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Comment Re:Christmas is coming early this year (Score 1) 702

From what I can tell all of the bombing plots in the 2000s were avoided by either misfires or security measures in place since the mid 90s.

Yes, we've all been very lucky that these knuckleheads did things like step in puddles - the TSA did not find them. But the fact is that every TSA regulation was born of some previous security lapse. It used to be that you could simply check a bomb onto a flight that you weren't even going to ride on. They tightened that up, so now you have to find a person willing to "martyr" themselves - which all by itself makes a huge difference. As they make the challenge of blowing up or hijacking an airplane harder and harder, they seriously shrink the pool of people willing and capable of carrying out the act.

Also 50g of PETN in a shoe bomb would have been ineffective even if it had detonated.

This source seems to think differently. In either event, explosives aren't something you really want passengers to have, and multiple passengers could have multiple shoes. Are you seriously suggesting that they not screen shoes now?

Comment Re:Christmas is coming early this year (Score 1) 702

But maybe they detered the great Shoe Bomb Epidemic of 2010? Who knows.

You laugh, but the shoe bomb could have gone either way. One wonders what might have happened if the guy had lit the thing in a restroom instead of trying to light it in full view of the other passengers. The underwear bomber is a similar fellow. What do you expect the TSA to do in response to these guys? They have to change their methods.

Comment Re:Christmas is coming early this year (Score 1) 702

So putting "non-existent" as a criteria means that you will always fail.

That is exactly my point. Security does not have to be perfect to be valuable.

And you will never know if the money being spent is not being wasted because there incidents are so rare already.

There are many places where traditional methods of statistical research will fail. This is one of them. Instead we have to learn from our experience. For instance: some incompetent people were recruited to light bombs in their shoes - now shoes go through the x-ray machine. People found a way to mix the explosives behind security - now we can't have substantial amounts of liquids. People hijacked airliners with box cutters - now we have reinforced doors and pocket knife restrictions.

Now I'll concede that it is entirely possible that this latest regulation is based upon some scenario in some bureaucrat's mind. It is also possible that, like the liquids regulation, it is done for a perfectly good reason. Only time will tell.

Comment Re:Christmas is coming early this year (Score 1) 702

The risk is already almost non-existent.

But not non-existent, as history has shown. Take away the security and you don't even need "smart" or "poised". Any doofus who can hold a bag will do. Keep security static and you don't need smart people - just enough attempts from dullards until they chance upon a workaround, the way penicillin eventually adapts to an antibiotic.

Comment Re:Christmas is coming early this year (Score 2, Insightful) 702

It's not insanity - it's all about reducing risk.

Think in terms of Venn diagrams: start with "people who want to blow up an airplane". Now add "people who can build an airplane-destroying device into an iPhone". Now draw the circle for "people who can make the device still appear to function while also containing the airplane-destroying device". Now add "operatives smart and poised enough to carry out the attack but willing to kill themselves in the process". The intersection keeps getting smaller and smaller.

You don't need to make everything impossible - you just need to make it very unlikely. For reasons that we don't need to agree upon or nail down in this discussion, aircraft are very attractive targets. Successful (and even unsuccessful) attacks are major news events. There is nothing "insane" about recognizing and reacting to this reality.

Comment Re:Get it right (Score 1) 102

Nice put down if we were not speculating about something nobody has observed. Of course we are using examples from the land of make-believe.

I once read a story about an alien who didn't have to eat because it was powered by a perpetual motion engine. Does such an alien make a good example of something we might actually encounter? No, because it's at odds with reality as we know it.

Just because we are using imaginary examples doesn't mean all such examples are equally credible.

Comment Re:I can't imagine something like that in the U.S. (Score 1) 162

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. It's those unions. Those ones whose membership has been steadily and measurably been decreasing for 30 years(almost exactly at the same rate as wage stagnation occurs, as a complete coincidence).

Public service unions are the major exception; the general decline is irrelevant when US mass transit is still almost completely union.

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