Friday, June 29, 2007

Almost Normal

Wired reports that the top stories dominated by two major events -- but depending on which side of the Atlantic you found yourself, the story was either about the IPhone or the bomb that didn't go off. Pajamas has a roundup on the Iphone mania. Wired has a lot of coverage on the bomb, just start with this link and keep scrolling down. But returning to the London bomb story, there were apparently two devices.

The second car — a blue 280E Mercedes — was announced only in mid-evening when police said they had found the vehicle in a car pound on up-market Park Lane after it had been towed away from the area near Piccadilly and Trafalgar Square because of a parking violation hours earlier. The car had been ticketed and towed away at around 3:30 a.m. — roughly two and a half hours after the discovery of the first vehicle, the police said...

“The vehicle was found to contain very similar materials to those that have been found in the first vehicle in Haymarket earlier today,” Mr. Clarke said. “There was a considerable amount of fuel and gas canisters, as in the first vehicle. There was also a substantial quantity of nails. This like the first device, was potentially viable and was made safe by explosives officers. The vehicles are clearly linked.”

We live in a peculiar age where fantasy and reality appear to merge almost seamlessly, in part because so many marvelous things are becoming available that they sometimes boggle the imagination. The London bomb story, for example, is full of references to fuel air explosives, fireball calculations, and video surveillance environment. It is completely a 21st century story. The dream of the Jihad coexisting with the technology of Big Brother, as if Time Travelers from the 8th century had managed to find their way into a dystopian or utopian future. You have to be a little sharp to navigate through this treacherous mental world. Names don't help either. Here's another I-thingy, but it isn't manufactured by Apple. The IRobot's mission is to disarm bombs and stun anyone who might be endangered.

iRobot Corp. (NASDAQ: IRBT) today announced a strategic alliance with TASER International, Inc. to develop new robots that can remotely engage, incapacitate and control dangerous suspects with integrated TASER electronic control devices. Built on iRobot's combat-proven PackBot® robot platforms, the new TASER-equipped robots will add a new ability to control dangerous suspects while keeping personnel, the suspect and bystanders out of harm's way.

iRobot and TASER together have developed a working proof-of-concept model – iRobot® PackBot Explorer™ with TASER X26 device – to showcase the first robot of its kind with an on-board, integrated TASER payload.

I guess that's hallmark of our times, with primitivism and high technology, low comedy and unbearable tragedy, absurdity and high purpose, existing side by side.


Blogger Dymphna said...

The future of the drug-addled sci fi writers has arrived.

Now let's see how long it takes for this new toy to fall into the "wrong" hands.

At least it's not nuclear.

6/29/2007 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger regretleft said...

I'm not sure, fantasy and reality have long had a peculiar relationship - the Big Lie is perhaps a 20th Century innovation ... and the Pulitzer puppies over at the AP sure jumped on that 20 beheaded bodies story that their embedded stringers fed them - apparently, quite simply, "false" -- can't find any follow up from the AP (Reuters has a "American military says" story up on it) ... and it even seems the blogoshpere has shrugged it's collective shoulders on this one ... a few nifty new gadgets in your mitts - who cares about fantasy and reality?

6/30/2007 08:45:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I note that the terrorists are still going for the easy targets - the soft underbelly that hasn't been protected against them yet. Story this morning is ramming a jeep into Glasgow airport, and trying to explode it.

This would never, ever, happen at LAX or any of the big airports in the United States because precautions have been taken to prevent access by vehicle. Even smaller airports dotting around the country have traffic routing devices and barrier-ish landscaping.

My question for the Really Smart People here is why the London bomb didn't explode after the terrorists had dialed the cell phone number twice. Is it because they didn't have all their wires hooked up properly, or might there be some sort of electronic dampening device in use in large cities now? I know this is pie-in-the-sky sci-fi musing, but I seem to recall reading a couple of times about such a device being rolled out in Iraq for use against IEDs.

6/30/2007 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Never mind previous post. Another thought occurs:

Two failed bombs in two different Yurp cities -- both of which didn't go off when the button was pushed.

It's almost as if a super-sleuth spy put out instructions on how to build a car bomb on the internet or at Jihadi U, and those instructions all had that one little missing final link between the button and the boom.

So everyone who graduated from Jihadi U now can either go with the instructions they were given on how to build a car bomb, and risk it not going off and the police immediately pouncing on them (like at Glasgow), or they can throw out their instructions as being compromised and flood back to Jihadi U for new instructions.

Which, because the administration at Jihadi U was kind enough to announce their graduation ceremonies on the internet, and the intentions of their newly-minted mujahadeen, means that anyone headed in that direction will either be arrested or shot on the spot.

I like it.

6/30/2007 11:14:00 AM  

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