Another Terror Hoax

Another Terror Hoax

Another Terror Hoax

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
Oct. 11 2005 6:37 PM

Another Terror Hoax

The frantic security warning that made New York City commuters even more wary of sitting near strollers was just a hoax, and bloggers are either furious or laughing. Georgia Tech is the latest college to have a terrorism scare, and hobbits may have spent some time in this realm.

Another terror hoax: Last week, New York officials warned that they had received a credible threat about terrorist hiding explosives in baby strollers, though federal officials doubted the authenticity of the tip. Now, it seems that the feds were right and the threat was just a hoax. The reactions to this news seem to fall into a few categories: "better safe than sorry," "I knew it all along," or "the government's trying to screw us."

Torie Bosch Torie Bosch

Torie Bosch is the editor of Future Tense, a project of Slate, New America, and Arizona State that looks at the implications of new technologies. 

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"I should be embarrassed but I'm not," Roger L. Simontitles his entry on the hoax. Simon, a mystery writer/former lefty who believed the threat, adds, "In situations such as this, I still support erring on the side of caution." The satirical Point Five parodies the hoax story, connecting it with Dan Rather's Memogate in a way that runs strangely parallel to Simon's sincere punditing. The Onion-like article has Rather saying "that the terror threat on New York subways was 'too important as a story' to brush off as a mere hoax."

In the Bullpen's Chad Evans, a Texan blogger who leans Republican and focuses on terror issues, gloats a little bit. "I was skeptical at the time though based upon this coming out of an interrogation in Iraq of a member who allegedly was supposed to fly to New York," he types. "Make that three times I've been right in my life." Liberal stalwart Atrios takes the opportunity to rip on conservatives for overreacting. "And the wingers wonder why we don't all crap our pants like they do whenever we get one of these warnings."

Truth About Iraqis, the blog of a man who is half-Iraqi and half-Austrian who blogs about Iraqi issues, is angry. "Like, what, you need someone to tell you it was a hoax?" He points out the similarities to Ahmad Chalabi, an Iraqi exile who said Saddam had WMDs. "When this was later determined to be a fabrication, Chalabi said he would do absolutely anything to ensure that Iraq was invaded."

Read more about the subway threat.

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Bombs on campus: In other terrorism news, today's discovery of explosive devices near Georgia Tech dorms is spurring debate about whether college campuses might play host to terrorist attacks in the future. Many conservative bloggers are irate at what they see as a lack of coverage by the mainstream media, especially in the wake of a student committing suicide by detonating explosives outside of a University of Oklahoma football game earlier this month and the discovery of a small bomb near the UCLA campus last Friday. Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin has started attempting to tie the events together. She links to Professor Bainbridge, the blog of UCLA corporate law professor Stephen Bainbridge. Bainbridge muses, "Let's hope it's just an odd coincidence, but, when coupled with the recent University of Oklahoma bombing, one also hopes that there will be a complete investigation."

CBSNews.com's blog says that CBS News is looking into the matter; poster Vaughn Ververs calls the story "one worth airing, whatever the facts are." R. Robertson of Bush in a Tree  compares the college bombs to the subway-threat hoax story. "Maybe there is nothing to these stories. They may just be random acts with no real cause or planned effect. But it seems odd to me that more attention is being paid to the over-reaction of possibly terrorist-related threats than actual possibly terrorist-related acts," he says.

"[A]re we just noticing more odd events in the wake of the New York subway scare?" law professor Glenn Reynolds of InstaPundit asks. He's decided to react cautiously to these events. "I'm going with 'chain of coincidences' for the moment, pending some reason to think there's a connection, as a lot of readers seem to."

Zorba the Greek's George, a technology worker from Seattle, attended Georgia Tech and reacts like many people do upon hearing bad news that hits close to home. "I didn't expect Georgia Tech to be the center of any 'terrorist act', whatever its motivation. I guess I was wrong."

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Read more about the Georgia Tech bombs, the UCLA bomb, and the University of Oklahoma suicide. Slate's Mickey Kaus wonders why, as of Monday night, the Los Angeles Times hadn't reported on the bomb near UCLA.

Real-live hobbits: Anthropologists working in Indonesia announced today that they had found more bones from Homo floresiensis, a newly discovered species of human described as "hobbit-like." Other scientists, however, think that the bones might just be the remains of a deformed human.

Carl Zimmer, a science writer, discusses the controversy behind the discovery, including scientists who doubted the findings and the potential ramifications these bones may hold for evolutionary theory. "You have to wonder just how wise we are as a species," he concludes. Oposse's Presto also focuses on the wonder of it all. "I never thought we'd find evidence of Hobbits before Bigfoot," he says.

The Daily Bubble's David Endelman can't decide whether to be serious or funny and so settles for both, saying that the discovery "may also throw another stick in the tricycle wheels of intelligent designers who taut the absence of transitional species as a refutation of evolution … I, on the other hand, am thrilled. I have a bizarre fascination with little people." VH1's Best Week Ever blog has a mental picture for us all: "[N]ow I can't help but imagine little people with spears chasing little elephants around the island."

Read more about the hobbitlike humans.