Dirty Bombs
November 10, 2003 11:22 AM   Subscribe

Dirty Bombs
Federal investigators have documented 1,300 cases of lost, stolen or abandoned radioactive material inside the United States over the past five years and have concluded there is a significant risk that terrorists could cobble enough together for a dirty bomb. (warning - Salon link)
posted by Irontom (13 comments total)
(warning - Salon link)

You have to love a FPP about a terrorist attack capable of rendering uninhabitable large swaths of great cities -- and the last line is a warning about having to sit through a 15 second flash ad. For some reason that cracked me up.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:35 AM on November 10, 2003

a terrorist attack capable of rendering uninhabitable large swaths of great cities

I dunno about that, no matter how sexy you are in your ski outfit thingamabob. There was a Nova about dirty bombs not too long ago, and the consensus from the scientists was that a dirty bomb isn't appreciably more dangerous or harmful than the same bomb sans radioactives.

Apparently their major sources of harm are the explosion itself, which is never fun, and public panic. Actual radiological damage doesn't seem to enter the picture. If the Bad Guys set of a big boom to spread radioactives in a wide area, then it ends up do diluted that the only effect is a few people getting cancer in 20 years who otherwise wouldn't have. If they use a smaller bomb to keep the radioactives concentrated, then you're safe a block or two away, and it's easy to clean up.

Yours, chunkylover43@aol.com
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:23 PM on November 10, 2003

posted by Outlawyr at 12:28 PM on November 10, 2003

"We made our beds
and now we hate where these beds be"

- C.O.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:32 PM on November 10, 2003

Thanks, Zach. I was just thinking that the solution to this problem was a sanctimonious platitude. Now that everything's solved, who does everyone like for the Stanley Cup this season?
posted by jonmc at 12:48 PM on November 10, 2003

Good point, chunkylover. I guess I meant "uninhabitable" in the same sense that convenience-store microwave burritos are "inedible," or any show starring Paris Hilton is "unwatchable" -- it's possible, but you'd have to be drunk to do it willingly.

And to the tax base of the city, the perception and the reality are pretty much the same. If 95% of corporate tenants think midtown Manhattan is no longer an acceptable address, the city is devastated, and the background radiation levels are all but irrelevant.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:49 PM on November 10, 2003

or any show starring Paris Hilton is "unwatchable"

I can think of one such show I'm looking forward to seeing...
posted by lbergstr at 3:01 PM on November 10, 2003

I'm more scared of some common industrial practices than a terrorist with a dirty bomb.
posted by srboisvert at 3:42 PM on November 10, 2003

I thought dirty bombs were common industrial practices. No, wait, that should be common employee relations practices...
posted by wendell at 4:26 PM on November 10, 2003

hear hear srboisvert
posted by stbalbach at 4:28 PM on November 10, 2003

That was a sanctimonious platitude? Doh! I thought it was rap music! I'm so out of touch.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:46 PM on November 10, 2003

stupidsexyFlanders: that's the point, though. Look at Hiroshima. If NYC got hit by a dirty bomb, do you really think people would leave? The city would recover just as quickly as it did from 9/11, and the Federal government would bend the Superfund rules to declare the place habitable, just like it did after 9/11 (oops, did I say that out loud?)
posted by Ptrin at 5:17 PM on November 10, 2003

And even if the people didn't come back, they'd have to go somewhere, and that new somewhere would become the new centre of power.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:06 PM on November 10, 2003

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