Well, there’s your problem right there, Mister!

February 18, 2010

We have a video report about the Thai government deciding not to buy any more of these expensive bomb detectors because they say the the things only work 20 per cent of the time.

detector 1 280“Great news, men! We’re passing out your new bomb detectors, and I’m happy to announce that 20 of you 100 guys will get to go home to your families tonight!”

See, when you put it like that, you can understand why the Thai folks might be cheesed-off.

Our video shows the soldiers walking around using a gizmo that looks like it’s straight out of “Ghostbusters,” so I got curious about the GT200. I went to the company’s Website to learn more, and here is their explanation:

The simple way to explain this technology is to take an inflated balloon and rub it on your hair. A static charge is being created making that balloon “attract” it to say, a wall. Provided that there is enough charge on that balloon, it will remain “attracted” to the wall for an indefinite amount of time. However, once the “charge” has dissipated, the balloon will then “unattached” between itself and fall to the ground.

detector combo 200I swear I did not make that up. I think it means the GT200 will only find a bomb if it’s been rubbed on some guy’s hair.

But here’s my very favorite tidbit from the company’s Q & A:

10. What happen if you are very close to the target substance?
It is very possible to totally miss the target substance if you are too close. Remember that the GT200 is a long-range detector…

I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly breathing a sigh of relief, knowing my detector isn’t going to tell me about a bomb if it’s too close to me… Why spoil the surprise?

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Photo 3, “Ghostbusters” publicity photo

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I wonder if the Thai military recruits elite soldiers with really great hair specifically for bomb-detecting work. That’s got to be a pretty great job – getting paid to have an awesome head of hair!

Posted by sarabelle | Report as abusive

Who you gonna call… Ghostbusters!!

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

We came, We saw, We kicked some… ::BOOM::!

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

Spinster…that is hilarious! I’m gonna use that line too. Brilliant! My job revolves around deadlines and it never fails but to be last minute!

Imagine…actually having time for a cup of coffee and a read of the blogs that get past the firewall. Bliss!!

Oh. Wait. That’s what I’m doing now.



Posted by egeria | Report as abusive

I don’t know about that Sarabelle. Any job description that includes an 80% chance of getting blown up doesn’t qualify as a great job in my book.
Of course that could be just my jealousy speaking as I don’t have an awesome head of hair.

Posted by IamNotSomebody | Report as abusive

Just put bifocals on the GT200. Works for me.

Posted by T54 | Report as abusive

Every con since before the days of the “snake oil” salesman has required that you “believe” for their product to work properly. Recent tests showed this product worked less often, that’s LESS often, than random guessing. Hey, if it worked to bring back Tinker Bell (registered trademark)… You know there are massive kickbacks involved here. I happen to have a “kickback detector”, requires no batteries, might not work if someone gives the user money, but I can let you have 40,000 of them for just a couple of million.

Posted by strangename | Report as abusive

I used to sell those but, the liability insuance premiums were killing me.

Posted by justCAM | Report as abusive

Wow. So a device that, by design, should get 50% positive results, the Thais were only able to get 20% positive results… I don’t think they tried hard enough. Lonnie, get your ass back out there and find the other 30 bombs!


Michael Shermer did a presentation on this wonderful piece of gear in a TED talk. The Iraqis paid $40 k each for hundreds.

Posted by Dave_not_dave | Report as abusive

Following along with the Head of hair example..
What if the poor gizmo operator is bald? Is it less effective if you have a receding hairline?
Will it detect different explosives if you dye your hair a different color??

Posted by skyrider117 | Report as abusive

No thanks. I’ll just stick with my metal detector and hamster friend, RePete (don’t ask what happened to Pete).

Posted by justK | Report as abusive

Answers for skyrider117:
A special “intensifier” toupee is available as a luxury option.
It is decidedly less effective if, after the explosion, your hairline is receding in a different direction than the rest of your body.
After you’ve dyed (sic), it detects all explosives equally well.

For Dave_not_dave: the product is not designed to give 50% positive results; it is designed to get 100% of your explosive detection budget

Posted by strangename | Report as abusive

I’m pretty sure that they would treat the elite hair-having force with some intentions of preservation. Not everyone can have an awesome head of hair, and those lucky enough to make the ranks of the Thai Hair Squad are probably something like a secret anti-weapon.

Posted by sarabelle | Report as abusive

RePete, K? That reminds me of my high school girlfriends: Booboo and Booboo2. I guess there were also Booboo3 through Booboo27. And Booboo5(b). And Booboo7(b)(i). And….

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

32 grand for something that looks like a meat thermometer?
Boy, someone really saw those guys coming. They’re only $39.99 + delivery on the Home Shopping Network.
Oh wait! That is for ACTUAL meat thermometers.
Never mind, apparently they’ll be at least as effective at finding bombs.

Posted by zeitgeist | Report as abusive

Charlie..you’ve been a naughty boy last year, now take this detector and find the bombs!

hehe 😀

Posted by fwd079 | Report as abusive

Is this the blog where everyone goes “boom boom”?

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

This is a first for me. I’ve never heard the Pete/Repeat joke before.

I do know the song that never ends though.


Posted by egeria | Report as abusive

This is the song that never ends,
Yes it goes on and on my friends,
Some people started singing it not knowing what it was,
and they’ll continue singing it forever just because..
This is the song that never ends,
Yes it goes on and one my friends…..

I guarentee you will have that stuck in your head by lunch. Or dinner for those in the GMT area.

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

You got a number, Mr.Pilot! 😉

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

Aha…but I’m immune Pilot since I was already thinking of that song before you posted it.


Ah shoot :(


Posted by egeria | Report as abusive

I can not claim creation to it. A friend of mine sang it to me about 15 or so years ago and I have been singing it in my head ever since.

There is no immunity E, sorry.

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

What’s that ifly? I can’t hear you. My fingers are stuck in my ears and I’m typing with my elbows and singing to myself…

lalalalalaladoodooodooodoobebopaloopa a whamp bam boom.


Posted by egeria | Report as abusive

About these things that never end, what about the movie sequel “The Neverending Story (Part 2)?” If the first one was neverending….

Posted by Billl | Report as abusive

I’m glad I’ve never had issues getting songs stuck in my head due to my twin powers of madness and amnesia.

Posted by IamNotSomebody | Report as abusive

You sure it’s not the teflon coating?

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

The teflon coating in Iam’s head, that prevents songs from sticking.

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

Fortunately the conversation kept on going, so now I can get back to quietly listening to the other song in my head, which I have Shra (once again) to thank for “I like to move it, move it… she like to move it, move it..”

Posted by justM | Report as abusive

I can drill a hole in it and put in some songs from You-Know-Who… :)

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

I’ll drill in good songs, Unca.. I pwomise!!! (making her brown chocolate eyes, huge and cute in a puppy way!)

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

You-Know-Who…clever name for a band.



Posted by egeria | Report as abusive

he he he he….. it would be good to think of a conversation.. “Hey, you coming to the gig tonight… who’s playing again… You know who…. No, I dont… Well, You know who!…. I said I dont, stop being a critter and tell me who’s playing else I am gonna shoot with my cross bow, that too blind folded!!!!”

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

So the concert is You Know Who, Well You Know Who, Shoot With My Crossbow, and Too Blind Folded. Sounds like some interesting bands.

Posted by IamNotSomebody | Report as abusive