Monday, April 15, 2013

Bomb Attack in Boston: Cell phones in Crisis Situations‏

Right now on Fox.com

So again we see, don't rely on your cell phone in bad situations:
Cellphone service was shut down in the Boston area to prevent any possible remote detonations of explosives, a law enforcement official said. The official was speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.
If you only have a cell phone and no land line in the Boston area, you are now cut off.

I’m watching the news right now. My prayers go out to all the victims of this horrible attack. My parents were in Boston yesterday, they just called to tell me about the attack. I lived in Boston when I was little, my best childhood memories. 

Indeed, they bring cellphone communications down in case there’s more cell phone activated bombs waiting to be detonated. During disasters you just don’t know. 

You still have smart phones with wifi that could use skype or send email if you find a working hotspot, so its worth trying that as a mean of communication. I know that a lot of people used just that after the earthquake in Chile when cell phones lines weren’t working either.



Anonymous said...

I live 10 miles from Boston. This was a big surprise. It happened just as I was leaving work outside the city. In the past I have stood where the bomb went off at Marathon Sports for the marathon. My brother and sister-in-law both live in the city. It is true they shut down the cell phones, but not right away. We were in contact with both of them more than 1 hour after the attack.

My old job has a cop with a machine gun outside right now. Crazy stuff.

The PM markets were crashing today. Wonder if it was related?

Don Williams said...

The Stock market and gold had both fallen sharply hours before the explosion --the explosion at 2:50 pm didn't seem to significantly affect prices of either market.

I don't know why the markets are falling -- one possibility is the Financial Times report that economic growth is stalling out worldwide --not just in the Eurozone. US unemployment is dismal and China's growth appears to have slowed.

What's of concern is that we are in the fifth year of governments throwing everything but the kitchen sink into the financial sector to simulate growth -- and running up massive debt in the process. With no visible effect. So what happens when the spigot is turned off --or even just reduced?

In his 2011 book "Aftershock: Protect yourself and profit in the next global financial meltdown" David Wiedemer noted how hard it is to recover from debt-based financial collapses and predicted the problems we are seeing to today --including the stagnation.
Fed Chairman Bernanke is pushing on the spaghetti string.

Robert Reich has also written a book titled Aftershock -- except his is "Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future". Reich makes what I consider to be a plausible argument: That the primary problem is gross income inequality. America's Richest 2 percent have increased their share of US income from 8% in 1978 to 25% today.

The people who have money are stuffing it in offshore mattresses --because their taste for luxury is already glutted -- while the people who need and want to buy things don't have the money.

Anonymous said...

Cell phones were not working most of the time for many days in lower manhattan during Sandy, but the landlines worked.

Anonymous said...


What the government has not done to stimulate growth is the stuff that WORKS..... tax cuts, fewer regulation on businesses, and allowing greater use of domestic oil and natural gas resources. We need our government to be pro-business... what we seem to be getting is a government that prefers business to fail. The costs of Obamacare will result in even more lost jobs. See that the number of people in NYC on food stamps is nearly 2 million and the unemployment numbers in NYC are being manipulated. We do not want Americans helpless, jobless and dependent on government as slaves. We should want an economy that allows people to be productive and engaged and independent. Remember FERFAL's essay about the teacher drawing diagrams of each economy and the middle class falling into the poor class? There will be MORE poverty... stop hating the rich and let business be free in America so that people everywhere can benefit. Taking it all away from the rich and middle class does not enrich the poor, it enriches and increases the power of the government only.

Don Williams said...

Re Anon's comment at April 16, 10:29 AM

1) One should have faith in God -- NOT faith in the benevolence of rich billionaires.
Especially since Reality has clearly refuted the latter faith.

2) We followed Anon's recommendation starting with the Reagan administration and
running up through Bill Clinton and George W Bush's presidencies. And the result has
been a massive disaster for the American People.

3) Reagan and George W both gave the Rich major tax cuts -- and the Rich responded
by throwing the American workers away like used toilet paper and moving their capital
(created by the sweat and genius of American workers) abroad to foreign countries.

4) Of course, those billionaires would have lost massive sums to foreign governments
--if not for the US military standing by to twist arms and point guns. Which is why those
billionaires who claim no obligation to the America which made them rich are so willing
to shed the blood of common US citizens in order to protect their foreign investments.
Most of the $16 Trillion in debt that has been dumped on us has been due to the last
three Republican Presidents spending massive sums on foreign military operations.

5) Why has the US, decade after decade, spent more on the military than the
next 20 major military powers COMBINED? Especially when most of those major
powers are Japan and our Nato allies? The money has gone to promote a global empire
that enriches the few while plunging the American People into deep poverty, massive
unemployment and high debt.

6) Clinton supported the deceitful policy of Republican Senator Phil Gramm and deregulated
the banking industry. With the result that the Rich stole everything not nailed down , plunged
us into a deep, prolonged depression , grabbed 25% of US Income (and an even larger
percentage of US wealth) which they are moving into foreign tax havens.

7) I don't merely hate the Rich -- I want to exterminate them. Because they are our enemy.
But to do that we need to first exterminate the Republican and Democratic Parties -- because
both Parties are whores for the Rich.

8) Obama is hostile to business --but not in the way Anon claims. The idea that a "socialist"
would have gotten $750 Million in campaign donations from the likes of Goldman Sachs,
JP Morgan, etc etc is hilarious. The businessmen that were really screwed by Obama were the
small businessmen. Obama moved huge sums from the US Treasury to his campaign donors
-- the Big Banks -- who were allowed to stuff the money into their vaults while letting
Small Business die from lack of credit. And Small Business employs many Americans.

But the Republicans had no problem with Obama's policy -- other than the fact that he was
blocking them from also pressing their lips to the buttocks of some big donors. Two whores
fighting over the attentions of a rich John.

9) Government can be a malign tool for evil --but it is the only tool the common citizen has with
which to fight the predations of the Rich.

10) The right's claim that the Democrats are socialists is hilarious. The Democrats are not
opponents of the Republicans --they are partners. The Republicans could never succeed
if there were not Democratic leaders to cave, surrender and sell out at the opportune
moment. Republicans and the Rich would be destroyed by a popular revolt if there were not
Democratic leaders around to take charge of the Revolt (with fake promises), lead it over
a cliff and leave the commoners deeply depressed, disorganized and bitterly impotent.
How is that "Change You Can Believe In" working? The Democrats' campaign slogan
should be "You MUST Support Us --We will Screw you 1 percent less than will the Republicans.
Probably. Some of the Time."

Don Williams said...

1) If Anon thinks the US Economy is struggling because the Rich are being picked on, I suggest he read this article by Nobel Economist Joseph Stiglitz:


2) Note: The "step up cost basis" that Stiglitz refers to --but does not explain -- is particularly interesting. I've used it and I remember when a relative in the financial industry first explained it to me -- I thought it was so cool.

Basically, if your father buys $100,000 of stock, lets it appreciate to $1 million in value , gives it to you and then dies, you only owe tax on the stock when you sell it for the amount over $1 MILLION --NOT for the appreciation from the $100,000 he originally paid for it. I.e , if you immediately sell it after the funeral for $1 million and ten dollars, you only owe the low capital gains tax (15% ) on the ten dollars. I.e, $1.50. heh heh

3) Anon might also ask why the managed economies of Germany and China are kicking the crap out of US "free marketeers". Why the people of China are seeing rapidly rising living stands while the US median income has crashed by $5000 in just the past few years.

gaga said...

Cell phones are dangerous because they, like ALL radio devices, can trigger unstable explosives used by amateur bombers.

So switch off wifi smart phones as well.

Its also the reason why cell phones cannot be used in petrol stations.

The last IRA bomber in London was killed by the bomb he was transporting on a bus exploded when a cell phone rang with an incoming call.

Anonymous said...

It's unbelievable that two young men with radical Islamic beliefs could cause a major city of over one million people to come to a complete standstill with government officials declaring what amounts to martial law. Leave it to the mostly unarmed white liberals of Boston to cower in their homes waiting for big government to protect them! Why did it take an army of Federal, state, and local law enforcement days to find those two men? Maybe law enforcement took so long to catch those guys because they had been focusing all of their efforts following law abiding tea party members?

Larry said...

News articles after the fact have reported that the cell phone system wasn't shut down by a government 'kill switch', but that massive congestion (thousands of people in the immediate area started calling 911 at the same time) clogged the network.

Didn't the same thing happen after the 9/11 attacks, but people were still able to send text messages?

Larry said...

"Mobile Network 'Kill Switch' Never Used in Boston Bombing Aftermath" -eweek.com 4/17/2013

It appears that cell phones were still good for sending texts, which is the next best thing:

"When their cell phone calls didn't work, people my kids' age turned to texting..." -Joan Gage @ huffingtonpost.com 4/17/2013

And this from boston.com's Chad O'Connor on April 20, 2013:

"It was at this point where I was unable to make any more phone calls and my SMS was very flakey at best. Most messages were not going out, at least not in a timely manner.

"I then decided to see what our app can do. I sent a report to one of our ELERTS test accounts (just text, no picture) and it went right through. It's worth noting that I was also able to use Google Voice's texting feature mostly without issue as well; it makes sense as it uses the data network and not the voice or SMS networks. This proves that in a situation where there are a ton of people trying to use the network the best chance to get a message out is via the data network where the bandwidth can slow down and it isn't using dedicated channels like voice and SMS."

So it would appear that cell phone service was hampered by congestion, not a government shut down of the system.