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# In the vast majority of cases, when people are stopped by airport secu

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Intern
Joined: 10 Oct 2009
Posts: 17
In the vast majority of cases, when people are stopped by airport secu  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 09 Dec 2019, 23:08
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Difficulty:

95% (hard)

Question Stats:

31% (02:18) correct 69% (02:32) wrong based on 176 sessions

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In the vast majority of cases, when people are stopped by airport security clearance, it is because they are carrying small bits of metal, such as coins, that cannot be used as weapons, but are large enough to be picked up by highly sensitive metal detectors. Since virtually everyone carries such pieces of metal, and the weapons that are smuggled onto planes are often not made of metal, highly sensitive metal detectors have outlived their usefulness. Lowering the sensitivity of these metal detectors so that they only detect large pieces of metal would reduce the frequency with which innocent passengers are stopped without hampering security’s ability to screen for weapons.

Which of the following, if true, is most useful to support the claim that this proposal would have its desired effect if it were carried out?

(A) Airport metal detectors, when set to lower levels of sensitivity, will not react to wristwatches, belt buckles, or the small rivets commonly used on travelers’ jeans.

(B) The maintenance and electricity costs associated with metal detectors are far lower when detectors are utilized at a high level of sensitivity than when they are used at a lower level of sensitivity.

(C) A metal detector with a low level of sensitivity can provide more information about what type of weapon a person is carrying, if they are carrying a weapon, than can a metal detector with a high level of sensitivity.

(D) In some cases, passengers who are stopped because they are only carrying coins are found to be smuggling non-metal weapons.

(E) Some weapons that are not made primarily out of metal include small bits of metal used as fasteners or serial number plates.

Originally posted by aniec on 19 Jan 2010, 01:08.
Last edited by Bunuel on 09 Dec 2019, 23:08, edited 1 time in total.
Edited option A.
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Re: In the vast majority of cases, when people are stopped by airport secu  [#permalink]

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23 Jan 2010, 10:48
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Hey All,

Just wanted to put my two cents in. I agree that the correct answer to this question ought to be C. Answer choice A confuses higher sensitivity and lower sensitivity. The question is whether or not LOWERING the sensitivity of the apparatus will have an effect, either through annoying passengers or failing to locate weapons. Answer choice A says that if the machine is set to HIGHER sensitivity, it won't pick up on rivets and such. Not only does this not make any sense (why would higher sensitivity NOT pick up those things?). It seems to me this question was perhaps copied incorrectly (here on the message board), and "higher" should be "lower". Answer choice C directly relates to the conclusion. OBVIOUSLY lowering the sensitivity will mean the machine picks up on fewer small objects, so we don't need our strengthen answer to address that. We just want to make sure it ALSO doesn't hamper the security abilities of the machine. Answer choice C tells us that this is the case.

Hope that helps!

Tommy Wallach
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Joined: 23 Oct 2009
Posts: 111
Location: New York, NY
Schools: BA Amherst College, MFA Brooklyn College
Re: In the vast majority of cases, when people are stopped by airport secu  [#permalink]

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08 Jun 2010, 06:03
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Thanks for the discussion everyone.

Your confusion is understandable since the question was actually copied incorrectly!

In our materials, answer choice A reads "(A) Airport metal detectors, when set to LOWER levels of sensitivity..."

And then the answer is clearly A (though C does remain a strong second-best option). Here's the whole explanation.

--
We are given a situation in which airport metal detectors are said to be too sensitive, forcing innocent passengers carrying coins to be stopped. The argument states that innocent passengers would be stopped less often (because the small bits of harmless metal they are carrying would not set off detectors) with no loss of security (because weapons are not always metal, and if they are, use a larger amount of metal than a coin) if the detectors were programmed to be less sensitive. The correct answer will be additional evidence that supports the first claim without undermining the second.

Choice A: This choice is correct. This choice bolsters the claim that passengers, presumably innocent, with small bits of metal that are not weapons (watches, belts or jean rivets) will not be stopped unnecessarily. Although this choice adds nothing to the claim that security will retain its ability to screen for weapons, it does not undermine it either.

Choice B: The cost of the proposed plan is not at issue. The desired effect of the plan is to retain security and reduce innocent passenger stops, and this choice does not effect either of those issues.

Choice C: This is a very tempting answer choice, because it is a positive aspect of low-sensitivity metal detectors, but this choice does not, in fact, directly address the claim that fewer innocent people will be stopped by the low-sensitivity detectors. This choice only applies to people already carrying weapons, who are not, by definition, innocent.

Choice D: This choice undermines the claim. If passengers who are stopped for having small amounts of metal are carrying weapons, then reducing security's ability to stop them would hamper the ability to screen for weapons.

Choice E: This choice also undermines the proposal. If only small pieces of metal are used in weapons, then a metal detector must be able to detect small pieces of metal to detect weapons.
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Joined: 21 Jan 2010
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Re: In the vast majority of cases, when people are stopped by airport secu  [#permalink]

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09 Jun 2010, 10:01
Aha! Thanks for that correction, sir. I see now how A would be far better, given the right wording.

-tommy
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Re: In the vast majority of cases, when people are stopped by airport secu  [#permalink]

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09 Dec 2019, 10:25
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

Thanks to another GMAT Club member, I have just discovered this valuable topic, yet it had no discussion for over a year. I am now bumping it up - doing my job. I think you may find it valuable (esp those replies with Kudos).

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Re: In the vast majority of cases, when people are stopped by airport secu   [#permalink] 09 Dec 2019, 10:25