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More WTC News 1639

Current WTC happenings: The FBI is searching ISPs with FISA warrants. Architects and civil engineers are starting to speculate on why the towers collapsed. Pictures: NASA, a powerful photoessay, newspaper headlines. Current investigation news: LA Times, NY Times, CNN. They're finally starting to mention casualty figures. Finally, bjb writes: "It isn't the hollywood blockbuster of a story, but I'm a daily reader of Slashdot, and I was on the 38th floor of the WTC 1 building when the first plane hit. Oh, and I was reading Slashdot at the time. You can read about my experience here. It was originally an email that I sent out to friends and family, but I was asked by NPR's Talk of the Nation to make it a web page."
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More WTC News

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  • by rkischuk ( 463111 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @09:46AM (#2291634)
    Apparently ISP's are allowing the installation of Carnivore []. They say it's only for a few days, but we'll see how long that claim holds up...
    • by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @10:24AM (#2291832)
      What do you expect? That after three mass murdering sucide bombings the FBI wouldn't use these things?

      I bet the FBI will suprise people and remove the boxes after they find/don't find what they are looking for.
    • This is the crux of a very difficult debate. Which should the government focus on: Protecting us, or protecting our civil liberties? In cases like this, there's not really a way to do both.

      I've been stunned by the number of people bitching about how the US is going to become a police state, how their liberties have been taken away because they can't carry Smith & Wesson onto the plane, etc.

      It's a difficult balance, and some people will always be upset at where the scales fall. For now, let's just accept what protection our government is trying to give us, and complain about it later after we've eliminated whatever threat has caused this

      • by Sir_Real ( 179104 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @10:45AM (#2291943)
        If we lose our civil liberties, then the terrorists have won.
        • by zpengo ( 99887 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @10:50AM (#2291977) Homepage
          If we lose our civil liberties, then the terrorists have won.

          I'm all for civil liberties, but we need to understand that we pay for them with security. The same people who have been claiming that this event will strip us of our civil liberties have also been complaining that the government failed to protect us.

          It's understandable that this could happen considering how little access to secure information we want to allow the government to have.

    • For U.S. citizens and residents, the word "civil liberties" will change forever. I'm not saying that Carnivore is here to stay. But we've lived in a country with at least an illusion of separation from the rest of the world for a long time, and now things will change. The biggest changes will occur in the areas of transportation and communications, which are usefull tools for terrorists.

      In fact, I would not be at all surprised if inside ten years we see at least attempts to amend the constitution, where neccessary, to except those two areas... communications and transportation... from the application of civil liberty laws.

      Get used to it, you live in the big bad world now.
    • by cryptochrome ( 303529 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @01:32PM (#2293108) Journal

      Call it my contrarian nature, but amidst all the usual self-centered-libertarian-police-state-paranoia, I feel compelled to point out that loss of privacy is not necessarily loss of liberty. Nowhere is it guaranteed even in the US constitution; never has it been established that privacy actually produces a freer society; and in practice the idea that you can actually have privacy is a total myth. David Brin makes a good case in his for all of this and more in his controversial The Transparent Society [] (chapter one available here []). His core arguement is for complete transparency - that all citizens should be allowed to observe the activities of individuals, government, and business - rather than the alternative of those having the power to do so using surveillance to their private advantage. While you'll almost certainly have objections, it's well worth consideration, and it's always worth it to look at things from an alternative perspective.

  • by tino_sup ( 460223 ) <> on Thursday September 13, 2001 @09:47AM (#2291639) Homepage Journal
    The /. group is a collection of varied skills and talents. One would think that with the resources and capabilities we all have access to, what kind of information can we contribute. Sure privacy and security issues are important, but if I had the ability to retrieve any info to help, I would.

    Just a thought---

    • by Forge ( 2456 )
      Before anyone starts harping about admissibility of certain information it must be noted that this event can be considered an act of war. The rules for war are vastly different from those that apply in court.

      I.e. You mearly want to know who did it. If that information is obtained illegally doesn't matter. It only needs to be accurate.

      In fact you don't even need to be precise. I.e. you can narrow it down to a government and go flatten that country. Like I said war has different rules.

      By extension if it's an individual that's responsible rather than a government, you can simply send an assassin after him rather than go for a trial.

      I can for instance tell you what the Feds hope to discover. They want it to be Ben Laden acting on contract for Sadam. That way they can send in a full military strike and give the American people (through CNN) an adequate supply of revenge.

      For the record however this isn't an American tragedy. Trinidad had an Embassy in the towers and There are several Jamaicans working in that complex. Perhaps over a hundred. Chances are some of us died too. Believe me we are every bit as pissed as you are.

    • by Thalia ( 42305 )
      One of the better suggestions I've seen (for those folks who're on the black hat side) is to hack into the systems of these terrorists (yes, they do use the Internet). One of the reasons why Osama Bin Laden is a successful terrorist (even if he is not responsible for this particular incident) is because he has large amounts of money. I'm pretty sure he doesn't keep it at home, so it's probably in some bank account. I'd love to see some hackers get into that bank account and not only trace who he's been paying what to (I think we can do it better than the CIA), but maybe just making his money go away. It's much harder to pay for effective terrorists if you don't have the money...

  • by mysticbob ( 21980 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @09:48AM (#2291641)
    space imaging has a gallery which puts the nyc complex and devastation in context: y.htm []

  • Architectural stuff (Score:5, Interesting)

    by iainl ( 136759 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @09:51AM (#2291657)
    There is another good article on the collapse at []

    I was very much impressed with the way the buildings withstood that kind of impact long enough for some people to escape. The loss of life if they had gone immediately, or had toppled sideways just doesn't bear thinking about.
    • by unitron ( 5733 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @11:17AM (#2292155) Homepage Journal
      Agreed, they stood the impact of the jets admirably, and when they fell, they "failed safe" as much as possible under the circumstances, but, as bjb wrote, "The stairs are only wide enough for two people abreast...".

      Sounds like some bean counter had the influence on the design that an engineer should have. Could be the basis of a huge class action wrongful death suit.

  • by stankyho ( 172180 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @09:52AM (#2291660) Homepage
    They are in need of computers, supplies and human techs. If you can please help. Some of us can't donate blood. But we can donate our extra computers and supplies.
    [] y/ 0,23008,3347294,00.html
  • The Buildings (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @09:56AM (#2291683) Journal
    As discussed briefly this morning on ABC News, the correct question regarding the buildings is not "why did they fall?", but rather, "why did they stay up?"

    Apparently, for the vast majority of buildings in the USA, an impact by an aircraft, similar to what happened, would take them down almost instantly. The construction of these buildings saved lives.

    There are many articles in New Scientist Magazine on many related subjects to this event, including one that discusses the buildings [] in some detail.

    - - -
    Radio Free Nation []
    an alternate news site using Slash Code
    "If You have a Story, We have a Soap Box"
    - - -

    • Re:The Buildings (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Exedore ( 223159 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @10:15AM (#2291799)

      Agreed. That the buildings lasted as long as they did is a testament to the engineers who designed and built them. Can we do better the next time around? Absolutely... we have so much more materials and design research under our belts.

      Complaining that the buildings "only" stood for about an hour or so seems silly to me. Some are asking, "Why did the buildings collapse?" Well, I'm no civil engineer, but if I had to guess, I'd say it's because THEY WERE RAMMED WITH BIG HONKING PASSENGER JETS CHOCK-FULL-O-FUEL. Sounds like a plausible explanation to me.

      • by Degrees ( 220395 ) <> on Thursday September 13, 2001 @11:51AM (#2292401) Homepage Journal
        "CHOCK-FULL-O-FUEL" - exactly. I have heard almost nothing of the usual hew-and-cry regarding fuel cells for jetliners. Every time a jetliner goes down, and the fuel tanks do the Molatov cocktail thing, there is usually a cry 'It doesn't have to be this way!' And then the airline industry whines 'but it will cost so much!'

        I, for one, think enough is enough. If these tanks were filled with foam, there is a good chance the momentum of the things would have carried the fuel tanks out the other side of the building and the buildings would not have fallen. They fell because of fire; and fuel cells greatly minimize fire.

  • by artemis67 ( 93453 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @09:58AM (#2291700)
    As everyone knows by know, Morgan Stanley Dean Whitter occupied roughly 10% of the WTC, with some 3500 employees. There's a good article on Yahoo this morning about their offsite back strategy [], and how it enabled them to start working again almost immediately.

  • The Washington Post (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wiredog ( 43288 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @09:58AM (#2291701) Journal
    The Post [] has extensive coverage of the Pentagon operations.
  • by Ardvaark ( 325147 ) <ardvaark AT procrastinators DOT org> on Thursday September 13, 2001 @10:01AM (#2291720) Homepage
    Ask why they stood! The fact that any building was capable of taking a direct impact from a jetliner with a full load of fuel and then stand for over an hour (and allow lots of people to get out) is remarkable! We need to make sure we keep building them like that.

    Trying to build skyscrapers aircraft-proof isn't feasible, I don't think. But building them capable of resisting that kind of trauma for at least a little while is.
    • by mpe ( 36238 )
      The fact that any building was capable of taking a direct impact from a jetliner with a full load of fuel and then stand for over an hour (and allow lots of
      people to get out) is remarkable! We need to make sure we keep building them like that.

      But we also need to come up with methods of rapid evacuation of large towers.
  • by Mr. Neutron ( 3115 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @10:07AM (#2291750) Homepage Journal
    This rap album cover was set to be released *before* the WTC tragedy occurred: .jpg []

    This is not a joke. It appeared in the current issue of Wired magazine, which was on newsstands before this all happened. I guess it's just one of those odd coincidences.

  • by Mr. Neutron ( 3115 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @10:09AM (#2291764) Homepage Journal
    chmod a+x /bin/laden
  • by beanerspace ( 443710 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @10:12AM (#2291778) Homepage
    My heart is lifted by the care and the concern shown by the /. community. But as we are nerds in seek of news, I would like to see us come up with some possible solutions. Here's mine:

    Back in 1995, I was the lead programmer for INSPass, the INS Passenger Accelerated Service System. Essentially, an individual trades the convenience of getting through customs for giving up their hand geometry on a card that is verified at a kiosk. []

    Now I read that there are going to be long lines at the airport. A wonderful place for a repeat of the terrorist disasters in Rome and Athens back in the mid-80's. And when it gets really, really busy, an excellent place for a bad guy to get waived through the lined on a frustrating day or by an airline employee who doesn't know what a fake driver's license looks like.

    What I would like to see is some sort of voluntary program, offered by either the FAA or the airlines themselves where smart cards are issued. On them, is my face. On the chip, my fingerprint and othe biographic information. I sign up some other time than a day I'm travelling. I agree to have my information checked against known terrorists lists (only)

    When I go the airport, I go to a kiosk where I hold the card up to my face to an attendant, who watches me I insert the card and verify my fingerprint, when I'm issued a ticket ... it has my face on it ... my baggage tags, again, with my face on it.

    No, this is not foolproof. And some will still want to go through the old-fashioned line. And that's fine. But if enough people paticipate, it will take the work load off of those having to do identification the old fashioned way ... and with checks against known terrorist lists (only) ... may be enough to stop a wide-scale terrorist attack like the one we saw.

    I hate giving up personal freedoms. But here is one case I'm willing to make an exception.
  • by mrsmalkav ( 33086 ) <lisa2006@travivi ... t minus caffeine> on Thursday September 13, 2001 @10:14AM (#2291788) Homepage
    My boyfriend is a professional structural engineer who has done a lot of work on major LA buildings. He's currently attending Berkeley for a masters in Structural Engineering and, in chatting with his professors, came to this (paraphrased):

    1) Yes, the buildings did withstand the impact of the airplanes. They didn't fall immediately, did they?
    2) Buildings are built to a certain fire code, in that the building won't completely catch on fire and collapse for a certain length of time (usu 1hr?). The escape routes are located generally in the four corners. Since the plane took out one of them, this means that the required escape time is now 2+ hours.
    3) Jet fuel burns with a much higher temperature than normal fuel.
    4) Steel expands and crystalizes under extreme heat. Since the plane(s) hit at a "centre"-ish spot, the steel tried to expand up and down, but since the steel in the "up" and "down" weren't hot and wouldn't move, the steel in the "centre" buckled.
    5) Since jetfuel burns hotter, step 4 happened faster and also reduced the "buckle" time by a certain amount - when used along with the increased escape time required, means that considerably fewer people would be able to escape.
    6) Since the steel buckled, the upper floors now come crashing down on to the floor immediately below. Being as that floor is not suited to hold X number of upper floors MOVING rapidly at it, it collapsed and repeat until bottom.

    Therefore, it was the fire that made the buildings collapse, not the impact of the planes.

    • by Sabalon ( 1684 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @12:19PM (#2292605)
      And like the articles also said, once the weight of the upper floors started to come down, it took out the floor support beams that also kept the outer skeleton in place.

      The steel only buckled right around the fire, but once those supports were removed, the skeleton was then able to buckle and move in ways that buildings shouldn't.

      Also, on the escape time, the fire from the fuel probably made passage from the above floors through the escape routes nigh impossible. So pretty much if you were above the point of impact, you were in trouble. After the first impact, they had people from around the 90th floor calling on cel phones talking about the heat and smoke, saying "We're fucking dieing up here".

      But yes, the fire is the cause, hence the choosing of planes heading across the country from a "local" airport - LOTS of fuel.
  • by ClarkEvans ( 102211 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @10:23AM (#2291825) Homepage
    There is an interesting Ny Times [] article which describes a reporter's interviews with Afghanistan People.

    [A] 25-year-old constable sat on the floor beneath a single dangling light bulb. His name was Muhammad Anwar. He had heard something about the attack in America but he had no idea how many were killed or what cities were involved. Indeed, it seemed unlikely that he had ever heard of New York.

    "Attacks like these are not a good thing because Muslims live all over the world and Muslims may have been killed," Mr. Anwar said hesitantly. By his reckoning, Americans were enemies of Afghanistan, as were Jews and Christians. He thought about this a bit more and retracted it partially. "There must have been all kinds of people in the building, not just bad Jews but good Jews, not just bad Christians but good ones." He remembered something he had learned in his madrassa, or religious school. "It is un-Islamic to kill innocent people," he said.
  • by dfenstrate ( 202098 ) <> on Thursday September 13, 2001 @10:26AM (#2291836)
    to hijack a plane. The passengers and crew undoubtably cooperated to the extent they did because they thought it was some ransom bullshit.

    Now that planes have been used themselves as weapons, and the passengers with them, I doubt there will be a high-jacking where they're aren't people like Glick and Barret, who are among the few passangers who apparently made sure that flight 93 crashed in PA woods, and not a national landmark.

    The sentiment has been repeated over and over these past two days: "If I fall, the guy behind me will get him."

    I hope that if such a day ever comes for me, I can get over my imminent death fast enough to do some good.

    Nothing is more dangerous than someone who thinks they have nothing to lose.

    • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @01:07PM (#2292904)
      > Now that planes have been used themselves as weapons, and the passengers with them, I doubt there will be a high-jacking where they're aren't people like Glick and Barret, who are among the few passangers who apparently made sure that flight 93 crashed in PA woods, and not a national landmark.

      The telly news this morning gave out a bit more detail about one of those guy's calls to his wife on the cell phone. He actually called her 4 different times. By the third one the WTC had already been hit twice, and his wife said that when she told him about hit he got really thoughtful and asked a lot of probing questions.

      The next time he called, it was a simple "Three of us are going to do something."
  • Report from the ER (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Isldeur ( 125133 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @10:29AM (#2291852)
    Hi there. I'm sure many peple won't read this because it was posted so late in this discussion, but I thought you might like a quick word from some of the ER's I've been in today down here. (Columbia, NYU, and Vincent's). Tragically, everyone is really just standing around waiting for live people to come in, and there seems to be a general lack of this. Every now and then a fire fighter comes in, but is generally stable at this stage - likely incidental damage.

    Yesterday, one of the firemen was brought in - in his mid fourties, I would suppose. He had a brother and 3 sons who were all firefighters; one of the latter was not accounted for all day yesterday. He himself had gotten caught in the first collapse, had gotten out and went in the second building and was then caught in that collapse and received some blows of debris into his back, for which he was being treated. It's that kind of bravery from the very salt of the earth which makes me so proud to be an American. God bless to all. K
  • by camusflage ( 65105 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @10:32AM (#2291870)
    There are several stories around about the terrorist attacks, what the net has to do with the trail for clues, and what we're looking at in the future. To start, has a story [] about searches conducted at ISP's. Earthlink was reportedly served with an FISA warrant [], which an Earthlink representative called "equivalent to a wiretap." The only people allowed to request an FISA warrant are the directors of the CIA and FBI, and the secretaries of state and defense. All but one of the 7,539 FISA warrant applications since 1978 have been approved. According to the ACLU, not one instance can be found where the target of a FISA warrant was allowed to review the initial warrant application, as it is granted by a secret panel of seven federal judges. Msnbc has more information [] about the FBI and its searches, with AOL, Yahoo, and Earthlink confirming that they've been cooperating, and Microsoft only saying they "regularly work with law enforcement." Wired has more detail [] about "a major network service provider" saying that the FBI showed up on Tuesday "with a couple of Carnivores, requesting permission to place them in our core, along with offers to actually pay for circuits and costs." The most troubling quote, from the same anonymous source, is "I know that they are getting a lot of 'OKs' because they made it a point to mention that they would only be covering our core for a few days, while their 'main boxes were being set up at the Tier 1 carriers' -- scary." An anonymous engineer at Hotmail indicated they "are cooperating with their expedited requests for information about a few specific accounts." Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich made a commentary (RealAudio only) [] on last night's Marketplace on NPR [] about terrorism and the future of privacy. He closes with a few chilling sentences. "To gain back more of our security, we will give up more of our privacy. We'll do it gladly, if that's the price we have to pay to counter terror. The willing loss of our privacy is likely to be one of the major consequences of the horror that occured September 11th, 2001."
  • by bjtuna ( 70129 ) <brian@i[ ] ['nte' in gap]> on Thursday September 13, 2001 @10:33AM (#2291878) Homepage
    Notice how the towers fell straight down, instead of toppling over and taking out nearby buildings.

    My girlfriend is a civil engineering student, and they discussed the attacks in her Structural Engineering class yesterday. Apparently, the guys who designed the towers should be very proud. In a worst-case scenario, fires would (as they did) cause the steel structures to melt. The towers were designed so that, in that worst-case scenario, they would implode straight down instead of falling over.
  • by seanmeister ( 156224 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @10:33AM (#2291879)
    If you have not yet donated [] blood, money, or service to the National Disaster Relief Fund, please consider doing so. I realize that request is obvious and redundant, but bear with me.

    I can honestly say that the WTC, Pentagon, and Pennsylvania disasters have had a stronger effect on me than I would have ever imagined. I've been somewhat wigged out for the past two days, functioning on auto-pilot in order to get along with the business of life while I deal with feelings of horror, sadness, rage, and worst of all, helplessness.

    Horror subsides - the media onslaught will always lead to de-sensitization. The images and video remain horrific, but somehow become lest horrifying through continued exposure. (I hope that makes sense...)

    Sadness persists. It should. You should never be able to look back on September 11th and not feel sadness.

    Helplessness is altogether different - it won't subside on its own. It requires action, and gone unchecked, can amplify every other negative emotion. This is why I finally got off my ass and donated last night. I realized that it's pointless to feel helpless, because it's so easy to help.

    Give blood. If, like me, you can't give blood, give money. It's needed. If you don't have any money, go volunteer at your local blood center. If nothing else, pack an ice chest full of bottled water and hand it out to people waiting in line to donate blood! Do something. On September 11, 2002, when I ask you "What did you do to help one year ago?", I hope you have an answer that you're comfortable with.

    So I've conquered helplessness. Horror will take care of itself. I welcome sadness as a sign of my own humanity.

    That leaves only sweet, sweet rage.
  • by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @10:34AM (#2291884) Journal
    Received in an email from a friend:

    Maybe today my sign-off poem ("they were all good people") will make more sense. I've been sending you only very short poems, but today it's something a bit longer (about a page), a poem written at least 20 years ago that seemed to come back to life today:

    Making The World Safe For

    Yankee, you say, thinking
    you understand me, thinking
    the 24-point-headline ideas
    by which WE fail to understand YOU
    will suffice for understanding US.
    We are your problem as you are ours;
    Let us understand one another.
    It won't be easy. While your children starve,
    Most of us are trying to loose weight.
    We speak from a different part
    of the palate, look with a different
    openness -- some say veiledness; we have
    an innocence -- or is it barbaric daze;
    idealism -- some say bullying self-righteousness;
    squeamishness about death and torture
    if we have to see it...
    I am a fat, squeamish Yankee, taught
    to understand you by your T-shirt-like labels:
    "Kill Me", "Pity Me", "Exploit Me", "Bribe Me",
    "Enjoy Me", "Fear Me". I AM not,
    CANnot be the thing you think you see,
    for I am what you are: the understanding,
    not what is misunderstood, which is
    where I am absent from myself, and so
    become what is easiest to be,
    because it fits the headline script:
    The Fat Greedy Satan whose crime is
    to have failed to make everyone like me;
    whose crime is to have dreamed well,
    but not well enough; to have created a game
    so good, it became the only game in town,
    but not good enough to let everyone play;
    so now the new game is: Destroy my game.
    If all can't have it, let no one have it.
    Understand us: We do not need your help
    to destroy America. We need your help
    to create it. It has not yet been.
    Understand us, for we do not. You,
    who hate us or condescend to us or toady to us,
    you trap us in your sticky visions,
    which, hardening, preserve us, your nightmare,
    like flies in amber. We cannot be that.
    Please understand us. We don't want to destroy you.
    But how else can we free ourselves
    from your vision?

    Dean Blehert
    poems and paintings at
    "It's even sadder than you think:
    They were ALL good people."

    and as a final note:

    Yes, of course -- you can post or forward any poem I send you. Just leave my name with it and, preferably, email and/or url. But at least the name.


  • Canadian Editorial (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 13, 2001 @10:38AM (#2291896)
    America: The Good Neighbor.

    Widespread but only partial news coverage was given recently to a remarkable
    editorial broadcast from Toronto by Gordon Sinclair, a Canadian television
    commentator. What follows is the full text of his broadcast.

    "This Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as the most
    generous and possibly the least appreciated people on all the earth.

    Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy were lifted out of
    the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and
    forgave other billions in debts. None of these countries is today paying
    even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States.

    When France was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who
    propped it up, and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the
    streets of Paris. I was there. I saw it.

    When earthquakes hit distant cities, it is the United States that hurries in
    to help. This spring, 59 American communities were flattened by tornadoes.
    Nobody helped.

    The Marshall Plan and the Truman Policy pumped billions of dollars into
    discouraged countries. Now newspapers in those countries are writing about
    the decadent, warmongering Americans.

    I'd like to see just one of those countries that is gloating over the
    erosion of the United States dollar build its own airplane. Does any other
    country in the world have a plane to equal the Boeing Jumbo Jet, the
    Lockheed Tri-Star, or the Douglas DC10? If so, why don't they fly them? Why
    do all the International lines except Russia fly American Planes?

    Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man or woman on the
    moon? You talk about Japanese technocracy, and you get radios. You talk
    about German technocracy, and you get automobiles.

    You talk about American technocracy, and you find men on the moon - not
    once, but several times - and safely home again.

    You talk about scandals, and the Americans put theirs right in the store
    window for everybody to look at. Even their draft-dodgers are not pursued
    and hounded. They are here on our streets, and most of them, unless they are
    breaking Canadian laws, are getting American dollars from ma and pa at home
    to spend here. When the railways of France,* Germany and India were breaking
    down through age, it was the Americans who rebuilt them. When the
    Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned
    them an old caboose. Both are still broke.

    I can name you 5000 times when the Americans raced to the help of other
    people in trouble. Can you name me even one time when someone else raced to
    the Americans in trouble? I don't think there was outside help even during
    the San Francisco earthquake.

    Our neighbors have faced it alone, and I'm one Canadian who is damned tired
    of hearing them get kicked around. They will come out of this thing with
    their flag high. And when they do, they are entitled to thumb their nose at
    the lands that are gloating over their present troubles. I hope Canada is
    not one of those."
  • by Malc ( 1751 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @10:42AM (#2291915)
    I can only get to one of the two sites describing why the towers collapsed. It didn't offer the same reasons that the BBC's web site has been carrying for a couple of days: they claim that the temperatures exceeded 800 degrees of Celsius of melted the steel cores []. Hindsight always clearer, but they also ask: why weren't the resucuers pulled out after a certain length of time, especially after the first tower collapsed?

    Interestingly, only one of the two towers was insured [] as collapse of them both was unconceivable.
  • CNN is lying (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 13, 2001 @10:49AM (#2291963)
    • Re:CNN is lying (Score:4, Informative)

      by vanza ( 125693 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @12:44PM (#2292762)

      If they are really lying, they did a nice job changing the pictures... This [] is supposedly a picture of Palestinians celebrating on Tuesday. Notice the little boy. He's wearing a Brazilian national soccer team shirt. And this shirt is quite different [] from the ones used in 1991. Actually, this one is pretty recent, I think it was used the first time around the 1998 world cup.

      I can't say if the picture is really from Tuesday, but it really can raise some questions about this "indie" article. That, and the fact that I live in Brazil and haven't heard a word from anyone at the University of Campinas about this.

    • by firewort ( 180062 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @12:45PM (#2292776)
      CNN has been known on many occasions to get the news wrong, or fabricate stories (Wolf Blitzer).

      However, this time, they are reporting the truth. , one of Israel's better independent newspapers also reported this story, and took photos on site, from the past few days, not 1991.

      The story at Indymedia was posted by a Brazilian. I think I'll trust sources in Israel instead of someone in South America, Thank You very much.

  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @10:49AM (#2291972) Homepage Journal
    In the English language edition of Ha'Aretz today there is a short piece from an engineer who talks about the contruction of Israeli tall buildings. Basically concrete is more fire resistant and cheaper than steel. The downside is that it takes twice as long to build compared to steel.

    Also as anyone who has ever been to the top of the WTC towers knows - the towers would sway up to a foot in high winds, twisting actually. I'm dubious one could make a concrete structure that could sway w/o breaking. The other problem with very tall buildings which WTC attempted to solve is the problem of elevators. Queueing theory and engineers at Otis Elevator will tell that buildings that tall get consumed by elevator shafts which makes the building a financial mistake. WTC had an open floor design with each floor of nearly an acre of unobstructed space ~200x200 feet. That is why the buildings were held up by their outside walls and why there were express elevators and elevators that started at high floors.
  • by michael.creasy ( 101034 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @11:00AM (#2292044) Homepage
    I didn't write this, I was sent it in an email, I don't know the original author. I am a muslim and I live in the US. I was born and raised in Canada with Indian background. I feel I need to help clear up what is true and what is not true with regards to Islam. Islam is a religion and a person practicing Islam is a muslim. There are five basics pillars of islam that any muslim should follow. All the guidance of what muslims should do is in the holy book called the Qu'ran or "Koran". Unfortunately, it seems that Bin Laden and others have taken religion as a vehicle to project their political hatred and motives. What he is doing, has nothing to do with Islam at all. Islam teaches people to be loving, peace giving, god fearing people. It teaches us to live with diversity, other religions, and humility. All the things that bin laden has said in the interviews and has done in the past are not words from the qu'ran but his words. And unfortunately the media and lack of real knowledge has blurred what is true and what is not. The statement by binladen that non-muslims cannot live in a muslim country is false - 100% false. India was ruled by muslims for 900 years, christians, muslims and hindus lived happily together. Same in palestine, before the partition, arab jews and arab muslims lived together for hundreds of years in peace. The main reasons for hatred and fighting the past 50 years was due more to political landscape than religion. Unfortunately, religion is a powerful tool that gets people motivated and people in power have used it as the lauch pad for fighting. Another item that binladen keeps talking about is Jihad or holy war. There is discussion of Jihad in the Qu'ran and when and why it is appropriate. It is never an offensive tactic. Jihad is only permitted when a muslim is being opppressed to practice their religion. Only real examples where Jihad may have been appropriate in recent years would be the Bosnian war where Bosnian muslims were being executed strictly based on their religion. But by no means, can a muslim country attack another country (muslim or not) as an act of Jihad. That is incorrect. the basics of islam are similar to christianity. Believe in one god. In arabic the word god is Allah. The god is the same between all three religions. jews, muslims and christians pray to the same god. That is very important to understand. But a true muslim is humble, not greedy, not arrogant and never shows jealousy. Tolerance, helping neighbours of any race, creed, or religion is the first thing. One of the five pillars of islam is to give to the poor. It's required, not a choice. As any religion or race, there are a small group of radicals that take any religion and bend it for their convenience. This seems to be the case with bin laden, saddam hussein, and others who have killed humans for their gain. None of these people will go to heaven as they believe they will. Jihad is not valid here nor does is it say to kill innocent children, parents, and siblings. Jihad only allows fighting among soliders, not civilians. Unfortunately these people are misled and doing very evil things that they will be punished for it. I'll stop rambling here..I hope this helps you guys get a better understand of what is going on. Just remember, Arab is a race..there are Arab Christians, Arab Jews and Arab muslims. At the moment radical arab muslims are causing trouble and doing things that are absolutely not tolerated in Islam at all. I hope these groups are stopped and removed. I was in NYC yesterday and I was there when it happened. I saw the second plane slam into the WTC 2. It was an experience I wish I had not witnessed. But we need to grow strong and not stereotype. best regards, a muslim in america.
    • by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @11:39AM (#2292319) Homepage
      Thank god someone has said this.

      Too many Americans have no idea what "Islam" is or what "Muslim" means -- they only see sensational media images of machine-gun-toting four-year-olds that are designed to get ratings.

      What this person says is true: Jews, Christians and Muslims all pray to the same God. I do not mean this in some literary, allusory sense; I mean it literally. Most Christians know enough history to understand the relationship between Judaism and Christianity. Most Christians in the western world do not realize, however, that a similar historical closeness exists between these two and Islam. The three religions are as family, and they do share the same God, no matter how they pronounce that God's name in their own language.

      Furthermore, the basic tenets of all three religions include a respect for human life. Don't be fooled by people who use Islam as an excuse for violence; they are just as misguided as the Catholic inquisitors were hundreds of years ago.

      Please, do not hate your Islamic or Arabic neighbors in the US, and please do not hate those in other countries based solely on religious or ethnic origin either. Do not hate, period. Desire instead to compassionately and methodically stamp out violence wherever it exists in the world and through whatever means it occurs (these means to not always consist of physical force).

      I guess that's my rant. It's been smouldering for two days...
  • by mikosullivan ( 320993 ) <.miko. .at.> on Thursday September 13, 2001 @11:07AM (#2292087)
    An article at CNN [] is pointing out that this was really an international tragedy, not just an American tragedy. The World Trade Center had people from all over the world and many, many of them are victims. Early estimates suggest these numbers:
    • 100 Britons
    • 78 Australians
    • 100 Japanese
    • 27 South Koreans
    • 100 - 150 Mexicans
    • 6 Irish
    Those are the numbers given by CNN, but there have just got to be more from other nations. No Saudis, Isrealis, Chinese, or Indians are mentioned in the article, but it would seem likely that there were plenty of people around from those nations.
  • by greysky ( 136732 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @11:17AM (#2292159)
    Last night I saw something I was hoping not to see on the news -- acts of violence against Arabic/Islamic-Americans. I would hope that no one from this forum would be so narrow minded, but please people, lets not forget what happened after Columbine. I live in Colorado and know what it's like to have a community's anger directed in my direction in the aftermath of a tragedy (I was openly harassed on the streets for several weeks afterwards), and I can only imagine that it will be much worse for those in the Arabic communities of the US, as Columbine doesn't even compare to this tragedy. Please remember - it's the terrorists who were involved that are to blame, not every Arabic person out there.
  • Sympathy matters (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ErfC ( 127418 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @11:29AM (#2292234) Homepage
    I don't know if this is the right place to say this, but I don't know of a better one...

    I'm a Canadian, but I've been as shaken up by all this as if I were American. The horror of what happened is independent of nation -- everybody (or almost everybody) on the entire planet was hurt by this. I can't imagine what the people in New York and Washington are going through, but I know it's a horrifying thing without anything resembling rational explantion.

    Here in Edmonton, all flags are flying at half mast -- not just on government buildings, but anybody who has a flag is doing the same. In the Provincial Legislature Building, there are books that people are signing to express their condolences to America and tell you that you're not alone. A moment of silence has been recommended for 10am today.

    Similar things are happening around the world.

    And it matters. I was talking to an Arizonan friend of mine last night. We got to talking about all the ways the world is reaching out, about how people are trying to express their shock and horror and outrage all over the world, and she cried. She told me to tell everyone I could that it matters -- the books are not being signed in vain, the half-mast flags are being seen, the sympathy is felt.

    It's as important as donating to the Red Cross.

  • by Steve_Jobs_HNIC ( 513769 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @11:30AM (#2292248) Journal
    Has anyone read Harry Browne's article?

    It's here: []
    His homepage is here: []

    It will take you less that 2 minutes to read.
  • by ickle_matt ( 122935 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @11:34AM (#2292283)
    From the Guardian []: Anti-Islamic sentiment has turned to violence in pockets across the world following Tuesday's terrorist attacks, despite the fact that no group has claimed responsibility or been officially blamed. A Molotov cocktail was thrown at an Arab-American community centre in Chicago, a firebomb was hurled at a mosque in Montreal, and in Australia, aggressors threw stones and bottles at a busload of Muslim schoolchildren. In New York, a 75-year-old drunken man tried to run over a Pakistani woman in a shopping mall parking lot. He then followed her into a shop and threatened to kill her for "destroying my country". In Illinois 300 protesters, some waving American flags, tried to march on a mosque in this south-west Chicago suburb last night. Three demonstrators were arrested as police worked to keep the crowds away from the Muslim place of worship. "I'm proud to be American and I hate Arabs and I always have," said 19-year-old Colin Zaremba, who marched with the group. Tamara Alfson, an American working at the Kuwait embassy in Washington, spent yesterday counselling frightened Kuwaiti students attending schools across the United States. "Some of them have already been harassed," she said. In a show of patriotism, 45 people from Tampa, Florida's Islamic community yesterday registered to donate blood and 30 members of the Muslim Students Association at the University of South Florida signed up. Abu Nahidian, director of the Manassas mosque in Virginia, said his congregation has been the target of insults and hate messages left on the office answering machine. "We have some recordings in our tapes that say, 'We hate you so-and-so Muslims and we hope you die'," he said. Several other incidents were reported in Canada, where five school children with Arabic-sounding names were assaulted in Oakville, Ontario. In Australia, the school bus attack took place in Brisbane. In Sydney, a Lebanese church was daubed with swastikas and an attempt was made to burn it down. Queensland state's Islamic council chairman, Sultan Deen, said public outrage over the attacks had also led to abusive phone calls to mosques. "It is very disturbing. They are saying things like: 'You will be held responsible' and 'We'll get you,'" Mr Deen said. An Islamic group in Singapore today urged people not to lay blame too quickly for the terrorist attacks. "The process of scapegoating started immediately after the crashes," the Muslim community organisation Fateha said in a statement. "We note, with terrible unease, the way Arabs and Muslims are treated in America, before any real evidence has been established on the perpetrators of this horrendous crime," the statement said.
  • by Omnifarious ( 11933 ) <> on Thursday September 13, 2001 @11:37AM (#2292302) Homepage Journal

    To those who are willing to be 'inconvenienced' at the aiport in order to be safe... No amount of inconveniencing will give you the safety you crave.

    Repeat after me...

    No amount of 'inconveniencing' will give me the safety I crave.

    Repeat it over and over as a mantra until you achieve enlightenment.

    I could learn martial arts well, with a bunch of buddy's, get onto the plane, kill a few people with some well placed jabs, and take control. Would you be willing to be manacled to prevent this? You can make knives quickly out of many things. Take a stiff plastic or metal box for example. Are you going to make people strip before they get on the plane? I'm sure someone more imaginative than I can come up with scenarios in which even being stripped and manacled would not be enough.

    There is no security in the direction you wish to go. As Benjamin Franklin said "Those who would trade liberty for security will get and deserve neither.".

    The only way to prevent these attacks is to decrease the motivation to perform them. This is done by being a nice country, and by being implacably and harshly punitive in our response to such attacks.

    I will be traveling by air soon, and I intend to make up some leaflets to distribute at the airport about this. It's either that, or get upset at being patted down and create a scene. I think the leaflet approach to venting my frustrations is much more constructive.

  • by rsborg ( 111459 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @12:00PM (#2292464) Homepage
    When this happened, I had a lot of thoughts going through my head... but found it difficult to clearly say what I felt...

    So I will leave that to someone esle (who is much more qualified to do so):

    >Subject: It Doesn't Have to Be Like This
    >Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 13:14:00 -0400

    Death, Downtown
    Dear friends,
    I was supposed to fly today on the 4:30 PM American Airlines flight from LAX to JFK. But tonight I find myself stuck in L.A. with an incredible range of emotions over what has happened on the island where I work and live in New York City.

    My wife and I spent the first hours of the day -- after being awakened by phone calls from our parents at 6:40am PT -- trying to contact our daughter at school in New York and our friend JoAnn who works near the World Trade Center.

    I called JoAnn at her office. As someone picked up, the first tower imploded, and the person answering the phone screamed and ran out, leaving me no clue as to whether or not she or JoAnn would live.

    It was a sick, horrible, frightening day.

    On December 27, 1985 I found myself caught in the middle of a terrorist incident at the Vienna airport -- which left 30 people dead, both there and at the Rome airport. (The machine-gunning of passengers in each city was timed to occur at the same moment.)

    I do not feel like discussing that event tonight because it still brings up too much despair and confusion as to how and why I got to live... a fluke, a mistake, a few feet on the tarmac, and I am still here, there but for the grace of...
    Safe. Secure. I'm an American, living in America. I like my illusions. I walk through a metal detector, I put my carry-ons through an x-ray machine, and I know all will be well.

    Here's a short list of my experiences lately with airport security:

    * At the Newark Airport, the plane is late at boarding everyone. The counter can't find my seat. So I am told to just "go ahead and get on" -- without a ticket!

    * At Detroit Metro Airport, I don't want to put the lunch I just bought at the deli through the x-ray machine so, as I pass through the metal detector, I hand the sack to the guard through the space between the detector and the x-ray machine. I tell him "It's just a sandwich." He believes me and doesn't bother to check. The sack has gone through neither security device.

    * At LaGuardia in New York, I check a piece of luggage, but decide to catch a later plane. The first plane leaves without me, but with my bag -- no one knowing what is in it.

    * Back in Detroit, I take my time getting off the commuter plane. By the time I have come down its stairs, the bus that takes the passengers to the terminal has left -- without me. I am alone on the tarmac, free to wander wherever I want. So I do. Eventually, I flag down a pick-up truck and an airplane mechanic gives me a ride the rest of the way to the terminal.

    * I have brought knives, razors; and once, my traveling companion brought a hammer and chisel. No one stopped us. Of course,
    I have gotten away with all of this because the airlines consider my safety SO important, they pay rent-a-cops $5.75 an hour to make sure the bad guys don't get on my plane. That is what my life is worth -- less than the cost of an oil change.

    Too harsh, you say? Well, chew on this: a first-year pilot on American Eagle (the commuter arm of American Airlines) receives around $15,000 a year in annual pay.

    That's right -- $15,000 for the person who has your life in his hands. Until recently, Continental Express paid a little over $13,000 a year. There was one guy, an American Eagle pilot, who had four kids so he went down to the welfare office and applied for food stamps -- and he was eligible!

    Someone on welfare is flying my plane? Is this for real? Yes, it is. So spare me the talk about all the precautions the airlines and the FAA is taking. They, like all businesses, are concerned about one thing -- the bottom line and the profit margin.

    Four teams of 3-5 people were all able to penetrate airport security on the same morning at 3 different airports and pull off this heinous act? My only response is -- that's all?

    Well, the pundits are in full diarrhea mode, gushing on about the "terrorist threat" and today's scariest dude on planet earth -- Osama bin Laden. Hey, who knows, maybe he did it. But, something just doesn't add up.

    Am I being asked to believe that this guy who sleeps in a tent in a desert has been training pilots to fly our most modern, sophisticated jumbo jets with such pinpoint accuracy that they are able to hit these three targets without anyone wondering why these planes were so far off path?

    Or am I being asked to believe that there were four religious/political fanatics who JUST HAPPENED to be skilled airline pilots who JUST HAPPENED to want to kill themselves today?

    Maybe you can find one jumbo jet pilot willing to die for the cause -- but FOUR? Ok, maybe you can -- I don't know. What I do know is that all day long I have heard everything about this bin Laden guy except this one fact -- WE created the monster known as Osama bin Laden!

    Where did he go to terrorist school? At the CIA!

    Don't take my word for it -- I saw a piece on MSNBC last year that laid it all out. When the Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan, the CIA trained him and his buddies in how to commits acts of terrorism against the Soviet forces. It worked! The Soviets turned and ran. Bin Laden was grateful for what we taught him and thought it might be fun to use those same techniques against us.

    We abhor terrorism -- unless we're the ones doing the terrorizing.

    We paid and trained and armed a group of terrorists in Nicaragua in the 1980s who killed over 30,000 civilians. That was OUR work. You and me. Thirty thousand murdered civilians and who the hell even remembers!

    We fund a lot of oppressive regimes that have killed a lot of innocent people, and we never let the human suffering THAT causes to interrupt our day one single bit.

    We have orphaned so many children, tens of thousands around the world, with our taxpayer-funded terrorism (in Chile, in Vietnam, in Gaza, in Salvador) that I suppose we shouldn't be too surprised when those orphans grow up and are a little whacked in the head from the horror we have helped cause.

    Yet, our recent domestic terrorism bombings have not been conducted by a guy from the desert but rather by our own citizens: a couple of ex-military guys who hated the federal government.

    From the first minutes of today's events, I never heard that possibility suggested. Why is that?

    Maybe it's because the A-rabs are much better foils. A key ingredient in getting Americans whipped into a frenzy against a new enemy is the all-important race card. It's much easier to get us to hate when the object of our hatred doesn't look like us.

    Congressmen and Senators spent the day calling for more money for the military; one Senator on CNN even said he didn't want to hear any more talk about more money for education or health care -- we should have only one priority: our self-defense.

    Will we ever get to the point that we realize we will be more secure when the rest of the world isn't living in poverty so we can have nice running shoes?

    In just 8 months, Bush gets the whole world back to hating us again. He withdraws from the Kyoto agreement, walks us out of the Durban conference on racism, insists on restarting the arms race -- you name it, and Baby Bush has blown it all.
    The Senators and Congressmen tonight broke out in a spontaneous version of "God Bless America." They're not a bad group of singers!

    Yes, God, please do bless us.

    Many families have been devastated tonight. This just is not right. They did not deserve to die. If someone did this to get back at Bush, then they did so by killing thousands of people who DID NOT VOTE for him! Boston, New York, DC, and the planes' destination of California -- these were places that voted AGAINST Bush!
    Why kill them? Why kill anyone? Such insanity...

    Let's mourn, let's grieve, and when it's appropriate let's examine our contribution to the unsafe world we live in.
    It doesn't have to be like this...
    Michael Moore
  • Is this a "war"? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ajs ( 35943 ) < minus berry> on Thursday September 13, 2001 @12:40PM (#2292724) Homepage Journal
    This is a touchy topic, so stop reading here if speculation about the legal implications will bother you.

    Time and again, I hear politicians from the mayor of NY to congress to the president refering to this as an act of war (see the president's most recent remarks []).

    There's a problem with this. If this was an act of war, it cannot, by definition be a federal crime, no?

    What's more, if this was an act of war, anyone we "capture" is a prisoner of war, and we must obey the terms of the Geneva Convention and other international treaties. They will have to be re-patriated after the conflict, or brought before an international court for war crimes, NOT tried for federal crimes in the U.S.

    Now, I can see the attack on the WTC being called out as a war crime, but if we treat this as an act of war, the Pentagon was a valid military target, and the attack on that building was legal (the point could even be made that Bin Laden had made it quite clear that he had declared war on the U.S. before the attack, unlike the Japanese who had tried but failed to do so before Pearl Harbor). The use of a commercial airline to do it is obviously not acceptable, but I'm not sure how much weight that will carry in a war crimes tribunal.

    What I'm trying to say is that we've painted ourselves a very restrictive map here. There's no such thing as "murder" in the criminal sense in an act of war. There's only international treaty on the rules of war.

    Now, I'm not a lawyer (I hate the acronym), and I could be wildly off-base here, but is this just short-sightedness or have we decided that the support that we get from the international community as a result of an act of war outweighs our desire to bring these criminals (soldiers?) to trial? Or, are we just planning to ignore international law, and bring anyone we capture to trial anyway?
  • by sulli ( 195030 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @09:07PM (#2295692) Journal
    not a big surprise, but more trains & cars have been added. []

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