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  #26  
Old 09-26-2015, 06:54 PM
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Default Re: Dawkins again

One of the memes I saw was a picture of Ahmed's clock, put next to a suitcase bomb. The similarities are striking, until you realize that the scale of the pictures are way off... Ahmed's clock is maybe 5x9x3 inches, and the suitcase bomb is a regular sized suitcase - you could fit dozens of his clocks into the same space.
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  #27  
Old 09-26-2015, 09:47 PM
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Default Re: Dawkins again

Oh yeah I agree that everything got blown out of proportion by the school and cops and #IStandWithAhmed, I just wish it were more obvious that he had done something special. Maher played some YouTube video of a person pulling out the innards of a digital clock and tossing it in a box, and it looked exactly like Ahmed's "clock". If that's really all it was it makes it easier to believe that his intent might have been to build a hoax bomb.
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  #28  
Old 09-26-2015, 09:47 PM
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Default Re: Dawkins again

The originality and quality of his work is pretty much irrelevant. The premise here was that he intended for that to be perceived as a bomb.

Think about what a stretch this scenario they're proposing really is. That this kid, possibly with the help of his father, fabricated a plan to let his teachers see some clock internals that he had in a pencil case, explicitly tell them--including an engineering teacher--that it was a clock that he'd built or whatever in 20 minutes the previous day, all the while accurately predicting that that they would assume that it was actually an explosive device, or something designed to appear to be an explosive device, that the police would be called, he would be handcuffed in the school office, then illegally interrogated and fingerprinted without his parents present.

AND THEN, AFTER THAT, Anil Dash would hear about the incident and tweet about it, which would then snowball and become a cause celebre, resulting in gifts and accolades from tech boosters of every stripe.

And this whole scheme was concocted by a kid they're accusing of not being as smart as he thinks he is?

Bullshit. Anyone who managed to predict and manipulate these events to their advantage would be an evil genius far exceeding the abilities of a Karl Rove or Grover Norquist.

If that were the case, probably our best bet would be to just hand over the presidency to Ahmed Mohamed, because he's going to be in charge of us one way or another, so may as well just accept it.

Of course, that is not the case. He is a fourteen year old child, and all the "pundits" expressing contrarian views on it are really just trying to get attention by picking on a kid.
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  #29  
Old 09-27-2015, 04:37 AM
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Default Re: Dawkins again

As far as I am concerned the bottom line to this story is that the police arrested, handcuffed and interrogated an individual in the absence of any crime. I hope that Ahmed's parents sue the City of Irving and its police department for false arrest and that they get a judgement large enough to pay his tuition at some prestigious institution, like ITT, so he can learn how to make clocks.
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  #30  
Old 09-27-2015, 09:30 AM
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Default Re: Dawkins again

All the yammering about the word "invention" is just so much irrelevant twaddle. He could've been running around claiming he'd personally discovered the never-before-seen notion of timekeeping itself, along with personally mining and refining all the materials used including the petroleum to make the plastics, it wouldn't change the level of bullshit in the polices' reaction.

I read the thing about the possibility of it being a deliberate set up to show an example of anti-muslim bias, and my thought was, well it's a pretty staggering success to get an overreaction that big over something so stupid. Kinda proves the point, doesn't it?

Now he's getting all the attention and support and toys from tech firms, and I think that's great, regardless of whatever his actual level of technical expertise is. It's encouraging to see so many not siding with the police on this one; maybe a good example of how institutional bigotries can flourish even when most of the population doesn't share them.

So, good for you, Ahmed. Keep fucking "inventing" whatever you want, and when old successful white guys whinge about it, laugh in their fucking faces.
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  #31  
Old 09-27-2015, 11:59 AM
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Default Re: Dawkins again

One of my best friends actually built a briefcase bomb inspired by Van Heflin's character D.O. Guerrero in the 1970 movie Airport. His detonation mechanism was exactly the same as in the movie, but instead of dynamite sticks, it had a single Black Cat firecracker that would pop when the device was triggered. But dynamite could have been used instead. He never took it to school* that I know of. I was only 14 when we saw that movie in the theater with that friend. He was a year younger than I was.

He was always working on some diabolical machine or another, and I was his laboratory assistant / stuntman / crash test dummy. When he was 14 he built a small electric chair for the science fair. My mother caught him strapping my little brother in the chair in our garage. I was away on my first year working wheat harvest at the time. He was banned from coming to our house, but I could still go to his house.

We built a cannon out of pipe that we fired with the aluminum oxide powder scraped out of many firecrackers. It would shoot an empty pop can clear over his house. Then he got into model rocketry. Model rocket motors are ignited with a hot wire, not unlike his D.O. Guerrero briefcase bomb. The propellant burning provides thrust out the bottom until it burns all the way through the rocket motor, then some of the hot gasses are shot up into the body of the rocket, which is what causes them to pop open and deploy a parachute or streamer. He build one with gasoline in it instead of a parachute. Spectacular is the only way I could describe it.

*When I was in high school from 1970-1974 we had four to six bomb threats per year. Only once did they find an actual bomb. I saw the bomb being carried out by a police officer. I guess they didn't have a bomb squad there then, maybe still don't. The bomb was two propane cylinders taped together with a blasting cap and a six volt lantern battery taped to that, and wind-up alarm clock that had the glass front removed and wires connected to contacts on the face. They told us it wouldn't have gone off, but learning what I learned about blasting caps and such when I worked in the oilfield, it probably would have. Did my friend build it? I don't think so, but he could have easily done that.

The thing is though, my friend is a genuine gifted genius with an aeronautical engineering degree. Last I knew he was managing an aluminum castings company that made products for the automobile industry. He may be sailing in the Caribbean now, which was his retirement plan. I wouldn't cross him though, he has a devious mind and the knowledge of how to really mess stuff up.
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  #32  
Old 09-27-2015, 01:03 PM
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Default Re: Dawkins again

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kael
All the yammering about the word "invention" is just so much irrelevant twaddle.
Again, and perhaps more clearly, it's not that I think Ahmed's apparent misappropriation of the term 'invention' is any kind of justification for anything that happened in Irving, it just makes it less difficult for me to imagine an alternative explanation to the one he has provided so far. For example it makes me wonder whether he didn't make a fake bomb as a dumb prank and then fall back to "it's just a clock" when challenged. (I know it's completely unheard of for teenagers to make poor choices then play dumb when confronted, but let's imagine an alternate universe where that occurs.)
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  #33  
Old 09-27-2015, 07:19 PM
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Default Re: Dawkins again

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Originally Posted by viscousmemories View Post
(I know it's completely unheard of for teenagers to make poor choices then play dumb when confronted, but let's imagine an alternate universe where that occurs.)
There are nearly infinite ways a 14 year old teenager can make poor choices. I'm choosing to accept the story as given until actual evidence changes it.

People on another forum have brought up the notion that Ahmed was being intentionally provocative. I ultimately rejected that notion because the device doesn't look *enough* like a bomb. It's got a wall plug coming out of it - who builds a bomb which needs external power?
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  #34  
Old 09-27-2015, 07:52 PM
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Default Re: Dawkins again

I suspect a lot of the people who think it looks like a bomb aren't aware of the scale. They're comparing it to suitcase bombs, but that's a pencil case.

And by all accounts, the first thing he did was to show it to his engineering teacher and describe it as a clock.

(The one thing that doesn't make sense to me is that the stories said it beeped during his English class, but I don't see a battery, so unless it was somehow plugged into something or I missed some other power source, how would that happen?)

Also, I don't really think that ignorant people's gut responses to things are all that interesting or convincing. People are scared of things they don't understand, so all people are telling us when they say they think it looks sinister is that they have never seen the inside of an electronic device and that they need to work on their critical thinking skills and learn to question their first impressions.

I fucking hate hot takes and I'm sick of listening to them all the time, and I really really fucking hate it when people get all defensive and dig in to try to justify them.

They are objectively wrong. On learning that, they should be examining their own reactions and trying to figure out where they went wrong, rather than making up elaborate stories to justify and excuse it.

Moths probably think porch lights are elaborate hoaxes being perpetrated against them, too.
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  #35  
Old 09-27-2015, 08:15 PM
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Default Re: Dawkins again

This story has become so fascinating, not because of the clock, that's like whatever, but the sheer amount of panic, bruised baby egos and stupidity coming from adults should be a lesson to every kid everywhere. Just because these people have been around the sun more times than you doesn't mean they actually learned something on those trips, in fact if you take away their pumpkin spice latte many adults are a step away from a temper tantrum.

This is also great support for my theory that movies effect people way more than they will ever let on, since most adults aren't used to dealing with kids they are used to dealing with fake kids written by adults, so of course a 14 year old kid who told the truth is actually a complex super genius who planned this whole thing because it wouldn't be a good story otherwise.

Also I love watching skeptics go bug fuck crazy over the latest conspiracy. Yeah suddenly not that skeptical when it hits *your* blind spot huh Muslim hating white dude.
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  #36  
Old 09-27-2015, 09:10 PM
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Default Re: Dawkins again

Quote:
Originally Posted by viscousmemories View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kael
All the yammering about the word "invention" is just so much irrelevant twaddle.
Again, and perhaps more clearly, it's not that I think Ahmed's apparent misappropriation of the term 'invention' is any kind of justification for anything that happened in Irving, it just makes it less difficult for me to imagine an alternative explanation to the one he has provided so far.
I still do not follow the significance of the purported misapplication of the term "invent" or its various conjugates. He made something and called it his invention. What conclusion does this fact inform?

Like, this fourteen year old claimed that he "invented" a thing, but maybe the thing he made does not actually represent the conception and actual reduction to practice of such invention, and therefore _______. What goes in that blank?
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  #37  
Old 09-27-2015, 09:38 PM
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Default Re: Dawkins again

Besides the only difference between this and many corporate inventions is he lacked a squadron of patent lawyers behind him. I'm pretty sure my iPhone invented a ton of things from Android right after Android invented a ton of things from the iPhone. Slightly modifying someone else's tech and calling it your own is modern business 101.
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  #38  
Old 09-27-2015, 09:42 PM
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Default Re: Dawkins again

So I guess the argument is that because he didn't invent it, it must have served some other purpose, but the most obvious explanation to me is that he is a kid and kids take things apart and sometimes put them back together. I used to do that, and so did all of my siblings. And kids also often kind of give themselves more credit for discovering things than would be appropriate for an adult. What probably happened is that he took the clock apart and reassembled it in a different case. He may have made other modifications, or maybe he just made himself a sort of clock experimentation kit. And maybe possibly, being a child with an extremely supportive family, he gave himself a little bit more credit for his accomplishments than a grownup would.

I didn't see him really claiming to have invented that specific thing, but even if he had, that's well within the realm of normal, innocent things kids do because they're kids.

That can be an innocent misunderstanding, I suppose, especially if you're not familiar with kid behaviors like that. I mean, I still think they're wrong, but it's understandable.

But the people really digging in to their conspiracy theories are tracking very neatly to known bigots. It's pretty much Dorkins and a bunch of Islamophobic hyper-conservatives still pushing elaborate theories and defending the uninformed kneejerk reactions people had to seeing electronics outside of a molded plastic case.

Nearly All Agree: Ahmed's 'Clock' Looks Like a Bomb
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  #39  
Old 09-27-2015, 09:58 PM
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Default Re: Dawkins again

Quote:
Originally Posted by lisarea View Post
So I guess the argument is that because he didn't invent it, it must have served some other purpose, but the most obvious explanation to me is that he is a kid and kids take things apart and sometimes put them back together. I used to do that, and so did all of my siblings. And kids also often kind of give themselves more credit for discovering things than would be appropriate for an adult. What probably happened is that he took the clock apart and reassembled it in a different case. He may have made other modifications, or maybe he just made himself a sort of clock experimentation kit. And maybe possibly, being a child with an extremely supportive family, he gave himself a little bit more credit for his accomplishments than a grownup would.
Yeah, that. This seems so extremely obvious that it's hard to see how it implies anything else. (Or, indeed, why the logical mind would need to resort to speculation to arrive at such implications.)

When I was a kid, I did all kinds of things that I called "science experiments." My parents even encouraged it and bought me stuff to mess with. I liked to take apart an old radio* or catch lizards or tadpoles or whatever. If anybody had asked what I was doing, I would have said I AM DOING SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS.

But you know what? They weren't experiments because I didn't really have a hypothesis or an independent variable or a control. Being a child I did not really get that at the time, and for some reason no grown-ups corrected me, I guess because I was so dumb.

*But not to make HOAX BOMB!!1!
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  #40  
Old 09-27-2015, 11:39 PM
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Default Re: Dawkins again

I think this shows there's a fair amount of overlap between people who don't know what the electronic innards look like, people who don't know what explosives look like, and people with anti-Muslim bias.

I mean, these people would take the case off their DVR and think "OMG, Time-Warner put a bomb in my house!"

Apparently, building a "hoax bomb" is as simple as:

1. Take Xbox
2. Remove case
3. Put electronic elements inside generic box, preferably a briefcase.



You can make it even better by unmounting elements from the frame.

Even simpler instructions:

1. Put Raspberry Pi inside box.

Last edited by erimir; 09-28-2015 at 12:23 AM.
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  #41  
Old 09-28-2015, 12:15 AM
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Default Re: Dawkins again

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChuckF
What goes in that blank?
"maybe he hasn't been completely honest about other aspects of the story."
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Old 09-28-2015, 12:31 AM
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Default Re: Dawkins again

Quote:
Originally Posted by viscousmemories View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChuckF
What goes in that blank?
"maybe he hasn't been completely honest about other aspects of the story."
Could be. Maybe the kid is a total liar and manipulator. Or this week's Balloon Boy or Kim Davis or whatever.

However: is there any evidence to indicate that he was being dishonest about having "invented" the thing that he made? Rather than say, failing to apply the term "invented" in the same way that a relatively sophisticated adult might apply it?

And what inquiry has been done to determine that he did not make an invention within the meaning of Title 35 of the United States Code and under the United States Constitution (or other applicable intellectual property law)? Has he, whether alone or together with other inventors, even applied for a patent that would place inventorship in question?

Because if we're going to parse the terminology scrupulously and really check into claims about inventorship and things like that, it's probably a good idea to be scrupulous in parsing the terminology and check in to inventorship and things like that.
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  #43  
Old 09-28-2015, 12:38 AM
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Default Re: Dawkins again

But nobody has refuted the important parts of the story. In fact, from the original accounts of the story in the media, the police were quoted saying "We attempted to question the juvenile about what it was and he would simply only tell us that it was a clock."

There is no account I've seen where anyone has said that he made any other claims, or even that he wouldn't answer. By pretty much every account, he told anyone who would listen that it was a clock.

So he wasn't dishonest about that, according to the police, and I can't think of any other aspect of the story that's significant.
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  #44  
Old 09-28-2015, 01:26 AM
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Default Re: Dawkins again

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Originally Posted by lisarea View Post
In fact, from the original accounts of the story in the media, the police were quoted saying "We attempted to question the juvenile about what it was and he would simply only tell us that it was a clock."
It sounds rather like they desperately wanted him to say that it was something other than a clock, and that they were annoyed that he persistently refused to do so.
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  #45  
Old 09-28-2015, 06:54 AM
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Default Re: Dawkins again

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChuckF View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by viscousmemories View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChuckF
What goes in that blank?
"maybe he hasn't been completely honest about other aspects of the story."
Could be. Maybe the kid is a total liar and manipulator. Or this week's Balloon Boy or Kim Davis or whatever.

However: is there any evidence to indicate that he was being dishonest about having "invented" the thing that he made? Rather than say, failing to apply the term "invented" in the same way that a relatively sophisticated adult might apply it?

And what inquiry has been done to determine that he did not make an invention within the meaning of Title 35 of the United States Code and under the United States Constitution (or other applicable intellectual property law)? Has he, whether alone or together with other inventors, even applied for a patent that would place inventorship in question?

Because if we're going to parse the terminology scrupulously and really check into claims about inventorship and things like that, it's probably a good idea to be scrupulous in parsing the terminology and check in to inventorship and things like that.
Since he had materially revised the device, improving it to display time inside of a case instead of outside, he may indeed have invented something patentable, depending on whether or not there exists already a patent for a clock inside a pencil case. I mean, if Apple can patent rounded corners, well, you know.
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  #46  
Old 09-28-2015, 09:10 AM
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Default Re: Dawkins again

I won't claim this is comprehensibly representative, but this Ahmed Mohammed seems like the most normal maniacal genius.


I've seen some very self possessed children of that age. It's very impressive when they can handle the media spotlight - even if it is friendly. Their eloquence is impressive and their passion definitely laudable. Ahmed, as smart as he may be, really comes across as "just a kid." With all of the earnest goofiness and awkwardity that age brings with it. He certainly doesn't come across as some kind of mastermind who would plot to expose his school's biases by "inventing" an improvised non-explosive device.
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  #47  
Old 09-28-2015, 11:51 AM
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Default Re: Dawkins again

Quote:
Originally Posted by erimir
1. Take Xbox
2. Remove case
3. Put electronic elements inside generic box, preferably a briefcase.
4. Take it to school and show all your teachers the computer you invented. :p

The infamous Irving Texas clock--challenging the story's foundation - YouTube
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Old 09-28-2015, 03:20 PM
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Default Re: Dawkins again

Holy cats, there are a LOT of those clock truthers on YouTube, and they all just seem to be complaining that the project itself got too much attention. Why is this picture on your refrigerator? I can draw better than that! Dogs don't even have that many legs!

Sometimes people get famous for stupid reasons, and untalented people get undeserved credit ALL THE TIME. Even if that were what this was about, it's hardly the most egregious example.

The whole thing did get out of control pretty quickly, and a bunch of public figures were attaching themselves to it because the media was watching, but now the contrarian phase of the spectacle has begun and these guys are doing the exact same thing.
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Old 09-28-2015, 05:53 PM
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Default Re: Dawkins again

Quote:
Originally Posted by viscousmemories View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by erimir
1. Take Xbox
2. Remove case
3. Put electronic elements inside generic box, preferably a briefcase.
4. Take it to school and show all your teachers the computer you invented. :p
5. It's still not a bomb and still doesn't look like one.
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  #50  
Old 09-28-2015, 05:59 PM
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Default Re: Dawkins again

Quote:
Originally Posted by viscousmemories View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by erimir
1. Take Xbox
2. Remove case
3. Put electronic elements inside generic box, preferably a briefcase.
4. Take it to school and show all your teachers the computer you invented. :p
5. Teacher responds with, "Wow, they don't make those easy to get open, ok let me show you the resistors and capacitors..."
Er, no, of course not, a teacher providing education to a child, are you mad man! There's a chance one or more could actually be Benjamin Button aging backwards and is a super genius, we can't risk it! Did you see the color of his... shoes, people with his color... shoes, do like to make test bombing runs. Omg did you say a bomb? Omg Susan said something about a bomb, I'm calling the police.
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