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Friday, September 2 12:00 AM ET

BBspot Mailbag

Now you too can enjoy my Inbox without the annoying spam. Every week I get some amazing e-mail. Some amazing because of the sheer cluelessness of the sender, some because of the time and energy that went into crafting them and some are just simply amazing.


If you follow me on Twitter or read the BBlog you already know about my run-in with the Department of Homland Security, but before I get to that, here are some other BBelievers...

First, it seems a radio station in Houston reported the Twitter Premium accounts story as real...

How embarrassing. @KTRKHoustonjust reported about the "Twitter Premium" accounts that were on BBspot in March. It was a joke! (Thanks to Laurie for the Tweet)

Next, comes a BBeliever of the story about Twilight author, Stephenie Meyer creating the new Monster Manual for D & D...

I think this is amazing, it will bring together so many different people! “D & D fans meet Twilight fans” I think it could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship, hehe! But really I think Stephenie will do great at this, I can’t wait to see what she has wrote.

The recent story about the RIAA using spammers to entrap file sharers fooled the awesome musical comedy Paul and Storm for a moment. They retweeted a link to my story thinking it was real. That tweet disappeared into the ether, but this one still remains as proof...

[S] Oops; RIAA entrapment link was satire. Music Publisher link is entirely valid. Both still stink of sulphur. Y

To their credit I did have a private exchange with them, and all was forgiven. Now, they're following me on Twitter, which makes me feel all warm and tingly inside.

And now for something completely different. If you've read the BBlog entry then you can stop now, or continue reading if you don't mind a retelling of the events...

I had a bit of a scare this morning regarding today's story. No, I didn't try to board a plane with an iPhone, but I did get an email from the Department of Homeland Security regarding today's story about the "TSA banning exploding iPhones from planes."

From: XXXXXX <>
Date: Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 10:18 AM
Subject: Please call me re your bogus story

TSA Bans Exploding iPhones on Airplanes
By Brian Briggs <> follow me on Twitter
<> .

Washington D. C. - Due to a rash of exploding iPhones, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has banned airline passenger from bring the phones on board the airplane. Passengers will still be able to place iPhones in checked luggage. Acting Administrator of the TSA Gale Rossides said, "The explosive nature of the iPhone has forced us to classify it as an explosive," said Rossides. "Also we have received intelligence reports of terrorists using the phone in IEDs in Iraq, so it won't be long before they try to use them to blow up a plane."

Media Relations/Public Affairs - XXXXXXXXXX
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Transportation Security Administration - TSA -
Cell: xxx-xxx-xxxx
Fax: xxx-xxx-xxxxx

The subject is a tad bit inflammatory if you ask me. "Bogus" implies I'm intentionally trying to fool people with this. I could also be that "bogus" stories are not free speech, but a work of satire or parody would be. I assumed they wanted me to take the story down, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't freaking out.

For those of you thinking I'm making all of this up, or that someone is having a joke on me I have posted the email headers here.

I was cool headed enough to know that there was no way I was going to call them. I want a paper trail of any exchange that goes on.

I emailed back...

Hello Xxxx, what is it you would like to discuss?

"What seems to be the problem officer?" was my thought here. I also envisioned myself having a bit of trouble passing through security the next time I flew. Also, discovered how they may have found the story. It was the number 1 item when you searched Google News for "tsa." I'm sure they have a news alert set up for the term.

She was quick to reply with:

Well you and I know its not true and  I understand satire but want to be sure that passengers are not confused. We will make that clear on our site. Thanks for replying,

I've removed her name, because I don't want to end up in Guantanamo or anything. This was a bit of relief, and it's nice to know that a government official can recognize free speech when they see it. Who wants to take bets whether I'm on the no-fly list now?

Update: The DHS Blog team just commented on the story.

Just making sure readers understand this is not true. TSA is not banning iPhones, we haven't had a rash of exploding iPhones, and our website does not have iPhones on the Prohibited Items list. items.shtm

TSA Blog Team

That's all for today. Stay geeky!

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