At around 1 am this morning I woke from a deep sleep to images of a blaze
in one of the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center.
the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook
are revealed for all to see!
Live footage of the fire was being transmitted via satellite directly to
my TV set -- and as I watched, a twin-engined passenger jet
into the other tower causing a massive explosion.
It was hard to believe -- and in fact the BBC announcer didn't even notice
the approach of the aircraft, simply remarking on the large ball of flame.
This is the power of modern TV -- you get to see things "live" and within
milli-seconds of them actually happening.
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Of course the first thing I did was jump on the Net and race off to CNN
to see what had already been published on this breaking story.
Unfortunately, the Net once again failed to deliver its promise.
Neither CNN, Yahoo's news section, FoxNews nor ABCNews were accessible --
all obviously overloaded by the tsunami of websurfers all with the same
idea as me.
And herein lies the problem with the Internet -- the more people using
it, the slower it goes.
TV and radio are still the perfect vehicles for handling such things -- not
necessarily because video is better than text or still images -- but simply
because the reliability and availability of the signal is not affected by
the number of viewers.
Some people have said that a lack of widely available broadband access is
responsible for the slow uptake of streaming video on the Net -- but it could
also be argued that the ready availability of such access probably accounted
for some of the congestion experienced last night.
How are we going to get around the fact that the Net is so very vulnerable
to failure under high-traffic conditions such as breaking news or denial-of-service
It's annoyingly paradoxical that the Net works best when you need it the
least and works worst when everyone needs it at once.
Of course the Net has not been totally worthless in the face of these
who lost two aircraft to hijackers in the attacks, used their
website to post an informational message for those affected.
While it's possible that
American Airlines, who also
lost two planes, might have done the same, their site suffered a melt-down
and was inaccessible so I couldn't tell.
However, one thing you can be sure of is that the newsgroups, bulletin boards,
chat-rooms and discussion forums on the Net will be filled with comments,
arguments, and accusations relating to the day's events.
Because -- what the Net does best is allow the individual to have their
say and express their opinion. In this area, neither TV, nor print, nor
radio can come close to the strength of the Internet.
Microsoft Flight Simulator -- The Terrorist's Secret Weapon?
Just how did these groups of terrorists manage to fly their hijacked
passenger jets into the chosen targets?
What pilot would willingly fly their plane, and all its passengers, directly
at a building in the full knowledge that a huge loss of life (including
their own) would result?
The answer is likely that no pilot would do this -- even if a gun were
held to their head.
But think on this: Once a modern passenger jet is in the air, flying them
is fairly easy and a few hours on Microsoft's Flight Simulator program
would likely give a terrorist all the skills they need to point a plain
at a target and fly it right in.
Perhaps the pilots were "disposed of" once the targets were in sight and
the terrorists flew the planes themselves for the final segment of their
Does this mean that Microsoft's Flight Simulator program is now a threat to
public and the national safety of the USA?
Will it be outlawed as a potential terrorist weapon?
Don't laugh -- stranger things have happened.
Save The Aardvark Fund
Yes, I have had several donations to the Aardvark fund and I thank those
who put their money where their mouse is :-)
If guilt is gnawing away inside you then there's still time to donate.
Just drop by and
hand over your loot.
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