I still firmly believe that any TSA employee who doesn't want to be a part of this should refuse to, just as any traveller should refuse to go through the machine. But, there need not be drama. In fact, I'd say that refusal without drama and in public has a more powerful effect than any verbal argument might.
The lack of self-righteousness in the story was extremely refreshing.
As the author said: "Information, properly delivered, is power." Emphasis mine.
I ask this simply because anti-X activists have pushed junk science claims of the form "X causes CANCER" many times , so I'm a little dubious. I don't think fighting civil liberties violations with junk science is a useful tactic, if that is indeed what is happening here.
 For example, feminists pushed the "silicone gel implants cause breast cancer", anti-bioscience types push "GMO foods cause cancer". Drug warriors have pushed "pot causes cancer" and anti-abortion crusaders pushed "abortion causes cancer".
Ordinarily I'd (enthusiastically) go along with the standard that this implies: until proven otherwise, you ought to be able to do what you want with your body (and maybe even after it's proven unhealthy).
This situation is different. Because the crucial element of personal choice has been removed, the burden of proof must shift 180 degrees. It is incumbent on those forcing the test on us to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that there's no danger involved. And when there may be dangers (as with the woman in the OP who had been told to avoid X-rays), it's also responsibility of the authorities to provide work-arounds.
EDIT: fixed "healthy" in 1st para to "unhealthy" -- oops.
The majority of their energy is delivered to the skin and the underlying tissue.Thus, while the dose would be safe if it were distributed throughout the volume of the entire body, the dose to the skin may be dangerously high.
This statement is very shady. When a photon interacts with a cell, it has a certain (small) probability of causing a carcinogenic mutation. The probability that the radiation is safe is (1-P)^N, where N is the number of interactions . The fact that it is all deposited in the skin is irrelevant to leading order , this simply makes skin cancer more likely than breast or liver cancer.
I.e., if the dose in the form of a chest x-ray caused a 1e-9 chance of skin cancer and 1e-9 chance of breast cancer, it instead causes a 2e-9 chance of skin cancer with comparably reduced breast cancer risk.
 I'm ignoring high field (nonlinear) effects, since if the field were strong enough to cause them, it would probably also vaporize the person being scanned.
 It's actually a good thing since many skin cells are dead or will soon die, and thus carcinogenic mutations will harm them less.
I'm also no expert, but surely there is a risk of more significant, irreparable genetic damage accumulating if several photons interact with the same skin cell, as opposed to those same photons interacting with several different cells throughout the body?
Well they are, so perhaps we should give their word a bit more credibility than yours?
But I guess it's much easier to criticize me for being a mathematical physicist rather than a medical doctor. After all, finding flaws in an argument takes work!
Well, X-rays cause cancer. BS uses X-rays So it is a cancer risk.
And it is a little more founded than someone randomly saying' this causes cancer'.
In terms of risk...
This says dental x-rays are about 2-3 mrem:
This says BS is about .006-.009 mrem:
Keep in mind that under certain models (the 'no-threshold model'), any amount of exposure (even a tiny amount) to an X-ray is a slight increase in the chance that that person will get cancer.
Now you might think that because dental x-rays are about 300 times more powerful than BS, dental x-rays have a much higher chance to cause cancer. Sure, individually, my chances of getting cancer from a BS are much lower than my chances of getting cancer from a dental x-ray. It is even higher from daily background radiation, or from the radiation that you get from flying in an airplane.
But everything is about context. How many people fly each day? 2 million or so? How many people do we propose to put through the BS machine? All of them? (I assume the intent is to eventually replace the metal detectors with these). If you are putting 2 million people through the BS each day, that is actually large amount of radiation exposure. Probabilistically, someone will get cancer from the BS.
There are certain types of radiation that you can avoid (x-raying your foot for fun! backscatter machines), and there are certain types of radiation that you cannot avoid (background cosmic).
I don't see how the argument that it is 'nothing' in comparison to other forms of radiation really stands up, in that I could potentially avoid backscatter radiation, whereas I couldn't conceivably avoid the other types.
(This doesn't take into account other real issues, like 'what if the machine breaks down and we start blasting people with focused beams of radiation'... while trained to run the machine, I doubt that the TSA people are trained to maintain the machine, or would even know if something had gone horribly wrong with it).
What if my flashlight breaks down and I start blasting people with focused beams of laser light? What if my cell phone breaks down and the microwaves melt the brains of everyone within 6 feet of me?
I don't know a great deal about the engineering of MWBS, but I see no reason to believe that your fear is any more likely than mine. Most machines just don't work that way. Do you have evidence that MWBS is different?
With a backscatter x-ray system, the person stays motionless and the x-ray source moves. If the x-ray source stops moving, the person receives an excessive dose wherever the source happens to be pointing when it gets stuck. The dose received is, again, a function of how long it takes for the operator to notice the malfunction.
With a microwave backscatter system, the radiation used is in the RF range and, therefore, not ionizing. However, if the microwave source stops moving because of malfunction, a portion of the body experiences higher than normal SAR. If the SAR is high enough, significant localized heating may occur, causing burns on the person.
As long as the backscatter machine doesn't run on Double A's, my fears are actually more reasonable than yours.
The backscatter machine presumably uses some sort of electrical plug to connect to power. It isn't inconceivable that it could receive more power than intended and produce more x-rays, or that something could go wrong with the shielding allowing x-rays to leak, or that something could go wrong with the x-ray bulb and we could produce the wrong type of radiation.
And it doesn't have to be 'burning your head off' to be a problem, it could simple produce an order of magnitude or two more radiation than intended, and be a health risk.
Look, I'm not saying your fear is physically impossible. I'm just saying I can't think of a very many machines (radiation sources or otherwise) for which anything similar is a plausible fear. Most machines simply stop working when used outside their operating parameters.
Also, do you really think that if the backscattering machine emitted the wrong type of radiation (x-rays of a different frequency), the TSA agent operating the scanner wouldn't notice when his screen went blank (unless the detectors simultaneously malfunctioned to pick up the incorrect frequency)?
Your desk lamp doesn't emit X-Rays, you don't force droves of people to stand underneath it, and no oncologists ever told me to be wary of your desk lamp until it has received further study.
So, yeah. Not the same thing. Not even remotely. In fact, your analogy is a bit silly.
Medical radiation machines deliver 45-80 Gy. The backscattered x-ray machine delivers 1e-7 Gy, if I've got my math right. That's roughly the difference between a punch and a nuclear bomb.
The fact that a cell killing radiation cannon malfunctioned and killed someone does not imply that an illumination device billions of times weaker could do the same thing. Similarly, a laser scalpel will kill you if you shine it on the wrong place. A flashlight won't.
The burden of proof of safety lies with the TSA and scanner manufacturers.
Are the scanners designed or even capable of doing the same?
What evidence do you have that it is actually not possible for the machines to dangerously malfunction, and how much confidence can actually be placed in it? Those telling us it is safe don't have entirely clean hands on the topic, they've lied about other things like picture retention policies and capabilities before.
You're making an appeal to incredulity. I would not actually be that incredulous to discover that the machines do indeed have some sort of flaw that would permit them to blast out more radiation than intended. After all, it's happened before. That said, I don't necessarily consider it likely, either, what I find far more problematic is that this is merely one consistent piece in a larger puzzle of unconcern about the real safety of the public.
For the same reasons we ought to be able to examine our voting machines, we ought to be able to examine these machines.
A smaller radiation source, like that of an x-ray backscattering scanner, does not need to have a "deadly radiation" mode. And it's highly unlikely that a hardware failure can accidentally turn "10x weaker than chest x-ray" mode into "deadly radiation mode". The more likely failure mode will be something along the lines of "6x weaker than chest x-ray mode".
It's just highly unlikely that any device will accidentally emit millions to billions of times more energy than it was designed to.
Again, not really worried about this, I'm more concerned by the blithe acceptance of the idea that nothing can possible go wrong.
(Yes, this is quibbling about what was probably just an error in definition; I think your comments are right as applied to backscatter X-ray scanners. But if we keep our language straight, our arguments against these blasted things will be that much harder to dismiss.)
The concerns raised in the UCSF letter are strained beyond belief. Further, a number of points (like the breast-cancer bullet point) are clearly there to influence emotions rather than critical reasoning.
I'll just explain this one. As the UCSF letter states, the radiation is being deposited on a volume smaller than usual by a factor possibly as large as "one to two orders of magnitude". That means that at absolute worst this is like radiation dose of 1 mrem (still less than the flight tiny compared to your yearly dose), and that's assuming that all of the risk of cosmic radiation comes from skin cancer (which is wildly wrong).
there are so many issues swirling around this subject- privacy, security, safety, fear, "terror"... i guess i'm just wanting the science of the safety to be completely objective, open, reviewed, failsafes and failure modes known... all that jazz. as a member of the public it seems like these things were just thrown out there. the tsa is covering their butt by doing whatever is possible, a few scanner manufacturers are having a good year, and we're just supposed to leave it like that, keep calm, carry on... i can't say that makes me feel great.
See here for a bunch of things to read (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backscatter_X-ray#Health_effect...). According to this page, 42 minutes of ordinary living is sufficient to give you a similar dose of ionizing radiation compared to the backscatter machines. It's certainly possible that the FDA is lying to us, but it seems more likely that these machines are indeed harmless. Sounds to me like the people saying "I avoid things until I'm sure they don't cause cancer" are throwing science to the wind and embracing a line of thought they wouldn't if they didn't already have some other reason for opposition.
I suppose it's possible for someone to be genuinely concerned over these very small quantities of radiation. But it strikes me that for the average person what underlies the panic is
1. a counter-factual belief that more health-harm is done by a new technology than actually is,
2. a diversionary appeal to concern for safety when health risks are not really a significant negative of a new technology.
This happens in all kinds of areas. Artificial sweeteners, GMO foods, irradiated meat products, and vaccines have all fought or are fighting this battle. The only reason this type of thinking is given a pass here or anywhere reasonable people congregate is because the community is so opposed to the technology for other reasons.
This might sound like a good thing, but it also means that the radiation isn't "diluted" over the full mass of your body. The damaging effects will be localized to -- and concentrated within -- the skin and shallower tissues. So those organs affected are getting a dose that's disproportionately much higher than the guidelines for full-body dosage considers.
Think of each cell in your body as a dice. When a cell is hit by radiation, the dice is rolled - you get cancer if any dice comes up 6 (these are billion-sided dice). The radiation dose is the number of dice rolls you need to make.
Now, under which circumstance is a roll of 6 more likely? If you roll 100 dice 1 time each (traditional x-ray), or 1 dice 100 times (backscattered xray)?
Edit: Maybe this is incorrect when it comes to cancer risk, but I had the impression it still mattered, with multiple impacts in the same area of DNA causing things to be more likely to permanently break. Unless that is extremely unlikely to happen at all at this level of dose.
Still, these machines are probably not particularly harmful.
Backscattered X-rays are not remotely near that point.
edit: Just want to respond to this: I had the impression it still mattered, with multiple impacts in the same area of DNA causing things to be more likely to permanently break.
This is called the multiphoton effect. It's real, but it's more important for radiation by low frequency radiation (e.g., cell phone microwaves). You can observe this in gases with high powered lasers or microwave resonating cavities. Weird things happen in this regime, such as stabilization (more radiation -> less ionization).
I suppose you could have molecular effects from multiple photons (e.g., one photon damages the DNA, a second damages the repair mechanism), but this is vanishingly unlikely at the doses we are discussing.
The same radiation distributed through the body will cause fewer errors per strand and be corrected.
To be fair, I haven't found any studies either way on the safety or danger of the 10 C.F.R. 20 limits, probably because very few people get close to hitting the dose limits. One study I found that surveyed radiation workers in three different studies concluded that the relative risk for a sustained protracted dose of 10 Rems compared to no dose is 0.99 for cancer excluding leukemia, and 1.22 for leukemias. This means, as a radiation worker, you're somewhat less likely to get a non-leukemia cancer, and about 20% more likely to get leukemia. This is for a dose that is over a million times larger than what a backscatter machine will give you. Furthermore, these risk rates are lower than what would be expected from a linear estimate based on cancer rates in atomic bomb survivors, suggesting that smaller radiation doses are safer than larger ones, and the dose these machines give you is about 200-500 times smaller than the does you're going to get on the airplane (if you're flying cross-country).
I just wanted to put in perspective that the dosage these machines put out is extremely small when compared to the dosages you might normally receive, let alone the dosage which radiation workers commonly receive. Their health effects are minimal, and if they actually contributed to the safety of passengers, I'd say they'd absolutely be worth it. The real travesty here is that they violate privacy for no real gain, not that they are in any way a significant health risk.
: http://www.jstor.org/pss/3579020 (JSTOR link. If you're not affiliated with an academic institution, you'll only be able to read the first page)
The eventual outcome of a policy of assuming things are not cancer risks until proven otherwise is cancer. It is much more sensible to assume a cancer risk until proven otherwise.
You're also exposed to a variety of radiation when you fly in the high atmosphere or eat a banana. It doesn't mean additional radiation from insufficiently tested machines is a good idea.
OTOH apparently there is evidence that cell phones actually prevent cancer, so go figure.
The national radiation safety standard (see below) sets a dose per screening limit for the general-use category. To meet the requirements of the general-use category a full-body x-ray security system must deliver less than the dose a person receives during 4 minutes of airline flight. TSA has set their dose limit to ensure a person receives less radiation from one scan with a TSA general-use x-ray security system than from 2 minutes of airline flight.
Fathers exposed to medical diagnostic x-rays are more likely to have infants who contract leukemia, especially if exposure is closer to conception or includes two or more X-rays of the lower gastrointestinal (GI) tract or lower abdomen. In medical radiography the x-ray beam is adjusted to expose only the area of which an image is required, so that generally shielding is applied to the patient to avoid exposing the gonads, whereas in an airport backscatter scan, the testicles of men and boys will be deliberately subjected to the direct beam, and radiation will also reach the ovaries of female subjects. Whilst the overall dose averaged over the entire body is lower in a backscatter X-ray scan than in a typical medical X-ray examination, because of the shielding of the gonads used in medical radiography this in itself does not mean that the dose to the testicles would be less in an airport scan.
But he says they were using Millimeter Wave Scanners, which as far as I can tell, and contrary to his argument, do not use x-rays. That letter refers to another type of machine, x-ray backscatter scanners.
Secondly, it shouldn't be a question of whether the machine is x-ray or millimeter wave. Both of those emit radiation and until there's definitive proof that one or both do not cause damage, they shouldn't be in use.
Because x-rays are used in medical devices that have to be approved by the FDA, we've developed some very good ideas about what sort of doses are harmful and which aren't. The damage done by the x-ray scans used by the TSA do indeed produce damage, measured in Sieverts - a scale used by medical technicians, nuclear power plant operators, NASA, etc. Generally a dose of 1 Sievert all at once is enough to make you sick. Radiation expose is usually measured in milliSieverts and a person who doesn't do anything dangerous will usually receive a couple of milliSieverts a year just from the sun and the radioactive decay of things like the carbon in their body. Going through a TSA x-ray scanner will give you about a microSievert (or 1/1000 of a milliSievert) unless you do something like stop in the middle of the scanner and daydream. Because flying on a plane involves going higher with less atmospher to protect you from radiation from outer space, even short flights tend to cause you to rack up 10 microSieverts and longer flights will give you more. So even if you fly every day the excess dose you're getting from the machines is ignorable, and if you are flying every day its only increasing the amount of radiation you're getting by 10%.
As to millimeter waves, well, I'm not sure quite what mechanism they could possibly use to be dangerous, since they're less energetic than the visible light that we're exposed to every day. If you're inclined to worry about stuff like that, I'd recommend worrying more about fluorescent lights (where all the energy is concentrated in a few frequencies and which we're exposed to for long periods of time) or cell phones and wireless access points (which have about the same energy as the TSA devices, and which we're exposed to for long periods of time).
The fractionation effect only comes into play when you receive such a high radiation does that it can cause large amounts of cell death. Similarly, being burned (with fire) twice at low intensity is better than being burned once at high intensity, since your body can partially recover after the first burn.
Should we ban your light bulbs because they emit radiation that is in every way more dangerous than millimeter waves?
Sorry, but the catch-all "ban all radiation because the word radiation sounds scary" is beyond stupid. I believe there are good reasons not to use this kind of technology (mostly it's about privacy), but luddism like this degrades the legitimate health concerns there are against backscatter x-ray machines.
Millimeter wave and X-ray scanners are not the same thing and should never be confused.
I personally would never go through an X-ray scanner. Are the scanners marked in some way so I know which is which?
By the way, you might be wondering: Can the average traveler standing in a security line tell the difference? Yes, a TSA spokesman says. The X-ray type is blue and has two walls. The millimeter-wave machine is grayish-white and is more cylindrical.
They look like just walking near them will expose you.
Of course, that assumes the system worked in the first place, which I don't believe.
How can there be a class action lawsuit against printer ink, but not against radiating you for no reason with devices that have no track record?
Where are these devices for entering Congress or the Whitehouse if they are so safe?
So would the President choose the radiation naked picture method or the deep groping method for his daughters? I'd seriously like that question asked at some point by the press.
ps. Even if you opt-out, you are probably being exposed to whatever radiation method they use.
Note how in this photo the person in line, not just the person in the scanner is being exposed:
No one in the press has the guts to ask him this. But man, I'd love to see that too.
Mr. President: Would you send Michelle/Sasha/Malia through TSA screening? Naked photos or invasive genital groping, you get to pick.
It will be interesting to be able to pinpoint where this started if it has any actual effect on the situation.
Which one do you want your mother/children experiencing, naked picture radiation, deep groping, or would you instead choose the $10,000 fine for leaving (and possibly being put on the no-fly list forever)?
If everyone who flies, and I do mean everyone (regardless of whether you'll be boarding a personal plane), had to go through this every time, we'd see this go away.
it really isn't a partisan issue.
Jackpot. Part of the trouble is that the policy makers don't have to swallow their own medicine. They have private jets and political connections that place them above their own laws. It's not even that they are "above" the law. They simply write laws that won't involve them.
See https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/No_Fly_List#F... :
In August 2004, Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) told a Senate Judiciary Committee discussing the No Fly List that he had appeared on the list and had been repeatedly delayed at airports.
Of course, he was eventually able to get his name off the list, something that few mortals are able to accomplish.
From the article: Recognizing that as a U.S. Senator he was in a privileged position of being able to contact Ridge, Kennedy said of "ordinary citizens": "How are they going to be able to get to be treated fairly and not have their rights abused?"
I loathe the body scanner/groping policies as much as the next guy. But it doesn't help our case if the arguments against them turn out to be falsified.
There are 100 of them, those are just a sampling.
If you can explain to me how that's possible with any of the current porno scanner technologies, you've got a case. (In particular, you'll need to explain why the "scanner images" show people from the same angle and perspective as the photos that accompany them.) Otherwise, I stand by my claim: whether it's one picture or a hundred, they're faked.
Millimeter wavelength electromagnetic waves are still radiation as much as any other wavelength.
Propping up pseudoscience bullshit like "it's radiation!" is the same reason why we have to deal with morons complaining about wifi signal.
/former physics minor
Absolutely nowhere did I indicate that.
It does use radiation, and radiation is for the most part, and in this case, completely harmless.
I would assert that not understanding that all EM waves are radiation, including visible light, is the reason we have to deal with morons complaining about wifi signals.
/former physics major, and current title dropper
Of course people not understanding that all EM is radiation is a problem but the statement that "it is a problem because people don't understand x" is true for almost every value of x.
After removing my shoes (the one part of airport security theatre I absolutely hate) and placing my belongings in those gray trays, I walked up to the TSA agent, who asked me multiple times if I had anything in my pockets-had I forgotten my wallet? Did I have my wrist watch on? Etc.
After the person in front of me had completed his scan, the TSA agent directed me to step forward. I asked if I could opt out. He responded with, "sure", and in his walkie-talkie, said, "I have a male-opt out." He then looked at me and said, "One second..."
He got a response back in his walkie talkie, and then directed me to walk through the scanner, pointing out that the scanner was not on.
On the other side, I was greeted by an older gentleman, who also pointed out the scanner was off. He asked if I would prefer being patted down in a private location. I declined. He then explained everything he would do: From the pat down, to using the back of his hand for the more "private" areas. I said, "okay...", honestly expecting the worst at this point.
He proceeded with the pat down at this point. He did my upper body first (arms, chest, back) and then went to my backside and said, "I'll now be using the back of my hand to pat your more private area" (my butt, basically...) I responded, "okay", and then with a brush, he ran his hand down the backside of my leg.
I'll be honest: My immediate thought was, "That's it? I've been grabbed worse in a club/bar..."
Of course, I still hadn't received the crotch check...
He then explained he would be patting down my leg. "Here goes...", I thought.
With the back of his hands, he patted down my upper thighs (no where near the crotch), and then wrapped his hands around my legs and went "up" until "contact" was made, but immediately moved down, patting the rest of my leg. He then moved on to the other.
Again, I've seen and experienced far worse contact made in a club/bar.
After that, he had to get his gloves scanned (similar to the band they use for laptops), and after everything came clear, he thanked me for cooperating. I thanked him in response, and went on my way.
While I realize it's entirely dependent on the TSA agent you're dealing with, as well as personal/emotional experience, my own experience wasn't nearly as bad as I had prepared myself for.
When I pointed this out to a friend of mine (via text), he responded, "Yeah, but you're not a hot chick..."
He probably has a point :)
A few observations:
Two of the four or five passengers who opted-in to get scanned, had to be patted down after - a similar experience I had (I went through the scanner once before, a mistake on my part, and had to be patted down after...)
The TSA agent made a comment during the pat down that surprised me: He wasn't a fan of the scanners himself. He said (paraphrasing here), "I've been reading about the radiation from these machines. You think passengers have it bad? I have to stand in front of this thing all day!"
Edit: Shoot, this is a lot longer than I had anticipated.
A tl;dr: I opted-out of the scanner out of my own curiosity. The airport I flew out of employed TSA agents who made the experience not nearly as bad as I had anticipated... Of course, YMMV.
I encourage anyone that opts out to plant this fear in the TSA agents head. "I'm a little concerned about the radiation myself but I can't imagine what it's like for you to stand near this machine all day. It must be worrying".
Getting the TSA agents on our side certainly can't hurt.
You know, I never thought about that. Considering how x-ray technicians stand behind lead guards and aren't scanning people rapid-fire all day, I wonder what the dosage the TSA folks are getting.
Everyone is also assuming that the TSA is properly configuring and maintaining this equipment, and that it is not malfunctioning and giving overdoses.
Do you have a link for that?
No data, no lawsuit.
Ben: Brian, are you touching my ass?
Ben: I was afraid of that.
First, what is the back of the hand thing all about? Is it less sensitive? Is it somehow less demeaning? It doesn't make sense to me.
Second, if he "made contact" and then immediately retreated...what did he make contact with? Was it clearly your junk? Or could it have been anything? How is it at all effective to do the pat down if all they do is retreat when they feel a little resistance. That could be anything.
And one more thing for good measure...
It's not the pleasantness or not of the pat down that is central to this issue. It's the effectiveness of it, the invasiveness of it, etc. Sure, your guy was nice...that doesn't have any impact on the policy being good or bad at all (not to say that is what you implied).
Edit: iPod typos
The guy in San Diego who refused the patdown a couple days ago now has the TSA claiming he was only going to get the old one:
"Aguilar says that Tyner was facing nothing more than the traditional pat-down that TSA has used for some time, and not a more aggressive body search in effect since late October."
If this is true then patdownees are not yet experiencing the real thing in some locations.
The thing I keep in mind is while I might not have a problem with this kind of pat-down I doubt many women are going to be ok with it.
The pat-down itself isn't even the real problem here or even the potential to abuse it (which is bad enough); almost certainly if you are an attractive women this is at the minimum going to be an embarrassing scene. I told my gf about this and she was shocked; she happens to be a very attractive asian women who normally draws a lot of unnecessary attention just out shopping/doing whatever.
So does she choose a private pat-down and who knows what kind of risks that brings? Or does she do it publicly so everyone can watch her getting groped? Sure as a guy I think no big deal, but for women this really is a big deal.
Anyway, what a mess and worst of all it fixes nothing.
This was after the most recent initial flurry of bad publicity, so perhaps word came down to skip the yelling.
A friend told me he flew into San Antonio yesterday and not only had his junk touched but it was twisted to boot. He said he didn't even get offered dinner first and he was afraid he'd get arrested if he'd punched the guy in the nose but was really just too freaked out to do anything.
This is what the government wants; sheeple that will let them even mess with your private parts without response.
I don't have enough data points to know for sure, but I am wondering if they are purposefully not screening kids in these things and if so, are they doing so due to the radiation exposure concerns.
Like the OP, I never saw anybody opt out.
Until Napolitano cracks down. But that's several moves ahead.
Have you seen the photo where this horrifying parody
is the wallpaper on the computer screen in the TSA office?
I mean think about the mentality - in the very workplace they do it.
Then the bomb went off.
Jokes are designed as a mechanism for saying speculative, potentially scary things without being threatening or looking stupid. When I see a TSA agent with that wallpaper, I see someone who knows at some level that something is very wrong but isn't able to say so out loud. Maybe they can't even say it out loud to themselves.
That's like excusing cops for not following the law themselves because they have a "difficult" job.
It's pretty tasteless, but give me a break. Some guy is "drunk with power" because he thinks an image macro is funny?
I'm sick of my tax dollars paying for their computers, they should have to type stuff up themselves in triplicate.
I wonder if this is really a cancer risk. For instance, I feel like living in Toxic Williamsburg is probably a worse cancer risk than going through the backscatter machine twice a year.
Probably because they were looking forward to seeing some hotties.
With more widespread awareness of x-ray exposure during a normal flight, I wonder if we will see any people so agitated that they wear stuff like this:
Buried the lede.
"Aren't you at least going to buy me dinner first?"
"Woah there buddy, don't skimp on the foreplay."
"I think you might have missed a spot."
I hate people like that. Why must he build himself up by putting down others? Regardless of what you think of the TSA's procedures, the people in the airport don't make the law. They're just decent people trying to make a living. If you have to insult them, albeit only to yourself, just to opt out of a scan you're probably the one who needs replaced by a robot.
It's not bad to want to uphold travel safety or to take a job doing so. You might disagree with whether or not these scanners accomplish that, or if they do, if it's worth the tradeoff, and so might the TSA agent. That doesn't make the TSA agent less deserving of respect as a person.