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Old 10-30-2010, 03:46 PM   #21
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I understand Delta will provide additional pat-downs for $25 a pop, free for frequent flyers.
Delta is ready when you are...
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Old 10-30-2010, 04:03 PM   #22
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A cat's perspective:

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Old 10-30-2010, 04:39 PM   #23
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I haven't had the crotchal area inspected but I have been patted down a few times so thoroughly that they knew my bra had under wires . The best was when they pulled me out of the line because I had a suspicious item with white powder in it . It was my spacer for my asthma inhaler .
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Old 10-30-2010, 05:16 PM   #24
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I am not sure how the TSA personel would react to this.

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but moan the entire time
I guess travelers will have to get used to the pat down - or drive.
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Old 10-30-2010, 05:25 PM   #25
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The added radiation for frequent fliers may be a small but significant issue. Flying already exposes one to significant radiation not generally experienced at ground level. The atmosphere acts as a fairly good radiation shield for the cosmic radiation which bathes the Earth at all times. At FL 30, one can easily receive the equivalent of a medical X-ray during an average flight. The fact that airline personnel receive this radiation to an even greater extent than the typical frequent flier is considered one of the acceptable hazards of their employment- much as it is for medical personnel or nuclear medicinals workers. Obviously, this amount of radiation leads to a small but probably indistinguishable increase in radiation diseases - primarily cancer. I'm not aware of what epidemiological studies have been conducted on airline personnel, but I assume the additional dose is fairly easily calculated and there are reasonably good estimates of dose vs. cancer response available.

For an infrequent flier, none of these sources is nearly as significant as "living life" as a risk factor. (e.g., living in Denver vs. living in LA causes a significant increase in radiation exposure due to altitude and the naturally occurring radiation in the rocks of the area.)

But, now, to the real issue. The TSA et. Al. "swear" that the invasive pictures taken of folks using the X-ray machines won't be misused. I have one axiom to present which I believe as much as I believe in the Constitution of the United States. It goes like this: Anything that can be used can be misused. Anything that can be misused will be misused. Anyone seriously disagree with this philosophy?
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Old 10-30-2010, 05:28 PM   #26
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...the music interlude for the pat down....

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Old 10-30-2010, 06:31 PM   #27
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My new kilt makes for fun at security.

On the plus side, the outer pockets are on pop fasteners and can be torn off, so I can drop all of my keys, coins, phone, etc into the box in one easy step.

On the minus side, when I take my belt off, the kilt is a little loose. I walk rather gingerly through the metal detector, with one finger in a belt loop.

Back on the plus side, if the metal detector does go beep (this seems to be only if it's on a very sensitive setting, and catches the metal poppers), the security people aren't rushing to inspect too closely. (This is in Europe; we don't have backscanners or super-intrusive patdowns yet.)
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Old 10-30-2010, 07:35 PM   #28
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Rant alert - I don't find this funny anymore. I just have had several international airline trips and I must say I found the TSA some of the rudest employees of any organization ever. Not only that, I'm not impressed with their 'success' rate - or that which we are allowed to see/not see. I asked point blank how much radiation would be used for the 'scan' and they couldn't tell me. Well, after having worked in hospitals and wearing a radiation badge, I'm not too amused as the indications for radiation are lifetime lmits - a hard stop if you will. I said I'd opt out and the circus began - and no respect at all for myself having the option. The USA is the worst with Heathrow, England, a close second.

Unfortunately, we are held hostage if we wish to fly - as it is, I try to minimize any flying as much as possible anymore. I calculate the hours of hassle factor and add on the actual travel time and then decide if it's worth it. There has to be some significant mileage being traveled and a very compelling reason for the 'time savings' before I fly anymore. Very sad.
TSA has been a jobs program from day one. TSA is a great example of the government "solving" a problem...
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Old 10-30-2010, 08:38 PM   #29
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If the machines give off radiation, which they do, that really is a problem. I do not know much about this, but I was on a site last night that had an article written by a physicist saying how dangerous this can be to our health, especially for frequent flyers, children, older people. And this radiation is going into the whole body, soft tissue, bone, thyroid, lungs, reproductive organs......not good. He suggested the one way to stop it is to boycott the airlines.....said they would find a better way real quick.
As has been mentioned by other posters, you get far more millirem at aviation altitude, from living in the Rocky Mountains, and even from dental x-rays. Skin cancer from sunshine is going to be a much bigger problem than airport x-rays.

The U.S. Navy has been tracking submariner exposure since before the USS NAUTILUS went to sea, and after 50 years of data there are no higher rates of cancer or other radiation-related syndromes. There is a persistent rumor that submariners sire more daughters than sons (like 80/20) but (1) there's no official research that I've been able to find and (2) it's thought to be caused by atmosphere-control chemicals. (The submarine force's deadly killer is 1960s-70s asbestos-filled steam-piping insulation.) The federal regulations for radiation exposure were set at five REM (big number) per year, and most of what's considered heavy-duty submariner/shipyard exposure is way down in the millirem.

In all the years that I was inspecting reactor compartments and taking primary coolant samples and generally getting my hands dirty (metaphorically speaking) I only managed to pull in 311 millirem. It'll take a lot of backscatter to achieve that number in an airport.

I'm just wondering if they calibrate the machines in millirem... or inches & cubic centimeters...
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Old 10-30-2010, 08:42 PM   #30
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Ron........Thanks for the link....."For the First Time......." It made me laugh....but this is really not a laughing matter. If the machines give off radiation, which they do, that really is a problem. I do not know much about this, but I was on a site last night that had an article written by a physicist saying how dangerous this can be to our health, especially for frequent flyers, children, older people. And this radiation is going into the whole body, soft tissue, bone, thyroid, lungs, reproductive organs......not good. He suggested the one way to stop it is to boycott the airlines.....said they would find a better way real quick.
So, are these people going to get on an airplane after going through this x-ray? Because if they are, they are going to get much more radiation exposure during their flight than is provided by the backscatter X-ray. (Link).

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According to the Health Physics Society (HPS), a person undergoing a backscatter scan receives approximately 0.005 millirems (mrem, a unit of absorbed radiation). American Science and Engineering, Inc., actually puts that number slightly higher, in the area of .009 mrem. According to U.S. regulatory agencies, 1 mrem per year is a negligible dose of radiation, and 25 mrem per year from a single source is the upper limit of safe radiation exposure. Using the HPS numbers, it would take 200 backscatter scans in a year to reach a negligible dose -- 1 mrem -- of radiation. You receive 1 mrem from three hours on an airplane, from two days in Denver or from three days in Atlanta.
Edit: Oops, I cross-posted with Nords.
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Old 10-30-2010, 09:08 PM   #31
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Edit: Oops, I cross-posted with Nords.
0.009 mrem? That's all?!?

That's such a tiny number that I'd worry more about the condition/calibration of the measuring tool than the actual resulting exposure level. Other nukes can help me out here, but I don't think the military even has radiacs that sensitive. The Navy officially ignores any exposure under 1 mrem/hour.

It's been a while since I saw the data, but IIRC I think cigarette smokers get more exposure from smoking just one.
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Old 10-30-2010, 09:28 PM   #32
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Because our bodies contain Potassium-40, each of us emits radiation. Sleeping next to your spouse for a year results in up to 2 mrem gamma exposure. That is the same as 222 airport scans per year.

See Radioactive Human Body
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Old 10-30-2010, 09:37 PM   #33
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Because our bodies contain Potassium-40, each of us emits radiation. Sleeping next to your spouse for a year results in up to 2 mrem gamma exposure. That is the same as 222 airport scans per year.

See Radioactive Human Body
My DW has worked in nuclear pharmacy for 30 years. She comes home glowing in the dark. Or at least thats what I tell people.
This might mean I'm somewhat over exposed.
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Old 10-30-2010, 10:42 PM   #34
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As a veteran of the US Navy's nuclear submarine force, as well as the civilian nuclear industry, I find it quite handy that we don't need any night lights in my house.
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Old 10-30-2010, 10:53 PM   #35
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I'm wondering why the physical search has to be done by an individual who is the same sex as the passenger. After all, the TSA assures us this isn't a grope, it's just a part of the job for these TSA pros.

I suppose it's to put passengers more at ease that the TSA employee isn't deriving any "unofficial benefit" from the search. If this is the case, will TSA ask their employees their sexual preferences and assure that this is all sorted out? If a passenger asks about the sexual preferences of a "crotchal searcher," is the passenger owed an answer? I would hope not, but then this co-gendering doesn't offer the passenger any assurances, does it?

The easiest way out of the mess is to just assign passengers to the TSA "inspectors" at random.

I wonder how these searches will be conducted when a lass is wearing a tight-fitting skirt?

Flying is a lot safer than driving. The more unpleasant we make flying, the more people will choose to drive instead. A nontrivial number of these people will be killed in highway accidents.

As for me--I'll go through the magic X-ray scanner. I'm thinking of using metallic tape to spell out a message to TSA on the inside of my shirt. But, then the "crotchal search" will likely begin.
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Old 10-30-2010, 10:56 PM   #36
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But, now, to the real issue. The TSA et. Al. "swear" that the invasive pictures taken of folks using the X-ray machines won't be misused. I have one axiom to present which I believe as much as I believe in the Constitution of the United States. It goes like this: Anything that can be used can be misused. Anything that can be misused will be misused. Anyone seriously disagree with this philosophy?
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Old 10-30-2010, 10:59 PM   #37
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I think we should (as passengers) be able to look the agents over and choose who we want to grope/search us.
Doesn't that sound more interesting?
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Old 10-31-2010, 07:43 AM   #38
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I just returned from Amsterdam and all passengers went thru a chamber that sniffed us for explosives and ran a back scatter X-ray. I don't think there was a choice about it. Didn't bother me. I would rather walk thru one of those than take my shoes off.
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Old 10-31-2010, 08:17 AM   #39
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The easiest way out of the mess is to just assign passengers to the TSA "inspectors" at random.
Or just let the passengers inspect one another.
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Old 10-31-2010, 08:52 AM   #40
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Whaddya bet at least one TSA guy gets in hot water for saying "turn your head and cough"...
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