Friday, August 11, 2006

Coffee, Tea, or TNT?

The media seem to have noticed that lots of chemicals will explode under the right circumstances. I'm not going to reel off a bunch of additional names, as I don't want to take even the slightest chance of giving anyone any ideas. But yes, there are many easily available compounds that'll blow up real good, and many ways of disguising them.

That being the case, I'm pretty amused this report from the Guardian:

There was concern that asking passengers to taste liquids such as baby milk before allowing it on to the plane would not work as a deterrent. Explosives experts pointed out that many dangerous compounds, though unpleasant to drink, are essentially harmless.
Thank heavens for these experts! Of course, the idea of forcing passengers to taste carry-on liquids is daft for any number of reasons that have nothing to do with toxicity.

The charming object below is a shiv - a homemade knife - confiscated from an inmate at Rahway Prison in New Jersey.

Apropos of which, Bruce Schneier says:
Think about these, and the adverse conditions they were made under, the next time you see someone's pocket knife being taken away from them at airport security. We can't keep weapons out of prisons; we can't possibly expect to keep them out of airports.
Which is not to say that we shouldn't try, of course. But the way we react to terrorism is a big part of what makes it so effective; it doesn't take high explosives to cripple a country; you can do it with the fear of explosives quite economically. Especially when you have high-profile fearmongers like Joe Lieberman and Dick Cheney acting as amplifiers for your message.

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