I shaved my head. And I’m not sad, and just maybe
I’m to blame for all I’ve heard. And I’m not sure.
– from Lithium , by Nirvana (1991)
Yeesh, we’re turning Transportation Safety Administration airport inspectors into a cross between CSI forensics drones and Tom Swifties. News today is that TSA officials will now check to see if your laptop/cell/MP3/etc. batteries contain more than 8g each of lithium, or whether any extra batteries — which cannot be in checked luggage — add up to more than 25g of additional lithium.
Great. It wasn’t enough that I had been forced to smuggle contact lens solution through security for a while in my pockets. Now security lines will expand wildly as inspectors turn solid-state chemist and try to figure out how many watt-hours (the TSA proxy for lithium content) each of the people in front of me’s batteries contain.
Leave aside the absence of explanation — someone at Slashdot suggests it’s a TSA contest for most ridiculous blocked substance, with the winner getting a “I is stoppin’ der terrarists” t-shirt — it’s distressing travel news. Soon the only lithium I’m going to have when I travel is the sort you use to ward off TSA-induced bipolar disorder.
I have a suggestion. Let’s ban humans from planes. Strikes me they’re fundamentally the source of all the risk. We could just have planes zoom around empty creating pretty jet trails overhead.