Homemade nuke detector trumps DHS

Tech Culture

What's this? Overspending by the federal government? It's enough to shock Captain Renault right out of a Casablanca casino.


Wired News is reporting in an exclusive story that a group of volunteers is patrolling San Francisco Bay with a homemade nuclear radiation scanner cobbled together for about $12,000. That's a tad cheaper than Department of Homeland Security's estimated $1.15 billion for a program to install scanners in the nation's ports--by 2011, no less.

News.com reported on the inevitable cost DHS overruns years ago, a natural outgrowth of perennially bloated Pentagon programs. The Wired story shows that the government is apparently upholding this long-standing tradition in its post-9/11 security.

Blog community response:

"If this system can do what it claims, then it's something that DHS should consider for deployment on other vessels, essentially as a small 'side bet' as part of its broader portfolio of intended nuclear detection capabilities."
--Homeland Security Watch

"Has it ever occurred to you that the real terrorists are the ones constantly telling you to be afraid? The very definition of terrorism is 'scaring the population into submission by using fear to achieve a political agenda.' Gotta love newspeak."
--Gunde, on Digg

"Hmm, this would be a good open source hardware project to coordinate, and with enough people making these, the costs could go down..."
--Daily DIY

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