Airport explosives scanners: not as cool as I had hoped

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On my trip through SFO on my way to Vancouver, I once again refused to take off my shoes and was rewarded with a trip through the GE Entryscan explosive scanner. Basically, you step into this pod and there are glass doors right in front of you. There's a bunch of red LEDs in the form of a hand telling you to stop. These big air puffs shoot out at you and then you wait for the machine to process your sample and display the green OK signal telling you that you're not in imminent danger of exploding. The processing time is about 15 seconds, which gives you plenty of time to wonder whether the residual cocaine on the money in your pocket (you did know this also scans for narcotics, right?) is about to set off the scanner and give you a free strip search. That's it, though. Clearly there's lots of science there but it's all on the inside. And I doubt the TSA types are going to let me take the back off the unit and look inside.

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According to the link provided, it has multiple modes: explosives, narcotics, or both. Though I don't doubt it, is there any evidence that it is actually configured to search for narcotics or both?

No, I don't have any evidence one way or the other.

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