four-letter word you should know.

Re:Lousy argumentation (3, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | about 10 months ago | (#46302725)

No your counter argument is incorrect. All of those things are there to protect you from a statistical existent risk. Perhaps your smoke detector has never detected smoke but there are many houses and some have caught fire. The same for air bags we know lots people of car accidents every day and those airbags deployed saving lives. Thing is there lots of flights every day to the TSA is never caught a terrorist. I really only been a handful of incense in the last decade all them gotten past the TSA. Which demonstrates the TSA is both ineffective as a detective control and unneeded as the statistical risk is vanishingly small.

Re:Lousy argumentation (5, Insightful)

reboot246 (623534) | about 10 months ago | (#46302759)

Your smoke alarm, sprinkler system, seat belts, airbags, helmets, life insurance, condoms, life preserver, safety vest, and Depends have not violated anyone's Fourth Amendment rights.

I bet your Depends have kept your bed dry.

THIS is the question you need to ponder, "Has the U.S. government violated our rights in the name of (perceived) safety?"

Re:They still have not caught a single terrorist. (1)

paziek (1329929) | about 10 months ago | (#46302343)

Maybe that's because terrorist would know that he would be caught, so he is sitting on his ass figuring out any other way to get around current security?

Re:They still have not caught a single terrorist. (3, Insightful)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 10 months ago | (#46302495)

Why doesn't he just suicide-bomb the TSA line? Wouldn't that cause enough terror?

Re:They still have not caught a single terrorist. (1)

Barefoot Monkey (1657313) | about 10 months ago | (#46302711)

...wow. You're right. The TSA line is relatively vulnerable, and is a more effective target in the first place. There's no reason why a bomber intending to cause terror would even want to get on the plane itself. Hijackers would certainly want to get on the plane, but they wouldn't be using bombs.

Re:They still have not caught a single terrorist. (2)

kasperd (592156) | about 10 months ago | (#46302783)

Why doesn't he just suicide-bomb the TSA line? Wouldn't that cause enough terror?

In Russia suicide terrorists bomb airports [wikipedia.org] .

Re:They still have not caught a single terrorist. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302351)

It is all a huge psychology test.... how much sh!!t wil Americans swallow before the 2nd American Revolution breaks out. However, this time, the nation will be enslaved by the regime it spawned. You get what you voted for, sooner or later.

Re:They still have not caught a single terrorist. (1)

LostMonk (1839248) | about 10 months ago | (#46302449)

In 10 years no one tried to break into my house by forcing the door open -- I see no need to lock it now.

Re:They still have not caught a single terrorist. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302703)

I think what you mean to say is,

In 10 years no one tried to break into my house by forcing the door open -- I see no need to rape my children when they try to enter anymore.

And other fun, restricted items! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302043)

http://youtu.be/luNfghUnvFg

Enough with the security theater! (5, Insightful)

Firethorn (177587) | about 10 months ago | (#46302047)

Personally, I think any TSA employee in charge of TSA procedures needs to go through said procedure/screening every day before work.

Actually, they need to be fired and replaced by people with proper risk management training, as opposed to risk avoidance.

Risk Avoidance: Do everything in your power to prevent some risk, no matter the cost
Risk Management: Assess the risk, consider the liklihood of the risk, the damage it will cost if it happens, then look at mitigations, how likely they are to work, how much they'll cost, etc... And make the cheapest decision. IE if on average the mitigation will prevent more loss than it costs, you impliment it. Otherwise you just accept the risk.

Re:Enough with the security theater! (2)

flaming error (1041742) | about 10 months ago | (#46302083)

Well, you're absolutely right. Perhaps things could actually work this way were it not for news media that has no interest in putting things in context and a populace that ooh look, Justin Beeber, pretty, shiny.

Re:Enough with the security theater! (3, Interesting)

Firethorn (177587) | about 10 months ago | (#46302173)

It can't just be the media though, as the media has been lambasting the TSA as too expensive for negligible effect for quite some time now.

I think what it's going to take is a new president to replace the head of the TSA with somebody else to force change from the top down.

Re:Enough with the security theater! (2)

captainpanic (1173915) | about 10 months ago | (#46302423)

Yes, but while it is a good idea, it could also be political suicide. If a politician is the reason that the security/safety rules became more reasonable, and if an accident happens soon after (no matter how unlikely), that will immediately be blamed on that politician.

While it is incredibly annoying (and expensive!) to have these TSA screenings, it is better for the political careers of all those in charge to steer away from the topic, or to make the rules even more strict. Better safe than sorry.

Btw, in reply to the OP: many citizens demand risk avoidance, not risk management. Screw the costs - the costs are paid by someone else (they think).

Re:Enough with the security theater! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302687)

The problem is that it's the exact same media that would hang out to dry whichever TSA high-rank official happened to loosen up the security procedures and enforcement and then something bad happened.

It's all his fault! Shame on him for trying to improve the travel experience of passengers and save millions upon million of dollars! Can't you see that X number of people would be alive today if he hadn't cut back on our Safety! not to mention the hundreds of TSA agents that lost their job! It's all corporate greed and rampant capitalism!

And the cycle would start again...

Re:Enough with the security theater! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302263)

The head of the TSA is not an elected official--if he were, we'd have replaced him by now.

Why the hell would the TSA care if a week of the 24/7 news cycle were focused on him for a week?

Re:Enough with the security theater! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302095)

You would need to fire the entire workforce. All the screeners at TSA are programmed in the risk-avoidance mentality. And it's pretty much the mindset of the entire DHS...

Re:Enough with the security theater! (1, Interesting)

hedgemage (934558) | about 10 months ago | (#46302109)

Its time to privatize the TSA. If it were up to the airlines to contract with security firms, you'd have logical risk management made through the lens of monetary cost. Make the airlines assume the risk for liability if their security is crap, and they will find a good happy medium between the extremes. I'm not normally a small-government guy, but in this area, it simply makes sense.

Re:Enough with the security theater! (5, Interesting)

CaptQuark (2706165) | about 10 months ago | (#46302175)

This has been an option since 2003. The TSA was put into place after 9/11 but airports were supposed to be allowed to return to private screening after two years. New legislation passed last year supposedly makes it easier to replace TSA agents with private contractors although few airports have done so.

Currently sixteen airports use private contractors instead of TSA agents. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03... [nytimes.com]

~~

Re:Enough with the security theater! (2)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | about 10 months ago | (#46302291)

That's not really the same thing. Airports can hire their own screening personnel, but they still "have to follow T.S.A. guidelines and fall under its supervision". All the policy decisions continue to be made by the TSA; the only difference is that they are carried out by private contractors rather than federal employees.

The GP's proposal was to leave all the security decisions up to the airlines, which would assume full liability in the event of a breach. The TSA wouldn't be involved at any point in the process.

Re:Enough with the security theater! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302221)

Risk Management: Assess the risk, consider the liklihood of the risk, the damage it will cost if it happens, then look at mitigations, how likely they are to work, how much they'll cost, etc... And make the cheapest decision. IE if on average the mitigation will prevent more loss than it costs, you impliment it. Otherwise you just accept the risk.

Look, if we don't spend $2T in wars to prevent a $1B loss of real estate every few decades due to asshats getting lucky with hijacked 767s, what will the defense contractors and their lobbyists do?

Please, won't somebody think of the children of the lobbyists for the defense contractors?

They don't care about real dangerous things (4, Interesting)

NixieBunny (859050) | about 10 months ago | (#46302065)

Story: I walked into the Detroit airport a couple years ago while wearing the Video Coat. The nice TSA people marked my entire family's boarding passes SSSS. They inspected us thoroughly, including the eight 5 AH Chinese LiPo battery packs used to power the coat. These are the no-protection-board version with the factory connectors that let you plug two batteries together like BIG 9V batteries. They will happily put out 100 amps.

Had we been 'the type', we could have started four fires in the cabin that day.

Re:They don't care about real dangerous things (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302603)

Well I would just use my lighter or matchbook to do that. Most of the time the lighter is detected, but the matchbook isn't.

Re:They don't care about real dangerous things (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302797)

Well I would just use my lighter or matchbook to do that.

For a moment I thought you said you'd use a macbook to start a fire.

This is why I take the train now (5, Informative)

IgnorantMotherFucker (3394481) | about 10 months ago | (#46302067)

Within the US you can take Amtrak [amtrak.com] . (No "c" in "Amtrak".)

Don't believe the prices on the Amtrak website. It's a rather lo-budge operation, so they don't have advance purchase pricing available from the site. The site does work correctly for determining where and when you can go, but then go down to the station for your ticket purchase. If you purchase so much as one day in advance, quite likely you can get a discount.

For example, last I checked, to fly one-way between San Jose, California and Portland, Oregon is about $250. Last Summer I took the Coast Starlight from Diridon Station in San Jose to Union Station in Portland, one day advance purchase for about $80.00.

My Aunt just recently paid about $250.00 for a round-trip from Spokane, Washington to Portland. With two-week advance purchase, that's $86.00 on Amtrack.

The trains don't go everywhere they really need to, so there is some chance you'll make part of your trip on an Amtrak bus. That was the case when I travelled from LA to San Jose. Rather oddly, I took a bus from the HUGE train station in downtown LA to Bakersfield, then the train from there to San Jose. However the busses are quite nice.

Their only "security" is that they want to see your ID when you purchase a ticket. You don't need to show ID when you board the train. There is no X-Ray, no metal detector.

The seats are spacious, there are lots of 110 VAC power sockets. Most but not all trains have WiFi, however the train itself gets onine via a 3G connection that's shared by the whole train, so they limit downloads to 10 MB and do not permit streaming video at all.

Because 3G is a cell phone protocol, you can only get online when the train is within range of a cell tower. Sometimes the trains are way out in the sticks so you cannot get online.

My only gripe is that the food is scanty and very expensive, although it is quite tasty. Pack some sandwiches.

Re:This is why I take the train now (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 10 months ago | (#46302305)

don't get used to it. The TSA is busy with their roving gangs on transit buses and subways, doing their best Stasi "stop-frisk-identify yourself citizen" routine to everybody in the area.

Re:This is why I take the train now (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302315)

I live in the Netherlands, they recently (10 years ago?) stopped selling food on the trains. They used to have trollies like stewardesses have, they also sell alcohol.
Before that when I was a child, they had restaurant cars, where you could go and eat something, mostly it was snacks like sausage rolls and belgium fries.

10 years ago I went on a trip in Germany, there they still have restaurant cars but they sell proper food on a real plate with steel knife and fork. You can have a snitchel the size of your head and they have many salads, and beer and wine in glasses.

Re:This is why I take the train now (2)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 10 months ago | (#46302465)

The cross-country trains in Sweden [www.sj.se] are not bad at all. I usually go in first class, which includes a decent plate lunch (well, it tends to run to köttbullar, potatismos, lingon, which isn't all that exciting, but it's not likely to be messed up, either) and all the free fruit, cakes, and coffee/tea I want. It also includes wifi, which works quite well and is not noticeably throttled or otherwise limited.

An additional bonus is that the toilets in first tend to remain much cleaner for much longer. (I am not that fussy... but prefer not to have to wade through someone else's pee, thanks.)

And you go direct from downtown Stockholm to downtown $destination_city. In theory, you can fly from Stockholm to Malmö or Copenhagen in less than an hour. In practise--by the time I get all the way out to Arlanda airport (at least an hour from my part of the city), get through checkin/security/boarding/flying/landing/baggage pickup and get from Kastrup (airport) into the downtown of whichever city I'm going to (they face one another across the Øresund, BTW)... well... it seems I've not saved any time or hassle at all by flying. But I have spent more money than I would have for a train ticket.

Re:This is why I take the train now (1)

kyrsjo (2420192) | about 10 months ago | (#46302675)

They do sell stuff (incl. alcohol) on long distance trains in Norway. Personally I preffer to take the train if going Oslo-Bergen (and pay the 100 NOK (~12 USD) extra for 1st class - which gets you a better seat, access to free newspapers, coffe etc.) - it takes a bit longer than plane, but once you factor in transport to/from airports, the price and time difference is minuscle. And the scenery when crossing the mountains is just fantastic :)

For longer journeys, there are a ton of cheap airlines covering most of europe (expedia is your friend), and flying within the EU (except UK! they're worse than US, even just for transit...) is comparable to flying domestic in the US - few queues, polite security personell, and generally little hassle.

Re:This is why I take the train now (3, Informative)

stoploss (2842505) | about 10 months ago | (#46302417)

Conversely, taking Amtrak any appreciable distance is going to be painful: painfully long and painfully expensive (unless you don't mind spending days sleeping in your chair).

$1100+, one way, from the middle of the country (say, Omaha) to an endpoint on a different route (say, Miami). Takes about 3 full days to get there, if you're lucky enough to avoid being hit with a 12+ hour stopover someplace. Yes, that price includes roomettes, but like I said: who wants to spend three solid days (again, one way) confined & sleeping in a coach seat? BTW, this is the advance price.

It would be faster, cheaper, and more relaxing to drive, even if one had to rent a vehicle. Oh, and you can leave whenever you want and stop wherever you want, too.

Passenger rail in this country is a half-baked solution in search of a problem. This makes me sad, because I would prefer to use rail in order to avoid the TSA. I just can't take a week of additional travel time to do it.

Re:This is why I take the train now (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302541)

Conversely, taking Amtrak any appreciable distance is going to be painful: painfully long and painfully expensive (unless you don't mind spending days sleeping in your chair).

$1100+, one way, from the middle of the country (say, Omaha) to an endpoint on a different route (say, Miami).

I think we can all be reasonable and agree that getting out of Omaha is worth the price.

NEARLY synonymous? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302069)

That's like saying beta was nearly unpopular.

It's positively Soviet. And since the stuff you can still buy after the security checkpoint...

In response to terrorists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302125)

we became scared of aluminum foil, exploding shoes, flaming underwear, nail clippers, shampoo, cryptography and untapped phone systems. Really, can we claim they didn't win?

To uphold our anti-terrorist ideals, we ran a "shock and awe" bombing campaign to bring fear to a country full of people (who until then had been pretty good at keeping al qaeda out).

Seriously, even if something like 9/11 happened every year, it wouldn't put that big of dent in our country: Thats 2,977 deaths added to the normal yearly 2,468,435, or 0.12% more deaths. Thats only 7.7% the amount of suicides we have a year. Even the low estimates for flu deaths are are more! We can stand up for our ideals and take a bit of risk. We arn't suppose to be fear controlled cowards. We are a big strong country, what the hell are we so scared of? I don't get it.

Do we really need to spy on everyone all the time? Even the horrible outcome the NSA likes to threaten could (but likely wouldn't) happen (that they wouldn't prevent anyway) isn't really that bad. This shit needs to end. Secret courts, secret domestic spying programs, and a president with a Nobel prize for closing our indefinite holding torture base thats still open, and now irrational fear of shiny things blowing up in the sun. This is enough. Give us back our liberty please; I think we've loaned it out long enough. Don't make us foreclose on the government to get it back....

Re:In response to terrorists... (1)

kasperd (592156) | about 10 months ago | (#46302827)

I more or less agree with everything you just said. This blog [schneier.com] by Bruce Schneier gives another nice perspective on it.

America should just admit it lost. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302135)

Seriously; when the paranoia/control over the population is so strong that aluminium foil is confiscated so that the jagged cardboard can't be used in a terrorist act - and when your people roll over and take this reaming - the terrorists won.

As a suggestion, maybe instead of being the arseholes of the planet if you just stayed in your own borders and looked after your own?

Re:America should just admit it lost. (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about 10 months ago | (#46302557)

ie: America should just admit it lost.

Haven't lost but were hurt, just didn't wish to acknowledge it

After the trade towers, you heard "it's not going to change us one bit", yet at the same time people started flying flags from their houses.
Well it changed their routine.

Then there were the Freedom Fries, cause the French saw through the BS Bush was pushing. The U.S. people condemned them for knowing the truth.

Please no political response; what I posted is the truth, you can't ignore that.

Re:America should just admit it lost. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302659)

the US people condemned the french cause they didn't know better at the time and were looking for someone to hate so our leaders served up the french on a freedom fries platter. Those nasty french living it up with their snotty waiters, 1 month paid holidays (vacations) and not sending military forces into countries blindly. We'll show them! Why I even stared at a french bulldog meanly to do my part as an American at the time. (I know better now)

Epic Facepalm Time (1)

Scarletdown (886459) | about 10 months ago | (#46302145)

All I have to say (for now at least) is that these fuckers have earned the Epic Facepalm [cooltuna.com] .

April Fools (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302149)

Oh wait, it's another 10 days.

Its a conspiracy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302151)

More proof that the government is secretly controlled by the Aluminati.

Why not both? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302159)

I'll blame and be pissed off at both of them thanks. They're the morons that are unquestionably obeying stupid orders, and they're the morons who are responsible for their career path and I refuse to let them get off of the hook because they're just "following orders". Have we not yet learned that is among the most invalid excuses? Have we not yet repeated the old quote about those that do not learn from history? Apparently not.

It's crap like this .... (2, Insightful)

thephydes (727739) | about 10 months ago | (#46302217)

That makes me wonder why I would ever want to visit the USA. I'm sure there are lots of beautiful places to go to and enjoy, but why would I want a semi-educated thug feeling me up and confiscating shit because I might be a bomber. Come to think of it I'm probably on the "fuck this guy over" list because of this and similar comments on other forums. Fuck you NSA, you've cost your country a potential tourist spending several thousand dollars travelling, eating, drinking, visiting places .........

Re:It's crap like this .... (4, Interesting)

michelcolman (1208008) | about 10 months ago | (#46302373)

Sadly though, most european airports are exactly the same. I'm a pilot, and I've actually seen them take a bottle of after shave from a captain, not even apologising for their idiocy, as if it was the most normal and logical thing in the world. Never mind the giant crash axe behind the first officer's seat, we must not allow them to bring nail clippers on board! Back when I was flying private jets, they wanted to pass my passengers' cat through the X-ray machine. They might try to hijack their own private plane with a weapon hidden in the plastic cat container! We had to take the cat out, fortunately it didn't run away or they would no doubt have closed the airport. Idiots.

Re:It's crap like this .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302601)

I read that and facepalmed so hard.

Seriously, the fact that people put up with this shit is going to be the downfall of Western Civilization. What rights do you actually have when the man in a uniform demands you give them up, and you either accept or are dragged off with the blessing of the meek idiots around you?

Re:It's crap like this .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302385)

And on top of that, you have to pay a fee to visit! (to promote tourism of course)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_System_for_Travel_Authorization

Re:It's crap like this .... (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about 10 months ago | (#46302617)

That makes me wonder why I would ever want to visit the USA. I'm sure there are lots of beautiful places to go to and enjoy,

It's a nice place to visit or even live, an area of diverse peoples (the melting pot), and some very unique sites to gander at.

The sad fact is if your not European, you have to run the gauntlet making it here.

At the same time if Canada wasn't so cold I'd have a dual residence, spending most of my time in Canada. I live just a few hundred miles south of Canada as it is.

Re:It's crap like this .... (3, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 10 months ago | (#46302743)

We're talking about the TSA, not the NSA. Do try to keep up.

Somehow, with your hostile attitude, I think you made the decision quite a long time ago to never visit America. And yet you feel the need to get up and talk shit in front of everyone, acting like this is the last straw that cost America a shit-ton of money. Here's a clue: we Americans hate the federal government, too. If you set your prejudices aside you might just find friendly, like-minded people. But I have found in my life that closed-minded bigots will not do this, and instead spend time bitching and moaning to others like themselves. Like the people who modded you +5 Insightful.

Re:It's crap like this .... (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 10 months ago | (#46302769)

If you set your prejudices aside you might just find friendly, like-minded people.

...sexually abusing you when you get on the airplane. Whoops! How fucking friendly are they? The Nazis were just following orders, too. Godwin in one. Fuck the TSA and fuck you too.

I live in the USA, I was born here, I tell everyone not to visit here as long as we're up to this gestapo shit.

Outrageous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302307)

I think the whole plane should be confiscated-
The thing is made from a aluminium/magnesium alloy! Very dangerous if ignited!
Huge containers of Jet A1- way past the 100ml limit- embedded right in the wings!!!
The cabin is filled with a pressurised gaseous oxidiser- up to 21% PURE oxygen!!!

This is obvious misdirection (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 10 months ago | (#46302327)

The "solar powered bomb" thing is just misdirection and a reason to confiscate aluminium foil. What they don't want to do is explicitly state how you can use aluminium foil as a component in an explosive device because it might give some of the terrorists an idea they wouldn't have had on their own.

Re:This is obvious misdirection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302459)

Foil and drain cleaner? Come on, kids have been doing that for decades.

Re:This is obvious misdirection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302491)

First you grind it into an extremely fine powder without anyone on the plane noticing. Then you mix it with one of several powerful oxidising agents which they don't let you take on planes.

Follow the money (1)

sydbarrett74 (74307) | about 10 months ago | (#46302339)

The people who profit from making all these inane rules are ultimately the manufacturers of the screening equipment, the people training security staff, et cetera. In other words, the military-industrial-security complex. It is with them (and the politicians who sell us out to them) that we must start redressing our grievances. We must also stop sensationalising every one-in-a-million occurrence (terrorism, being struck twice by lightning) and start mitigating the effects of problems that will likely impact us all (e.g., climate change).

I don't understand (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | about 10 months ago | (#46302341)

Everyone knows solar powered bombs are green and good for the environment.

Need better screening to stop drugs (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 10 months ago | (#46302359)

We need better screening to stop drugs making it through to TSA management.

Stolen but not forgotten (1)

AndyCanfield (700565) | about 10 months ago | (#46302377)

Last month I flew from Bangkok to Hong Kong. The security people stole my fingernail scizzors. I am still looking for a replacement. They also took a bottle of Vasaline Lotion purchased in 7/11. Warnings talk about "less than 100 ml" and "more than 100 ml" but nobody knows what happens if the bottle is exactly 100 ml.

I give up - no more flying. There is an overland route from Bangkok through Laos and China to Hong Kong. Actually there is an overland route from Bangkok to damned near anywhere in the world.

Security people are bred for facist chromosomes.

Oh for Pete's sake! (1)

Chas (5144) | about 10 months ago | (#46302401)

Can someone just fly a bomb into every TSA HQ and end this idiocy already?

Re:Oh for Pete's sake! (2)

Required Snark (1702878) | about 10 months ago | (#46302443)

My crystal ball is working and I can predict your future:

You will be talking to a Federal Law Enforcement agent very soon

Punishment, Consequence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302519)

Part of the problem is the higher-ups are terrified of something happening on their watch so they keep handing down increasingly silly and draconian measures, just so if something *does* happen they can say that they tried their best and look at all the measures they put in? If the 'terrorists' got past all that there wasn't more they could realistically do right?

Compare this to if a sane person was in charge and wasn't doing all this stuff - If an incident happened, all you lot would be baying for their blood: Why wasn't security tightened? Think of the poor children! Sack him! Imprisonment! Execution!

In fact, isn't this what happened? And now when those security restrictions are in place, everyone is complaining?

This is one of the biggest problems with our relationship with our higher ups.

As soon as a good one makes a mistake, they get thrown off a cliff and a total noob will take their place until they make a mistake.

By mistake, I mean something the wolves can jump on them for, no matter how minor.
Tighten restrictions on freedom? That's fine. Cut benefits to save money even tho' it'll ruin some peoples lives? That's fine. Waste shitloads of our money? As long as it has lots of hoops and paperwork, that's fine too.
Give people a bit more freedom and make their lives easier, only for one of those people to abuse it and cause an incident? Off with his head!

There is just no incentive to the people in charge to let up; It's all ass covering. They are as scared of the wolves as we are of them.

High explosive in body cavities. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302611)

This is an obvious and easy way to beat airport security, is not and can not be realistically checked for, and has been used in at least one instance in Saudi Arabia by a suicide bomber. (And frequently used by drug couriers).

A motivated individual of either sex can hide >1kg of high explosive in this way

Makes the TSA entirely irrelevant.

Homeopathic Bomb Threat? (1)

gramty (1344605) | about 10 months ago | (#46302635)

I do wonder if they are taking the threat of homeopathic bombs seriously.

I mean once they have a tiny bit of explosive there is practically no limit to how much they could dilute it on the plane!

Re:Homeopathic Bomb Threat? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302859)

I do wonder if they are taking the threat of homeopathic bombs seriously.

I mean once they have a tiny bit of explosive there is practically no limit to how much they could dilute it on the plane!

Why do you think bottled water is forbidden?

Left overs from lunch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302699)

shit has already been snuck in with a bird of paradise left over wrap up and the stupid tsa guy let it through as is.

wrong tree (1)

Tom (822) | about 10 months ago | (#46302737)

Nothing the TSA does has anything to do with security.

We know that, the story was old years ago. The real question I don't see asked often enough and answered even less is: What does it have to do with? Why do they do this bullshit, and why does it get more transparent? Why have we reached the part where even regular people begin to understand the TSA is full of it?

Is it just stupidity? Really? While you shouldn't always look for malice, there's also a point where stupidity ceases to be the most likely explanation.

Don't blame the TSA agents?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302775)

While I agree that the real villans of the piece are the people making these rules, the TSA agents are far from blameless. They're not forced to work those jobs (and no, I'd lose my unemployment benefit if I refused this work is not an argument). I hope the general public continue to give these people a really hard time.

Would you work as a TSA agent? If you lacked skills sufficient to be employed productively and could only make a reasonable living by accepting tax-payer money to harass people at airports then you likely would, but you'd deserve every bit of hatred society bore you.

They have already won. (1)

X10 (186866) | about 10 months ago | (#46302833)

The simple fact that a discussion like this comes up proves that the terrorists have already won, big time. The hundreds of billions of dollars that the world spends on "preventing" terrorist attacks is much more than the terrorists could have hoped for. They damage the economy, not by destroying buildings or killing people, but by making us spend an obscene amount of money in useless "anti-terrorist" measures.

We should stop all this. We should just hop on a plane and fly. Fuck the terrorists.

Duty free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46302851)

If you managed to get the rest of the bomb through security and were just in need of some foil, just buy a toblerone after going through security.

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