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  • Very Little Boy

    Posted by Shannon Love on January 17th, 2005 (All posts by )

    No offense to Instapundit, but this post is just silly. He points to this article about some museum guys driving around with a plywood and metal replica of “Little Boy”, the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima, as evidence that Homeland Security isn’t up to snuff.

    But there is nothing about the replica that anyone should expect would activate any anti-nuke security sensors. The replica is shaped like the original Little Boy but that is as far as it goes. It contains no radioactive substances or any high-density substances that would set off detectors.

    Nor would its mere appearance trigger human suspicions. Why would a member of homeland security or law enforcement freak out about a bunch of elderly white guys driving around with what is obviously an antique bomb casing? There’s thousands of these things laying around scrap yards. People collect them and transport them around all the time. You can buy them off the Internet.

    Building any kind of detection system means trading off sensitivity for false positives. A security system that gives too many false positives (think car alarms) renders itself useless in short order. In this case, it looks like our system worked fine. It ignored a harmless replica instead of raising a false positive.

    Of course, if Homeland Security had swooped down on the harmless replica, that would have been taken as evidence they were incompetent boobs as well.