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Cartoon & Humor:"Food for Work" "Just in Canada for a Week" "EU Dominos: Irish bailout" "New Yorker stands up for Granny & kid"

By WcP.Humor - Posted on 25 November 2010

Cartoon: Turkey with sign ‘ will be food for work’. ’Boy. This economy has been hard on everybody!’

Dominoes: The collapse of Greece and Ireland's economies could have a knock-on effect on other nations

Cartoon: Turkey at Canada-US border - ‘Just in Canada for the week’

Top: Jason Rockwood arrived in his underwear to board his flight to Chicago at Laguardia Airport. Inset: Foursquare has started awarding a special badge to anyone who checks in at an airport. The text that accompanies the unlocking of the badge reads: ‘Looks like you’ve had your baggage handled. Happy Holidays and have a safe flight!’

Cartoon: Santa knocking on window with sign: ‘only 28 shopping days til Christmas’; family inside having Thanksgiving dinner: ‘Could we at least finish dinner first?’


The long-awaited rescue of Ireland has failed to calm nerves about the unsustainable levels of debt blighting many European countries. Leaders across the continent hope that the crisis that started in Athens will stop in Dublin and that there is no danger of Lisbon, Madrid or even Rome passing round the hat.
European Union president Herman Van Rompuy is among those at pains to say Portugal and Spain are safe. But this is the same Van Rompuy who just last week said that the EU and the single currency are in a 'crisis of survival' - so it is hardly surprising that no one is listening. Indeed, the powers that be also insisted Greece was sound for weeks before it accepted a £94bn bailout.

Kansas: Amid the national debate regarding body scanners at airports and the so-called National Opt-Out Day, passengers at Wichita’s Mid-Continent Airport won’t have to worry about what they’ll choose to do. No opting out at Mid-Continent Airport - because in Wichita, there’s nothing for them to opt out of. The airport doesn’t have the body scanners.

Florida: None of Lee County’s Southwest Florida International Airport three terminals are fitted with the full-body scanners that have recently been added to larger airports. For that reason, travelers through Fort Myers on Wednesday did not have to even consider the possibility of getting pulled aside for a full-body scan. Of those inbound passengers who went through security checkpoints equipped with scanners, they reported seeing the scanners used at varying frequencies on Wednesday, and sometimes not at all.

Nevada: Danine Miller, who flew out of Las Vegas on Tuesday night, said the full-body scanners at the airport in Nevada were not being used, and officers were directing everyone through the standard metal detectors.

New Yorker strips to underwear for LaGuardia security, wanted pat down to 'stand up' for Americans: "The procedures used to screen passengers is undignified"
"The American people need to stand up for their rights and dignity and say, 'I don't feel comfortable with how you're treating me,'" 33-year-old Jason Rockwood declared.
Wearing navy boxers, a white T-shirt and moccasins, Rockwood said he stripped down on the cab ride over from his home in Manhattan to protest the see-all body scanners and intrusive pat-downs. Rockwood didn't get the now infamous hands-on treatment from the clearly amused airport workers. Nor was he sent through the full-body scanner. Instead, Rockwood was marched through the metal detector - and sent on his way.

Four UCSF scientists sent a letter last April to the President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, expressing concern about the health risks of full body scanners being implemented at U.S. airports. The co-signers were David Agard, PhD, John Sedat, PhD, (emeritus), and Robert Stroud, PhD, all professors of biochemistry and biophysics, and Marc Shuman, MD, professor of medicine (hematology/oncology). As they stated in their letter:
“We are writing to call your attention to serious concerns about the potential health risks of the recently adopted whole body backscatter X-ray airport security scanners. This is an urgent situation as these X-ray scanners are rapidly being implemented as a primary screening step for all air travel passengers.

“Our overriding concern is the extent to which the safety of this scanning device has been adequately demonstrated. This can only be determined by a meeting of an impartial panel of experts that would include medical physicists and radiation biologists at which all of the available relevant data is reviewed.

“An important consideration is that a large fraction of the population will be subject to the new X-ray scanners and be at potential risk, as discussed below. This raises a number of ‘red flags’. Can we have an urgent second independent evaluation?”

The full letter can be found here:

X-ray backscatter safety report by biochemist working in the field of biophysics - Here is the real catch: the softer the X-ray, the more its absorbed by the body, and the higher the biologically relevant dose! This means, that this radiation is potentially worse than an a higher energy medical chest X-ray.
In order to really understand these concerns, I think its important to consider the type of radiation used in these scanners, which have been described as 'soft' and 'safe'. First, we need to clarify the definition of 'soft' vs. 'hard' X-rays. It has been stated that the X-rays used in the back scatter machines use 'soft' X-rays, which are defined as radiation between 0.12-12 keV (or kilo electron volts) and are generally stopped, or absorbed, by soft tissue or low density matter. 'Hard' X-rays are between 12-128 keV and are absorbed by dense matter like bone. According to some safety documents, AIT uses an 50 keV source that emits a broad spectra (see adjacent graph from here). Essentially, this means that the X-ray source used in the Rapiscan system is the same as those used for mammograms and some dental X-rays, and uses BOTH 'soft' and 'hard' X-rays. It’s very disturbing that this point has been misleading. Here is the real catch: the softer the X-ray, the more its absorbed by the body, and the higher the biologically relevant dose! This means, that this radiation is potentially worse than a higher energy medical chest X-ray.


Images courtesy of FourSquare, UK Daily Mail,, Jeff Parker /, Henry Payne / The Detroit News, Tim Boyle / Getty Images, and Hagen / New York Daily News

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