back to article Brown kid with Arab name arrested for bringing home-made clock to school

It should come as no surprise in a paranoid world addicted to security theatre: a 14-year-old hacker – in the old sense of the word – has been arrested in Dallas for bringing a home-made clock to school. While the device the student brought to school was harmless, The Dallas Morning News reports that 9th-grader and electronics …

  1. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Happy

    Hysteria

    Terrorists have won.

    1. billat29
      Coat

      Re: Hysteria

      No they haven't.

      If they had succeeded in blowing up airliners we would have to get to airports early so our bags could be x-rayed, we'd have to take off our shoes and belts and be body scanned and take no liquids on board, turn our electronics on for verification and

      No. Wait....

      1. Captain Hogwash
        Facepalm

        Re: turn our electronics on for verification

        Security drone: Please turn on you electronic device for verification.

        Suicidally inclined Ne'er do well: With pleasure.

      2. Ojustaboo

        Re: Hysteria

        Airport security always amazes me, I was at Stansted recently, there must have been about 2000 people queued close together waiting to get through the security scanners

        If I was a terrorist wanting to kill the most people, why bother with a plane when I can simply blow the queue up?

        Surely this is a disaster waiting to happen.

        1. Preston Munchensonton
          Mushroom

          Re: Hysteria

          How the f*ck will we ever restore normality here?

          Remember, remember, the 5th of November...

        2. OffBeatMammal

          Re: Hysteria

          I refer you to the late Iain M Bank's "Transitions" for a description of exactly that. As a fairly frequent flyer (in the US) every week I walk past possible opportunities to cause significant mayhem that the current theater does nothing to prevent or even acknowledge (because there's no money to be made off it)

        3. Amorous Cowherder

          Re: Hysteria

          ( Just make a note here...."User Ojustaboo on forum is a terrorist and has made obvious serious threats to kill many people in a public place.". Please stay in your home user and security service staff will be round shortly to violate both you and your rights! )

        4. dotdavid

          Re: Hysteria

          "If I was a terrorist wanting to kill the most people, why bother with a plane when I can simply blow the queue up?"

          Indeed. And if they somehow manage to make airports safe, what about train stations? Bus stations? Shopping centres? Sports games?

          It's all theatre, and airports/planes are only different because flying is an unusual-enough activity for most of us that we accept the pointless "security check" procedure as just part of the process.

          1. Frank Bough

            Re: Hysteria

            FFS how soon we forget. A passenger plane makes a big mess when it hits something at 500mph, irrespective of how many people die on board. Grow up. Remember 7/7?

        5. John Sanders
          Holmes

          Re: Hysteria

          >>If I was a terrorist wanting to kill the most people, why bother with a plane when I can simply blow the queue up?

          The plane guarantees a certain level of shock effect not granted if the bomb just goes off at the airport.

          That and the well known Arab obsession with blowing up airplanes or other things with them.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan_Am_Flight_103#Criminal_inquiry

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_11_attacks

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawson's_Field_hijackings

          And many more, I do not have the time to find now, google is your friend.

        6. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Ojustaboo Re: Hysteria

          "Airport security always amazes me, I was at Stansted recently, there must have been about 2000 people queued close together waiting to get through the security scanners...." Yes, terrorists have tried attacking airports before, such as the Japanes Red Army Faction attack on Lod (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lod_Airport_massacre). The problem is big attacks like the Lod incident need a lot of planning and communication between terrorists, something we are getting very good at spotting and disrupting, and airport security has got a lot tougher. Half-arsed attempts like that at Glasgow in 2007 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Glasgow_International_Airport_attack) simply don't bring the high casualty numbers the terrorists want because external security measures (bollards in the Glasgow case) are also in place. So you might think a terrorists could just take a bomb into a packed concourse? But the simple fact a small explosive will cause a large aircraft to crash, killing all onboard, whilst a small explosive in an open concourse area will probably kill or maim a few dozen at most. The London Tube bombings were in tightly confined areas which maximised the blast effect, yet still did not kill the high number of deaths just one of their bombs would have caused on an airliner. And assembling a bigger bomb is both more likely to get you detected and also harder to transport to the attack site. That's why most airports nowadays have carparks well away from terminal buildings and panel security fencing - to discourage carbombers. And most larger Western airports have plenty of security and surveillance on the approaches to the airport itself, which is why AQ switched to trying to fit bombs in packaged items like printers from foreign airports with lower security (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_planes_bomb_plot). So, you can probably feel pretty safe in an airport security queue, the biggest threat to your health is probably from the "food" at the airport restaurants.

          1. Vic

            Re: Ojustaboo Hysteria

            The problem is big attacks like the Lod incident need a lot of planning and communication between terrorists

            A fuck site less planning than getting explosives through even old-style security and blowing up a plane. If the latter is considered a sufficient risk to warrant the intrusive stuff we have now, why not the former? It's easier, and likely to cause far more casualties.

            Half-arsed attempts like that at Glasgow in 2007

            ...Are half-arsed.

            I blame Hollywood - putting a can of petrol in a car does not make a bomb. It's quite difficult to achieve detonation with a gallon of four star.

            But the simple fact a small explosive will cause a large aircraft to crash, killing all onboard, whilst a small explosive in an open concourse area will probably kill or maim a few dozen at most.

            But it's so much easier - and as we see from the London bus bombings, even a comparatively small number of casualties will have all the effect a terrorist could want.

            Vic.

          2. Irongut

            Re: Ojustaboo Hysteria @Matt Bryant

            The Glasgow Airport attempt was not half-arsed it was clueless, idiotic and a complete failure. Even without the bollards a burning jeep full of petrol in the front doors would have done very little. Anyone who knows Glasgow Airport or has driven round it could think of a dozen better plans to cause chaos in five minutes. The most shocking thing about it was that those people were working in the NHS - not from an "oh my god terrorists in the NHS" point of view but from a "how did such brainless idiots get jobs in the NHS?" point of view.

        7. Riku

          Re: Hysteria

          It (bombing crowds at airports) already has, in 2011, 37 people were killed and 173 injured in an attack at Moscow's Domodedovo International Airport:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domodedovo_International_Airport_bombing

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-12268662

          As a frequent flyer and having formerly worked with a firm in London providing security to high-net-worth individuals, their residences and places of business, I can assure you that airport security exists for three reasons:

          1. Security theatre so the general public can "feel" safe and thus continue flying in ever-greater numbers. This ensures most airlines stay in business (as most of them are leveraged to run on the edge of bankruptcy every day).

          2. So that politicians can be seen to be "doing something" about it, ("Quick, here come the voters, everyone look busy.")

          3. So that aforementioned politicians can transfer further wealth from the consumer/taxpayer (for they are one and the same) to the military-industrial complex who make and supply all manner of "security" equipment. Most of which can be defeated, (even THz body scanners).

          Airport security will stop the casual nutter, but no government, no matter how much technology they gain, or how many of your freedoms they take away, will ever stop any individual suitably comitted to their task.

          As for airport queues, it also scares the hell out of me when I see large crowds at the doors of the US "Black Friday" sales, those are easy pickings for the lone wolf or the organised group making simultaneous strikes. Depressing Christmas sales by keeping people away from stores and malls would seriously hurt economies where business balance sheets do indeed "go into the black" during the Christmas shopping spree.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Hysteria

            This ensures most airlines stay in business (as most of them are leveraged to run on the edge of bankruptcy every day).

            Really? That close to the edge? If so, how come they didn't all collapse in 2010 during the European airspace shutdown when Eyjafjallajökull erupted? I agree with the rest of your post though.

            1. Riku

              Re: Hysteria

              I do take your point and many of the larger "flag carriers" do have reasonable reserves, but not as much as you might think (or hope).

              In general ticketing T's&C's, things like volcanic eruptions (acts of the great fairy-tale in the sky), mean they basically don't have to give you the money back. Most of the flights cancelled, being trans-Atlantic, would have been paid up well in advance. This is different to you not spending the money in the first place after giving up on flying. If people, en masse, decide to stop flying in general, then bankruptcy shall almost certainly ensue.

              However, for several airlines, Eyjafjallajökull represented a close call:

              http://globalinsolvency.com/headlines/airlines-warn-bankruptcy-and-call-end-restrictions

              There is an excellent article on this at the FT, unfortunately it's locked behind their paywall.

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: Hysteria

                Thanks for the elaboration, I'd not realised some were that close to the edge.

      3. John Sanders
        Facepalm

        Re: Hysteria

        You forgot poor old margaret 89 years old, native UK citizen, having to take off her shoes and be subjected to body scans for the sake of non-discriminatory security policies.

    2. chivo243 Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Hysteria

      "Terrorists have won."

      Maybe, but it looks like the Establishment has gladly jumped on the trolley and will ride it to the end of the line.

      Sad how that works, really.

      1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

        Re: Hysteria

        The Establishment has won. Terrorism was their excuse.

    3. The Axe

      Re: Hysteria

      Also looks like Hollywood has won too if the cops and authorities think a bomb has to look like a movie bomb. Have they not seen a real bomb? No need to answer that, its obvious.

      1. dotdavid

        Re: Hysteria

        "Hollywood has won too if the cops and authorities think a bomb has to look like a movie bomb"

        Lets just hope Hollywood never depicts a car bomb, we'd all get arrested driving to work.

        1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

          Re: Hysteria

          "Lets just hope Hollywood never depicts a car bomb, we'd all get arrested driving to work."

          Only if you look Arabic (to a cop, that is)

          Regarding the poor kid: Appalling behaviour by the police and the school principal, but alas not unexpected. The principal is rather unprincipled, methinks

          1. MrXavia

            Re: Hysteria

            I would hope the principal gets sacked for such behaviour, also how could the police question a minor without his parents present?

            1. sysconfig

              Re: "also how could the police question a minor without his parents present?"

              As soon as law enforcement *think* they are dealing with anything remotely attributable to terrorism, they'll generously waive due process and fair trials, keep proceedings secret from the public, or just lock you away for extended periods of time until they find something that they can make stick (too bad if that doesn't happen)...

              Wonder what happens if a shoplifter wears a "I have friends in Syria" t-shirt...

              "This person, who has obviously been recruited by ISIS, was caught stealing chewing gum to finalise a makeshift weapon of mass destruction..."

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Hysteria

              how could the police question a minor without his parents present?

              Easy. Under anti-terror laws, your rights and humanity are suspended. Age is no excuse, after all, you could be faking that.

              How the f*ck will we ever restore normality here?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Hysteria

                by giving it back to the native americans?

                1. cubapete

                  Re: Hysteria

                  I give at the casino!

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Hysteria

              > how could the police question a minor without his parents present?

              If police invoke the T-word, they are allowed to do anything they like.

          2. Dan 55 Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: Hysteria

            If they keep going round arresting brown kids with Arab names for stupid reasons, anyone would think that they want to perpetuate an ethnic minority feeling they are not part of the society in the country in which they live.

          3. Someone Else Silver badge
            FAIL

            @ Michael H.F. Wilkinson -- Re: Hysteria

            Regarding the poor kid: Appalling behaviour by the police and the school principal, but alas not unexpected. The principal is rather unprincipled, methinks

            The principal is a low-level, Tejano functionary whose main job is to make sure everyone is dressed according to some arbitrary rule, and with how to sneak "intelligent design" into the curriculum. Rational thought is not, nor apparently has ever been, a requirement for the job, and seems to be actively discouraged.

      2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: The Axe Re: Hysteria

        "....if the cops and authorities think a bomb has to look like a movie bomb...." Really? How about teachers? If you had bothered to research the story you might have heard that it was a teacher that spotted the clock and thought it might be a device, and that teacher alerted school authorities who then called the police. Sorry to dispel your no-doubt cherished fantasy that American police are just waiting to pounce on any non-white kid that passes but the problem was not of their making, they had to respond to the report. It's also very likely a first responder would not have any form of training on identifying an IED, it's why they have bomb disposal squads in larger cities.

    4. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Hysteria

      There are 2 billion passenger flights a year. Since the improved security we have around an extra 2 hours at the airport before each flight. That's about 6 thousand lifetimes wasted at airports every year which is considerably higher than terrorists manage.

      And the economic cost of the time wasted...in expensive coffee shops and restaurants.

      I wonder if Costa paid for 9/11 training?

      1. Jedit

        "I wonder if Costa paid for 9/11 training?"

        Well, obviously. Everyone knows that things in airport terminals Costa bomb.

      2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Tom 7 Re: Hysteria

        "....an extra 2 hours at the airport before each flight. That's about 6 thousand lifetimes wasted at airports every year which is considerably higher than terrorists manage....." Wow, you seriously want to compare the loss of two hours to the loss of a real life to a terror attack?!?!? Seriously!?! You do understand that the loss of a life means no more hours at all? What's next, you want to decide life or car insurance should be discarded because you had to spend ten minutes filling out a form to apply? Is taking those few seconds to fasten your seatbelt (or probably minutes going by the limited mental agility your post displays) every time you get in a car, which must add up to quite a few hours lost over the years, are you going to just as stupidly claim that is a greater "economic cost" than going through the windscreen in the event of an accident?

        1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

          Re: Tom 7 Hysteria

          s'funny....the powers that be like to equate ~3000 deaths in the US to ~1,000,000+ deaths in the middle east. That's a lot of "no more hours at all" right there, but I suppose some hours are worth more than others.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Tom 7 Hysteria

          "Wow, you seriously want to compare the loss of two hours to the loss of a real life to a terror attack?!?!?"

          No, he was comparing 2 billion x 2 hours, ie 4 billion hours per year against a fairly unlikely risk.

          Or put another way, 1/2 million *years* of wasted time against a fairly unlikely risk.

      3. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Hysteria

        If you go back and look/listen to what Bin Laden said about 9/11, it wasn't the lives or the buildings that were important targets. It was the economics of the US he wanted to hurt. Your examples alone show that he got what he wanted. This kid has been sucked into the theater and the yawning pit of paranoia that has since gripped a lot of everyday activities.

    5. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Hysteria

      Let's play "spot the difference", shall we?

      https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/de/e7/de/dee7dea7cf3dd9021d18aa875eb6d062.jpg

    6. Madeye

      Re: Hysteria

      The terrorists, like the bomb, are mostly make believe. They, like the bomb, are only there to validate the institutional racism of the police in the US and, increasingly, elsewhere.

      If he's black, he must have a gun

      If he's brown, it's a bomb he'll be carrying

      Dare we live in the hope that the US will get it's house in order before they spread this poisonous doctrine to the rest of the supposedly free world?

    7. Amorous Cowherder
      Pint

      Re: Hysteria

      With no wars to worry about in the West the security services need a way to ensure their budgets aren't cut, so they invent a bogeyman that puts the willies up everyone. The frightened stay indoors glued to their "Shit-spouts (tm)" also known as TV screens, live in fear of dying from disease or terrorism and in the meantime the advertisers can swoop in and sell them more mindless shit they really don't need. Surely you know the real reason for all this "brown-people hating" bullshit? To ensure the dirty, unwashed masses are too busy fighting among themselves to bother seeing the real truth that they are all being bent over a barrel by the 1% and...well we all know what happens to a turkey at Crimble time!

      Cheers!

      ( "It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine..." )

    8. PleebSmash
      Facepalm

      Re: Hysteria

      This Tiny Tim Terrorist was wearing a NASA t-shirt when arrested.

      You can't make this shit up.

  2. hplasm Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Time-

    to take all modern technology from these cops.They don't understand it. Let them live in the dark ages that they so fear.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. werdsmith Silver badge

    "There was no broader explanation..."

    There's the problem, people are dealing with something they have no clue about. On the one hand kids are encouraged to tinker with electronics, on the other hand somebody sees wires and an LED display and they are in Hollywood make-believe Bruce Willis dreamland.

    So many people these days are so wrapped up in their own little world, they can't see how anyone could possibly be different from them, and enjoy different things to them.

    Same problem is being encountered daily with people going through airport security with Raspberry Pis, Arduinos and similar devices. A Raspberry Pi in a (not transparent) enclosure rarely gets a second look. A naked Raspberry Pi raises eyebrows and some people have reported getting them confiscated.

    1. James 51 Silver badge
      FAIL

      "He kept maintaining it was a clock, but there was no broader explanation"

      It's a clock. What was he suppose to do? If he'd started talking about time pieces, relativity and the twin paradox they'd probably have done him for wasting police time or something equally spurious.

    2. P. Lee Silver badge

      Lesson to be learnt

      Buy a iwatch or go to jail. It's just un-American not to consume.

      I can't wait for the first bomb to be found which is made from an iPhone jammed directly into a lump of c4. Bonus points for a big red button of obviousness.

      1. nsld

        Re: Lesson to be learnt

        Well Flavor Flav of Public Enemy fame is royally fucked by this!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Lesson to be learnt

        I can't wait for the first bomb to be found which is made from an iPhone jammed directly into a lump of c4. Bonus points for a big red button of obviousness.

        It also needs a loud bleeping sound (that in Hollywood movies never seems to be audible to the bad guys) and a visible countdown. As they would have to get that past the App Store police I reckon it'll be a jailbroken iPhone, making it Truly Evil™

        1. Nigel 11

          Re: Lesson to be learnt

          Now now, don't be giving the Winphone guys any ideas ....

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I feel properly sorry for this kid, while I appreciate security and safety concerns, this should never has gone as far as an arrest. The poor lad should be rewarded for his out-of-school nerding efforts.

    Presumably one way or another they had to verify the device was safe, leave the boy at school with his teachers and a couple of officers nearby, verify the device and take appropriate action. Don't go all batshit and arrest everyone and ask questions later.

    Having been arrested for something completely unrelated to me in a similar (but not bomb related) knee-jerk reaction, I can tell you this child will not have a positive view of the police/authorities as he grows up.

    So well done to all involved, you've made this 14 year old look more mature than the lot of you.

    1. Anonymous Blowhard

      "Presumably one way or another they had to verify the device was safe"

      How about checking to see if there are any visible explosive substances attached? From the description I think ten seconds should have been enough.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        What are they teaching in this dump?

        "Presumably one way or another they had to verify the device was safe"

        Do they have an engineering teacher or they have replaced him with an Intelligent Design proselyte?

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Don't you understand? Just look at it, it could go off at any moment!

      1. LaeMing
        Black Helicopters

        Well, the first test is... is it counting backwards? Bombs always count backwards to zero.

        The second test is... does it beep at an increasingly higher pitch and faster interval with each decrement?

        1. FrogsAndChips Bronze badge
          Mushroom

          Bombs always count backwards to zero.

          But the countdown always stops 1 or 2 seconds before reaching zero, even if you cut the red wire 10 seconds ago. That's if you're the hero of course, not his childhood pal (in which case, see icon).

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

            1. FrogsAndChips Bronze badge

              Re: Bombs always count backwards to zero.

              "I think you'll find that it stops at 007 seconds".

              Not on Galaxy Quest.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Back in 1958 our Scout troop's "Gang Show" had the classic "Up Girls and At 'em"*** sketch. Cubs dressed as St Trinian's style girls carried various offensive weapons. Mine was a set of red tubes with the letters T N T painted on them - and a piece of string coming out of the end. Innocent times in many respects.

          ***This was one of the many Gang Show songs written by Ralph Reader. It is still in the repertoire today - but for several years has now been assigned as "girls only".

          1. Tim Jenkins

            ...Cubs dressed as St Trinian's style girls...

            Back when such things were innocent fun. Unless they weren't. Obviously. No doubt the Operation Yewtree/Hydrant plods will be in touch sometime soon, once they've got Sir Cliff finished off...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: ...Cubs dressed as St Trinian's style girls...

              "No doubt the Operation Yewtree/Hydrant plods will be in touch sometime soon, [...]"

              Like most Scout troops at the time it was a church troop. Oh goody - does that mean double criminal compensation? If I could only "remember" some plausible incident. No doubt the police will be able to give my memory a few reminders once they have contacted other cubs and decided who is the guiltyalleged offender.

              It horrifies me that I can write such satire. I was brought up to respect the police - but over many years just about every contact with them has made me more and more disillusioned about that institution's ethics.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          does it beep

          you forgot about the light, red light, blinking faster and faster, in tune with the beeb.

          ...

          and the remote, there's always that remote, usually with a large, red-illuminated button in the middle.

        4. David Pollard

          ... and you get another clue from the background music.

        5. Andrew Moore Silver badge

          Is there a voice alert going "You have 5 minutes to reach minimal safe distance..."

        6. HCV

          boop. beep. boop. beep.

          Does it stay at the same number when you look away and look back a few seconds later if someone tasked with dealing with it is busy wrestling with someone?

    3. DropBear Silver badge
      Devil

      "Having been arrested for something completely unrelated to me in a similar (but not bomb related) knee-jerk reaction, I can tell you this child will not have a positive view of the police/authorities as he grows up."

      Having never been arrested for anything I can telly you there's practically nothing I can think of that police could possibly do that could make my view of them any more negative. And yes, that includes them actually growing horns and a forked tail and starting to eat babies.

      1. Ojustaboo

        First impressions go a long way.

        Many years ago in Hastings at the height of Punk, I was with a group of friends chatting to a group of foreign students when one of the students fell off the cliff on a ledge below.

        I and a friend (who had punk clothes on) ran to a nearby house and got them to phone for the emergency services. The police turned up within about a minute, we tried to tell them what had happened, my friend was trying to explain an easy way to get to her (having spent a lot of his youth climbing around the cliffs)

        The policeman looked at us and said quote (something I will never forget)

        "Piss off, we don't want your sort around here"

        I was 15 at the time, had never had any dealings with the police before, have never had a very high opinion of them since

  5. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Is there any case in the real world

    where *anyone* has built a timer into a bomb with a digital countdown display? Other than in Hollywood, of course, where it happens all the time.

    But, hey, behaviour like this is great training ground: Hey kids, if you want to be a terrorist when you grow up, learn to make your timing devices look innocuous. Meanwhile, this poor kid has proudly brought his harmless - indeed, beneficial - hobby to school to show it off and has suffered something of a traumatic experience as a result.

    One cannot expect an average policeman to be an expert in technology - but did whoever called them in the first place not *ask*?

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Is there any case in the real world

      @Neil Barnes

      where *anyone* has built a timer into a bomb with a digital countdown display? Other than in Hollywood, of course, where it happens all the time.

      For a period in the 80s/90s many real sleeper bombs were triggered by the 14 day timer from a VHS video recorder.

      But even the most basic knowledge would show that in this case there was no explosive material attached so no danger.

      1. DaLo

        Re: Is there any case in the real world

        "For a period in the 80s/90s many real sleeper bombs were triggered by the 14 day timer from a VHS video recorder."

        A 14 day timer on a VHS video recorder never had a digital countdown display. They were more like digital alarm clocks, they just stored the date/time to activate a recording.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Is there any case in the real world

          This lad's home made device didn't have a digital countdown display either. Just an LED clock.

          Much like the VHS recorders. The display panels were necessary on the bombs because the bomber needed to be able to set the timer.

          1. DaLo

            Re: Is there any case in the real world

            This lad's home made device didn't have a digital countdown display either. Just an LED clock.

            You appeared to be replying to the comment about no device having a digital countdown display (replying to that post and quoting the specific paragraph) therefore I assumed you were contradicting that point not the text in the article itself.

        2. Simon Harris Silver badge

          Re: Is there any case in the real world

          "For a period in the 80s/90s many real sleeper bombs were triggered by the 14 day timer from a VHS video recorder."

          Just as well he didn't make his own homebrew VHS recorder then - these days he'd probably be arrested by Homeland Security and the MPAA.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is there any case in the real world

        For a period in the 80s/90s many real sleeper bombs were triggered by the 14 day timer from a VHS video recorder.

        There must have been a high incidence of failure then. I recall most of those timers permanently stuck on a blinking "12:00" :)

      3. Tim Jenkins

        Re: Is there any case in the real world

        Grand Hotel, Brighton, 1986. 24 day delay based on a VCR timer, according to one source. I probably shouldn't Google these things so often...

    2. Ru'

      Re: Is there any case in the real world

      And is there any case in the real world where someone going through customs has joked something is a bomb, and it's actually turned out to be a bomb?

      1. Charlie_Manson

        Re: Is there any case in the real world

        More to the point the shaving foam I forgot in my hand luggage was replaced by buying a new one in the duty free shops. Whilst I was there I could have bought scissors, nail clippers, nail files and many other articles that people are told not to take on their flights....makes a joke of the whole process

      2. Paul 195

        Re: Is there any case in the real world

        I doubt it. Airport security people have a notoriously poor sense of humour and tend to detain anyone making such a joke.

    3. Nigel 11

      Re: Is there any case in the real world

      Actually, isn't the obvious way to make a time-bomb to connect the detonator to the beeper of a digital kitchen timer, perhaps via a current-boosting device and a larger battery?

      (I've no idea, beyond suspecting that if someone with the intelligence of the average terrorist recruit can make one, then it can't be very hard).

      (I do know that in WW2, SBS attached mines to German warships and the delay timer was an aniseed ball that slowly dissolved. That's the way clever guys make an underwater time-bomb).

      1. earl grey Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Is there any case in the real world

        aniseed ball

        Well, at least they had good taste....

        1. launcap Silver badge

          Re: Is there any case in the real world

          > aniseed ball

          >Well, at least they had good taste....

          Pre-diabetes I used to really like those :-(

          Ho-hum. Life goes (mostly) on.

          1. Wommit

            Re: Is there any case in the real world

            Aniseed balls dissolve at (almost) the same rate in fresh water and sea water, making them ideal for underwater timers.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Is there any case in the real world

            "Pre-diabetes I used to really like those"

            I have found that my Type 2 glucose control can handle small amounts of "forbidden" things. My six monthly Hba1c comes in at about 42 (6.2%?). I do a before and after (2 hour) strip test when I'm not sure about the effect of a new treat.

            You have to be in frame of mind to eat very slowly, savour the taste/texture - and not go into binge mode. It also helps to concentrate the mind on those savoured qualities. Memory is a powerful enhancer - it can even be a total substitute when viewing the cake counter. Possibly part of the Proustian "Madeleine" effect.

            I find an occasional square centimetre of 90% cocoa chocolate after my 2 mile daily walk is enough to satisfy me - and avoids cravings. My increased metabolism from the walk seems to be good enough to handle it. A chocolate bar lasts for months.

  6. Mint Sauce
    Mushroom

    I actually *had* a clock that looked like 3 sticks of dynamite wired up to a timer, back in, oo, the mid 80's. A present from a well meaning relative (probably from Index or BHS or maybe even Tandy ;-). Remember carrying it poking out of my school bag through the town centre. Nobody looked twice...

    Then again, it was in the tiny part of the UK that isn't London, so maybe more relaxed...!

    1. LaeMing
      Angel

      Long long ago, in a waist-measurement far away...

      I once left a large breadboard covered in components and wires on a seat at the train station near my trade college. Jumped the train back at the next stop to find it still sitting there un-molested 15 minutes later. The 90's were a far more innocent age.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Long long ago, in a waist-measurement far away...

        "I once left a large breadboard covered in components and wires on a seat at the train station near my trade college."

        I recently built some electronic equipment for a friend's son and his pals for outdoor theatre SFX use. The innards consist of a bare-bones amplifier and MP3 player - plus various delay timers and voltage converters which happen to have LED displays. Various other LEDs act as diagnostic indicators. Needing them to be weather resistant they were built into handy-sized freezer containers from the local discount store - which happen to be transparent. A 7ah battery was in its own container with a cable and plug. It is quite a pretty display of coloured LEDs and counting up/down digits when operating at night.

        Needless to say I suggested it might not be wise to carry them in a carrier bag or rucksack on a train to their London flat. I have seen the paranoia that infects people when they have been sensitised to something which they don't fully comprehend.

        1. El_Fev

          Re: Long long ago, in a waist-measurement far away...

          Was this before or after 57 people were blown to pieces by rucksack carrying nut cases in London?

          1. nsld

            @El Fev Re: Long long ago, in a waist-measurement far away...

            We had many years of Irish terrorists blowing stuff up in the name of "freedom" well before the latest bunch of sky fairy worshipping loons got in on the action.

            And thats before you look at the eurotrash terrorists like Bader Meinhof etc.

            And aside from them getting rid of the bins in London we carried on as usual.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @El Fev Long long ago, in a waist-measurement far away...

              "And aside from them getting rid of the bins in London we carried on as usual."

              The IRA did tend to target the police and army. As far a civilian targets went they often gave warnings with authentication codes "negotiated" with the authorities. However - I always checked under my rather distinctive car after any meal at a dimly lit motorway service station.

              Causing visible damage was apparently often their intention - although compared to the Blitz that was insignificant. The same is true of the current atrocities - what the terrorists want is to cause panic in the population and try to reap new recruits alienated by any oppressive measures.

              Like all risks to your life it has to be assessed as to the probabilities - just like driving and flying.

              1. graeme leggett Silver badge

                Re: @El Fev Long long ago, in a waist-measurement far away...

                There was also the "mortar"-ing attempts on Downing Street and other locations.

                Transit van/steel pipe/calor gas bottle/homemade explosives/semtex - improvised device indeed.

      2. joshimitsu

        Re: Long long ago, in a waist-measurement far away...

        even that was in the days of IRA threats (in London at least)

      3. Simon Harris Silver badge

        Re: Long long ago, in a waist-measurement far away...

        "I once left a large breadboard covered in components and wires on a seat at the train station near my trade college."

        Back in the 1980s on my way back to university, I had to spend a freezing hour or so late at night on Doncaster station. In an attempt to pass the time (and in the futile expectation that a 15W soldering iron might keep me a bit warm) I soldered together one of the boards for my final year project. Nobody raised an eyebrow.

      4. The_Idiot

        Re: Long long ago, in a waist-measurement far away...

        Well, at least the train service hasn't changed much since then - you were able to get to the next stop before the train did. Sigh...

        1. NoOnions

          Re: Long long ago, in a waist-measurement far away...

          Err? No. He left it on a seat at the station. He got off his train at the next stop and got a train back to the original station.

          1. The_Idiot

            Re: Long long ago, in a waist-measurement far away...

            My apologies for mis-reading - and my confession that the fault is indeed entirely mine (blush). Though while I still lived in the UK there were indeed times I could have made the next station before the train did...

            1. LaeMing
              Happy

              Re: Long long ago, in a waist-measurement far away...

              @The_Idiot: All is forgiven!!

              Actually, around that time, I recall at least once the 3:40 train was so late it arrived coupled on to the front of the 4:50 train. Seriously!

  7. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Maybe we should write letters to that school

    ...explaining that though being afraid of something doesn't mean it's bad. Maybe we can convince those people to make the mental leap that something they don't know and they don't understand isn't necessarily something bad. Maybe we could even go as far as to telling them that this letter went over the Atlantic via flying machines called Aeroplanes, which fly like birds. Maybe we could even attach pictures of those wonders of the world explaining that those are pictures and no real things are squeezed into those sheets.

  8. Anonymous Blowhard

    "The concern was, what was this thing built for?"

    Education? Something that the Dallas police spokesperson seems to have missed...

    1. Andrew Moore Silver badge

      and most of America apparently

    2. TitterYeNot

      "Education? Something that the Dallas police spokesperson seems to have missed..."

      Ah yes, Dallas. I can't remember my geography well enough to know whether Dallas is in Dumbfuckistan or America proper - if the former, then Pfft! business as usual, if the latter then gawdelpus...

      1. Peter Simpson 1
        Unhappy

        The former.

        // I believe JADE HELM 15 ended yesterday

        // Sorry...my country is populated by idiots

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who's to blame

    Since we are eternally "bombarded" with stereotypical images of terrorists, islamists, Al Quaeda types, AK47, suicide bombers, reasons to panic etc etc then I would consider it absolutely normal that these cops took the position that they took. They have behaved as they have been expected/conditioned to behave.

    Society has lost it's capacity to think for itself, we are being spoonfed from dawn to dusk, propganda is the norm...

    Thinking rationally is frowned upon, thinking rationally is associated with being an extremist, fascist..

    "V" was only a fim but behind it there are some very scary similitudes with contemporary society.

    1. Paul_Murphy

      Re: Who's to blame

      I would recommend the film 'Idiocracy' at this point, but I'm sure that everyone is aware of it already.

      I am also bewildered that people can't tell a 'bomb' from a 'not bomb' (explosives, power and detonator being the three essentials) and that apparently a bomb needs a clock (with a display!) - if that is their means of identifying a suspect device then I wonder what the american(tm) police would make of booby traps and remote-triggered devices.

      I also wonder what would happen if a person made a IED using only a single colour (not red) of wire - no doubt the item would be dismissed as a 'not bomb' since there is no red wire to cut.

      <sigh>

      1. El_Fev

        Re: Who's to blame

        Oh your an explosive expert are you ? You know how all bombs look like do you? I mean Richard Read used a pair of trainers to hide a bomb in, so I would suggest you haven't got a fucking clue what your talking about, but hey its makes you look good.

    2. Anonymous Blowhard

      Re: Who's to blame

      "thinking rationally is associated with being an extremist, fascist"

      I think you've got that last bit reversed; the "fascist" ideology means "sticking together against outsiders" (based on the symbolism of the fasces suggesting strength through unity: a single rod is easily broken, while the bundle is difficult to break):

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism

      Fascism definitely doesn't encourage rational thinking, but it does explain policemen labelling every Muslim as a terrorist.

      1. ScottAS2

        Re: Who's to blame

        No, no. Fascism is bad. Therefore we are never fascists. The "other", however. Yes, they are fascists.

    3. El_Fev

      Re: Who's to blame

      Yeah but then again, I didn't know that you could use a pressure cooker to kill people in Boston, but hey ho, lets not let reality get in the way of Leftie hand wringing grandstanding!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Who's to blame

        "[...] I didn't know that you could use a pressure cooker to kill people in Boston, [...]

        Three people were killed and 264 injured. The recent Glasgow refuse lorry accident killed six people and injured 15. There have also been several cases of people deliberately driving cars into crowds with similar death tolls.

        All are random events with the victims, through no fault of their own, being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

        In the USA, and even the UK, legally held guns appear to be responsible for similar, or higher, numbers of innocent people being targeted and killed in mass killings.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Who's to blame

          "In the USA, and even the UK, legally held guns appear to be responsible for similar, or higher, numbers of innocent people being targeted and killed in mass killings."

          Then we should ban knives, bricks, stones, garbage trucks, cars, people, unhappy political ideas, religion and a thousand million other things that can kill.

          Guns like all the other things mentioned are not the cause....they are the means

          People die from firearms accidents each year in the US, in 2015 that is currently around 9000 these figures include suicides, gang and or drug related.. When you remove Police shooting, accidental death and home invasion there are actually very few deaths....

          More than 30000 people die form car accidents and yet there are very few headlines.. The only valid reason for reason guns is on order to devoid the people of being capable of defending themselves....from those that have something to gain...

          People die from tobacco related cancers each year in the US around 160,000 of them, and yet cigarettes are still legal.

          And yet tobacco related deaths can easily be contained/stopped/avoided...completely and also a lot of heart disease due to terrible personal hygiene.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Who's to blame

            "In the USA, and even the UK, legally held guns appear to be responsible for similar, or higher, numbers of innocent people being targeted and killed in mass killings."

            Then we should ban knives, bricks, stones, garbage trucks, cars, people, unhappy political ideas, religion and a thousand million other things that can kill.

            I don't see someone killing an innocent bystander 50 yards away with a brick, nor will they repeat that feat $magsize times. There's also the little problem that guns only have that specific purpose. There's nothing else you can do with a gun than shooting someone, so the idea that there would be at least a check on you before you could buy one isn't as outlandish as the NRA makes it out to be.

            Let's not trot out tired excuses for what is clearly a problem which can NOT be answered with "more guns" as the NRA keeps telling people.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Who's to blame

              Here is a link to mortality rates for the US

              http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm

              Please download the PDF files in the link and read some of those tables.. You will quickly see that statistically you will not die from a gun related cause unless you are suicidial of invloved in drugs/gangs.

              However you can be pretty much garaunteed that you will die from a heart or a cancer related maladie.

              Gun related death are tiny in comparison with other causes, especialy when you remove suicides..

              Admittedly firearms related deaths make great media but that it all, they do not represent anything that you will ever have to worry about statistically ...

              Next time you eat a donut or smoke a cigarette though have a second thought for what is dfar more likely to kill you ....

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Who's to blame

                Next time you eat a donut or smoke a cigarette though have a second thought for what is dfar more likely to kill you ....

                Oh please, go peddle NRA marketing elsewhere. If someone smokes or drinks, *they* make that choice. They don't make that choice when they mowed down in a school or a mall because there is nothing preventing people with a questionable history from picking up guns and ammo from the nearby gun shop. I have nothing against arms per se because I also happen to agree with the principle of home defence, but I am totally against putting dangerous tools in the hands of complete morons, and against the idiots who let this happen - which appears to include you.

                The US has a stratospheric difference in gun related deaths compared to other nations that have a fairly liberal arms policy. This either means it's too easy for unsuitable people to obtain arms, or everyone is nuts. I still hope it's the former.

  10. frank ly Silver badge

    Duress? Threats?

    "It apparently took four police to arrest the 14-year-old, with the principal threatening to expel the boy if he didn't make a written statement."

    Isn't that illegal in various ways?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Duress? Threats?

      Isn't that illegal in various ways?

      I hope so. It'll be something like knowingly making a minor submit a false statement under duress. Maybe the guy trained as a priest?

  11. John Sager

    It's just Texas

    Only beaten in the unclue stakes by Florida? There probably are smart people in Texas, but they don't join the local police, or it seems, the teaching staff...

  12. LaeMing
    Flame

    Knowledge is power

    Therefore people who know things are dangerous. Especially to people who know nothing.

    All people who know things must be rounded up into labour camps to protect the people who know nothing.

  13. Bota

    In America, because "Turrists"

    As I drink my morning coffee and start the day with El Reg I cannot fucking believe that this happened. The boy was obviously innocent, but I guess this incident won't affect him at all, make him feel alienated, and more sensitive to "radicalisation". I know there are another tribe running the media/hollywood in the US but the "ooga booga muslim" stereotype is getting really really old. Fuck the police. Well done said boy for being smarter than his peers.

  14. Lars Silver badge
    Alert

    Hm

    Time to point out that Jobs was Arab too, at least as Arab as Obama is African.

  15. Nash

    2 things have caused this...

    1) Terrorism...

    2) Bad language - he probably said to one of his mates "look dude, this sh!t is the Bomb" in typical american fashion, to which the teacher has overheard and chosen to take action. if he had used proper English and said "well hello Charles, this is indeed my home made clock, which is far superior to yours" then all of this could have been avoided.

    I blame facebook.

    1. blarpman
      Mushroom

      Re: 2 things have caused this...

      A comment that actually does make you laugh out loud this early in the day deserves an up vote.

      I'd just like to add, surely to be classified as a bomb, doesn't said device need to have:

      1) A red wire to cut

      2) A blue wire to complicate things

      3) A cat nearby to grab on the way out when you cut the blue wire (or did you cut the red wire?)

      1. King Jack Silver badge

        Re: 2 things have caused this...

        You forgot one detail. The wires have to be curly or it is not a bomb.

        1. Yugguy

          Re: 2 things have caused this...

          And someone needs to be days from retirement.

  16. david 12 Bronze badge

    No actual experience with explosives? Or too much?

    I can see a school treating all toys as bombs, if that's what they do, and I can see a school always calling the police, if that's what they do. and I can see the police treating all reports as equal, if that's what they do.

    But at every level, they should have noticed that it was just the electronics, not the explosives.

    Does this mean that teachers have never seen dynamite/gelignite/explosives, or does it mean that they think the school is full of bomb material that only needs a trigger?

  17. Schultz
    Facepalm

    Didn't he know ...

    that a time-piece (aka clock) is half a time-bomb? He'd just have to add the explosives, the igniter, and use some alarm function to trigger it. The police probably assumed that a whizz kid like him might assemble those during break-time from cafeteria ingredients.

    Better safe than sorry. So they should ban from school: (a) all devices that have a timer function, or (b) all smart kids.

    1. Bluto Nash

      Re: Didn't he know ...

      Holy crap, you're RIGHT! The relatively unknown (for good reason) hamburger bomb with creamed corn booster! And he normally BRINGS his lunch... Hmmm...

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: No actual experience with explosives? Or too much?

      That depends what is in the reagents cupboard.

      Some ammonia, iodine and filter paper can make a very good boom provided that you do not even think about moving them. Those are available even in the most backwater heavily censored chemistry reagent cabinet.

    3. Vic

      Re: No actual experience with explosives? Or too much?

      I can see a school treating all toys as bombs

      Perhaps there's something in that.

      Vic.

  18. Tom 7 Silver badge

    A movie bomb!

    So who has the definitive movie bomb to compare with this and why aren't they in jail for having one?

    1. Little Mouse

      Re: A movie bomb!

      Presumably his big mistake was making a clock that counted backwards...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A movie bomb!

      This? http://www.amazon.com/Novelty-Defusable-Alarm-Clock-Bomb-like/dp/B00C587QUM

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A movie bomb!

        Amazon.com also sell this. The comments are interesting.

        http://www.amazon.com/Rubies-Costume-Co-Fake-Dynamite/dp/B000W4PPQ8

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course he will be expelled and charged

    Not expelling and charging him would prove that the school and police are just acting on racial stereotypes, paranoia and too many cheap action movies.

    Better sacrifice someone different than look a complete tool.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    “We have no information that he claimed it was a bomb. He kept maintaining it was a clock, but there was no broader explanation”

    Let me fill in the blanks. "A clock is a device for indicating the passing of time." Broad enough?

    Of course had he brought in TNT or an Apple watch (i heard somewhere they might make great detonators in the wrong hands) then the broad answer would not apply because it is obvious they are used by terrorists and fanbois alike.

    1. Mephistro Silver badge
      Devil

      "Of course had he brought in TNT or an Apple watch (i heard somewhere they might make great detonators in the wrong hands)..."

      I prefer to use cheap android phones for my explosive devices. Better value for money! :)

    2. Mage Silver badge

      an Apple watch?

      Bah. Any £1 / $2 / €1.50 Analogue face Quartz alarm clock would take about 2 min to wire alarm contacts to suitable battery and detonator instead of buzzer. The contacts are mechanical. A detonator needs more than the 1.5V of the clock battery. An LCD digital clock alarm about x4 more. LED clocks take too much power, all the ones I know run off mains and count the 50Hz or 60Hz, though there is usually a low accuracy RC oscillator and 9V battery, but in that state the display is off and the alarm doesn't work. They start at about x5 the price of analogue face quartz alarm, or x10 there is a radio.

      I can't see why you'd use an Apple watch. If you want remote operation you just use a cheap phone with anonymous SIM and a simple one transistor adaptor to fire detonator from signal on the ringing piezo speaker. Make sure you unticked the receive marketing texts / calls when buying sim or it will go off early.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: an Apple watch?

        "[...] Analogue face Quartz alarm clock would take about 2 min to wire alarm contacts [...]"

        In the 1960s we used to modify our traditional wind-up alarm clocks to switch on a bedside transistor radio in the morning.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He kept maintaining it was a clock

    bzzzz - not good enough. Actually, NOTHING would be good enough. And it's so far past the entry point with an "ABSURD" sign above it, that I can't find absolutely anything funny about all this :(

    1. Evan Essence
      Holmes

      Re: He kept maintaining it was a clock

      The police officers kept maintaining they were police officers. There was no broader explanation.

  22. JJKing

    Need to raise cops IQ level to double digits.

    Movie bomb and Keystone cops. My sympathies go out to the young man terrorised by one of his country's paramilitary gangs.

    I have to wonder if the same would have happened to a fair skin child with a European name. Me thinks not.

    1. Vic

      Re: Need to raise cops IQ level to double digits.

      Sir appears to have mis-spelled "single"...

      Vic.

  23. M7S
    Coat

    Will he do time?

    (Sorry)

  24. Filippo

    The whole point of asymmetrical warfare is to get your enemy to spend very large amounts of resources to defeat attacks that cost you very little: the more they win battles, the more they lose the war. Spending ten million dollars to kill a few random guerrillas on the other side of the globe from anything you care about might technically be a victory, but it's actually a loss.

    Terrorism just takes this to an extreme: get your enemy to spend very large amounts of resources to defeat attacks that don't even exist, and even to spend resources fighting itself. The economical damage you can cause this way is orders of magnitude above and beyond what you can do with actual bombs.

  25. Andrew Moore Silver badge

    "A paranoid world addicted to security theatre"

    sums up in one line what life has become in the 21st century. Brilliant.

    Even during the 70s and 80s when the IRA carried out deadly campaigns in the UK and Ireland, there was no where near the paranoia or stupidity that there is today.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: "A paranoid world addicted to security theatre"

      That's only because the powers that be hadn't worked out how to use it for their own agenda.

      Now that they have, we have what we see.

    2. Laura Kerr
      Thumb Up

      Re: "A paranoid world addicted to security theatre"

      "there was no where near the paranoia or stupidity that there is today."

      That's because America hadn't got directly involved back then - before 11/9, to the American Establishment, trrrism was either something that happened to funny-looking brown people who didn't speak English, or in the case of the IRA, something you paid to support. Yes, Teddy Kennedy, I'm taking a dump on YOUR grave.

      American paranoia didn't end with the fall of McCarthy - it festered and grew within the American psyche, and was only kept under control by the realisation that the Kremlin had a huge fuckoff nuclear arsenal that could wipe out the US if war did break out, and consequently it was better to put a real effort into finding diplomatic solutions to crises.

      After 1991 and the collapse of the USSR, American over-confidence burst forth in all its inglorious and gaudy brashness until somebody who wasn't brought up on a diet of Hollywood crap and Coke arranged to knock down some office blocks. The pent-up paranoia promptly reappeared; and it managed to carry so many other countries along with it merely because the governments of those countries had prostituted themselves to the ideal of America Uber Alles for so long that they failed to see just how selfish, introspective and detached from reality the US government had become.

      We may be seeing a dawning realisation of that now in some places, but within the US, this appalling incident is just another manifestation of a chronic paranoia that could easily tear the country apart.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "A paranoid world addicted to security theatre"

        That's quite a succinct summary of the real problem and its consequences.

        I worry about the latter, because they are still in a position to take all of us with them in their collapse - the world has still not learned to isolate itself from the US. It's a shame, because it's an awful lot of potential wasted.

  26. nevstah

    “It could reasonably be mistaken as a device if left in a bathroom or under a car...."

    Really?

    I've got a rucksack with me right now, I carry my lunch in it.

    If I placed it in a bathroom or under a car, it could reasonably be mistaken as a device... I'd best turn myself in...

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You know I love Nixie Tubes & at the moment I'm building a chess set that uses Nixie Tubes to represent the peices. its a kit you can easily buy with no questions off the internet if you want to, the same person who developed this kit also sells a Nixie Tube clock/timer kit that uses quite large tubes for the display. As with all electronics kits, soldering, circuit boards, wires are invovled.

    All I can say is its a good thing that kid wasnt building one of those of he really would have been up the creek

    Nixie Tube Clocks look like the one on this site ; http://www.pvelectronics.co.uk/index.php using IN-18 Tubes

    Makes me worry about moving my chess set around when its finished, will i too have to provide a 'broader explanation' & wtf does that even mean ?? IF you say device is for purpose A & purpose A is self explanatory like 'it is a clock officer, it tells the time' how the hell do you provide a 'broader explanation' of its purpose???????????

  28. Robin Szemeti

    I'm not surprised the American cops made a mess of this, lets face it, you don't get particularly bright people in the police service. What is surprising is that the school principle was too dumb to recognise a bright kid, with a hobby in electronics actually wanting to show off his creation in school.

    If the principle was half intelligent, he would have arranged a "show and tell" session for the kid, to encourage the other kids to actually do something apart from eat burgers and play XBox. Seriously, the principle's primary duty is to the kids (individually) and to provide and foster an eviroment for education. He's failed in both.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Frankly, what happened there is a bright red flag to avoid this school like the proverbial plague if you have even the smallest impression that your kid is bright. Assessing that is easy: if the kid appears brighter than the policemen involved he should not go there.

      The head idiot at that school should go and do something where he cannot damage future generations and which more aligns with the intellect on display. Cleaning gutters or sweeping streets seems a more suitable vocation.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Too late for remorse

        What happened there is a bright red flag to avoid the USA.

        It appears as though the country is currently in a state of panic.. I wonder if there is any possible connection with some of those unsanctioned interventions in Iran/Afghanistan etc....

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course he's a terrorist, you've only got to look at him

    He's never shaved.

  30. MJI Silver badge

    I despair

    Clever kid dragged down by morons.

    I hope this all get sorted and someone deservedly gets a right bollocking.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I despair

      Not going to happen, because that would involve a whole string of idiots admitting they were wrong.

      The kid is done for :(

  31. Linker3000
    Mushroom

    I'm scared

    If the UK authorities adopted the same mindset and paid a visit to my spare room (aka 'workshop'), they'd find several Raspberry Bombs, Arduino-grenades and nano-grenades, ESP8266 IoT wifi remote detonators, antistatic bags full of I/O bombshields, trays of PIC Microbombs, Serial Flashbang RAM, 7-segment LED countdowntoarmageddon indicators, LCD bomb displays ('your bomb temperature is ...nDegC'), USB-Serial TTL bomb interfaces, a 1979 Acorn System 1 6502-trainer-cum-bomb, some old EPROMS (EBOMBS, more like, eh!), ultracapacitor detonators...

    The other week, while browsing through a computer and electronics surplus warehouse (aka bomb factory), I even picked up what can only be described as a hardly-used Sinclair ZXeightybomb.

    The dead giveaway is the storage drawers containg piezo sounders and LEDs, which I use to make sure that all of the IoT...er...bombs that I construct make a telltale bleeping sounds accompanied by blinkenlights to ensure that they can be easily spotted under vehicles and in the noisewheel compartments of passenger aircraft. Hell, I even have WIRE.

    I'll get me coat and turn myself in right now.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: I'm scared

      You're ok then... Me.. I'm in the States and I'm screwed. Workshop... cell phone, 2 computers, a metal lathe, milling machine, laser cutter, and other implements for weapons building. In the garden shed are 2 cans of petrol, 3 bags of fertilizer. Broader explanation...? Look on the workbench but if it's the same bunch of cops, then it's not a scale model of a French 18th Century Frigate but a "very clever way of concealing a bomb".

  32. Orwell

    Not only have the terrorists won but it gives western governments the excuse they needed to spy on and harass the general population.

    So actually the terrorists have won twice.

  33. PassiveSmoking

    "Making a hoax bomb" huh? Well that doesn't sound like a totally spurious charge made up by cops who just don't want to admit they've made an absurd call. It's rather like a "resisting arrest" charge. If that's the only thing somebody's been charged with, you know the cop tried to arrest somebody for no good reason at all, they objected, so they arrested them for resisting arrest.

  34. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Isn't there a minimum intelligence standard..

    ..to be a cop or an educator? Never mind, it was a rhetorical question.

  35. sysconfig

    "The concern was, what was this thing built for?"

    It was built "just because" or "because he can". We're talking about a 14yr old boy here. He probably brought it to school to show it off to his friends.

    If he brought it into the chemistry lab and started tinkering there, you might want to ask questions and take that device away from him. Until then... for christ's sake, be happy that you still have pupils that get all geeky in their spare time rather than playing video games whole day.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      Re: "The concern was, what was this thing built for?"

      >If he brought it into the chemistry lab and started tinkering there, you might want to ask questions and take that device away from him

      Why?

    2. Ojustaboo

      Re: "The concern was, what was this thing built for?"

      "If he brought it into the chemistry lab and started tinkering there, you might want to ask questions and take that device away from him."

      Life was so much simpler when I was a kid, you could buy knives , glue, lighter fuel, methylated spirits without anyone batting an eyelid.

      I even took my chemistry set into school on the last day of term (probably about 1973) at junior school, a set which had chemicals that are probably mostly banned today and those that aren't require you to be over 18 to buy.

      Everyone even had to leave the class for over an hour due to me and friends mixing a load together and accidentally making the ultimate stink bomb :) Teacher just shouted at us for a bit, windows were opened, and life continued

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "The concern was, what was this thing built for?"

        "I even took my chemistry set into school on the last day of term (probably about 1973) at junior school, [...]"

        In 1960 many of the 12 year old pupils in our class would go to their local chemist to buy glass tubing to experiment with blowing and drawing it - as we had been taught in Chemistry lessons.

        We also had a shopping list of various chemicals with which we could construct simple fireworks. Analytical chemistry was part of our examination syllabus - determining a compound's composition from the colours with which it burned. In those days chemicals were part of every independent chemist's stock for those very schoolboy purposes. I doubt if youngsters today have seen how you produce the different isomers of some common elements.

        1. Vic

          Re: "The concern was, what was this thing built for?"

          In those days chemicals were part of every independent chemist's stock for those very schoolboy purposes

          Not very many years ago, I went round various chemists in the area to try to buy neat acetone[1]. I wasn't overly surprised that I couldn't find any who would sell it to me - what surprised me was the number who didn't understand the question...

          Vic.

          [1] To clean my van windscreen, if it matters. Meths tends to leave a little residue...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "The concern was, what was this thing built for?"

            "[...] I went round various chemists in the area to try to buy neat acetone"

            In the 1950s computer tape decks used a light sensor to detect a transparent section marking the start of a tape. Acetone was used to remove the oxide coating for about an inch - thus creating the transparent window. For this purpose there was a very large brown bottle of acetone near the tape decks.

            There was also an identical very large brown bottle of isopropyl alcohol used to clean the tape deck heads every shift. Occasionally someone would use the acetone by mistake - and the heads would disintegrate as their plastic parts dissolved.

            By 1970 the insurers only permitted a bottle of alcohol of about 500ml - and it had to be stored in very large red fireproof chest when not being used. That was not sufficient to get engineers home late at night when they realised their car was low on petrol.

  36. Drefsab_UK

    Poor lad

    So let me get this right:

    This lad off his own back made a LED clock (something I also did back in year 1 at secondary school in our electronics class).

    He took it into school presumably to show his peers / teachers.

    He therefore is an evil mastermind for a) trying to do some extra curiclular learning, b) expressing some indviduality/creativity, c) for expecting as school to be a place to be able to discuss/show off his work.

    Thank the lord that the right thinking faculity instead of seeing this and applauding his attempts to learn on his own decided to come down on him like a tonne of bricks and use the full force of the law to stamp out such behaviour.

    Seariously I wonder if we should write to the school/education authority or something to express our views on this stupidity.

    1. Vic

      Re: Poor lad

      I wonder if we should write to the school/education authority or something to express our views on this stupidity.

      Yes.

      I'm planning to...

      Vic.

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Re: Poor lad

        Re: Poor lad

        I wonder if we should write to the school/education authority or something to express our views on this stupidity.

        Yes.

        I'm planning to...

        Are you sure the guy can actually read? Best use very simple words :(

        1. Vic

          Re: Poor lad

          Are you sure the guy can actually read? Best use very simple words :(

          Excellent advice. I thank you for your counsel :-)

          Vic.

  37. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Yes but...

    he might say it was a clock but how do we know he was telling the truth, especially when he seemed unable to further explain what this 'clock' was?

  38. Otto is a bear.

    It's Texas

    It's a wonder he wasn't shot on the spot for resisting arrest, I mean calling what was obviously a bomb a clock, disagreeing with a police officer, scaring the principle, sheesh.

    I'm always amazed at how stupid US authorities can be, especially supposedly intelligent ones like teachers and Principals. I expect a lot of kids to look at this, look at their electronics projects and think, am I going to get arrested for taking it into school.

  39. Evan Essence
    FAIL

    True Stupidity

    For true stupidity, you need Real, True American stupidity.

  40. Desidero
    Mushroom

    If it was a public school in Texas, presumably they thought no student could actually tell time - aside from ante-Diluvian or post.

    Couldn't they disarm him with StuxNet? I thought that was the universal vaccine, the strange but loving anti-Strangelove.

  41. Bloodbeastterror

    The Shock Doctrine

    Full title "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism" by Naomi Klein.

    Premise: sieze on a major disaster (say, airliners knocking down twin towers), use it as a frightener for the populace, whip up fear using the press, invent a perpetual war (let's call it "War on Terror"), gradually encroach on freedom and privacy quoting the mantra "For security", and eventually, quite a few years late (but not too far away) we arrive in 1984.

  42. Evan Essence
    Thumb Up

    Wired

    Nice story from Wired (linked from the Guardian's report): How to Make Your Own Homemade Clock That Isn't a Bomb.

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Wired

      Thanks for the link - quite interesting.

      ... and not a big red button in sight.

  43. Lallabalalla

    He should've brought a homemade assault rifle

    wouldn't have been a problem.

  44. adam payne Silver badge

    An over the top reaction to a electronics geek with a home made clock.

    Who knows this kid may be the next John Bardeen or Thomas Edison.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Obviously Not A Bomb Because....

    .. it didn't have an 'Off' switch! "There's always an 'Off' switch." Sherlock said that (so it must be true). In that silly episode where they blatantly rip off the blowing up parliament idea from 'V'.

    No 'off' switch no bomb.

  46. Domquark

    If I was a parent with may child at that school...

    I would be extremely worried that not only could the Teachers could not tell the difference between a clock and a bomb (the lack of detonator and explosive might have been a clue), but they want to expel him for [what is] showing creativity and initiative as well!

    What do they teach in American schools?! More to the point what standard of Teachers are they hiring?!

  47. Joey M0usepad Silver badge

    so none of you lot wouldve been remotely concerned?

    1. Domquark

      No, because we can tell the difference between a clock and a bomb.

      Bombs have detonators and explosives attached to them.

      Clocks don't.

      Simples! :)

      1. Frank Bough

        Bollocks

        If you had ANY inkling that it might be a bomb, you'd be fucking crazy to investigate closely.

    2. David Nash Silver badge

      so none of you lot wouldve been remotely concerned?

      No - why should we be? Many commonplace items contain clocks. They are not bombs.

      Are you suggesting that any home made electronic device is automatically suspicious? That is just stupid.

    3. Iain 14

      So none of you lot wouldve been remotely concerned?

      As a teenager I used to repair broken digital clocks for pocket money, and I imagine others here have had similar experiences, so no.

      As has already been pointed out, it was only a clock. If there had been any signs of a "business end", or any indication that he was trying to obtain explosive materials, then that would be a different matter.

      1. Joey M0usepad Silver badge

        Re: So none of you lot wouldve been remotely concerned?

        yes , well , i love electronics and wires too. The only table in my house, and my cars dashboard are testament to this. But if a young impressionable , dare i say it, muslim , student comes into school waving an electronic timing device around , for no reason, i would be concerned.

        Maybe a cursury glance at it would alleviate those concerns but this story is lacking in 2 elements:

        1) a picture of said gizmo

        2) wether or not he'd been asked to bring it in as homework or it was completely off his own back.

        1. Vic

          Re: So none of you lot wouldve been remotely concerned?

          a young impressionable , dare i say it, muslim , student

          I think you just told us a bit more about yourself than you had intended...

          Vic.

    4. Vic

      so none of you lot wouldve been remotely concerned?

      No. For all the same reasons as we wouldn't have been concerned by him being in possession of a cheese sandwich - it's very difficult to make either into an working explosive device.

      Vic.

      1. Irony Deficient

        exploding sandwiches

        Vic, with the public availability of step-by-step instructions for constructing a Bacon & Avocado Exploding Sandwich, concern may rise that ne’er-do-wells could modify it to similarly arm cheese sandwiches.

  48. David Nash Silver badge

    Beware Maplin

    Anyone browsing their web site is obviously up to no good:

    http://www.maplin.co.uk/c/gadgets-toys-and-hobbies/projects-kits-and-modules#Category:Clock Kits&sort=&page=1&productsPerPage=12

    Do we need to browse their website in so-called incognito mode, from an anonymous internet cafe now?

  49. Alien8n Silver badge

    Better cancel my daughter's trip to Disney

    We were planning to go to Florida in a couple of years, guess we'd better cancel that trip as she has a homemade clock on her bookcase that she made a few years ago...

  50. MK_E
    Trollface

    Police have identified his co-conspirators.

    Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Ignignokt and Err should alert the authorities immediately. Do not attempt to confront them yourselves as they are presumed to be armed with the deadly quad laser.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm not going to comment on the issue itself.

    Congratulations El Reg on more fabulous journalism. (I.e. an article on a controversial subject devoid of important details, thus getting page views, and frothy comments).

  52. Lyndon Hills 1

    When I was his age, I'd have got high marks for building a digital clock. Now you get arrested.

    Is this what 'arrested development' means?

  53. Esme

    Blimey

    If they're going to arrest a child for THAT, then I hope they'll also be arresting all the Concerned Mothers of America every time they buy a bag of flour and a box of matches at the same time. Far more dangerous. Or custard powder'd do.

    Right, that's me barred from ever visiting the USA, not that I've ever wanted to.

  54. Wommit

    Apropos

    This https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5ZuvmyQ_p4

  55. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Up

    He's just been invited to the White House...!

    "Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great."

    https://twitter.com/POTUS/status/644193755814342656

    1. Vic

      Re: He's just been invited to the White House...!

      Shall we hold a sweepstake on how long that principal keeps his job?

      Vic.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: He's just been invited to the White House...!

        "Shall we hold a sweepstake on how long that principal keeps his job?"

        Probably as long as that elected official in Kentucky who is still refusing to do her sworn duty to uphold the law of the land while drawing her $80,000 a year salary.

    2. Sporkinum

      Re: He's just been invited to the White House...!

      That is excellent! Crap like what happened to that kid breaks my heart. I used to mess around with electronics when I was a kid back in the 70's. It's a normal part of being a nerd.

  56. Kimo
    Headmaster

    If this can reasonably be mistaken for a bomb....

    we really need to invest more in science and technology education. Circuit boards don't blow up without some kind of explosive attached.

  57. Frank Bough

    Do you know what?

    The kid's fine, no-one got hurt, what does it matter if a false alarm was raised? It really DOES look like a movie bomb, so I'm fine with the precautionary principle being invoked.

    1. Not also known as SC Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Do you know what?

      Actually it looks like a digital clock.

      The kid's fine? Being handcuffed and questioned for several hours as a potential terrorist, and then threatened with being charged with creating a hoax bomb isn't going to have any impact on him?

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    U.S. V UK

    my son had to build a homemade clock as part of his gcse in electronics/controls course and that was only a few years ago.

    Obviously the uk education can't be trusted!

    1. Alien8n Silver badge

      Re: U.S. V UK

      Seeing some of the stuff they're teaching nowadays you may be right about UK education not being trusted. They still can't teach the correct components that make up a computer (no, that's not the memory, that's the CPU).

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019