Better Bomb Blocking By Bees

from the bzzzz dept

There have been all sorts of tricks tried lately to better keep bombs off of planes — with some (putting your toothpaste in a plastic bag) more idiotic than others. However, it appears that some entomologists are pushing the idea that, rather than bomb-sniffing dogs, we should train honeybees to sniff out the dangers instead. Unfortunately, it appears the early efforts still need a lot of work as the bee watchers say not all bees seem to take to the training well. However, some clearly do, and can be trained to signal when they’ve made a match. As for how this would work in practice, rather than freeing bees to fly around the airport (wouldn’t that be fun?), they put them in a box and then use pattern matching software watching the bees to alert security if a significant number of the bees all start doing the “we smell a bomb” dance. The article also notes that a similar process could be used to detect landmines, in which case they actually would release the bees in potential landmine areas, and then watch where they congregate.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Better Bomb Blocking By Bees”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Rick says:

Now we have the Transportation Bee Monitoring Auth

So now we get to pay people $30k a year to watch bees, instead of people for security concerns.

Oh well, they don’t do much good monitoring people anyway, but what makes you think they’ll do better watching to see if the bee’s dance?

When are we going to learn from the Israeli’s on airline secuirty. They’ve been successfully doing what we’re failing to do for over 40 years now. All they do is watch – no bees.

Joshua says:

Re: Now we have the Transportation Bee Monitoring

They won’t watch the bees. That takes a certain level of training and ability that is just not feasible. They will train them to look at a computer screen that will tell them what the bees think. You could have a moron do the job the “bee watcher” has and still produce reliable results (or at least as good as with a well trained bee watcher).

Pat says:

Now we have the Transportation Bee Monitoring

Trips around the world won’t be impossible. You simply will have a connecting flight before your destination. Also, we tend to hire whomever for the job (stereotype of old security guard for graveyard shift). Any 18 year old who’s brain is fried from all the weed he’s sniffing, his eyes and brains are half shut and you expect him to detect a hidden explosive or weapon? Our country is good with freedom. But beware of what you wish for. TOO MUCH FREEDOM that anyone can do anything they please.

misanthropic humanist says:

There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.

If someone wants to do an evil thing like put a bomb on a plane, they will put a bomb on a plane. Nothing you can do will stop them. I can think of a few ingenious, undetectable and pretty foolproof ways of doing it (that I’m obviously not going to share here), and I aint that smart.

If you want to stop planes being blown up, you have TWO choices. Stop having planes. Or stop people wanting to blow up your planes.

That means you have to stop killing their families. Shame, I know, with all the fun and profit in murder these days, but I think it’s not a bad deal to give up a little violence for security.

Techranman says:

Re: There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.

And the reason that some of their families are being killed is beacuase….

possibly because they become collateral targets when their husband commits terrrorist attacks. We aren’t just randomly killing families. If we stopped killing the terrorists, they win. Its as simple as that. They have to stop hating us, which their religion forbids them to do, or we have to stop bothering them, by converting to radical Islam. So, we really don’t have much of a choice…

PhysicsGuy says:

There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.

“Every day, man is making bigger and better fool-proof things, and every day, nature is making bigger and better fools. So far, I think nature is winning.”


If someone wants to do an evil thing like put a bomb on a plane, they will put a bomb on a plane. Nothing you can do will stop them.

well, now there’s a statement that’s nothing more than a mere cry for attention…

misanthropic humanist says:

Re: There is no way to peace. Peace is the way

Yes, a very choice quote, in other words Mr Einstein is saying “you are not in control”.

But what kind of confusing and nonsensical reply is that last bit though?

Attention? Like I give a damn?

Yes, it’s difficult to face the frightening thought that we are all so vulnerable and that the so called security forces have no chance of protecting us other than to make a big show and theatre of it, but that is realism.

Getting cross at those who point out the truth about the futility of violence and war only casts you as a warmonger and violent man – do you see yourself that way? Because that’s how it makes you look.

Solo says:

In other news the TSA was flabbergasted when they learned that explosives could too be found in solid form:
“Well, that’s news to us. It sounds like we did not realize the extend of the problem, it’s just not about baby formula anymore. We’re gonna have to ban anything from flying.”

Common sense has long been abandoned when assessing risks and protecting the public from ‘threats’. Echoing ‘misanthropic humanists’ concerns, you do realize there is more than one way to sneak *anything* on an airplane?

You also realize that planes are not the only targets?

Terrorism is not about blowing airplanes, it’s about scaring people from running their lives. Blowing up airplanes in not an ‘end’ it’s a ‘mean’.

After you spent billions securing (with a thick false sense of security) airtravel, trains blow up (in spain) and subway trains, and busses (in London) and so on.

Secure the trains and the subways and it’s the shopping malls, then the schools, then the water supply. There’s endless supply of targets. Focusing on securing them is misguided. Take care of the cause and their actors.

mousepaw says:

Interesting comments...

Rick points out that the people on the payroll are changing and nothing else, but the article says it’s software detecting the “bomb dance” not people;

Joshua pointing out the fact that some countries don’t let people in that they don’t like – not a bad idea but you can’t cut yourself completely off because they can enter from anywhere;

Solo saying [take care of the cause not the symptom] which would work in a perfect world but look how long it took them to find Bin Laden, never mind all the sub cells;

And Tim saying that planes are just death-traps anyway. I’m with you Tim.

Combine: Can’t smoke, bring your own food and drink, hope the guy next to you doesn’t stink and/or want to highjack or blow up the plane, high airport taxes, ridiculous ticket prices, the inconvenience of having to buy everything you need at your destination (why bother with luggage?) and what have you got? A really uncomfortable, expensive and insecure way to get anywhere.

As for the bees? Nice idea, but can’t we just stick to the dogs? New lobby group: “Bee Allergies Now At Large.” (BANAL) They can elbow their way in between the peanut allergy bunch and the FAA.

another says:

misanthropic humanist

The truth about the futility of voilence and war is true, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. In a perfect world it shouldn’t, but it does. Reacting to that reality is not stupid, but refusing to accept that it does exist is.

Can security protect us from everything? Of course not. Can it protect us from some things? Of course it can.

PhysicsGuy says:

There is no way to peace. Peace is the

of course it’s all about attention. why else would you “interpret” einstein’s quote as such? you seem to think that “security forces” are completely ineffective. that’s akin to thinking anti-virus software is ineffective. security, just like anti-virus software, is able to implement measures to protect against known threats. sure, there is inevitably going to be a new virus that your software won’t protect against, but by your reasoning this means that anti-virus software has no chance of protecting you and is just for show. hopefully you’re smart enough to understand how absurd of a conclusion that is. so, assuming you can understand this relation I’d hope you’d be able to come to a similar conclusion without having to have someone hold your hand and walk you through it. therefore, you are either intellectually incompetent or you are a sensationalist making absurd claims for attention. of course, considering you think that your post was pointing out the futility of violence and war and that my response casts me as a warmonger, I could very well see yourself placed in the former category.

|333173|3|_||3 says:

1) there is no way to stop a lone assasin willing to trade hi life for his target’s.
2) You are much beeter off cheching the road outside the airport than worrying about getting killed on a plane: you can do something about getting hit by a bus, and it is far more likely than getting blown up (llok what happened in London after the tube got bombed, for the most part, ppl just got on with life)
3) Security is a joke: those who get caugt (shoe bomber) are such n00bs that they are not the real porblem 9the shoe bomber would only have injured a few ppl and lost his leg, maybe a few would have died, but the plane would have kept going)
4)The baggage hand;ers are able to put an explosive on a plane: they load up these big containers, oneof those with enough ANFO (your standard explosive as used in Bali or in pipe bombs) could bring down a plane.
5) it is trivial to get through a fingerprint lock like the ones used to protect parts of airports: see Mythbusters: Crimes and Mythdemenours 2, the curcial step is easy enough to figure out, it took me a single commercial beak to get it.
6) a better target is a cruise ship, while more ppl would survive, the target is pure western decadence, and is less thought about. a suicide bomber could alaways load up a boat with a heap of explosive, and blow a dirty big hole in the side of a ship. 2-3 boats could quite easily sink omost ships I should think, if there was enought explosive.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...