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DIY Backscatter X-Ray Machine Keeps Your Garage Safe From Nail Files

There's good news for those of you who just can't get enough of airport security this holiday season -- now, you can build your own backscatter X-ray machine, just like the one that ensures you're not bringing anything unsafe like nail clippers or a lighter onto the airplane. It's a little more cumbersome than a pair of X-ray specs, but as the video demonstrates, it's a pretty effective tool for seeing through things. Considering it was built entirely with parts purchased off of eBay, it's a pretty serious feat of DIY engineering, and we doff our caps to inventor Ben Krasnow, who will no doubt be scanning friends and family as they come through the door for his holiday party. Anything to avoid the Christmas pat down, right?

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Philadelphia Airport Speedrun [Video]

YouTube film makers and geek evangelists Freddie Wong and Brandon Laatsch attempt the impossible: Get from their arriving flight to their connecting flight in 2.5 minutes. For anyone that has ever tried to make a tightly scheduled connecting flight or attempted to traverse the existential horror that is the modern American airport, this video should warm your heart. Pro-tip to hardcore travelers everywhere: Get Heelys. (via BuzzFeed)

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$5 Million Model Airport Completed in Germany

After six years of work and $5 million in costs, the world's largest model railway now has a fully-functional airport. Hamburg's Miniatur Wunderland, one of Germany's most popular attractions (which might say something about the German psyche), already boasted a model railway that housed over 200,000 tiny inhabitants and over 6 miles of track. Now, the miniature town of Knuffingen has an airport, complete with computer-controlled planes taking off and landing. At the Wunderland, visitors can watch the tiny goings on in various German and Scandanavian citites and towns, as well as some American locales as well. Each set is alive with the activity of trains, cars, and emergency vehicles that deal with periodic "disasters." There is even a model of Hamburg itself, and I sincerely hope a tiny model of the model inside the model leading to infinite regression and the end of Universe. More pictures can be found here, but read on after the break for a video of the Knuffingen model airport from a few months prior to its completion. Though not finished, the level of complexity in the video is still staggering.

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When Air Traffic Controller Reportedly Falls Asleep, Two Planes Have to Land Unaided

Last night, two planes landed safely at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) -- an occurrence which happens over a million times in any given year. However, these two planes landed without the aid of the airport's air-traffic controller, who was mysteriously absent for half any hour just after midnight. According to an aviation official quoted by the Associated Press, the controller had fallen asleep, and is currently being suspended from all operational duties while the incident is investigated. The Washington Post reports:

The tower normally is staffed by one air-traffic controller from midnight to 6 a.m. The on-duty controller did not respond to pilot requests for landing assistance or to phone calls from controllers elsewhere in the region, who also used a “shout line,” which pipes into a loudspeaker in the tower, internal records show. Both planes--an American Airlines Boeing 737 flying in from Miami with 97 people onboard, and a United Airlines Airbus 320 flying in from Chicago with 68 people onboard--landed safely, within minutes of each other.

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