Bin Ladin, Anthrax, and the Quest for Transcendence

Does the God in the Old Testament ever condone the murder of innocent men, women, children, and livestock? For an answer, see Cliff Pickover's new book The Paradox of God and the Science of Omniscience.

Now that we are alert for terrorism in the air, the next terrorist act will not come from the sky but through biological or chemical weapons in a public place, for example at Times Square when the New Year's ball drops.

However, for the moment, let's focus on air travel. We've come to realize that no amount of airport security with respect to carry-on items will prevent a high jacking. Three strong men armed with ball point pens and shouting that they have shampoo bottles full of anthrax could be successful in a highjacking. In this respect, it is not useful to overly restrict the nature of items carried onto planes.

Instead, we should add a voice-activated system in the cockpit such that when the pilot says the word "Zanzibar," the plane can't be highjacked. The code word also triggers an emergency alert to air traffic controllers. The plane is sent into autopilot mode. Other biometric devices, such as fingerprint readers, might be useful.

If the cockpit is to be physically isolated, a video monitor must be installed in the cockpit so that the pilots can see the cabin and flight attendants to check for misdoings and also to avoid the feeling of extreme isolation that one might encounter when locked into a small compartment for many hours. Similarly, the flight attendants should have access to a monitor so that they can see the pilots during conversations, which would also reduce the feeling of imprisonment and isolation.

We should also put a toilet (or other waste collection system) in the cockpit so that the pilots need not leave the cockpit.

In all cases, it is sad that convenience and personal liberty will be sacrificed while prejudice is increased. Will four men named Mohamad ever be allowed on the same plane?

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Biological weapons are bacteria or viruses used to intentionally harm people, animals, crops, water supplies or plants. They're cheaper and easier to make than nuclear or chemical weapons, and they can be equally or more devastating. The U.S. Office of Technology Assessment estimated that a small private plane, with 220 pounds (100 kg) of anthrax spores, flying over Washington on a clear, windless night, could leave an invisible, odorless mist killing between 1 million and 3 million people. It would have the impact of something like two to six times the consequence of a one megaton nuclear bomb.

Warning: the web page above contains photos that might be disturbing.

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What is anthrax?

Anthrax is an acute infectious disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax most commonly occurs in wild and domestic lower vertebrates (cattle, sheep, goats, camels, antelopes, and other herbivores), but it can also occur in humans when they are exposed to infected animals or tissue from infectedanimals. Why has anthrax become a current issue? Because anthrax is considered to be a potential agent for use in biological warfare, the Department of Defense (DoD) has begun mandatory vaccination of all active duty military personnel who might be involved in conflict. How common is anthrax and who can get it? Anthrax is most common in agricultural regions where it occurs in animals. These include South and Central America, Southern and Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. When anthrax affects humans, it is usually due to an occupational exposure to infected animals or their products. Workers who are exposed to dead animals and animal products from other countries where anthrax is more common may become infected with B. anthracis (industrial anthrax). Anthrax in wild livestock has occurred in the United States.How is anthrax transmitted? Anthrax infection can occur in three forms: cutaneous (skin), inhalation, and gastrointestinal. B. anthracis spores can live in the soil for many years, and humans can become infected with anthrax by handling products from infected animals or by inhaling anthrax spores from contaminated animal products. Anthrax can also be spread by eating undercooked meat from infected animals. It is rare to find infected animals in the United States.

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THE SLEEPING GIANT: Israel faces gas/germ terrorism
Welcome to The Sleeping Giant, the first stop for Jews and Israelis world-wide who are concerned that Islamic terrorists wielding weapons of mass destruction could pose the greatest threat to Jewish civilian survival since the holocaust. If you are surprised by what you just read, tell us why at our web page.

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Anthrax attack is said to be thwarted by FBI.
The call came into the FBI's Las Vegas office last week: A scientist claimed that two men had approached him, wanting to use his laboratory to test cultures of anthrax bacteria. In the past year, the FBI has investigated more than 100 cases involving suspected terrorists and chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. But this case sounded special alarm bells when the scientist told agents the name of one of the men: Larry Wayne Harris, an Ohio microbiologist and outspoken white supremacist. Last year Harris was sentenced to 18 months' probation for illegally obtaining three vials of the bacteria that cause bubonic plague

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