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Author Topic: The TSA
Geraine
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This just in... Nuns and 3 year old girls are potential terrorists. Muslim women? NEVER!

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ac/20101117/cm_ac/7207238_congressional_republicans_to_investigate_tsa_airport_security_practices

quote:
One ought not to be the party that is in favor of nuns and 3-year-old girls being felt up by security guards while Secretary Napolitano is seriously considering an exemption for Muslim women in order to be more sensitive to Islamic beliefs.
Meh. I know the exemption will never happen, but the fact that they are even considering it is frustrating.

I don't mind the full body scanners, but I think it is important to note that it is just skin deep. If someone wanted to stick something in certain crevices or have a bomb surgically implanted in their body a la Dark Knight, the machines (and pat downs) won't pick them up.

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CT
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
The radiation exposure would be my concern as well. Being seen distortedly naked wouldn't bother me.

Of note, the radiation exposure of such scans is added to the radiation exposure in flight. I don't think there is as general an awareness of this as there should be. With certain average assumptions, if you fly for 40 hours in a year, you are at about 1/4 the yearly maximum radiation exposure for a radiology technician in the US.

---

Edited to add:
I see this was already brought up:

quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
If you are worried about the radiation dose your little girls would get from the scanners, you should be >100 times more worried about the radiation dose from flying.


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scholarette
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From flying, I see a clear benefit so willing to go with it. But for the scanner, I am unconvinced that the scanner has any benefit at all (might even make less safe as people assume it will catch things when it won't so less vigilant in other areas). So, it is taking a risk when no gain versus taking a risk with a gain.
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Mucus
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There's a summary of the back and forth between the TSA and some professors at UCSF on this here
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2010/11/17/whats-the-real-radiation-risk-of-the-tsas-full-body-x-ray-scans/

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CT
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Great link.

For making me laugh out loud, I love comment #5.

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Samprimary
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I get more radiation from living at altitude than the tsa scanners will p..

*mutates horribly*

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The Rabbit
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It is so freaking difficult to get accurate information on this.

quote:
Of the 68 airports scanning for explosives, 30 are using millimeter-wave scanners that donít use X-rays at all; they hit the surface of the body with safer radio waves. If the TSA committed to using only this type of equipment, it could avoid the safety concerns regarding the X-ray full body scanners completely
So apparently less than half the airports using full body scanners are using the THz scanners I referred to above, the rest are in fact using x-ray scattering.

The explanation TSA gives for not using the safer THz technology everywhere sounds for all the world like someone in power is on the payroll of x-ray scanner manufacturers. I can't think of a single legitimate reason for using the x-ray scanners given that there is a safer option currently available that is equally effective.

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Samprimary
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Most of the current TSA system appears to some to be primarily the result of a spoils system of sorts, anyway.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Most of the current TSA system appears to some to be primarily the result of a spoils system of sorts, anyway.

explain.
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AvidReader
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Thanks for the explainations, Rabbit and CT.

quote:
So apparently less than half the airports using full body scanners are using the THz scanners I referred to above, the rest are in fact using x-ray scattering.
And now I have my explanation for why they aren't talking about it. "Half the time it's really safe. The other it's mostly safe." [Wink]
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Most of the current TSA system appears to some to be primarily the result of a spoils system of sorts, anyway.

explain.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2010-11-22-scanner-lobby_N.htm

The scanner makers have lobbied for lucre. What happened to the chemsniffers we could be using? Didn't have the same connections.

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Samprimary
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Odd circumstance: five minutes after I posted that link, it was visually displayed and talked about on 9 news.
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Mucus
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Adam Savage: TSA saw my junk, missed 12" razor blades

Hee

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scholarette
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Mythbuster should totally do an episode to see what all they can get through on purpose.
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Geraine
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Uh Oh....

http://www.dailysquib.co.uk/?c=124&a=2389


quote:
Airport officials at Denver International airport were on high alert yesterday when a full body scanner operator was caught masturbating in his booth as a team of High School netball players went through the scanner.
One question....Could this be considered child porn?
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Mucus
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Well. The other stories the website has on the side might be more interesting.
quote:
U.S. to Mint Weimar Republic Dollars
WASHINGTON DC - USA - The Federal Reserve is going to change its currency to depict images from Germany's Weimar Republic, Timothy Geithner, secretary of the...

quote:
Obama Wins Second Nobel Peace Prize
OSLO - Norway - President Barack Obama has won his second Nobel Peace Prize in less than two years, the Nobel Peace Prize panel has announced.

Although I think this kind of thing is inevitable, this specific report may be less than reliable.

Edit to add:
Expert Opinion

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by scholarette:
Mythbuster should totally do an episode to see what all they can get through on purpose.

Almost certainly legally actionable.
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Lisa
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"Junk Science: Determining how many people the TSA can fondle in an hour."
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CT
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I've been seeing reference to a report that a woman was "lifted off her heels" (or something like that) during a manual body search. I don't get it -- it's awfully hard to physically lift an adult that way. It sounds more to me like she stood up on her toes in reaction to the hand -- is that what she meant? Was I misreading the light in which this was being presented?
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MrSquicky
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It's a little old, but it's still good: KNIVES, TANKS, WHALES ó AIRPORT SCREENERS NOW FAILING TO CATCH ANYTHING
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Geraine:
Uh Oh....

http://www.dailysquib.co.uk/?c=124&a=2389


quote:
Airport officials at Denver International airport were on high alert yesterday when a full body scanner operator was caught masturbating in his booth as a team of High School netball players went through the scanner.
One question....Could this be considered child porn?
Yeah, uh, you know that's a joke site, right?
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kmbboots
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Phew. I am also worried about that whale being out of water for so long.
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Geraine
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by Geraine:
Uh Oh....

http://www.dailysquib.co.uk/?c=124&a=2389


quote:
Airport officials at Denver International airport were on high alert yesterday when a full body scanner operator was caught masturbating in his booth as a team of High School netball players went through the scanner.
One question....Could this be considered child porn?
Yeah, uh, you know that's a joke site, right?
Yes Samp, I know it is a joke site. Just trying to bring a little humor to the discussion. I didn't think some one would take it seriously. [Roll Eyes]
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Samprimary
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I don't know! It has happened here recently and I have watched five people think that was real!
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CT
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Exactly. It is amazing how many people will believe the ridiculous, so long as it can be conceived of as reinforcing their preconceptions.
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Geraine
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
I don't know! It has happened here recently and I have watched five people think that was real!

I'll give you that. We should create a "code word" to indicate a joke post [Razz]
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Sean Monahan
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quote:
Originally posted by Geraine:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
I don't know! It has happened here recently and I have watched five people think that was real!

I'll give you that. We should create a "code word" to indicate a joke post [Razz]
Poe. Though that's not much of a code.
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rivka
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He was 21, and not acting as an agent of a large corporation. Betcha they'd go after Mythbusters WAY harder.
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Samprimary
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Ah, I'd like to update my postulation about spoils being part of this.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Owns The Company Who Makes Those Nude TSA Scanners. Uses his connections to 'convince' his former colleagues why they are necessary.

quote:
like most government scandals, follow the money. Guess which company owns a large manufacturer of backscatter x-ray devices? Give up? The Chertoff Group, which is a security consulting agency run by former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. Thatís right, in the wake of the Christmas Day bomber, Chertoff has been pushing for more and more of these full body image scanners and itís no wonder considering that this is going to put a large chunk of money in his pocket. Go figure!
Oh, Department of Homeland Security, never change.

Wait, no. Get bent, get absorbed back into a better planned federal agency, and get rid of your stupid terror alert system thanks

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BlackBlade
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*sigh*
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Mucus
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Yeah, that was used to great effect in the Taiwanese video [Smile]
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Geraine
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There was an expert on the radio last night talking about what the scanners could and couldn't see. Anything taped to your body, stuck in a crevice, or inside of your body are completely undetectable by the new scanners.

I wish we would just invest in bomb sniffing dogs and be done with it.

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Geraine:
There was an expert on the radio last night talking about what the scanners could and couldn't see. Anything taped to your body, stuck in a crevice, or inside of your body are completely undetectable by the new scanners.

I wish we would just invest in bomb sniffing dogs and be done with it.

Too bad the best bomb sniffing dog ever created isn't available outside of Russia.

Link.

The article doesn't explicitly say so, but a documentary on dog breeding I watched recently discussed how despite many requests for pups, the man in charge of creating the breed doesn't have plans to sell any.

I'm not sure if it's because he does not think they are done yet, or if its simply a matter of there not being enough of them around for a reliable breeding pool.

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theamazeeaz
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So it turns out that people aren't that upset with security today:

http://www.cnn.com/2010/TRAVEL/11/24/national.opt.out.day/index.html?hpt=C1

Go figure.

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Geraine
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by Geraine:
There was an expert on the radio last night talking about what the scanners could and couldn't see. Anything taped to your body, stuck in a crevice, or inside of your body are completely undetectable by the new scanners.

I wish we would just invest in bomb sniffing dogs and be done with it.

Too bad the best bomb sniffing dog ever created isn't available outside of Russia.

Link.

The article doesn't explicitly say so, but a documentary on dog breeding I watched recently discussed how despite many requests for pups, the man in charge of creating the breed doesn't have plans to sell any.

I'm not sure if it's because he does not think they are done yet, or if its simply a matter of there not being enough of them around for a reliable breeding pool.

That's too bad. I know that dogs are used for checked luggage. The guy on the radio said the dogs are usually trained to sit when they find something suspicious. When the pups are doing rounds in checked luggage areas they are trained to paw, as sitting could result in their tails being stuck in the belts, resulting in injury.

It was pretty interesting. It is amazing what dogs can do with a little training. [Smile]

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BlackBlade
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These Russian dogs were trained to sit first and then bark once. If they just sit, the handler waits and will not reward them until they back. They are then moved and a second dog is taken past the same piece of luggage for confirmation. If the second dog confirms it, they cordon off the area and call the bomb squad.

It really is amazing that while almost all dogs descend from wolves, something like 90% of all current breeds originated in the past 180 years or so. Dogs apparently have a very flexible genetic code.

edit: Even dependency on humans has been bred into them. This documentary showed an experiment where a piece of meat was placed on a board inside a cage, and a rope was tied to the board. Wolves and dogs both easily figured out by grasping the rope with their jaws they could pull the board out of the cage. When presented with the same problem only this time the board was tied down to the cage so it couldn't be pulled out, wolves would toil and struggle to figure out another way, where as dogs would try for about a minute then retreat and look up at the human looking for help.

They did another experiment where they in plain sight of the dog placed two pieces of meet in two buckets on either side of an assistant. Then before releasing the dog the assistant would point to one of the buckets. Dogs, without fail, would go to the indicated bucket and ignore the other, wolves completely ignored whichever bucket was pointed to, and simply went to the bucket they wanted first.

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Misha McBride
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
These Russian dogs were trained to sit first and then bark once. If they just sit, the handler waits and will not reward them until they back. They are then moved and a second dog is taken past the same piece of luggage for confirmation. If the second dog confirms it, they cordon off the area and call the bomb squad.

It really is amazing that while almost all dogs descend from wolves, something like 90% of all current breeds originated in the past 180 years or so. Dogs apparently have a very flexible genetic code.

edit: Even dependency on humans has been bred into them. This documentary showed an experiment where a piece of meat was placed on a board inside a cage, and a rope was tied to the board. Wolves and dogs both easily figured out by grasping the rope with their jaws they could pull the board out of the cage. When presented with the same problem only this time the board was tied down to the cage so it couldn't be pulled out, wolves would toil and struggle to figure out another way, where as dogs would try for about a minute then retreat and look up at the human looking for help.

They did another experiment where they in plain sight of the dog placed two pieces of meet in two buckets on either side of an assistant. Then before releasing the dog the assistant would point to one of the buckets. Dogs, without fail, would go to the indicated bucket and ignore the other, wolves completely ignored whichever bucket was pointed to, and simply went to the bucket they wanted first.

If you have Netflix or any other way to access Nova episodes you should really look up the one called Dogs Decoded. It aired earlier this month and it talks about how dogs can read human specific body language as well as other communication (wolves can't) and humans apparently have the ability to understand dogs as well. Its incredibly fascinating.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Misha McBride:
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
These Russian dogs were trained to sit first and then bark once. If they just sit, the handler waits and will not reward them until they back. They are then moved and a second dog is taken past the same piece of luggage for confirmation. If the second dog confirms it, they cordon off the area and call the bomb squad.

It really is amazing that while almost all dogs descend from wolves, something like 90% of all current breeds originated in the past 180 years or so. Dogs apparently have a very flexible genetic code.

edit: Even dependency on humans has been bred into them. This documentary showed an experiment where a piece of meat was placed on a board inside a cage, and a rope was tied to the board. Wolves and dogs both easily figured out by grasping the rope with their jaws they could pull the board out of the cage. When presented with the same problem only this time the board was tied down to the cage so it couldn't be pulled out, wolves would toil and struggle to figure out another way, where as dogs would try for about a minute then retreat and look up at the human looking for help.

They did another experiment where they in plain sight of the dog placed two pieces of meet in two buckets on either side of an assistant. Then before releasing the dog the assistant would point to one of the buckets. Dogs, without fail, would go to the indicated bucket and ignore the other, wolves completely ignored whichever bucket was pointed to, and simply went to the bucket they wanted first.

If you have Netflix or any other way to access Nova episodes you should really look up the one called Dogs Decoded. It aired earlier this month and it talks about how dogs can read human specific body language as well as other communication (wolves can't) and humans apparently have the ability to understand dogs as well. Its incredibly fascinating.
I think that's the one I'm talking about.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
edit: Even dependency on humans has been bred into them. This documentary showed an experiment where a piece of meat was placed on a board inside a cage, and a rope was tied to the board. Wolves and dogs both easily figured out by grasping the rope with their jaws they could pull the board out of the cage. When presented with the same problem only this time the board was tied down to the cage so it couldn't be pulled out, wolves would toil and struggle to figure out another way, where as dogs would try for about a minute then retreat and look up at the human looking for help.

They did another experiment where they in plain sight of the dog placed two pieces of meet in two buckets on either side of an assistant. Then before releasing the dog the assistant would point to one of the buckets. Dogs, without fail, would go to the indicated bucket and ignore the other, wolves completely ignored whichever bucket was pointed to, and simply went to the bucket they wanted first.

I have some serious doubts about these experiments unless they some how accounted for the fact the dogs will usually have had significant human interaction and wolves will not. Unless the dogs had been isolated from humans from birth until the experiment or the wolves had been raised in a human family, I think the experiments were critically flawed.
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BlackBlade
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Rabbit: I believe the wolves were raised in a kennel.
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Misha McBride
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
edit: Even dependency on humans has been bred into them. This documentary showed an experiment where a piece of meat was placed on a board inside a cage, and a rope was tied to the board. Wolves and dogs both easily figured out by grasping the rope with their jaws they could pull the board out of the cage. When presented with the same problem only this time the board was tied down to the cage so it couldn't be pulled out, wolves would toil and struggle to figure out another way, where as dogs would try for about a minute then retreat and look up at the human looking for help.

They did another experiment where they in plain sight of the dog placed two pieces of meet in two buckets on either side of an assistant. Then before releasing the dog the assistant would point to one of the buckets. Dogs, without fail, would go to the indicated bucket and ignore the other, wolves completely ignored whichever bucket was pointed to, and simply went to the bucket they wanted first.

I have some serious doubts about these experiments unless they some how accounted for the fact the dogs will usually have had significant human interaction and wolves will not. Unless the dogs had been isolated from humans from birth until the experiment or the wolves had been raised in a human family, I think the experiments were critically flawed.
They did do those experiments, where just weaned dog puppies responded to the pointing and wolf puppies did not. Also they raised wolf pups with human families and those wolves did not respond to training or gestures the way dog puppies did.
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Samprimary
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Yup. Wolves are not domesticated animals; you can't raise them in a human environment and expect that this will allow them to be pets.
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martha
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I honestly don't care what they do with scanner images of me, or whether they feel me up. I'm concerned about radiation, but more so with flying in general than with these new scanners.

A friend who flew recently opted out of the scanner and reported that the woman who did her pat-down seemed uncomfortable and kept apologizing (although my friend was fine with it). That story made me realize that the option that involves frisking qualifies as sexual harassment *of TSA employees*, regardless of how the traveler might feel. We get the choice of radiation or being felt up; they get the choice of feeling people up (all day every day) or being out of a job! If that's not sexual harassment, I don't know what is.

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MrSquicky
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I'm mostly concerned about the TSA being focused on security theater and funneling money to people who know who to bribe than it is on actually protecting us. If I had any reason to believe that these scanners are necessary, my feelings would be different, but I have no confidence that they are.
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Hobbes
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Where does the radiation in flying come from? Is it just the higher altitudes?

Hobbes [Smile]

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Juxtapose
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Pretty much, yeah.
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The Rabbit
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I find it interesting that people use the phrase, "Pretty much, yeah" to mean
"Yes, absolutley and entirely".

[ November 25, 2010, 08:39 AM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

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fugu13
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quote:
they get the choice of feeling people up (all day every day) or being out of a job! If that's not sexual harassment, I don't know what is.
By this logic, going to get a physical from a doctor is sexually harassing that doctor. Granted, the TSA people weren't necessarily as aware of the possibility when they signed up, but there have been some form of pat downs the whole time they've existed.
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rivka
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I agree with fugu. Calling that sexual harassment dilutes the phrase to complete uselessness.
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Miro
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It's a part of my job (though very rare) to do frisks/patdowns. I've had them done on me during training. It's not fun, but it's not sexual harassment, either.
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