Tuesday, May 04, 2010

N.Y. bomber from Pakistan; Pollution Containment Gambit; Flooding is Bad

Hey! How's everybody doing?

Well, not too much to report.
They arrested a guy named Faisal Shahzad last night as he was trying to leave the country to fly to Pakistan (by way of Dubai). Furthermore, apparently Pakistani police forces arrested two or three people in a house in Karachi, hours after Shahzad's arrest here in the U.S..
Okay, obviously I was a little off base about this whole thing being an act of domestic terrorism, which was kind of a dumb claim on my part, anyway, in retrospect. I thought it was domestic terrorism because of the amateurish nature of the whole thing, but we've had international terrorists try to launch some half-assed attacks before (e.g., shoe bomber and Christmas bomber), and some of the domestic terrorist attacks have been startlingly effective (Oklahoma City, Joe Stack, etc.). In fact, even before they arrested Shahzad last night I heard a British security consultant on CNN talking about the fact that this attempt was almost certainly international terrorism because domestic terrorists tend to attack specific, designated target (like government offices and whatnot), while international terrorists are more likely to see the American people, in general, as their target, and they tend to be more likely to want to inflict mass casualties on highly visible, but random civilian targets. As soon as I heard this guy say this, it sounded intuitively correct, and I realized that I was probably wrong about the whole domestic terrorist angle (although, at the time, I continued to think that this guy might be some sort of independent, "lone wolf" extremist who was acting on his own, but sympathizing with the cause of some sort of international terrorist group).
Anyway, kudos to all of the members of law enforcement who made this arrest happen so quickly. It seems like Shahzad didn't do a great job of covering his tracks, but it was still really impressive to see law enforcement track him down so quickly. And snatching the guy off the plane right as he was getting ready to leave the country? That was something right out of a movie.

And BP is getting ready to try to lower a four story tall "pollution containment chamber"over the well in the Gulf of Mexico that's been causing the giant oil slick. Apparently this particular sort of containment with this particular sort of mechanism has never really been tried in this way before (containment vessels of this type have never been used before in water this deep- about a mile below the ocean's surface). If this thing works as its designed, it could reduce the flow of oil into the ocean by 80% (not exactly perfect, but it would be a lot better than what's happening now). So I'm really pulling for BP and for all of the engineers and workers who are involved in this containment effort. I just can't imagine trying to maneuver and set up a device of that size when you have to do the whole thing with remote control robots and your work site is a mile beneath the ocean.

Also, I know that there was terrible flooding in Nashville over the last few days. I have a few friends there (the Blood family, The Palka clan), and I hope they're doing okay. Other from that, though, I just don't have much to say about it other than it really sucks, and I wish people the best of luck as they try to rebuild.

Well, that ain't much, but it's all that I've got today, kids.

Peace to ya.

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