Transportation

  • Man arrested in connection with LAX dry ice bombs

    Four dry ice bombs were planted in restricted area of LAX Sunday and Monday. Two bombs exploded, causing no injury or damage, and two were found before they exploded. The LAPD announced it had arrested 28-year-old Dicarlo Bennett, an LAX employee of one of the airport’s ground crew contractors, Servisair. The LAPD chief says the police and FBI believe there was “no nexus” between the bombs and terrorism, but that the incident is related to a labor dispute.

  • Guardrails made safer with impact-absorbing Mediterranean tapeweed coating

    Researchers have developed protective guardrails from residue of Posidonia oceanica,commonly known as Neptune Grass or Mediterranean tapeweed, in order to minimize the risk of injuries on the roads. The waste material is useful for coating the support posts of guard rails on roads so they can absorb and dissipate much of the kinetic energy if a collision occurs, preventing lacerations and amputations in cases in which a human body hits the support post.

  • Threats to transportation, other key infrastructure

    Effective and efficient transportation plays a crucial role not only in the everyday lives of citizens, but also in ensuring the on-going economic well-being of communities and countries. People are able to get to work on time, goods are transported in a cost-effective manner, and energy is used as efficiently as possible. This is why disruption to transport, whether intentional or not, can cause such damage. As public transport is by its nature open and accessible to everyone, it is susceptible to terrorist attack, as seen all too clearly in the 2005 London bombings and the coordinated attack on four commuter trains in Madrid in 2004.

  • DHS finds no racial profiling at Logan Airport

    An August 2012 allegation of racial profiling by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers sparked an investigation into the screening practices of TSA officers at Logan International Airport. DHS has recently concluded an investigation into allegations, and concluded that there was no evidence that TSA officers in Boston have been targeting minorities for additional screening to meet quotas.

  • Bomb-detecting lasers to improve security checkpoints

    Research has put the possibility of bomb-detecting lasers at security checkpoints within reach by developing a laser that can detect micro traces of explosive chemicals on clothing and luggage. The laser not only detects the explosive material, but it also provides an image of the chemical’s exact location, even if it’s merely a minute trace on a zipper.

  • Boob bombs: breast implants suicide bomb a threat to aviation

    Security checks at Heathrow Airport have been beefed up this past week following “credible” intelligence that al Qaeda operatives may use a new method to attack airlines flying out of London: explosives concealed in breast implants. This would not the first time Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) chief bomb maker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, has sought to use the human body as a hiding place for explosives. In September 2009, al-Asiri sent his younger brother on a suicide mission in Saudi Arabia. He built a bomb which could fit in his brother’s anal cavity, and sent him to kill the Saudi deputy interior minister, who at the time was in charge of hunting down al Qaeda operatives in Saudi Arabia. The worry about medically implanted explosives has already led airports to use behavioral analysis to augment detection methods already in use to screen people. Body scanners are good at identifying things outside the body but not inside.

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  • Molecule “scanner” uses terahertz radiation to identify single molecules

    Molecules could soon be “scanned” in a fashion similar to imaging screenings at airports, thanks to the world’s smallest terahertz detector, developed by University of Pittsburgh physicists. The scanner has the ability chemically to identify single molecules using terahertz radiation — a range of light far below what the eye can detect.

  • TSA to promote PreCheck program for travelers

    In an effort to make airport security lines shorter and move faster, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will allow passengers to apply for expedited airport screenings. TSA says the plan is for 25 percent of U.S. travelers to be eligible for the system by the end of this year, and 50 percent by 2014.

  • FAA to toughen co-pilot qualifications requirements

    In the aftermath of a 2010 crash of a regional airliner near Buffalo, New York, which killed fifty people, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has developed new standards for co-pilots. These new standards will now be imposed.

  • New program whisks passengers through airport security

    A new system has been introduced to get passengers through airport security faster. The program, called Global Entry, was developed by the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and it offers a new way to avoid customs and immigration lines.

  • FAA wants pilot convention to pay for air-traffic control services

    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) told the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) that it – the EAA – would have to pay for air traffic control services during the EAA’s big AirVenture event in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The EAA asked a court for a judicial review of the FAA request, arguing that the FAA’s demand amounts to imposing a user fee on the pilots who take part in the event – pilots who already pay fuel taxes which fund the national air-traffic control system.

  • Study shows TSA security screeners are methodical, not slow

    A study by Duke University, partially funded by DHS, found that TSA screeners may be slower than amateur screeners when it comes to performing visual searches, but the TSA screeners are better at detecting contraband.

  • U.S. ports vulnerable to cyberattacks

    New study says that the U.S. largest ports are vulnerable to cyberattacks.The study argues that the level of cyber security awareness and culture in U.S. port facilities is relatively low, and that a cyberattack at a major U.S. port would quickly cause significant damage to the economy.

  • Highly portable X-ray imaging system developed

    Los Alamos National Laboratory and Tribogenics have developed the MiniMAX (Miniature, Mobile, Agile, X-ray) camera to provide real-time inspection of sealed containers and facilities.MiniMAX is an alternative to the large, expensive, and fixed facilities presently required for security inspections using X-ray imaging. The complete MiniMAX portable radiography system weighs less than five pounds.

  • Chechen Islamic terrorists threaten February 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia

    Doku Umarov, a leading Chechen Islamic rebel, on Wednesday issued a call to Islamist militants throughout the North Caucasus to begin and plan for attacks to disrupt the February 2014 Winter Olympics which will be held in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. Security experts say that securing the games would be a daunting task.