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A globe I can shake
November 13, 2009 6:16 PM   Subscribe

TSA is cracking down on snow globes. Although now a terrorist threat, traditionally snow globes have stood for Elvis, Jesus, and the American flag.
posted by twoleftfeet (138 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
xkcd.com/651
posted by mhjb at 6:22 PM on November 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


I thought maybe they were breaking them with hammers. I am disappointed.
posted by dephlogisticated at 6:22 PM on November 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


So are we going to see these lots for snow globes pop up on eBay soon?
posted by cazoo at 6:27 PM on November 13, 2009


First they came for the snowglobes,
and I did not speak out—
because I was not a snowman
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:28 PM on November 13, 2009 [26 favorites]


My snowglobe was taken from me.

Taken.

My snowglobe was taken from me by the TSA agents at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson airport yesterday.

According to the Transportation Security Administration website, “We will not ask you to do anything that will separate you from your snowglobe."

Bullshit TSA.

You took my snowglobe. MY SNOWGLOBE.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:28 PM on November 13, 2009 [108 favorites]


And with this, the TSA has officially jumped the shark.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:32 PM on November 13, 2009 [11 favorites]


I clicked the link thinking it was be because someone thought about breaking the glass and using the shards as a knife. I didn't think about the liquid aspect at all.

Will they ban humans from flying when they realize our bodies contain more than 3 oz of liquids?
posted by educatedslacker at 6:35 PM on November 13, 2009 [14 favorites]


Wow. Kip Hawley really was an idiot.
posted by scblackman at 6:35 PM on November 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


This is obviously just a cheap ploy to sell more duty-free Goldschläger over the holidays.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:36 PM on November 13, 2009


The proposed solution "pack the snow globe in your checked luggage" only works until a TSA employee steals it from your bag.
posted by Nelson at 6:38 PM on November 13, 2009 [9 favorites]


Unicode Snowman is not amused.
posted by qvantamon at 6:38 PM on November 13, 2009 [7 favorites]


Don't worry, mr. TSA, I don't have any liquids in my snow globe... Just COCAINE.
posted by qvantamon at 6:39 PM on November 13, 2009


Okay, so, whatever happened to all the reports from October of 2008 where they were saying that they were going to be RELAXING these liquids-on-airplanes restrictions by the end of 2009?

*sigh*
posted by hippybear at 6:42 PM on November 13, 2009


HUMANS ARE FULL OF LIQUIDS TOO.
posted by b1tr0t at 6:43 PM on November 13, 2009 [6 favorites]


NOT FOR LONG. PLEASE, SIR, TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES AND STEP INTO THE RONCO PEOPLE DEHYDRATOR 9000.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:49 PM on November 13, 2009 [27 favorites]


The proposed solution "pack the snow globe in your checked luggage" only works until a TSA employee steals it from your bag.

Pack a laptop in the same bag as the snowglobe so that only the laptop will be stolen. Problem solved!

Okay, so, whatever happened to all the reports from October of 2008 where they were saying that they were going to be RELAXING these liquids-on-airplanes restrictions by the end of 2009?

What better way to relax than with a nice snow globe?
posted by The World Famous at 6:52 PM on November 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Shoelaces can be used as garrotes.

A cover from a hardcover book can be made into a knife.

Heck, many things can be made into knives.

And we're worried about snow globes and shampoo?
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:56 PM on November 13, 2009


Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! The point of Total Absurdity has arrived!
posted by bearwife at 6:59 PM on November 13, 2009


I've figured out how to make my pee explode.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 7:01 PM on November 13, 2009 [10 favorites]


Why aren't the airlines stepping in to STOP this security theater bullshit? It's gotta be hurting their bottom lines. If you're a well-funded corporation can't you throw money at regulatory problems?
posted by crapmatic at 7:05 PM on November 13, 2009


And by the way Elvis had the right song for this. Wouldn't it be great if it played on a snow globe music box?
posted by bearwife at 7:05 PM on November 13, 2009


Heck, many things can be made into knives.

True. But, based on your link, I think TSA might get a bit suspicious if someone tries to go through security with a carry-on containing a bed, a vent, a fence, and a mop ringer.
posted by The World Famous at 7:06 PM on November 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


True story: Last year, my wife and I were flying back from our honeymoon in Belize. We'd picked up a hand-carved wooden cane there as a thank you present for the friend who officiated at our wedding. We weren't checking any other luggage, so we decided to take a chance, carry it on the plane (we had it in a cardboard tube) and check it as a last resort if security said no.

We got to the airport in Belize and got waved through, no problem. When we got back to the States and changed planes in Dallas, we had to go through TSA screening to get on the new plane. They didn't blink an eye at the three-foot, steel-tipped, heavy wooden club-shaped object. They did, however, confiscate our tube of toothpaste.
posted by EarBucket at 7:06 PM on November 13, 2009 [38 favorites]


I was given a 9-11 commemorative snowglobe. It contains a tableaux of firefighters raising a flag among twisted debris. In decorative gold script across the base is written the words "Ground Zero". The water inside is dirty.
posted by squalor at 7:07 PM on November 13, 2009 [6 favorites]


They didn't blink an eye at the three-foot, steel-tipped, heavy wooden club-shaped object. They did, however, confiscate our tube of toothpaste.

Yeah, apparently canes and such are immune from their procedures. A friend of mine was flying someplace for halloween with a kender costume, which also included a kenderstick, sort of a combination sling/staff. They didn't even bat an eye. Said it was classified as a cane or walking stick and they didn't care.
posted by hippybear at 7:10 PM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


A friend of mine was flying someplace for halloween with a kender costume, which also included a kenderstick, sort of a combination sling/staff.

I'll have you know that's a "hoopak," good sir.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 7:12 PM on November 13, 2009 [14 favorites]


Okay, well, as I don't collect snow globes this doesn't affect me. So more importantly... as a floatie pen collector, what about floatie pens?

I ask this because they will have to pry my floatie pens from my cold, dead hands.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:15 PM on November 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


thanks! my brain was searching for the word, and it was NOT coming to me!

hoopak hoopak hoopak
posted by hippybear at 7:15 PM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


A quick pic of the 9-11 snowglobe so everyone can bear witness as to how disturbingly real it is.
posted by squalor at 7:17 PM on November 13, 2009 [10 favorites]


squalor, you should totally take that with you next time you fly.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:20 PM on November 13, 2009


Magic 8 Ball, will we get through security without being hassled?

Outlook not so good.
posted by contrariwise at 7:22 PM on November 13, 2009 [33 favorites]


I hope a graphic artist can come up with a cool "no snowglobes" sign.
posted by Kirklander at 7:28 PM on November 13, 2009


What about a small snow globe with less than three ounces of liquid sloshing about?

"I would think they would just say 'no,' because they can't really determine how many ounces are in there," Baird said.


This sounds like a job for Wolfram Alpha!

(Something has to be a job for Wolfram Alpha.)
posted by Artw at 7:31 PM on November 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


I really hope that somewhere in the caves of Pakistan, there's a terrorist cell who recently imported hundreds of snow globes from China, and has just figured out how to drain the water and fill them with liquid explosives. Imagining the look on their faces when this news gets to them almost makes the annoyance worthwhile.

Yeah, I know.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:32 PM on November 13, 2009 [12 favorites]


Shoelaces can be used as garrotes.

/me checks my computers power cord.

Yeah. I'm not checking my laptop. Sorry, I'll take the train.
posted by SpannerX at 7:39 PM on November 13, 2009


The challenges of today's airport security make business and pleasure travel increasingly difficult. Security is there to make you feel safe and get you to your plane in one piece. However, today's regulations change frequently and are often different from airport to airport. Now, you too can stand in the shoes of a security agent trying to avert terrorism while getting everyone through a checkpoint quickly. This is a game that's just as fun as waiting in line — and one you can play in line as well.

When I discovered the snowglobe secrets of this game I was overjoyed.
posted by avocet at 7:40 PM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


If anyone hasn't read it yet, this excellent Atlantic article clearly demonstrates just how absurd airport security measures really are:
The Things He Carried

I have to say, I've adjusted to no liquids thing, but I'll never forgive the failed shoe bomber guy.
posted by thewrongparty at 7:41 PM on November 13, 2009 [12 favorites]


WHAT'S THE MATTER BOY? DON'T YOU LIKE SECURITY, ASSHOLE?!??
posted by porn in the woods at 7:47 PM on November 13, 2009


I'll see your snow globe and raise you a velvet Elvis.
posted by nola at 7:50 PM on November 13, 2009


Which reminds me; Elvis Presley Painting with Cheese Puffs on Velvet
posted by nola at 7:55 PM on November 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


This isn't new. TSA people at the Memphis airport stopped me from bringing an Elvis snowglobe in carry-on baggage way back in the fall of '06. The TSA dude who appeared to be in charge then held the snowglobe aloft, to make sure everyone around saw it. (I ended up using a laptop bag as a second piece of checked luggage.)

Elvis: Still as potentially explosive in 2006 as he is now, as he was in 1957, and shall ever be for infinity. Amen.
posted by raysmj at 7:57 PM on November 13, 2009


I have to say, I've adjusted to no liquids thing, but I'll never forgive the failed shoe bomber guy.

We live a long way away from family, so my three year old flies about four times a year to visit grandparents and cousins. She likes flying, and she's a good traveler, but it kills me a little to see her enter the security area, put her Dora backpack on the conveyor belt for the scanner, and automatically take off her shoes. The procedures that I think of as "new" and "annoying" might be all she ever knows--that's just what you do when you get on a plane. I think this is how freedoms die. One generation says "well, I hate this crap, but I understand why some people thought it was necessary" and the next generation says "hey, this is just how we've always done it."

And it makes me wonder what I take for granted that my great-greats would have been livid about.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:00 PM on November 13, 2009 [71 favorites]


My husband and I have both boarded planes with knives in our carry-ons in Houston. We only knew it because they were confiscated coming back home. Mine was a Swiss Army knife almost identical to the one at thewrongparty's link, and his was a big-ass hunting knife. Also, they'll let you take alcohol-based hand cleaner and matches.
posted by zinfandel at 8:04 PM on November 13, 2009


I boarded a plane with a smoke bomb in my carry on.

An accident, I assure you--it was shortly after the 4th of July. I was randomly flagged, so they made me go through that air-puff sniffer machine, and did that swabby thing on my bag and its contents. Once I got to my destination and unpacked my bag, I discovered that I had actual gunpowder in my bag.

Thank god I didn't have a snow globe, 'cause that might've caused some trouble.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:28 PM on November 13, 2009 [14 favorites]


I honestly think the "Liquids ban" is just there to give TSA agents something to actually look for, to make sure they're actually paying attention. If the TSA only screened for things that were rarely in luggage, they would stop paying attention. On the other hand, if they actually looked for bottles and things that appear regularly, they'll actually pay attention to the screens.

Not that it's a good idea.
posted by delmoi at 8:42 PM on November 13, 2009 [6 favorites]


I look forward to the day when we're all forced to fly naked. Ladies, my phone # is tattooed there on my left butt cheek.
posted by GuyZero at 8:49 PM on November 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


"If you can pour it, pump it, squeeze it, spread it, smear it, spray it or spill it, it's considered a liquid or gel."

my cock is banned
posted by jeremy b at 8:49 PM on November 13, 2009 [22 favorites]


On the bright side, this could bring about the economic recovery. All we need is one young entrepreneur to think up a cheap way to make a snow globe that has no liquid inside but still has the falling snow effect. BTW, I call dibs the trademark Special Snowflakes™ for the plastic pellets that float like snow without liquid.

Also, bonus points if the invention ends up being more deadly than the original. WF6 gas attacks human tissue and is very dense, almost like a liquid HINT HINT. Plus, it reacts violently with organic compounds, like plastic, meaning you'd have to put it in a glass globe. Which is good, because everyone wants a heavy ball full of toxic gas that can break into razor sharp shards.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:58 PM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Elvis Presley Painting with Cheese Puffs on Velvet

What, Elvis couldn't afford to buy paints?

"If you can pour it, pump it, squeeze it, spread it, smear it, spray it or spill it, it's considered a liquid or gel."

Your pipe is banned
posted by davejay at 9:15 PM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here we go again. I'll sum the way these comments will continue to go: TSA is full of stupid morons and we're all so much smarter than a bunch of idiots who work in security for a living. We're so smart that we can sneak on all kinds of things that aren't on the list that would cause so much real damage and hahahaha those TSA dummies. are such dummies haha we're so smart.
posted by anniecat at 9:37 PM on November 13, 2009


anniecat, are you suggesting that we are somehow incorrect? Do you have a counter-argument or an example or somesuch in support of TSA's confiscating of snowglobes? Do you truly believe that EarBucket's toothpaste should have been confiscated? What's your point?
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:43 PM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


And you just know they're putting them in this huge ziplock that they take with them after work and have a big snow globe party.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:46 PM on November 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


Isn't someone actually writing a comment supporting the assholes in the TSA the final piece of the apocalypse puzzle? It's OK, I'm at peace. Bring it on.
posted by maxwelton at 9:48 PM on November 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


TSA is full of stupid morons

Anyone who flies sees evidence that the TSA is full of stupid morons every trip. The fact that reporters are constantly able to walk through their massive gateways with knives; the fact that pilots are heavily screened while minimum wage contractors have free run of the airports; the insanity involving removing your shoes; but worst is the aggression and hostility towards their customers that's their hallmark.

In order to convince us that they aren't stupid morons, you're really going to have to give us some bit of evidence that they aren't.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:51 PM on November 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Snow globe party!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:52 PM on November 13, 2009


HUMANS ARE FULL OF LIQUIDS TOO.

Shhhhhh!

Are you crazy? If TSA finds out, we're fucked.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:53 PM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


TSA is full of run by stupid morons
posted by dirigibleman at 9:55 PM on November 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


At O'Hare today they hollered at us DO NOT PUT YOUR SHOES IN A BIN PUT THEM DIRECTLY ON THE CONVEYOR BELT. I was wondering why they didn't just put up a sign to that effect or something. It must be tiresome to have to holler that every 90 seconds all day long.

But I couldn't figure out why shoes-in-a-bin was a problem since no other airport I've been to has had an issue with it.
posted by marble at 10:00 PM on November 13, 2009


Are the lava lamps okay? At room temperature, they're only partly liquid, and I don't usually fly business class, so I rarely get to sit in a seat where I have 120v. Assuming it's a small lava lamp with only 3 oz liquid at room temperature, I'm just fine, right?
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:02 PM on November 13, 2009


But I couldn't figure out why shoes-in-a-bin was a problem since no other airport I've been to has had an issue with it.

probably a bin shortage and it lower the workload for the guy shuttling bins back to the start.
posted by GuyZero at 10:03 PM on November 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


You know, we could just tell the Teabaggers that the TSA are a socialist federal agency that don't allow individual airports to police themselves as they see fit.

Two problems solved. Plus, I'd like to see them storm the airports, just to have the entire nation, even including Fox News, call them jerks for making everyone late.
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:06 PM on November 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


marble, anniecat and I are wondering why you hate Freedom so much. I mean, really, is putting your shoes on the belt, not in a bin, so hard, when Freedom is at stake?

FREEDOM ISN'T FREE
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:06 PM on November 13, 2009


"If you can pour it, pump it, squeeze it, spread it, smear it, spray it or spill it, it's considered a liquid or gel."

It that a challenge?

*squeezes fellow passengers' suitcases*
posted by niles at 10:10 PM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


But I couldn't figure out why shoes-in-a-bin was a problem since no other airport I've been to has had an issue with it.

THIS is the thing that irks me the most about airport security. I actually don't have a big problem with it overall, and I travel pretty frequently. It doesn't take very long to get through, as long as everyone remembers what goes where. But there are SO MANY INCONSISTENCIES from one airport to another. Put your shoes in the bin. Don't put your shoes in the bin. Put your electronics in the bag. Take them out of the bag.
posted by me & my monkey at 10:13 PM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mr. Moon Pie, was that HAMBURGERY sarcasm? Because I believe I've heard that same argument pitched to me by my Republican friends re: typical security theater.

Or is a Moon Pie essentially a dessert-type hamburger variant, thus making you an EPONYSTERICAL sarcasm tag down to your very core?
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:18 PM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


HAMBURGERS ARE'NT FREE!
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:22 PM on November 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


TSA is full of stupid morons, and TSA is run by stupid morons. But they only get away with all this shit because we continue to let them. So we're all a bunch of stupid morons as well. I second Pater Aletheias.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 10:23 PM on November 13, 2009


I work in a gold mine. I spent some time working with the charge up guys, who spend all day dealing with explosives. One of them said that he once flew home from work then got straight onto another flight. When he was reentering security, he was taken aside for a random explosives check. They padded his pockets and bag and all that (he was still wearing his work gear in which he'd been handling explosives all day). He explained that he'd probably come up with a result, so they shouldn't get too worried, but when they ran the test, it came back negative. No problem. Since then he's had to make the same flight a few times, and has been pulled aside once or twice, and has never had a result.

Encouraging stuff.
posted by twirlypen at 11:13 PM on November 13, 2009 [6 favorites]


HUMANS ARE FULL OF LIQUIDS TOO.

And a lot more volatile if you mix them incorrectly in small contained places like an airplane than most liquids contained in bottles.
posted by DreamerFi at 11:38 PM on November 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


The president of Acme Snow Cones Inc sits slumped in his chair. A sales chart on the wall behind him shows a slow inexorable decline. Surely things couldn’t get any worse...
posted by mattoxic at 11:42 PM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


anniecat, are you suggesting that we are somehow incorrect?

Suggesting that you're a bit predictable, perhaps? It wouldn't be that hard to write a computer program to generate MinorOutrageFilter pages like this one, after all.

Has there been any recent discussions on MeFi about the terror plot that's supposed to be the reasons for these liquid restrictions, btw? The guys behind that were found guily by a jury two months ago, but a quick MeFi search didn't find anything relevant. I'm probably missing something, though.
posted by effbot at 12:40 AM on November 14, 2009


On our trip to Paris this summer, my five-year-old son chose only one souvenir: a snowglobe of the Eiffel Tower. We never considered that a snowglobe would be a security issue, so brought it in our carry-on to avoid getting crushed. During our transfer in Chicago, the T.S.A. refused to let it through, even with my wife and I begging the stone-faced agent with my son crying right next to him. We asked the agent to tell our son himself that he had to take his snowglobe away, but he refused.

I feel so much safer.
posted by waxpancake at 12:53 AM on November 14, 2009 [13 favorites]


Is gallium ok? I know mercury's no good, since airplanes are made from aluminum, but what about gallium?
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:07 AM on November 14, 2009


TSA's list of prohibited items is pretty funny. In addition to specifically mentioning snow globes, TSA tells you not to carry onto the plane any of the following items: sabers, gel shoe inserts, nunchakus, cattle prods, cricket bats, or chlorine.
posted by twoleftfeet at 1:45 AM on November 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


I have to say that what I find most disturbing about TSA's approach is the assumption that a plane full of people won't be able to respond to another terrorist hijacking in any meaningful way. Sure, 9/11 was horrible and the terrorists did most of it with simple box cutters, but that doesn't mean it would happen the same way again. TSA specifically prohibits pool cues. Pool cues! As if a plane full of people are going to sit there, unwilling to act, because terrorists are wielding pool cues. Bullshit. Post 9/11 if somebody stands up in a plane and says "I'm a terrorist and I have a pool cue" there will be a bunch of people, myself included, who will get up and say "I've got a foot in your groin."
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:01 AM on November 14, 2009 [8 favorites]


Yeah, apparently canes and such are immune from their procedures.

Indeed. I visited the States this summer and my wife bought a walking stick. Big, heavy wooden thing. On our flight back, she insisted on carrying it with her, despite my vocal scepticism. "You could kill somebody with that thing. They're never ever going to let you through with that." "Says you."

To my utter surprise, and her female pride, not only did they let it through, she actually was put on the fast lane as soon as they noticed the stick. This was during the height of the "death panels" controversy, but it took this to make me understand just how powerful the old farts lobby is in US politics.
posted by Skeptic at 2:13 AM on November 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here's how you know the TSA is completely insincere: You are allowed to bring knitting needles on to the plane. Yes, you can bring a foot long spike of sharpened steel with you but a SNOW GLOBE? Bzzzt! Thanks for playing!

A foot long spike. Of sharpened steel. But they confiscated my swiss army knife because it had a dull 2 inch blade in it.
posted by Justinian at 2:21 AM on November 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Must not do it.. but it's so, so tempting. Resistance weakening... ah, fuckit!

Okay, well, as I don't collect snow globes this doesn't affect me.

First they came for the snow globes, but I don't collect snow globes so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the gel sole inserts, but I don't suffer from bad feet either.
Next they came for the nunchakus, but who cares about those Bruce Lee wannabees?
When they finally came for the floaty pens -- especially the ones where a lady's dress falls off when you turn it upside down -- there was no one left to speak out for me.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:27 AM on November 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


People forget about the predecessor to 9/11 - the Dawson's Field hijackings - where four planes were hijacked on the same day (Sept. 6, 1970). Most of the hostages were released on Sept. 11 of that year, so it didn't carry the same horror. One of the hijackings that day - El Al Flight 219 - failed because passengers hit the hijackers on the head with a bottle of whiskey and their fists.

El Al, the Israeli airline, experienced hijacking attempts on a regular basis in the '60s and '70s but only one such attempt succeeded. El Al's success at foiling hijackers had a lot to do with the fact that passengers were expected to beat the shit out of anyone who tried to hijack the plane.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:27 AM on November 14, 2009 [9 favorites]


Ah, the good old days when I used to fly with a Leatherman Multi-Tool in my pocket, and security drones would be all like, "A Leatherman? Cool!".
posted by signal at 3:58 AM on November 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'll never forgive the failed shoe bomber guy

I'm pretty mellow but every time I get in the line and this madness with the shoes comes up I tremble with rage.

My six year old asked me once why he had to take off his shoes and oh, I was so close to letting it all fly - I could feel the froth literally building up in my mouth, but I held it in, with super-human strength clamped it down.
"Because someone didn't do their job once." It was the best I could come up with - how do you explain to a six year old (with whom you kid around a lot) that a couple years before he was born a guy tried to hide a bomb in his shoes and blow up an airplane... and people are worried it'll happen again. It just doesn't pass the six-year's bull-shit detector.
posted by From Bklyn at 4:19 AM on November 14, 2009 [7 favorites]


No snow globes? How will Ron Mael complete his collection now?
posted by pxe2000 at 4:56 AM on November 14, 2009


... beat the shit out of anyone who tried to hijack the plane.

Now that's slogan I can get behind.

"Fly with us, and we'll let you beat the shit out of hijackers. First responder wins 1,000,000 air miles!"
posted by bwg at 5:28 AM on November 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


HAMBURGERS ARE'NT FREE!
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:22 AM on November 14 [+] [!]


oh but what a wonderful world if they were
posted by ShawnString at 5:47 AM on November 14, 2009


I fly in and out of BNA on a semi-regular basis, and have always been amused by the static display of banned carry-on items. I'm not even sure if it's still there, but the big glass box contained, among other things, a gas powered leaf blower and a chain saw. Part of me always wondered whether they had been confiscated, of if some poor yutz had been sent down to Lowes with a list.

But snow globes? For shame.

I have a Leatherman as well - it's been a standard part of my laptop bag for years, and I'm always afraid that I'll forget it's in there until it's too late. Then it'll join the BRAND NEW tube of Trader Joe's Mango Shave Cream that I forgot about that one time. BRAND NEW.
posted by jquinby at 5:55 AM on November 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


A couple years ago, I worked at an international airport in the Midwest. I accidentally spent my first week of employment bringing a pocket knife through a particular checkpoint. I forgot it was in my bag, and each day it'd go through the x-ray machine. Nobody noticed until one day I switched it up and went through a different checkpoint where it was confiscated. However, one perk of being an employee is not having to remove your shoes at all during the screening. Not much, but it is something.

(Don't worry, eventually that first checkpoint did pull me aside often to swab down my iPod and camera for explosive materials.)

Israel's El Al is now the safest airline in the world due to their security measures. Instead of TSA's BS, El Al uses actual science. Of course, it's much easier for them because they are a small airline, but if people really cared, the measures could be used in the US and would be entirely worthwhile.
posted by autoclavicle at 6:10 AM on November 14, 2009


Here's how you know the TSA is completely insincere: You are allowed to bring knitting needles on to the plane

Oh, so we are allowed to have knitting needles and crochet hooks again? That comes as a surprise to me. But I guess they never tell you when the rules are relaxed-- and you only know about the new restrictions when your stuff is confiscated.

Isn't it great (and by that I mean "doesn't it suck) that the terrorists' plan worked so well? Terrorists use box cutters-----> we have to give up our cuticle scissors. Terrorist attempts to use shoe bomb----> we all have to remove our shoes. Terrorists attempt to use liquids---> we have to give up our snow globes. So the smart terrorists should forget about attempting any major destruction, instead they should focus on how to cause us the most aggravation. They should pretend they are trying to blow-up the plane with cell phones or MP3 players or books.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:12 AM on November 14, 2009 [9 favorites]


And it makes me wonder what I take for granted that my great-greats would have been livid about.

Off the top of my head, I would guess:

- Security cameras everywhere, creating a panopticon that even Bentham in his wet-dreamiest couldn't have imagined.

- Screening of blood for immoral chemicals.

- Requirement to show ID, so that who you are forced to claim an identity that can then be checked against a comprehensive list of The Suspected.

And when security-checkpoint brain-and-body-scans become de rigeur over the course of the next sixty years, I'm sure those three bits of "security" (you do not have the right to avoid constant visual surveillance; you do not have the right to privacy when it comes to things happening inside your own body; you do not have the right to anonymity in public settings) will be used as precedents to demonstrate the "common sense" of the pro-scan crowd: that if you don't have anything to hide, why would you object to being scanned for basic biological signs of intended subterfuge?
posted by Greg Nog at 6:13 AM on November 14, 2009 [6 favorites]


The more amazing part is that if you accept the fact that all of the liquids they confiscate potentially contain liquid explosives, and are highly dangerous to the security of everyone around them, why do they throw those liquids in a huge 55 gallon plastic drum at the end of the line at SeaTac? Aren't the liquid binary explosives going to spontaneously rupture and combine to explode the entire departure lounge?
posted by thewalrus at 6:18 AM on November 14, 2009 [10 favorites]


One more thing: I went to see President Obama speak in Minneapolis at his health care reform rally during September, and the security felt more "secure" than the airport: no shoe removal, but X-rays and metal detectors in addition to having to turn on your electronic devices to prove they were legit and wouldn't explode upon doing so. (Of course, someone could always rig something up that fulfilled the requirement and exploded some other way.)
posted by autoclavicle at 6:25 AM on November 14, 2009


To my utter surprise, and her female pride, not only did they let it through, she actually was put on the fast lane as soon as they noticed the stick. This was during the height of the "death panels" controversy, but it took this to make me understand just how powerful the old farts lobby is in US politics.

Old farts are notorious for their enjoyment of snow globes, both as gifts given and gifts received. Perhaps we have not yet seen the last of this travesty.
posted by b1tr0t at 7:29 AM on November 14, 2009


What about a small snow globe with less than three ounces of liquid sloshing about?
"I would think they would just say 'no,' because they can't really determine how many ounces are in there," Baird said.

This sounds like a job for Wolfram Alpha!

I'm pretty sure this is a job for Zombie Archimedes, actually.
posted by rokusan at 7:44 AM on November 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


>
I'm all for protecting America, but once we get a nude Greek zombie pawing at our stuff, I think we're giving the terrorists too much power over our daily lives.

Besides, Zombie Socrates would be much more fun, but he's a registered sex offender so the TSA won't hire him.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:54 AM on November 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


this could be really big. feature film big even.

TAKEN 2: they took his snowglobe. he'll take their brick-a-brack.
or
i don't know who you are, but if you don't let my snowglobe go... i will find you. i will kill you.

i heard liam neeson was off doing some other film, do you think ian mckellan would be interested? you know that dude has got a soft spot for snowglobes.
posted by terrirodriguez at 7:58 AM on November 14, 2009


Oh, so we are allowed to have knitting needles and crochet hooks again? That comes as a surprise to me.

Yep! Knitting is one of the few things I can do on a plane to pass the time that doesn't give me motion sickness. I print this page out and bring it with me every time, although I've never been stopped. I regularly forget to take my small pair of scissors out of my knitting sundries kit and never get stopped for those either.

Oh, and Justinian - not only sharpened steel, but I can bring my circular steel needles, which have a handy garrote-like plastic wire connecting the two needles.

I get asked, "You're allowed to bring those on the plane?" by a fellow passenger on 100% of the flights when I bring out my knitting. I usually counter by saying it's not much different than a pen or pencil, really (especially when I have the bamboo rather than steel needles).

I too get really annoyed by the inconsistencies between airports. I live in Chicago so I know O'Hare's rules, but then other security personnel act very annoyed when you don't know their airport's particular rules.
posted by misskaz at 8:05 AM on November 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Old farts are notorious for their enjoyment of snow globes,

How old do you have to be to be an "old fart"? .....I'm just checking for...a friend.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:39 AM on November 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


I get asked, "You're allowed to bring those on the plane?" by a fellow passenger on 100% of the flights when I bring out my knitting. I usually counter by saying it's not much different than a pen or pencil, really

Well I've been saying that for years, but it's not like the TSA rules are based on common sense. Heavy walking stick, OK; Pool cues, no
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:45 AM on November 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Pool cues could be used to start a bar fight.
posted by Artw at 9:14 AM on November 14, 2009 [9 favorites]


anniecat, are you suggesting that we are somehow incorrect?

No, same thing happened to me. I have a killer smile and I can literally stop hearts. But I snuck it onboard behind a somber and serious expression. They made me remove my shoes, they rifled through my things, but my killer smile is not in my bag. Once we took off though. Well, I just chose not to use it.
posted by anniecat at 9:17 AM on November 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


but X-rays and metal detectors in addition to having to turn on your electronic devices to prove they were legit and wouldn't explode upon doing so.

I'm always curious why, when I take my old-fashioned lead cell flash battery through security, no one ever asks me to turn it on.
posted by availablelight at 9:30 AM on November 14, 2009


HAMBURGERS ARE'NT FREE!

But snark is cheaper in bulk.
posted by rokusan at 9:30 AM on November 14, 2009


It just doesn't pass the six-year's bull-shit detector.

One more proof that the TSA hasn't read the Evil Overlord list.
posted by immlass at 9:43 AM on November 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


in addition to having to turn on your electronic devices to prove they were legit and wouldn't explode upon doing so

One of these times some suicide bomber is going to take out a security line by exploding his computer/camera/whatever right there in line.

It's also about time for a suicide terrorist to stuff a few pounds of C4 up his ass.

At which point I think we'll see the end of air travel, because I find it hard to believe that people's sheep-like acceptance of TSA security theatre is going to extend to a rectal exam.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:48 AM on November 14, 2009


Two solutions: Pack the snow globe in your checked luggage, or wait until you've passed through airport security and buy one at an airport shop. Once past security, you're free to buy liquids of any size and take them on board.

They missed solution #3! Buy tacky shot glasses instead, if you're too cheesy to pass up the lure of the tchotchke.

On preview: Taking snow globes from a five year old kid is just mean. You're only supposed to take CANDY from babies!
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:00 AM on November 14, 2009


"The more amazing part is that if you accept the fact that all of the liquids they confiscate potentially contain liquid explosives..."

I think it is more along the lines of fearing that passengers could synthesize explosives in the lavatory. Look up triacetone triperoxide: "Simply mixing sulfuric acid, hydrogen peroxide, and acetone can create the substance." Most every explosive is going to require sulfuric acid or nitric acid or hydrogen peroxide to produce, and all are liquids That's not to say, though, that mixing confiscated liquids produces some recognizable danger.

That said, I think it is a highly improbable premise that someone is going to make bombs in the air.
posted by A-Train at 10:10 AM on November 14, 2009


Wow. I am ... amazed.

I took a trip from Boston to Seattle in 1998. I flew out on the last day of a lengthy dotcom contract, so I'd cleared my space out well beforehand. However, I did leave a few goodies to take along with me. One of the goodies was a fine piece of corporate swag: a Sundance Film Festival snow globe. Oh, look, the snow is coming down all around the little movie theater! Can you spot which little figurine is snubbing the flakes? The snow globe came in its nice own tidy little cardboard box, so some wit saw fit to take a Sharpie to the side and label it "Spalding Gray's Snowglobe in a Box."

The flight from Boston to Seattle was uneventful, but Seattle security stopped me before my flight back. Having checked a large duffel bag for luggage, I'd put the snow globe box in my carry-on for safe keeping. Now the X-Ray scanner was very curious about what he'd just noticed in my pack.

"What is this?" he asked, opening the bag up in front of me and removing the box.

"Uh, it's a snowglobe," I said. And then, very helpfully, "In a box."

He frowned. "Who's Spalding Gray?"

"A... writer. He wrote this piece called Monster in a Box, see, and--"

"Please open the box and show me the contents." So I dutifully opened the box, took the snowglobe out, shook it to prove authenticity, and passed the test.

"Oh, that's all right," the guard said. "We thought it was a grenade of some sort." Then he let me go my merry way.

Now this new development drives home just exactly how paranoid this has all become. Man.
posted by Spatch at 10:32 AM on November 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Re: "I've figured out how to make my pee explode."

Once again, google is your friend and I think we have some promising recommendations for Antidisestablishmentarianist:
It is hard to believe that many of the ingredients for explosive mixtures, such as potassium nitrate, ammonium nitrate and phosphorus, were originally manufactured from putrefied urine. Phosphorus was discovered in 1669 by an alchemist, Hennig Brand while searching for a way to convert silver into gold. For his efforts, Brand was able to isolate a white, waxy solid that glowed in the dark and burst spontaneously into flame when exposed to air. The purification of phosphorus involved the evaporation of water from urine and allowing the resultant liquid to be putrefied for several months by bacteria. Brand later evaporated the water from urine and allowed the black residue to putrefy for several months. He then mixed this residue with sand, heated the mixture in the absence of air and collected, under water, the volatile phosphorus that precipitated out of the liquid.
So get on it, and let us know how your experiments in putrefying your desiccated urine turn out.
posted by A-Train at 10:35 AM on November 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


TSA is cracking down on snow globes.


No!! No!! Please don't say it's so!!! I'm beggin' you...I'm on my knees, TSA!! Take my baby's sippy cup... and my gatorade and my laptop battery and tanning lotion, but you wil never ever touch my SNOWGLOBES!!! NEVER!!

What's next? Hummels? Sheesh.....
posted by Skygazer at 10:49 AM on November 14, 2009


For over a year, the contents and undercarriages of vehicles were checked, if they wanted to go any where close to Ground Zero. The rest of New York didn't have these inspections. The point was not so much to prevent attacks in general, but mainly to avoid being seen as letting the same thing happen twice. Likewise with the shoes and liquids.
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:31 AM on November 14, 2009


I see nothing about stink bombs. They have less than three ounces of liquid, and they could make the plane ride hell for everyone with a functioning nose. After all, the plane circulates the same air over and over. If Al Qaeda's secret agenda is actually to inconvenience travelers rather than to destroy the secular world, they could really ruin a lot of flights.

The only problem is that you'd be stuck on the plane. You need either a busted nose, or a parachute.
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:54 AM on November 14, 2009


What if you attached your snow globe to the top of your walking cane?
posted by tilde at 12:11 PM on November 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Incidentally, "Deadly Snowglobe Menace" is the name of my new band.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:19 PM on November 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Heh. Maybe the TSA higher-ups have been reading old back-issues of Analog. The November 1984 issue included a beautiful story called "Winter Snow," written by Eric Vinicoff and Marcia Martin, that prominently featured novelty globes with continually recirculating snow—a few of which, unbeknownst to their owners, would explode if said recirculation stopped. It turned out that the U.S. had them manufactured by a Japanese company and sent as gifts (ostensibly to "promote trade") to government employees throughout Russia, including the premier, who positively adored his and kept it on his desk.

Only when talks about a new weapons system broke down did the premier learn the true nature of his snow globe—and that its recirculation could be stopped remotely by U.S. satellites.
posted by limeonaire at 12:35 PM on November 14, 2009


Don't worry, mr. TSA, I don't have any liquids in my snow globe... Just COCAINE.

Strangely, that might be perfectly OK:

The new rules, issuedin September and October, tell officers "screening may not be conducted to detect evidence of crimes unrelated to transportation security" and that large amounts of cash don't qualify as suspicious for purposes of safety.
posted by b1tr0t at 1:03 PM on November 14, 2009


I'll give you my snow globe when you take it from my cold, dead hands!
posted by mazola at 1:11 PM on November 14, 2009


Frosty the Snowman was a jolly happy soul, with a corncob pipe and a button nose and two eyes made out of coal.
...
He led them down the streets of town right to the traffic cop.
And he only paused a moment when he heard him holler "Stop!"
For Frosty the Snowman had to hurry on his way.

.. at which point he was put in the Plastic Box and the TSA searched him and removed his magic old silk hat. And, well, you know the rest kids... Can't have any liquids on the plane.

But he waved goodbye saying, "Don't you cry", I'll be back again some day..

NEVAR FORGET!
posted by formless at 1:12 PM on November 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Spatch, I had something similar happen with a couple of baseballs I was bringing to my brother--the very, very serious officer seemed pretty relieved, actually, when I opened the box they were in. Same thing with a remote-controlled motorcycle toy. And I warned the security guy ahead of time when I put a car stereo (with speakers) through.
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:18 PM on November 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Spatch & MrMoonPie, I had something similar happen too. This was '97 in Vegas. I packed (and completely forgot) about a Statue of Liberty bust from the New York New York I had thrown into carry on.

Through the x-ray it showed up as a spikey, gear like object. I may have had some Cat 5 cables thrown in for good measure too. The officer got serious asking me what the thing was and I had no idea and looked confused (and probably suspicious).

It finally dawned on me what it was. I blurted out 'Statue of Liberty!'. The tension evaporated and the security dude coos "Sweet Liberty..." and waves me through.

Those were the days.
posted by mazola at 1:28 PM on November 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints: THE RONCO PEOPLE DEHYDRATOR 9000.

For the cannibal in your life who loves a little jerky every now and then. Only 41 shopping days until Christmas!
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 1:47 PM on November 14, 2009


fff: It's also about time for a suicide terrorist to stuff a few pounds of C4 up his ass.

Happened a few months ago (info via Schneier).
posted by hattifattener at 2:00 PM on November 14, 2009


So, will they stop me from bringing in a plastic action figure, a mason jar with lid, white plastic pellets and water in 3oz bottles inside a transparent ziplock bag? I could then assemble a snow globe, and do all sorts of dastardly things.

Heck, even just the mason jar can be dangerous, if you drink water before going through security.
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:33 PM on November 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Snow-o glo-o-obe
Give us those nice bright flurries
Give us the whites all blurry
Makes you think all the world's a snowy day, oh yeah

I got a Mr. Christmas
I love to shake a winter scene
So mama don't take my snow-o globe away
posted by bwg at 3:50 PM on November 14, 2009


Tim, even a dozen 3oz plastic bottles of a highly explosive liquid are fine, actually.

As long as you put them in a baggie. That makes them safe.
posted by rokusan at 4:00 PM on November 14, 2009


Games like these (I can't remember the original brand, but they were big about 25-30 years ago) would probably also be banned.

They used ordinary water, though, and could be drained and refilled. Snow globes use glycerine or something similar and can't be opened.
posted by bad grammar at 4:06 PM on November 14, 2009


my theory about all liquids being banned from airplanes? has nothing to do with security and all with the airport and airlines bottom line:

1. by limiting liquids they limit weight and thus fuel expenses

2. the airport concessionaires maximize profits by forcing you to buy
drinks and food once past the security area

really, think about it: since a lot of these restrictions have gone into place, airports have turned into malls.
posted by liza at 4:34 PM on November 14, 2009


You know, you have to measure the upsides and downsides here.

There will be another attack, someday.

Given that:

If procedures are relaxed, nobody will accept "it would have happened anyway". You're fired.
If procedures are left as they are, we were doing everything we could, and now we'll do more. You're more important.
If procedures are made even more stringent, this is ridiculous. You're fired.

Nothing can change this. The loss of the Olympics was the first time I'd seriously heard anyone saying 'This is causing major economic damage', and you'll note even that argument didn't really go anywhere.
posted by effugas at 4:58 PM on November 14, 2009


If by "major economic damage" you mean that Chicago won't be bankrupted by the awe-inspiring wholesale looting of public monies for private profits that we see in Vancouver, you are correct.

If, on the other hand, you're saying the Olympics are of overall net economic gain to a city, well, there's a lot of articles out there claiming that while "GDP" may increase during the run-up to the games, post-Game economics usually prove to be very challenging.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:28 PM on November 14, 2009


You laugh now, but what would you do if a terrorist were to use a snowglobe to smuggle hundreds of television shows onto your flight, huh?
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:12 PM on November 14, 2009


What blows my mind is that these egregious, ridiculous, absurd impediments to air travel have not caused an outcry of demand for rational transportation systems like a good passenger train system.

When I lived in Amsterdam and London, I could hop a train to visit friends anywhere in Europe. It was fast, safe and clean. Given the 2 hours it takes to check in through security, the extra cash to pay for baggage, the 1000% markup on water and snacks in the airport, the no-frills flying experience, delays at the gate, delays upon landing...a 3 hour flight can easy take 6 or 7 hours out of your day and cost you double again your ticket price in parking, fees, etc.

There's no excuse for America to not have high speed passenger rail. The rail lines are already there. Let's use them. (But not Amtrack...cause that company more insane than the airlines.)
posted by dejah420 at 9:03 AM on November 15, 2009


I'm never flying again. Fuck that. I'll take a boat and fill it with snowglobes and I won't have to put up with anybody's bullshit.
posted by tehloki at 11:10 PM on November 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Things I have managed to get through airport security:
-full bottles of contact solution
-lockpicks
-5-inch long scissors

They did confiscate the blade out of my safety razor, unfortunately. That was a scratchy trip. Now if I could only find a non-metallic hip flask that could fit inconspicuously in a large pocket...
posted by backseatpilot at 5:43 AM on November 16, 2009


I lost my keys in July. They were attached to a Swiss Champ knife. Searched high and low for those keys. I flew a week later out of JFK to Minneapolis. On my return trip, sure enough, Minneapolis TSA found my knife in a hidden pocket. They were apologetic and had to confiscate it because a Delta/NW merger ticket problem didn't leave me any time to check the luggage and go through security all over again.

It made me mad only because the TSA security is a sham: I flew out of JFK just perfectly fine with a Swiss army knive in my carry-on (and it's not a small knife). The current rules are arbitrary and don't protect against the current threat.
posted by yeti at 7:34 AM on November 16, 2009


dejah420 You appear to be under the misapprehension that there are no security checks on European high speed train lines these days. This is, I'm afraid, not the case: at least on the Eurostar Channel link, and on Spanish high speed trains, the security checks are perfectly comparable to those of airlines (if somewhat more expeditous and lighter on the security theatre stuff).
posted by Skeptic at 7:42 AM on November 16, 2009


Artw: Pool cues could be used to start a bar fight.
Never forget Altamont!

I used to bring bottles of Summit beer (each cushioned in a white tube sock!) and whole Green Mill spinach-and-garlic pizzas onto NorthWest flights in the 1990s. That seems *so* gauzily idyllic now.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:44 AM on November 16, 2009


I'll have you know that's a "hoopak," good sir.

This is where I display my awesome Dragonlance cred by revealing that I actually read the Kender Mourning Song at my grandfather's funeral!
Everyone found it incredibly moving.
posted by Deathalicious at 11:15 AM on November 16, 2009


I boarded a plane with a smoke bomb in my carry on.

I took one of the first flights available after 9/11. I too realized that I had smoke bombs in my backpack (also from the 4th of July...they'd been sitting in there forever, I guess) when I arrived home. I had also been singled out for an extra search, where they actually ruffled through my bag.

Tip to terrorists: make sure to keep all explosives in a crumpled lunch bag. That seems to do the trick.

Airport security, and similar security theater intended to make us feel safe. It only makes me feel angry. When I see people defending this charade, or actually acting like they are happy about it, it makes me furious. It sometimes makes me feel like, well, maybe the terrorists hate us for our freedom, but maybe we deserve to be attacked because of our knee-jerk willingness to forgo all semblance of humanity and rights for some pointless symbolic gesture in the name of safety.

I'm a pacifist and would never attack another person or group of people, and maybe that's why it's difficult for me to comprehend that maybe, yeah, the world is a dangerous enough place that we actually need a lot of security in place. But it seems to me, if it isn't making us safer and is just meant (directly or indirectly) to get us used to having our liberties taken away from us, then screw it.

There are people who won't even fly anymore because they're afraid of being the target of terrorism. They'll drive to their far-off destination instead, which is a far, far more dangerous activity then boarding a plane.

All of those scares over the past few years. Dinky tiny nothing towns who think that their water tower or world's largest ball of xyz is going to be the next big terrorist target. The truth is, if there is another target, it will be a big city once again. Probably a city along the coast. It'll be a city filled with the godless, filled with the very immigrants which strike fear into the hearts of so many stupid small minded people, many of whom don't live in a big town but still go around acting like their very lives are in danger at every moment, and so feel justified in voting in the monsters who will tell them, yes, you are in danger, yes, America is under attack from without and from within -- not only its physical security, but also its morality, its "tradition", its "culture".

These are the things I think when I'm waiting in line in airport security. I'm a peaceful person, but I'm a very angry person. Maybe if my mind worked like these people who like the show -- who think that a show of force solves all problems, that the war in Iraq really did make us safer somehow -- then maybe I might be the sort of person who would express my feelings in a physical, violent way. But instead I'll just shrug my shoulders and take off my shoes with the rest of the people, put all my liquids in my checked baggage, and keep my opinions to myself since I don't want to be detained or miss my flight just for having an enlightened opinion.
posted by Deathalicious at 11:42 AM on November 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


The perfect storm for an internet hate-off: TSA v. Paultard
posted by dersins at 9:08 AM on November 17, 2009


Now if I could only find a non-metallic hip flask that could fit inconspicuously in a large pocket...

Sir, meet Pocket Shots.
posted by mattbucher at 12:05 PM on November 17, 2009


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