Passengers With Dell Laptops Get Special Airline Treatment

from the all-charged-up dept

Following the well-publicized recall of more than 4 million Dell laptop batteries, Australian airline Qantas is apparently giving passengers with Dell laptops some special treatment. Some travelers report security personnel removing their laptop batteries and covering the contacts with tape, a policy the airline says has been lifted. However, it does say that passengers with Dell laptops are asked to make themselves known to flight attendants, who can then make sure they're "advised individually" on new usage rules, which basically say that computers can't be plugged in to the plane's in-seat power system if the batteries are installed. This doesn't seem particularly helpful, since none of the cases of exploding batteries that have come to light involved an in-seat power supply, but it illustrates the sort of reaction that seems commonplace with airplanes and safety these days. Maybe it won't be so long until people aren't traveling with laptops -- either by choice, or by decree.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    laura, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 7:31am

    I think it's time to start a new airline called OrgyAir. It'll have a frequent flyer program known as the Mile High Club. The key to the profitability of this airline would be to require that all passengers fly nude. This would cut down on the costs associated with complying to every new 'security' policy enacted.

    So who wants to fly the new, more secure, OrgyAir?

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 7:33am

    i think all laptops are a threat

    i think all laptops are a threat to national security

    any real patriot would take his laptop out in the backyard and put a bullet between its keys

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    w1nX, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 7:38am

    Mile High Club

    Sing me up - but I tell ya - the damn computer gets REALLY hot on my lap!!!

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    ditz, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 7:39am

    RE: i think all laptops are a threat

    So...I took the laptop out back and placed the bullet just above the enter key and let it sit there for a while...is something supposed to happen? 'Cause from where I was standing...there was just a bullet...on a keyboard, and like snakes on a plane, it wasn't very thrilling.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Guy, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 7:43am

    Re: i think all laptops are a threat

    You know id really like to know why you think that i mean with out an exsplination i find your comment False and made with ignorance in mind i mean everyone with a latop should take it out back and put a bullet though the keys come on how will that solve anything i myself own 3 laptops nver had a problom with a one of them and yes i have a dell just one b/c it was given to me and i looked and my battary was not one of the ones to be recalled so i really want to know why you think all laptops should be destroyed untill i see a reply im chauking it up to plain Ignorance

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    The Sarcasm Fairy, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 7:48am

    I'm fairly sure the part about actually shooting your computer was a joke, Guy...

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Yo ho ho..., Aug 24th, 2006 @ 7:51am

    The real question is...

    ... what the hell were the passengers thinking when they bought a Dell in the first place?

    While on a serious note, the overall issue of security surrounding electronic devices, (be it laptops, cameras, ipods, etc.), is something that I think will only get worse -- as these items have been a blindspot for some time for security personnel. It wouldn't suprise me if before long they will ban personal items and carry-ons... oh the joys of modern-day air travel.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    debolobo, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 7:52am

    Re: OrgyAir

    Yes, but my luck would still be getting the lucky seat next to the 300lb bubba who has not practiced personal hygiene in the past year.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 7:58am

    Carlo, before you go accusing the airlines of over reacting, maybe you should study batteries a little.... There are a couple prime contributors to Li-Ion batteries 'venting', 1) is being over-charged and 2) is being over-heated. Leaving the laptop plugged into the in-seat power for a 14 hour trans-Pacific flight would likely result in both.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Dan, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 8:04am

    Re: Re: i think all laptops are a threat

    Hey GEE, he was kidding.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    The Truth Beacon, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 8:11am

    This is YOUR fault people...

    With the wrap the airlines have received for the high mortality rate of thier accidents, who can blame them for being paranoid about safety and security? If there were a plane that caught fire and crashed because of a hell battery, you would roast them for not taking adequate measures...



    The fact is that so many people are soo affraid of air travel because they think it is unsafe, despite it being statistically the safest mode of transportation by far - even safer than walking... If they aren't doing everything they can to make it safe, then how many fewer travelers will they have? Just because it has been soo convenient and easy for so long, doesn't mean you get to whine because they are making you go through an extra step to get to your destination in never-before-imagined time. Just think how many extra steps THEY have to take.



    Pull your ignorant heads out of your rectums for once and see the world for how it is, not how you want it to be.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 8:34am

    Re: Re: i think all laptops are a threat

    Please learn to use punctuation and spellcheckers. Noone enjoisreading crap tht dsnt know how to use punctuation and sentences that go on for ever like this one without a change of pace.

    Dumbass.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Harry Lynn Hanson, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 8:36am

    KILL YOUR GOD!! KILL YOUR LAPTOP!!

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Scott, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 8:37am

    Re:

    I would fly OrgyAir, but for all the wrong reasons.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 8:37am

    Re: Mile High Club

    If you're flyin' Orgy Air in the nude and all you can think about it using your laptop you should crawl back under your rock.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 8:37am

    Re: Re: OrgyAir

    Now's your chance to teach him!

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 8:38am

    Re: Re:

    No no. With a name like that, those are the RIGHT reasons.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 8:44am

    Re: Re: Re: i think all laptops are a threat

    I do.

    i'm also prety srue peple enjy to read post like yours where pple are complain about stupd crap - like someone else's puntuasion.

    Moron.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 8:46am

    Re:

    What? Aww shit!

    Way to point out the obvious. You people make me grow a long rubbery one.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 8:47am

    Re:

    No. The former was all that needed to be said.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Sanguine Dream, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 9:11am

    Take this as a blessing...

    If you can't have your laptop on the plane then you can't be expected to work for the whole duration of your trip. Damn. Perhaps if this crackdown on electronic devices on planes happens you wont have people trying to work the whole time they are out on business.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 9:36am

    OrgyAir...

    All I can think about is that fact that you'll either have leather seats (ow!) or cloth ones that Bubba sat on last flight....

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Reed, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 9:40am

    Re: i think all laptops are a threat

    I think your right. I just got my student records exposed because some idiot had everybody who got a student loan in the past few years on his laptop and it was stolen. We have all heard about the Veteran laptop issues too, it is time to make a stand.

    Laptops are a threat to national security. Portable computers could be used to orchestrate terrorist attacks, set off bombs, pirate MS software, etc.

    After watching a season of 24 I realised ANYONE with a laptop could be a terrorist. All those found in possesion should be fined and imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay. That'll teach them!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Wiley, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 9:42am

    Re: OrgyAir

    That was tried about 15 years ago and failed. NO Lie.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    some chick, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 9:49am

    what about the accessories?

    I travel with so much crap in my laptop bag that could be used in very creative ways. Aside from the million power adapters and corresponding cords, I have network cables, CDs, thumb drives...the list goes on and on.
    So, if I was inclined to, I could tie someone up with a cat5, break a CD and cut them with it, then blow up the plane with the small explosive device I have hidden in one of the giant transformers on one of my power cords.
    Yet none of this stuff is ever questioned.

    Before 9/11, I had a hammer in my carry on (christmas gift). I was told I couldn't bring it on because I could hit someone with it. My laptop and many other things in my bag are just as heavy as a hammer and could easily knock someone out.
    Just shows you no one has a clue about anything.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Alex, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 9:51am

    Just check the battery!

    Pulling out the battery and checking the model # for possible bad batteries takes 15 seconds. Why don't they just do that?

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 10:08am

    Well, at least some of you realized that the issue isn't caused by terrorism but the fact that SOME LAPTOP BATTERIES CATCH FIRE, which generally wouldn't be a good thing on a plane.

    As for the Orgy Air airline, have you ever been seated next to someone you would like to see naked? Guarenteed, I will be in my nice window seat and Fat Albert (or Berta) will waddle down the aisle and sit in the middle seat next to me.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 10:27am

    Re: Re: i think all laptops are a threat

    Guy
    Well, not sure about all this, but you should really think about using some punctuation.

    Spell check would be a good idea as well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Dan, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 10:34am

    Re: OrgyAir

    OrgyAir, what a dumb idea! You think that you are going to take a plan trip with a bunch of Kim Bassingers and Daryl Hannahs? No, you'll be on the plane with a bunch of Rush Limbaughs, Operas, Rosie O'Donneells, and Boggie from Revenge of the Nerds.

    Worse yet, there are SNAKES ON THE PLANE!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    charlie potatoes, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 11:07am

    So What...

    Tempest in a teacup...computers are only a fad anyway.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Binary World, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 11:15am

    OrgyAir

    OrgyAir...we reserve the right to deny service to ugly people.

    Problem solved. :)

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    rhawk301, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 11:16am

    dellbatteryprogram.com print it out

    Just print out the information from www.dellbatteryprogram.com and bring it to the airline. If you battery isn't under recall, there should be no need for this one.

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    AMP, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 11:18am

    Re: Re: OrgyAir

    It's Booger on Revenge of the Nerds...not Boogie.

    Sheesh.

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    veronica, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 11:20am

    Re:

    I DOOOO!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Xero, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 11:48am

    You can have laptops on a plane?

    What do you mean "Maybe it won't be so long until people aren't traveling with laptops -- either by choice, or by decree." I was in London flying back to the U.S. less than two weeks ago and I certainly did get to bring a laptop on board, I HAD TO check it. I wasn't allowed as much as a paperback book on a 7 1/2 hour flight.

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Cyryl, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 12:47pm

    Re: i think all laptops are a threat

    A REAL patriot would put a bullet in YOUR head for being STUPID.

    Laptops are no more dangerous than any other electronic device.

    There have been USB flash drives that have burst into a firey pillar after being plugged in.

    Digital voice recorders have melted down in someone's hands.

    CELL PHONES...

    Now let's talk about CELL PHONES for a fucking minute why don't we?!?

    Threat to national security!? YOU BETCHA! Terrorists are buying these potentially explosive devices - IN BULK - and doing their terrorist things with them. Up to and INCLUDING using them as remote detonation devices TO KILL MY FELLOW AMERICAN SOLDIER.

    But did you know that cell phones cause fires? Did you know that the batteries are JUST as capable of bursting into flame as any other battery - SONY or otherwise?

    When was the last time you actually PAID ATTENTION at the gas pump? Those little stickers that depict some dude with a cell phone being an IDIOT and using it next to the pump...only to cause himself to be BLOWN TO PIECES because his cell phone sparked and lit the gas fumes... (Moral of those stickers? Don't use your cell phone next to the gas pump.)

    I bet you have a cell phone. Don't ya?

    YOU UNPATRIOTIC MOTHER FUCKER, YOU!!!

    Think before you speak, dickhead. THAT'S the patriotic thing to do.

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Cyryl, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 12:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: i think all laptops are a threat

    And as for YOU...Anonymous Coward...

    If you can't even so much as show a name for yourself and BE KNOWN when you say some trendy-ass shit like that...

    SHUT THE FUCK UP.

    I'm just as much of a punctuation and grammar nazi as anyone you will EVER know.

    But folks... Seriously. I learned some time ago that it is POINTLESS to try to save the world - ONE ILLITERATE MOTHER FUCKER AT A TIME.

    But here we are chastising this dude...and yet your post has absolutely NO RELEVANCE to the thread.

    So shut your pie-hole. NO ONE CARES if you don't appreciate the fact that his grammar, spelling AND punctuation aren't up to the Oxford standard.

    Now... BACK TO THE THREAD.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Cyryl, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 1:05pm

    Re: Just check the battery!

    Well in an ideal world that would work.

    This isn't an ideal world.

    Let me break this down for you:

    Certain series of laptops will use certain batteries. These batteries are usually designed to support several different series of laptops so that they won't have to worry about setting up more production lines than they already have to shell the money out for. It DOES help cost; not to mention it simplifies things for everyone involved in it's design.

    What sets them apart is this... You may have a certain part number for that battery...but there can be MULTIPLE REVISIONS of that battery. They may decide to change the cells for any number of reasons. They may decide to change the charging module or other related circuitry for any number of reasons. There are several primary reasons why these engineering designs occur.
    1.) Safety
    2.) Efficiency/Performance
    3.) Cuts production costs.
    4.) Increases availability due to increased production with better supply and demand.
    5.) Changes in parts distributors or contracts. (There are frequent disputes in the OEM/parts vendors relationships... They often change distributors to avoid dealing with further conflict.)

    I have one example for you. I worked for HP building their laptops. We had a problem with Foxconn. They seemed to think that we didn't deserve to be compensated for shipments of 2.5" 60GB laptop hard drives that were damaged throughout multiple shipments to our production line. We're talkin' FOURTY 60GB hard drives PER BOX. This occured throughout several shipments. HP finally got pissed off and pulled the plug on Foxconn in that division for hard drives. Foxconn refused to settle the dispute and paid the price. They lost their contract with HP. HP had a clear case and they knew it so they didn't hesitate to breach the contract. Foxconn didn't dispute it, either. (They probably knew they were in the wrong.)

    My point is... You have to consider the many variables that are involved. Yes, it would be nice if we could all dig the battery out of our laptop, look at it and see the SAME model number and deal with it from there.

    But look the next time you do...and you may see the model number followed by a 'version' or 'revision' number. (Usually denoted by a 'v' or an 'r', respectively.)

    With batteries it usually does mean the cells were changed or updated.

    Just a little bit of edu-mah-kay-shun for ya there. :P

    *grins at the Anonymous Coward*

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 1:32pm

    Re:

    will everyone be required to use their own protection?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 4:17pm

    Ever heard of a period?

    Geez man, you ever heard of a period? I ran out of breath just reading this.

    >You know id really like to know why you think that i mean
    >with out an exsplination i find your comment False and
    >made with ignorance in mind i mean everyone with a latop
    >should take it out back and put a bullet though the keys
    >come on how will that solve anything i myself own 3
    >laptops nver had a problom with a one of them and yes i
    >have a dell just one b/c it was given to me and i looked
    >and my battary was not one of the ones to be recalled so i
    > really want to know why you think all laptops should be
    >destroyed untill i see a reply im chauking it up to plain
    >Ignorance

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    Tek'a, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 1:57am

    re: Cyryl

    sweetheart.. cellphones blowing up gas stations is a myth. a fabrication, and a silly thing to believe in. the batteries dont even suddenly explode in a ball of flame and hot acid (I tried. very disappointing)

    static electricity is a danger, certainly.. from clothes or plastic truckbed liners. and you wouldnt want to use a Blowtorch or Tesla coil next to your car while filling up.. but a cellphone is fine.

    and speaking of.. I know legitimate, hardworking american businesspeople who buy cellphones in bulk and resell them. their not terrorists. and not even muslim(bet they dont even like middle-eastern music).

    making the leap between airlines having insane "safety" ideas (just to see how much they can feck about with your personal freedom) and cellphones blowing up soldiers

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous of Course, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 6:08am

    Lithium Batteries

    Until lithium batteries that are proven safe
    replace the present batteries which suffer
    from thermal runaway and separator failure
    the use of such devices should be banned
    from passenger flights.

    I think banning the charging of such batteries
    is more than lenient. Since many of the causes
    of fires, but not all, are do to thermal runaway
    during charging.

    The battery doesn't know what power source the
    device is attached to, all it knows is it's being
    charged.

    Any arguments about personal freedom are absurd.
    Your personal freedom ends long before putting
    200-300 person's lives at risk to allow something
    so trivial as recharging the battery in your laptop
    top in-flight.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    WTO60, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 7:52am

    Re: Re: i think all laptops are a threat

    Its not the laptops that are a threat... its the idiots who are carrying around senseless masses of data they rarely use (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20060710/0758245.shtml). This post was Google toolbar spellchecked on Friday, August 25, 2006, 10:53:15 am in order to prevent the poster from getting chewed out.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    icon
    WTO605 (profile), Aug 25th, 2006 @ 7:56am

    Re:

    So true... Continental hasn't let anyone plug in their battery for a while now... (of course very few people ever use them anyway)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Cyryl, Aug 26th, 2006 @ 12:53am

    Re: re: Cyryl

    Ummm...

    You're full of shit.

    Cell phones can't ignite gas? Tell THAT to the family of the poor bastard in California who used an old cell phone near a pump. I mean... They're probably living fairly well on his LIFE INSURANCE MONEY now and all... But I'm sure that they'd LOVE to hear your IGNORANCE.

    If a battery rattles in the phone and is tapping the contacts over and over again it MOST CERTAINLY WILL cause sparks. It's true that the likelihood of it actually causing an incident like that is slim. It would also take a faulty seal in the gas pumps that lets fumes out en mass.

    But it CAN HAPPEN. It HAS happened. I mean... It's not like those stickers on the gas pumps are there for any REAL reason or ANYTHING... Right?

    Yeah. They're just there to look PRETTY. THAT'S it. Yeah...

    Don't talk to ME about static electricity, woman. I work in an industry that THRIVES on whether or not you wear your wrist strap. Not wearing it? Might cost your company thousands of dollars in SECONDS if you're not. Go ahead. Touch that DS3 card without wearing it. I DARE you.

    And uh... Wanna make sense of THIS for me?

    "making the leap between airlines having insane "safety" ideas (just to see how much they can feck about with your personal freedom) and cellphones blowing up soldiers"

    I never said that 'LEGITIMATE, HARDWORKING AMERICAN BUSINESS PEOPLE' are buying cell phones and selling them for terroristic purposes. I didn't say a GODDAMN THING about American citizens buying ANYTHING.

    READ WHAT I SAID:
    "Terrorists are buying these potentially explosive devices - IN BULK - and doing their terrorist things with them."

    I said that TERRORISTS are.

    And...umm... Middle-eastern? THAT is some seriously politically INCORRECT BULLSHIT.

    Also... If you mean to imply that I am misinformed about cell phones being used as remote detonation devices to kill my fellow soldiers...

    KISS MY ASS YOU UNPATRIOTIC BITCH.

    Until YOUR ass goes through the training that WE have and you learn about the shit that WE were briefed about...

    SHUT
    YOUR
    MOUTH
    ...
    WOMAN.

    You have NO authority on the matter. You have NO RIGHT to tell an ex-soldier ANYTHING about these matters.

    I see that there is obviously no shortage of IGNORANCE on this plane...

    At any rate... They're a threat. That's all there is to it. There is NOTHING silly about saying THAT.

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    JJ, Aug 26th, 2006 @ 10:21am

    Re: Re: re: Cyryl

    > Cell phones can't ignite gas? Tell THAT to the family of the poor bastard in California who used an old cell phone near a pump. I mean... They're probably living fairly well on his LIFE INSURANCE MONEY now and all... But I'm sure that they'd LOVE to hear your IGNORANCE.


    Right. That's why this story has been debunked hundreds of times.

    http://www.snopes.com/autos/hazards/gasvapor.asp

    Even Shell oil denies the possibility:

    http://www.californiaaggie.com/media/storage/paper981/news/2004/05/19/SciTech/Cell-P hone.Urban.Myth.Unraveled-1317593.shtml?norewrite200608261320&sourcedomain=www.californiaaggie.c om

    Every case reported as being due to a cell phone is later changed to being due to static electricity built up by the person, not the phone.

    So, before you go off on a tantrum, perhaps you ought to, I dunno, actually learn something. I guess that's too difficult.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 11th, 2006 @ 10:32am

    Re: @$$hole Patriots

    > TO KILL MY FELLOW AMERICAN SOLDIER.

    Your fellow American soldier deserves to die. They torture people in Guantanamo Bay. Damn Nazis!

    >YOU UNPATRIOTIC MOTHER F**UCKER, YOU!!!
    >
    >Think before you speak, di**ckhead. THAT'S the patriotic thing
    >to do.

    Yeah, it's real patriotic to disrespect free speech and your fellow American. Patriotism is bullsh*t. If you want to show love of your country than put down your gun soldier boy and work in a homeless shelter.

    Those who profess their patriotism actually love their country and countrymen the least. Those who silently work helping their fellow man instead of killing him are the ones truly deserving of respect.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2006 @ 10:01am

    Re: OrgyAir

    > OrgyAir by Binary World on Aug 24th, 2006 @ 11:15am
    >
    > OrgyAir...we reserve the right to deny service to ugly people.
    >
    > Problem solved. :)

    Problem not solved. Only ugly people would buy tickets on OrgyAir. Beautiful people have orgies for free. Not only would only ugly people be the only prospective passengers, but it would also be a sausage fest.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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