Sunday, March 13, 2005


Let's not change that terror alert color just yet

Breaking news:
Internet Haganah, drawing on [an] Arab News article, reports that a member of a terrorist group has posted to the Internet a do-it-yourself plan to make a homemade hydrogen bomb.
As the Internet Haganah article says:
The plans are in fact for a homemade H-bomb, not a dirty bomb, though if all one had were these directions I suppose a dirty bomb might be the more likely result.
Okay. Where to begin? The directions are from a humor article, freely available here and was posted to rec.humor in 1994. My first clue was the passage:
Food editor Barbara Ehrenreich, investigative reporter Peter Biskind, Photographer Jane Melnick and nuclear scientist Michio Kaku were given three days to cook up a workable H-bomb. They did and we have decided to share their culinary secrets with you.
You should read the whole article, it's pretty funny. Also, I'm not a nuclear physicist, but it seems to me that anyone following the directions would die of accident or acute toxicity long before any working bomb was achieved - always assuming the bomb even theoretically works, which since it's a humor article I seriously doubt.
Plutonium is one of the most toxic substances known. If inhaled, a thousandth of a gram can cause massive fibrosis of the lungs, a painful way to go. Even a millionth of a gram in the lungs will cause cancer. If eaten, plutonium is metabolized like calcium. It goes straight to the bones where it gives out alpha particles preventing bone marrow from manufacturing red blood cells. The best way to avoid inhaling plutonium is to hold your breath while handling it. If this is too difficult, wear a mask. To avoid ingesting plutonium orally follow this simple rule: never make an A-bomb on an empty stomach.
Good times.

Now, this could certainly be a case of a gullible wannabe terrorist thinking he had a scoop because he knows how to use Google. Then again, there could be another explanation. Malkin again:
[Rusty] Shackleford also says, "I would be remiss if I didn't mention that the poster left his e-mail"
And I would be remiss if I didn't do a little research based on this e-mail address. (See also "Correction" at bottom of page.)

I found no reference to that particular address, but the construction - let_us_reason - did show up twice as part of other addresses, and not one but both of those users link from their Yahoo! profile to web sites relating to Christian Apologetics, which is a Christian doctrine particularly focused on studying and responding to other religions. One of those linked web sites, "coincidentally" titled Let Us Reason, has this to say about Islam:
There are about 100 verses that endorse the use violence, and a plain reading of these is apparent what they say is what they mean. Some I'm sure may disagree saying they are not clear. Lets look at the quotes from the Qur'an that teach war and killing on the unbelievers and infidels...
(No one who brings these quotes up ever notes the multitude of similar quotes from the Old Testament.) I'm wondering if this mystery person has the best interests of Jihad at heart as Malkin seems to think.

Let's recap: A person with an e-mail address connected with Christian Apologetics, writing "using roman, not arabic, letters in a weird mix of Arabic and English", posts freely available, humorous, try-it-and-kill-yourself "instructions" for a Hydrogen bomb on a terrorist message board...and people fall for it.

Well done, folks.

Update: Malkin sez:
Update: Zachary Heaton takes a closer look at the instructions and finds them laughable. Hope he's right!
Well, he is. There's no hoping about it. And if Malkin has read the link, or even the original article, she knows that.

Correction: A comment I had missed says, and it seems to be true, that "let_it_reason" is a construction used by someone named Nadir Ahmed. As the commenter says, "Either he is a colossal idiot, or someone really doesn’t like him." So my e-mail address find may just be a coincidence.