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While many of the Israel procedures might be kinda hard to implement in the States or Canada (or elsewhere), there's really a few that really should be looked at. Like the whole containment thing.

"First, the screening area is surrounded by contoured, blast-proof glass that can contain the detonation of up to 100 kilos of plastic explosive. Only the few dozen people within the screening area need be removed, and only to a point a few metres away.

Second, all the screening areas contain 'bomb boxes'. If a screener spots a suspect bag, he/she is trained to pick it up and place it in the box, which is blast proof. A bomb squad arrives shortly and wheels the box away for further investigation."

I mean... you gotta admit. That just makes so much sense.

Consider how many bottles of liquid the TSA confiscates in a day because they might be explosives. Now imagine actually treating each of those as if the agent really believed it was a threat in the style described in the article.

Does this still make sense?

In fairness, I get the feeling the TSA doesn't actually think any of these bottles of liquid are explosives, since they just throw them in the public terminal trash cans.

If they did treat every water bottle as an explosive, then yes, this procedure would make a lot more sense than evacuating the terminal.

I remember reading the TSA manager IAmA on Reddit recently where the guy said that they don't consider all the liquids they confiscate as being dangerous. They do it with the expectation that if they throw away all these liquids as a matter of course then no one will bother trying to bring in any liquids of sufficient mass that are actually explosive.

Exactly - if they don't really think they are explosives, then why are they confiscating them in the first place? Either dispose of them properly or just let people on the plane with bottled water.

They don't think they are explosives. They think they might be precursors to explosives.

It's more subtle than that. They don't think they are explosives. They are merely ensuring that no liquids are taken through security. If no liquids are taken through security then no liquid precursors to explosives are taken through security. What's more, if it is known that no liquids can be taken through security then the bad guys won't even bother to take liquid precursors to explosives through security. This begs a number of questions but, in the meantime, security personnel can throw confiscated liquids into the trash without worrying too much about it.

> What's more, if it is known that no liquids can be taken through security then the bad guys won't even bother to take liquid precursors to explosives through security.

So the bad guys will just find another way to get their precursors through security. TSA's focus on things just forces the bad guys to adapt; instead, it should focus on the bad guys themselves.

> This begs a number of questions

No, it doesn't. It may raise a number of questions, but that's very different than "begging the question", which is a philosophical term for a circular argument. Please stop misusing this phrase and contributing to the general decline in modern English usage.

Language changes and evolves naturally over time, but that doesn't necessarily imply a decline. There's a point at which enough people use a word or phrase incorrectly that it becomes the correct usage (see can vs may). I'd argue that point has definitely been reached when the "incorrect" usage makes it into the dictionary. But the bigger point is that it seems completely ridiculous to think that your particular style of English is somehow the canonical one, and any variance from that standard constitutes a decline. English is composed of so many former errors, bastardizations, and amalgamations of other languages that I don't see how anyone can get too worked up this issue.


Language exists for communication. I consider it a decline when perfectly good idioms must be laid to rest and replaced with newer phrases because widespread misunderstanding and misuse have led to inevitable confusion when the idiom is used in its historically consistent sense.

I know it's fashionable to profess a relativist/descriptivist approach to grammar, but when people use words and idioms in ways inconsistent with their historical meanings, the language is degraded: it becomes more difficult to express ideas that could formerly be expressed quite simply and clearly. When I'm forced to say "That argument assumes as a premise the conclusion it intends to prove" instead of "That begs the question" communication efficiency and accuracy are diminished, and we all suffer for it.

We do not apply a descriptivist approach to our children's language use. If they misuse a word or phrase, we correct them, because we know that their misuse will disadvantage them in pursuing the goal of language, communication. We use a prescriptive approach in elementary school, in middle school, in high school, and in college. There is absolutely no reason why that same prescriptive approach, the one that preserves the utility of language and respects its goal, cannot continue to be used by the world at large. Fashion be damned! Leave your descriptivist ideology in the linguistics department. I care for communication, not ideology.

A fair point. I think it's safe to say that's not the case - they really think it's just water, but let's just say they do treat them as bomb ingredients. Even though binary explosives are inert when separate that still doesn't mean you can just throw them away.

You had it right when you said "They don't think." Should've stopped there.

It would make sense if they actually put some thought into identifying threats, rather than simply confiscating items previously used in thwarted attacks.

This is the part that disappoints me the most, especially after the toner ban. I would expect this from the third world country I came from, where actors win elections because they play likable characters in movies, but not here in the US.

> I would expect this from the third world country I came from, where actors win elections because they play likable characters in movies, but not here in the US.

In that case, I'm going to have to disappoint you about American politics by mentioning Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jerry Springer, Clint Eastwood, Howard Stern, Shirley Temple, Al Franken & co. were all both. I guess I'm less sure about the "likable characters" part, and at least one of those failed to actually get elected (but became an ambassador instead), but even so, I'm only mentioning the more famous ones.

There are quite a few more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:American_actor-politic...

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