The American Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been catching a lot of flak in the blogosphere for putting out several alerts that terrorists may attempt to use bombs surgically implanted in their bodies to attack aircraft. Many have said that this is an example of a security culture run amok, where oddball threats are regularly presented to the public as real dangers. The surgically implanted bomb is more of a danger than this argument lets on, although it’s less of a threat than other sorts of bombs. How do we know this? It’s already happened.
Tag Archives: weird
I’m a big fan of using Google Alerts to get my news on the Middle East, because it scours a huge array of media outlets and sorts (by no obvious algorithm) them into a short list of important stories. One downside is that it picks up a lot of propaganda pieces–my Iran alert, for instance, is usually 50% stories from the very state-run Fars News Agency. The upside of this is getting exposed to some pretty absurd news, like the claim I recently mentioned by Iran to have powerful missiles that could target aircraft flying in space. Anyway, here are a few of the more ridiculous stories:
Our Weird Middle East: Grandmaster Gaddafi, Lion-fighting Egyptians, Iranian Space Missiles, and more!
Al Jazeera English this morning showed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi receiving a visit from International Chess Federation (FIDE) president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. Since Ilyumzhinov is also president of the Russian autonomous region of Kalmykia, this was a historic meeting–two of history’s most bizarre heads of state in one room. Gaddafi’s oddities–his Amazonian bodyguards, his rambling speeches, his rumored dabblings in prostitution and drugs–are likely well-known to readers of this blog. Ilyumzhinov is quite possibly even stranger than Gaddafi. His most famous oddity is that he claims to have had extensive contacts with alien visitors from another planet. Among other unusual decisions: building an entire city in Kalmykia dedicated to chess and constructing a grandiose Roman Catholic cathedral to commemorate a papal visit. Considering Kalmykia is reported to have one Catholic resident, he will likely have plenty of seats to choose from! As president of FIDE, Ilyumzhinov has made a number of odd decisions, including an attempt to have the World Championship contested in Saddam Hussein-era Baghdad.
Gaddafi played a match with Ilyumzhinov, footage of which can be seen here: