Politics 2.0

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Re: Politics 2.0

Postby Owen » Mon Nov 15, 2010 12:45 am

Here's an interesting one - the 'naked' body scanners. For anyone who may not have seen it, these are the new backscatter scanners that allow airport security to see everything beneath your clothes - you can opt not to go through them, but you will get patted down very thoroughly and regulations insist that they feel all the way up the inside of your legs until they meet "resistance". At the moment, I think they're only using them for random checks, probably due to the cost of each machine.

So, worth it? Would you walk through the nudie-scanner? If not, would you submit to the patdown?

Personally, I'm not that bothered about people seeing what I have to offer. I mean, without trying to do myself down, it's just not that interesting :P What I don't like is the way it's becoming increasingly ok for people (not just in airports) to search our belongings, hold us without trial and so on.

The thing that inspired me to post this was this article from the ever-opinionated BoingBoing (...let's just say you know which side of the argument they're on). It's an account of a guy who went to the airport, apparently having checked on the TSA website that they wouldn't be using the scanners. Typically, the website was out of date and they were using them after all, so he refused to go through the scanner and they took him aside to search him. Even after collecting a refund on his plane ticket and trying to leave the airport without catching his plane, they told him they would sue him for $10,000 in fines >.<

He left his iPhone on in his bag, recording the events. There's 12 minutes of video and from what I heard he sounds like he was being a jerk about it, so I can't say I'm 100% sympathetic - skip to about 8:32 in the video, though, and listen to what the TSA agent has to say. I'd love to hear your opinions.
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Re: Politics 2.0

Postby mikekearn » Mon Nov 15, 2010 1:40 am

I'm completely against all these stupid regulations, not because I think they are overly invasive (though they are) but because they're totally pointless. Flying is optional, no one has to do it, so if you don't like what they make you do, then walk, drive, take the bus, ride a bike, or any other way you can manage. When you do fly, though, all of these so-called "security measures" are nothing more than a dog and pony show to try and convince people of safety that isn't there.

I used to have braces, and after that, I had a retainer. That sucker had sharp bits of metal and plastic on it, but they won't stop you for something that is medical in nature. How hard would be it to make a fake one and use it as a weapon? Bam, I just defeated all their security measures.

Or how about this - anyone in the country can get a pilot's license for any reason at all, without needing to pass any kind of security clearance or background check. Once you have your license, you can fly any plane you're certified on out of any airport, including tiny, private airstrips that have, literally, zero security measures aside from maybe a fence. You're supposed to have a flight plan filed with the FAA prior to takeoff, but there's no way they can check that on every airstrip in the country. Just look at Joseph Stack, who owned his own plane and crashed it into an IRS building in a suicide attack over various grievances he had with the government.

It's shit like that which convinces me the security stuff is all bullshit, and I refuse to put up with it. I haven't been on a flight for years, and will continue to not ever fly as long as they keep up this charade with the scanners, "random" searches, profiling, no-fly list, and everything else.
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Re: Politics 2.0

Postby helios » Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:11 am

On nights that I have trouble sleeping, I often enjoy devising ways to defeat airport security, and get weapons and explosives on to the plane.
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Re: Politics 2.0

Postby Owen » Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:12 am

Yeah, that sums it up nicely. The simplest example? They'll take your tweezers off you at security (in case you pluck the pilot into submission) but then you can go through to the duty free zone and load up on cheap booze... because nobody's ever worked out how to use a heavy glass bottle as a weapon. Pilot's license not required - although, as ever, strongly encouraged.
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Re: Politics 2.0

Postby helios » Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:17 am

Mostly these days it involves taking a large laptop, like a Dell or something, and replacing the internals with those from a small netbook. BAM. Storage they're not gonna be checking, unless it's just too light.
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Re: Politics 2.0

Postby mikekearn » Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:01 am

I'm a personal fan of modular assembly. Just break down your weapon into small, innocuous parts. The item as a whole might be dangerous, but the little bits of it are just junk.
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Re: Politics 2.0

Postby helios » Mon Nov 15, 2010 10:16 am

Shall we combine our forces?
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Re: Politics 2.0

Postby Owen » Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:20 pm

^^I'm just envisioning the end of every Power Rangers episode ever, where they all combined their weapons into one really big one that saved the day. Or Betty White in the first episode of Community this season.

Relevant: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/arc ... ed/7057/1/

On another occasion, at LaGuardia, in New York, the transportation-security officer in charge of my secondary screening emptied my carry-on bag of nearly everything it contained, including a yellow, three-foot-by-four-foot Hezbollah flag, purchased at a Hezbollah gift shop in south Lebanon.

The flag features, as its charming main image, an upraised fist clutching an AK-47 automatic rifle. Atop the rifle is a line of Arabic writing that reads Then surely the party of God are they who will be triumphant. The officer took the flag and spread it out on the inspection table. She finished her inspection, gave me back my flag, and told me I could go.

I said, “That’s a Hezbollah flag.” She said, “Uh-huh.” Not “Uh-huh, I’ve been trained to recognize the symbols of anti-American terror groups, but after careful inspection of your physical person, your behavior, and your last name, I’ve come to the conclusion that you are not a Bekaa Valley–trained threat to the United States commercial aviation system,” but “Uh-huh, I’m going on break, why are you talking to me?”
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Re: Politics 2.0

Postby mikekearn » Mon Nov 15, 2010 5:40 pm

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Re: Politics 2.0

Postby the_shankmaster » Tue Nov 16, 2010 5:40 pm

mikekearn wrote:I don't care about health effects (what people want to do to themselves is their business) but I do care about the mind-altering effects. I think tobacco is about on par with caffeine for that - it's a stimulant, after all. Alcohol, though, impairs your brain's functions, which marijuana can also do. Therefore it should be regulated the same way. You should be allowed to buy it and consume as much as you want in private, but driving while stoned should be the same as driving while drunk as far as punishments go. That sort of thing.

I'm not saying everything should be legalized, but I think the massive restrictions on most drugs are ridiculous.


I don't think "well, alcohol is just as bad, and it's legal" is a good argument for making another bad thing legal. I can see stoned driving becoming as big as drunk driving if marajauna were legalized, because people would have more access to it and more freedom to use it away from home. Think of how many people die because of drunk drivers. I would love for alcohol to be illegal, but I've accepted that it won't happen. We tried it and it didnt' work, but I think making more bad things legal just because they're similar in nature (but not in history!) isn't the way to go.
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