Yep. That’s right. You can thank those “As Seen on TV” folks for the reason the Transportation Safety Administration is spending gajillions of your tax dollars (okay, $300 Million, but it’s still a butt-load of money). Sound nuts? Not so much. You see, any ceramic knife is completely undetectable by conventional magnetometers (the walk-through gadgets at most airports). Heretofore, ceramic knives were pretty rare. Not anymore. Thanks to an obscure company known as the IdeaVillage Products Corporation, $20 at any Walmart will get you a knife that you can effectively smuggle on just about any flight from any airport that doesn’t already use full body scanners to screen passengers. (But wait…you also get a plastic sheath – at least in the one that you get at Walmart.) I presume most terrorists will throw away the vegetable peeler (unless they have some kind of bizarre plan to skin the passengers, I suppose).
Now if this doesn’t scare the ever-lovin’ crap outta you, I don’t know what will. Remember, the 9-11 terrorists took over their planes with box-cutters. The Yoshi Blade knife is to box cutters what an AK-47 is to an AIrsoft pistol.
Now if you REALLY want redline the ol’ freakout meter, go watch that Clint Eastwood/John Malkovich flick, In the Line of Fire. In the 1993 suspense thriller, a lone gunman intent on assassinating the President has a custom gun made from a ceramic material that can be smuggled in, past security, to use in his evil plan.
When I saw the movie, I assumed that this was a case of willing suspension of disbelief, and that a ceramic gun would be unworkable. I was wrong. Turns out, it’s entirely possible to use ceramics to build a gun that is invisible to X-Ray scanners.
Apparently, diamond hard Zirconium Oxide is 40 percent stronger than steel. (Who knew?) Nobody I know has manufactured such a weapon. But if it’s possible, it is likely to happen, sooner or later.
I’m kinda surprised it hasn’t happened already. I can’t imagine it would be a commercial product, but I can see it as something that would be sold only to the military. Problem with that, of course, is that it would only take one or two to get out into the wild, before you could take down just about anything or anybody.
Please understand, I’m not trying to give anybody ideas. But like white hat hackers, I believe the only way to defend against a problem is to expose it to the light of day.
As much as I detest the idea of full body scanners (as an invasion of privacy, if somebody wants to see me naked, that’s their problem, and I’m not payin’ for a scanner lens that cracks, either), I think it’s a necessary evil, in this day and age. I’m just hoping that, once they add these, I can keep my shoes and belt on, and not have to go through the security checkpoint half undressed.
In response to the ceramic gun theory, I don't see how it would work. I doubt that ceramic ammo would work and the springs would need to be metal as well.
In the movie, the gun frame, barrel and firing pin were all made of ceramic. I don't remember about the spring, but the bullets would have to be made from some sort of metal. As long as they are small – say .22LR sized and made from non-ferrous metals (aluminum casing, copper-clad lead bullet) it wouldn't show up on a magnetometer. The movie used a gun that was disassembled into parts that were easily concealable. I think the bullets were stored in a fountain pen. The whole thing assembled into something like a two-shot derringer. I think it used rubber bands to propel the firing pin into the rimfire ammo. That's actually fairly plausible. My question would be how many shots could a ceramic barrel handle before the material would fail. For an assassin's weapon, one or two shots would be all you'd need.
If I were the government, I'd be far more worried about something like this, and get those body scanners installed ASAP. I'm willing to put up with inconveniences at airports, as long as the precautions work, and are applied equitably. I get a little testy when they foreswear profiling and hassle some grandmother and let people that look like they fit a profile through, simply to avoid the appearance of being politically incorrect. Screw correctness. Scan EVERYBODY. I wanna be safe – not politically correct.
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
-Benjamin Franklin, Nov 11, 1755
You ahead and give the government that kind of power if you want to. I ain’t.
ceramic guns would have some serious issues. There are different types of toughness, and the weakness of ceramics is that they are brittle. Perhaps it would work for a one shot application, but a lot of that I imagine is taking theatrical liberties.
Technically, the gun was made of "polyurethane resin." There was no spring, it was fired by rubber band and the bullets were hidden inside of a rabbit's foot keychain.
It was a two shot weapon, the barrels were side by side. There was a plunger on the back that was retracted to cock the weapon. Why he built it with a trigger and shaped it like a pistol, I don't know. It would have been fair simply to have designed something without a handle and trigger.
Rumor is that there is a super-hard ceramic material out there that is illegal to make because of these applications, but take that with a grain of salt.
As for the body scanner, considering you could just as easily jam a pen through someones neck as a ceramic weapon, where do you draw the line? Eventually everyone will ride naked in handcuffs with butt plugs in, just to make sure there's nothing hidden in your rectum.
I'm only partially joking.
Leave it to our resident film expert to know all the details. 😉
I think the genie's out of the bottle re: the "super-hard ceramic material" thing. If the material used in the Yoshi blade is really 40% harder than steel, as long as the tensile strength is comparable, then Houston…we have a problem.
I take little stock in what Hollywood comes up with – it's the reason I discounted the whole "plastic gun" thing in the first place.
As far as the body scanner goes, I think there is no way to make us totally safe on an airplane. Frankly, if you wanna make airplanes really safe, you put surveillance cameras in the cabin, with monitors in the cockpit. The first sign of trouble, you fill the cabin with knockout gas, and let the authorities sort things out when they land. THEN you'd only have to search for gas masks.
My idea for Richard Branson is to change "Virgin Airlines" to "Naked Airlines." You'd arrive at special security checkpoints, disrobe, and hand your clothes over to be checked as baggage. You'd get a robe to wear. You'd still get to carry on things that typically go through X-Ray – like your laptop, purse, etc. You'd fly wearing the bathrobe. On the other end, as you get off the plane, you'd claim your clothes, get dressed, and leave the bathrobe.
Seating would be done according not to "first class" and "tourist" but by "hotness." The beautiful people would get the first class seats. The ugly, great unwashed would sit in the cheap seats in the back.
Oh, and only the beautiful people would be allowed to join the Mile High Club. They, of course, would get to keep their bathrobes as a souvenir.
Laugh if you will, but I predict this would be a very popular airline.
I'd fly Naked Airlines. It sounds really comfortable flying in a robe. As long as the seats are far enough apart!
You guys sound like a bunch of paranoid pansies, grow some balls and stand up for your rights, if your that affraid of the big bad wolf or the boogey man … stay home.
Sounds like you have some…um…strong opinions on this topic. If you've read our site, however, you'd know that we're neither paranoid nor pansies. We are all about standing up for our rights, and this site serves to warn We the People when those rights are abridged.
Having said that, we offer you the option to step up and put your money where your mouth is – write an article on the subject, and we'll publish it. But no flaming, please. If we're gonna object to media screeds and such, we won't tolerate it here.
this is tricky situation about ceramic knives vs scanners. this effects all city hall type scenarios as well. i've been concerned ever since i saw a 3" ceramic paring knife at local hardware store for 6 bucks. they also work beautifully as a paring knife.
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A ceramic gun would be invisible to metal detectors. IT would not be invisible to x-ray scanners, as they will detect any dense object.