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July 16, 2011 | By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau
A U.S. appeals court rejected a constitutional challenge to the government's use of body-imaging scanners at the nation's airports, ruling that the need to detect hidden explosives outweighs the privacy rights of travelers. The 3-0 decision announced Friday noted that passengers may avoid the scans by opting to undergo a pat-down by a screening agent. But since the body scanners became standard last year, more than 98% of air travelers have chosen to step into a machine, raise their arms and pose for "advanced imaging," the Transportation Security Administration said.
May 1, 2011 | By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times
The gig: Deepak Chopra, 60, is founder and chief executive of OSI Systems Inc., which manufactures airport security equipment, including those controversial full-body X-ray scanners that allow Transportation Security Administration workers to see underneath travelers' clothing. The Hawthorne company is publicly traded and employs 3,700 workers around the world, about 900 of them in California. OSI last year reported net income of $23.6 million on sales of $595 million. Its stock hit an all-time high early this year.
March 30, 2011 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
The radiation doses emitted by the most common walk-through airport scanners are extremely small and pose no significant health risk, according to a new report by a UC San Francisco radiology specialist. Still, Dr. Rebecca Smith-Bindman, a professor at the university's radiology and biomedical imaging department, recommends more independent testing to ensure the scanners are operating as designed. The report published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine comes in response to opposition from privacy rights groups such as the Electronic Privacy Information Center to the use of full-body scanners.
March 29, 2011 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
The Transportation Security Administration began installing full-body scanners in American airports shortly after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab hid explosives in his underwear in a thwarted attempt to blow up a Northwest Airlines jet on its way from Amsterdam to Detroit.   Ever since, passengers have worried about the effects of one type of these scanners -- backscatter X-ray scanners -- may pose to their privacy and health.   As for privacy concerns, sure: a TSA screener somewhere may be able to see a fuzzed-out image of your body the next time you walk through security on your way to a flight.
March 18, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times
Any devoted reader of the Rodent of the Week knows by now how much science depends on our furry friends. Without them, we would know next to nothing. That's why this week's news of a better way to study rats' brains deserves notice. Researchers reported they have developed a wearable, portable PET scanner that will measure the rodent brain function while the animals are awake and moving. The device was developed by scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, Stony Brook University.
February 14, 2011 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
Business travel is roaring back after a two-year slump, and the airlines are welcoming it with a selection of new amenities, including bigger, more comfortable seats. But the luxuries typically come at a price. For example, Delta Air Lines announced plans to add a premium economy section ? "economy comfort" ? on all long-haul international flights by this summer. The airline will charge an extra $80 to $160 each way, depending on the route. The new seats will feature up to 4 more inches of legroom and 50% more recline than Delta's standard international economy-class seats.
February 7, 2011 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
The recently sparked feud between American Airlines and the travel websites Orbitz and Expedia has business travel managers worried that the dispute may end up making plane tickets cost more money. It all started last year when American Airlines yanked its ticket sales from Orbitz to save on the commissions and fees it pays to sell tickets through travel websites. Expedia jumped into the fray by withholding American Airlines ticket information from its site. At the heart of the quarrel is a complicated revenue-sharing arrangement between the airline, the travel website and the global distribution systems that dole out ticket information.
February 2, 2011 | By Brian Bennett, Washington Bureau
As the uproar over the government's use of pat-downs and full-body scanners at airports ebbs, new technology is being tested that is designed to allay privacy concerns over the grainy nude images produced by the machines. Scanners being tested in three U.S. airports starting this week will display for screeners a generic stick figure, and any suspicious object on a passenger's body will be flagged for inspection by a pale red box on the drawing. A passenger cleared to go will see the screen flash green and read "OK. " The software debuts as complaints by air travelers over the new security measures have remained relatively low. Of the 100 million fliers that have passed through airport checkpoints since Nov. 1, the Transportation Security Administration has received fewer than 5,500 complaints about the procedures.
January 30, 2011 | By Catharine Hamm, Los Angeles Times
Question: I have metal in my hip from hip-replacement surgery and six screws in my back from spine surgery. Before a recent flight, I had hoped to go through the new full-body scanner, but it was broken so I had to go through the metal detector (which I set off) and then have a pat-down. I was molested as a child, so being touched was upsetting. Why couldn't one of the agents take me to another checkpoint where the full-body scanner was working and escort me back? How could a new machine be broken?
November 24, 2010 | By David Sarno, Los Angeles Times
Recalling a medieval scribe laboring to preserve humankind's rarest writings, Edith Young gently places each fraying page of a 400-year-old Chinese manuscript on a special cradle before she lowers a glass plate to flatten it for a digital snapshot. Young, a technician in Harvard University's digital imaging laboratory, will repeat the step close to 100 times to create a digital record of "Story of Red Plum Blossom," a Chinese drama written in the early 1600s that for the most part had been rarely seen except by a handful of museum curators and researchers.
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