I had a Snapple tea the other day and found this “Real Fact” #726 under the cap. It reminded me of the “Real TSCM Facts” dangerously floating on the internet like discarded, half-submerged, utility poles.
We use infrared cameras in our work, and know how they work. This “Real Fact” struck all of us here as odd. An IR camera would not detect a polar bear because its fur was transparent?!?!
Oxymoron? No, just sensationalism. The mixing of two unrelated facts to manufacture an unexpected outcome designed to surprise… aka Fake News.
The real “Real Fact” reason…
- Yes, a polar bear’s fur is mostly transparent, and hollow too!
- Yes, IR cameras would have a difficult time detecting a polar bear.
Polar bears live in a cold climate. Retaining body heat is important. Fur and a thick layer of fat provide insulation. Insulation prevents heat from escaping their bodies, and heat is what IR cameras detect.
Insulation is the “Real Fact”
It’s not that the fur is mostly transparent, or that polar bears alone have super-powers. IR invisibility is also true for the Arctic fox and other mammals living in cold environments.
The Technical Surveillance Countermeasures field (TSCM) is also riddled with “Real TSCM Facts”, like: inflated bug-find claims, fake expertise, phony certifications, do-it-all cheap sweep gadgets, and pervasive laser beam eavesdropping fearmongering.
It always pays to scratch the surface.
Examine the science.
Apply some common sense.
Click here for Real TSCM Facts. ~Kevin