Re: 1e6 advantage to the terrorists

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Thu Sep 27 2001 - 03:59:06 MDT

On Wed, Sep 26, 2001 at 07:53:58PM -0700, Spike Jones wrote:
> Reason I am asking: I thought of a most dreadful thing the
> terrorists could do with very little money and make an enormous
> psychological and financial impact on our society. They could
> easily destroy a billion dollars of value for each thousand
> they spent, and might not even need to die. If I post
> the idea, do I run the risk of giving the terrorists a notion
> that they hadn't already discovered? Or would I help
> protect against such a fate by alerting the good guys?
> Would the feds come visit me? spike

I think that in general it is a good idea to come up with dreadful
scenarios in order to make sure they don't happen. But one should think
a bit about to whom one spread them (not that I think Bin Laden et al
subscribe to this list - too high noise level :-). As Adam Ierymenko
said, "I can think of lots of creative terrorist actions. So can anyone
else with half a brain. Thankfully, most terrorists aren't that bright.
Don't share your brain with terrorists". But share it with others.

That said, I think the feds *might* be interested in visits anyway. I
saw some report that one of the new antiterrorist proposals included
"giving advice to terrorists" as terrorism. I wonder how far the
transitivity goes? If I tell you that tankes with ammonia are
transported across Lake Mälaren, and you suggest that if somebody blew
them up it would make an awful damage, and then somebody did it, would I
become a terrorist? And the newspaper telling me about the tanker?

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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