OverTheGeicoE writes: The producers of the Discovery Channel's Curiosity documentary series are about to start their new season in an interesting way: they decided to purchase and deliberately crash a Boeing 727. Why? To find out more about airline passenger crash survival. The plane is, of course, unmanned at the time of the crash into the Mexican desert, and it appears to have little to no fuel on board, judging by the lack of a fireball (video). In other airliner crashes, including both tests and genuine disasters, fireballs (video)were (video)common (video of 9/11). Will this documentary give people a false sense of security about their chances of surviving an airline crash? Does the low-speed, low-fuel crash test trivialize the largest danger, fuel fires, both for passengers and bystanders on the ground?
OverTheGeicoE writes: TSA recently announced that it is looking for vendors of 'radiation measurement devices'. According to the agency's Request for Information, these devices 'will assist the TSA in determining if the Transportation Security Officers (TSO) at selected federalized airports are exposed to ionizing radiation above minimum detectable levels, and whether any measured radiation doses approach or exceed the threshold where personnel dosimetry monitoring is required by DHS/TSA policy.' A TSA spokeman claims that their RFI 'did not reflect any heightened concern by the agency about radiation levels that might be excessive or pose a risk to either TSA screeners or members of the traveling public.' Concern outside the agency, however, has always been high. TSA has long been criticized for its apparent lack of understanding of radiological safety, even for its own employees. There has been speculation of a cancer cluster, possibly caused by poor safety practices in baggage screening.