back to article MIT student walks into airport wearing circuit board and wires

An MIT student was arrested at gunpoint today at Boston's Logan International Airport after she entered the building wearing a black hoodie with a computer circuit board and wiring attached. Star Simpson, 19, claimed she was just at the airport to pick up her boyfriend, and was charged with possessing a hoax bomb device. "She …


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  1. Joao Pereira

    Dumb and dumbest

    How dunb can americans be? Well they just dont stop to suprising me.... Now who was dumbest in this nice story? that's the real question.

  2. Adam Azarchs

    re: Dumb and dumbest

    Dumb: walking to the airport (not into a secured area, but still) with a circuit board with blinking lights.

    Not dumb: Arresting someone with said circuit board (and play-dough)

    Dumbest: not releasing her with a stern admonishment to not pull stunts like that as soon as they realised she was harmless.

    Honestly, is it really my fault if the bar of soap I am carrying looks like a bomb to them? Do I have to label all my positions "not a bomb" just in case? (actually, that would be a really bad idea, but my point stands)

    What annoyed me the most about this story is that the cops hailed this as a reminder that terrorism is a real threat. As opposed to being a reminder that most supposed terrorist threats are false alarms.

  3. yeah, right.

    Lowest denominator

    Given the relative intelligence of your average American airport worker, I'm definitely not going to be going there with any hardware anywhere on my person. Given their utter stupidity and ignorance, I wonder how soon it will be for them to arrest someone with LEDs in their shoes or something?

    Basically, they're out of control, and nobody over there seems to think this is a bad thing. Damn good thing I've got no reason to go back there for the foreseeable future.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: Lowest denominator

    Generally the same people who say what you're saying are also the first ones to point the finger at airport staff if a real amateur bomber came into an airport and detonated something: "How did they not spot him, he was *holding* the plastic explosive, they should never have gambled on the fact that it might not be a bomb, they're all incompetant"...etc. Bleh.

  5. Player_16

    Praise the lord...

    ...pass the ammunition!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its Hollywood's Fault

    In the movies the bomb always consists of a readily identifiable circuit board complete with wires and either flashing LEDs or a countdown display so its not unreasonable for an airport worker to assume that anything that's got electronics in it is a bomb component. Its the same with plastic explosive, it always looks like Play-Doh (Plasticine) because in the movies the prop is just that.

    As someone who has to carry prototype equipment through airports from time to time I can say I'm getting pretty tired of this. As for this over reaction -- I'm also getting sick and tired of my government being more of a threat to my well being than a terrorist.

    Its a good thing I don't fly that often -- actually I fly as little as possible now. I hate ignorant, small people, especially when they're armed to the teeth.

    Incidentally, I recently had to go through Vancouver airport in Canada. The contrast between that and LAX was like night and day -- LAX was this tawdry ultra-max full of shouting, threatening people, the place looking awful, crowds, an embarassment. YVR seemed to take some trouble to keep things low key and non threatening, really nice (although I daresay that if there was a problem some heavily armed thugs would appear through an inconspicuous door at a moment's notice to take care of things).

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Land of the free

    If they ain't tazing people, they're arresting the best of the next generation. What a great place to live.

  8. Martin Maloney

    I'm SO ashamed (yeah, right)

    I'm surprised that they didn't tack on a morals charge, too.

    After all, she was, erm, a flasher!


  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Oh come on, as if that looks like a bomb, anyway if you where going to bomb an airport would you walk in with flashing LED's and circuit boards on show, no you would, have bag or suitcase so you could get near loads of people, not have it all on show so you dont even get though the front door

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Hang on. She was a student. She was at where? MIT. Nuff said.

  11. David Nečas

    re: Dumb and dumbest

    Bombs don't look like circuit boards with blinking lights. So what exactly wrong with it? If walking to the airport with something that doesn't look like a bomb is a dumb idea, then what we should do? Walk there with something that does look like a bomb?

  12. Martin Milan

    What's the problem?

    Look, we live in interesting times... I know that western countries do seem a little over the top, running around with the "we're under attack" mentality, and generally using the terrorist threat to trample all over our civil liberties - but guess what? 9/11 happened. So did the bombings in London and Madrid...

    We *are* under attack, and the best way to meet that threat is to remain mindful for it, but basically just get on with our lives... So, mindful of said threat, when some idiot walks into the airport dressed like a borg outcast, if the airport staff have the slightest doubt, arrest her! No problem! This "art installation" could have caused a huge panic - especially in an American setting...

    So, should she be tried for the offence? Yes. Is 5 years a bit steep? Certainly...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Clueless Register Hack

    See kids, this happens if you become a journalist but you have no clue about the subject you are writing about.

    A "computer circuit board"? Get a clue. What should that be? As the ABC news picture clearly shows, this was a breadboard <>. Works without computers, no less. May the BOFH chasten you with a CAT 5.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fear and paranoia are bad things

    You can come to the airport dressed as a hare krisha, but not as an uber-geek? John Gilmore forced the issue with his "suspected terrorist" button, but nobody pointed a gun at him.

    Sounds like geek "profiling" to me. What would they say to Gordon Bell and his always-carried "sensecam" (portable camera).

    I regularly carry amateur radio equipment with batteries inside.

    It also has sharp pointy metal antennae (encased in rubber), but I find I no longer have to explain it to security folks, they must see a lot of radios.

    If the DA insist on charges, I suggest some sort of civil disobedience. Perhaps "wear your wires to work day". Or, everyone should go to the airport with a few extra wires and hooded sweatshirts. (Be ready to disperse when the airport police come out)

    And any cop stupid enough to shoot an unarmed college student deserves to be sent to Cincinnati, where apparently that kind of thing was legal in the 90s.

  15. Joe


    Sounds like they all need a good sound spanking to me!

  16. Ralph

    Boston - home of the shoot on reasonable suspicion policy?

    I find the police comments most troubling.

    Perhaps the Police department PR dept needs to get involved, so the policeman isn't making inappropriate comments on CNN.

    "lucky she wasn't shot", indeed

  17. 3x2


    "best of the next generation" - give me a fookin break.

    Very bright lets see....

    Hmm given the paranoia of the entire western world when it comes to terrorist activity I think I'll go to my local airport today dressed in electronics.

    Had she done this in London this morning she would have been shot dead on the subway steps.

    Either dumb as a post or suicidal - take your pick.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where the hell do these people come from ???

    I was all ready to read the story and say how stupid the airport was,but then I saw the circuit board and the play dough in hand and I just thought "what on earth do these people think they are doing ?" . Stupid is all that comes to mind. 19 years of age and still playing with play dough, where I had been working for 3 sensible years at that age. I tell you what whilst I am on the subject. The kids of today have been badly let down by society/adults as the ones I see are no where near as mature as they should be at 15 or 16. Back in the 60/70/80's kids were much more mature attitude wise, perhaps because they had to grow up quickly to start apprentiships etc which dont exist anymore !.

  19. Andrew Smith

    deadly deviation

    "Thankfully, because she followed instructions as required, she ended up in a cell as opposed to the morgue," Pare said. "Had she not followed the instructions, deadly force may have been used."

    Now even a stop at a toilet can get you killed in the US!

  20. Fran Taylor

    understandable but not good judgement

    6.111 will get under your skin and haunt you every minute until your final project is signed off. Every significant object in your life has a proto board stuck to it. You sniff frantically for burning plastic every time you turn on a power switch. But when in Rome, you must do as the Romans do.

  21. GettinSadda

    Airport security...

    I remember once passing through an airport in the States with a large box full of Printed Circuit Boards...

    When asked what was in the box, I said that it was full of PCBs.

    Oh dear - their reaction becomes clear if you read the following:

  22. Graham O'Brien

    I'd have been really unimpressed ...

    ... if my travel arrangements had been disrupted by this. I was flying back to the UK through Logan (fortunately terminal B).

    Having lived in London through the bombings in the '70s I can understand the reaction of both the authorities and the public at the total idiocy and lack of thought of this kid. Anyone walking through an airport at the present time with a bunch of electronics and a handful of Play-doh has obviously not thought through the consequences of their actions and should be left in no doubts as to the magnitude of their stupidity. "She's kind of counter culture. She's prone to do whimsical things" the news article puts it. No, not whimsical. Just stupid, thoughtless, ill-judged and offensive.

  23. AJH

    Fake bomb?

    It looks nothing like a bomb. Its a breadboard, some LEDs and a battery. I'm amazed that someone from the police didn't realise what it was.

    Still, it's not a bright thing to be wearing around... if only because it makes you look like a total geek.

    I've actually seen several novelty jackets that have LEDs built-in (but not on breadboards, of course). Would you be arrested for wearing them too?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You are so smart...

    You are so smart...

    And I suppose that you know what a real bomb looks like?

    A “real” terrorist is going to use an industrial, easily identifiable bomb, preferably painted in camouflage colours, and with “C4 EXPLOSIVE” stencilled in large letters on the side?

    All you need to detonate some plastic explosive is a small detonator, and 12v – the circuit she was carrying would have been more than adequate to built up a charge in a capacitor from the PP3 9v source to power a detonator, to explode the “play dough” like substance. WTF was she doing carrying it in the first place?

    Let’s see now, I will show up at an airport with a toy plastic gun, point it at a cop, and then the media will scream that there was a senseless killing at the airport?

    Do not get me wrong, I hate small people armed to the teeth as much as a next guy, in fact, this is the reason that I am not going to visit America any time soon – however, on this occasion, I agree with their actions 100%, and it would a good idea for that bitch to receive 5 years sentence so that other “smart” people will not get any stupid ideas. Airports globally (and especially in America) are on high alert, the American cops (and rent-a-cops) are not renowned for their high intelligence, especially when it comes to electrical engineering, to this end, one would have to be a complete idiot to show up A) in a hood (adds “mood”) B) with a circuit board strapped on and C) carrying what looks like plastic explosive. MIT = smart? Do not make me laugh. I went to university, and I have seen my share of complete idiots.

    P.S. if, by some misfortune I were to serve as a rent-a-cop at an airport, I would have acted in exactly the same manner – and trust me, I know a thing or two about circuits.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The moral is...

    ... if you're going to make a bomb, make it aesthetically pleasing. No exposed wires, no breadboard, no flashy lights. Just a PCB and some nice moulded plastic.

    Interestingly, Cyberdog have been making custom shirts like this for years. Flashing lights, exposed circuitry and actually nice to look at. Never say that the brits are behind on fashionable technology.


  26. Tom


    I don't see what the problem is here... she wasn't carrying some piece of equipment, she was attempting a bomb threat? I could let off the circuit board but what's the excuse for the fake detonator?

  27. Chris Ward

    In America we are afraid and we lack judgement

    The two items are related. Wearing circuit boards like that is a symbol of American Nerd culture.

  28. leslie

    play doh!

    She knew what she was doing, who TF carries playdoh.......

    As to the board, well I use those everyday, but if I wanted to wear flashing LED art I would not use one, I'd etch a nice PCB for it.

    She did it on purpose and deserves all she gets, as to the cops, well they did what they had to do and I applaud them.

    Stupid stupid stupid.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    America - Land of the Free

    From the ABC link:

    "She's kind of counter culture. She's prone to do whimsical things. Last year she shaved her head," Caine Jette, a fellow sophomore at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and member of the Hawaii Club, told "She's relatively impulsive. Sometimes she walks around without her shoes on."

    I thought freedom is the absence of government coercion and the US government was created to protect the rights and liberties of the citizens. Maybe I missed something recently? ;-)

  30. Pheet


    The photo from the ABC news site gives a possible clue to the over-reaction - the MIT student isn't white....

    In the way that Jean Charles de Menezes was shot to death by the MET in the London underground for, basically , being 'foreign'. Or that after 11th September `01, rednecks in the US were attacking Sikhs.

    Given the permanent low-level fear and paranoia that people are being fed, it's maybe not _that_ suprising that minimum-wage airport workers and security guards over-reacted in this way. What is stupid is how the police are pressing charges, despite the facts.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For the record

    That was a solderless breadboard in the picture (used to construct temporary circuits for testing), not a "computer circuit board", not that you'd expect a news crew to understand the difference.


    --someone bright enough to be at MIT should have realized the impact of bringing something like this to an airport, although social ineptitude may be a factor here.

    --why does it seem that mostly the lowest third of the bell curve end up in law enforcement? People that if they weren't in law enforcement (or minor public officials) would likely be in prison themselves? Probably because no one else would possibly want the job I guess... Mind you, not all cops are idiots... I feel for the ones that aren't and have to patiently work with the rest of them.

    --(rhetorical question) Are we as a society so lacking in common sense (and so trained by unrealistic TV) that something that doesn't look completely 'normal' is enough to send us stampeding like a herd of cattle?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Forget the terrorists...

    I don't know about anyone else, but I am ten times more worried about police stupidity and overreaction than I am about actual terrorists. All it takes is for a police officer or security guard to fail to understand a piece of modern technology and suddenly guns are involved.

  33. Tony

    What's really sad

    is that this student is a sophomore in electrical engineering at MIT and she shows her prowess (on career day no less) with a crappy project circuit board with blinking LEDs. I'm surprised NASA didn't bail her out and hire her on the spot.

    Maybe she'll build a crystal radio set for graduation.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "How dunb can americans be? Well they just dont stop to suprising me."

    This comment does not sound like someone who should be calling anybody else "dunb".

    TSA: Low Pay + Dull Job = Lower Quality Workers + Stupid Results....actually consistent with most operations run from Washington.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



    Hat's off to the brave young lass, although she is clearly a wee bit suicidal.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Title I Love Star

    Thank goodness this smart, pretty, wonderfully weird gal didn't get shot. I'd love to have her as a student in one of my classes at the university where I teach. Go Star!

  37. Richard Silver badge

    She's of Latin descent.

    This explains everything.

    In a US airport, being slightly dark-skinned is an extremely bad idea.

    Being actually black or actually white is ok, but anything in between instantly arouses extreme suspision, overreactions and possible hatred.

    As any non-US citizen who's ever flown into the 'Land of the Free' will know, a guaranteed way to spend hours in the immigration queue is to join the one full of people who look South American.

    As someone who has to carry prototype electronics from time to time, I get really worried by this kind of idiocy.

    - Was the student daft? Yes.

    - Was the response correct? Definately not. The correct response is simple: Formal caution, don't be so bl**dy stupid again.

    USA - land of the prejudiced and scared.

  38. Ash


    With the rules regarding liquids, i'm extremely surprised airport insecurity haven't "Jean Charles de Menezes" a 6 year old shaking a juice carton.

    Saying that, though, my Transformers t-shirt has glowing lights on the front which are battery powered, and neither UK or Italian customs paid it a second glance. Possibly because it didn't look like something out of a Die Hard movie...

  39. call me scruffy

    I'm actually broadly in favour of this.

    If it was just a few LEDs that'd be one thing but I find it really hard to justify a lump of play doh. C'mon EVERY techy has joked about making a fake bomb with lots of

    *Curley Wires

    *Flashing Lights

    *Big Lump of Plasticene.

    If it didn't cross her mind at least once that it looked like a fake bomb than I wonder what the hell does cross her mind.

    She wasted their time with this stunt, and now, they're wasting hers.

    We don't tollerate people openly carrying imitation firearms in this country, so why should America tollerate people openly carrying imitation bombs? Sure their airport security is notoriously paranoid, and that to my mind makes this stunt even more stupid.

    WHat's she going to do next? Attach a dopler simulator to her car giving her an aparent speed of 200MPH and then complain when she gets a ticket.

    Sorry, no sympathy, bring on the lions.

  40. Randy

    Re: title - Oh come on,

    I dunno... you have to admit it worked pretty well in The Matrix.

  41. Brian Miller

    Sequins will be next

    Any bright shiny thing will grab a moron's attention. Just wait, someone will be wearing sequins in the airport, and the bright sun will, of course, cause them to flash. The bomb recognition algorithm will be triggered, and mayhem will ensue.

    When this story first broke, I was amazed that the security people hadn't learned the concept of what is, and what isn't, a bomb. Come on! Blinky lights don't equal a bomb! The idiots over-reacted like this with the Cartoon Network advertising sign, too.

    Major bombs in the United States: passenger jet aircraft, and moving vans.

    Blinky lights are not on that list, and have never been on any bomb list. Not even suicide bombers wear blinky lights!

  42. Sam

    "students" means the unlearned

    Clearly so, in this case.

    They should have shot the stroppy, posy, thick bitch dead so she couldn't breed, it would have done the world a big favour.

  43. Voice of reason

    Maybe if...

    ...her skin was a shade or two lighter the response might not have been so heavy.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    god bless

    god bless MIT students.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The most important thing to prove your non-terrorist status:

    When carrying homemade electronics through airports, slap a "High Voltage" sign on it. Bombs never say that in movies.

    Also: This girl was extremely attractive, IMO. Since when do pretty people blow stuff up?

  46. Eric Olson

    Maybe not so bright, but....

    I can understand the paranoia and fear running rampant through my country, especially in such a busy airport. I know Boston had the Cartoon Network "bomb threat" issue a few months back, and they are smarting that a couple of the terrorists from 9/11 either came through Logan, or were planning on hijacking a plan from there (can't quite remember.)

    However, I detest the idea of living in fear, of jumping at your own shadow, and otherwise becoming a police state in the name of "security." I was pissed off when the Minneapolis bridge collapsed after the shock wore off (I was taking a final 5 blocks away, didn't know it happened at all until I walked out of the building). The reason was that every single news station, radio program, and talking head kept repeating the same line: "The FBI and Homeland Security do not believe that there was terrorism involved at this time." That statement does a couple things... it reminds people yet again that we are "under siege," which helps King George divert attention from the fact he doesn't have 2 brain cells to rub together and he's letting organized white-collar crime (they call it politics these days) run the roost. And since it didn't outright discount that theory, it let the more excitable and brainless of our society run around shouting "The end is nigh!"

    Yes, someone who attends MIT should probably have been a little more apt to realize the consequences of her actions, and she should be fined, a decent slap on the wrist, and told to keep her nose clean for a couple years, but suspend any idea of prison, unless she makes a habit of this. However, this also exposes just how cracked the US has become.

    When police officials are telling the media that they would have shot her dead and asked questions later if she hesitated or otherwise made a move they deemed threatening (and with police officers, that list grows longer everyday, because they are overworked and undermanned), you have to wonder why this boob was let in front of a TV camera. 10 years ago, that officer would have been reprimanded for such comments, as they do not fit the "peace officer" image that the police force is supposed to be. Now, they are being miltarized because they feel that they are under siege from the media, government, and public, not to mention that actual bad guys out there.

    And the fact that there was no outcry over such comments here show just how inured to violence we have become. And the free pass is given in the name of the War on Terror... It sickens me, and it serves no purpose, no rhyme, no reason. We are losing, if only because we are changing our lives, letting our liberties be taken (Ms. MIT, that was not a liberty, though), and otherwise allowing our way of life be destroyed, all for the sake of a greater sense of safety. And it's just a sense, it doesn't actually improve anything.

    "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - attributed to Ben Franklin

  47. Brian Nevis

    Suicide by Cop

    My sympathy is with the Cops on this one. I don't expect a cop to be able to analyse a circuit (breadboard or otherwise) in a high pressure situation from 15 ft away. I do however expect a cop to kill a suspected suicide bomber before they take out innocent people. Airports are not the venue for counter culture whimsical behaviour. If the cop had shot her it would have been on their conscience for the rest of their life. Just because she wanted to be creative.

    The following scenario happens all of the time:

    <Security> "Sir do you mind telling me what is in your bag?"

    <Whimsical Student> "A bomb" (laughter)

    <Security> "Don't be silly I can clearly see that its just a breadboard with a few wires, a battery and a lump of playdoh! You crazy students really need to get some new jokes.. I will however need to confiscate your nail clippers".

  48. Steve

    F**king Space Cadet

    I hate small minded over reaction as much the next person, but come on, imagine the scene :

    You are working at an airport information desk, you are constantly being reminded that you are operating under conditions of possible attack. Some glassy eyed fuckwit with half of radioshack hanging off her tits and some cryptic message daubed across her back in what rather disturbingly appears as if it could be shit, approaches you while fondling a lump of some kind of plasticised dough like material and asks you where the aeroplanes are at.

    Do you :

    a) send her on her way, the cheeky scamp.

    b) call the cops and tell them that there is a fucking lunatic wandering around the airport unrestrained.

    c) do both.

    I hope she gets acquitted, but having the charges pressed and having to go through the process will be an apparently much needed reality check for yet another MIT space cadet.

    I mean honestly, I'm starting to wonder if you don't so much qualify for MIT as get referred there by a psychiatrist.

    In the current climate, with so many itchy trigger fingers, she genuinely IS lucky not have been gunned down on the spot. This really would have been a tragedy, but it's a tragedy that could easily be avoided by not acting like a complete fucking retard.

    Not a particularly bright Star, it would appear.

    On another note, I wonder if that dead badger she appears to be wearing on her head in the ABC pictures is running Linux ?

  49. Dan


    Was this, in fact, a work of art which she had been wearing all day, and intended to wear for the rest of the day, or just one which she wore to the airport to cause trouble?

    That should be the distiction that determines wether this is a case of tweaking the airport security, or the airport security being tweakers.

  50. Tony

    @Elisha Sessions

    "god bless MIT students"

    Maybe "God help MIT students" and the rest of us.

    When God was passing out "sense" she must have thought "scents" and went looking for the perfume section.

    Maybe MIT should have some simple entrance exams, possibly including paperclips and power outlets- for the ones who otherwise slipped through the gene-pool screening process.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Hollywood's fault

    You think LAX is bad? That place is a cakewalk compared to BWI.

    BWI, in addition to being situated close to the capitol, is where the TSA tests all it's new and improved "safety" techniques. It gets this dubious honor because it's the less busy of the two functional international airports in the DC area (Reagan doesn't count, because it's a favorite of Congress, and Dulles is too big to experiment on).

    I was hassled at BWI because my ID doesn't match my appearance (I GOT A FLIPPIN' HAIRCUT AND SHAVED!). I was hassled at BWI because my laptop was "too big for the xray machine" (It's a 15.4" unit, and much smaller than the bag that it followed through the machine. Really this was just an excuse to knock me over to "private screening" in a glass cubicle, where they ran through my carryon, confiscated my condoms ("They contain too much liquid." No, they're unlubricated. They don't contain ANY liquid. It says so on the wrapper), booted up my laptop, gave me shit about not being sure it was a computer because it ran Windows, gave me shit about my second laptop battery (forgive me for not checking the potentially explosive device in the cargo hold, where a fire can go unnoticed long enough to bring the plane down, instead of under my seat where I'm going to notice a fire really quickly), gave me BOATLOADS of crap about my inverter (primarily because they had no idea what the hell it was), questioned me heavily about my USB GPS receiver (they couldn't fathom why it wouldn't have a display, and were convinced it was a bomb because it's got a magnet on it), turned on and inspected my Nintendo DS (and ganked the stylus without me noticing). Then they pulled out my checked luggage, we went through that together, and they questioned me again about every electronic bit and piece. Then they gave me hell about having liquids in there (until I pointed out that they were in my checked luggage, where such things are still allowed). I made it to the gate 3 minutes before departure (after arriving 3 hours EARLY), and my checked baggage ended up stowed in the galley because they'd already sealed up the cargo hold.

    On my return flight, at LAX, I had *EVEN MORE* electronics in my carryon. I spent 45 seconds in the queue at security (as opposed 10 minutes at BWI), there were no problems with my ID, and my bag didn't even get a second pass through the x-ray, one of the guards helped me pick up the loose pocket bits out of the belongings tray so I could shove them back in my pockets quicker, and I even got a "have a nice flight". LAX had more glass cubes, but they were all empty.

    I quite enjoyed LAX. Very nice airport, even though it is a tremendously long walk from the end of terminal 6 (where my plane parked) to terminal 7's baggage claim (because they decided terminal 6 didn't need a baggage claim) and the people who work there don't have a stick up it.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In the USA, armed robbery with a fake gun is still armed robbery.

    By the same token, menacing people with a fake bomb is also a crime, as it should be.

    Unlike the incident with the Lite-Brites, the intent was to terrorize people.

    "Art" is no more of an excuse than "I was just playing".

    I hope she does not see the light of day for many years to come. It will deter others.

  53. Walter

    Just plain idiotic.

    I love the amount of sympathy this girl is receiving here. What she did was plain idiotic. I do hope she gets off, but she deserves to have the crap scared out of her by a possible 5 year sentence, because what she did in a post-9/11 US is just crazy.

    You can't seriously think a cop (of the non-bomb squad variety) or security guard is going to really know the difference between a Hollywood style fake bomb or the real thing. They reacted in the proper fashion, and it is lucky she dropped when they told her to. Because yes, they would have shot very quickly. If someone came in with a real bomb strapped to them, and was told to drop and didn't immediately, what is going to stop them from just detonating their payload? At least taking a shot at them may give everyone some chance to survive.

    And her color has nothing to do with it. She was wearing what authorities thought WAS A BOMB! I've been harassed multiple times when flying, and I am white. And all I had was a laptop last time. But, I was flying into NYC and back home on the same day, had very short hair (think #2) and a military style flight jacket on. Not the best garb to wear to the airport when you're not actually military.

    I'm not defending the US gov't mentality when it comes to dealing with terrorism, but I am originally a New Yorker. And I watched those towers fall on TV worried the entire time that my family and loved ones that were working there are still alive. I don't agree with many of the policies and actions the US has been taking in their war on terrorism, but I think the police reacted properly in this situation. She act stupidly and unfortunately for her may now have to pay the price. She should be glad to still be alive.

  54. Doc



    You can't blame security for being so dumb. Don't forget the APEC crap here in Oz recently.

    One of the Chaser guys was dressed as Bin Laden but all the security were worried about was an unauthorised traffic stop!!!

    Good job he wasn't carrying play dough.

    Star Simpson. She is a Simpson! Who would have known?

    Aussie Doc

  55. MD Rackham

    Armed robbery with a fake gun...

    ...may be a crime, but carrying a vaguely gun-like object and suddenly having someone imagine they are being robbed is not. And that's a lot closer to what happened in this incident than any "armed robbery." Any threat was in the airport security people's imagination.

    It's really pathetic that people's lives are so empty that they imagine things to be scared of to give their lives meaning. There are plenty of things to be scared of, but brown people with breadboards aren't one of them.

  56. Puddl

    MIT student

    Hey everyone, look at me, I'm a fucking idiot!

  57. Euan Johnstone

    Glasgow Kiss

    I say she would think twice about pulling this stunt at Glasgow Airport. She knows she'd be on the receiving end of the awfiest punch in the pus courtesy of one of the baggage handlers. Even if she was on fire. Silly silly girl.

  58. David

    Silly over-reacting yanks..

    So.. You're walking round displaying some "art" of very dubious coolness, playing with some plaster as a method of stress relief and/or concentration aid, and some dumb yank starts pointing a gun and yelling at you.

    She is very lucky she didn't wind up shot. The chances of a yank cop being able to differentiate between "compliance with instructions" and "acting in a threatening manner" is probably somewhere near nil, and the chance of them wanting to show how big and strong they are because they can shoot an innocent unarmed person (like those lucky ones in Iraq and Afghanistan) is very high. She's quite lucky there.

    And, she still faces further charges.

    Terrorists don't need to fight the yanks. It seems that the yanks are leaki1ng IQ points like a sieve leaks water, and pretty soon they will not even have the intelligence to remember to breath, curing the world of so many problems in one hit.

    Only 20 or 30 years ago the yanks deserved the respect and thanks of (much of) the rest of the world. Not now. They have made the world worse, and have brought yet more hatred on themselves. It would be nice if they all went home, closed their borders, and let the rest of us live in peace without their unwanted unwarranted interference. Well, let the few decent people there out, shut the rest in.

  59. Tom

    Does said student read _The Register_

    Or someone close to her. Perhaps we can get a first hand of the incident. Maybe a scoop for vulture central!!

    We can hope!

  60. the Jim bloke

    They didnt think it was a real bomb

    .. otherwise they would have shot her in the head straightaway..

    isnt that how the British react ?

    She was stupid.

  61. Simon

    Stop playing the race card...

    Please stop playing the race card. This story has nothing to do with race whatsoever...

    If you are foolish enough to walk into an airport with something that looks like a bomb strapped to you then you deserve to be shot. Black, white, brown, yellow, green, red it’s not a race issue.

    If you are foolish enough to run from armed police (several clearly in police uniform) then you deserve to be shot. Especially when there are electrical wires protruding from your trousers (Something people seem to have missed) shortly after a major terorist attack.

    I'm sorry that the police might be using their ‘intelligence’ (pun fully intended) to consider Asian-looking people more of a threat than those of a Caucasian extraction. But perhaps if you consider the very high proportion of terrorists that are actually Asian then this is just common sense. But I guess that this is the same reason that the police get stick for stopping and searching black folk in London even though we know there is a huge black (sorry teenage) gang problem and that a vastly disproportional amount of muggings are carried out by young black males…. Perhaps they should stop and search office workers and families instead just to equal things out.

    As for the fact that it didn’t ‘look like a bomb’, what sort of f***tards are you? If I were to build a bomb a breadboard is *precisely* what I’d be using. Etching an intricate PCB seems like a huge waste of time I could instead spend saying goodbye to loved ones before I blow myself to hell. I must admit that the 72 virgins are quite a sweetener. Just a shame I’m not a muslim…

    Anyway, stop playing the race-card, it just angers the liberal simpletons.

    Remember folks, if you do happen to be black, living in a predominantly white country under constant threat from radical muslim terrorists please think twice before you walk into an airport with something resembling a bomb strapped to your chest….

  62. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Darn, they didn't shoot her!

    If they had, I would have my perfect nominee for this year's Darwin Awards. And still have no sympathy for her. I can imagine the disruption and fear this caused for other passengers, just because this little twit no doubt thought she could "make a statement". My only regret is that her idiocy is linked to a technical course, normally this behavior is the domain of the trainee McFlippers on the art courses and the associated losers in the student union offices. MIT must be getting desperate!

  63. Tim Spence

    I haven't read everyone's replies...

    ...but if you think the student is the dumb one here, I'm with ya.

  64. This post has been deleted by its author

  65. Neil

    Now that's lucky

    She should try that stunt in the London tube.

  66. Daniel Winstone

    She's an Idiot, and...

    If she wanted to dress up in something arty next time, leave the electronics at home. Although even the shirt didn't look as weird as what she was wearing on her head, was it a hat, or a wig? Combine the two and yeah you call security in the hope that whatever is sitting on her head is contained and dealt with.

    As for this happening in the States, that doesn't surprise me at all.

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    You are indeed.

  68. Mectron

    the real reason?

    It as become some sort a new national sport (at least in the US and Canada) to get into airport and other "secure" areas wearing obvious terrorist props to prove how insecure their are. But since she was not able to prove her point, she simply lie in an attampt to avoid trouble. Even a 10 year old whould not show up in a aiport with such a obvious terrorist disguise. She earn that 5 years jail.

    She will probably show up on: Ameria most stupid peoples!

  69. Darren Davison

    It looked like a bomb?

    Come off it people, it looked nothing like a bomb. A bomb looks like a suitcase, or bag, or other unassuming item that no one would ever take a second look at.

    A breadboard on your shirt doesn't make you a bomber. No-one planning on blowing anything up would place the device so obviously.

  70. Degenerate Scumbag

    @ Simon

    I pretty much agree this girl deserved to be shot, however...

    The comparisons you make with Jean Charles de Menezes are totally incorrect. That's the false account that *cough* "somehow" got spread about in the tabloids in the days following the shooting. It later emerged that there was nothing suspicious about his appearance or behavior. He entered the station calmly like anyone else, used his oyster card to get through the barrier, and only dashed from the bottom of the escalators across the platform to catch a train that was already there. Once onboard he sat down calmly. He was never even aware he was being followed before the armed police came in and blew him away (without shouting any warning, because a warning is just a chance for a suicide bomber to detonate.)

    Personally, I think the shoot-to-kill policy itself was quite justified when dealing with suicide bombers, but it was criminal negligence on the part of the police to firstly misidentify a completely innocent man, and secondly allow him to enter the tube when they could have apprehended him earlier, in the open, where the shoot-to-kill would not have been necessary.

  71. Corrine

    @The cops

    <slight misquote>She was lucky she didn't end up in the mourge</slight misquote>

    So even the cops are admitting that they aren't competent to carry firearms now?

    And as to the people that said you can't expect security to know what a bomb looks like, I can say that yes, I'd expect them to have had every possible incarnation of a bomb pounded into their head before being let loose in the airport. It's their *job* to recognize a bomb.

    That said, security seems to have handled this pretty well, note that they probably got a paciced call from the ticket counter woman about a woman 'with a detonator and explosives and wires and things'.

    As to the 'hoax bomb' charge... well, I'm pretty sure if you had something that vaguely looked like a bomb, you'd have a panic before you got within 10 feet of the doors, let along all the way to the ticket counter. This however, did not even vaugely look like a bomb, it looked like homemade flashing lights.

    the Play-Doh is really weird, though given that it was probably red or green or some other non plasticine color, (I've never heard of light gray play-doh at any rate), it wouldn't really contribute to a bomb scare.

  72. Voice of reason

    Simon & his race card...

    Hey, here's an idea for you Simon - though you've probably thought of it already. Why don't we just round up all the coloured people in the UK and exterminate them. Problem solved huh?

    "under constant threat from radical Muslim terrorists" & "vastly disproportional amount of muggings are carried out by young black males" Don't believe everything you read in the Daily Mail.

  73. Alan Donaly


    You might want to look at the defcon security badge for this year, as for the girls device it was a bread board with a star picked out in leds lots of little leds the playdoh is not a factor it was in her hand and no one could have told it from nothing at a distance. Basically someone in Boston hates leds and thinks you need them to make a bomb which you don't my other thought here is you could apparently walk into an airport and as long as your bomb didn't have a bunch of leds and a visible battery you would be fine. This only happens in Boston why I couldn't begin to tell you but if they continue to call their obvious mistakes understandable this will continue to happen as will tunnels that collapse on people and other signs they have systemic lead poisoning in that city. We have nothing but stupid people reporting false alarms for some time now it hasn't saved a single life it won't stop terrorists it's been a complete cluster fuck there is no safety in this never has been never will be.

  74. colin cuddehay


    I'm an inconsiderate moron,perhaps MIT will help me. I am white,so I'm hoping "positive"discrimination won't hurt my chances!

  75. Brendan Sullivan

    Stupidity on both sides

    My view on this matter: both sides in this incident were/are acting stupidly in this.

    Was the student's decision to wear the breadboard and carry a lump of play dough into an airport particularly smart? No, it was not. However it isn't possessing a hoax bomb either, that would imply some form of intent on the part of the device's maker/owner to use the device as a simulated bomb (take note of this whoever posted the 'armed robbery with a fake gun' diatribe).

    But honestly I have to say this security obsession is definitely getting out of hand. Last October I was held at Heathrow security because the x-ray operator believed that my AA Mini-Maglite was dangerous. Flying back into New York City after spending July 2005 at the LSE in London I was held by US Customs for over an hour while they picked apart every piece of luggage I had and then was questioned by security after the customs agent thought I was 'acting suspiciously' ie standing for over an hour in an over heated airport terminal wearing a wool suit and rain coat after 14 hours of travel and hankering for a smoke and bed

  76. Jiggs

    A bit of historical perspective

    Before D.B. Cooper, in the early 1970s, you could buy a one-way ticket with cash, no id necessary, and take your hunting rifle as a carry-on.

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Leave the kid alone

    I lay the blame with airport security paranoia & ignorance. I recently got special attention going through KCI. They did not know passports can set off their metal detectors. I got my passport last January and it has the 'chip' in it and the front cover is a metal shield for it when closed. DHS has been issuing these passports for almost a year now and they did not know? They are leaking more than IQ points.

  78. This post has been deleted by its author

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Welcome to America now check your bomb

    You have to love that the DA will prosecute this case and when you juxtaposed it with the case in Jena, it makes you wonder if there is any common sense in the US court system.

    And I think it was an artist prank to generate social art, i.e., our reaction to it, I think it was a success.

  80. Bill Fresher

    I bet

    Any money that if she'd been left alone to wander around the airport like that she'd have gone to the papers and we'd all have read about the spunky MIT student who exposed serious security flaws. Bl**dy attention seekers.

  81. amlendu

    Arrest was also an act of ART

    She was artfully arrested. Should be put in the cooler to cause distress to all involved. Bomb or no bomb she was not natural and nearly a bombshell as well with no shoes. Ask her to bleach her hairs blonde so at least whe will be idetified more easily

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    >They didnt think it was a real bomb

    >...otherwise they would have shot her in the head straightaway..

    Damn right, what are they supposed to do wait for it to go off?

    They carry guns for a reason.

  83. Graham Wood

    Yes? No? Let the bullet decide!

    Was she f***ing stupid? Yes. Was the response reasonable? I would say so. Should she go to jail? Yes. Do I know what colour she is? Only since reading the comments, and it hasn't change my mind.

    Is this reduction in civil libities a bloody joke? Yes

    Does that change anything? NO!

    Regardless of how over the top you may feel the security is (and I do), the fact that it's there is well known. If I wanted to blow up a plane, it'd be easy - and the current security stuff wouldn't stop it. Build the explosive into the heels of your shoes (old one, I know), and/or give it to your child as playdoh to play with. The USB GPS mentioned above could just as easily be a remote (or pressure sensitive) trigger. Neither is banned in the plane (from what I've seen), so there's your bomb.

    Of course, if you want to make sure you get away with it, carry a fake bomb too, since people seem to think that since she was so obviously carrying a fake, she /couldn't/ be carrying a real bomb.

    She should go to jail to stop other people doing the same thing - otherwise you'll get lots of students "sticking it to the man" as it were, and the airports are enough of a mess already.

  84. M. Burns Silver badge


    Your Eurotrash racism is showing. She’s of partial Hawaiian descent. Don’t assume all “slightly dark-skinned” people in the US are Latino. Native Americans, Hawaiians & Pacific Islanders (like American Samoans) for example, who number in the millions, are not Latino.

    I’m surprised no one has pointed out the obvious here: Doing “Art” at MIT is like doing “science” at the Sassoon Academy.

  85. colin stone

    Even more stupid - Idiot security staff

    On a recent trip to the USA wth my Daughter we met by far the most stupid staff at the security screening.

    My daughter who is disabled is 13, about the hight of the avarage five year old.

    First they refused to beleve her age and when shown the passport went off to check her passport with a supervisor as they were convinced it was fake.

    My daugher has 2 rods in her back. She can not walk very well. But they insisted she walks through the screening. Very difficult and distressing for her.

    The alarm goes off.

    We give doctors letter about the rods.

    "Scary lady - keep away"

    they take a scared little girl to a glass booth, make her walk and refuse to hold her hand

    Search her with the metal detector. The alarm goes off.

    Then proced to remove her clothing.

    A second security fool keeps us her parents away.

    More messing with the metal detector, and finally she has no clothing on from the waist up.

    Security person now noticed the long scar running down her back.

    "does she have any metal in her back" she askes,

    Yes - read the letter we gave you.

    She now reads the letter.

    The next thing is the fool is complaining that my daughter should have told her.... She is Disabled, she has speech and language problems. HOW can she tell you.?

    After all it was not her fault she treated us all as criminals first then asked questions later.

    All this happened in public view.

    We spent over 30 minutes at this security check, BTW it was Chicargo Airport.

    If this lady was a representative of the avarage Security person, then I am no way supprised that this incident happened.

  86. Shaun Vizer

    Darwin Awards 2007

    It's a real shame she missed out this time, perhaps she can try harder and still make the 07 awards listing.

    She is the most promising candidate I have heard of for a while!

  87. Jon


    She's an ugly munter, and with those barins they should have shot her anyway and done her a favour!!

    I mean, how can you defend going into an airport with something that "LOOKS" like a home made bomb.. A circuit board with flashing lights and a gob of Playdoh is exactly what you see in films like "Speed" when they're trying to make a "this is the man with the bomb" moment, I'm an electronics engineer, and excuse me for not being able to tell the difference.. The police DID NOT over react.. Her actions were pretty much the same as going into an airport and Yelling "I've got a bomb" at the top of your voice.. Expect to be handcuffed at the very least, and possibly dead!!

    All the English yelling about American over reaction should remember a young Brazillian man who got dead for fare avoidance!! Yes but that was just after the underground bombings.. And this ain't so long after some idiots drove two jumbo jets into the World Trade Centre.. Apparently they took over the planes using Stanley knives and toe clippers!

    If you're going to blame anyone apart from this idiot for not being able to walk into airports wearing what looks like a bomb at first glance, blame the Islamist fundimentalists.. Otherwise SHUT the F**K up and let the police do the best they can at protecting you and me from nutters and loons!

  88. spezzer

    just because shes a student...

    ...doesnt imply she is intelligent! Lets face it, it was unbelievably stupid and, given the current climate, she was lucky not to have been shot first and questions asked afterwards. I think she got of quite lightly. I think a few years behind bars in lesbos wont neccesarily do her any god but it will be a valuable reminder for any other 'students'

    As to where this mentallity eventually takes us - now theres a real good question. Maybe its this paranoia that terrorism has provoked will take Western countries to the point where nobody is trusted and our freedom is all but sapped away. Then, we will be just like the Eastern dictatorships - job done!

  89. Cameron Colley

    Congratulations Star....

    ...for making me side with the security forces! It's not often that I agree with the actions of security forces in this type of situation "the Lara Croft behind the curtains springs to mind" but, in this case, I think she should be charged.

    From what was said in the article, it seems that the girl knew her device would look like a bomb and hoped it would get a reaction -- and she got one.

    Strangely, though the thing that struck me about the linked article was the American use of the word "Co-Ed" am I right in thinking that a male student would simply have been referred to as a "student"? For some reason this strikes me as a little sexist...

  90. dale

    the problem is they think its fine!

    I live in Boston so i got alot of media coverage of the brain set of MIT students. When asking about 10 students if you think its ok to walk into an airport looking like you have a bomb. 8 of them 8!!!!! said that it should be ok and in no way should anyone bother or arrest you for doing it. HELLO PEOPLE! proof that smart people really aren't very smart.

  91. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    spot on

    This girl is what could reasonably be described as a silly cow. The cops could have saved everyone a load of time and let her go onto the Darwin awards. Based wholly on this article she knew very well what was a highly likely result of her stunt. Make her pay the fine and court costs and make sure she spends the next five years helping the bomb squad do investigations, including the morgue work!

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Boston Logan= Origin of Flight 11 and 175

    Boston Logan is the origin of Flight 11, this is the one that flew into the north tower and 175 into the south tower of the World Trade Center on Sept 11.

    Sorry if the people that work at the airport there are a bit wound up......

  93. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An aside about 'coloured' people at the airport.

    In big cities in the USA a large fraction of the airport security screeners are 'coloured', or more specifically African-American.

    Note to British left-wingers -- In the USA darkie != Muslim

  94. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it or isn't it?

    Seems there was a guy named Richard Reid who had wires running out of his clothing. If not for some alert individuals taking some action, we would have had another airliner falling in pieces from the sky.

    Boston is known here for being one of the main centres of "Political Theatre." It was also the origin of the flights that crashed into the towers. I'm glad the cops there seem to have grown some balls finally.

  95. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    > If you are foolish enough to run from armed police (several clearly

    > in police uniform) then you deserve to be shot. Especially when

    > there are electrical wires protruding from your trousers

    Simon, I take it that you're referring to Jean Charles de Menezies.

    Yes, someone did run through the station, jumping over the barrier and down the escalator, followed by uniformed police with guns, and witnesses reported seeing that to the media. But that person was a plain clothes police officer - probably the one who killed Jean Charles. Jean Charles had walked through the station, picking up a paper IIRC and using his oyster card to get through the barrier. He ran the last few feet to get on the train when he saw that it was waiting (something that many people would do). As for the allegation of wires coming out of his trousers, that proved to be completely unfounded.

    It is often reported that a *growing* proportion of Americans think that Sadam was responsible for 9-11. The myth that you are spreading will gain credence in the same way. We must all do our utmost to point out the truth whenever we see it.

  96. xjy

    Mindless bootlickers galore

    What a shitload of racist, sexist, philistine (anti-learning, anti-culture) comments!

    "Now don't get me wrong, but the Gestapo are at least trying to stop the Jewish Conspiracy taking over the world..."

    What the lunatics who think the cops are always right and anyone they waste is always wrong (and if innocent then a provocateur into the bargain for potentially bringing the lads in blood into disrepute) forget is that paranoid cops mean the death of quality of life. They are making the cop thug into the standard for "normal" behaviour!! "She's guilty cos she did something a cop thug would never do! Stupid ugly stuck-up spoilt bitch..."

    The De Menezes fuckup - fortunately - hasn't led to security controls before using the trains or tube yet, but it won't be long. Think of all the quality jobs it'll create! And the boom for manufacturers of security equipment!

    I'm not going to take any of these squealing haters seriously until they demand full security checks before boarding any public transport including buses. And entering any building at all including homes. And even then I'll heckle them for not having stringent enough rolling security checks on the security personnel.

    And double punishment should be handed out to anyone who refuses to confess prior to committing any presumptive crime.

    A world to make my old headmaster thrill with joy - the one who whipped a lad in front of the assembled kids (primary school) for winning a spitting competition in the playground.

    What could be more barfable than twisted bitter failures making themselves acceptable to the Kray-ven cops by mindlessly licking their boots.

    Good on you, Star! Freedom is useless unless we exercise it!

  97. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What DOES a bomb look like..?

    She was most definitely stupid.

    I keep reading a lot of comments here that the security should have known what a bomb would look like. You all seem to forget that terrorists are inventive and constantly looking for ways to bypass the system. If security was waving everyone with a "bomb like" package hanging off their tits, sooner or later you'd have Bin Laden trying to walk through security with a pair of bulgarian airbags and a breadboard.

    Before 9/11, a box cutter was something that security would have waved through. I can just imagine someone pre 9/11 complaining in a namby pamby manner that "ooh security took away my box cutter, they should know that its not a bomb".

    Jeez, the additional security is one of the reasons why the number of security incidents are as they are. If it werent for tight security I wouldnt even step near a plane.

  98. Voice of reason

    What's to stop...

    ...anyone taping a ceramic knife (easy to obtain from any professional kitchenware shop) to their leg and strolling through the metal detectors at airport "security" unhindered? Yup, got it in one, nothing. Airport security is just for show, that's why it is so annoying.

    A couple of years ago I had the misfortune to get stuck at Venice airport in Italy for about 20 hours. What was interesting was watching the departures of different flights. Whenever a flight with a US airline was due to depart, heavily armed police would appear everywhere to reassuringly menace the American passengers. Flights with other airlines, even to the USA, just had the usual passport & boarding pass checks. I can just imagine the impression the American passengers got - "Gee, it's great to see the Italians taking the terrorist threat so seriously" In actual fact, it was just for show.

  99. Morely Dotes

    @ yeah, right

    "nobody over there seems to think this is a bad thing."

    Wrong. The general citizenry think it's a bad idea. Unfortunately, Herr Fuehrer Bush and Herr Reichschancellor Cheney think it's a wonderful idea. And since they have the military power to enforce their hare-brained ideas, the rest of us are patiently waiting for the next election.

    One nation, under surveillance.

  100. Andy Bright

    For god's sake your not really defending this are you?

    Tell me she wasn't having a joke and a laugh and pretending to be a suicide bomber and you're as full of shit as she is.

    It IS totally against the law to do what she did, regardless of how implausible the so-called suspect device was. And only the most fucking retarded individual would pretend she didn't know what she was doing was against the law, and would then hope anyone would believe the excuses of a 4 yr old.

    It's as stupid as walking into a police station waving a pretend gun around - she deserved to have her brains blown out as a warning to morons everywhere.

    I hate people like this, they're the same type of idiot that thinks its fine to test airport security with fake weapons in their bags. No it isn't okay - they have people to do that, and it doesn't tell us anything we don't already know, that airport security is as shit as it's ever been.

    Fucking retards like this need to have some sense soundly beaten into them. The worst part is that they give ammunition to spineless politicians, the kind that passed the Patriot Act. They give ammunition to over-zealous security, the kind that banned bottles of water on planes.

    She's just another spoiled brat that thinks she has the right to do anything she wants. Hope she gets to learn at last that there are consequences to your own actions. Fucking with airport security is a crime, and if she really is so stupid that she didn't know that, she's about to learn the very hard way.

    Sympathy? Fuck off.

  101. Jared Vanderbilt

    Nerd Hazing

    This was a simple hazing incident by upperclassmen. The scheme was constructed by electrical engineering students nursing on a keg of beer.

  102. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So we should have the freedom to walk around with fake bombs, without fear of them being taken seriously?

    > On my way home this evening I hope to find a liberal (And please pay

    > attention to this because it's quite subtle and very clever.) Do a "Barrymore"

    > on them, after which they'll be unable to walk and bleed to death, provided

    > they don't drown first.

    Should I have the freedom to walk around claiming that I'm planning to bugger people to death? How do you know I don't mean it?

    Someone on this list suggested civil disobedience, that the airport should be inundated with fake bombers to overload their security. How fucking stupid can you get? Airport security is not just for the hell of it, people have tried and manged to blow planes up before. With many more dead, and far smaller cost than it'd take to blow up a building or a home.

    I'm sure there are things that the dead of the London, Lockerbie or New York attacks would have died for. But I doubt many of them would have sprung for

    `I'll die for somone else right to call all security guards "you wankers"',

    And to be honest if that was all that their life was worth, then they were no great loss.

  103. Morely Dotes

    Stupid student, stupid cop, stupid El Reg reader

    "If the cop had shot her it would have been on their conscience for the rest of their life"

    Uhm. Are you aware that most of the "real" suicide bombers have a "deadman switch" that causes the device to explode if they let go (e.g., they've been shot dead and the had relaxes)?

    If the cop had shot her *AND* she had actually been wired with a bomb, chances are the cop - and everyone else within 15 meters - would be dead or critically injured.

  104. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It seems to me that even in the good old pre-GWOT days ...

    ... this sort of "art" would not be tolerated.

    What was different back then was the lack of an appreciative audience.

  105. JC

    Nobody's THAT stupid

    Whatever this girl's problem is, she was obviously misguided and looking for attention, nobody is stupid enough to put a makeshift circuit board on their shirt and walk around an airport if they weren't looking to be taken into custody.

    As for the fellow who felt it didn't look like a bomb, yes it would be stupid to draw attention by displaying the electronic parts which are unrelated to a bomb yet still foreign enough to the average person to alarm them, but isn't that exactly what someone toting a bomb would want you to think, that it's obviously not one? Depending on how large a bomb, there is no requirement for it to look like what you would see on some hollywood movie, at least not externally.

  106. John Utz

    posessing electronics is not a crime!

    i strongly urge those of you that consider the arrest of star simpson to be legitmate to consider the following things.

    Mossad used to make some highly effective and stealthy cell phone bombs that they used with great effect.

    people carry these and other larger electronics items into airports all of the time and none of them get arrested.

    many people have accomplishments that they are very proud of. sometimes they like to share them with loved ones.

    I am an electrical engineering graduate and i took my first ever working circuit home to show my wife and child and they did not have me arrested.

    I am completely certain that many people who are characterizing the arrest of star simpson as legitimate behavior have:

    1. been proud of their technological accomplishments and choose to display their pride by wearing a tux shirt or something that says MSCE on it.

    2. purchased and wore those goofy led id badges that where popular at nerd conventions. perhaps you had your name programmed into it or you had it programmed to say 'i heart star trek' or something.

    3. carried cell phones and laptops and other electronic items into airports while wearing your nerd shirt.

    the only differnce between u guys and her is that she made her OWN nerd gear herself and you guys PAID for yours.

    you where not arrested. she was. the fact that she was arrested is a huge mistake and she should be apologized to and compensated for her trouble.

    Now lets talk about the REAL PROBLEM: Lack of Law enforcement training. An 8 hour tutorial on recognizing electronics would have vastly lowered the possibility of this mistake *and* the aquateen hunger force fiasco.

    Please do something constructive with this! Please urge your local public safety profesionals to work with your local electronics education professionals to create a 1 day electronics seminar combined with some IED recognition training.

    If you take a few minutes to do this, you wil make ALL OF US SAFER!

    tnx for reading!


  107. call me scruffy

    @john utz

    As for the phone, yes with

    a large budget,

    specialist resources,

    lots of imagination

    a great deal of time,

    it is POSSIBLE to duplicate a piece of consumer electronics, but with a usefull explosive in it. It isn't just a case of putting a cheapass batery in your phone! AND It's out of the scope of most terrorists.

    Now for the geek aspect...

    You'd be proud of a BREADBOARD?!

    A PCB perhaps, I've had a lot of fun etching boards. (As my housemates will attest to) but a breadboard? I've built so many things on breadboards I don't have time to be proud of any of them.

    Having looked at the pictures, and with a postgraduate degree I wouldn't bet _my_ life that that mess wasn't malicious, let alone anyone elses life! And you think you can explain the significant points in eight hours?

    Saying that frontline security should be able to determine that this isn't dubious is like saying that frontline helpdesk should be able to talk you through a linux install on any given piece of kit.

    The best that they can hope for is that front line security spot anything that's dubious, and pass it over to an expert, which this time they did.

  108. Smallbrainfield

    Quoting Adam Azarchs...

    " Do I have to label all my positions "not a bomb" just in case? (actually, that would be a really bad idea, but my point stands)"

    Posessions, Adam, not positions.

    If you labelled your positions, that would be akin to "The Joy of Sex" or the Kama Sutra, something I'm sure everyone would rather not see happen, let alone have to think about.

  109. Simon

    @Voice of reason

    Don't believe everything you read in your liberalist papers either....

    Both of the facts I quoted can be verified by a little research on the Internet. Look at some of the official crime figures for London...

    Also read this article for more information. The figure quoted here is that 70% of muggings are carried out by black youths which would *still* be vastly disproportional even if the population was 50% black. Police Commissioner Paul Condon even famously quoted that ‘80% of muggers are black’. Can you really dispute this?

    Operation Trident for example was set up to deal specifically with BLACK gun crime in London. There is no equivalent initiative to deal with white gun crime. This is because it's not so much of a problem....

    Most recent terror attacks have been carried out by Muslim males. That's an undisputable fact.

    It's not racism, it's just the way it is. Stop playing the race card…

    Big Love,


  110. Peter Mellor

    Re: Is it or isn't it?

    Is it or isn't it?

    Posted Monday 24th September 2007 15:21 GMT

    "Seems there was a guy named Richard Reid who had wires running out of his clothing. If not for some alert individuals taking some action, we would have had another airliner falling in pieces from the sky."

    My recollection of the Richard Reid case is that he was detected and stopped when the passenger in the adjacent seat to him noticed that he was apparently trying to light the ends of his shoelaces with a match.

  111. call me scruffy


    It always amuses me that bleeding heart arguments hardly ever understand, let alone USE statistics.

    Simon, who I agree with, has quoted a statistic that 70% of muggers are black.

    This is utterly distinct from claiming, that 70% of black men are muggers.

    Still let them have their fun. Soon they'll start complaining hat men are far more likely to be suspected of rape than women.

  112. call me scruffy


    You're onto a losing horse there mate!

    Your typical liberal sincerely believe that The Independant is actually independant, The Observer reports what it sees, and the Guardian protects anything other than it's own arse. These sources are pristene, sincere, pure, god's own truth that needs no corroboration. They know these facts to be true because they were in the "ladybird book of genuine truths that all liberals must know" that they parents taught them to read from.

  113. Peter Mellor

    Why the different reaction to the MIT fiasco and the attempted bombing of Glasgow Airport?

    I can't help being struck by the different tone of the reaction to the hoax bomb (if that is what it was) by the young MIT student, from that of the reaction in The Register which followed the attempt to ram Glasgow Airport. The reaction to the MIT student seems to be at least 50% in favour of punishing her, or that it would have been her own fault if she were shot.

    The reaction in these pages to the Glasgow attack (and to the preceding attempted vehicle bombs in London by the same gang) was overwhelmingly that we were stupid and alarmist to take such inept attacks seriously. Most commentators adopted the bloody stupid attitude that these attacks should be laughed off, although the attackers DID intend lethal attacks, however incompetent they were *this time*.

    The problem with incompetent attackers is that they (or their comrades, if they do not survive) learn with practice. We might not be so lucky next time.

  114. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Yeah, obviously.


    Simpson was "extremely lucky she followed the instructions or deadly force would have been used," Pare said. "She's lucky to be in a cell as opposed to the morgue."

    Is a bit more in line with with what you would expect from a police state.

    Frankly, being American, I am a hundred more times concerned about being killed by an over reacting Peace Officer, or another heavily armed American, than I am by a "terrorist". I think the stats now stand at well over 100k Americans killed by armed (hand guns, rifles, and assault weapons) Americans since 9/11. Violent country this one. Always has been, really, but it's getting a lot worse.

  115. Angry Conservative

    A larger collection of altruistic asswipes won't be found....

    Stupid girl trying to prove a point apparently hadn't realized that you do something that would obviously put fear into the hearts of people will get you smacked down.

    I hope more morons from the free love generation strap on their own homemade circuit boards and play-doh mock explosive devices and rid the world of their pathetic whining puss-filled waste of space lives.

  116. Josh

    Was this posted on Drudge or something?

    I'm seeing a lot of really dumb pro-police state commentary.

  117. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Was this posted on Slashdot or something?

    I'm seeing far more knee-jerk pro-dumb ass commentary!

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