January 29, 2007

Goo bombers update

I'd say George "Dick Destiny" Smith says all that's worth saying about the unfolding farce in a British courtroom these last couple weeks. My personal favourite part:

"...if [I] was a terrorist and ... was wasting time taking a community college course in chemistry, one with a lab section, [I] would steal some potentially useful reagents just before leaving class for the last time.

"Instead, the incompetent class of terrorist can't seem to figure this out, glomming onto making bombs from hundreds of bottles of peroxide or poison from apple thousands of apple seeds or a handful of cherry pits."

Sounds about right.

As for "forensic expert Claire MacGavigan," cited above, who apparently honestly believes that the bathtub peroxide-flour mix would have been as deadly and explosive as a TNT-equivalent, well, keep that little bit of testimony in mind next time you're wondering why all those CSI shows are so full of it, and why the legal system still really, really needs responsible jurymen, and good defence lawyers, too. In like vein, see also here.

Also see Nigel Sweeney, QC's explanation of the bomb method:

"Mr Sweeney said: 'The explosive was intended to consist of liquid hydrogen peroxide, concentrated, mixed with chapati flour, the flour being the fuel that would burn and the hydrogen peroxide providing oxygen, so that when fired by a detonator the mixture would explode.'"

Does one really have to possess a university chemistry degree to see that doesn't make any sense? Cause, I mean, I fully admit that I don't and I can still tell you that whole sentence is just wrong, on just about every level.

Anyway, it doesn't matter. Take a look at the picture at the first link above, and trust your intuition, if nothing else. The "bombers" (admittedly with a murderous intent, no argument here) made litres and litres of a vaguely corrosive goo. They could have cased their detonators in pure flour and it probably would have been more effective. I find it amusing that the forensic experts quoted above conclude from the fact that all four detonators (made with a real explosive) fired effectively, yet none of the "bombs" exploded, as evidence the detonators must not have been LARGE enough. To quote another troupe of British comic artists -- whom I now find almost as funny as this pathetic lot of terrorist wannabes now in the dock -- after much effort the pathetic clowns managed to come up with the Norwegian Blue of explosives: "this bird wouldn't "voom" if you put four million volts through it."

Posted by BruceR at 12:48 PM

Has to be said: Michael Yon's writing

Props to the guy for being where the action is, but Glenn Reynolds thinks this is the level of prose that should be in the New Yorker?

I kind of wish he'd try submitting, though. Guy needs an editor.

Posted by BruceR at 11:39 AM

Canadian Afghanistan update you didn't read

In the "News you didn't read in your weekend papers" column, it has been over two months since the last Canadian fatality in Afghanistan.

No, it's not going to last forever. Let's hope it lasts as long as possible, though.

Posted by BruceR at 11:26 AM