Al Qaeda terrorists contemplated an attack on New York subways in 2003 using an “easily constructed” device called a “mubtakkar” to release cyanide gas, according to a story in Time Magazine this week.
But there are reasons to question the reliability and significance of the story, suggested chemist George Smith of GlobalSecurity.org.
For one thing, “why, if the mubtakkar of death is so easy to make has it not been seen since, or employed in Iraq, or used anywhere there have been other terror attacks?”
An overview of chemical warfare agents and analytical methods for their identification was prepared this year by Defence Research and Development Canada.
See “Analysis of Chemical Warfare Agents: General Overview, LC-MS Review, In-House LC-ESI-MS Methods and Open Literature Bibliography” (pdf), Defence Research and Development Canada, March 2006.
A uniform software tool for inputting building permit data would make the U.S. Census Bureau’s Building Permit Survey (BPS) more reliable, and it would also facilitate more fine-grained geographical analysis of new housing development.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) should prioritize funding water projects for local governments that would expand the production of new housing in their service areas if given the water resources to do so.
Congress needs to amend the definition of a manufactured home to remove the phrase “on a permanent chassis.” By doing this, Congress can eliminate wasted construction materials, allow new multifamily design options under the HUD Code, and unleash competition from factory-built manufactured housing.
Satellite images show that the Navy has begun construction of a new nuclear weapons storage and handling facility at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.