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Toys

GPS Coke Can X-Rayed 291

carbolic writes "WiFi-Toys.com and Engadget have posted a link to X-ray images of the GPS Coke can that has security people all up in arms. The GPS Coke can looks a little bit like an IED (improvised explosive device). The PDF file posted on security company Blackwater USA's site shows several views of the can and compares it to an IED. And for thoroughness, the PDF shows a regular can of Coke X-rayed, too."
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GPS Coke Can X-Rayed

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  • dirty bomb (Score:4, Informative)

    by crazyray ( 776321 ) * on Saturday July 24, 2004 @03:54AM (#9787756)
    it may be tinfoil-hat'ist, but couldnt a coke can be a miniture http://www.dirtybombdetector.com/ [dirtybombdetector.com] dirty coke bomb?
    • by mooniejohnson ( 319145 ) <mooniejohnson+sl ... m ['gma' in gap]> on Saturday July 24, 2004 @04:40AM (#9787861)
      Oh, you mean Diet Coke? There's a "dirty bomb" if ever I drank one...
      • Not that anyone cares, but your post caught my eye because I used to hate Diet Coke too. I thought it was disgusting, and couldn't understand why anyone would want to drink it. But then I started reluctantly sipping it because my wife would always get one at the movies (she's diabetic), and it was easier to just share one between us. I'll be damned if I didn't soon prefer it over regular Coke. Now, when I drink Coke, it tastes like thick sugar water.

        I think the reason I used to hate the diet is that I
    • by Bi()hazard ( 323405 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @05:43AM (#9787993) Homepage Journal
      Anyone who takes a look at the PDF will see there's little room for confusion between the can and the example explosives. The explosives, packed with explosive charge, contain material throughout the can, but the GPS Cokes are hollow. Actually I'm disappointed, you win the contest and you don't even get to drink a coke? sheesh.

      The controversy over GPS Cokes is just another example of our society's terror complex. It bears all the hallmarks of an unhealthy obsession that would lead an individual to a psychiatrist-not that I'd know about those-but these sorts of things tend to catch on at the societal level, as history shows us. Even though there has not been a major terrorist attack on US soil since 2001, a handful of cans of coke that could potentially look suspicious create a national spectacle. These things supposedly look like IUD's? What's the worst that could happen if an IUD ends up in the wrong place? Only minor bloodshed. Compare it to what happens in our automobiles every night. Look at the statistics sometime, and you'll realize psychology is the primary factor here-what matters is what you think about, not what actually is.

      Oh yes, that's right, the worst is as follows: The lucky contest winner has his can confiscated and destroyed as a potential IUD. He spends the night, and possibly several more nights until a court date, in a holding cell. The surrounding building is shut down, potentially paralyzing traffic in a major city in the middle of rush hour. (Yes that has happened, read down to see another poster's link about a suitcase getting lost and being "suspicous") This kind of thing has become routine, even expected in modern society. Nobody considers it an outrage when excessive measures are taken to combat an imaginary problem at great expense to society.

      We live in times when the world's most powerful nation is obsessed with the potential threat of an IUD. Are the IUD scare mongers the same ones that can't get over the horror of gay marriage and want to amend the constitution over it? They can't even accept the existence of birth control. The IUD and other "dire threats" like it have become a political tool used to manipulate the masses. You might hope that Kerry takes the election, simply so that we won't have the existing administration playing the terror card on every single issue as they have proven so fond of doing. An actual encounter with something containing an IUD might be shocking to most slashdotters, but think about why-you've never seen anything that could contain IUD. The odds are infinitesimal. Considering how little actual terrorism has been occurring in the US, clearly it's time to put things in perspective. A pragmatic foreign policy combined with old-fashioned enforcement of existing peacetime laws will be sufficient to keep order. Overreaction, fear, and excessive measures will paralyze the country, damage the economy, reduce consumer confidence, and most important of all, take a painful toll on individual Americans. This is the country of the individual, is it not?

      I'm not using an IUD. I never intend to, and I'm not going to live in fear of the consequences of IUD's. I for one refuse to live in fear of amenorrhea, irregular bleeding, cramping, partially expelled strings, and other side effects that can occur with progestin-releasing IUDs, which can be considered a frightening biological weapon. It's only frightening if you don't realize that you're a billion times more likely to die of a heart attack than an IUD.
      • Re:dirty bomb (Score:5, Informative)

        by orthogonal ( 588627 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @06:53AM (#9788111) Journal
        I'm not using an IUD. I never intend to, and I'm not going to live in fear of the consequences of IUD's. I for one refuse to live in fear of amenorrhea, irregular bleeding, cramping, partially expelled strings, and other side effects that can occur with progestin-releasing IUDs, which can be considered a frightening biological weapon. It's only frightening if you don't realize that you're a billion times more likely to die of a heart attack than an IUD.

        I'm not usually one to feed the trolls, but yours was brilliantly subtle.

        One question: did the article originally use the acronym "IUD" (intrauterine device), later corrected to "IED" (improvised explosive device) -- and thus your post was a satire on the Slashdot editors -- or did you just count on moderators not noticing the difference?

        Until I read your last paragraph, I wasn't even quite sure you hadn't made the mistake and had merely coincidently written descriptions that could apply either to IUDs or IEDs (the best of course, "An actual encounter with something containing an IUD [for those who modded the parent "Interesting": IUDs are "contained" in vaginas, or, more generally, sexually active women, so this is a slam at the stereotypical Slashdot geek] might be shocking to most slashdotters, but think about why-you've [sic] never seen anything that could contain IUD."

        Admittedly, you did throw in a pretty obvious clue "They can't even accept the existence of birth control. The IUD and other "dire threats" like it have become a political tool used to manipulate the masses"" but one that could be conceivably seen as a Lefty Slashdotter extending (legitimately, in my eyes) a critique of the Bush administration.

        Again, most trolls are a waste of time and earn their down mods, but this construction definitely deserves +5 Funny -- but not +4 Interesting (2 "Interesting"s, one Funny), which it was when I read it.
        • Re:dirty bomb (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Fooby ( 10436 )
          [for those who modded the parent "Interesting": IUDs are "contained" in vaginas, or, more generally, sexually active women, so this is a slam at the stereotypical Slashdot geek]

          IUDs are placed inside the uterus, not the vagina, dumbass. That's why they're called "intrauterine devices." Sheesh, you're proving your own case about the sexual ignorance of slashdotters.

          Although I imagine placing an IUD in a woman's vagina would be very effective birth control, sex with a plastic contraction stuck in your v

      • Re:dirty bomb (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bagel2ooo ( 106312 )
        The sad thing is that all these giving into fears and rampant paranoia sound exactly like things that terrorists and terrorist acts are meant to instill. Kind of a shame that such a large group of the populace ended up going right into the main plan of terrorism. In a manner, they are supporting it with near the amount (if not the vehemence) of those that contribute directly.
      • Re:dirty bomb (Score:2, Interesting)

        by jeaton ( 44965 )

        Actually I'm disappointed, you win the contest and you don't even get to drink a coke? sheesh.

        A few years back, the local Dr. Pepper bottler had a contest where you could randomly win a Dr. Pepper t-shirt if you bought a can of Dr. Pepper from a vending machine. Some random cans in machines were replaced with identical-sized cans that contained a t-shirt, and 50 cents (presumably so that you could buy a real can of Dr Pepper).

        The part where they screwed up is that instead of including two quarters,

      • An IUD [fwhc.org] ??

        An actual encounter with something containing an IUD might be shocking to most slashdotters, but think about why you've never seen anything that could contain IUD. The odds are infinitesimal.

        Yeah, right :) ...

        The only thing an IUD is going to kill is a few million sperm ... but a single man produces enough to fertilize all women in Europe between 18 and 35 . But what if an IED kills HIM !!! *paranoia*

        PS: how a "single" man produces sperm is another question altogether....

      • "The explosives, packed with explosive charge, contain material throughout the can, but the GPS Cokes are hollow"

        ---Note to self---
        use shape formed plastic explosives in my coke can/beer keg bombs.
        Form explosive to leave air-gaps simulating a GPS/Phone enabled coke can.
        Blow shit up.

      • Re:dirty bomb (Score:3, Moderators Totally Clueless)

        Just use the pill!
  • IED? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by eidechse ( 472174 )
    Is this actual demolition/weapons/forensic lingo or is this just supposed to sound 'informed'?
    • Re:IED? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Alcohol Fueled ( 603402 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @03:56AM (#9787767) Homepage
      Yep, its actual demolition lingo. IED stands for Improvised Explosive Device. :)

      • Well, yeah, that's even in the submitted post - "GPS Coke can looks a little bit like an IED (improvised explosive device)" - the question was whether people who actually work in demolition/weapons/forensics use this acronym, or whether it's just been made up (recently, in the current war) for people to use to sound important.
        • Re:IED? (Score:5, Informative)

          by volteface ( 798935 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @04:25AM (#9787842)
          Well, here's the wiki [wikipedia.org] entry for it. It's a real term. I don't know who it's used by (demolitions experts, etc.), but it wasn't made up on the spot. Whether or not it was recently coined, I don't know, but it wasn't just made up for people to "sound important".
          • It's a security term that's existed for years. An Improvised Explosive Device is basically any homemade bomb that's put into the case of something harmless so that it just might slip by security.

            Basically, the problem here is that if a "winning" Coke can is brought to any security checkpoint of any kind, the X-Ray is going to show a battery and wires conencted kind haphazardly inside something labled as a Coca-Cola can but clearly has no soda... which are exactly the warning signs for an IED.

            So, what it c
        • Re:IED? (Score:3, Informative)

          the question was whether people who actually work in demolition/weapons/forensics use this acronym, or whether it's just been made up (recently, in the current war) for people to use to sound important

          It's nothing new. Common use in the military (pre 9/11)
        • Click through to the original PDA file that those images came from. It was an official document from a company that trains the security guys that run the xray machines at Airports etc. It was done with the cooperation of Coca-Cola. Or did you think a geek with access to an Xray machine just happened upon one of the winning cans?
    • "IED" bring up 262 matches on cnn.com (mostly from the Iraq war)

      http://www.google.com/search?q=ied+site%3Acnn.com& sourceid=mozilla-search&start=0&start=0&ie=utf-8&o e=utf-8/ [google.com]
    • Nah, it's just ISF (improved slashdot fodder).
    • Re:IED? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Zorilla ( 791636 )
      Well, being in the military, IED is just one of many acronyms that get thrown around. We always hear about UXOs, ECPs, MOPP levels, NBCCD, GVOs, JS-List suits, MXS, LRS, AMXS, 2PamCl, CMSAF, MCPON, AWACS, LMRs, LRMs, AFIs, MOS, AFSC, AOR, TRS, MTF, CJR, NCOIC, CGO, CWDE, BAH, BAS, CSC...

      You ever see that piece Andy Rooney did?

      (By the way, it stands for improvised explosive device)
    • An IED is also an Intelligent Electronic Device [google.com] - basically, equipment with a serial port in it. Commonly used in SCADA [wikipedia.org] systems.
    • They meant IUD, the security people really hate when people stop reproducing.
  • *Sigh* (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Emperor Tiberius ( 673354 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @03:57AM (#9787773) Homepage
    Honestly. There are only a few hundred of these, and people are flipping out. Most of the things flying around are totally inaccurate. The cans come in a box, not your typical vending machine. So if companies are really security concious, they'll check employees with coke packs. Seriously though, how many people that work at those "high-level" (sic) facilities, bring 6/12 packs to work everyday.
    • So you're going on a flight. You know you'll need a drink later on so you put a couple of cans of coke into your bag. Going through security the bag gets scanned.....

      Yes it's a small chance. The chance is there though and I for one wouldn't like to be in the position of having to explain it.

      • Re:*Sigh* (Score:2, Insightful)

        by LaForce ( 688117 )
        The chance is there though and I for one wouldn't like to be in the position of having to explain it.

        I agree entirely. I know that I'd be very embarrassed if I had to explain how I didn't notice the can I packed was made of plastic and had a big hole on the side with a button in it.
    • Re:*Sigh* (Score:4, Informative)

      by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <fairwater.gmail@com> on Saturday July 24, 2004 @04:27AM (#9787845) Homepage
      The cans come in a box, not your typical vending machine. So if companies are really security concious, they'll check employees with coke packs. Seriously though, how many people that work at those "high-level" (sic) facilities, bring 6/12 packs to work everyday.
      Quite a few I'd imagine.

      When I was on SSBN 655, many folks would take a box or two of their favorite soda's to sea with them. (All we had for soda was fountain machines with generic (cola, lemon-lime, etc.) syrups. It's nice to have a taste of home when you are [mumble] feet under the North Alantic.) When I worked at TTF-Bangor, those of us in the Weapons Training Dept kept a refrigerator stocked with soda because that was cheaper than buying from the machine.
      • When I was on SSBN 655, many folks would take a box or two of their favorite soda's to sea with them. (All we had for soda was fountain machines with generic (cola, lemon-lime, etc.) syrups. It's nice to have a taste of home when you are [mumble] feet under the North Alantic.)

        That brings back memories - we had the real thing (tm), and to this day it still doesn't taste right without that hint of hydraulic fluid.

        SSBN 633 Blue

      • When I was on SSBN 655...

        "Sir, now that the mission is over can we surface and activate my winning can to see if they're able to deliver my car within 30 minutes?"

    • if companies are really security concious, they'll check employees with coke packs

      I think the very fact that they will have to is what people are complaining about. Is a company supposed to stay abreast of every competition that every company does and keep tabs on what to look for and monitor for it etc..

      I dont think its particularly reasonable that a 'high-level' company has to change its security procedures everytime coke does a dodgy promotion. Sure, a coke can could contain a bomb or gps or whatev
    • Re:*Sigh* (Score:3, Informative)

      by Cerebus ( 10185 )
      Seriously though, how many people that work at those "high-level" (sic) facilities, bring 6/12 packs to work everyday.


      A lot.

      Secure facilities are a pain in the butt to get in and out of, for obvious reasons. As a result, most facility personnel run snack bars inside the secured area. These snack bars buy supplies in bulk, usually from SAM's or Costco or similar big-box stores. Depending on size, these little co-ops can go through several hundred sodas per week.

    • The cans come in a box, not your typical vending machine.

      We used to load many of our vending machines with drinks from regular 24-packs bought at stores that sell in bulk (GFS, Sam's Club, etc.) That might not have been the "official" way of doing it, but it avoids the hassle of going through a distributor. There's nothing magical about vending machines -- the Coke inside very well may have come from boxes that were on sale.
  • So? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by arakon ( 97351 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @04:00AM (#9787780) Homepage
    "It may look like a IED to a layman..."

    Um so? I imagine a lot of things could look like an explosive to a "Layman". Ever seen the inside of a CRT monitor or a TV? Imagine how much C4 you could hide in that.

    This is just plain silly.

    Are we moving to a society that fears anything that could potentially look like a bomb to an uneducated twit?
    • "Are we moving to a society that fears anything that could potentially look like a bomb to an uneducated twit?"

      Yep. Seems like we are, especially since 9/11 and everyone being told that them ol' terrorists are going to strike us again, oh no! Its sad really, when even a Coke promotion has someone mentioning how some stupid fucking can looks like a bomb. Bleh.

    • oh yes we are

      This week my local city center was gridlocked for over 2 hours because someone left their suitcase in the bus station [thisisnottingham.co.uk], a not altogether unlikely occurence in a bus station.

      • My experience of Nottingham is that it's always gridlocked. You have the one-way traffic system from hell. It's as if somebody designed the city centre as a black hole -- you can get in, but you can't get out.
    • a laptop is enough to 'hide' a leatherman too in xray..

    • Are we moving to a society that fears anything that could potentially look like a bomb to an uneducated twit?

      Umm... Yes [nytimes.com].
    • "Are we moving to a society that fears anything that could potentially look like a bomb to an uneducated twit?"

      Yes! [bbc.co.uk]

      However, the important question is 'can bombs be made that look like these objects to an educated twit who runs the bomb detectors?'
    • Ok, I'm a "layman" for this role...

      Problem, I have no x-ray device.


    • I don't know about anyone else but stuff using an X-Ray Machine!

      As pointed out in the PDF, the MK1 Eyeball can deduce that this is, in fact, a can with a mobile phone grafted into it beacause..... it looks like a can with a mobile phone grafted into it!

      Also, wouldn't the fact that the top and bottom are made from a white polymer rather than regular aluminium be a give-away? (Thats for anyone who missed the handset in the side)
  • now I know what to make my IED look like so it looks like one of those coke cans on an X-ray...that'll help a lot with getting past security...doesn't anyone else think that giving EVERYONE photos of this to make sure you don't confuse one with an explosive is a bad idea? now people that may be interested in building explosives have a design to shoot for...sure that's all tinfoil hat kinda fear, but aren't those the people X-raying cans in the first place?
    • by mabinogi ( 74033 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @04:25AM (#9787843) Homepage
      So how are you going to manage that?

      If you look at the X-Rays, the main difference between a real explosive device, and the GPS coke can, is that the GPS coke can just has electronics and batteries.
      An explosives device has electronics, batteries and.......explosives...

      Unless you're just gonna make an explosive device by overloading some capacitors I don't think there's much chance of anyone making the mistake.
      • So how are you going to manage that?

        If you look at the X-Rays, the main difference between a real explosive device, and the GPS coke can, is that the GPS coke can just has electronics and batteries.


        Simple:

        - Use a small detonator, shaped like a battery, in the battery cluster.
        - Substitute explosives for coke in the rest of the cans in the 12 pack.

        But if I were a security type (especially on a military vessel - and MORE especially on, say, a carrierr) I'd be more concerned about a device composed of
  • Sheesh. (Score:5, Funny)

    by The Human Cow ( 646609 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @04:09AM (#9787809) Homepage
    What are they worried about? Can't they just disarm the IED by tapping on the lid?
  • Xrays? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Anyone care to explain xray photos in full color? In all the images, the PCBs are green, the coke is brownish, etc... how the hell does an xray machine do color? or are they simply colored after the fact for clarity?
    • Re:Xrays? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      xrays can be shown as either color OR the standard black and white, depending on the machine. Bomb Disposal teams use color xray machines for greater safety to the member disarming the device. (you can see the circuits, connections, wires, etc better in color)

      hope that helps!!

      from ******
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 24, 2004 @04:34AM (#9787849)
    Lots and lots of cars look like the type somebody would make into a bomb including mine. (car bombs are always made out of white vans or white sedans). I think all non bomb devices that look like they _could_ be a bomb should have a sticker on them saying "This device in not a bomb". That way, the security people would have an easier job doing what they do. Whatever that is other than complain.
  • by axonal ( 732578 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @04:35AM (#9787851)
    The promotion with these coke cans is that you get a GMC equinox right? First off, if I had one of these cans, I don't think I'd take a flight and run it through the x-ray machine before I thought about pressing the button to claim my prize. I think as soon as I take this soda out of the package, and see, HEY! I WON MY PRIZE! I'll press the button. Thus, the Coca-Cola Prize Squad will come by, collect my can of technological glory and nicely deposit my newly won SUV. So why would I wanna take my can and run it through the x-ray machine?
    Those of you that may think that terrorists could run their "IEDs" through the x-ray machine to get past security. It wouldn't make sense, since the reason I just explained before. If it was REALLY a REAL GPS coke can, it wouldnt be there, since the person would have already claimed their prize as soon as they see it. Thus, it has to be a bomb otherwise.
  • among a few other possibilities. People shouldn't get so excited or blame Coca-Cola when something unintentionally happens to look like something else. I got my bagpack inspected at the airport lots of times, even before 9/11. Sometimes the screeners ask me to turn on my laptop or my cellphone to make sure they function as described. In any reasonable world, the airport will keep the coke can until the winner comes back. Big deal!

    But please, don't accuse me of terrorism if I am just happy to see someone!
  • by EvilCabbage ( 589836 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @04:42AM (#9787867) Homepage
    Just in case that one breaks, here's another. [playingwithfire.org]

    It should take the abuse with good humour.
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @05:08AM (#9787923) Journal
    If security sees something they don't trust then they call the bomb experts. Simple. Better a false alarm then having a plane blow up.

    This seems to give the X-ray operators the idea that some cans can contain electronics. So all a terrorist now has to do is make his detonator be as neat as the coke can, thanks to the handy photo's and a x-ray operator will think "oh a suspicous thing oh no wait I seen that presentation this is one of them cans no need to check further".

    I wonder about the "normal" can x-ray. Why is it all orange? Can x-rays pass through aluminium but not coca cola? For gods sake what have I been drinking all this time that stops x-rays?

    So the perfect IED device is a can with a double wall, explosives inside, coke on the outside.

    • Water blocks EM radiation fairly well - I believe it can only go through a quarter of a wavelength of water. Hence the US Navy's use of ELF for communicating with submarines.
    • If security sees something they don't trust then they call the bomb experts. Simple. Better a false alarm then having a plane blow up.

      This seems to give the X-ray operators the idea that some cans can contain electronics.

      Yep.

      So all a terrorist now has to do is make his detonator be as neat as the coke can, thanks to the handy photo's and a x-ray operator will think "oh a suspicous thing oh no wait I seen that presentation this is one of them cans no need to check further".

      Nope.

      The FIRST lesson for
  • Useful Information (Score:5, Interesting)

    by _archangel ( 30213 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @05:30AM (#9787969)
    To some extent, I can see the usefulness of this information. Back in summer of 2000, I was setting up DSL at my new apartment, and my ISP was going to ship the DSL modem to me.

    I came home from work one day to find two ambulances, two fire trucks, and a number of police vehicles throughout the fairly spread out apartment complex. Luckily, they were concentrated toward the front while my apartment was near the back of the complex. I was just able to enter my apartment without crossing the lines. On my way in, I asked an officer what was going on, and he said that there was a suspicious package that they were checking out.

    After about an hour, a policeman knocks on my door and asks me to come with him. When we arrived at the center of activity, I found out that the postman had delivered my DSL modem to the wrong address. Not only had he delivered it to the wrong address, but he placed the brown box label-side down on the doorstep of a police officer's apartment. The bomb squad did not know what it was after taking the X-rays, so they fired a water bullet into it. When nothing more happened, they decided it was safe and found my address on the package and got me. One of the bomb squad team told me that they were going to circulate the X-rays because they had never seen X-rays of these things before.

    When I got back to my apartment I plugged in the modem and everything worked perfectly. The modem had been double-boxed and bagged, and the outer box took the brunt of the damage.
    • you may have thought they were over-reacting, but perhaps they assumed you were running Windows ME without patches. (plase mod this funny, its a joke)
  • by mikael ( 484 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @07:50AM (#9788226)
    How is this any different from those novelty coke can telephones [auctionworks.com] and coke can radios [ebay.com]. Once the object is hidden inside a hand-luggage bag, what the outer surface looks like isn't going to make any difference to an X-ray machine.
  • by wfberg ( 24378 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @08:14AM (#9788274)
    is to enable those people who encounter such "suspect" cans of soda during their routine X-ray scanning for security purposes to identify them, in order to prevent a false alarm. X-ray operators should now have no need to call in the bomb squad, they can simply confiscate the suspect can themselves, for security reasons, and activate it, for security reasons, and keep the prize themselves.

    Strictly for security reasons, you see.
  • EOD Perspective (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 24, 2004 @08:42AM (#9788343)
    I am an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technition (military bomb squad) and I would just like to add that the Coca-Cola company was very helpful in the disemination of imformation to all security agencies. The device is not a threat, lack of information about this device is a threat.
  • I mean if turning on your cell phone is supposed to bring down a 120 million dollar airliner (Riiiiiiiiight) then imagine the horror if a few of these babies goes off in planes. Holy pull tab batman!!!!
  • With the airlines tightening down on baggage limits, why should anyone be bringing a 12-pack of cola with them on a plane? Dose anyone here regularly carry 12-pack boxes of cola on flights? If so, why?

It seems that more and more mathematicians are using a new, high level language named "research student".

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