Binnie's next trick.

From: Alex F. Bokov (
Date: Sat Oct 13 2001 - 20:59:19 MDT


Okay, you've heard anthrax stories ad nauseaum by now. But what's odd
about them is that some of the suspicious packages are duds and some
aren't, sometimes sent to the same target and from the same putative
source. Why?

Because, a dud shuts down the target and causes panic as much real
payload until the local health officials can test it. Furthermore,
repeated duds may use the boy-who-cried-wolf effect to soften up the
target for the real deal. They are maximizing the bang for their
buck. The only way I can think of resisting this tactic is to be ever
vigilant, and have fast, efficient plans in place for evacuating areas
and testing for anthrax.

That and/or they've come up with a way to fool the health inspectors,
and all those 'negative' packages actually aren't. Anybody know how
they test for anthrax? I'm guessing antibody staining, and depending
on what the antibodies are specific for, it may be possible to evade
them by deliberately altering some non-crucial amino acid sequences.

There is also the disturbing possibility that these letters were
stuffed chock full of spores which then distributed themselves all
over the random letters they were in transit with. If the post office
randomly sampled mail for a week or so, it may settle the question.

Finally, maybe anthrax is a scary-sounding but ineffectual way to
terrorize people and this is either an experiment on their part or
a diversionary tactic.

Ah, cavemen bioterrorists. Who needs the Sci-Fi channel when you've
got CNN?

- --
* I believe that the majority of the world's Muslims are good, *
* honorable people. If you are a Muslim and want to reassure me and *
* others that you are part of this good, honorable majority, all *
* you need to say are nine simple words: "I OPPOSE the Wahhabi cult *
* and its Jihad." *

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