Author Topic: Mischief you got up to when young.  (Read 10174 times)

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Offline PbFoot

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Mischief you got up to when young.
« on: May 22, 2012, 03:28:25 pm »
I'd be interested to hear all your stories of mischief you got up to with "experiments" or devices you constructed or explored when you were a kid.

My friends and I used to build some ridiculously powerful pipe-bombs. In hindsight, we are lucky we didn't join the "pink mist club". We had no clue what we were doing and, we didn't know how big the boom would be. Once we made an extra huge one from some thick steel pipe for natural gas.We used a remote control for an RC car (27 MHz) to set it off. If someone keyed their CB near by, I wouldn't be typing this. We had no idea how dangerous this was. After that one, we stopped. The boom was so big it made a very large crater in the ground. We came to the decision that we had taken the whole pipe-bomb thing to it's logical conclusion, and we ought to stop.  (I DO NOT SUGGEST THAT ANYONE BUILD ANY BOMBS! YOU COULD KILL YOURSELF!)

Many afternoons were spend putting electrolytic caps into extension cords, and plugging them in to explode them.

We often messed around with entrance systems and phone switching gear that we got access to (a lot of this infrastructure was insecure). We even climbed down some manholes with a makeshift rope ladder and explored the infrastructure a bit. Also, old abandoned factories with a lot of leftover industrial gear. It was fun to look at the old gauges and big relays and battery banks.

We experimented with hot-wiring our parents cars.

We built all kinds of boxes to cheat the phone company out of long distance, counters, timers, little RF transmitters etc. It was fun times.

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Offline Time

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Re: Mischief you got up to when young.
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2012, 03:39:59 pm »
Ah yes, I also did my fair share of telephone 'phreaking'.  Its kind of a little of what inspired me to go the EE route.
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Offline ee851

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Re: Mischief you got up to when young.
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2012, 04:20:39 pm »
When I was young and experimenting with electricity, I made a burglar alarm that would turn on a light and sound a buzzer when the door to my room opened.    This was before I had any experience with real electronics parts.   So I made my own switches by cutting open tin cans with shears I found in the garage.    That's where my parts and tools exclusively came from --the garage.    I hooked it up to mains electricity to power it.     One day my uncle visited and saw it.   Then he told my mother I ought not to be playing with exposed mains electricity.
 

Offline G7PSK

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Re: Mischief you got up to when young.
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2012, 05:31:20 pm »
I also used to play with explosives at school, making nitro glycerin and gun cotton. The chemistry lab floor was pock marked from testing the nitro, on one occasion we  made a kilo of gun cotton and decided that a safe place to test it was an old pill box on a farm that belonged to the father of a fellow pupil, it lifted the whole thing of its foundations. I then moved onto rockets which I launched from my lab. which was a shed at the bottom of the garden, this is what got me into electricity I needed a power source bigger than the car batteries I was using so I built a generator to supply the power. I gave up the rockets when the village policeman started asking awkward questions about the rocket which had fallen on the local RAF station, I decided it was best to lie low for a while.
 

Offline Freighternut

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Re: Mischief you got up to when young.
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2012, 08:46:25 am »
okay...lets see how many ways that I tried to kill myself!

1. Bolt bombs...incredibly dangerous as you had no idea which way the shrapnel would fly. A friend blew the flesh out between his thumb and for finger with one, that was scary and messy!

2. Molotov cocktails made from 1/2 gallon jars of father's motor mower petrol.

3. Depth charging the neighbours gold fish pond with carbide bombs...stunned fish everywhere..

4. Exploding caps and germanium transistors concelled in mains plugs... frightened the hell out of fellow techs when they turned on their soldering irons.

6. Smoke bombs that set a hill side alight, got into big trouble with that one.

That was a few of the things that I got up to in my misspent youth.
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Offline Psi

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Re: Mischief you got up to when young.
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2012, 10:33:06 am »
I once blew up a 2.25L coke bottle with some water, calcium carbide and an electronic igniter.
You know how loud dry ice bombs are, well this was louder, much louder :)
« Last Edit: May 23, 2012, 10:38:19 am by Psi »
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Offline Architect_1077

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Re: Mischief you got up to when young.
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2012, 11:34:50 am »
When I was youngER I had a bad habit of blowing up stuff, electrically speaking. Tbh, I don't know how I managed to survive some of my "experiments".
I once stuck a hairpin in a mains outlet. Blew up the breaker box. I don't really know how it "blew up" (those were my parents' words) and I don't know how I survived with basically no injury other than a slight burn on my fingers. I was something like 4 years old.
Another time, I had the great idea of powering a standard mains powered light bulb directly off of a mains outlet using standard hookup wire. Funny thing is... it worked!! At least for about 5 seconds, right up until the point my unsteady hands slipped, touched the two wires together and KABAM!! The house went dark and I got a beating from my father when he returned from work and found the breaker box again had "blown up". I was about 10. I didn't get any personal injury from that other than a fright.

Yet another time I managed to blow up a cheap analog DMM freshly bought from the hardware store by my father. I decided to "test" the Ohms range on mains voltage... KABAAM!! Again, no personal injury but my father wasn't too happy when he found out...

Apart from electrical related stuff... too much mischief to remember half of it. Anything from stabbing my brother with a small swiss army knife or ramming him with my bike, bombing people with water balloons while hidden up above in a tree. I must have been a nasty kid  8)
 

Offline siliconmix

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Re: Mischief you got up to when young.
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2012, 12:37:23 pm »
hacking gambling machines (flicking an electronic lighter by the credit counter display) until they spoiled the fun and they fitted better shielding.
 

Offline Psi

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Re: Mischief you got up to when young.
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2012, 01:00:35 pm »
hacking gambling machines (flicking an electronic lighter by the credit counter display) until they spoiled the fun and they fitted better shielding.

hehe
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Offline david77

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Re: Mischief you got up to when young.
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2012, 01:43:54 pm »
Wow, you people were (are?) dangerous  ;D.

Well, it's not that I never set anything alight or blew something up...  8)

A friend and I had a time when we just had to set light to things. Mainly the Matchbox (no, Suki cars, the German equivalent) car collection I had inherited from my uncle - shame on me! We rigged them up with petrol + electric igniters and staged extensive accidents... Many a beautiful classic model car has been ruined by me  :'(. Stupid kids...

My first experiments with mains voltage were not very succesfull. Flashes and bangs were quite common and then the telling off from my mum afterwards.
First 220V electric shock: Age 3. I put a knitting needle and a cork screw into a socket, I'm surprised im still alive after that :)
Funnily I can still remember that exactly.

When I was 9-10 years I used to take everything apart that had a plug on it and collected the pieces. I then tried to make something out of them. In those days I had not the slightest idea what I was doing so I used cardboard boxes as "project boxes". To stop the things inside from rattling about I stuffed the boxes with cotton, wool, cloth, paper whatever I could lay my hands on. One day I managed to hook a battery, a slider pot and a galvanometer up so that I could control the meter with the slider pot. It was fantastic!
There was just one snag: In the lowest position of the slider pot the pot would start smoking. No problemo, just don't slide it all the way down  ;D. Somehow by accident I must have left it on a cushion on a garden chair and the pot started to heat up until the cardboard "project box" caught fire. My mum was inside and saw the blaze through the window.
That was one of the few times she actually hit me and locked me in my room  :-[.

« Last Edit: May 23, 2012, 02:04:44 pm by david77 »
 

Offline T4P

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Re: Mischief you got up to when young.
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2012, 04:11:30 pm »
You guys had fantastic childhood years  ;D

I recall always setting fires with friends in metal dustbins throwing whatever was flammable and then after 2 hours we would throw the lighter full of fluid into the flame, then stand far back and wait for the explosion (piezoelectric lighters are the best for exploding)  ;D

When i was young, i managed to smoke a 5amps selectable voltage PSU for no apparent reason, my father later told me the brand was always like this, new like a star, useless quick like a star ...

Back then me and my friends brought hammers to a CRT screens dumpsite and just smash the shit of all the CRT TV's ... those were the days

But also water bombs and carbide bombs were fantastic 'till we got reprimanded by a police officer ...

OR simply ringing other people's houses doorbells and just walk by as if i didn't press the doorbell ...

And but not limited to, blowing up almost dead equipment by setting the voltage selector to 110V ! BAAAM it blew instantly on power up  :-[
 

Offline pullin-gs

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Re: Mischief you got up to when young.
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2012, 04:34:36 pm »
I got a visit by a team of spooks out of Vint-Hill.
I was about 11 or 12?  This happened in the mid-70's.
These guys had the black suits, white shirts, ties, pilot's sun-glasses, black car...the whole 9-yards.
Vint-Hill  (in Virginia) was a classified  Radio listening  "Antenna Farm" run by the Army in close association with NSA.  Their mission was to listen in on Soviet-block radio transmissions and other stuff which the public would never know about even to this day.


Here's what brought this on:
I had just gotten a scratch-built (plans from old ARRL book) 3-Mhz one-tube xmitter up and running. My parts stash was very thin, and I had no money, so I made lots of parts-substitutions in order to get it up and working.
It turns out I was spewing RF output all over the HF spectrum and totally hosed Vint-Hill's spook activities.


They asked my dad to step outside.  They caucused for about 20 minutes.
They came inside for a moment and looked me over, said a few words/grunts to each other, and left.
Dad let me know what it was about after they left.
My days of building transmitters was over.

This is a great story/memory which makes for great conversation.  But at the time I was scared for my safety.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2012, 04:36:50 pm by pullin-gs »
 

Offline ftransform

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Re: Mischief you got up to when young.
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2012, 07:04:57 pm »
 :-X
 

Online sonicj

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Re: Mischief you got up to when young.
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2012, 07:46:46 pm »
 

Offline Cybeonix

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Re: Mischief you got up to when young.
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2012, 07:58:04 pm »
Never really did anything dangerous; just the typical curiosity of tearing everything apart to see how it works :)
 

Offline Mr J

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Re: Mischief you got up to when young.
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2012, 04:12:32 am »
When i was about 7 we used to take bang snaps, take them apart and build bigger ones. This worked until my friend put one in his pocket and it went off blew the pocket right off the pants, huge bruise on his butt.

at 14 we use to fill up 55 gallon trash bags with oxy acetylene, do not do this! We were very lucky! My friend also did this a couple of years ago and the static from the bag accidentally lit it up and lost his hearing in one ear.

During my co-op days (I was 15 at the time)we had an old bastard in the shop always picked on me. One day I noticed he always tilted back in his office chair when he was on the phone. So I stayed late one night got a mercury switch from an old thermostat, an SCR, battery and a fire alarm sounder I pulled from the wall and hooked it all up under the chair. Well the next day he tilted back, scared the crap out of him, shot up and dove under the desk, then couldn't shut the dam thing off. Didn't have a problem with him after that.

During junior high we snuck into the science lab a grabbed about a half pound of sodium, built a small sail boat with a pinhole leak in it, cubed up the sodium and send it on it way in a lake. it got about a couple of hundred of feet off shore and boom! Fire department came down to investigate. Probably thought it was a plane or boat crash.

About a month later we opened up a fire hydrant to fill up a make shift pool, shortly after we heard the fire horns blowing (rural areas had this for volunteers to activate, before pager systems) and they showed up at the hydrant, i guess they had a pressure sense system. We bugged out before they got there.

man there is a bunch more but got to go to bed. 12am here

     
 

Offline bullet308

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Re: Mischief you got up to when young.
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2012, 04:50:54 am »
Did you know that the powder used in blank rifle cartridges is damn-near a high explosive?

No?

Me either.
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Offline T4P

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Re: Mischief you got up to when young.
« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2012, 06:53:58 am »
Did you know that the powder used in blank rifle cartridges is damn-near a high explosive?

No?

Me either.

It is indeed a high explosive therefore the very dirty remains in a gun's barrel
 

Offline Dark Prognosis

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Re: Mischief you got up to when young.
« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2012, 07:29:07 am »
Worst thing at the youngest age is when a person and I devised a bomb in the second grade.

 We had this big hollow out nut type thing (dunno what it was) that would fall off the school tree and I pushed all of these tacks into it where it was just all metal showing due to the tacks big heads (was about 20-30 of them) when a teacher caught us.  This was 1972 mind you and I no longer remember what I was going to stick in the damn thing to make it go boom but never once did death enter our minds.  Was going to make it explode and watch the tacks stick into the classroom walls and possibly a few idiots' asses.

Lets just say I am glad I was caught.
 

Offline Gall

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Re: Mischief you got up to when young.
« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2012, 08:13:00 am »
That was not exactly dangerous but a lot of fun...

After getting a "2" (Russian rough equivalent of "F" grade) for a test in geography, I wanted a revenge. To do so, I took a thin aluminium sheet and made a pipe. The lower end of the pipe was covered with a grid made from enameled copper wire. That formed a grate firing. A piece of the same wire was attached to the upper end to hook the contraption on a nail. I inserted the a between bricks of the outside wall of the school building, hooked my "furnace" on it, filled it with rubber strips for the fuel, ignited it and ran away. The result was a black strip on the wall of three story building reaching its roof!
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Offline M. András

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Re: Mischief you got up to when young.
« Reply #20 on: May 29, 2012, 08:13:26 am »
at age of 6 or 7 maybe i stuck a little 3v cristmas tree lightbulb into the mains socket 220volt :) well it was a big bang, i was smart i put the thing into the extension cord then flipped the switch on it so i didnt get hurt but the breaker went down with it half of the flat's lighting :D i got a nice beating from my father when he came into the room and couldnt switch on the lights, and saw the black marking on the extension cord. at age of 9 i was experimenting with small panel mount transformators, car lighbulbs small dc motors etc. it was put into a wooden box i day i touched by mistake the wrong side of the 2 pole switch hmm that was enlighting, i wasnt tired for days :D
 

Offline bullet308

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Re: Mischief you got up to when young.
« Reply #21 on: May 29, 2012, 12:38:29 pm »
Did you know that the powder used in blank rifle cartridges is damn-near a high explosive?

No?

Me either.

It is indeed a high explosive therefore the very dirty remains in a gun's barrel

I don't know if it is *quite* a high explosive. I think it is more like a very, very, VERY fast-burning pistol propellant, except it burns so fast it has no practical use in a pistol and would reliably scatter one across the countryside if you tried.

All I know is that the blank powder from two cartridges, dumped into one .30-06 rifle cartridge case with a length of waterproof fuse and tightly crimped will launch the contents of a  5-gallon  plastic bucket of water in a column three meters high and blow the bottom out of the bucket and leave a shallow dent in the ground.

In theory, I mean. 
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Offline Neilm

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Re: Mischief you got up to when young.
« Reply #22 on: May 29, 2012, 06:23:29 pm »
Reading all that makes giving my brother electric shocks seem rather tame. (2 AA batteries, a small coil and a loose wire if you are interested)

Neil
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Offline TheWelly888

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Re: Mischief you got up to when young.
« Reply #23 on: May 29, 2012, 07:00:31 pm »
Shuffling on nylon carpets generating static so that one can get a spark against another lad's neck - I quite unkindly told another lad that sort of thing causes spontaneous human combustion!!

Also when I was three, I was plugging and unplugging a table lamp in the wall socket and I did get a shock from it - Dave, don't let Sagan do that when he reaches the same age!
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Offline RCMR

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Re: Mischief you got up to when young.
« Reply #24 on: May 30, 2012, 02:03:41 am »
Ha ha .. funny this topic should come up... I've written a book on my "dangerous exploits" over the years, including what I got up to when I was quite young.

Home-made nitroglycerene that almost destroyed a flat I was living in, home-made rockets from steam-pipe and yellow-powder, a huge spark-gap transmitter that bathed the neighbourhood in EMP, converting a BB pistol into a high-powered .22 cal handgun, home-made 130dB jet engines, experiments with fuming nitric acid (when you could buy it from the local chemist/pharmacy), a 4" mortar made from steam-pipe and... of course... that low-cost DIY cruise missile with 100 mile range and 10Kg payload capability.

These are the things that make life fun -- but I am surprised I'm still alive at 59.

 

Online sonicj

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Re: Mischief you got up to when young.
« Reply #25 on: May 30, 2012, 06:24:15 am »
Ha ha .. funny this topic should come up...

lol! yea, you win!   ;D
« Last Edit: May 30, 2012, 06:25:46 am by sonicj »
 

Offline Dark Prognosis

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Re: Mischief you got up to when young.
« Reply #26 on: May 30, 2012, 06:46:51 am »
Ha ha .. funny this topic should come up...

lol! yea, you win!   ;D
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Offline Dark Prognosis

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Re: Mischief you got up to when young.
« Reply #27 on: May 30, 2012, 06:51:12 am »
Ha ha .. funny this topic should come up... I've written a book on my "dangerous exploits" over the years, including what I got up to when I was quite young.

Home-made nitroglycerene that almost destroyed a flat I was living in, home-made rockets from steam-pipe and yellow-powder, a huge spark-gap transmitter that bathed the neighbourhood in EMP, converting a BB pistol into a high-powered .22 cal handgun, home-made 130dB jet engines, experiments with fuming nitric acid (when you could buy it from the local chemist/pharmacy), a 4" mortar made from steam-pipe and... of course... that low-cost DIY cruise missile with 100 mile range and 10Kg payload capability.

These are the things that make life fun -- but I am surprised I'm still alive at 59.
That 5 thousand dollar missile how much would that cost now in 2012 with all of these microcontrollers and GPS systems so easily had from eBay?
 

Offline Freighternut

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Re: Mischief you got up to when young.
« Reply #28 on: May 30, 2012, 08:32:34 am »
Another couple of exploits of my youth, see my previous post for the others.

Calling my brother in for lunch after attaching my home made electric fence unit to the door handle. Even my
mother thought that was funny!

Tossing a box of 22 bullets into a fire. The lead stayed still, but the cartridges went in all directions!

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Offline RCMR

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Re: Mischief you got up to when young.
« Reply #29 on: May 30, 2012, 08:16:32 pm »
That 5 thousand dollar missile how much would that cost now in 2012 with all of these microcontrollers and GPS systems so easily had from eBay?
Well you can pick up a full autopilot with three-axis gyro-stabilization for about US$200 (out of China) these days.  In fact I use one of these most weekends with my RC planes -- it provides an automated "return to launch" when I'm flying long distance by way of a video-camera over RF link.

The worry is not that it's cheaper but that the Chinese have made it "shrink wrapped".  You just unpack the box, wire it up, plug in your laptop, click on your waypoints using Google Earth and you're done!

In the wrong hands -- scary!

Keeping it out of the wrong hands...

Nothing.
 

Offline Dark Prognosis

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Re: Mischief you got up to when young.
« Reply #30 on: May 30, 2012, 09:08:09 pm »
That 5 thousand dollar missile how much would that cost now in 2012 with all of these microcontrollers and GPS systems so easily had from eBay?
Well you can pick up a full autopilot with three-axis gyro-stabilization for about US$200 (out of China) these days.  In fact I use one of these most weekends with my RC planes -- it provides an automated "return to launch" when I'm flying long distance by way of a video-camera over RF link.

The worry is not that it's cheaper but that the Chinese have made it "shrink wrapped".  You just unpack the box, wire it up, plug in your laptop, click on your waypoints using Google Earth and you're done!

In the wrong hands -- scary!

Keeping it out of the wrong hands...

Nothing.
I didn't know that One Hung Lo was doing this and that is exactly what I was telling my wife that in the wrong hands wow.  The thing is that over here we were so often told of how much money the middle eastern Terrorists have and if that is true then why haven't they used any of this?

We know the devices you are talking about are true.
We know they are extremely easy to get (wonder if they are on eBay?).
So if the terrorists are real and an imminent threat why haven't they seized the moment?  Things like this makes me wonder about the validity of these groups.
 

Offline RCMR

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Re: Mischief you got up to when young.
« Reply #31 on: May 31, 2012, 12:42:26 am »
We know the devices you are talking about are true.
We know they are extremely easy to get (wonder if they are on eBay?).
So if the terrorists are real and an imminent threat why haven't they seized the moment?  Things like this makes me wonder about the validity of these groups.
Well this is just an opinion but here's my opinion as to why the terror attacks have stopped...

The key component of the word terrorist is "terror".

The terrorists have achieved their goal -- the USA now lives in terror.  In fact it's worse than that.

US citizens have lost a raft of "rights" in the name of "the war against terror" (WOT).

Call me a cynic but I can't help but feel that the US government has seen an opportunity to use 9/11 as an excuse to significantly dilute the rights of the individual and introduce a huge range of draconian measures that boost the power of the state over its citizens.

The WOT has done more harm to the USA than WW2 ever did.  Key parts of the constitution have effectively been struck-out and the courts allow it because the word "terrorism" is used as a justification.

The USA now thumbs its nose at a range of human rights conventions, especially at places like Guantanamo Bay -- while also (hypocritically) denouncing other nations for their breaches -- even launching war against them to supposedly "protect their citizens" from such rights abuses.

As a result of this, the USA has lost the respect of huge numbers of people who were previously their "friends".

Of course this suits "the powers that be" because, as they make more enemies, the justification for turning this former democracy into a police-state grows stronger.

Now, thanks to a small band of terrorists who have killed fewer US citizens than die annually on that nation's roads, you can't fly on an airplane without being bathed in ionizing radiation or "patted down" by security staff.  What's more, anyone who's had to endure the journey through US immigration (at least at LAX) will testify to the fact that there's no "Welcome to the USA" -- it's more like "we presume you're a terrorist and that's the way we're going to treat you".  It's not a pleasant experience  -- with threats and rudeness completely destroying an last bit of sympathy a traveller may have towards the USA's predicament.

With the USA digging its own  hole, there's no further need for terrorists to risk their own lives or waste money actually launching attacks on the USA.  There's nothing to gain.  The spectre of fear has been cultivated so well by the USA's own government that there's very little a bunch of "insurgents" could do to make things worse.

For a nation that positions itself as the poster-boy for human rights and democracy, the USA has done a wonderful job of dismantling both within its own borders.

I know dozens of Americans and they're all wonderful people -- but their administration -- well that's something completely different.  Unfortunately, the importance of patriotism is drummed into Americans right from day one so nobody wants to (publicly) criticise their own country or the administration that governs it.  As a result -- the US government continues to do exactly what it wants to do -- which generally means looking after its rich friends (RIAA/MPAA for instance) and riding roughshod over the rights of the average citizen.

But as I say -- this is just one man's opinion.  Yours may differ.

 

Offline Dark Prognosis

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Re: Mischief you got up to when young.
« Reply #32 on: May 31, 2012, 03:00:26 am »
You, my friend, think very much like I do though not 100% but so close to 100% it is hard to see a defining line of a difference.

The Patriot act was anything but patriotic and I could go on from there but that is for another thread.

edit:  You are spot on with that national patriotism dealio because if you don't tow the line you can simply be called a terrorist, without proof just with accusation, and be removed from the world.  That is like the old KGB used to do when a little white car would screech up to someone then kidnap them in front of a mob of people and not a soul remembers the one that was abducted by the KGB.

SCARY!
« Last Edit: May 31, 2012, 03:08:31 am by Dark Prognosis »
 


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