CLOSE
Original image
Getty Images

Some Full Body Scanners Are Being Removed

Original image
Getty Images

Your trip to the airport is about to get a little less creepy: The Transportation Security Administration announced today that it will remove controversial full body scanners from U.S. airports. Scanners won't disappear entirely, but existing machines, and those manufactured in the future, will all be equipped with privacy software.

Body scanning machines, which began screening large portions of fliers in 2010, were designed to reveal more hidden objects than the standard metal detector. Some did it using backscatter x-rays, while others used electromagnetic radiation, but both technologies did the same thing: They created an image of a person’s naked body. The agent examining the images was off-site and the pictures were immediately erased (though in at least one case, images had been saved and were leaked online), but the public still wasn’t happy about the machines.

In 2010, the TSA asked the manufacturers of the scanners to write software that would make the images less revealing. But when OSI Systems, the manufacturer of 174 scanners currently employed by the TSA, failed to meet the deadline—they estimated they wouldn’t be able to produce the software until 2014—the TSA terminated its contract with the company and will remove its Rapiscan machines from U.S. airports. (They aren’t going out of service, though; Bloomberg reports that the scanners will be moved to federal buildings).

The other company that currently makes airport scanners, L-3 Communications Holdings Inc., developed software that produces more generic images in 2011. Sixty of those machines will still be used at airports. More scanners, which all must be equipped with privacy software, will be also produced.

Original image
iStock
arrow
Animals
Watch a Rogue Pet Dog Interrupt a Russian News Anchor on Air
Original image
iStock

Last week, a Russian news broadcast briefly went to the dogs after its host was startled by a surprise co-anchor: a friendly black canine that wandered on set, announced its presence with a loud bark, and climbed onto her desk.

 

As TODAY reports, Mir24 TV anchor Ilona Linarte went off script for a few minutes, telling viewers "I've got a dog here. What is this dog doing in the studio?" After the initial shock wore off, she gave her furry guest a tepid welcome, patting its head as she gently pushed it off the desk. ("I actually prefer cats,'' Linarte remarked. "I'm a cat lady.")

Linarte’s query was answered when the TV station announced that the dog had accompanied another show’s guest on set, and somehow got loose. That said, rogue animals have a proud tradition of crashing live news broadcasts around the world, so we’re assuming this won’t be the last time a news anchor is upstaged by an adorable guest star (some of which have better hair than them).

[h/t TODAY]

Original image
Falcon Heavy and Dragon. Image credit: SpaceX via Wikimedia Commons // CC0 1.0
SpaceX Is Sending Two Private Citizens Around the Moon
Original image
Falcon Heavy and Dragon. Image credit: SpaceX via Wikimedia Commons // CC0 1.0

Two members of the public are set to take an historic trip around the Moon, according to an announcement from SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. As The Verge reports, the anonymous private citizens have already placed substantial deposits on the commercial space flight.

The private spacecraft company SpaceX revealed on Monday that the Falcon Heavy rocket will be launching with its Crew Dragon spacecraft in late 2018. The mission will consist of a circumnavigation of the Moon, passing over the body’s surface before traveling farther into space and returning to Earth. In total, the trip will cover 300,000 to 400,000 miles and take a week to complete.

A noteworthy part of the plan is the human cargo that will be on board. Instead of professional astronauts, the craft will carry two paying customers into space. The passengers, who’ve yet to be named, will both need to pass several fitness tests before they're permitted to make the journey. According to The Verge, Musk said the customers are “very serious” and that the cost of the trip is “comparable” to that of a crewed mission to the International Space Station. The goal for SpaceX is to eventually send one or two commercial flights into space each year, which could account for 10 to 20 percent of the company’s earnings.

[h/t The Verge]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios