Does PDX have full-body scanners like the ones the Dutch are required to use for passengers to the U.S.? More importantly, can they see us naked?
—Jaymee C., Portland
If you’d been through any of the full body scanners currently on the market, you’d know it. They closely resemble the machine that ruined Jeff Goldblum’s complexion in The Fly, and alien visitors could be forgiven for assuming that travelers who enter one are going to be teleported directly to their destination.
Currently there are only 40 of these machines being used in the United States, and PDX doesn’t have one yet. The feds haven’t released a deployment schedule to tell us when or if we’ll get one, either. But with 150 new machines already bought for deployment this year (thank you, economic stimulus), and 300 more planned for 2011, TSA rep Dwayne Baird says it’s reasonable to speculate that we’ll see them at PDX by the end of next year.
Now, on to the nakedness: I’ve looked at the output of these machines, and, in my opinion, fears that the “remote, secure locations” in which TSA employees view the scans will be transformed into tissue-strewn dens of wank are overblown.
Even the 14-year-old Dr. Know, a sad and desperate creature capable of getting turned on by the instructions on a box of tampons, would be hard-pressed to muster a boner over the tepid, chalky images produced by either of the two types of scanners currently in use.
Backscatter imagers send X-rays through your body, and create an image that looks like the ghost of a naked fat guy. Millimeter-wave imagers reflect radiation off your body, and can see your six-pack through your body fat. Since both deliberately blur your facial features, it doesn’t really matter either way, but still, I’m kinda pulling for the six-pack.