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(The Register)   Blowing up a plane in mid-flight with smuggled liquids isn't as easy as most media outlets have portrayed. Here comes the science   (theregister.com) divider line 164
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19215 clicks; posted to Main » on 17 Aug 2006 at 10:29 AM (8 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2006-08-17 07:38:19 AM
This was probably just a front for the airlines to forbid people to bring their own drinks on board. Watch the drink prices in airports and planes go up dramatically.

} cynical prick
 
2006-08-17 07:52:41 AM
what? the government would never overblow a threat on terrorism to improve thier ratings, especially this close to a coming election, It would never happen!

Ahh! terrists, everyone run and hide, and vote repuglican!
 
2006-08-17 07:52:58 AM
cynical prick = realist
 
2006-08-17 07:53:58 AM
Zalan other governments seem to be treating it as seriously as ours did. It was a pretty big deal.
 
2006-08-17 07:54:42 AM
Is the writer of this article trying to suggest that... no that would be unpossible... he can't be trying to suggest that politican's over reacted to a situation, can he?
 
2006-08-17 07:55:12 AM
Feasible or not. Liquids are an easy thing for the TSA to spot and the make security more of a hastle. So the bigger the hastle I get at security, the safer I feel.

/Can't wait until they have people trained to mock me as I go through
 
2006-08-17 08:09:15 AM
Zalan: what? the government would never overblow a threat on terrorism to improve thier ratings, especially this close to a coming election, It would never happen!


I just was thinking the same thing...I'll bet the world will see another version of this in October, maybe about 2 weeks before the general election...NEWS @ 11...you read it here first on TFark...

work, work, work, Men! we've got to protect our phoney baloney jobs...
 
2006-08-17 08:12:21 AM
img217.imageshack.us

No shiat.
 
2006-08-17 08:13:12 AM
For all you naysayers. Would you sit next to a guy who's trying to blow up a glass of some liquid?
 
2006-08-17 08:13:38 AM
www.wondermark.com
 
2006-08-17 08:16:55 AM
The whole thing is a crock. I haven't heard of such a stupid idea since the shoe bomber guy. And that worked out so well for him, he's still alive.
 
2006-08-17 08:17:13 AM
not quite as simple as ducking into the toilet and mixing two harmless liquids together

Raghead swirlie!
 
2006-08-17 08:17:29 AM
The most likely scenario would be some guy with several pounds of plastic explosive and a detonator stuffed up his ass. If he properly prepared (took several showers with chemical removing cleansers to remove any residue) he could easily make it through the detectors and after a quick poopout and assembly in the plane lavatory have a bomb easily capable of destroying any plane. All they need to do is catch one terrorist doing this and it's rubber glove searches for all.
 
2006-08-17 08:17:36 AM
There's a difference between fear and concern. And if you're not concerenced, you're at the other end of the idiot spectrum than the alarmists - but you're still an idiot.
 
2006-08-17 08:20:55 AM
Sir Cumference the Flatulent: This was probably just a front for the airlines to forbid people to bring their own drinks on board. Watch the drink prices in airports and planes go up dramatically.

Um.. regular drinks (water/tea/coffee/soda) are free on planes. Alcoholic are still about $5. YMMV
 
2006-08-17 08:22:18 AM
Kim Jong B Illin: The most likely scenario

How exactly is "most likely" defined in your world?
 
2006-08-17 08:22:19 AM
MorningBreath: other governments seem to be treating it as seriously as ours did. It was a pretty big deal.

Those same governments have also has conservative parties barely win their last elections in a controversial fashion.

Odd.

/tinfoil hat time
 
2006-08-17 08:23:33 AM
Unright: regular drinks (water/tea/coffee/soda) are free on planes

...for now.
 
2006-08-17 08:25:35 AM
Hmm what an intellgent, informative and well-reasoned article.

But, how about me buying four bottles of scotch from the duty free cart, pouring them out on the carpet midflight and igniting it? Seems that would cause a fire that could not be easily put out and might well asphyxiate the whole plane.

/jus sayin.
//excuse me, there are some guys in suits at the door.
 
2006-08-17 08:29:29 AM
lefande: But, how about me buying four bottles of scotch from the duty free cart, pouring them out on the carpet midflight and igniting it? Seems that would cause a fire that could not be easily put out and might well asphyxiate the whole plane.

They don't give you a second until you've finished the first and returned the bottle. There's probably also a limit on how many they'll serve to a person in one flight.

And alcohol fires aren't that hard to put out. Plus they have oxygen masks.
 
2006-08-17 08:33:02 AM
They sell whole bottles of liquor as duty free, not as single serving cocktails.

And if you managed to run a trail of alcohol down the length of the cabin and get it lit, you would well have a fire that would have the whole plane in a panic and could well overwhelm the air waitri with their little fire extiguishers.

/these guys want me to come downtown with them to talk about my postings.
 
2006-08-17 08:34:27 AM
newsisgoodfood How exactly is "most likely" defined in your world?

The 'bomb mule' scenario has been discussed in various counterterrorism briefings for years, the first I heard about it was back in 1988 from a source in the CIA. The main reason that it doesn't happen is that most terrorism is actully psychological, lets put some fear in the infidels and take away their freedom. The events after 9/11 prove this. Secondly the majority of muslim men aren't too keen on having anything stuck up their ass, something to do with pissing off allah and not getting their 72 virgins.
 
2006-08-17 08:36:52 AM
MorningBreath: Zalan other governments seem to be treating it as seriously as ours did. It was a pretty big deal.

Except, as I understand it, they still haven't found any kind of hard evidence implicating these guys and demonstrating that they posed any kind of legitimate threat.

All they seem to have so far is the accusation from a guy who was being tortured.

After the recent string of cock-ups and overblown "terror plots" demonstrated by the U.S. government in recent months, forgive me if I want to withhold assent until some hard evidence in produced in this case.
 
2006-08-17 08:45:21 AM
Dimethylmercury
Hg(CH3)2. Dimethylmercury is a highly volatile colourless liquid at room temperature. As an organic mercury compound, it may form when mercury combines with carbon covalently (shares electrons forming a strong bond). Dimethylmercury is poisonous to the nervous system (a neurotoxin), it readily crosses the blood-brain barrier and causes a lack of coordination, sensory disturbance and changes in mental state. Dimethylmercury inhibits several stages of neurotransmission in the brain.

Organo (alkyl) mercury compounds may cause damage to the central nervous system and are irritants of the eyes, respiratory tract, and skin. Symptoms of methyl and ethyl mercury intoxication may occur weeks to months after an acute exposure to toxic concentrations. The symptoms of acute and chronic intoxication from both compounds are similar and include numbness and tingling of the lips, hands and feet, staggering, joint pain, narrowing of vision, hearing difficulties, and emotional disturbances. With severe intoxication the symptoms are usually irreversible. Severe intoxication also results in periods of spasticity and jerking movements of the arms and legs, head or shoulders, and bouts of groaning, moaning, shouting, or crying. Other symptoms are dizziness, increased watering of the mouth, watering of the eyes, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea or constipation. Infants born to mothers who have been exposed to large amounts of methyl mercury have shown mental retardation and cerebral palsy with convulsions. The symptoms of exposure to methoxyethyl mercury are loss of appetite, diarrhea, weight loss, and fatigue. Kidney damage has occurred. The alkyl mercury halides are irritating to the eyes, upper respiratory tract, and skin and may cause severe skin rash and burns. Allergic skin rashes may occur.

--
This is right up there in the pantheon of poisons. Dimethylmercury is roughly level with botulin toxin. The lethal dose for botulinum is about 300 picograms per kilogram - so only 30ug is needed to speedily kill a 100 kilogram adult. Even ricin is probably less toxic than dimethylmercury - you need about a milligram of ricin to kill a human.

The movie-plot poisons are rather less toxic. Good old arsenic needs 250mg to probably do in an adult. Potassium or sodium cyanide's about the same as arsenic trioxide, but cyanic acid is only about 50mg. Strychnine? About 350mg, for an adult. Curare's pretty hot stuff, though - well under one milligram per kilogram'll do you.


/Colorless, sweet smelling. Hmmmm. I only found 2 venders that sell it and not in the United States. I only looked for about 5 minutes. I would imagine there would be safeguards for purchases... buy an employee of a facility that uses this compound could acquire enough chemical to produce casualties... just by putting it in the water. Of course any exposure to trace amounts is fatal...

EVERYBODY PANIC!!!!1!!
 
2006-08-17 08:54:03 AM
Well, it might be pkay to fear these bombs, but now we knoe it is an irrational fear, like that of clowns.

/can't sleep, binary liquid explosives will get me
 
2006-08-17 08:55:17 AM
But they've seen the same movies that you and I have seen, and so the myth of binary liquid explosives dies hard.

For the win!
 
2006-08-17 08:55:33 AM
lefande: But, how about me buying four bottles of scotch from the duty free cart, pouring them out on the carpet midflight and igniting it?

Plus most alcohol is tough to ignite (alcohol content has to be at least 100 proof).

/Just sayin'
 
2006-08-17 08:58:51 AM
Anyway, if some brown people are sitting around on a plane mixing liquids together, the air marshall is going to shoot them in the face. So this is all really a moot point.

low_dazzle, that comic is hilarious.
 
2006-08-17 08:59:56 AM
h3lx: /Colorless, sweet smelling. Hmmmm. I only found 2 venders that sell it and not in the United States. I only looked for about 5 minutes. I would imagine there would be safeguards for purchases... buy an employee of a facility that uses this compound could acquire enough chemical to produce casualties... just by putting it in the water. Of course any exposure to trace amounts is fatal...

Eh, any student at a university that's good with purchasing could probably get some ordered...
 
2006-08-17 09:00:10 AM
Many are 100 proof.
 
2006-08-17 09:04:32 AM
 
2006-08-17 10:32:49 AM
oh good. I have been waiting for the science.
 
2006-08-17 10:36:00 AM
None of the guys arrested were charged for a crime. No bombs were found, and most of them did not even have a passport.

How much are you willing to bet that, once the 28-day period is over, they'll be release for lack of proof ? It seems that all they've got now is the word of a guy tortured abroad, and it will certainly never fly in a court of law.
 
2006-08-17 10:36:19 AM
Media fear mongering? That's unpossible!
 
2006-08-17 10:36:46 AM
seems easy enough to smuggle snakes on a plane tho
 
2006-08-17 10:36:47 AM
img.photobucket.com
 
2006-08-17 10:36:51 AM
As long as the airlines keep mercury from being on planes, we'll be safe!
 
2006-08-17 10:38:15 AM
SchlingFo
All they seem to have so far is the accusation from a guy who was being tortured.

Exactly. Who wouldn't tell their torturers what they wanted to hear in order to get it to stop.

This whole thing is a joke.
 
2006-08-17 10:40:51 AM
The Onanist: Plus most alcohol is tough to ignite (alcohol content has to be at least 100 proof).


Then why have I never, ever had a problem lighting 80 proof rum?
 
2006-08-17 10:41:50 AM
The one thing that gets me about the article is the continual portrayal of the terrorists as idiots. Did anyone else get the sense that he was suggesting that?

Also, fact of the matter is we don't know what they used, or at least the public doesn't know, and this is all guess work. I hope the folks that read this article realize that.
 
2006-08-17 10:42:30 AM
show me

Beat me to it!!!
 
2006-08-17 10:42:37 AM
This recent terror brou-haha is rapidly beginning to sound like malarkey. Like the Miami seven.

Then when we actually do get hit, people will be unaware due to fatigue from both Bush and Blair fear mongering for poll percentage points.
 
2006-08-17 10:42:40 AM
A delightfully snarky article.
 
2006-08-17 10:42:52 AM
padraig: None of the guys arrested were charged for a crime. No bombs were found, and most of them did not even have a passport.

How much are you willing to bet that, once the 28-day period is over, they'll be release for lack of proof ? It seems that all they've got now is the word of a guy tortured abroad, and it will certainly never fly in a court of law.


Yep. And according to Olbermann, the Brits say the only reason they arrested them so soon was that the Americans were pressuring for an arrest _now_. Apparently, they wanted a week, minimum, to build a better case against them. It's not like they were an imminent threat - they hadn't even dry-run yet and most didn't have passports yet. If they get off, you can thank the Rovian ratfarkery for it - Olbermann supposes that this was to distract the USA from the defeat of pro-war Liebermann in the primaries.
 
2006-08-17 10:45:57 AM
Good thing it's SO difficult to blow something up with smuggled liquids. Otherwise they might have blown up the Tube or a bus.

Oh wait, they did blow up the Tube and a bus.

This story is really just meant to soothe the worries of the unwashed masses. Any sufficiently motivated group could "blow up" a plane. Smuggled liquids is only but one of many available methods.
 
2006-08-17 10:46:38 AM
sylaak: The Onanist: Plus most alcohol is tough to ignite (alcohol content has to be at least 100 proof).


Even if you got it to light, you would never start a real fire. First and foremost, the carpet on airliners is certainly subject to the same fire resistance requirements as the carpet on the high speed ferries I work on. You couldnt even light that stuff with a torch, never mind a tiny alcohol fire. Second, alcohol burns fairly cool, since only the vapor burns. I never did it myself, but I saw someone pour alcohol on their hand once, and light it on fire, without getting burned.
 
2006-08-17 10:46:44 AM
Merltech: As long as the airlines keep mercury from being on planes, we'll be safe!

That was already forbidden, long ago.

padraig: None of the guys arrested were charged for a crime. No bombs were found, and most of them did not even have a passport.

How much are you willing to bet that, once the 28-day period is over, they'll be release for lack of proof ? It seems that all they've got now is the word of a guy tortured abroad, and it will certainly never fly in a court of law.


Oh, jeeze, you aren't serious, are you?

Heh. Wouldn't it be absofarkinglutely hilarious if it turns out that they had no such thing in mind at all, and the entire 'plot' is a fake?

/Mother, can I trust the government?
 
2006-08-17 10:47:00 AM
Blowing up a plane in mid-flight with smuggled liquids isn't Nothing is as easy as most media outlets have ever portrayed.
 
2006-08-17 10:47:55 AM
Why does the Register hate America?
 
2006-08-17 10:48:01 AM
As noted above, there are other undetectable liquids which can cause lots of bad things in a cabin without the fabled binary liquid explosion being one of them.

Tell me again why the government is supposed to list all of them when the unworkable threat is good enough for most people to buy?
 
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