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Comment: Re:Cry Me A River (Score 3, Interesting) 586

by MightyYar (#47414921) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

"Application Programming" is today done in things like Excel spreadsheets. You don't need to write a COBOL app* to keep track of interest payments and such. I'd argue that computers are more accessible than ever, and thanks to Google routine coding often becomes this exercise in searching for already-solved problems and applying the solutions to your similar problem.

* Ahhhh, dear God, "app"? Why did I type that?

Comment: Re:Christmas is coming early this year (Score 1) 685

by MightyYar (#47414761) Attached to: TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes

Roughly 0.00005% (about 10 in 19 million) of all flights (where part of the flight lands in the US) are at risk of bombing annually.

Are you arguing that they can keep their security procedures static because the results are good enough? I'd argue that you need to keep changing along with the threats.

Comment: Re:Christmas is coming early this year (Score 1) 685

by MightyYar (#47409655) Attached to: TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes

What else are they doing?

Using the presence of a working device in addition to an x-ray scanner, as well as manual and residue inspection as warranted. And for all I know, dogs.

Not allowing discharged batteries is just too large in false positives

It's hard for me to make that judgement without knowing what the threat is.

Right - shoes and liquids surely had their batteries discharged.

Most shoes and liquids don't have batteries.

Not a falsifiable statement.

So what? We are both discussing this without any real data in front of us.

If you have an argument why dogs are or are not feasible - put it on the table.

Of course they are feasible - they are using them right now. If you mean are they feasible for this particular threat... well, I don't even know what this alleged threat is and neither do you.

they don't have to make their rules and procedures convenient enough for most passengers

It certainly is not convenient, I'll give you that! Air travel is no fun at all.

Comment: Re:Christmas is coming early this year (Score 1) 685

by MightyYar (#47409577) Attached to: TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes

Ability to avoid puddles is not technical knowledge. Also, a smart person, if any, behind the scenes would have waterproofed things.

I don't want to quibble about how stupid the puddle stepper was or how good the bombmaker was so much as to point out that it represents a complication that increased security forced upon their plan. Their plan failed where a simpler plan may not have.

A smart person, if any, behind the scenes would have made it automatic.

It cannot be made automatic because the apparatus would arouse suspicion. At that point, you are better off trying to smuggle the finished product.

I do realize that dogs would have prevented most such incidents

They might, but:
- do you have enough trained dogs right now for sensible coverage?
- do you have enough dog handlers right now for sensible coverage?
- how much more does it cost to train a dog and hire a handler vs. tell people to charge their phone?

Comment: Re:Christmas is coming early this year (Score 1) 685

by MightyYar (#47408867) Attached to: TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes

1. You expressed doubts about dogs being able to detect some explosives. You don't show how discharged battery can detect any explosives. Clearly dogs are superior as explosive detector.

They aren't using a discharged battery to detect explosives.

So clearly the cases being discussed are where X-rays are not effective e.g. explosive inside battery like built component.

I know nearly nothing about security, but even I know that security is best applied in layers. You will never get 100% coverage from any single technology, even if such a magical thing existed. You have to adapt your security to changing threats. I have no inside knowledge as to what caused the TSA to take this step. It's possible that it is just stupid, but in the past (shoes, liquids, etc) there has been some legitimate threat.

3. My point is that we are only discussing dogs as an alternative for empty battery scheme. If dogs can be deceived in a situation where empty battery scheme is not applicable, dogs are superior still by at least being applicable, needing effort to deceive.

I have no idea what it would take to put dogs at every checkpoint, but I imagine it is expensive, time consuming to train them, and prone to failure: terrorist waits around until the dog has to poop, etc. I have no idea. Presumably they would use dogs if it was feasible - they already use them for cargo. Remember that they have to make their rules and procedures simple enough for complete dolts to follow (both the agents and the passengers). There is not a lot of room for nuance or judgement.

Comment: Re:Christmas is coming early this year (Score 1) 685

by MightyYar (#47408799) Attached to: TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes

You persist in mistakenly assuming the martyr must be the same person as the one who builds the contraption.

Then we are talking past one another. They are almost certainly different people. I agree with you.

I am saying that the bomb carrier can no longer just be a useful idiot. They need to have some level of technical knowledge or they are liable to, say, step in a puddle. Or they have to mix various ingredients together (unsuccessfully, as in the underwear bomb). The operation becomes more complex, and by definition more prone to failure.

Comment: Re:Christmas is coming early this year (Score 1) 685

by MightyYar (#47408729) Attached to: TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes

Also the odds of the people building a bomb into an iPhone not being able to also make the phone look and act like an iPhone for some short amount of time is tiny.

Here I disagree. The last couple of bombings went awry because the bomber did something minor wrong. The more little bumps you throw at their plan, the more likely the conspiracy is to fail.

You'd get to shut down an entire airport and kill the hundred people in line.

Terrorists seem to be just as irrational about their targets as we are about our fears. I'm not the one who singled out bombing airplanes as this weird, master goal. I can think of many, many ways to cause much more economic and human damage than to take down a single airplane. But that's not what gets people in a tizzy.

To think otherwise is willful ignorance.

And I think it is naive to leave the rules at some base level and expect that routes won't be found around them. If your goal is to thwart bombings on airplanes, then you need layers of security combined with changing, flexible tactics.

Comment: Re:Christmas is coming early this year (Score 1) 685

by MightyYar (#47407931) Attached to: TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes

1. Empty battery can't detect ANY explosive.

I can only speculate on this newest regulation - we don't yet know their rationale. If I had to guess, it might be that grams matter. A laptop that has been gutted and filled with explosive is a lot more dangerous than one where they had to make it at least partially operable. It's also more difficult to produce, which makes the whole conspiracy harder to pull off.

2. Xray machines are NOT applicable in the situations being discussed.

Why not? You put your electronics through the x-ray machine, do you not?

3. I bet the drugs having no battery gave them up.

I'm not sure what your point is. Mine was that dogs are fine as a layer of security, but my limited experience (my friends might have just gotten lucky) shows that their nose is easily overwhelmed. I mean, it was a flight from Amsterdam... EVERYTHING on the plane probably had drug residue on it. Apparently dogs may be able to sniff out PETN, so they certainly may (and do I believe) have a place in the security of aircraft. That doesn't mean that it is sufficient to rely on them exclusively.

Comment: Re:Christmas is coming early this year (Score 1) 685

by MightyYar (#47407879) Attached to: TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes

People managers can get all kinds of people to work for them, and keep them informed about the operations in varying degrees.

It is still harder to find a "martyr" personality who can also carry out a complex operation than it is to find a martyr who simply has to carry a suitcase. Is that not true?

Comment: Re:Christmas is coming early this year (Score 1) 685

by MightyYar (#47406847) Attached to: TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes

Diagram does not get smaller at all.

No, it does. The smart people didn't want to get on the plane and kill themselves, so they hand it off to people like Richard Reid. I don't know if Reid was "stupid", but apparently it did not occur to him that he should keep the shoes dry. Nor did he excuse himself to the restroom where he could light his shoe at leisure. I have a feeling that the guy who build the shoe bomb would have known those things and been successful. When the operation itself becomes more complicated than "here, hold this bag", the capability of the operatives becomes very important.

Comment: Re:Christmas is coming early this year (Score 1) 685

by MightyYar (#47406811) Attached to: TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes

1. Dogs. When in doubt, ask a dog. If you can fool a dog, you can light up the screen.

Are you sure dogs can sniff out PETN? In any case, I'd rather run my stuff through an x-ray machine than have dogs sniffing around me. I even have friends who put drugs inside a cake of deodorant and got past the drug dogs (not something I'd endorse).

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