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Old 23 October 2018, 02:37 PM
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Default Possible explosive device found near George Soros' house, authorities say

A possible explosive device was found in Westchester County, New York, near the house of billionaire liberal philanthropist George Soros, authorities said. An employee of the residence discovered it in a mailbox, said the Bedford town police department.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/george-...ay-2018-10-22/
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  #2  
Old 23 October 2018, 04:29 PM
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With all the right wing conspiracy nonsense about Soros, I'm only surprised that something like this hasn't happened sooner.

Unless it did and just wasn't reported at the time.
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Old 23 October 2018, 06:41 PM
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From the article cited:

Quote:
An employee of the residence discovered it in a mailbox, said the Bedford town police department.

The employee placed the device in a wooded area and called the police, authorities said.
He's either braver or more foolhardy than I am. I wouldn't have touched it.

-- though maybe he'd already picked it up before he realized how suspicious it looked; in which case putting it down somewhere out of the way instead of back in the box makes sense. It's not clear to me whether it had already survived going through the mail without going off, or whether the would-be bomber had put it in the box directly. -- or, on a second reading, whether there was actually a bomb there at all; it does say the police detonated it, but I don't know whether they may have used their own explosives to do so.
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Old 24 October 2018, 03:20 PM
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Default Agents nab possible explosive devices sent to Obama, Clinton

The U.S. Secret Service says agents have intercepted packages containing “possible explosive devices” addressed to former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

The agency says neither Clinton nor Obama received the packages, and neither was at risk of receiving them because of screening procedures.

https://apnews.com/e0ce67492cd843659...&utm_medium=AP
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  #5  
Old 24 October 2018, 04:37 PM
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Time Warner home of CNN may also be involved in whatever this is.

Suspicious packages sent to Time Warner Center, Clinton and Obama

CNN evacuates New York City office amid reports of suspicious package after explosive devices sent to Clinton, Obama homes

Quote:
CNN's office in New York City was evacuated on Wednesday amid reports of a suspicious package, authorities and employees said.

Last edited by iskinner; 24 October 2018 at 04:43 PM.
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  #6  
Old 24 October 2018, 04:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
or, on a second reading, whether there was actually a bomb there at all; it does say the police detonated it, but I don't know whether they may have used their own explosives to do so.
They generally use their own explosives. Even if a suspicious package does contain explosive materials, they can't trust that it was packaged correctly, if any detonators were wired correctly and are functional, etc. It's much safer and easier to have the bomb robot or technician drop off a block of C4 with detonator setup by a expert and blow that up. If the package is quite large and detonation could be a hazard they will sometimes use a very high velocity water blast to break apart the device while minimizing risk of detonation.
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Old 24 October 2018, 05:05 PM
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In the '90s, I took a demolition course. It was not to be bomb squad or anything cool like that, it was to be used on our training ranges in case we had a "blind". I was qualified to go out and clear the blind (qualification long ago lapsed).

One of the things we were taught about using our own explosive instead of the one that did not go off is that we could control it a lot more. We don't know why said munition did not go off, but when we place our charge, it will either cause the detonation of the blind munition, or blast it in a direction away from people/infrastructure etc

I can definitely see bomb squad guys doing that. Placing their charge so that it does not cause an unexploded package to be thrown in the direction of crowds.
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Old 24 October 2018, 05:06 PM
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GenYus [ETA: and UEL, thanks], that makes sense.

Can they generally tell, after they've blown it up, whether explosives other than their own were present?

That is, I expect they can tell by the size of the explosion if large amounts were; or by analysis if different chemicals were involved; but can they tell for sure one way or the other whether smallish amounts of explosives similar to their own were used, or, to put it another way, can they definitely rule out that explosives were there if they weren't?
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Old 24 October 2018, 05:22 PM
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Even bombs that correctly detonate themselves leave significant amounts of evidence behind. Parts of the detonation circuits, wires, explosive residue, etc. So a bomb that was detonated by the bomb squad is going to leave even more evidence behind since the bomb squad is going for the minimal amount of destruction needed to render the bomb inert.
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Old 24 October 2018, 05:49 PM
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OK. But there's also going to be circuits, wires, explosive etc residue left behind from whatever the police used to blow it up, right?

I suppose the chances that those are all going to be the same sort as those a bomber might use would be pretty small. But are they nonexistent?
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  #11  
Old 24 October 2018, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
OK. But there's also going to be circuits, wires, explosive etc residue left behind from whatever the police used to blow it up, right?
Not so much, when one is detonating an explosive locally and immediately, one can generally use much simpler devices then is needed for a explosive that is intended to detonate itself remotely, and often unattended, at some predetermined time, response, and/or location.

Plus it is fairly simple to account for exactly what was used from anything found in the follow up investigation.

Last edited by iskinner; 24 October 2018 at 06:28 PM.
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  #12  
Old 24 October 2018, 06:20 PM
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To follow up on that. Basically all that would be left behind from the bomb squad explosive would be a detonator and some det cord. Anything else would be remote from the bomb and not part of the debris. The bomb itself would have to have a battery/capacitor and some sort of timing device at the minimum.

And the explosive residue from the bomb squads device would be different than the actual explosive material from the original bomb. IANABDE, but modern explosives are actually very hard to make explode. The blast from a destruction charge will not be enough to set off the original bomb's explosives (if all goes according to design). So even if the bomb and the bomb squad charge used the same material, the original bomb will be unexploded (but scattered) C4 which will be quite distinct from the bomb squad's exploded C4.
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Old 24 October 2018, 08:06 PM
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Ah. Thanks.
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Old 24 October 2018, 08:53 PM
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It sorta worries me that GenYus knows so much about bombs and the evidence they leave behind.
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Old 24 October 2018, 11:14 PM
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Mind you, I read that these may have been pipe bombs filled with "black powder" (I think that has a more technical meaning than just gunpowder but I don't know it and don't know if the article I read was using it correctly anyway), so probably home-made and easier to ignite than a modern explosive of the sort that GenYus is talking about.
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Old 24 October 2018, 11:36 PM
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Black powder is the old fashioned version of gun powder, basically the first gun powder. When you US Civil War or US Revolutionary War reenactors firing muskets and there is a huge cloud of smoke, that's black powder.

Several of the sources I found said it was just a "powdered explosive". I'd guess it was smokeless powder, modern gun powder, not black powder. Smokeless powder is just as easy/hard* to get, is more powerful, and is much more stable.

Don't worry dfresh, I'm a good guy (amateur) with a worrisome knowledge of explosives and the evidence they leave behind.

* Laws vary by state, but the Federal definition for explosives counts black powder and smokeless powder as the same. Generally states follow the Federal definitions even if they have different restrictions.
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Old 25 October 2018, 12:05 AM
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So the best defense against a bad guy with an explosive device is a "good guy" with an explosive device?
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  #18  
Old 25 October 2018, 02:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
With all the right wing conspiracy nonsense about Soros, I'm only surprised that something like this hasn't happened sooner.

Unless it did and just wasn't reported at the time.
One of these days, I'm going to stop being lazy and look up George Soros, see if I can find out who he is and why the Right hates him so much. I figure I should know more about the guy that I, as a Liberal, am supposed to be utterly in thrall to, even though I haven't received a single check from him.

So many arguments on the Right seem to consist of them screaming buzzwords and maybe in their subculture, everyone knows exactly what they mean when they scream crap at the top of their lungs, but those outside it, are left baffled.

The "BENGHAZI!" meme confused me for a while. I had a broad outline of the idea behind the meme--Obama and Hillary did something bad that caused the people at the base to get killed--but until I read Rational Wiki, I was mostly baffled, didn't know what they thought had happened or why Obama or Hillary were responsible for it. Yeah, I know, bigotry is pretty much the only idea circulating on the Right, but still.

The extent I know about George Soros is that he's some rich guy who does evil things like use his wealth to advance causes and policies he supports, which is the greatest evil of all. Unlike the Koch Brothers, who do the same thing, which is okay because despite being sons of privilege from long lines of sons of privilege, the Kochs are actually Jes' Plain Folks brimming over with the salt-of-the-earth wisdom that comes with it. So it's okay for them to flood politics with cash and turn the government into an organization that exists to serve them, regardless of the costs to, y'know, actual ordinary citizens. But god forbid, a rich guy with left-leaning politics tries to influence politics.
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  #19  
Old 25 October 2018, 03:11 AM
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Mostly they just hate him because he's rich, liberal, and politically active. Though being Eastern European (he grew up in Hungary) probably doesn't do him any favors.
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  #20  
Old 25 October 2018, 03:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
Mostly they just hate him because he's rich, liberal, and politically active. Though being Eastern European (he grew up in Hungary) probably doesn't do him any favors.
He's in at least some senses Jewish. I suspect that's got something to do with it also.
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