The perception of power (of 9 volts)

When travelling I want to arrive at my destination ontime and unhurt.  I do appreciate that the world’s governments are just as interested and do take steps to ensure that dangerous people don’t hijack the plane or even worse.

Unfortunately sometimes I think that these agencies designed to protect us sometimes feel that they must constantly change something in order to show that they are still keeping us safe – even if the change doesn’t really help.  They think, as do I, that perception matters and if everyone sees them trying really hard then they will think they are being very successful.

That isn’t really the case.  I realize that bringing box cutters on the plane is a bad idea but it is fairly obvious to most rational people that bringing on fingernail clippers is fine.  It is being kind to call some of these “safety” choices as a bit overzealous.

That last sentence was echoing in my head when I read a quote from a TSA official Camille Morris about batteries.  She seems to suggest that a single AA battery is fine as is a single AAA battery, but a common 9 volt battery a big problem.

Actually 9 volt batteries may be a big problem. I cannot say which is the most beloved battery in home made explosives but unfortunately for Miss Morris batteries with smaller voltages can be combined in series to create a battery with a higher voltage.

If a 9volt battery is serious, then, I am rather curious what the TSA thinks about laptops and other larger devices that contain even more powerful batteries.  Let us hope not. What are people supposed to do with their devices.  Laptops filled with lithium batteries.  These are coincidentally the same batteries that the airplane companies work so hard at to ensure they are safely incorporated into and transported using planes.

The FAA Is Freaked Out About Lithium-Ion Batteries on Planes

Crash: UPS B744 at Dubai on Sep 3rd 2010, cargo fire

I might be even more worried about a plane with a belly full of laptops and other assorted battery carrying devices than seeing a tablet in the hand of the guy sitting next to me.

Christmas will be here soon, hopefully there will not be a new batch of “keep us safe” suggestions from the TSA.  We will see if I am still able to board with with a tablet or if that device goes into the naughty stack.

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