Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/09/12/letters_1209/

Chickens and guinea pigs menace civil liberties

Or was that the EU?

By Lucy Sherriff

Posted in Bootnotes, 12th September 2006 00:40 GMT

Letters We'll start with the paranoid and then roll out the black helicopters. How does that sound?

First, the EU opened a consultation on whether or not surveillance technology is intruding on our lives, or infringing our civil liberties. The balance of your responses can be summed up with this letter:

'The EC, however, said its surveillance consultation would consider civil liberties. Surveillance and "detection technologies" were "inherently intrusive", said the EC statement.

"Their use needs to be carefully analysed, in order to establish limitations to their intrusiveness where necessary," it added.'

I believe what they mean by that is that the EC's surveillance consultation would consider civil liberties to be a bloody nusiance which should not be allowed to stand in the way of massive profits by the surveillance companies, and the "necessary limitations" should be summarised as "no surveillance of government ministers nor industry moguls."

Machievelli was an optimist and a philanthrope. His failure to ascribe to malice what could be adequately explained by incompetence is what has stood between Mankind and the wholesale slaughter of malicious, greedy, corrupt and self-serving politicians (which, IMHO, would be a wonderful thing).

The only people fit for public office are those who whole-heartedly hate the concept of holding public office.


Indeed. And for those who think we are belittling Morely's remarks by calling him paranoid. For shame. Everybody knows that being paranoid doesn't mean they are not out to get you.

That's enough paranoia, let's open the hangar doors. My goodness but there are a lot of you with nothing better to do than idly plot the downfall of society. Or possibly the idea of gel-filled bras was just too inspiring. Either way, you'll have to settle in. We couldn't resist these:

I just read your article about how terrorists could take down airliners using gel-filled bras, and it's encouraged me to come forward with a couple of ideas of my own.

Initially, after reading in the newspapers about the potential threat of combining two liquids, and after having seen Die Hard 3, I think it was, I realised a perfectly straightforward method of carrying out such a mission.

In one's average stomach, one has a substantial amount of hydrochloric acid. All you need to do is swallow two sealed plastic bags, each containing the magical juice, check in, board the plane, and wait for the hydrochloric acid to eat through the bags. You could even set up a form of timer system, by analysing how long it would take for the acid to burn through the plastic, and changing the thickness of the plastic, so you've got plenty of time for the bags to dissolve. You don't want to be exploding as you're boarding, because obviously, this would be frightfully embarassing. However, there's a good chance that this binary liquid chemical bomb idea is just a scary myth, and you'd need to carefully combine the chemicals in order to make a decent explosion, so....

Why not just swallow a couple of condoms, containing everything you need? Again, if you time it right, you'll be able to poop/spew them out in the plane's bathroom, and there's no chance in hell you'll be detected. Sniffer dogs won't smell the chemicals, so short of forcing every passenger to have a colonic, regardless of the other precautions they take, airlines are leaving passengers wide open to this rather blatant security hole.

Also, I was thinking, 'how would one go about assassinating the President?' and I thought about how, when I was last in the US, I was walking down Pennsylvania Avenue, I think it was, and suddenly, within the space of about three minutes, the entire road had been emptied. It turned out W was en route from the White House to congress. Two black tinted limos drive past, in order to confuse any potential terrorists, into not knowing which car the President was in.

So if you take some ricin or other explosive, stick it in a coke can, and attach a remote detonator, maybe make four of these, and get four of your people to place them in the road as they see it being cleared, all you have to do is wait for the entourage to drive past, and boom, you can take out both cars. Unless of course, the President's men are willing to pick up garbage from every road the President drives down.

Same goes for the white lines on the roads. Make a white-coloured touch-explosive, attach some discreet pouring mechanism to the underside of your car, and suddenly, Pennsylvania Avenue becomes a gauntlet of potential death for the President.

Could you possibly not publish my name or email address? I'm obviously never going to do any of this shit, but the powers that be don't know that. If you use any of this, and give any credit, could you give it to 'Tri'? Thanks.


So, the US's Transport Security Administration list permits people to carry "Liquid prescription medicine with a name that matches the passenger's ticket".

I can't see any way the terrorists could exploit that one. Not with the massive level of security Pharmacists employ in making sure their labels can't be forged. It's not like a terrorist could pick up any old bottle and simply print their own label with whatever name they liked, could they.

Let's hope the US TSA aren't the only people looking out for us.


What? Nothing about breast implants? Can one imagine the destructive capacity of a Boeing full of Hollywood stars?


Having travelled by airplane only once since 911 I came to the astonishing realizaition (fueled by a few beers & ramblings with my paranoid brothers) that the best way for a terrorist to take out a LOT of people & infrastructure is NO LONGER with a plane, but in that 5000 person snaking-all-over-the-place security line in the AIRPORT itself!

Think about it-- no one checks for explosives BEFORE this point, no need to learn to fly, and once in the middle of the line, you could take out people & building at the same time.

Now i CATAGORICALLY deny I would ever DO such a thing, or even contemplate it. (Especially from here in Alaska)

There you have it, and I cannot believe I am the ONLY person to have thought of this...


"Jihadists could pack a standard tube with enough ricin to kill around four million guinea pigs....equivalent of a six-foot-deep layer of dead guinea pigs covering an area the size of three football pitches. It's a chilling thought."

That's preposterous, according to my rough calculations.

Even assuming the guinea pigs are on the large size (1kg for males) and of the same density as humans (1167 kg/m3), 4 million pigs would take up a volume of only about 3400m3.

Assuming average international soccer pitch dimensions of 105mx70m, that's 22000m2 for 3 pitches.

So the guinea pigs would only form a layer about 15cm deep over this area, assuming perfect packing. To achieve a layer six feet deep, they would have to be performing some kind of "rigor mortis-enhanced guinea pig matrix of death".

Besides, guinea pigs don't play football.


Regarding liquids not permitted on planes: I wish to alert your readers to the possibility of being "set up" by prankster family members when visiting the western Canadian provinces. Should one of your family members "helpfully" pack a bottle of 'Northern Comfort' - maple syrup packaged in a humorous 'Southern Comfort' parody bottle - in your carry on luggage without telling you, you will be stopped and harrangued by any x-ray machine armed Canadian who checks the bags for two important reasons.

1) No-one east of Alberta "gets" the "joke"

2) The maple syrup used to perpetrate this prank is opaque to X-rays.

On the other hand, if one were wishing to conceal the details of one's checked baggage from unwarranted X-ray eyeballing, I can't think of a better way then slathering two or three thick coats of this syrup on the inside of your luggage before packing.


And breathe out. Turn the page for more of your pearls of wisdom.

Google is punting news archives. We have the first review:

Thanks for the tip about Google News Archives. Being a curious fella, I had a quick shufti. Can't see it being much use really. Have you actually read any of the search results?

Try this "paralysed facl iht 5onldino1 4MO men, although bountT money and oth- lasurea were resorted to. Even half had shiort crews. Jit the sta the...." goes on in much the same vein for a fair old while.

However, for the princely sum of $5,000 per month* you can get the actual photograph of the newspaper page the text was OCR'd from. Who provided what to whom for free again?

Cheers, Al

* converted to New Zealand money for your convenience.

You are, as they say, too kind.

Using the new Google service is better if you install a netpass which unlocks many of those paid articles for free.

I found this on download.com: http://www.download.com/Congoo-NetPass-Toolbar/3000-2378_4-10517599.html?tag=lst-0-1

For folks who dont have a credit card, at least you can read some of those paid articles for free.


dear mark - it's über techie - not uber techie. u might need a german keyboard. enjoy ur day, jens

Jens, Mark writes, - thanks for the pointer, but i'm afraid the word's become well and truly anglicised.the word is in such widespread use in certain english and american communities, that it's become another example of living -- i.e. bastardized -- language. Mark

(Jens subsequently pointed out that there are articles on The Reg that use the umlaut in uber - in the defence of which we can only say that no-one ever accused us of consistency and got away with it).

<Editorial intervention> It's generally accepted that the ü in über makes any word more comically German, and therefore intensifies the pseudo-Teutonic effect for greater reading pleasure. Also, English and American both begin with capital letters, so it's back to the channel überpit pit of distie despair for you, me old china - ed.</Editorial intervention>

A rare response to a rare old flame. Yes, it is true we do eat babies' souls. They go well with mustard, but the true connoisseur would have to season them with pickled ginger.

Given that the American Public at Large (although not every single member thereof) has been force fed large, high intensity, psycho-babble enhanced amounts of "BE AFRAID" every single day since 2001, it is unfortunately no wonder that such responses are to be seen in your mail Lester.

I had to seriously wonder about the 'no liquids/no gels' crap when it came out, having taken my chemistry seriously in grade 11 quite some years ago. I still seriously doubt the ability to create any sort of accelerant capable of completely disabling an aircraft in flight with amounts as small as 500ml, and facilities that DONT include bunsen burners and nitrogen baths. Do recall that TV such as CSI and the like have addled brains about how much science they know. Batteries should of COURSE be removed from powered wheelchairs and stored in cargo to prevent killing the aircrew.

However I will point out that the education system here in Canada is still providing all the info nessesary info to set up and fire off a nuclear device in physics class ... (a friends daughter recently took it and was fascinated by the detail)

So -- in conclusion -- If you happen to be of low enough IQ to buy the fox network and American Government kaka about terrorists destroying democracy all over the world feel free to jump down my throat, threaten my offspring, degrade my nationality and in general behave in the manner which has engendered terrorist hatred all along.

(not you of course Lester, but I'm SURE that it would happen, were this posted online)


Well, let's see, shall we?

Speaking of unspeakable deeds, we brought you news that Jack Thompson is blaming video games for the world's ills. Again.

"Thompson is a veteran campaigner against violence in video games and their sale to young people"

We have another phrase that should be substituted for "campaigner against violence in video games." That phrase is "political opportunist."

Ten thousand years ago, people killed one another with rocks and sticks, and there were no video games - not even "My Little Pony."

Two thousand years ago, people killed one another with swords and spears, and there were no video games.

One hundred forty years ago, Americans killed one another with guns, swords, and whatever else was handy - and there were no video games.

Around fifty years ago, a fellow named Spock (the human, not the Vulcan) came along and wrote a book about how to raise your children, which proposed the novel idea that children should be permitted to do whatever they damned well please, and should never be punished for misbehavior.

So sudddenly along comes Jack Thompson, and immediately it becomes clear that video games are responsible for school shootings?

Surely I am not the only thinking person left on Planet Earth. It must be abundantly clear to anyone who is at least slightly smarter than broccoli that Jack Thompson is interested in making publicity (and therefor money) for Jack Thompson, and that his qualifications for determinign the causes of violence are, if anything, measured in negative values.

Any so-called "journalist" in the mainstram press who gives Thompson the publicity he wants does not even deserve the term "hack." Hacks have *some* pride, at least.


"...if somebody comes in my house I want to be able to kill him." Naturally a lack of respect for the sanctity of human life would have nothing to do with the level of violence in the USA. It would appear that trespassing is a capital crime. There's no talk of defence here, of shooting to disable or deter, just of killing.


And while we are on the subject of having no respect, how about that bloody cockerel in Scotland? I dunno. Kids these days.

I spent the weekend camping in the Cotswolds where nearby there was a farm with a rather noisy cockerel.

He kicked off at 4 in the morning when I can only guess the farmer let his dogs out. Strangely though, he kept his volume down for his early rant and saved his best until his six-o-clock outburst.

I really didn't mind his noise, it was reassuringly countryside and quite welcome. If the B&B owner hasn't realised the wonders of double glazing then it is a real shame, I was in a tent and was fine with the noise. Certainly much better than early morning police helicopters and tossers who think honking their horn at 6:30 to get their mates out for work is acceptable.

Besides, my girlfriend was quite happy with a bit of cock in the morning. (Sorry, it was too obvious and far too easy!)   Cheers,   Rich

More on Friday. Thanks for listening. ®