I hopped a flight on British Airways to Paris today via London Heathrow's Terminal 4. I was randomly (I like to think it's because I'm so handsome) chosen for a Rapiscan. If you haven't heard of this thing, it's basically a full body x-ray that can virtually see right through your clothes to search for weapons. (The photo is not me. My gut is bigger and my... nevermind)
The application of this new x-ray technology to airport screening uses high energy x-rays that are more likely to scatter than penetrate materials as compared to lower-energy x-rays used in medical applications. Although this type of x-ray is said to be harmless it can move through other materials, such as clothing.
A passenger is scanned by rastering or moving a single high energy x-ray beam rapidly over their form. The signal strength of detected backscattered x-rays from a known position then allows a highly realistic image to be reconstructed. Since only Compton scattered x-rays are used, the registered image is mainly that of the surface of the object/person being imaged.
They make you stand and turn your body in different directions while they take three body scans. There's one guy instructing you (who assured me it was safe) and one guy in a booth checking for weapons and penis size. If you pass, you're either escorted to the front of the baggage x-ray line and/or offered a contract in porn films. I wish I had asked to peek at what the guy behind the curtain was getting a peek at.
As my flight was landing, I forgot I was landing in Paris and for a few seconds had that sensation of relief that you get when you're landing back home. That was a bummer. But as soon as the flight attendant welcomed us to Paris, I had that oo la la feeling again. There's something very romantic about coming to this city. A bit later I was on the train to Valentina's and I started to see all of the cute French girls again. Not bad. Except it was starting to rain. Great.
And then I saw it. The Eiffel Tower from Val's street. I couldn't help but smile.