News Stories

Flying in the Future

It can only get better - Let's face it, flying is h?l right now. Your pilot may have to dodge a UFO or have to land on the water due to collisions with birds. Meanwhile, security guards confiscate your expensive hair products and won't give you anything to eat. But all this may change in the future!

Whitley's dynamic new novel Critical Mass talks about what would happen if a terrorist bomb was exploded in a major US city. This bomb is smuggled over the border in a unique way, but what Homeland Security fears most is bomb-making equipment being brought onto planes. While we all sympathize with this, most of us are getting tired of having our shampoo and hair gel thrown out at airports?isn't there any other way to detect possible explosives? It turns out there is.

Immediately after the liquid explosive bomb plot was uncovered in London in August 2006, the Department of Homeland Security tried to find ways to not only detect liquids in baggage and on passengers, but also to figure out what those liquids are.

Now scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed a possible solution that doesn?t involved carrying some amounts of these items in baggies. They have successfully tested a liquid explosive detection system that may eventually have many security applications around the country. Machines that can do this remain a few years away, but the technology is promising to quickly detect liquid explosives within a few years.

Similar in size and shape to an X-ray machine, the system is linked to an electronic database that currently contains chemical fingerprints for 50 liquids. If a threat liquid is identified, the machine marks the container on the display screen with a red dot. Harmless liquids like water or shampoo are marked with a green dot. If the machine cannot identify a liquid, it marks the container with a yellow dot, requiring further inspection.

We may not only be able to bring our shampoo along with us?we may also be served peanuts on the plane again! A new study finds that a botanical drug could provide the key to new treatments for peanut allergies. Researcher Xiu-Min Li says, ?Food allergy is a serious and sometimes fatal condition for which there is no cure.

Approximately 80% of fatal or near-fatal anaphylaxis cases are due to peanut allergy in this country. There is an urgent need for effective therapies to prevent and treat those who suffer from food allergies and FAHF-2 could prove to be a major advancement in this field.

FAHF-2 has received investigational new drug approval of the Food and Drug Administration and currently human clinical trials are being conducted to evaluate the safety and early efficacy of this drug on multiple food allergies, including peanuts and shellfish.

Whitley and Anne hope things change soon, because they are going to do a lot of traveling in the future! If travel isn't in YOUR future right now, do some armchair traveling with William Henry!

To learn more, click here and here.

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