Star (stasterisk) arrested at Logan airport for bomb scare

A 19 year old female M.I.T. student was arrested at gunpoint after entering Boston's Logan International Airport with what authorities claim was "a fake bomb" strapped to her chest, according to wire reports. The device is said to have been some kind of computer circuit board with Play-Doh and wires attached, strapped over her black hoodie. Link to AP report on her arrest.

The young woman is identified as Star Simpson, shown in the image above left, and she is a sophomore from Hawaii. She has a user account on Instructables.

Boingboing story

Star's Instructables page

UPDATE: CNN video

UPDATE 2: Pic added

UPDATE 3: Canida's response added to BoingBoing, and a call for geek-protection sticker designs!

UPDATE 4: Simpson pleaded not guilty to a charge of possessing a hoax device at her arraignment in East Boston District Court Friday afternoon. She was released on $750 bail and ordered to stay away from Logan Airport.

Simpson could face up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

WBZTV story

UPDATE 5: We had a quick chat with Star! She's doing fine, and after dodging packs of media she's finally getting back to work on her problem sets. There's still school, you know. Of course, they've impounded her sweatshirt, so she's got to do something else for the career fair.

Picture of Star (stasterisk) arrested at Logan airport for bomb scare
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ewilhelm10 years ago
Star defense fund information here.
westfw10 years ago
So how is MIT reacting, anyway? Once upon a time schools were pretty defensive about their students being arrested at gunpoint without a really good cause...
NachoMahma westfw10 years ago
> without a really good cause . One of us has obviously misunderstood what happened.
westfw NachoMahma10 years ago
A protoboard with parts stuck in it is the ultimate in "naked elecronics"; you can see all the parts; how is that suspicious? A purse or a backpack ought to be more concern... (except for the play-dough.) (and the fact that the state of technical literacy is such that seeing the parts doesn't help anyone know what the device does or doesn't do. Sigh.)
Star would clearly be in the wrong carrying a device obviously designed to look like a bomb, and I wouldn't expect MIT to defend her if she showed up wearing a set of road flares wired to a push-switch in her hand. In this case, the "device" is apparently something that has been worn around the MIT campus without incident (and therefore with tacit permission.) I'd expect the airport personnel to feel justified in their reaction, and for MIT to complain about over-reaction, eventually resulting in dropped charges, apologies from both sides, and some warnings to MIT students and maybe some additional training for airport employees.
But presumably everyone is being quiet on the advice of lawyers. Bah!

(BTW, SOMEBODY clearly was thinking straight. Normally suspicious looking maybe-bombs get carted away and "detonated" just to be safe. In this case, Star's sweatshirt survived to be shown on TV. I picture a member of the bomb squad with some electronics background trying really hard not to burst out laughing...)

(I have enough of these for the whole family. I guess we shouldn't wear them to the airport?)
19led_200dpi.jpg
NachoMahma westfw10 years ago
> how is that suspicious? . You answer you own question in your parenthetical remarks. ;) I think it would be equally valid if you replaced "technical literacy" with "electronic components." . > eventually resulting in dropped charges, apologies ... warnings to MIT students ... additional training for airport employees. . That makes sense to me. I still have my doubts that she didn't know what would happen, but am willing to accept that until I see contradictory evidence.
i need your help can i ask some help its all about transfer switch, please help ny problem
can i ask some question?
Goodhart westfw10 years ago
My wife has a blinking nosed Rudolf (reindeer)....guess that is out too
and its obviously not westfw
. That was pretty much an open invitation to explain it to me. . How is taking a device, such as she had, into an international airport NOT cause for arrest at gunpoint? That kind of stunt wouldn't have gone over well in the '80s, much less post-9/11. . I'll take the word of those that seem to know her - that she had no clue what she was doing would cause panic. I have a hard time believing a sophomore in college is that clueless, but maybe it's similar to Absent-Minded Professor Syndrome. No matter how I look at it, it was still a bone-headed thing to do.
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