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FAA Data Shows Exploding Batteries Are Rare, Small Risk 183

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

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  • Sanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BSAtHome (455370) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @06:25PM (#31107002)

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

    • Re:Sanity (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @06:58PM (#31107470)

      It is all about perceived risk, not actual risk.

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

      • Re:Sanity (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MrNaz (730548) * on Thursday February 11, 2010 @07:24PM (#31107766) Homepage

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

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

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

        • True.

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

          I get my opinions from the /. groupthink hivemind.

        • Re:Sanity (Score:4, Insightful)

          by retchdog (1319261) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @10:47PM (#31109290) Journal

          What's unforeseen here? and what would be learned in the accident? It seems that the stability of Li-Ion is well understood.

          The risk is acceptably small, not unknown.

          • by bronney (638318)

            What lol'ed me wasn't the laptop batteries but the batteries of the plane! You know, flying a plane needs batteries too. What about those? Are those safe?

      • Re:Sanity (Score:5, Insightful)

        by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @08:01PM (#31108130) Journal
        Risk management in NOT just about the odds of some event or action happening like almost everyone seems to think. It also has to take into account the impact of the event or action. Low risk low impact, don't worry so much. High risk low impact, still don't have to worry that much unless the frequency is an issue. Low risk high impact (like death), take actions to prevent it. High risk high impact, just don't even bother.
        • Re:Sanity (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Opportunist (166417) on Friday February 12, 2010 @12:10AM (#31109696)

          The problem is that actions taken have nothing to do with risk management. You can look at impact and risk of various things and compare them with the actions taken as precaution and you'll notice that there is no connection whatsoever. Look at the risk/impact situation for terrorism, traffic accidents, smoking and child abuse and then look at the actions taken around them and tell me with a straight fact that those actions have anything to do with a risk/impact assessment.

          • Precisely (Score:2, Flamebait)

            by Kupfernigk (1190345)
            What's more, this failure to assess risk properly is a bigger waste of tax and income than almost anything else, from the tax dollars going to foreign wars, to the insurance dollars wasted on allowing risky behaviour and vehicles on the roads. I find it quite amazing how "fiscally conservative" people can go all knee-jerk about spending money on near-imaginary threats, simply because some right-wing bloviator gets exercised about it, and then regards the (vastly greater) risk of getting killed on the roads
        • by houghi (78078)

          Low risk high impact (like death), take actions to prevent it.

          There is a difference between preventing and taking actions that will be worse then what will be prevented. Now what is worse then death you might ask? Forbidding people to take that kind of batteries or any kind of batteries on board of a plane. TAking actions where millions of people need to change their values or way of life.

          Death is part of life and is something we should accept. We drive cars and people die. We build houses and people die d

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ceoyoyo (59147)

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

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

        Your seat mate has about as much chance of exp

        • Re:Sanity (Score:4, Insightful)

          by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @08:44PM (#31108486)

          Spontaneous human combustion happens far less frequently than battery fires.

          • by ceoyoyo (59147)

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

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

            Therefore, both fat people and batteries are likely safe to fly on planes, although the fat person might be somewhat m

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

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

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

              • by ceoyoyo (59147)

                Ah, I did. Otherwise I would have non-rebutted your non-rebuttal with more humorous references to fat.

      • by timmarhy (659436)
        it's the safety culture that has arisen from the media crisis culture. there is a type of thinking out there that believes EVERY accident can be avoided. typically safety officers think like this, and use it as a means to control everyone around them by constantly playing the safety card.

        in the real world, you can't escape risk. after all the world could spontaniousy explo

      • I personally blame all the morans of the world.

        Yes slashdot, that was intentional.

    • Re:Sanity (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Idiomatick (976696) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @07:02PM (#31107500)
      I wish people logically applied statistics to all of these decisions. It always horrifies me that people state that human lives are invaluable and then go making decisions to that end. Which does of course put a value on a life but it does so at pretty much random. Some safety features or systems could save lives at a few hundred bucks each. But often we get safety laws put in place where it saves lives at the cost of trillions of dollars each (aka, it will likely never save a single life), certain types of chemical bans is an example of that.

      Stating that human lives are invaluable is a demonstrably false statement that nearly everyone has heard and the vast majority accept (though they won't practice it). Were it true, it'd be near impossible to leave the house due to the risk of death clearly not being worth whatever job you might have, cars would be horrifying death traps, yaddayadda, we'd all end up being terrified paranoid hermits. With hospitals blanketing the countryside.
      • by Cryacin (657549)

        we'd all end up being terrified paranoid hermits

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

        ducks thrown keyboard...

        Just sayin!

      • Re:Sanity (Score:5, Informative)

        by rockNme2349 (1414329) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @08:46PM (#31108496)

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

        • by timmarhy (659436)
          I think this value should be tested by immediately pointing a gun to the head of anyone making the claim, and demanding $7,000,001 and seeing if they think it's not worth it.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Idiomatick (976696)
            When you put off your 200$ car tune up you are probably valuing your life at under 7million. Value proven.
        • Were that applied consistently I think that would be great. I sincerely doubt it is. In a ford you are worth $200,000 but in a plane? 10million.

          To a coal power plant your life is often worth under 100k. If the government enforced them to calculate lives at 7million you would see nuclear power take over REAL fast. Minimum, you would see coal companies spend a lot more on filters and safety features.

          What about policy decisions? How often do you see: "There is a 5% chance that 30 people will die. The cost to
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by tpstigers (1075021)
        My life is immensely valuable. It's the value of everyone else's life that's in question.
      • by mcrbids (148650)

        Some safety features or systems could save lives at a few hundred bucks each. But often we get safety laws put in place where it saves lives at the cost of trillions of dollars each (aka, it will likely never save a single life), certain types of chemical bans is an example of that.

        It's rare to see somebody who understands this! But, of course, this is Slashdot and NOT the MSM (Main-Street-Media) which is today all about getting people worked up over SOMETHING regardless of the cost to greater society. (Wit

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by timmarhy (659436)
          would you be willing to pay for the 10c latex gloves he wears if you knew it saved you from contracting herpes or Hep. A/B/C from his previous patient? i'm sure dentists wearing gloves never saved a life either, but i can guarantee it's prevented the spread of communicable illness in many cases.

          oh and name one person who paid $500k for a baby seat? oh right they didn't, they only cost a few hundred bucks. ther are plenty of better examples of expensive useless safety measure out there, i think you need to

    • Re:Sanity (Score:5, Interesting)

      by joocemann (1273720) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @08:32PM (#31108396)

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

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

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

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

    • There's more actual risk from 'motherfucking snakes' on the plane than from batteries.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Evil Shabazz (937088)
      This will help the FBI fight child pornography. Won't you think of the children?
  • The real problem (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kill-1 (36256) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @06:28PM (#31107048)

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

    • Re:The real problem (Score:5, Informative)

      by RajivSLK (398494) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @06:38PM (#31107196)

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

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by icebike (68054)

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

        Its interesting you should mention that.

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

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

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

      • by TubeSteak (669689)

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

        If anything, rigging crates of lithium batteries to blow up on commercial transports (plane/train/truck) would be an even bigger disaster than downing a passenger plane.

        At least with passenger planes, we can screen everyone and everything going on the plane.
        There's no way we have the capability to screen every piece of cargo traveling by train/plane/truck.
        Imagine a world where lithium batteries get tracked (like shipments of decongestants) so that terrorists can't
        use them to make bombs, because every week a

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

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

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

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Hollovoid (942476)
        Most modern batteries (like the ones made where I work) have short circuit protection built in from the ground up, so simply using a paperclip would only make it get a little warm before it shut itself down (latest gen models can even reactivate when the short circuit condition is rectified). This is done by both a chip that monitors the battery, and the separator itself in extreme conditions.
  • Perspective. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Reason58 (775044) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @06:28PM (#31107060)

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

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

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

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

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

      • by MeNeXT (200840)

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

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

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

            And yes, the fuel efficiency tests can and have been gamed. How else would a V8 corvette get a 30 mpg rating and be on Top 10 fuel efficient cars lists (something I was shocked by a couple years back). They had designed something that prevented shifting from 1st to 2nd unless while accelerating aggressively. The fix

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

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

            Because we have CAD, and better steels, and superior machine tools, and decades of va
      • Re:Perspective. (Score:4, Informative)

        by ceoyoyo (59147) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @08:45PM (#31108490)

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

    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @07:11PM (#31107606)

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

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

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

  • by zippthorne (748122) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @06:34PM (#31107140) Journal

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

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

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

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

      • by scotch (102596)
        Thanks for the play-by-play breakdown of your experience reading his post. Fascinating.
    • by noidentity (188756) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @06:52PM (#31107396)
      I know you were being sarcastic, but still, the thing the argument misses is the hidden cost of flying planes slowly (or not at all). For one, more people would use cars, which are less safe than planes. There would also be the reduction in general wealth and efficiency, which indirectly costs lives. Now, if a large group of people really did want such measures taken, the market would give them flights that went more slowly, took even more hours to board due to extra security checks, etc. These people surely exist, but they either aren't willing to pay the costs their approach would involve, or it's an untapped market.
      • by AHuxley (892839)
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground_effect_vehicle [wikipedia.org]
        You can have better fuel efficiency and be safe near the ground.
        The problem is you need a really good design or really good in flight computer assistance to make up for a lack of really good design skills.
        Could a start up with new money gain traction to build a quality large scale craft thats cheaper to run than established politically connected players?
        • by khallow (566160)

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

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

    • by syousef (465911)

      Score +1: Sarcasm. Bazinga implied.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jowifi (1320309)
      Actually, these already exist. They're called maglev trains.
  • and presumably ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Thursday February 11, 2010 @06:40PM (#31107240)

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

    ... somebody, somewhere, wants exactly that.

  • by paulsnx2 (453081) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @06:50PM (#31107380)

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

    Let's look at a list, shall we?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

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

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

      • by PitaBred (632671)

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

        • by timmarhy (659436)
          no, your wrong. duty of care is always to protect yourself first. pulling up to an airport with something containing blinking lights and wires is a fucking stupid thing to do. telling people they shouldn't have to worry about men with guns is like telling them isn't not their responsibility to remeber to breath O2.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by paulsnx2 (453081)

            Let's put this a different way.

            Suppose you have a football team with only 11 resources. And suppose they have a "zero tolerance" of any apparent threat made by the other team. So EVERY time it looks like the ball is handed to a running back, they blast in for a tackle on that guy.

            This football team is going to lose, and they are going to lose because they cannot distinguish *apparent* threats from *real* threats. The *real* threats are constructed to not look like threats in the early stages of executio

    • by RoboRay (735839) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @07:19PM (#31107708)

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

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DigiShaman (671371)

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

        Until this religious shit is sorted out, I recommend we start profiling - within reason. That, or we just let planes explode in the air if and when that happens. I

        • Obviously blowing up planes isn't particularly attractive to terrorist commanders or operatives or it would be more common. An attack designed to spectacularly obliterate symbolic buildings like on 9/11 is a plan that anyone would want to be involved with. Taking huge risks and years to plan killing a couple hundred people mid-air is boring and meaningless. Granted we might see it happen as an uninspired retaliation for our meaningless drone assassinations, but terrorists have much better options if they fe
        • by Kuroji (990107)

          Generally the problem with explosives is that they're either unstable or require a significant amount to actually do any damage. The shoe bomber was a moron and even if it had lit there would have been no damage to the fuselage of the plane itself. A couple passengers? Sure, but not the plane itself. So you're going to need a lot of explosives. At best you can find a really fat terrorist (and I mean REALLY fat), do some liposuction and replace the fat with explosives. Except that's not really going to work

      • by houghi (78078)

        I have said it many times. People smuggel drugs. The places they put them vary lightly, but I am sure that it should not be too difficult to prepare some solid explosive, the fuse and some matches and place thenm inside your body where they are easily accesible. Then go to the toilet take it out and blow the thing up there.

    • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @07:19PM (#31107714)
      The only way that we are "safer" than pre-9/11 is because now when someone tries to hijack a plane passengers are going to outnumber the hijackers and subdue them. Before 9/11, you complied with the hijackers, ended up in Cuba somewhere, the hijacker gave up, or shot someone and then the police stormed the plane and you were back where you were supposed to be in a few hours. Now anytime someone does something to try to take over the plane, they will be tackled and taken down.
      • I wish I had some modpoints because this is exactly the direction I feel it has gone. Every instance after 9/11 of an attempted bombing/hijacking that I've seen has been thwarted by other passengers. What makes it worse is that these "attempts" should have been thwarted at the security checkpoints if they were really worth a damn. Just recently in California a man walked right through security with a fake badge and "deported" a woman to the Philippines. Waste of money....
      • by ceoyoyo (59147)

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

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by AHuxley (892839)
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine_Airlines_Flight_434 [wikipedia.org]
      showed what liquids could do.
      The "terrorist to date" that has used fluids succeeded in killing and getting himself off the flight.
      The problem is a laptop was recovered from the plot and might have pointed to 911 ect.
      So they want to ban liquids but promoted people dont really want to much chatter about the past ;)
    • by Chris Burke (6130)

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

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

    • by KiahZero (610862)

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

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

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

      (a) * * *
      (17) Except as provided in Sec. 173.21 of this subchapter,
      portable electronic devices (for example, watches, calculating
      machines, cameras, cellular phones, lapto

    • by jonwil (467024)

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

  • That's the point (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @06:53PM (#31107406)

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

    Isn't that the whole point of these rules?

  • don't just sit there (Score:4, Informative)

    by drfireman (101623) <dan@NOspam.kimberg.com> on Thursday February 11, 2010 @06:55PM (#31107426) Homepage

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

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

    Of course, do your research first.

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

    In particular this comment by bwcbwc:

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

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

    "Sec. 171.12 North American shipments.

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

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

    • by CFD339 (795926)

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

    • by KiahZero (610862)

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

  • 28 millions batteries please... and i'd like to make sure that it will be air mail... and that if anything happens, i get reimbursed with an extra for my trouble
  • It's far less likely that someone will get injured in a car accident while on a commercial airliner than than it is that someone will get injured by an exploding battery on a commercial airliner.
  • I got a Nexus One, and they give you free overnight FedEx shipping, meaning it traveled on a cargo plane to get to me. There's a huge label on the shipping box warning about the lithium-ion battery inside, and that the carrier shouldn't handle the box if it is damaged. I was pretty surprised to see that on there; kind of stupid.

  • I seem to recall reading the chance of being in a plane crash are 1 in 20,000.

    The government better shut down the airlines and give us all our Lithium-ion batteries back for public safety.

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

    Then by all means, let us not mix our metaphors.

    According to the latest WHO report on preventable deaths world wide http://nextbigfuture.com/2009/08/avoidable-deaths-worldwide-scope-of.html [nextbigfuture.com] 1.3 million people die annually from car accidents.

    Dividing by 4300 gives us 302 (rounded to whole number) people annually suffering an injury from battery boomage while on an airplane. The question of 'acceptable collateral damage' aside, that's

Economists state their GNP growth projections to the nearest tenth of a percentage point to prove they have a sense of humor. -- Edgar R. Fiedler

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