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airport security

Jeanne Boyarsky
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Serious question part: When you fly, they randomly pull people aside for extra security screenings. This can include a number of things such as inspecting your bag more thoroughly, a pat down, lthe human xray or swabbing your baggage to see if it has any chemicals. When my mother flew out of Southwest in San Diego, she got a different/additional thing. They ran some sort of chemical over her palm. I was trying to search online to see if I could find out more about what this is. Does anyone know what the process is called (or anything more detailed I could search on)?

MD part: While looking for the answer, I did run across an adorable security video. It shows the following characters going through security with assorted problems:
  • panda (San Diego Zoo)
  • Lego man (LegoLand)
  • Padres mascot (San Diego baseball team)
  • Shamu (Sea World)


  • It was adorable and kept my attention the full four minutes. I can't believe they made their own video. And it reads like a tourist advertisement for San Diego!


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    Pat Farrell
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    Just a guess, but perhaps they were looking for glycerin, which is used to make assorted explosives.

    Funny, is your mom a young angry middle-eastern guy? They are usually the ones "profiled" and detained, harassed, and bothered.

    Of course, for a non-MD discussion of "airport security theater" see Schneier's site.
    Deepak Bala
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    I like the shark guy from the video


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    Jeanne Boyarsky
    author & internet detective
    Marshal

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    Pat Farrell wrote:Just a guess, but perhaps they were looking for glycerin, which is used to make assorted explosives.

    I'm sure they were. I was surprised they were using something liquidlike to do so rather than the puffer. On further research, wikipedia says the puffer was discontinued. I did find a reference to a spray, but not much detail. Not sure if that's it. Sounds like it seeing how Schneier mentioned it last year.

    Pat Farrell wrote:Funny, is your mom a young angry middle-eastern guy? They are usually the ones "profiled" and detained, harassed, and bothered.

    This was random equal opportunity bothering.

    Deepak Bala wrote:I like the shark guy from the video

    That's actually a killer whale, not a shark. Killer whales are mammals and featured at Sea World.
    Deepak Bala
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    That's actually a killer whale, not a shark. Killer whales are mammals and featured at Sea World.


    Well it looked like a shark to me. I ll try to ask him when I see him at the airport.
    Mike Simmons
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      10
    Nah - sharks aren't allowed past the security checkpoints anymore.
    Ulf Dittmer
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    Nice video. Did I understand correctly that everybody still must take off their shoes all the time? Sigh...


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    Jeanne Boyarsky
    author & internet detective
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    Ulf Dittmer wrote:Nice video. Did I understand correctly that everybody still must take off their shoes all the time? Sigh...

    Yeah. That's old hat. It's been like that for a long time now. In other words, they've trained us to get used to it. Do I understand that in Germany you *don't* have to remove your shoes?

    Going through security is a blast. When I travel for work I have:

  • coat
  • sweatshirt
  • shoes
  • suitcase or backpack (depending on length of trip)
  • laptop case
  • laptop (imagine scanning it while still in the bag) - I bought the case where you can unzip it and leave the laptop in the case which I will use for the first time this month - but you still have an unzipped laptop to watch
  • a loose bag with food to eat on the plane because they don't give out food on the plane anymore
  • something else I can't think of - I always count before/after security and get to 8 things


  • Oh yeah - and remember to keep your possessions with you at all times. Nobody can keep track of this much stuff!
    Jeanne Boyarsky
    author & internet detective
    Marshal

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    Deepak Bala wrote:Well it looked like a shark to me. I ll try to ask him when I see him at the airport.

    It does look like a shark. They are relying on outside knowledge.
    Jeanne Boyarsky
    author & internet detective
    Marshal

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    Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:
  • something else I can't think of - I always count before/after security and get to 8 things

  • Of course - the baggie with the toothpaste and the like. It was even featured in that commercial.
    Mike Simmons
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    Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:
    Deepak Bala wrote:Well it looked like a shark to me. I ll try to ask him when I see him at the airport.

    It does look like a shark. They are relying on outside knowledge.

    Mm, I don't think so. I'm sure it's easier for people familiar with San Diego, Sea World, and Shamu. But it's also clear to anyone who's seen pictures of killer whales (orcas) - the coloration is completely different. There's no way the creature in the video was supposed to be a shark. One might as well confuse a panda with a grizzly bear (and those are much closer, in reality). I mean, a dolphin looks much, much more like a shark than a killer whale does. Or a porpoise. Yes, these distinctions are not obvious to people who have never seen the animals in question - but I don't think it's "outside knowledge" so much as "basic knowledge of large marine life". Heck, a squid and an octopus are closer than those two, in terms of what they look like.

    For the benefit of those who are not familiar with killer whales: they eat sharks for breakfast. And lunch, and dinner. With some fava beans and a nice chianti. (OK, slight overstatement there, but still...) They're also quite smart, among the smarted creatures on the planet, which makes them trainable for shows at Sea World. But they also hunt in packs, as well as solo. A single orca is often capable of killing even a great white shark. These are not animals you want to mess with.

    Deepak Bala
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    mmm I have seen killer whales but I still attach that image with a shark.

    I mean, a dolphin looks much, much more like a shark than a killer whale does


    No it doesnt

    With cartoons / props it is a harder to make that distinction. From google images

    Shark:



    Killer whale:

    Mike Simmons
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    Got a comparably simplistic dolphin image? Dolphins are grey and white. Sharks are grey and white. Orcas are, very very obviously, black and white.
    Mike Simmons
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    That might sound like a subtle distinction, but it really isn't. It's intensely obvious if you look at the pictures. It's even obvious in the cartoons you posted. Come on, find an image from anywhere (that existed prior to this post) showing a dolphin with black-and-white markings. I dare you.
    Deepak Bala
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    Mike Simmons wrote:Got a comparably simplistic dolphin image? Dolphins are grey and white. Sharks are grey and white. Orcas are, very very obviously, black and white.


    This comparison is based on their color. Dolphins and sharks do not look alike when it comes to their shape.

    It's even obvious in the cartoons you posted. Come on, find an image from anywhere (that existed prior to this post) showing a dolphin with black-and-white markings. I dare you.


    I never said dolphins look black and white.

    The interpretation is not really as objective as you think it is. However because I called the dude (it could also be a dudette) a shark does not mean I do not posses "basic knowledge of large marine life". The comparison is far more easier if someone is shown real images of killer whales Vs sharks Vs dolphins.
    Pat Farrell
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    Mike Simmons wrote:Got a comparably simplistic dolphin image? Dolphins are grey and white.

    Which dolphin? There are at least two kinds, the marine mammals and the dolphin fish.
    Ulf Dittmer
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    Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:Do I understand that in Germany you *don't* have to remove your shoes?

    Indeed. Nor anywhere else in Europe that I know of, or have flown to in the last few years (not even in the UK where they're more security-paranoid than elsewhere).
    Mike Simmons
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    Pat Farrell wrote:
    Mike Simmons wrote:Got a comparably simplistic dolphin image? Dolphins are grey and white.

    Which dolphin? There are at least two kinds, the marine mammals and the dolphin fish.

    The answer would seem to be obvious. The mammals, of course. The ones that have a big dorsal fin making them look superfically like sharks. (More than orcas do, anyway.) Not mahi mahi. Also not the anglicized version of a feudal title in France. Are there others you need me to rule out for you? ;)

    Deepak Bala wrote:This comparison is based on their color. Dolphins and sharks do not look alike when it comes to their shape.

    Nor do sharks and orcas, really. I stand by assertion that sharks and dolphins look more alike than do sharks and orcas. Also, in the video we're looking at a human in a suit, whose shape doesn't look much like any of these animals, other than having a fake dorsal fin. The colors however are a big clue that the suit is supposed to represent an orca. Just as, in your chosen cartoons, neither form looks much like a real shark or orca - but the colors make it really obvious which is which.
    Deepak Bala
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    Just as, in your chosen cartoons, neither form looks much like a real shark or orca - but the colors make it really obvious which is which.


    I am sticking to my guns. The colors do not help reveal what creature it is. mmm... I ll send out these pics to people around me and check what responses I get.
    Mike Simmons
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    Should be interesting.

    One thing I should add - when I referred to dolphins, I was thinking of bottlenose dolphins specifically. Other species look less similar to sharks.
    Muse Ran
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    can't you skip this security check by any ways...
    find some alternate way and pass thru... or talk with someone over mobile and dont give attension to the security officer and pass the gate



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    Mike Simmons
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    Well, sure. With a plan that clever, I can't imagine how it could possibly fail - give it a try!

    On the off chance that one of them does stop you, be sure to make a lot of jokes about how you're really carrying a bomb. They love that sort of humor.
    Henry Wong
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    Mike Simmons wrote:On the off chance that one of them does stop you, be sure to make a lot of jokes about how you're really carrying a bomb. They love that sort of humor.


    Of course, Mike is kidding -- obvious point, but you never know.

    A tour guide once told me that, one of his charges made that same joke while crossing into the Czech Republic. The whole group (bus) was held for a few hours.

    Henry


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    Mike Simmons
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    Party pooper.
    Jeanne Boyarsky
    author & internet detective
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    Mike: It's a cartoon animal. It could be almost anything. Your assertion is fine too

    Ulf: Lucky! The shoe thing is silly if your shoes are think anywya. Security theatre.

    Muse: They even have signs saying not to.
    Andrew Monkhouse
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    Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:... if your shoes are think anywya.

    You have thinking shoes? Are these like the Adidas intelligent shoe?


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    Pat Farrell
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    Mike Simmons wrote: They love that sort of humor.

    Sort of like the US Secret Service. Those guys don't even know the meaning of a sense of humor.

    Ever see one of their motorcades? With all the black Suburbans? Know what's in each of those Suburbans? Four guys each armed with machine guns.
    Jeanne Boyarsky
    author & internet detective
    Marshal

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    Andrew Monkhouse wrote:
    Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:... if your shoes are think anywya.

    You have thinking shoes? Are these like the Adidas intelligent shoe?

    . "thin anyway"
     
    Don't get me started about those stupid light bulbs.
     
    subject: airport security