According to AAA, the number of Americans traveling for Thanksgiving holiday this year will increase to about 42.2 million travelers, or up 11.4 % from 2009.

Even if you are not one of the many people traveling over the holidays, you probably heard about the new security procedures the TSA has implemented in many major airports involving the full body scanners. There have been a ton of reports in the news about how Americans feel this technology is impeding on their personal privacy. Many have refused to go through the scanners and are then subject to a “vigorous pat-down.” So basically it seems as though Americans are more concerned with their insecurities about security officials seeing an outline of their “muffin tops” than they are about the Jihad currently being unleashed onto the world.

Despite all of the backlash from the public, the TSA and Department of Homeland Security maintains that this level of security is required to preserve a safe level of air travel. Regardless of how you feel about these procedures, Homeland Security officials are at least trying to utilize technology to make traveling in these tough times a little easier. Last month they began testing the latest generation of bottled liquid scanners. They tested all different kinds of liquids - from soda and alcohol to shampoo and lotions. Other versions of liquid scanners have been tested for over a year at airports throughout the world but the technology wasn’t quite there in order for them to be used widespread. This new version uses magnetic resonance to read the liquids' molecular makeup, regardless of what container the liquid is in. In less than 15 seconds, a light at the top of the metal box, which is about the size of a small refrigerator, will flash either red or green indicating it is safe. It is so sensitive it is able to distinguish between different types of sodas and even between red and white wine. If these scanners are successfully implemented it would eliminate the need for travelers to put all of their liquids less than 3.4 ounces into small clear plastic bags and pack any other liquids into their luggage.

Homeland Security has already spent more than $14 million developing the liquid scanners, and the Obama administration has committed tens of millions of dollars to deploy more state-of-the-art equipment to U.S. airports. They hope to have these liquid scanners operational in many major airports within the next two years.

So while the security lines may still be long and you may still have to deal with full body scanners and aggressive pat downs, at least you’ll soon be able to bring those bottles of Pantene Pro-V and Diet Cherry 7-UP on the plane with you.
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Nick Haneiko

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