Building A Better Bomb Detector

Artificial Nose? Istockphoto.com & Iñaki Antoñana Plaza/Getty Images

It’s Christmas season at the Quintard Mall, in Oxford, Alabama, and were it not a weekday morning, the tiled halls would be thronged with shoppers, and I’d probably feel much weirder walking past Victoria’s Secret with TNT in my pants. The explosive is harmless in its current form—powdered and sealed inside a pair of four-ounce nylon pouches tucked into the back pockets of my jeans—but it’s volatile enough to do its job, which is to attract the interest of a homeland defender in training by the name of Suge.

Suge is an adolescent black Labrador retriever in an orange DO NOT PET vest. He is currently a pupil at Auburn University’s Canine Detection Research Institute and comes to the mall once a week to practice for his future job: protecting America from terrorists by sniffing the air with extreme prejudice.

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