Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston Marathon blasts

The video below shows one of the blasts a few meters from the camera (that starts to swing); the other blast is heard elsewhere 13 seconds later. Think twice whether you want to watch it at all.

It's a special negative feeling to see people murdered at a place that I know so well as the place above. There's the Old South Church on the left side of the video above (Google Maps); the Copley Square with the Trinity Church (and the Hancock Tower next to it) would be seen just 100 meters further on the right side.

I've been in downtown Boston approximately (at least) every other weekend during my 6 years at Harvard. Boston proper was just a more attractive place for me than Cambridge – the latter is kind of provincial, boring, and full of hypocritical leftists while Boston is a proper, ideologically diverse megacity with the life and business of all kinds one expects from an unfiltered center of America.

Moreover, one doesn't have to walk for 2 miles to find a fast-food restaurant with hamburgers in Boston – a type of business that the leftists apparently want to eradicate.

You may hear that the sound of the blast was loud and guaranteed to create panic. This was a truly vibrant place and, it's easy to say now, a rather natural target for terror. Relatively speaking, the number of casualties is rather low. Thank God but let's not thank Him too much because it's still bad.

I have no idea who is behind the terror – nothing to say except that I would surely also catch and investigate a 20-year-old Saudi student if I found one next to the explosion. It's a good idea to monitor potentially dangerous – while simple enough – activities at similarly vibrant places. On the other hand, I hope that America will be wise enough not to overreact. Life shouldn't be stopped because of one explosively sad event.

The map of the blasts; thanks to Joseph S.


  1. I've always felt there was a connection between people who had lived in the same place decades or centuries apart, because there are things about the place which they'd all know in common. If you go back far enough, those are only natural features, but still they're something. Even some Indians many centuries ago would have had something to talk about with my grandfather, who knew the Massachusetts coastline like the back of his hand. For that matter, I would, but not nearly as much as he. But I would, if I had worked on the water, and I hadn't moved to California in my middle 20s.

  2. I totally agree. Just when I studied all the locations etc. in the morning, I also decided to call my dad who was visiting me at Harvard - for 2 weeks - sometime in May 2007, a month before I departed. I asked him whether he saw the explosion places and whether he remembered them from his (only) visit to the U.S. (during which he "only" saw New York, Boston, Niagara Falls, and 1,000 islands on the Canadian borders).

    His answer was Yes - and he just wanted to call me precisely for the same reason! You may imagine that I don't know too many people who are physically close to me these days who know Boston at least as much as my dad does.

    The geographic sense of identity used to be stronger in the past. Before the nation states erupted in the 19th century, people felt to be clustered according to the location, Nature around it, and so on. A reason why the important of this diminished relatively to the language etc. is that traveling and communication became easier so one is less attached to a place - and the fact that one (from faraway places like Pilsen) is attached to distant places such as Boston ;-) is an accompanying effect of the same sort - which simultaneously allowed one not to learn the language/culture of some people just because they're geographically close.

  3. this video is HD and give a more realistic view


  4. condolence and symphty for the peoples who sufferd from this terror attack of bombs blast .

    i saw how the finishing line is ended and there was a huge fire upcoming from the other building in the video that has been shown some tv news channel

    , who every did this do not want peace in the world and other places


  5. The 15th century native Americans around Boston would be shocked to
    learn that the Back Bay is land, not a bay, as much as I was shocked to
    learn for the first time that the word "bay" was more than a joke.

    Thanks. I guess I shouldn't continue with the romantic stuff, so I'll make a small point.

    Every person born in the United States is a native American. To distinguish the Indians, you must capitalize: Native American. Otherwise I could open a casino. :-)

    They were polled in 1995 on what they preferred to be called. "American Indian" beat "Native American" 50-37. But you just go ahead and be PC, if you wish! :-)

  6. Obama says, “... make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of this. And
    we will find out who did this, we’ll find out why they did this. Any
    responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full
    weight of justice.”

    Yes, "they will feel the full weight of justice," just like the Saudis did for 911, I'm sure.

    This is why I no longer care much about what the president has to say about this, or any other breach in national security.

    What is clear to me is that despite billions, upon billions spent by
    homeland security, despite the reading of every E- mail of every person
    in this country, the monitoring of every single phone conversation, the
    end of civil rights such as habeas corpus, the end of presumption of
    innocence under the law, the patriot act, the use of drones to kill
    American Citizens without trial, the invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan,
    Pakistan, involvement in Syria, Libya, Trillions spent on War, etc., we
    are not really any safer.

    So there is no guarantee that any future increase in federal
    invasion of individual rights, and loss of individual freedoms will
    prevent any more acts like this one.

    What comes next will be another massage of the masses designed to
    use this event and exploit it, in another round of who, what, why?

    Yet, there will be no questioning, by our political apparatchik, of
    its own motives, and more importantly, of its own incompetencies.

    At some point, this country will cross a line, in which its breakup
    into competing states is almost unstoppable. What seemed like an obvious
    case of irrationality by right wing nuts, will have to be understood,
    in all seriousness as real. This will be backed by increasing numbers of
    ex-military, whose membership is disproportionately made up of
    Southerners, unhappy with the disintegration of the national government
    at the hands of the Corporate Reich.

  7. These are animals who do this and down here we already have a nice place prepared for them.

    Boston is a beautiful city. They have a very cool Natural history museum there with a really huge Van der Graaf generator that they demonstrate. I spent 1 summer there (working as a cook in a sea food restaurant on Cape Cod on a Work and Travel program). The only annoying thing in Massachusetts are the really restrictive laws concerning alcohol

  8. LOL, thanks for your English lesson. The lowercase "n" is a part of my Europization of the U.S. English. Americans like everything big but I just find the amount of capitalization in the U.S. English to be hugely excessive. I didn't realize the far-reaching political consequences of the lowercase "n".

    If it were up to me, I would of course just call them "Indians" - my usage is "Native Americans" is indeed a clear artifact of my 10-year presence in the brainwashing PC environment - except for the crazy fact that people in the U.S. still use the same word for the citizens of the (next-to-Bengal) British colony of India. ;-)

    Yankees, have you already learned and accepted that Columbus was actually wrong and America was a different country than India? ;-) If you do, I can't understand how it's possible that you still have one word for the citizens of both. We call the people in India "Ind" and the Native Americans are "Indián".

  9. thejollygreenmanApr 16, 2013, 8:49:00 PM

    Lubos, you have a lot in common with Thatcher, a chemist. She said the liked the English landscape because man changed it into a far more agreeable place.

  10. Did she? Well, cute but I guess we were not the only 2 people who are amazed by the achievements of the Western European nations in cultivating the landscape...

  11. The US is destined to break up into competing states? Now that’s just kooky, Cynthia.

  12. English has "hugely excessive" capitalization? What do you call what German has? They capitalize every noun!

    An American from India or with ancestors in India would be "Indian-American," not "American Indian."

    If we need to distinguish the two, we call people from India "East Indians." Polls show that 18% of Americans know this. ;-)

    Yes, we know Columbus was mistaken. BTW, his diary is pretty funny in places. In one entry he says, "Each day I am more convinced that this Cunha [Cuba] of which the Indians speak is Japan." He reaches Cuba and meets a chief. Cuba doesn't look as advanced as he'd expect of Japan, but he figures he's in an outlying area. The chief tells him that warriors from the mainland come down every so often and take slaves. Columbus writes, "I knew it! The Great Khan!"

  13. Dear Smoking Frog, right, I know enough German to know that they capitalize nouns. ;-) But that's just a qualitatively different rule from e.g. Czech. English claims to have pretty much the same basic rule in which the nouns are not capitalized - but it's still capitalizing lots and lots of them.

    Also, be sure that I know that you call Indian folks living in America "Indian-Americans". I said that "American Indians" is the phrase that *I* would associate with these people. The opposite order, "Indian-Americans", is based on the assumption that the primary identity is given by the place where one lives - American - and "Indian", the ethnic origin, is just a minor adjective that adds some flavor to the basic identity, "an American".

    In Central Europe, we use the opposite - and surely more sensible - approach. The primary identity is the ethnic/genetic/ancestors-cultural. So the person we talk about is an Indian and we may flavor this Indian by an adjective that informs about the place where the person lives, so for example, the Gandhi-like person in New York above is an American Indian.

    It's just what I've been trained and what I consider logical. Be sure that I know how to use these labels in the U.S. way. But I consider this reverse order to be a part of the political correctness I have been trained to - and yes, I've been non-violently compatible with these things throughout my 10 years in the U.S. That's why I often say things like "Native Americans" even today. But "Indian-American" instead of "American Indian" for the Gandhi-like folks in New York is equally politically correct bizarre speech in my books as "Native Americans".

    Too bad Columbus didn't think that Cuba was North Korea and Castro was Kim III. ;-)

  14. Gene, what happened in Boston is unconscionable, disgusting, and
    loathsome -- just like the drone carnage that destroys wedding and
    funeral gatherings
    in places like Yemen and Waziristan province in Pakistan. Add the
    decade plus of warfare on Iraq that resulted in systematic bombing of
    things like water, sewage treatment, and power plants as well as the
    herbicide spraying of food crops by US military in the name of enforcing
    a "no-fly zone" after Operation Manhood started by Bush I and
    continued by Slick Willie and Hillary during their joint tenure in the
    presidency, ( let's not also forget the 10 year plus military aggression
    Afghanistan to this very day in the name of WHAT, I ask?), and you
    have an idea
    of what your and my tax dollars pay to inflict on the world's peoples

    Malcolm X told us about "chickens coming home to roost"; Martin Luther King Jr. explained that a society that spends more on
    military death and destruction than programs of education and social
    uplift is a society that is terminally ill; John F. Kennedy cautioned
    that those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent
    revolution inevitable; and Chris Hedges (in the book "War is a Force
    that Gives us Meaning") reminds us that those societies that use
    violence and oppression abroad to get their way, inevitably find it
    visited upon themselves at home.

    So whether this was done by home
    grown crazies, "Islamo-fascist terrorists", or a military-intel psy-ops
    false flag event designed to provide a casus belli justification for
    even more US military aggression somewhere that it isn't yet taking
    place, we have only ourselves to blame for the increasing tragedy of
    such slaughter of innocents in the US.

  15. Cynthia, I agree with many of your criticisms of US foreign policy. Many of the disastrous situations in the world today are a result of misguided American (and British) actions after the end of WWII. The obvious examples are numerous but bringing back the Shah of Iran because a popular, democratically elected president, Mohammed Mossadeq, wanted to nationalize oil was especially egregious. I could go on and on but you and I would agree so it is pointless.
    It may be hard for you to get but our foreign policies have gotten better (less destructive) than they once were. Of course the Iraq invasion cost at least a million lives (if you count the vulnerable people who expired for lack of essential services) and accomplished nothing of value. But it used to be even worse, Cynthia.
    But these things did not and do not threaten the integrity of our country.

  16. Gene, the parallels between the American Empire and the Roman Empire are
    too similar to ignore, though it took the Roman Empire a thousand years
    to collapse, where this country is facing the same outcome after only a
    little over 230 years. The Roman Empire was immersed in endless wars of
    aggression to increase its holdings which were increasingly fought by
    for-hire armies that had no real stake in maintaining the Empire's
    survival. Its survival was based on a corrupt government that was
    increasingly under the control of, and at the beckon call of, a minority
    group of wealthy Oligarchs.

    George Washington's wise warning to avoid entangling alliances with
    various foreign powers has always been ignored by a host of
    ever-present, politically active Anglo American supporters who have kept
    this country shackled to our British Empire origins who still view us
    as a colonial resource. FDR understood and voiced this concern to the
    British Prime Minister of the time, Winston Churchill, during WWII and
    told him that when the war was concluded, he would make it his top
    priority to disassemble the remaining elements of the British Colonial

    Unfortunately, Roosevelt died before the end of the war and was
    replaced by a very unpopular last minute substitution for Vice President
    in the 1944 election, who was a dedicated Anglo American. This man was
    Harry S. Truman who wasted no time, after ascending to the top job,
    fully capitulating to the British leadership of the time that, after
    WWII, being instrumental in mounting an unyielding attack against the
    former Soviet Union that lasted for the next forty years. Private
    interests were further served as they solicited US support to mount a
    campaign of oppression against many of their former Colonial holdings in
    the Middle East and Africa that had established an independent form of
    government. The 1952 assault on Iran and the replacement of its
    democratically elected leader with a US chosen puppet dictator, as you
    mentioned, is a prime example of what has led to sixty years of endless
    wars primarily against the Muslim countries in that region of the world!

  17. The US federal government calls the "Amerikan Indians". Only PC dipshits call them "native amerikans".

  18. As soon as one of the people I work with said that two bombs had gone off at the Boston marathon I called my boys to make certain they and their girlfriends were okay. They were. My heart goes out the the injured and their families of this terrorist attack. There is no reason for these attacks to happen except that our government doesn't have the balls to do what it takes to stop them.

    What terrorists want to create is fear. The way to stop them is to make them fear the retaliation even more. When we find out who did this we should kill their families and everyone related to them, their parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, children, etc. The only way they will stop is if they think the price is too high to pay.

    Horrible idea right? That is exactly why it will work. But don't worry, it will never happen. Our government would rather you and your family get shredded by terrorist bombs. Besides, it gives the government more of an excuse to continue to restrict and destroy our freedoms and rights.

  19. I would like to ask you why a 20 years old student form Arabia should be arrested ?

  20. I wrote that it was right for FBI to investigate him or her, not to arrest him or her.

    It's right to investigate because the technology used to make the explosion is a patented trademark of organizations in the part of the world around Saudi Arabia.

    And if you suggested that everyone should be equally investigated, let me say that it's nonsense - investigators always have to focus on places where the success is more likely, otherwise they could never succeed.

  21. Lubos - "Czech" is an ethnicity, "American" is not. A person who becomes a U.S. citizen thereby becomes an American - at the same moment. From that moment on, his nationality is American.

    Many people object to being called X-American, where X is their former nationality or that of their ancestors. They want tp be called American, not American-X. To call someone American-X would be nonsensical, because no X is an American, except maybe with dual citizenship, but we see that as a separate thing - he might be disloyal.

    We make an exception for "American Indian" because there are indigenous people in all the countries of the Americas, and they can't all be of a single ethnicity. A person can be called (say) Cherokee-American.

    I would agree that German capitalization is a lot easier to know than English capitalization. Many Americans have a poor grasp of capitalization, e.g., people who capitalize the names of the chemical elements and compounds. And there are even some genuinely hard cases. Perhaps, you as a foreigner saw some incorrect capitalizations and assumed they were correct.


  22. I understand it's how you're classifying these nouns and adjectives but we're doing it exactly the other way around. When we say "Czech German", the adjective "Czech" is an adjective exactly because it refers to a territory, much like America.

    I also understand that some people want to perfectly assimilate and dislike if they're called with extra adjectives or nouns aside from American. But even this default expectation is different in Central Europe. It's expected here that people promote their special ethnic labels. Singer Ewa Farna surely encourages her fellow ethnic Poles - Czech Poles - to register as Poles in the census etc.

  23. I Want Him Dead.
    When they catch #2 terrorist, give him a fair trial, then execute him and reanimate him. Repeat as many times as the number of people he murdered so cowardly. Chop off his leg, reattach it. Chop it off again, Repeat as many times as the number of limb amputations that he is responsible for.
    A big shout-out to the good people in my beloved Beantown and the Greater Boston area. Your resiliency in the face of evil and the way the city is coming together is a shining example to all of us.

  24. Amazing how quickly the police react.

  25. Apparently there is a little confusion between Chechnya and Czech Republic.

    It'd be humorous in other circumstances.

  26. I hadn't seen footage of the explosion until your site. It's a good thing the bomb makers were so incompetent, military quality explosives would have killed a hundred people. Also, are you aware of the furor in US home schooling circles over people running away from German and Swedish education systems for their children?