Terrorism and urban planning

From the novel I am currently reading: Back in his hotel room he remembered that Mohammed Atta , the famous World Trade Center hijacker, had been a student of urban planning in hamburg in Germany. Was there a connection between the two things – terror and planning? It was possible. Atta in his religious way, had wanted the perfect religious city &emdash; his thesis was on Aleppo in Syria. In the end though his urge to design took a different form &emdash; het took down the twin monstrosi…

For some there was too little terrorism this Christmas...

Xmas is almost over and unfortunately (for the news-media) there have been no instances of (attempted) terrorism this year (well that is no terrorism in the west, since bomb attacks in pakistan do not diminish the well being of us westerners). one of the entities suffering from the absence of terrorist activity is the website of the german weekly ‘der spiegel‘. Instead of reverting to publishing ‘the 10 most … of 2010’ lists spiegel online descended like a vulture on the arrest of 12 somalis tha…

resilience | /ɹə.zɪl.ɪ.əns/

Last week thursday night someone tried to break in to our offices on the fourth floor of a building on the Keizersgracht in Amsterdam. in order to gain access to the office the wannabe-burglar(s) kicked in the door, pushing one of the wooden door panels into the room. it appears that they then waited to see if there was an alarm system and that they quickly left the building without taking anything from the office when the alarm sounded 20 seconds after the door was kicked in. So while they had…

'Terrorist' watch list... (weekend reading list)

So the Atlantic has another well written article (‘The Things He Carried‘ by Jeffrey Goldberg) that shows the absurdity of the security theater that we endure at the airports (note that the situation in europe is a bit different, as they do check your boarding pass against ID at the boarding gate), which among other things illustrates that no-fly lists are a rather dumb instrument if you want to catch Terrorists. So if the ‘terrorists’ are not on the no-fly watch list, where are they then? Conve…

Ba____ka dolls

Spend the last couple of days in Budapest and have come to the conclusion that i really do not like the place. Sure there are spectacular exceptions but that is about it. However it seems that the city has a few other hidden gems: yesterday evening my colleague Nikki (who claims that she likes the place) came back with this picture that she had taken at a souvenir stall on castle hill: Guess the most significant aspect of this display is that there is no George W. Bush version. Maybe that hints…

This is not a bomb, this is just for the lulz

Speaking about silliness of the struggle against terrorism, it seems that a bunch of people in Boston have teamed up to celebrate the one year anniversary of the aqua team hunger force LED ads bomb scare in the only sensible way, that is by putting up lots of LED art up on the streets, walls and bridges of boston: This is interesting – it seems that a group of artists have celebrated 1-31-07 in their own way and have created a series of political themed LED art sculptures and (you guessed it) pl…

The Power of Nightmares

Just finished watching the BBC documentary (from 2004) ‘the power of nightmares – the rise of the politics of fear‘ by Adam Curtis. This three part mini series compares the rise of the American Neo-Conservative movement and the radical Islamist movement, making comparisons on their origins and noting strong similarities between the two. Curtis argues that the threat of radical Islamism as a massive, sinister organized force of destruction, specifically in the form of al-Qaeda, is in fact a myth…

When i am president (Obama vs. Osama) ...

Just read a fairly impressive speech on terrorism by US presidential candidate (technically he is a candidate for nomination as a candidate) Barack Obama. The speech it is quite a contrast to what you hear from the current US administration and for large parts actually makes sense even though it contains a fair share of patriotic pathos. For all i know this speech is the first time i have come across a US presidential candidate (who actually has a realistic chance of winning) who seems to realiz…

Apparently the war on terror has been won

Have been following the recent events in the UK with a mix of amusement and amazement. Did not really expect that the next ‘wave of attacks‘ would be even more incompetent than the last one. There are a couple of good articles that call these ‘terrorist attacks’ for what they are (‘Terrorist Special Olympics in the UK‘ on Bruce Schneiders blog, ‘Beavis and Butthead in London jihad‘ by Thomas C Greene and ‘‘al-Qaeda’ puts on big shoes, red nose, takes custard pie‘ by Lewis Page both on the regist…

Mike Davis: Fear and Money in Dubai

Coming back to the Waag i found the printout of Fear and Money in Dubai by Mike Davis on my table (placed there by the invaluable Patrice, who seems to have never heard of such things as emails and hyperlinks, but then you can read printouts in your bathtub, which is not a bad thing either). The article turns out to be an excellent piece about the state of affairs in Dubai, with a number of interesting observations about piracy/smuggling/terrorism/falcon-hunting: The platform for Dubai’s extraor…