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Submission + - Backscatter X-Ray Machines Easily Fooled (springerlink.com)

Pinckney writes: A paper by Leon Kaufman and Joseph W. Carlson in the Journal of Transportation Security asserts that x-ray backscatter machines are not very effective even in their intended role. While carelessly placed contraband will be detected, the machines have glaring blind-spots and have difficulty distinguishing explosives from human tissue. As they write, "It is very likely that a large (15–20 cm in diameter), irregularly-shaped, cm-thick pancake [of with beveled edges, taped to the abdomen, would be invisible to this technology... It is also easy to see that an object such as a wire or a boxcutter blade, taped to the side of the body, or even a small gun in the same location, will be invisible."

Submission + - Two Wheels Safer Than Four for Off-Road Riding (sciencedaily.com)

Hugh Pickens writes: "Science Daily Headlines reports that In research that may surprise off-road riding enthusiasts and safety experts, a Johns Hopkins team has found that crashes involving ATVs — four-wheeled all-terrain vehicles — are significantly more dangerous than crashes involving two-wheeled off-road motorcycles, such as those used in extreme sports like Motocross. "There's a belief that four wheels must be safer than two," says Cassandra Villegas, M.P.H. "But we found the opposite. People involved in ATV crashes are more likely to die or suffer serious trauma." The researchers say it's possible that ATV riders wear less protective clothing than off-road motorcyclists when they head out, sometimes little more than shorts and a T-shirt or another explanation could be the significant weight of ATVs, which can cause severe crush injuries when they land atop victims and lead to a greater likelihood of internal organ or extremity damage. Villegas adds that studies like these could help ATV manufacturers design and implement increased safety technology in ATVs, similar to how automobile manufacturers have used research to make safer cars and trucks."

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