Darwin's Theories Blog

New Theories for a New Time

Bomb-boozled in Boston

Brilliant but Bleary-eyed Bostonian Boffin Busted, But No Bomb
Nineteen-year-old Star Simpson went to pick up a friend at the airport, and wound up in jail. Her "crime"? Wearing a flashing electronic name badge that the MIT Electrical Engineering / Computer Science Undergrad had made up for Career Day.  Not to go through security and get anywhere near a plane, but just to meet somebody.  Boston Airport security peeps, being victims of modern education and avid watchers of Hollywood's drama drivel, probably believe that electronic gadgets are only good for blowing things up.  Well trained in modern airport security, they know that you don't actually need anything explosive to blow up an airliner; a few drops of toothpaste or a little dab of hair gel is all it takes.  That such things have been flying in the cabin since the Wright Brothers and never once blown anything up, does not deter these modern day Keystone Cops.  "It says so in the manual, so it must be right." Homemade electronics? Must be a bomb. So out come the machine guns, and the student goes off to jail.  I hate to think what might happen were I to fly in to Boston with my two cell phones.  I can only talk on one at a time (except when I'm testing the dialing code and make the OpenMoko phone call the Blackberry).  So the other phone must obviously be for no good purpose...

On the other hand Ms Simpson should have known better; she has lived a third of her life in an America self-destructing in the shadow of 9/11, limbo-lowering the bar on liberty and sanity.  It's been said that students at MIT, like most other intensive study schools (and also most party schools) simply "don't do mornings".  Thinking so early in the morning about such things as what you're wearing is hard work indeed, but it might have avoided this whole scandal.  Tech people - and I include myself in this category - often do not think about things the same way as non-techies.  So? Vive le difference.  Advice to the Boston judicial system: drop the charges.  Let the poor kid get back to school.  Save the state a bunch of money.  And save the legal theatrics for Law and Order or CSI.