back to article 'MacGyver' geezer makes 'SHOTGUN, GRENADE' from airport shop tat

Application developer and part-time security researcher Evan Booth has produced a series of videos showing how an array of apparently deadly weapons can be MacGyver'd from stuff on sale in airport shops. His inventions can be built from things bought after walking through the usual security checks; we're told they include a …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They still sell disposable cigarette lighters, overproof spirits, and embroidered handkerchiefs in duty free shops.

  2. Robert E A Harvey

    Simplest weapon

    The simplest impromptu weapon remains the smashed duty free bottle, or the 'penang lawyer' walking stick. And yes, the molotov cocktail would be pretty devastating.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Simplest weapon

      Yep. And if you have to improvise while you're on the plane and didn't think to get one of those beforehand, there are generally various usable alternatives; for example, you can make a decent knife by breaking a DVD and wrapping some cloth around the "hilt". And, of course, blunt instruments are not hard to come by.

      (Of course, it's not hard to smuggle weapons past airport checkpoints either, as several people have demonstrated.)

  3. ACx

    Surely the most powerful weapons of airport terror these days are an unattended bag or a tweet.

    1. Ian Yates

      I thought it was 101ml of liquid not held in a little plastic bag?

      1. The elephant in the room

        - a little plastic bag

        made of highly enriched weapons-grade terrorthene, as opposed to chemically identical Patriot Polymer, which coincidentally you didnt pay the gangsters who run Luton Airport £1 for.

    2. VinceH Silver badge
      Mushroom

      "Surely the most powerful weapons of airport terror these days are an unattended bag or a tweet."

      What about a tweet about an unattended bag?

      Personally, I shudder to think what the consequences of that could be.

      1. NumptyScrub
        Mushroom

        quote: "What about a tweet about an unattended bag?"

        It's the airport security equivalent of typing "google" in Google; the entire terminal will likely implode due to exceeding the critical mass of terror o.0

  4. Ian Emery Silver badge

    Good Luck entering a US airport ever again.

    The TSA are notoriously "dumb", so much so, they have taken over from the Russian Police in the "Why do "x" travel in three's??" joke; so they will probably require him to be bound, shackled and blind folded before entering the terminal for any future flights.

    "Can I see your boarding pass please"

    "Mmmff pocmmmit."

    "I see; will the sack truck be travelling with you??"

    "Mmmpf ou."

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Good Luck entering a US airport ever again.

      It occurs to me in a flash...

      that Radio Yerewan Jokes can now be applied to the Land of the Free.

  5. Benjol

    I do believe they sell Swiss Army knives in Geneva airport.

    Beats me, because I've had them confiscated at others.

    1. djb321

      They do. But they're sold in sealed bags, with a sticker across the top. Which apparently make it OK.

  6. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Make the eejets go crazy bronkers

    The Fibbies just wanted to check that he hadn't actually assembled the weapons in an actual airport. Booth showed them the garage where he tests his designs, and they left satisfied that no laws had been broken.

    Yep, gotta check that "laws are not being broken", even if the "crime" is victimless and investigation is a total waste of everybody's time (but luckily only of the taxpayer's money, of which he has plenty squirreled away as he is in arrears of 130 trillion for social security anyway, so why count). I'm sure there are no more government cronies to check on.

    1. paulc

      Re: Make the eejets go crazy bronkers

      meanwhile there are 30,000 excess deaths each winter because our poor and elderly have to choose between heating or eating...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Make the eejets go crazy bronkers

        Worthless eaters and Bankster Bonuses, it is a tough choice to make. I guess with all the stress & all "our leadership" need some extra compensation?

      2. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Make the eejets go crazy bronkers

        There are about 3000 excess deaths due to the extra security in airports these days - it just wastes that many lives a year hanging around.

  7. AbortRetryFail
    Joke

    Obligatory xkcd

    You know it's coming...

    http://xkcd.com/651

  8. Parax

    Lithium Metal...

    Which batteries contain lithium in its native metal form? I've only ever seen it as a grey paste compound.. I think there is some exaggeration going on here... the kind that says if you have H2O, you can make a Hydrogen bomb...

    Also I would not like to be the one holding that "shotgun" I think that might be one of the deadliest places to be, based on the number of parts it disintegrated into... hardly reusable...

    I have no doubt that there are some items that are dangerous in airports, I'd start by looking at the cleaning cart in the toilets rather than the duty free shop. but I don't want to live in a world where you can't take your laptop/phone on a plane at all..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lithium Metal...

      You have only ever taken apart a discharged lithium battery. In a new disposable one the lithium is in the form of a foil. In a used battery this has mostly broken down.

      1. Parax

        Re: Lithium Metal...

        Thanks, actually I've seem rechargeable lithium cells being made from pastes and conductive (metalised) plastic sheets, all sealed up in a vac-pack outer. But yes, I can understand how a single use disposable lithium battery could use a simple metal foil.

      2. Don Jefe

        Re: Lithium Metal...

        The amount of lithium in a battery is so small as to be insignificant for anything but aiding a micro scale chemical reaction. There are a variety of chemistries, but to the best of my knowledge none contain pure lithium. You can calculate lithium equivalent and it's still a tiny amount, but there isn't any 'plain vanilla lithium' in a battery.

        The reason they're hazardous is due to a (very low) risk of ignition from thermal runaway due to the battery's overall construction, not simply because it contains some lithium. It's a risk that, while very low, is basically non-existent in most other types of consumer batteries unless they are in a dead short or set on fire.

        1. Robin Bradshaw

          Re: Lithium Metal...

          Energiser lithium batterys contain a thin sheet of metallic lithium rolled up like a swiss roll.

          See youtube for videos of its extraction and inevitable burning.

    2. Marvin the Martian

      Holding the "shotgun"

      Why hold it, and not just wedge it in a specific place, turn on, and go to the most beneficial place for your plan?

      As a device for threathening people it doesn't work, as before operation nobody believes it will hurt, and after demonstration it doesn't (look like it can) work anymore (and the threathener has lost his eyebrows and hands probably)...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Holding the "shotgun"

        It's more of an IED than a "shotgun"

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lithium Metal...

      The McGyver stuff is fun, but overrated.

      Surely, flushing the lithium down an aircraft toilet will make that somewhat unreliable hydrogen explosion much more dangerous, it certainly made a lasting impression on the decor of the school toilet when I flushed some Sodium "left over" from chemistry class!?

      And ... Whatever will the lithium do when confined within a liter bottle of 45%++ duty-free booze?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lithium Metal...

      Energizer Lithium AA

      I regularly buy them to rip out the metal, and drop it in a bucket of water. It makes a fun bang.

      Anonymous because... well... I need to fly occasionally.

      1. Don Jefe
        WTF?

        Re: Lithium Metal...

        An Energizer AA Lithium battery contains less than a gram (~.69g) of Lithium Iron Disulfide coated on an aluminum foil substrate. Manufacturers data sheets are cool. You should check them out sometime.

        The amount of lithium in one of those batteries might, might fizzle a little bit if the foil substrate was unrolled (for maximum surface area) and stuck in some water. It will not 'pop' or catch fire unless something is terribly amiss with your toilet.

        1. Pookietoo

          Re: battery contains less than a gram of Lithium Iron Disulfide

          Energiser Ultimate Lithium cells OTOH contain nearly 7% lithium metal by weight, which is plenty to play with as this video shows.

          1. Don Jefe

            Re: battery contains less than a gram of Lithium Iron Disulfide

            Again, that's the lithium equivalent of the alloy. No pure, unstable lithium in the battery.

  9. Torben Mogensen

    Theater, indeed

    If you wanted to make a terrorist attack, why wait until you are through airport security? Airports are so crowded outside security that exploding a bomb there would kill as many as doing it on a plane. Or do it in a mall during Black Friday, at a train station or in a zillion of other crowded places that has little or no security checks. The chain is only as strong as the weakest link, so why make this particular link so much stronger than the rest?

    I suspect that one of the reasons for all the restrictions on what you can bring of liquids etc. is to increase sale in the "Tax Free" shops. In many airports half a litre of bottled water costs around €2, for example. This also explains the apparent contradiction that you can buy stuff that you wouldn't be allowed to bring in.

    1. Robert E A Harvey

      Re: Theater, indeed

      >If you wanted to make a terrorist attack, why wait

      >until you are through airport security?

      Or, indeed, why this obsession with aeroplanes? Why not attack a nice, unpatrolled, railway terminus or cathedral or bus station or ferry terminal? All these, and more, feature in terrorist attacks in the mad orient, yet no-one imagines it will happen in the dignified occident.

      We have even had attacks on busses and stations and branches of Mcdonalds, and yet only airports get the drop-yer-trousers approach to security.

      Bonkers.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: why this obsession with aeroplanes?

        That's easy.

        This is the US.

        1. We are always fighting the last war. For us, the last war is 9/11.

        2. We don't travel by railway, ferry, or even much by bus. We do it in airplanes and cars.

        3. Despite our religiosity, we don't actually put lots of people in cathedrals. If you want that, you're talking about a major sporting event or a rock concert. Major sporting events now work pretty much like airports. I don't know about rock concerts. Been to two in my life, maybe. Does 3,000 people count as a concert? If not, then I haven't been to any. And in fact the other one wouldn't have filled a medium film theater so I don't think it counts at all.

        1. Carl

          Re: why this obsession with aeroplanes?

          Nobody takes trains in New York or buses in LA?

          I must have been in the wrong cities.

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: Carl Re: why this obsession with aeroplanes?

            The original obsession with planes was due to the Marxist backgrounds and friends of most of the terror groups in the Sixties and Seventies. The "reasoning" was that only the rich and hated businessmen had the money to fly, therefore hijacking commercial jets was striking a blow for the "common people". Of course, the decline of Marxist groups (apparently they switched to keeping women as slaves or the like) and the rise in cheap flights made that rational as hollow as the rest of the Marxist drivel.

        2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

          Re: why this obsession with aeroplanes?

          Why do terrorists try to blow up aeroplanes? Like other criminals they seem to be more driven by vague emotional motivations than cold logic. Why do crack-heads steal car radios? In a world where the only people without one are those who've just had one stolen, I don't suppose they fetch a lot of money.

          Maybe it's because the airliner is a symbol to them of western technology. Maybe it's because people already fear flying despite the fact that it's one of the safest ways to travel.

    2. Dances With Sheep
      Mushroom

      Re: Theater, indeed

      S'wot happend in 2007

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Glasgow_International_Airport_attack

      However, fortunately in this case, the terrorists were very inept........

      Firstly in managing to set themselves on fire

      Secondly, in choosing Scotland as a target.

      Que an irate Glaswegen shouting "fuckin mon then" and kicking said terrorist in the love spuds.

      1. Goldmember

        Re: Theater, indeed

        @Dance With Sheep

        Indeed, what could easily have become a tragic event turned into a much more lighthearted and hilarious affair. I remember watching the news at the time, and whichever channel it was, was interviewing one of the passengers who stopped the attack. When asked what happened, the guy said something along the lines of:

        "I saw a guy running towards me shouting 'allahu akbar', so I battered him"

        Thank fuck for the lack of brain cells amongst extremists. And for angry Scots, of course.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Theater, indeed

        It's sad, isn't it: In the 1980's we had real, effective, terrorists and those were beaten and arrested without "a camera and a microphone in every lamppost" and checkpoints with armed goons giving free grope-downs.

        "The West" has totally lost the plot. In almost *every case* since the 1980's todays terrorists have been totally incompetent wankers - and the few ones who were competent (or lucky) promptly auto-darwined themselves.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Theater, indeed

          > In the 1980's we had real, effective, terrorists and those were beaten and arrested

          Along with a bunch of innocent people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. At least that part hasn't changed. :-(

      3. Anonymous John

        Re: Theater, indeed

        Twas doon by the inch o' Abbots

        Oor Johnny walked one day

        When he saw a sicht that

        troubled him

        Far more than he could say...

        Now that's no richt wur

        Johnny cried

        And sallied tae the fray

        A left hook and a heid butt

        Required tae save the day.

        Now listen up Bin Laden

        Yir sort's nae wanted here

        For imported English radicals

        Us Scoatsman huv nae fear

        (Not my own work)

    3. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Theater, indeed

      why wait until you are through airport security?

      You seem to be refusing to buy into the official narrative that all terrorists are signed-up members of the Emperor Ming school of terrorism who will choose the most difficult, impractical and unreliable methods of killing people rather than leaving bombs on the streets or simply picking up guns and shooting people.

      Once one realises that terrorists could easily kill people if they chose to, in huge numbers, and there's no rational explanation why they don't if they truly do 'live only to kill', the official narrative rapidly falls to pieces. Then one has to wonder why we have that and what purpose it serves.

      It is not good having people realise that any terrorists could easily kill us if they wanted to with the lack of such attacks suggesting the threat is overstated. So please don't encourage that line of thinking. There's a gravy train and propaganda machine you are putting at risk.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Theater, indeed

        er... methinks it's the post-plane-as-a-flying-bomb reflex. It's just makes people very uneasy when a large plane, which we've all flown and make ourselves believe is a stable micro-universe, even at take-off, would do something to expose our wishful thinking to be for what it is.

        And never mind "they" blow up themselves in the middle of the crowd (sorry for your tragic loss, etc), but think of what they could do if they were trying to crash-land into one of those [cesorship] buildings in the middle of [censorship], the one very nearby that world-known [censorship] tower (0.2 sec extra flying time). At least this is what a cynic would say. And the media exposure, my God, there'd surely be at least half of the 2.4 mln photos and a similar number of cam videos left intact after the blast to sell to the worldwide media. Cynical, like I say, so I'm not going to suggest there's a single shred of truth in it!

      2. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        Re: Theater, indeed

        This is exactly my point about AQ attacks and 9/11. If a group is so well organised they can pull off simultaneous multiple hijackings, but are unable to attempt "simple" terror attacks in the following years, then what changed?

        Surely a Mumbai style attack (maybe no grenades) is possible in the US, being as weapons aren't that hard to come by. But that wouldn't have had enough impact to justify on going war and a massive expansion of the security state.

        It's almost like that was the goal, waiting for an excuse...

        1. Tom 13

          Re: what changed?

          A fair amount actually.

          1. Stepped up intelligence actions. For all its invasiveness the NSA wiretaps. I may hate them and call them unconstitutional, but they certainly have been used to disrupt some plots.

          2. They killed 3,000. Then like the wrath of God we came after them and killed even more. You hate us for it and criticize it, but it works.

          3. The 9/11 attacks themselves changed the existing paradigm. Before it was: surrender to the hostages and most of you will get out alive. Now it is: kill the hijackers by any means necessary before they kill any of your fellow citizens; you might die doing so, but you will die if you don't.

          4. This is the US. You hate us and criticize us for our gun love. But outside of gun-free government zones (like schools, airports, and airplanes) you don't know who might be packing heat. One well placed and moderately well trained cowboy could ruin your whole plan. You might not even get your 72 virgins. Because he just might be the sort of mean, racist f*ck who'd maim and disable you before shoving a pork sausage down your throat to choke you to death.

          I'm sure there are more things, but that should get you started.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: what changed?

            Please justify your hatespeech. Provide diagrams.

            1. which ones?

            2. why did they feel the need to kill the 3000? perhaps you can fix that.

            3. hows the "new paradigm" working for you?

            4. why do "we" hate "you"? perhaps you should consider fixing that too.

            1. Tom 13

              Re: why do "we" hate "you"? perhaps you should consider fixing that too.

              1. Nobody can fix stupid.

              2. I don't have enough bullets. Yet.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: what changed?

            You hate us and criticize us for our gun love

            Err, No. That part is fine. What "we" do not like is that whenever the USA does something really stupid our governments will always find ways to drag us into the stupidity too, leaving us with the same mess and looking stupid too, more stupid in fact - because everybody "here" should know better by now.

            And ... being against terrorism and allied with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, the worlds largest sponsors of it, may seem too much like setting up a supply chain of terrorists for the military/security complex to wage war on.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: what changed?

            Tom, this is priceless mate:

            > Then like the wrath of God [...]

            Well, I'm an atheist so The Wrath of God means a lot less to me than The Wrath of Kermit The Frog, you see?

            > we came after them and killed even more.

            Ah, so YOU came after "them" (whoever "them" may be) and killed a few, etc., etc. So tell us again, where did YOU actually go to, Tom?

            Go on, amuse us a little while. :-)

          4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: what changed?

            "well trained cowboy ...shoving a pork sausage down your throat"

            Is this the comedy cowboy from the Village People?

            Sorry, I think I just regressed to being 12 again <manic giggles>

        2. TheOtherHobbes

          Re: Theater, indeed

          "This is exactly my point about AQ attacks and 9/11. If a group is so well organised they can pull off simultaneous multiple hijackings, but are unable to attempt "simple" terror attacks in the following years, then what changed?"

          [deadpan] That just proves all the NSA spying has been a complete success. [/deadpan]

      3. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Jason Bloomberg Re: Theater, indeed

        "....Once one realises that terrorists could easily kill people if they chose to, in huge numbers, and there's no rational explanation why they don't if they truly do 'live only to kill', the official narrative rapidly falls to pieces. Then one has to wonder why we have that and what purpose it serves....." There are approximately three fatal bombings in Iraq EVERY DAY. When was the last time one made the UK or US evening news? Now, are you old enough to remember the news around 9/11? See the difference? THAT is what the terrorists want.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Jason Bloomberg Theater, indeed

          Where were the Yanks when the IRA and their ilk were murdering thousands, even including American tourists? Oh, they were busy collecting money and supplying weapons, while offering extradition-free sanctuary and visits to the Whitehouse to the terrorists (or, in USA speak, freedom fighters). I assume that these facilities are still on offer to terrorists in other lands who are classified, by the USA government, as "freedom fighters".

          Do n't give us all that nonsense about USA protecting the world and knowing all about the evils of terrorism. It did not begin with "9/11", that was almost a home-made disaster when one reads the background and details. That was just the first time Americans really found out what terrorism means.

          Where is the great USA crusade against murders by shooting almost every day in the great USA? Or against the poverty and ignorance that results in millions in USA having not health insurance and so dying early or living in cripplingly bad health? Or against the daily deaths on the roads? Or against deaths through USA controlled drones in "allied" countries?

          Let's keep the gun-ownership chaos. It may just mean fewer people surviving who are clearly not nice people.

  10. Pete 2

    Aren't we lucky ...

    ... that aircraft aren't made of plasterboard (drywall).

    While I can see past this rather hopeless example, to the bigger picture (and this obsession that americans seem to have with gun-shaped weapons - seriously guys ... move with the times). The basic principle is that a nice sharp piece of glass is still all you need. And that's never been in short supply.

    However, since we don't find that aircraft are being threatened every day by baddies with home-made glass daggers held to the throat of aircrew (no matter how irritating they can be) we should be able to draw some rather simple conclusions that availability does not inevitably lead to implementation.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Aren't we lucky ...

      I don't think you can hijack a plane with knives any more. You need to be able to kill lots of people at distance to do that, as if you have to get close to people - they're probably going to fight back.

      In the 'good old days' hijackers mostly wanted to get on TV for a bit and then be allowed to negotiate so they could get away. But that all changed after September 11th. So standard procedure is no longer to cooperate. Even the guys on the 4th flight that very day had worked that out, whereas passengers in most hijackings before had kept their heads down and hoped for negotiation.

      Admittedly that didn't stop Stansted security from taking my nail clippers away. And spoiling my plan to hijack a plane by threatening the cabin crew with really bad manicures...

  11. frank ly

    He should have used Pringles tubes

    They're traditional, for a good reason.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: He should have used Pringles tubes

      Once you pop a cap in their ass you can't stop.

  12. Winkypop Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Coming up next on Mythbusters....

    Can you really disarm a nuclear war head with only Mentos and Coke?

    1. Purlieu

      Re: Coming up next on Mythbusters....

      actually mentos and coke would make quite a "splash"

    2. Nigel 11

      Re: Coming up next on Mythbusters....

      Judging by what Coke does to teeth, keyboards and electronics, the answer should be a resounding "Yes and you don't need the Mentos". What's a Mento anyway?

  13. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    FAIL

    Deterance, not theatre.

    "....current airport security practices have more to do with theater than with keeping people safe." As pointed out above, if the nutters want to just kill people then there are simpler options like trying to car-bomb Times Square. But when the nutters go for planes as a target it's because they have bigger plans in mind, such as hijacking (big in the last century) or dramatic destruction (e.g., 9/11). Both require taking control of the aircraft if only for a short time, which means weapons. To them, the big barrier is getting weapons onboard, for which the "theatre" is very effective in stopping.

    1. Graham Marsden
      WTF?

      @Matt Bryant - Re: Deterance, not theatre.

      > To them, the big barrier is getting weapons onboard, for which the "theatre" is very effective in stopping.

      Obligatory video clip of Adam Savage relating how he walked through airport security carrying two 12" long industrial razor blades http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3yaqq9Jjb4

      Bravo, TSA!

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Deterance, not theatre.

      The lockable cabin doors that have been installed since 11/9 are the biggest barrier to the would-be hijacker.

  14. Aldous

    A thought experiment

    1.Buy a 1 l bottle of duty free or even a gift 6 pack of beers for you and your mates.

    2. Wait a bit then get your bottles.

    3. smash against seat, instant knife

    4.???

    5.Profit

    1. James Micallef Silver badge

      Re: A thought experiment

      Smashing a bottle to produce an improvised weapon is very difficult*. Have you ever tried it? It's not like Hollywood bottles that you just tap on the edge of the nearest table, it requires serious grunt AND a seriously hard and unyielding surface to smash against.

      Having said that, pretty much agree with the general gist of comments above - explosive / flammable materials are pretty easy to come by and there are many many places with masses of people and no protection. In the US doubly so since firearms are so easy to coe by, and surely tehy don't care about other citizens with conceal carry weapons, after all they ARE on a suicide mission, aren't they? If terrorists' only aim was killing people they would do it much more frequently. Since it isn't happening the logical conclusion is that real live terrorists are EXTREMELY scarce.

      *Of course it's only hard if you're trying and as per Murphy, the bottle will only break if it falls accidentally and/or it's 'safely' packed in your luggage.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A thought experiment

        > It's not like Hollywood bottles that you just tap on the edge of the nearest table, it requires serious grunt

        > AND a seriously hard and unyielding surface to smash against

        And make sure the fucker's empty, or at least the contents are not pressurised, or the flying glass shards could spell very bad news for you.

        On the other hand, an unbroken bottle still works a treat to club people on the head with. It does make a somewhat comedic "cloink, cloink" sound so no points for intimidation effect, but at least it does do the job.

        (Sorry, can't think of the IT angle right now)

        1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

          Re: A thought experiment

          And make sure the fucker's empty, or at least the contents are not pressurised, or the flying glass shards could spell very bad news for you.

          The 2009 Ig Nobel peace prize was given for research that is eerily similar:

          http://www.improbable.com/ig/winners/#ig2009

  15. Purlieu

    Underpants

    When we had a shoe bomber we all had to take our shoes off.

    Then we had the underpants bomber and .... nothing

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Underpants

      You apparently missed the TSA fondling that was rapidly replaced by the nudie scanner that is now being replaced by the stick figure scanner.

  16. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    As if security theatre were *about* security.

    In reality it's about :-

    1)Making Merkins feel insecure and reinforcing the "US is in a constant state of war with (well someone, although all the most recent US cases have been home brewed) and these "precautions" are necessary, along with a few others (as revealed by Edward Snowden, the dirty rat b**tard) we can't tell you about, but trust us, they are for your safety"

    2)Ensuring assorted govt con-tractors get fat contracts.

    3) Keeping a large bunch of fairly unemployable people employed (and the US has no govt make work programmes. Really?)

    4)Offering opportunities for said employees to supplement their income by stealing anything they fancy while rummaging through your stuff.

    Security? Talk to El Al. They've faced real terrorists.

    So the theatre will go on until someone starts asking serious questions about the cost.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Re: As if security theatre were *about* security.

      It's just like 1984. In fact it is disturbingly like 1984.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: As if security theatre were *about* security.

      "So the theatre will go on until someone starts asking serious questions about the cost"

      Bin Laden was a lot smarter than most give him credit for. I recall him saying in an interview it was "about bankrupting" the USA and allies. Spectacular gets attention and money tossed at it. A lot of money tossed at airport security and stadium events.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: As if security theatre were *about* security.

        "Spectacular gets attention and money tossed at it."

        IIRC, the general opinion is the the US "won" the cold war because those dirty pinko commis couldn't keep up in the spending race.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "...a potentially lethal set of nunchucks..."

    A potentially lethal set of nunchucks can be made from one or two of the longer, heavier buckle, half of your seat belt - as so thoughtfully provided on your seat 27C. Ideal for anti-terrorist purposes.

    1. Pookietoo

      Re: "...a potentially lethal set of nunchucks..."

      But how you gonna cut it free now they've taken your nail clippers?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Airport security is designed to scare people into tolerating an invasive government going into their lives "for your protection".

    The Bush / Obama administrations have killed more than three times the people who died in 9/11. That has generated a lot of hate towards them and now they live the life of the self-fulfilling prophecy. No level of security can stop someone who has decided to throw their life away and you cannot protect everything all the time.

    Absolute failure across the board.

  19. Don Jefe

    I've always found it kind of odd-funny that people are perfectly fine roaming around in stores/public as long as they think nobody has a gun or this seasons latest suicide apparel. Just about any clever person can assemble some pretty dangerous stuff with the contents of any given store. You take a clever person and give them a formal university education* and that person can assemble some truly dangerous stuff with common items.

    They teach you all you need to know in primary school chemistry and from there they just show you more advanced ways to refine it all. I guess lots of people just don't pay attention in school. Something is wrong anyway, when a pressure cooker is a WMD. Possibly people are blinded to real risks because they're on the lookout for near mythical terrorists? Don't know really, but it's weird and kind of dumb.

    *The most potentially dangerous type of DIY person I've ever met are country farmers. A working farm has tools, materials and seclusion and farmers are probably the most ingeniously practical people on Earth.

    ** Maybe we should eliminate education (I guess we are working on that) and farming altogether. Classically educated people and farmers are simply too dangerous to have walking around. Think of the destructive potential of an educated farmer!!!!!. DOWN WITH FARMERS!.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Happy

      @Don Jefe

      *The most potentially dangerous type of DIY person I've ever met are country farmers. A working farm has tools, materials and seclusion and farmers are probably the most ingeniously practical people on Earth.

      You might like to look up Frank Herbert's "Committee of the Whole."

      You'll see why.

      1. David_H
        Happy

        Re: @Don Jefe

        And many farmers have degrees anyway! (Agricultural degrees and others)

        Young Farmer's rallies often have competitions such a trebuchet construction and accuracy in use (in large fields!) Or pumped water, or pumped air, or catapault launch systems! Or making fighting vehicles al la "Scrap Heap Challenge"

        It's a good job they are the salt of the earth!

        "Get orf my land" takes on a whole new threat level when you know about this.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: @Don Jefe

          "Or making fighting vehicles al la "Scrap Heap Challenge""

          Now that's a proper jaaarrrb!

  20. Will 20

    >>Security? Talk to El Al. They've faced real terrorists.

    UK Security Forces have been dealing with terrorism now, for about, forty years, and guess what - the vast majority of the practises that the TSA use are the same or similar to what the Israelis and British security use.

    Which is really unsurprising given that they train together all the time, learn off each other all the time...

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But Profits come before security

    Most airlines/airports insist on people getting to check-in 2 or 3 hours before the flight - why? So they can sell stuff in the overpriced duty free shops. If passengers went straight to boarding areas (no shops) after security checks then the potential for self-made devices could be reduced. If the airports want to sell you stuff they should do it BEFORE security checks, not after.

    So I personally would suggest that passengers can check their luggage (2 hours or whatever before the flight), and loiter outside security in the shops,restaurants etc. There would be no shops after security, and so people would only go through when 'go to gate' is shown.

    This would reduce the number of person who would be airside, reduce the channel for getting things into airside (think restocking of duty free shops, deliveries), and reduce the items that could be used to make weapons (not just what is sold in the shops/restaurants but also the items they use behind the scenes - think restaurant kitchens for one).

    But, as we know - profits come before security.

    1. James Micallef Silver badge

      Re: But Profits come before security

      That is exactly how Schiphol airport is (used to be?) set up. Individual metal detectors and scanners at every gate. "departures" just means you have a boarding pass meaning it's practically a public area and all the du-free, restaurants etc are there. Then you need to pass security at the gate to get on the airplane.

      Of course this means many more scanners, metal detectors and staff, meaning more expense, which is another reason why most airports go for the less secure (and cheaper) one-security-check-for-everyone-before-duty-free approach

  22. JaitcH
    FAIL

    Heathrow wouldn't be the same ...

    without all the exorbitantly priced 'duty free' shops - this would mean passengers could save 30-60 minutes reaching their gates.

    And what other idiot airport would put a duty free store just before arriving passengers hit the Customs Red and Green exits?

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: Heathrow wouldn't be the same ...

      Many long times ago I worked for a company that opened some airport retail shops. It's the most insanely screwed up model in retail. Everybody from the airline who owns the concourse, the actual airport, the local agencies that manage the airport as well as state and Federal agencies all have their fingers in the pie.

      I'm probably the last person to support competition based on price, but the airport model is simply wasteful and stupid. After about a year they closed those stores after final cost analysis showed the sq/ft price to be slightly above what we would pay in downtown Manhattan. If airport retail shops were reasonably priced they'd actually do a lot more business.

  23. StillNoCouch
    Black Helicopters

    Steak Knives

    I've always thought it to be bit silly that once you pass through security, you can pony-up to a bar and grab a 7-Inch steak knife.

    They are obviously less dangerous than my fingernail clippers.

    It's possible to board a plane with a suitcase full of 3-ounce bottles too, right ?

    1. Ian Emery Silver badge

      Re: Steak Knives

      You dont even need to pony up to the bar sometimes.

      Having spent nearly 2 hours getting through Security, and having had a jar of Jam (it is NOT a liquid!!), and a multi-tool with a 2" blade confiscated, I climbed onto the 747 and was handed a 7" steak knife - along with EVERY other passenger - to eat our airline mush with.

      (Beijing, 2011, China Southern Airline).

  24. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    I was laughing out loud at this once the terror weapon had been activated and I pictured the mad jihadi trying to get people to stand still in front of the smoking Small Change Gun Of Eventual Small Scale Mahem while at the same time avoiding being shot by someone with a real gun.

    Let's hope Mr Terrorist actually tries to use this beyond dumb idea instead of just getting the airport support staff to plant actual weapons on the planes.

    I've no doubt taxpayer money will be wasted on this nonsense as politicians convene think tanks and enquiry panels to carry them up to the Christmas break.

    1. fajensen Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      I think that triggering the "Unload Magazine"-reflex conditioned into the airport cops will have at least some effect on the bystanders.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This will freak my Brit friends

    In Texas, there are about 600,000 Concealed Handgun License holders, which means that 1 out of every 25 Texans you meet may be armed. This is a direct result of a infamous Active Shooter at a Luby's cafeteria restaurant many years ago, and the insistence of drug crazed hoodlums who violently practice carjacking and home invasion. I drive to work with a 9mm concealed but within reach, and lock it up when parked. Company frowns on packing heat in the office.

    Btw, we have been fingerprinted (my originals at the FBI date back from military service in 1968), background checked, trained in the law of self defense and argument de-escalation, and taught proper firearm control. You have to put most of the bullets into the man sized silhouette B-27 target.

    We don't much like Muslim terrorists, street criminals, or politicians who would disarm us. That is why we are called citizens, and not subjects.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This will freak my Brit friends

      Try learning a little more up to date information on the 'brits' you are verbally attacking

      1 - guns are not banned in the UK

      2 - we are citizens & not subjects

      Try & leave the very redneck sounding comments at home next time pal

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This will freak my Brit friends

      " Btw, we have been fingerprinted (my originals at the FBI date back from military service in 1968), background checked, trained in the law of self defense and argument de-escalation, and taught proper firearm control. You have to put most of the bullets into the man sized silhouette B-27 target. "

      Meanwhile, in my country we were taught good manners. :-)

    3. nsld

      @ anonymous cletus Re: This will freak my Brit friends

      "You have to put most of the bullets into the man sized silhouette B-27 target."

      I guess the term "watch your background" never made it onto the training course if its only most of the bullets.

      Not sure how you marry up proper firearm control with missing the target!

  26. Skavenger0
    FAIL

    Nail Clippers

    My track of thought on nail clippers is always, if your the kind of person capable of taking over a plane with only a pair of nail clippers you can probably do adequate damage with nothing.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just don't get me started on

    Alkali metals.

    Seems that rubidium can be purchased online if you know where to look (cough SilkRoad2 /cough)

    and if some cunning person swallowed that coated in clingfilm.. Spontaneous Human Combustion (!)

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: Just don't get me started on

      Caesium for an even more explosive reaction. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSZ-3wScePM (Open University broadcast. I have to wonder how many out-takes before they got the Caesium just right :-)

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No Shock here

    They sell everything you need to make weapons at an airport, I never understood why they really bothered with the massive security theatre they do..

  29. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    But watch out or one of those TSA wobblebottoms will sit on you.

    And they will need a scraper to get you off the concourse.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. Caesium

    You think its bad *now*, just wait until someone perfects the nuclear hand grenade.

    Google "hafnium controversy", seems some scientists might have figured out a way to harness the natural metastable isomers of some metals ie hafnium and tantalum 180m using a portable pulsed X-ray generator to cause a cascade of gamma rays in the exawatt range.

    I did some calculations and if less than 10% of a 700 gram sphere of pure Ta180 or a suitable mass of another isomer destabilised at once, the gammas could cause a fusion ignition in the sphere.

    Cue total ownage, 1984 being used as an instruction manual, the Internet being shut down, etc.

    1. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: Re. Caesium

      "portable pulsed X-ray generator"

      Just out of interest, how small could one of those be packaged down to using actual technology usable outside of a Star Trek episode? I'm thinking the term "hand grenade" is somewhat optimistic.

      I seem to remember during GWB's reign there were hysterical fears of a suitcase nuke making it into some crowded metropolis. Then we changed administrations and took a reality break.

      Then there was that whole "cook up Mother of Satan in an aeroplane bathroom using household chemicals" nonsense that had various people in a tizzy for months and filled up I dunno how many hours of congressional hearings.

      Color me not very scared, but maybe I lack the imagination to properly assess this NHG threat you warn of.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE. Re. Re, Caesium

    Well you can get pulsed X-ray tubes now for not much, the trick is just to choose one with a matching range of kV and mask it off with a given thickness of Al and Be to block the low energy X-rays.

    I reckon that something with about a half kiloton yield could be made to fit into a standard sized briefcase that would (thanks to no explosives) get through nearly every scan.

    The slight problem is that Ta180 is incredibly rare and would set off the portal scanners from just the gamma leakage even if you managed to get enough in one place at the same time.

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