I am a nerdy guy, but I am more the Linux-blog-computer-science-type nerd than the chemistry-math-physics-type nerd. When the story broke last week that British officials caught some bad guys planning to sneak on to a plane and blow up some planes with chemicals and an iPod battery, it generally made sense to me. Take an explosive liquid, add something to light it, and you have yourself one nasty terrorist attack.
Not so fast, says Thomas Greene of The Register, a British IT news source. Apparently, using the chemicals cited by news sources, you would need quite an operation and a crap load of chemicals to make a plane go down.
It’s well worth your reading time, but I love this statement best:
The al-Qaeda franchise will pour forth its bowl of pestilence and death. We know this because we’ve watched it countless times on TV and in the movies, just as our officials have done. Based on their behavior, it’s reasonable to suspect that everything John Reid and Michael Chertoff know about counterterrorism, they learned watching the likes of Bruce Willis, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Vin Diesel, and The Rock (whose palpable homoerotic appeal it would be discourteous to emphasize).