September 29, 2004

I want to believe

Last night, around 2 a.m., my wife woke my from a sound slumber. "Come here, look out the window, quickly!"

I got out of bed, found my glasses, stumbled to the window. "Look," she said, "look up."

Through the leaves of the trees, I could make out a vast blob of light floating in the air. I can't quite describe what I thought, except that it was very difficult to explain what it could be -- certainly not an airplane or a helicopter (the dimensions were far too big). I pulled on my pants, ran downstairs, grabbed the digital camera, and got this not very clear picture:


Yes, a cigar shaped, luminous craft hovering over the neighbor's backyard. Within minutes, I found myself inside the craft, where they gave me a complete medical check up...

Well, not exactly. It was a blimp. As there had been a football game Monday night in Washington, I assumed it most likely came to town to take pictures of the Cowboys-Redskins game, and was now en route to its next destination. My wife was as disappointed as I.

Today, I learned that the blimp wasn't here for the football game:

The Army has leased [the blimp] from the nation's only airship manufacturer and outfitted it with sensors and cameras.

Throughout the week, the 178-foot-long lighter-than-air craft will conduct test runs over the Washington area designed to determine how effective electro-optical and infrared cameras aboard are at detecting potentially threatening movements on the ground.

The equipment already is used in Iraq and Afghanistan to identify enemy troop movement, but in combat zones it is attached to a static inflatable device that looks like a giant, blimp-shaped balloon.

I'm not particularly prone to imaginative worries (despite my rushing out of the house at 2 a.m. to get a photo of the little green men's flying saucer), but I'm not sure I'm all that comforted by the idea that the Army is testing out equipment -- used to identify enemy troop movements in Afghanistan and Iraq -- in the neighbor's backyard. By all means, I'm in favor of testing military equipment, and if the array of cameras limits the harm to our guys while maximizing the harm to theirs while preventing civilian casualties -- hey, I'm all for it, test away. Still, I can't shake the suspicion that this might be more than just a test....

And on that cheery note, let's change gears and note that Blogfonte has found a nasty jihadi site featuring beheadings hosted at some sort of anime site. Disgusting stuff -- I couldn't find an administrator contact on Whois, but maybe someone more adept at that kind of stuff than I am could. Related information here and here.

Bin Gregory, after a too lenghty (for my tastes) hiatus, is back, as is Macroscopic World.

Very belated thanks to H.D. Miller for the very kind endorsement of my efforts. And check out the others he linked there, as well as his own always engaging Travelling Shoes.

Mary of Exit Zero adds some information on the Wahabi connection to Chechen terrorism -- well worth reading.

Finally, to close on a happier note: Soon, Washington will have the distinction of being first in war, first in peace, and last in the National League East. I can hardly wait!

Posted by Ideofact at September 29, 2004 10:24 PM

Wonkette has a funny line on this:

Don't be paranoid: It's not like the government is secretly spying on you.

Posted by: Stygius at September 30, 2004 02:13 PM

That is a good line.

Posted by: Bill at September 30, 2004 03:56 PM