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Power Transportation

Laptop Fires On Airplanes 560

The risk posed by lithium batteries on airplanes is not exactly new news to this community; but the issue is starting to get wider exposure. Reader Maximum Prophet points out that as usual xkcd gets it right, and sends in an NY Times article calling the batteries a fire risk that clears security. "More than half of the 22 battery fires in the cabin of passenger planes since 1999 have been in the last three years. One air safety expert suggested that these devices might be 'the last unrestricted fire hazard' people can bring on airplanes."
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Laptop Fires On Airplanes

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  • Liquids on planes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the_one(2) ( 1117139 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @01:58PM (#29886383)

    I hope that if they listen to Randall about the dangers of laptop batteries that they at least listens to his point about the relative dangers of liquids as well.

  • by snowraver1 ( 1052510 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:01PM (#29886431)
    Could you imagine what would happen if you told all the business people that they had to either put thier (soon to be broken) laptop in checked luggage or couldn't board the plane.

    It's one thing to get felt up by security, but you will never pry a laptop or blackberry from a business person unless thier hands are cold and dead.
  • by spydabyte ( 1032538 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:03PM (#29886489)
    I think the point of his argument is they don't listen. That by proving something wrong with their system doesn't fix their system, it gets you arrested (or without batteries to use a laptop on airlines).

    Sucks for those new mac owners, without removable batteries.
  • by Golddess ( 1361003 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:04PM (#29886509)

    What good is a laptop without one?

    What makes you think they care?

  • unilkely (Score:3, Insightful)

    by damn_registrars ( 1103043 ) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:07PM (#29886553) Homepage Journal

    make users bring special plane chargers/buy one ($50) and charge a usage fee ($50)

    A large number of planes in service today (at least for domestic flights within the US) aren't wired for electrical service to passenger seats. The airlines would lose more money in lost customers than they would make in revenue after considering what it would cost to add electrical service to the currently unwired planes.

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:08PM (#29886567) Homepage Journal

    Headlines; I wish people writing headlines (especially the professionals at places like the Chicago Tribune) would look at what their headlines may be saying.

    Before I read TFS I thoght it was about somebody controlling a Predator with a laptop and making the predator shoot at manned planes. Or something.

    Would it be too much to add "Risk of" before "Laptop Fires On Airplanes"?

    Why is it legal to bring a laptop, far more of a fire hazard than a bic lighter (Bics don't spontaneously combust, nore do they contain as much energy as a laptop battery) but not the lighter? If I was a smoker, after a three hour flight the first thing I'd want to do would be get the hell outside and smoke, and I wouldn't want to waste time buying a lighter.

    The linked comic is good, but it has more to do with security theater. Of course, when it comes to flying, all "security" is nothing BUT theater.

  • by Kryptonian Jor-El ( 970056 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:10PM (#29886589)
    You're Right, they don't listen. But it's not their job to listen. You don't walk into a store and tell the janitor what products that the store should stock.

    These security agents are paid $14/hr, and probably don't have any connection to the TSA rulemakers. Whether the security guards can honestly tell a security suggestion from a security threat, I do not know, but I'd like to think they have to treat them all with caution.
  • by megamerican ( 1073936 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:10PM (#29886599)

    Tying in a logical and reasonable statement with government policy should be immeidately +5 funny and not insightful/informative.

  • by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:14PM (#29886637) Homepage Journal

    Is this really enough for us to go running scared about yet another airplane hazard? 22 incidents over 10 years is enough to make you think, but when there are hundreds of flights a day I would have to say it's one of the more minor problems that commercial airlines have to face and it seems like it can be solved by properly training crew members how to deal with that sort of fire. You could probably eliminate loads of possible "hazards" off of commercial flights, but not without major inconvenience and making the entire flight experience more miserable than it already is.

  • Re:unilkely (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kryptonian Jor-El ( 970056 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:14PM (#29886641)
    Well, they wouldn't really. The airlines don't make the rules; the TSA would be the ones to outlaw batteries. The airlines would just take advantage of the situation (like how "complementary" half cans of coke were no longer free once liquids were banned).

    People devoted to certain airlines wouldn't switch because of this if they're all doing it. And remember, the devil you know is better than the devil you don't.
  • by natehoy ( 1608657 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:19PM (#29886709) Journal

    Could you imagine what would happen if you told every urbanite that they couldn't bring a bottle of Evian on the plane?
    Could you imagine what would happen if you told ever Mom that she couldn't bring a box of apple juice for her kid?
    Could you imagine what would happen if you told the guy with the fancy cowboy boots or the woman wearing Prada shoes that they have to come off and go through the scanner, and they have to walk through security on the icky floors wearing only socks/stockings?

    Oh, wait, you don't have to. The sheeple just throw the stuff away they can't check, maybe bleat a little, and get baa-aa-aa-ck in line.

    And don't think the problem will be isolated to blackberries and laptops carried by business folk. Helicopter-Soccer Mom and Socially Enabled 12-Year Old have cell phones and laptops, too, and those have Li-Ion batteries. Not to mention Electronic-Dependent Cannot Entertain Him/Herself for an hour Child and their ever-present array of Gaming Devices and/or DVD Players. PhotoAmateur Dad always carries his Digicamera or Camcorder. In fact, I think you'd be amazed at how many people DO NOT carry at least one Li-Ion battery in their carryon or on their person today.

  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:23PM (#29886755) Journal

    These security agents are paid $14/hr, and probably don't have any connection to the TSA rulemakers.

    Any security focused organization that doesn't listen to its people on the ground is failing at its mission.
    Not to mention that an inability to provide feedback is a good way to kill moral in an organization.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:25PM (#29886793)

    Reporters carry laptops. We will here about anything that inconveniences reporters.

    Reporters wear shoes, drink fluids, use toothpaste and shampoo, but hearing about those inconveniences hasn't made an iota of difference.

  • by s31523 ( 926314 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:27PM (#29886825)
    22 fires out of how many millions of flights, of which none resulted in any catastrophe.. I think I am more worried about pilots updating their facebook pages and overshooting their destination airport by 150 miles.
  • by R2.0 ( 532027 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:29PM (#29886851)

    "It is a government run agency. It will only become a problem when the senator who is chairman of some committee was told he couldn't bring his laptop as carry on, and it gets stolen as a checked item."

    You have a fundamental misunderstanding of how it works. Said senator would not get the law changed; he would simply make sure that he got a special exception from complying with the law.

    Example - when Ted Kennedy got held up at an airport for his name being on the no-fly list, the system didn't get changed. The list just had an asterisk added at the name "Kennedy" that said " *does not apply to the fat drunk claiming to be a Senator - he really is one."

  • by Beau6183 ( 899597 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:32PM (#29886881) Homepage
    I'll check my batteries...when you give me 110v AC 60hz plugs in business class. Of course this wouldn't help the international traveler (where laptops REALLY help pass the time). Most airliners have 115v AC @ 400hz and 28vdc systems... Or perhaps a universal 12v DC plug. This would require laptop manufacturers to standardize power supplies and plug fittings (yay!). Not an immediate fix by any stretch, but probably the safest ("low" voltage) most efficient (no inverter inefficiencies).
  • by zippthorne ( 748122 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:32PM (#29886885) Journal

    Also, they don't actually have any constitutional authority to search you (something that they didn't need when it was just a private company and terms of sale).

    Not that that stops them. I've a good mind to say, "no thank you" next time I travel and they ask to search something. Or say, "I've got a pass." and hand them a copy of the constitution.

    Except that I'm a coward, and I usually have somewhere to be when I travel, so I don't rock the boat. Mostly the coward thing, though. I don't need to justify my cowardice. I'm not proud of it either, but I don't see anyone behaving any less cowardly than myself either.

  • by maxume ( 22995 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:32PM (#29886891)

    Even that is too much. There have been 11 incidents in the last 3 years, leading to 0 deaths. There is not a problem.

  • by pongo000 ( 97357 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:34PM (#29886903)

    If they start looking into this, they might decide to not only ban laptops, but everything else that might have a lithium battery...

    And where, exactly, is the problem with this? I long for the days of a relaxing flight that isn't marred by the clickety-click of a keyboard next to me, the horrendous sounds of Windows booting up, or the tinny whine of a pair of inferior earbuds hooked up to an iPod.

    Yes, I'm serious: Ban everything, and force passengers to maybe, I don't know, read a book perhaps?

  • Re:unilkely (Score:4, Insightful)

    by damn_registrars ( 1103043 ) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:34PM (#29886913) Homepage Journal

    The airlines don't make the rules; the TSA would be the ones to outlaw batteries

    That statement seems to hinge on the assumption that the TSA is free to take action without concern of the airline industry. The airline industry pays for the security theater that we are exposed to at the airports; if there were no airlines there would be no TSA.

    (like how "complementary" half cans of coke were no longer free once liquids were banned).

    I don't know what airline you are flying; I still get soda and pretzels for free on the flights I'm on; and they are all steerage (or as they say, "economy") class flights.

  • by MarkvW ( 1037596 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:34PM (#29886917)

    Is SKYNET taking over? Should we be concerned. That's one powerful laptop, if it can fire on an airplane.

  • They won't (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:35PM (#29886923)

    Because nobody has intentionally tried to start a fire with one.
    We take off our shoes because someone tried to light exploding shoes. We surrender liquids because someone tried to use liquid explosive on a plane.

    If someone brings an explosive piggy-bank shaped like a Raiders helmet, we will ban piggy-banks... and Raiders gear. We're just proactive like that.

    So don't sweat it. Until some 'turrist' uses a laptop battery, you're good to go.

  • by QuantumRiff ( 120817 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:39PM (#29886981)

    But banning liquids is a good thing.. Nobody has blown up a plane with a baby bottle since the law went into effect.

    It works as good as my Cougar repelling rock in my office. I haven't seen a cougar in the office since I got it.

    Sadly, sarcasm is about all I got left anymore...

  • by The Moof ( 859402 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:39PM (#29886991)

    22 fires out of how many millions of flights

    That's still significantly higher than the number of bottled water related casualties, and those are still banned.

  • by GreyWolf3000 ( 468618 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:41PM (#29887019) Journal
    People put there pets in kennels and fly them down there.
  • by Bakkster ( 1529253 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .nam.retskkaB.> on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:44PM (#29887065)

    But you just named things that don't affect the flight itself. Nor do they affect the reporter/congressmen/businessman's work if they are not allowed to have toothpaste in their carryon. Comparing the backlash of not being able to clip your fingernails to that of not being able to use a laptop is silly.

  • by QuoteMstr ( 55051 ) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:44PM (#29887085)

    Yet another way in which we can attribute the poverty of modern culture to those with marketing degrees.

  • by maharb ( 1534501 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:45PM (#29887097)

    They don't need to use these things while on the plane and all of these are allowed anyway. You are allowed to wear shoes, you are allowed to bring toothpaste, you are allowed to bring shampoo. That might be why it hasn't made a difference. If you were going to bring anything up it should have at least been true, as there are some things that are banned that people could use.

    Regardless, laptops are going to be allowed because they have the same risk of (malicious) fire as carry on as they would in checked baggage. Try telling the world they can't transport laptops in a plane and see how well that goes over. I would predict the death of the public airline industry and a rise in video conferencing and private jets.

  • Re:xkcd wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nick Ives ( 317 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:46PM (#29887101)

    Laptop batteries have protective circuits to prevent rapid discharge and eliminate that risk

    I bet you could open a laptop battery and bypass those circuits, then you'd just have the positive and negative poles connecting straight to the contacts on the outside of the battery. After that it's just a matter of shorting the battery out.

    The advantage of doing that rather than just filling a laptop battery shell with other more powerful explosives is that, if done with skill, it'd look just like a normal laptop battery in the X-Ray machines.

    I seriously doubt Islamic-fascist terrorists have failed to think of this. The reason why no more planes have gone down is because either nobody wants to suicide bomb planes or because our security services are doing a good job of stopping such plots. If anyone really wants to bring down a plane they can and nobody can stop them, security theatre be damned!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:46PM (#29887105)

    There's only one solution. Ban passengers from planes!!

  • by carvalhao ( 774969 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:46PM (#29887109) Journal
    The type of customer regular airlines take the most profit from is the business customer. Now, let me see: I can take 4 hours by train to get there and get 4 hours of work in the meantime OR spend 30 minutes going through security check, spend 2 hours on flight with no laptop and work 1 and a half hours when I get there... Hummmmmmmmmmmm... It ain't going to happen.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:48PM (#29887131)

    Checked luggage? Who can afford it? Some airlines are charging up to $25 for the first checked bag, and the price goes up for additional bags or "overweight/oversized items".

    Thinking of going skiing? Play the Cello? Hell, rent your equipment, or ship it ahead of time.

    For longer trips, I've resorted to shipping via USPS: It's a hell of a lot easier in the airport, and you can simply ship more for less money... as a large cardboard box is about 10 lbs lighter than a large suitcase.

  • by Col. Klink (retired) ( 11632 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:51PM (#29887195)

    I just assumed they were seizing liquids so that you are forced to overpay for the same thing on the other side of the gate.

  • by maharb ( 1534501 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:54PM (#29887235)

    They have the right to search you just as much as you have a right to be on that plane(none at all). If you chose to not be searched then you chose to not get on the plane, its that simple. I don't like the searching policies as they currently stand as much as you but I think its a bit outrageous to claim you should be able to walk on the plane without being screened in any way.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:59PM (#29887321)

    They don't have authority to search you. They have authority to deny you access to the plane though.

  • by QuoteMstr ( 55051 ) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @03:01PM (#29887357)

    airports have signs at security that basically say "you don't have to get searched if you don't want to, but you're not getting on the plane without getting searched".

    Making basic parts of modern society contingent upon our choosing to waive our natural rights is no choice at all. Doing that is tantamount to infringing those rights. How is that any different from "you may criticize the government, but if you do, you'll never fly again" or "sure, you can can wear that head scarf, but you're not getting on that plane with it in"?

  • by PrimaryConsult ( 1546585 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @03:16PM (#29887573)
    That would be pointless, as the idea is to have no battery on the plane, not that they do not trust the battery you have. If it can interface with your laptop, the same conditions that could have made your normal battery burst into flames would make the substitute one do so as well.
  • by Carik ( 205890 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @03:17PM (#29887581)

    The key here is that flying isn't a basic human right. Those airplanes are privately owned, and the people who own them can make any rules they want about who can ride. If they want to insist that only people with purple hair can fly, that's their perogative. If they want to insist that no-one more than eighteen inches tall can fly, they're allowed to do so. If they want to insist that people submit to a ridiculous, ineffective security screening before flying, they can.

    All three rules are equally silly, and all three rules are equally legitimate. If you don't like the rules, you can find a different way to travel. If they make compliance difficult and annoying enough, many people will, and then the airlines will go under. Until then, you're stuck with it.

    (And yes, there's a lot of pressure from the government for them to run this level of security, but if you believe the airlines don't have enough lobbying power to fight back, you're insufficiently cynical.)

  • by kencurry ( 471519 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @03:29PM (#29887713)
    this assumes that logic has anything to do with TSA decision making. Of course, it does not.
  • by zippthorne ( 748122 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @03:38PM (#29887845) Journal

    When it was a private security firm hired by the airlines, it was a perfectly reasonable term of sale. "You want to travel on my plane, you agree to my let agents verify that you're not taking anything aboard that will increase my liability. You don't agree, well, here's a refund." They were conspicuous about it, too, the security checkpoint was a selling point.

    But it is no longer a reasonable term of sale. The TSA is a federal agency, and the officers are federal agents. They are governed by the Constitution, which not only does not grant them the authority to molest passengers, but also specifically forbids them from unwarranted search and seizure, which a choke point search of EVERYBODY who passes certainly is.

    It is also not the same thing as customs enforcement, which obviously must happen at a border, or at least at a virtual border. Completely domestic travel most certainly does not justify border search authority, let alone for reasons unrelated to customs enforcement.

  • by Abreu ( 173023 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @03:38PM (#29887851)

    Nope, he's acting like a child.

    If an amusement park does not want to allow you on a ride because you are taller than 5ft, it is their right to deny you, even if you just know the ride can support your height and weight without problems.

    The amusement park ride, and the airplane, are privately owned and they can deny you access for whatever reason, even if you don't like it.

    (or maybe I should have used a car analogy)

  • by sexconker ( 1179573 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @03:39PM (#29887867)

    The TSA and their guidelines are no longer private by any means. They are thoroughly up the government's ass.

    The constitution says ol' Uncle Sam can't perform unreasonable searches or seizures without a warrant, and that to issue a warrant they need probable cause. Probable cause must be supported by things that have happened or someone testifies has happened (see oath or affirmation) regarding the specific person. FUD about terrorism does not count, no matter how real the threat is.

    Now before you try to dodge simple facts with bullshit about no one forcing you to board a plane...

    1 - Commercial air travel is the only method of air travel available to 99.999% of people. Going by boat, by car, or on foot will often result in similar infringements upon your rights. Hell, you don't even have to be crossing a national or even state border to be subjected to this shit. Just drive anywhere near the US border and your rights are fucking GONE in the interest of "national security".

    2 - Something something Pursuit of Happiness something something. Seems to me the restrictions and "security" put in place constitute significant barriers to a person's basic freedom of movement if they wish to avoid said searches. Well of course they do - that's the goal. Keep you in your densely packed urban center, try to squash "suburban sprawl", and in general, exercise as much control over you as possible.

    3 - Get up to the security checkpoint at an airport, ticket in hand. When you're next in line to go through the various scanners, give a wave to the friendly TSA employee, put your shoes back on, grab your stuff, turn around, and leave. Explain that you decided you did not want to be searched today. You'll be free to leave, right?

    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.

    If 99% of planes got hijacked and crashed, it would still be unconstitutional.

  • by Valdez ( 125966 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @03:45PM (#29887945)

    I can see it already...

    TSA bans the carrying of batteries over a certain size (size is their "see, we thought this through and want to be reasonable" argument). They'll release a special video on YouTube showing exactly how big an explosion they can get from a common laptop battery, and the masses will be in awe that they ever boarded a plane with such a disaster waiting to happen. Mystbusters will also film an episode where they Confirm the "Exploding Laptop Battery" myth... the episode will when a laptop battery they stuffed with 11 pounds of C4, rolled in a coating of thermite, and dipped in ball bearings is used to destroy 4 decomissioned planes somewhere in the middle of the desert.

    This ban will affect laptops, portable game systems, video players, etc... the things you actually use during the flight. You'll have to remove your battery at the ticket counter, and your airline will give it to TSA to put in a special fireproof container for the duration of the flight.

    The airlines come in and say "We're on your side, travellers" and begin to retrofit planes with power outlets at the seats. Ticket prices will increase slightly to help cover this retrofitting on behalf of all travellers.

    Of course, 110v will be "too dangerous" and 12V cigarette lighters will be "too big to fit", even though both would allow you to use things you probably already have in your laptop bag.

    Instead, they fit the planes with 8.23 V outlets which require a special 103, 72, or 45.8 degree angle doohicky (depending on the aircraft manufacturer) with three and a half prongs, which is now the special "Saf-T-FlitePower" plug. You can buy cheap throwaway adapters on each flight for something like $25 (these fall into 23 pieces or short out after 3 uses), and travel accessory companies will start selling slightly better made adapters for $75-$150. Dell will add one to your laptop for $250 if you check the correct box on the 8th tab while building it online, but it's ok, because 67% of the time the box will magically be checked by default (people who didn't mean to get one will wonder WTF this this with 3.5 plugs is when they open their UPS box and it will ride around in their laptop bag unused for 4 years).

    Now, when you're on the plane, your outlet will be disabled, and it will take the flight attendant typing in a special code with your seat number to turn it on. You can buy one of these codes with your ticket, or may get one automatically if you purchase a certain fare class, and the reason for the whole thing is to cover the cost of the retrofitting (nevermind that they already increased the base cost of the ticket to help cover this, and the functionality which allows them to turn off individual outlets quadrupled the cost of the retrofit in the first place). Also, please be patient while the flight attendant enters your code... for safety reasons this has to be done after reaching cruising altitude, so on some flights you may be halfway through the flight before you even get power. (No kidding, if you've ever been on Frontier and gotten a DirecTV access code).

    Once you get off the plane, you'll travel down to the baggage claim, where an avalanche of special fireproof containers will come tumbling down the little ramp. Have fun sorting them out with everyone else on the flight who had to check their battery.

    Of course, those of us who don't check bags (I haven't checked a bag in over 10 years and fly 4 segments a week), will just be screwed, but luckily the SkyMall catalog will start selling a cool new device which allows you to pedal up some power for your laptop while in flight! (Eventually, there will be alternatives, such as The Wind Powered Laptop Energy Device" you attach to the overhead air duct, and The Solar Laptop Power Supply which you suction cup to your window and hope you have an AM flight with a starboard window seat on a flight headed due north.)

  • by dontmakemethink ( 1186169 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @04:05PM (#29888259)

    22 fires out of how many millions of flights

    That's still significantly lower than the number of casualties from bomb components that ressembled water bottles, which is why they're banned.

    Fixed that for you.

  • by s2theg ( 1185203 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @04:10PM (#29888327)
    The carriers would be happier to charge you to plug into a laptop electricity port.
  • by NiteShaed ( 315799 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @04:15PM (#29888409)

    And don't think the problem will be isolated to blackberries and laptops carried by business folk. Helicopter-Soccer Mom and Socially Enabled 12-Year Old have cell phones and laptops, too, and those have Li-Ion batteries. Not to mention Electronic-Dependent Cannot Entertain Him/Herself for an hour Child and their ever-present array of Gaming Devices and/or DVD Players. PhotoAmateur Dad always carries his Digicamera or Camcorder. In fact, I think you'd be amazed at how many people DO NOT carry at least one Li-Ion battery in their carryon or on their person today.

    Luckily Overly-Impressed-With-Himself-Slashdot-Poster doesn't have any of these problems since there are no direct flights out of his mom's basement.....

  • Re:They won't (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DavidTC ( 10147 ) <<moc.xobreven> ... .vidavsxd54sals>> on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @04:49PM (#29888949) Homepage

    And how would that be hard to get that much on a plane? It would just take a dozen people buying tickets.

    Not actually getting on the plane, mind you. Just buying tickets on some flight, not even the one they're going to blow up, to get through security.

    Or they could even print fake tickets to get through security. You can't get on a plane with a fake ticket, but you can get through security just fine, as they don't actually check that your home-printed ticket is actually legit. As has been repeatedly pointed out. (You could even use people flying in to transport the stuff.)

    And then they all sit down next to each other at some terminal at the back of the airport, and pass their little baggies to each other. You can think of less noticeable and more convoluted schemes to pass stuff to each other, but, frankly, most waiting areas at airports have seats that face 'backwards' away from any possible onlookers, so really just having them sit next to each other would work. (And you pass clothing backwards.)

    Anyone who thinks this is suspicious has never observed their own behavior at an airport. The very first thing anyone does after sitting down at their terminal is to rearrange their bags (Which were organized weird for security, and now need to be organized for the plane.), often trading items with people who are in their group.

    The last collector then purchases some bottled water, goes to the bathroom, pours it out, and sits on the toilet for ten minutes putting it all together. (If it's a binary explosive, have one guy collect one side, and another guy collect the other, and put it together, and then one person does one more handoff.)

    Meanwhile, all but that person walk happily out of the airport, or, heck, get on their flight.

    Anyone who can't figure out how to get 2 two liters amounts of any liquid, together, behind airport security, is a moron. It's trivially easy. (Although it'd end up being in a plastic bag or something, not a two liter bottle, as those are hard to find at airports, and suspicious for security. 'Luckily', we're supposed to take liter plastic bags through security, and having more than one isn't suspicious.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @04:51PM (#29888987)

    But the people who own the planes aren't making the rules; the government is.

  • by maxwells_deamon ( 221474 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @04:52PM (#29889005) Homepage

    Bring an EMPTY water bottle and fill it with water after you get through the check points. Generally works fine if you put it in your carry on luggage. Some people have reported problems with some guards however ...

    You could also probably buy Vodka at the bar past security and fill it with that as well. :-)

  • by computersareevil ( 244846 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @04:52PM (#29889007)

    You realize that "sheeple" has been in use for more than fifty years? And by such low-brow publications as Emory University's quarterly magazine, and the Wall Street Journal? (I'll let you GTFW yourself for the citation.)

    Summarily dismissing a comment because of a word you don't like is silly, I think.

  • by PitaBred ( 632671 ) <slashdot@NosPam.pitabred.dyndns.org> on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @04:57PM (#29889065) Homepage
    Since when have those rules been about actual risk, instead of perceived risk?
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @05:04PM (#29889153) Journal

    While of course he himself also goes into the line, like everyone else. After all, the alternative is to take a train. That is borderline communist.

  • Re:They won't (Score:3, Insightful)

    by profplump ( 309017 ) <zach-slashjunk@kotlarek.com> on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @05:14PM (#29889285)

    I'd rather not surrender my liquids at all, even if there had already been a bombing using liquid explosives on a plane. It seems absurd to surrender anything until and unless there's decent evidence that some device/material/etc. poses a practical, likely threat.

    The fact that someone planned a liquid-based plane bombing does not make it plausible, and even if it is plausible it does not mean that it poses a statistically significant risk (i.e. that it will happen often enough to be important) or an economically relevant threat (that it's among the cheaper ways to blow up a plane).

    Terrorists are, by definition, irrational from a societal viewpoint, so maybe we shouldn't rely on them to determine what constitutes a valid security policy. I'll take that one step further and suggest letting terrorists define our security policy so directly is a bad plan -- we're giving the terrorist the ability to get anything they want banned from flights just by drawing up a crude plan and getting some patsy caught with it.

  • by pilgrim23 ( 716938 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @05:27PM (#29889489)
    3 generations of people rode airplanes without needing to be subjected to just short of anal probe (coming soon) and we got on fine. Terrorism was as much a threat in 1950 in 1960 in 1970 as it is today yet in those times we walked right up to the plane without hassle. Its all about people control. it has zero to do with your protection. Just consider it as rude and don't fly. seems pretty simple to me
  • by lennier ( 44736 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @06:06PM (#29890107) Homepage

    "The Bill of Rights only guarantees the rights of the People against the Government. There are seperate laws covering what companies may and may not do"

    And that's why Outsourcing and Public/Private Partnerships are such wonderful, wonderful things.

    "It wasn't me - my Global Executive Human Data Resources Acquisition Outcomes Scalable Solution Deliverance Provider did it! That naughty, naughty private company! O how I shall fire them when my office learns of their scallywag exploits, see if I don't! O what a shame that commercial secrecy forbids the democratic process from ever learning the truth!"

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @05:57PM (#29903201) Journal

    >>>I still stand by my opinion that throwing a tantrum

    You just demonstrated yourself to be a fool. If you had bothered to listen to the recording I linked off youtube, then you'd know the young man did NOT throw a tantrum. In fact the way he acted (calm, cool, collected) was admirable, and I hope I act as well if I am ever in that situation.

"Well, it don't make the sun shine, but at least it don't deepen the shit." -- Straiter Empy, in _Riddley_Walker_ by Russell Hoban