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keeping bombs off planes - Ilya Shlyakhter (notestaff) - letters to editors
August 16th, 2006
01:05 pm


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keeping bombs off planes
Keeping planes  safe

Some simple steps for preventing terrorism on planes: Ban all drinks. Have the flight attendants serve enough drinks for free or for a nominal fee. Ban all MP3 players. Let people upload their music to an airline's Web site, and listen to it on airline-issued headphones during the flight.

And so on.

Most of the "essentials" that people now bring on the planes can be easily replaced with safe, airline-issued ones for the duration of the flight.

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(9 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:August 16th, 2006 05:19 pm (UTC)
Oh, no.
Not really.
There will always be essentials that you haven't thought of and that other people will desperately need.
I will have to spend about 24+ hours in flight in the next few weeks, all without books! Come on!
There was a good editorial in NYT yesterday about keeping the bombs off the planes - look at people. The guys stopped short of saying "profile", but I would agree with him on this as well. This is the method that El Al is using, and it works.
And I will not feel safe without any carry-on luggage on the plane, if I know that it doesn't take much to bring the bomb in the checked luggage which, ironically, most likely will never get checked.
[User Picture]
Date:August 16th, 2006 05:28 pm (UTC)
nu, knigu legko prolistat' i proverit' chto v nej nichego vrednogo net.
with liquids and electronics it's harder. so maybe the better thing to say is -- ban classes of things that are hard to check quickly for safety, leaving the rest.

there have also been interesting suggestions about sending all luggage on a separate, "sister" plane. it'll cost a lot but compared with the cost of screening, maybe not too bad -- and it'd be more reliable than screening.

it is of course true that they should either do the above or find a way to screen all checked baggage first...
[User Picture]
Date:August 16th, 2006 05:55 pm (UTC)
the big beef i have with all of that is --
how are we going to travel without laptops?
to conferences, to work at sister-universities overseas... how?
and cameras that we take to our vacations??

they can't be checked in, they will be either stolen or broken. + film cameras with film can't be exrayed.

banning is not going to solve anything. profiling and smart checks will, i agree with yelya.
[User Picture]
Date:August 16th, 2006 06:12 pm (UTC)
of course profiling/checks are preferable. if they work, nothing else is needed. but el-al is relatively small, and replicating what it does on the world's scale might not work as well...

i guess i was thinking specifically of liquids ignited by electronics. laptops & cameras you could put in an overhead bin that is locked for the duration of the flight, you take it out at the end.

if screening technology catches with e.g. liquid explosives -- this won't be needed, but it's not there yet...
[User Picture]
Date:August 16th, 2006 06:26 pm (UTC)
but need for something on a plane is not the only reason people take that something on board! Like I almost never use my laptop, but obviously I don't want to check it in, so I take it with me.
[User Picture]
Date:August 16th, 2006 06:39 pm (UTC)
yes, that's true.
maybe the solution is to lock the overhead bin where you put these things for the flight.
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