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17 comments

Digg Story Has Video Of The Installation (1)

Real World Stuff (561780) | more than 7 years ago | (#17847182)

Mad cool.

Re:Digg Story Has Video Of The Installation (1)

TechnoLust (528463) | more than 7 years ago | (#17848188)

You want to post a link? I looked around Digg, but I didn't see it.

Re:Digg Story Has Video Of The Installation (1)

Real World Stuff (561780) | more than 7 years ago | (#17848764)

My latest JE

I know! I know! (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 7 years ago | (#17847848)

Go Sox!

Frankly I think the whole city is still sleep walking after Peyton F. Manning brought the Colts back from a 21-3 deficit;-)

Re:I know! I know! (1)

TechnoLust (528463) | more than 7 years ago | (#17848050)

Well, he came from Tennessee, so you know he's good at whatever he does. That's how us Tennessee boys are. ;-)

Oy... (1)

Pancho Pistolas (846302) | more than 7 years ago | (#17848546)

Okay, real-life Bostonian here. (Ugh. How did THAT happen?)

On the one hand, yeah, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the different between a jury-rigged lite-brite and a pipe bomb. I winced every time I heard the police commissioner say that this device was "bomb-like" in appearance. And yes, there was waaaaaay too much ado, and I suspect even a bit of spite, not unlike the way if you make a joke about a bomb or even about terrorism while in a security screening line, you are going to have one LONG delay as you're pulled aside and slowly subjected to a highly-invasive procedure (or three). And rightly so-- some things you don't just joke about. And yes, people have made a fuss over how long this "ad campaign" has been running in other cities, and perhaps the police or other authorities might've noticed sooner (honestly, I don't know how long they were up here). [Curiously, there was already one other city that had a (more minor) panic as a result these devices, which could really Turner Communications claims of ignorance.]

Overall, I think it was a _stoopid_ stunt. We have literature posted everywhere about keeping a lookout for suspicious packages, reporting stuff, being vigilant, etc. I personally think it's gotten to overkill levels (given fuss versus actual preparation), and is prone to produce this kind of panic, but I think it's also better to be a little extra vigilant than too lax.

I still remember my friends from college (from India) describing how terrorists would leave radios on buses with bombs hidden in them, and when some poor fella would pick them up thinking they found a free radio...boom. Bombs aren't always _supposed_ to look like bombs, and if you see something suspicious rigged under a bridge or some other out-of-the-way place and it's NOT supposed to be there, and then suddenly you find out that they're all over the place, yeah, there's reason to be really concerned. And even when you find out that some of them are a marketing ploy, you still have to check all of them out.

That costs the city of Boston serious money. And it cost a lot of people serious delays and trouble. And yes, quite a few businesses lost money on account of the delays. Hell, if someone was on an ambulance that got delayed, they well might've died. And for what, yet another form of advertisement?

Even if I don't have the greatest of confidence in my local elected officials (especially after the Big Dig debacles), I am indebted to those professionals who didn't take any chance in evaluating this carefully, and all the folks who put their lives on the line every day whenever something like this is called in. Remember the Unibomber? Oklahoma?

How would _you_ react if there was something you noticed taped to the underside of your car that you didn't put there? Would you go sticking your head under there and take it apart?

Some things you don't take any chances on. And all things equal, I'd rather see Mayor Menino's goofy mug one time too many on a hoax than a buncha folks pointing fingers after the fact on a real crisis. ['cause we've already had plenty of that in this fair city.]

TORN! (1)

Pancho Pistolas (846302) | more than 7 years ago | (#17849702)

Okay, so I'm all over supportin' the safety of my city, and then I read this quote from our AG (when describing these devices):

"It had a very sinister appearance," Coakley told reporters. "It had a battery behind it, and wires."

So does my Gamebody. It was a sheet of dark plastic with some LEDs, fercrissakes.

A judge all but tossed out the case, saying the hoax law requires proving "intent to commit a hoax", (which is a pretty hard standard-- who wrote this law?!).

Then I heard the guys accused of perpetrating this stunt at a news conference refusing to answer any questions "except those pertaining to [their] hair". Did you hear that one of these geniuses is here on a green card, applying for asylum?

So the question is, which side is looking more stoopid right now?

TORN!

Re:Oy... (1)

RevMike (632002) | more than 7 years ago | (#17849888)

I have to agree 1000%. The most important way to achieve good security is for everyone to be vigilant about anything that seems out of place, odd, etc. The public and the responders did exactly the right thing. The public alerted the authorities and the authorities took their jobs seriously.

Re:Oy... (1)

TechnoLust (528463) | more than 7 years ago | (#17850378)

There's vigilant, and then there's fucking stupid. We're about 1 step away from this:

Lackey: Sir, I have concerns about your latest order...
Head of Security: Concerns?
Lackey: Yes sir. You ordered the bomb squad to detonate a device mounted to one of our bridges.
Head of Security: Yes! It's electronic and has blinking lights on it! It's a bomb.
Lackey: Sir, that's our Terror Warning Sign. Those blinking lights are used to write messages warning citizens when the terror threat is high.
Head of Security: Sure, that's what they WANT you to think!
Lackey: But Sir, we're pretty sure it's not a bomb... I mean, we bought it and installed it ourselves.
Head of Security: Don't argue! We must protect the citizens.
Lackey: Whatever you say, sir.

Later... Bomb Squad Guy 1: Are you sure about this?
Bomb Squad Guy 2: The orders are very clear.
Bomb Squad Guy 1: But I mean, come on... this is rediculous. You're SURE it says use this much explosive.
Bomb Squad Guy 2: They want to make sure it's destroyed.
Bomb Squad Guy 1: Ok, then, this should certainly do that!
Bomb Squad Guy 2: FIRE IN THE HOLE!
*BOOM*
*Sign explodes and falls to the ground*
*Bridge collapses*
Bomb Squad Guy 2: Now no one can get hurt by that device.
Bomb Squad Guy 1: You're right... of course they can't get home either.

Re:Oy... (1)

ces (119879) | more than 7 years ago | (#17851968)

Man SNL or Mad TV has to totally do this sketch!

Re:Oy... (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 7 years ago | (#17855776)

The Daily Show should! I can totally see Jon Stewart just ripping these idiots apart. What a bunch of morons.

Do not attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity - stupidity of the BPD and the officials trying to hold on to a stupider story.

Come on, doesn't anyone have a sense of humour anymore?

Re:Oy... (1)

TechnoLust (528463) | more than 7 years ago | (#17850380)

There's a difference in a bomb that they WANT to be noticed (like the radio bombs) and bombs you don't want to be noticed. IF I were a ter'ist and was going to put a bunch of bombs all over the city under bridges and wanted to set them off all at once... I would NOT put LEDs all over them.

And come ON! can we get some people in power that are smarter than a mentally challenged sugar glider?

Re:Oy... (1)

Pancho Pistolas (846302) | more than 7 years ago | (#17851262)

And come ON! can we get some people in power that are smarter than a mentally challenged sugar glider?

TOTALLY with you there.

Regarding the LEDs, note that (according to the accounts I'd read) these were found during the _day_, starting at about 8pm (when the LEDs wouldn't be as visible), and at a distance, i.e., "Gee, what's that black thing doing up where nobody's supposed to be able to reach?".

I watched the news conference and they were more convincing at first glance, WITH THE BATTERIES OFF. I wanted to smack them when they turned one on by plugging it in, because that was an incredibly stupid thing to do-- it made them look like dolts. That was just bad PR.

Yes, I agree that some aspects were handled a bit sloppily, but I think we really shouldn't be allowing (or encouraging) people to plant little black boxes all over the city, especially at locations like busy bridges. There were already laws against doing that kinda thing, way before 9/11, and for good reasons.

[Side note: There's guerilla artists who plant stuff around here all the time; I remember one person a few years back who did these nifty plaster bunnies with two heads (one of which always had a broken ear-- what's up with that?). It was nifty enough on signs and in the most random places-- I used to love to point them out to folks, and then they'd tell me about how they were seeing them _everywhere_!). However, the artist kinda crossed the line when s/he started placing them on payphone receivers, 'cause that's just not cool.]

Re:Oy... (1)

TechnoLust (528463) | more than 7 years ago | (#17855240)

The arguments I've heard from people supporting the city officials, and my counterpoint are:

- All the devices were on bridges and other places that terrorist would place them to cause maximum damage with multiple simultaneous explosions.
- If they wanted to set off multiple simultaneous explosions, why would they put blinking LEDs on them so they were highly visible?

- I've seen the show, but city officials didn't have the luxury of knowing that these were characters on an animated TV show.
- With the internet, if you don't know what something is, it's easy to look it up. When I moved to ATL I saw a building with a large white sign in front. There were no letters, just a triangle inside a circle. I googled for "equilateral triangle inside circle" and found pictures of the symbol. The page that contained the symbol said it was a building for AA meetings.

Re:Oy... (1)

ces (119879) | more than 7 years ago | (#17852040)

I might agree with you, except it took TWO WEEKS! for the cops to notice the damn things. Lets also not forget that panic didn't ensue in places like Seattle, Los Angeles, or even New York.

Re:Oy... (1)

sillypixie (696077) | more than 7 years ago | (#17855090)

That's because the officials in the other cities took the (imho) obvious preliminary step of examining the devices before they sent their entire city into hysterical action.

I think I read that in New York, one bridge was closed for 45 minutes while they investigated. That seems to be a much more reasonable way to do it.

Re:Oy... (1)

Pancho Pistolas (846302) | more than 7 years ago | (#17860768)

Comparing this to what happened in all the other cities assumes a lot of things, not the least of which that all the people who placed these gadgets were doing it all the same way.

I myself didn't see a SINGLE one of these gizmos, and I'm generally on the lookout for nifty hacks (I'm quite fond of them and spot them all the time). I'd be a little less forgiving if I'd actually seen the things myself for the past two weeks, but the news story was the FIRST I'd ever heard of them. And nobody I know had actually seen them, either. So yeah, I can believe that two weeks went by without the police (or anybody else) noticing them.

Cops don't notice things most of the time-- citizens do. That's why they have 911 and the like; someone notices something, they call it in. And I'm quite certain there were people who noticed these gadgets and knew/thought they were a harmless prank and therefore did not call it in (cop or citizen)-- but they don't count!

And once it was called in, it wasn't like ALL of the Boston PD went Keystone Kops on it. They have a protocol, and that protocol says that _SOMEONE_ (i.e., one person or supervisor) makes the call that they were going to respond to it as a threat (there's your weak link right there)-- after that, everybody's expected to do their job.

[And let me insert here that I think the person who made the bad call is arguably just as culpable as Turner Communications, something that I'm not proud Boston is glossing over. I'm not exactly proud of the way this reflects upon our city, either!]

I could take your argument (about it taking so long to notice these things) with more credence if you'd been seeing the things around BOSTON yourself, but barring that, can you honestly say it's a fair call to make?

And yes, somebody made a serious boner on this one, and I'm split between being embarrassed about that and about our city official not fessing up to its own blunders. But I'm not blaming anybody for not noticing this for two weeks if I didn't myself.
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