Wednesday, August 16, 2006


I was thinking about the rule where mothers had to taste their baby milk before being allowed to take it onto a plane.

Let's assume the baby milk is in fact liquid explosive. There are two possibilities (50-50 as my wife likes to call it):

a) The mother knows the bottle contains explosive: she's not going to be bothered about swallowing a bit, she's going to die soon anyway, along with the baby she's carrying. I hesitate after Rwanda and Beslan to say that a terrrist mother would never use a baby to do that, but I know it would be extremely rare.

b) The mother doesn't know the bottle contains explosives, she's going to get an awful shock.

There was an incident (referenced by Bruce Schneier discussing passenger profiling) where a boyfriend planted a bomb in his pregnant girlfriend's bag, but bombing your own baby or your child's baby? Human depravity could sink no lower. Even rarer. Plus someone has to on the plane to activate the explosive.

Great publicity though!

Anyway, couldn't this have been handled along with the other security questions?
Q) Has your luggage been out of your sight at all?
A) Well, it's been in the attic..

Q) Has anyone mixed any baby-milk for you today?
A) I can emphatically say they haven't.

I did note that the final allowance was a laptop bag and an iPod: handy for the executives whose inflated fares are the backbone of air travel, but shit for a mother with young children who hardly ever travels but needs to take a large bag of nappies, spare clothes, wipes, books, toys etc

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