Undercover Report: Airport Security Misses 95 Percent of Weapons and Explosives
In a report given to ABC News, TSA screeners failed to detect 67 out of 70 tests at dozens of airports throughout the country.
Flying home from a friend's wedding on Sunday, the TSA confiscated a couple items from me at their security checkpoint: a tube of Crest toothpaste and a small bottle of hair gel. I admit to being ignorant of the agency's carry-on regulations because they are so haphazardly enforced: Not only did I travel to the wedding with those same items, but also the very TSA team that took them neglected to seize four additional toiletry bottles that, let's face it, were dangerously large.
Even so, I was surprised to learn that undercover agents were able to smuggle mock explosives and weapons through 95 percent of airport checkpoints in the United States. In a report given to ABC News, TSA screeners failed to detect 67 out of 70 tests at dozens of airports throughout the country. I admit that immature outrage still strikes me whenever my common sense is contradicted by draconian policy, but really, TSA, I had smelly breath for half a day and lost a good chuck of change when you took my nice hair product.
"In one test, the network said an undercover agent was stopped when he set off an alarm at a checkpoint, but that TSA screeners then failed to find a fake explosive device taped to his back when they patted him down."
The report on mock weapons and explosives is an embarrassing one, and it stings even more when Jeh Johnson, secretary of the Homeland Security Department, defends his record by saying that this year the TSA "seized a record number of prohibited items." Yes, Mr. Johnson, your TSA officials have been seizing our regular-sized toothpaste tubes in record numbers. Double marks for diligently keeping statistics on the matter.
Christopher Chabris, associate professor of psychology at Union College, explains how airport security officials easily miss the forest for the trees. In 2004 he was the co-recipient of an Ig Nobel Prize for his now-landmark experiment "Gorillas in Our Midst," which demonstrated that when subjects focused their attention on one thing, they often failed to notice something as conspicuous as a woman in a gorilla suit.
VR's coolest feature? Boosting compassion and empathy.
- Virtual reality fills us with awe and adrenaline — and the technology is only at a crude stage, explains VR filmmaker Danfung Dennis. It's capable of inspiring something much greater in us: empathy.
- With coming technological advancements in pixel display, haptics, and sound tracking, VR users will finally be able to know what it's like to really take another person's perspective. Empathy is inherent in humans (and other animal species), but just as it can be squashed, it must be practiced in order to develop.
- "This ability to improve ourselves to become a more empathetic and compassionate society is what I hope we will use this technology for," Dennis says.
We have to practice doing nothing more often.
- Constantly being busy is neurologically taxing and emotionally draining.
- In his new book, Jon Kabat-Zinn writes that you're doing a disservice to others by always being busy.
- Busyness is often an excuse for the discomfort of being alone with your own thoughts.
That's a sharp increase from the 1960s when it took the same share of scientists an average of 35 years to drop out of academia.
- The study tracked the careers of more than 100,000 scientists over 50 years.
- The results showed career lifespans are shrinking, and fewer scientists are getting credited as the lead author on scientific papers.
- Scientists are still pursuing careers in the private sector, however there are key differences between research conducted in academia and industry.
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