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Anti-Terrorism Devices: Cogito 1002 Detects Anxious Behavior In Passengers Before They Board A Giant Tin Cigar That Will Hurtle Through Space At 500 MPH

Anti-Terrorism Devices: Cogito 1002 Detects Anxious Behavior In Passengers Before They Board A Giant Tin Cigar That Will Hurtle Through Space At 500 MPH
November 06
18:56 2012
Los Angeles

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about Israeli airport screeners engaging passengers in conversation before they board the plane. Here’s the rundown:

Israel currently uses a similar system at Ben-Gurion Airport, where screeners aim to detect suspicious passenger behavior instead of focusing primarily on objects in passengers’ possession. Unlike security teams in other countries, who take all liquids from passengers or conduct invasive searches, the Ben-Gurion screeners engage passengers in conversation and use their training to scout out unusual reactions, which lead to passengers being pulled out of line for further screening.

The wet dream behind all of this is to create a machine so sentient that it can carry out the questioning while monitoring a passenger’s vital signs. If they are a terrorist with an evil plan, the machine will detect a hostile attitude. The terrorist’s nerves will be acting up, and the machine will start beeping, and will alert authorities to a possibly threatening passenger. (I’m not making this up, it’s called the Cogito 1002, and it’s been designed by Suspect Detection Systems — an Israel-based company).

What are the signs the machine is looking for? Signs that could suggest one of two things: either you’re a terrorist, or you desperately have to use the toilet. Heavy breathing. Sweating. Rapid eye movement. Awkward shiftiness. Quivering genitals.

I’m all of those things in the airport, except that last one. I can’t believe everybody else isn’t as frightened and uneasy as I am before getting on an airplane. I understand humans have been traveling by air for many decades now, but I don’t think that makes it any more natural. That Israel terrorist machine would snap its doors shut around me and eradicate me with cyanide.

He was a terrorist, the screeners would say. He didn’t look Arab, but better safe than sorry. What else could we do? And it’s not like my country, the USA, would step in to save me, except say they stand with Israel, even if they did murder an American citizen. Hey! We’re pals. Forever and ever. No matter what.

That’s why I’ll never travel to Israel. Like waltzing into the open mouth of the Beast. Hot, smelly, slippery, and a direct path into the underbelly of Hell.

But let’s get back to airplanes, and how unnatural flying is. Anybody with a healthy amount of fear and self-preservation should nearly freak out in an airport.

Imagine your body being hurtled through space at five hundred miles per hour. While riding in a glorified tin can. Thirty thousand feet above the ground! How do people sit back and enjoy that? It’s about as miserable as being waterboarded. You’re not going to die, probably, but shit, you’re incorporating every possibly dangerous and fatal element into one situation. And you’re paying for it!

You people must have a suicidal streak in you strong enough to allow you to lie back in your chairs while the plane takes off. Never mind one minor screw up. One tiny pilot error. One mechanical malfunction. Anything extremely minor, but just serious enough to send the plane over the runway and roll it into the ground or the ocean. I imagine the beeps and the screams and the oxygen masks flopping around. I can see the torn limbs, the gashed bellies, the protruding intestines. The children’s toys scattered on the water. The hundreds of bags of peanuts raining onto the wreckage. Our luggage — all the important bullshit that is also scattered. Flaming chunks of rubber, plastic and metal.

The Israelis and soon-to-be American TSA “terrorist detection screeners” are going to slam me up against the wall. “What are you sweating like a pig for, boy?” Did you just call me pig boy? I’ll probably ask in my stupor. The thought of being detained by a fatso in an official-looking blue shirt with blue latex gloves would give me partial relief — I don’t have to get on that goddamned airplane.

But I’ve got to fly home to visit my mother, I’d say. She cracks all to pieces if I don’t. So there I am, a mild-mannered person by nature, but pinned to the wall by Jimbo’s hairy forearms. My mother’s voice in my head, “You’d better be getting home one of these weeks.” And the thought of catapulting my thin-framed body through the air at a suicidal speed.

I’m picturing the entire plane falling out of the sky, like the one from South America to France. I’m wondering if one of the mechanics working on the aircraft I’m going to be riding on didn’t get enough sleep. Maybe he was up all night having sex with his girlfriend. Or maybe he had a hard night drinking. Maybe he’s got diarrhea today. How do I know he’s doing his job in a superior fashion?


I’ll have to admit to these detection screeners (or maybe to the machine who replaces the screeners) how I’m the most nervous person in the airport. Anxiety-ridden. I’m that way by nature. My dentist broke the news to me — “You’re grinding your teeth at night. Big time,” he said. He told me he’d never seen such a bad case of teeth grinding on such a young person. “If I didn’t know you, but judged your age by looking at some of your teeth,” he told me, “I’d have to say you were anywhere between 55 and 70.”

Well, shit, I feel about 78. I’ve felt that way for a few years now. Never getting older or younger. Just constantly that elderly feeling. I’m old. Weary. Tired. Grumpy. Irascible, even.

Step up off me! I’d finally shout at the TSA agent pinning me to the wall. Get up off me you snake. Just because you’ve been brainwashed and think a goddamned machine can accurately detect “hostility” and “nervousness” in millions of unique individuals awaiting their turn to ride in a giant cigar with wings that slings itself over the vast lakes, prairies, and deserts of this nation.


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1 Comment

  1. Dan Rudy
    Dan Rudy November 06, 22:37

    The device has already been developed! Just train honeybees to react to the smell of human fear (a combination of sweat and grain dust):

    If only, eh? I’d much rather pass through a room of bees than undergo another impromptu fondling.

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