Sunday, October 28, 2001

Chicago Tribune | A Soviet general and nation building
Consider Gen. Ruslan Aushev, the most distinguished Soviet war hero in Afghanistan and a Muslim from Russia's North Caucasus. In his native republic of Ingushetia, Aushev has fought and defeated Al Qaeda. More importantly, he won peace without the dirty methods professionals of espionage portray as necessary evils.

Ingushetia, one of the ethnic republics within the Russian Federation, is a tiny mountainous place along the frontier of the rebellious Chechnya. In contrast to Chechnya, Ingushetia remains in obscurity because only wars in distant lands make global headlines.

In Ingushetia, peace is the lesson.
U.S. Appears to Be Losing Public Relations War So Far
The Bush administration has belatedly deployed its forces for a propaganda war to win over the Arab public. But the campaign, intended to convince doubters that the American attacks on Afghanistan are justified and its Middle East policy is evenhanded, has so far proved ineffectual.

Thousands of words from American officials, it appears, have proved no match for the last week's news, which produced a barrage of pictures of wounded Afghan children and of Israeli tanks rolling into Palestinian villages.
Efforts to Calm the Nation's Fears Spin Out of Control
People in the grip of fear want information that holds up, not spin control.

Again and again in recent weeks, administration officials tried to reassure the public; again and again, the situation proved more serious than the officials had suggested. As a result, public trust has evaporated.

While the number of people known to be affected by the disease is still relatively small, and the number of deaths smaller still, the admission that the type of anthrax used was so deadly and so highly refined that it could infect postal workers and contaminate the mail amplified the sense of a situation that was careening out of control.
Developing Warning System for Biological Attack Proves Difficult
The military has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to develop detectors. The truck-based system stationed at the Pentagon can identify four biological agents in less than 45 minutes, according to the latest annual report from the Pentagon to Congress on the status of chemical and biological defenses. Some air bases use a network of these sensors and compare their readings, to cut down on false warnings.

Another system tries to use light to detect aerosol clouds from miles away, but it cannot tell whether the clouds contain pathogens.

The Pentagon's inspector general last year criticized development of a new, more advanced system known as the Joint Biological Point Detection System for achieving only one of 10 critical goals. It broke down often, failed to identify lethal pathogens and sometimes gave false warnings when no danger existed.
Bin Laden Family Strives to Re-establish Its Reputation
Despite the family's public disavowal of the terrorist mastermind suspect, federal agents swooped in to question family members' neighbors and friends. Reporters piled up outside their doors. More critically, companies that did business with the $5 billion family construction empire in Saudi Arabia were starting to get jittery about dealing with the family.
Nature Pre-publication
Recent events have confirmed that bioterrorism is no longer a threat but a reality. To provide wide-ranging access to the latest scientific information about anthrax and other potential bioweapons, Nature has put together a special online focus on this issue. This focus includes the pre-publication* of two research papers on anthrax toxin, as well as a collection of research, news and feature articles from our electronic archive. Because of the heightened interest in this area, among both the scientific community and the general public, all material in this feature has been made freely available.

Saturday, October 27, 2001

All Suicide Bombers Are Not Alike
Whoever kills himself with an iron weapon, then the iron weapon will remain in his hand, and he will continuously stab himself in his belly with it in the Fire of Hell eternally, forever and ever."

A few days after Sept. 11, that quotation from a sacred Muslim commentary turned up on an English-language Web site There it was brandished by a Muslim scholar who argued that Islam could never, under any circumstances, justify the practice known in the West as ''suicide bombing.'' Suicide bombers, he seemed to be warning, would blow themselves up through eternity. It was, in its way, a comforting thought, but there was no assurance that this learned discussion on the Internet was being followed in Arab centers where the bombers were found and recruited. In the days after Sept. 11, it also became clear that there was no Arab leadership with the inclination or stature to call a jihad against suicide bombings and the latter-day cult of martyrdom that may date from the Iran-Iraq war, in which Iranian teenagers, sent out by the thousands to be human minefield sweepers, were given keys to wear around their necks. Those keys, they were promised, would open the doors of paradise.

Friday, October 05, 2001

Videoconferencing May Get Much-Needed Critical Mass
\But people have been forecasting the takeoff of videoconferencing for
decades. In the early 1970's AT (news/quote
offered Picturephone service in Chicago for $86.50 a month. Jeff Rohlfs,
a Bell Labs economist who was involved with the project, describes the
history of this technology in his new book, "Bandwagon Effects in
High-Technology Industries" (MIT Press).

Wednesday, October 03, 2001

LinkVoyager: Terrorism
This directory exists to educate web users about Terrorism, a subject much on people's minds in the wake of the tragic events of September 11th. Feel free to submit sites.
ResearchBuzz 911 Coverage
SearchDay - Attack on America: Coping with Information Overload - 17 September 2001
Attack on America: Coping with Information Overload

Trying to make sense of the events of the past week has been an enormous challenge, not only because of their complexity, but because of the massive amounts of misinformation that's been generated. Here are a few authoritative sources that are providing comprehensive background, analysis and news and links to trusted sources to help us cope with the information overload we're all experiencing.
Finding Disaster Coverage At Search Engines
Following the unprecedented terrorist attacks on the United States today, web users turned en masse to search engines for information. It took those services some time to adjust to the demand, but as the day progressed, many came up to speed.
con·cept: October 2001