Gel-Filled Bras

From the TSA's web page on prohibited items:

We encourage everyone to pack gel-filled bras in their checked baggage.

Everyone? Do I have to as well? Where should I go buy one?

EDITED TO ADD (8/21): Language Log makes a serious comment.

Posted on August 18, 2006 at 11:22 AM • 56 Comments

Comments

Richard BraakmanAugust 18, 2006 11:42 AM

In related news: record number of new applicants for airport screening jobs.

aikimarkAugust 18, 2006 12:02 PM

I wonder if a gel-fill prosthetic is more comfortable or impressive than a roll of quarters (which wouldn't pass through a metal detector unnoticed anyway)

:-)

I wonder if a gel-filled hemorrhoid donut seats are permitted.

ScaredAugust 18, 2006 12:12 PM

"...We also ask that you follow the guidelines above and try not to over-think these guidelines..."

Orwellian.

XyzAugust 18, 2006 12:21 PM

Har!

No gel deodorant either, apparently. So I guess we'd do best not to wear any, lest they search our armpits before boarding?

not quincunxAugust 18, 2006 12:28 PM

And, as always, the solution is to privatize gel-filled bras.

Don't whack me, Bruce--just kidding. Just a joke and not political commentary.

MarkAugust 18, 2006 12:30 PM

Is there any way to put a stop to this nonsense? I ask that seriously--what can we do to end the pointless security theater we have to go through?

This is a great story about the foolishness: www.interesting-people.org/archives/interesting-people/200608/msg00087.html

Larry O'BrienAugust 18, 2006 12:31 PM

My wife had a mastectomy six weeks ago. It's nice that on top of already being supremely self-conscious about her appearance, she's now going to be additionally harassed in a crowded public place.

Dilberr ReporrAugust 18, 2006 12:39 PM

> Is there any way to put a stop to this
> nonsense?

Spread democracy by smokin' evil-doers out of their caves.

Erik V. OlsonAugust 18, 2006 12:51 PM

What about "gel" cushions, which aren't gels at all, but urathane foams formed under pressure?

What abou gel ink pens? Heck, what about Jello. There's always room for Jello, right?

I just realized why this liquid ban happened -- someone at the TSA misread a movie marquee, and realized that they'd better ban Shakes On A Plane!

TOMBOTAugust 18, 2006 12:53 PM

At what point do we break? This cryptic fearmongering caveman bullshit is completely insane. This is practically duck-and-cover air raid training all over again.

another_bruceAugust 18, 2006 12:56 PM

we haven't addressed colostomy bags yet (hello, colostomy bag). how do you know for sure he doesn't have acetone or hydrogen peroxide in there?

bobAugust 18, 2006 1:03 PM

@TOMBOT: no, this is worse - duck and cover made quite a bit of sense; todays "security theatre of the air(ways)" has NO redeeming features.

revAugust 18, 2006 1:06 PM

"We encourage everyone to pack gel-filled bras in their checked baggage. We recognize the sensitivity of the issue and we are reaching out to key women’s medical associations to assist passengers and make information available to them while respecting their privacy."

And by "reaching out" we mean, you know... like... "reach out and touch someone."

Son of BrucinatorAugust 18, 2006 1:11 PM

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/5261908.stm

At least one airline and plenty of air crew realise that the new countermeasures suck major ass and do little to reduce security terrorist risk on airplanes. Ryanair has a business interest in allowing people to bring the hand luggage on the plane. However, their point is valid. The new rules are a load of horse cock and means the terrorists are winning since our daily lives are gradually being more and more restricted.

When will the authorities start spending their security budget wisely on old school targeted surveillance and investigations instead of ass clown countermeasures? Like Bruce mentioned before, this is what works and makes the world around us safer. Not "security theater" TSA style.

- B

TOMBOTAugust 18, 2006 1:21 PM

Everybody should just go on tax strike like Edmund Wilson. Nobody file returns next year.

ProhiasAugust 18, 2006 2:33 PM

So how long before we read of an attempt at concealing a gel like explosive in the gel of a prosthetic? If someone is willing to kill themselves, what is the big stretch in amputation and prosthetic to aid in the plot?

I am a dog lover and often travel with my dogs. How long before some sicko injects a dog with a time-based explosive device? Then like this bra story, only "seeing eye dogs" will be allowed. Until, uhh, umm, a blind cleric tries to take his companion on board.

Aah, but he will be nabbed in "psychological" or "random" profiling.

RoxanneAugust 18, 2006 3:56 PM

Doesn't this tempt one to find all of the gel-filled items one can, just to be annoying? What about those gel-ink pens? What about pre-sealed plastic cups of Jello [TM]?

I would not want to be responsible for traveling with a toddler under the current circumstances. No beverages, no food, and a three-hour flight ... the mind boggles.

RoxanneAugust 18, 2006 3:59 PM

You know, they keep talking about how air travel hasn't dropped in the past week. Well, duh, those reservations were made months ago. The question is: How many people are making NEW airline reservations? Has that changed any?

I have heard several people say that they had been planning to fly, but now they're taking the bus or driving, for their Christmas vacations. I expect that if there's going to be fallout, it will come at Christmas, when people decide to stay home instead of going to Grandma's.

Erik WAugust 18, 2006 4:04 PM

"Where should I go buy one?" Ask someone who has one where they got theirs. If you don't know anyone who has one, find someone who looks like them might be wearing one and engage them in conversation...they may be sensitive about it, so you may have to feel them out a bit.

Rob MayfieldAugust 18, 2006 4:45 PM

I think the point the TSA is trying to make is that if enough people pack them in the luggage it might cushion the impact if the aircraft crashes, somewhat like an airbag ...

MordAugust 18, 2006 6:44 PM

Doesn't the material in diapers become a gel when hydrated? Why wouldn't terrorists preload baby diapers with nitroglycerine? OH NOZ! NO MORE BABIES ON PLANES!1111

quincunxAugust 18, 2006 8:58 PM

'And, as always, the solution is to privatize gel-filled bras.'

It's already privatized, but yes you seem to be getting it, apply it universally to every good & service and the problems will get solved better.

Nick LancasterAugust 18, 2006 9:15 PM


No more hand sanitizer. Just cough all over your fellow passengers.

Or how about a box of Chinese takeout? Gooey sauce that could ignite ... (yeah, it's movie plot time, but when the media goes ga-ga over 'sports drinks and mysterious gel-like substances,' the bar ain't set all that high).

If you're going to be afraid of Things That Can Be Combined, then you might as well just be afraid of everything for the rest of your life.

I wonder if they could make TATP into something like the flash paper used by magicians ... (flash paper itself is detectable, I believe).

ScouterAugust 18, 2006 9:36 PM

Well, there's only one thing left to do on those long flights: drink. I, for one, look forward to a seven-hour flight in a plane full of drunks.

Geoff LaneAugust 19, 2006 2:10 AM

Pilots and cabin staff are already complaining that even they are not permitted to take pens (because they contain "ink" which is a "liquid") onto planes. The BBC is reporting a story of a plane full of people who had to share a _single_ pencil to complete their US immigration forms.

Not only is this daft, but isn't a usual requirement for such forms to be completed in "ink"?

Finally, if you know how to use it, a pen is much mightier than a sword or a binary liquid explosive....

Valdis KletnieksAugust 19, 2006 10:19 AM

A number of people have asked when the silly Security Theatre will stop and sane productive security measures will start happening instead.

The answer is very obvious - it will happen when, and *ONLY* when, we get rid of bureaucrats and politicians who feel the need to be seen "doing something about the problem" rather than actually addressing the problem. Security Theatre isn't there for your security - it's there to remind you that "The TSA is on the job 'protecting' you".

In other words, it's *exactly* the same thing as all the anti-virus companies that send you 'We detected and removed a copy of Moby-Foo from your e-mail" - when they know damned well the From: address was forged and they're sending the note to somebody who most probably isn't even infected with Moby-Foo. It's just free advertising for they Moby-Foo detector.

DavidAugust 19, 2006 11:17 AM

The TSA has banned sneezing because it spews tiny liquid particles. Crying is legal only if it's tear-less. Urination and vomitting are illegal on a plane.

At least they didn't ban solids when they first found a bomb made of solids.

But we are safer. You can tell by the decreased tension and war wordwide.

ColossusAugust 19, 2006 12:17 PM

@ Valdis

"The answer is very obvious - it will happen when, and *ONLY* when, we get rid of bureaucrats and politicians who feel the need to be seen "doing something about the problem" rather than actually addressing the problem. Security Theatre isn't there for your security - it's there to remind you that "The TSA is on the job 'protecting' you"."

The only problem with this is that when the security theatre stops there's a public outcry about 'why isn't more being done'. Genuine security measures - more investigations like the ones that instigated this whole series of events - are generally invisible to the public. People want to know that something is being done to protect them and, sad though it is, they have little faith that the security services are doing anything useful.

It's the public, as much as the politicians, who need educating. Once politicians feel its safe to put money in to more effective, but less visible, measures without being voted out of office for not doing enough to 'keep people safe', they will.

Richard BraakmanAugust 19, 2006 12:28 PM

But those same politicians are telling the public to be scared all the time. "Today we upgraded the treat level from RED to BLINKING RED! Everyone should worry more than they did yesterday! It has not been ruled out that the summer heat is caused by TERRORISTS!"

ColossusAugust 19, 2006 1:23 PM

@Richard

"But those same politicians are telling the public to be scared all the time. "Today we upgraded the treat level from RED to BLINKING RED! Everyone should worry more than they did yesterday! It has not been ruled out that the summer heat is caused by TERRORISTS!""

Don't get me wrong - I doubt most of our politicians (whichever side of the pond you're on) would know a good security policy if it bit them on the ass. However, my point is that even if they did know the right thing to do there are other pressures put on them by the voting public to carry on with the security theatre.

I fully agree that our politicians need educating, I just don't believe its a complete solution. We have to educate the politicians, the voting public, the tabloid press...

So long as the politicians have a choice between (a) doing the right thing and being hounded by the press and the public for not *being seen* to do enough or (b) providing security theatre and showing us how hard they're working to 'keep us safe' they'll go for the security theatre and the accompanying votes, even if they know what the correct option is.

The idea of a politician who will do the right thing even though it will cost him his position is a very noble, but sadly unlikely, thought. Unless we remove the external factors and allow the politicians to make decisions based purely on security no amount of education is going to help.

RoenigkAugust 19, 2006 5:21 PM

To enforce this rule, the TSA screeners will have to start looking for passengers that did not pack their gel-filled bra in their luggage.

The logical course of action would be to ask all well endowed females if "they are real or gel-filled." Is this a form of profiling?

TSA agentAugust 20, 2006 3:10 PM

My question is who is the pervert who gets to decide who gets to be "hand checked"?

"Excuse me ma'am, but your boobs are too big, they must be filled with some strange undetectable explosive liquid. We will have to examine them. Please come with me."

annaAugust 21, 2006 6:51 AM

so wait, no metal containing bras as those contain metal, no gel filled bras .. what else is there to left? Ladies, remove your silicones before you travel???

XellosAugust 21, 2006 9:18 AM

--"TSA: Protecting America from suicide boobers."

Nah, Boober was just morbid. Red Fraggle, though... she was so hyper, just think how bad the crash will be when she hits the down phase of the cycle.

Victor BogadoAugust 21, 2006 9:52 AM

I imagine if breast implants are also forbiden and how would they take them out.

But wait a minute, dosent implanting a bomb makes sence when you want to die anyway? Maybe they should forbid passangers in the airplanes also...

VianAugust 22, 2006 12:21 AM

"we upgraded the treat level from RED to BLINKING RED"

Mmmmmm ... treats. But not gel or liquid treats. Good, solid American treats only.

RogerAugust 22, 2006 3:05 AM

Hmm. I just browsed onward from the TSA link given above, and came to this page:
http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/...
which gives a summary of all the prohibited and permitted items.

There are quite a few things which I thought were prohibited from carry on luggage, but are not! Including knitting needles, nail scissors, safety razors and even screwdrivers. Another page also says that x-raying of shoes only occurs when there is a heightened security threat, (which is currently in place, but only since 10th of August).

Are these a result of recent relaxations in policy, or have people been giving the TSA a bad rap on issues that were resolved long ago? Or perhaps head office has problems circulating policy to the front lines?

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