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  1. “Thor, You Are No Longer Thor. She Is Thor Now and You Shall Be Snortblat.”: Our Favorite Comments Of The Week

    Thou are hurting his feelings!

    This week, all of the Internet's favorite white dudes were replaced with a more diverse and representative cast of characters. Let's see if they notice! We know you all did, so let's take a look at some of the best stuff you said.

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  2. The TSA Doesn’t Think Washington D.C. Is a Real Place in the US is though, right?

    Okay, so you know how Washington D.C. is a real place that exists and humans live there and it's not made up? Well apparently knowing that is not a requirement to work for the Transportation Safety Administration(TSA). A TSA agent detained a journalist because he had a D.C. drivers license, which the agent didn't know was a place in the US.

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  3. TSA Seized a Batarang at a Buffalo Airport

    They're not the airport security we need, but they're the airport security we deserve.

    This nifty little "throwing star," as the TSA Instagram puts it (come on, TSA, I know you know that's a batarang), was confiscated at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport this week. This, of course, begs the question: what the heck was Bruce Wayne doing passing through airport security like the rest of us moneyless peons?

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  4. TSA to Allow Knives on Planes, But Leave Your Broadsword at Home

    For the first time since September 11, 2001, the Transportation Security Administration is relaxing its guidelines on what items are, and are not allowed on planes. Knives whose blades fall within a very limited range will be allowed to be carried onto planes, as well as some other previously banned items. Don't worry too much, though. Bottled water? Still banned!

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  5. U.S. Government Removes Airport “Pornoscanners,” Proves It Can, If It Wants, Deal With Privacy Better Than Facebook

    And Now For Something Completely Different

    Those controversial airport X-Ray machines known colloquially as "pornoscanners" are going the way of being able to take bottles of water through security.

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  6. Tweeting About Partying and Quoting Family Guy Gets U.K. Tourist Jailed, Deported

    Leigh Van Bryan, a bar manager from Coventry, England, was planning on having a very good time during his trip to these United States last week. In a series of tweets, he announced his intention to party his ever-loving brain out while in the U.S.. His words were, perhaps, a little a crude, but Van Bryan could not possibly have imagined the furor his flippant tweets would earn him. When his plane landed at the Los Angeles International Airport, Van Bryan and his companion Emily Bunting were arrested. For tweeting.

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  7. The TSA Makes Over $400,000 a Year From Change Left at Checkpoints

    Due to my unending paranoia about air travel, I empty my pockets into my carry on bag well in advance of the security checkpoint. However, it seems that most U.S. travelers are less concerned about their pocket change, as the Transportation Security Administration routinely rakes in hundreds of thousands of dollars in loose change every year. The number for 2010 is truly staggering: $409,085.56.

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  8. Airlines Plan for Fast, Touchless Security Checkpoint of the Future

    Singapore played host to a mockup of what airlines are calling the Checkpoint of the Future, which could soon be replacing security checkpoints around the world. The mockup was presented by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), whose members number around 230 and account for some 90% of international air travel. It's hoped that these fast and high tech scanners will get travelers to their planes faster without having to deal with personally invasive security procedures. In this future model, travelers are directed toward one of three 20-foot long corridors: A normal scan, an enhanced scan, or a "known traveler" lane. Which corridor passengers go toward is based on background checks carried out by the traveler's government. "Known travelers" would likely have to pay a fee and submit to more thorough background checks, but have a lower-security screening.  This information will be stored on chips embedded in travelers' passports, and their identity will be confirmed using retinal scanners. Once at the correct lane, travelers begin their security check. But in the IATA's vision, it's far different from what we know today.

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  9. TSA Considers Complaining About TSA a Sign of Potential Terrorism

    First: The TSA has a very, very difficult job, balancing public security with the need for convenience and relative speed in nationwide travel. (The degree to which they are doing that job well is of course a matter of furious public debate right now.) And no authority figure likes to see their authority mocked or questioned. Be that as it may: According to a CNN special report, one of the TSA's behavioral indicators for "high-risk" passengers is complaining about or questioning airport security procedures. Being marked as "high-risk" generally leads to additional screening and delays. First Amendment advocacy groups have a problem with all of this.

    "Expressing your contempt about airport procedures -- that's a First Amendment-protected right," said Michael German, a former FBI agent who now works as legal counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. "We all have the right to express our views, and particularly in a situation where the government is demanding the ability to search you." "It's circular reasoning where, you know, I'm going to ask someone to surrender their rights; if they refuse, that's evidence that I need to take their rights away from them. And it's simply inappropriate," he said.
    Moreover, there's evidence that actual terrorists would steer clear of complaining about the TSA: According to a captured al Qaeda training manual, recruits are instructed to "blend in" and go out of their ways not to make a scene. (CNN via Boing Boing)

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  10. Which Airports Use Full Body Scanners?

    You may have heard about those high-resolution full-body scanners being deployed by the TSA in airports across the country, which a lot of people do not like. The reasons for this dislike are many; they provide high-resolution images rendering the person scanned basically naked, and while it's been said that the images will never be saved, this has been proven untrue on similar machines; the alternative, per new regulations, is a procedure now widely known as "junk-grabbing"; there are concerns that the backscatter technology used in about half of the scanners could cause cancer, although the jury's out on that one. (The other half of the scanners use millimeter-wave technology, which uses harmless electromagnetic waves, but can be confused by folds in clothing.) Bruce Schneier has written a very comprehensive timeline of the TSA backlash. A relevant question as many people gear up to fly away for the holidays: Which airports are actually using the new scanners? According to the TSA, the following 68:

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  11. Taiwanese CGI Takes on TSA Outrage

    Haven't been closely following the outrage over the TSA's latest battery of unpopular rules, the critics of which say that they force air passengers to choose between humiliating examinations-by-groping and "porn-scans" in possibly carcinogenic X-ray emitting machines, possibly violating 4th Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures, all for the sake of empty security theater which does little to actually increase safety? You're in luck! The insane but pop culture-savvy Taiwanese animators at NMA have distilled it all down to one handy short animation, complete with dynamite-laced "Osama's Secret" lingerie and a "patdown in a private room" that begins with creepy porny saxophone music. (via Laughing Squid)

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  12. Ink and Toner Cartridge Ban Hits the TSA

    The TSA has actually banned ink and toner cartridges onboard flights following an ink- and toner-related bomb scare in late October. B3tan chthonic got ahold of this confidential Homeland Security notice on the subject: We will not cease banding together in defense of our security, but hopefully spooler print heads will prevail in the glossy full-face of this nozzle check on our freedom. (B3ta via Boing Boing)

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  13. Does a TSA Employee With a “Small Penis” Deserve to Have His Name All Over the Internet?


    Here's the fact pattern, if you haven't already heard it: One way the TSA trains screeners to use full-body scanners is by having the employees screen each other using the machines. One employee who was screened in the course of the training was thereafter teased "on a daily basis" by his co-workers for having a "small penis." He eventually flipped out and non-lethally beat up one of his daily teasers. Not going to name the employee in question here, but The Smoking Gun has the police report.

    The story touched a nerve because 1) people are uneasy about full body scanners and worried that they may endure similar teasing or even have pictures of them leak onto the Internet, and 2) it involves the phrase "small penis." Got it. It's a tech story, a security story, and an "oddly enough" story all at once. But does the employee in question really deserve to have his name and face plastered all over the Internet, including on at least one newspaper's website?

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