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Posts Tagged "terrorism"

Anecdotes from the Archive

Antwerp, 1914: New Technology, Civilian Targets

Antwerp bombing

Reported in Scientific American—This Week in World War I: September 19, 1914 The Belgian field army retreated into the fortified city of Antwerp only 16 days after the Germans had invaded. During the German assault on the city, they dropped several bombs from a Zeppelin. Aiming was really nonexistent and the results were useless from [...]

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Cross-Check

How George W. Bush rejected my “Sharp” idea for countering terrorism

Okay, it wasn’t George W. Bush himself, just his minions. Here’s what happened (and by the way, this is the story I promised to tell in a previous post): In the summer of 2005 a weird e-mail appeared in my inbox. It came from "Centra Technology," and it read, "The U.S. National Counterterrorism Center is [...]

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Guest Blog

Threat of Future Cyber Attacks by Al Qaeda Remains Low

Scott Borg

Will Al Qaeda respond to the death of Osama bin Laden with serious cyber attacks? The short answer is, no. There could be some denial-of-service attacks on U.S. government Web sites, but these would probably be only a minor nuisance. And if they do happen, they might not be acknowledged or even noticed. Despite an [...]

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Observations

NYPD Testing Airflow in Subways as a Precaution against Possible Terror Attacks

NYC subway station

This summer, New York City will witness what might be called an airborne non-toxic event, to corrupt a term coined in Don DeLillo’s 1985 novel White Noise. Over three days in July, the New York Police Department and scientists from Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y., will release small amounts of a harmless, colorless gas [...]

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Observations

Infographic Tool Offers a Detailed Look at 3,000 Deaths by U.S. Drone Attacks

drone strike data visualization, pakistan, pitch interactive, 'out of sight, out of mind'

Now that Pakistan’s former military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf has returned home in time for the country’s May elections, many human rights advocates are concerned that the longstanding surge in U.S. drone strikes within that nation’s borders will grow even larger. Musharraf is widely believed, despite protestations to the contrary, to have given the U.S. [...]

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Observations

Kabul Embassy Was Beefed Up after 1998 Bombings in Kenya and Tanzania

U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan

The U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, the headquarters of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Afghanistan, and other buildings in Kabul are under attack today by insurgents with guns and rocket-propelled grenades. No personnel from either the embassy or ISAF have been reported hurt, but four police officers and two civilians were killed in the [...]

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Observations

Off the grid: a high-tech military deployed the ancient art of stealth to capture their man

They could have used grappling hooks and longbows. The hunting down of global enemy number one came about through the type of detective work and on-the-ground stealth military activity that might have been considered ingenious, oh, among 15th-century ninja warriors or the ancient Sumerians. Ian Fleming would not have had a lot of raw material [...]

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Observations

New bomb-sniffing device can identify chemical components of different explosives in open air

pipe bomb, explosive, NYU

Law enforcement was able to thwart an attempt to set off an explosion in the middle of New York City’s Times Square on May 1 thanks to the quick thinking of a T-shirt vendor who noticed smoke coming from a parked SUV. Unfortunately, the signs that a bomb is nearby are often more subtle, detectable [...]

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Observations

Is there any way to stop a subway bombing?

moscow-metro-station

Killing commuters with bombs has to be one of the most cowardly (and dastardly) forms of terrorism. And that’s exactly what happened in Moscow earlier today, as suicide bombers from Chechnya detonated themselves as trains pulled into the Lubyanka and Park Kultury stations. The Russian capital’s subway system is one of the busiest in the [...]

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Observations

What could have stopped the Christmas bomber?

backscatter-xray-device

The would-be bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab apparently ignited a plastic explosive with a syringe sewn into his underwear on Christmas as Northwest flight 253 prepared to land in Detroit. According to press accounts and the complaint filed against him by the U.S. Department of Justice, Abdulmutallab had secured on his body the explosive device, which [...]

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Talking back

Researchers Hack Drones. A Science Project Anyone?

My son Benjamin once got honorable mention for his science project, which consisted of going to a firing range and seeing whether silk is really bulletproof, as it’s sometimes purported to be. The guy at the range smiled upon hearing about what the skinny teenager was up to and said the silk would never stand [...]

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