Sunday, August 21, 2005

Sharks, Gators, Oil

In The Copycat Effect, I discussed how shark and alligator attacks are frequent foci of the media. Despite the reality of how many actual attacks and fatalities happen every year, the articles increase when the newswriters decide to copy each other in a frenzy of animal encounter and attack reportage.

During the summer of 2005, the frequent sightings and infrequent captures of alligators and caimans are at one of their all-time highs. It has been building up all summer (into a "crazy croc season"). Since the attempts to catch an alligator or caiman seen in a lake near Los Angeles during August, the articles about gator sightings around the country have been appearing almost daily.

Now, according to Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner's Freakonomics blog, there seems to be something similar happening with articles about oil. In their blog today, entitled "'Peak Oil:' Welcome to the media's new version of shark attacks," they mention the copycat effect.

Steven Levitt wrote today:

"So why do I compare peak oil to shark attacks? It is because shark attacks mostly stay about constant, but fear of them goes up sharply when the media decides to report on them. The same thing, I bet, will now happen with peak oil. I expect tons of copycat journalism stoking the fears of consumers about oil induced catastrophe, even though nothing fundamental has changed in the oil outlook in the last decade."

I'd have to agree, wholeheartedly.

Thanks to Patrick Huyghe for bringing this one to my attention.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Yankees Logos and London Bombers

The New York Police Department has awakened to the worthwhile exercise of looking at the twilight language in the 7/7 and 7/21 London attacks.
On the first month anniversary of the attacks, the New York Daily News notes that "NYPD detectives are looking for hidden messages aimed at New York in the clothes the London bombers wore."
The story comments that "some of the terrorists dressed in shirts and caps emblazoned with the words 'New York' or the Yankees logo. 'We immediately seized on the fact that there were New York insignia,' David Cohen, NYPD deputy commissioner of intelligence, told business leaders at a briefing last week. 'We spent a lot of time examining this. We still don't know precisely what it meant.'"
"Cohen said the NYPD was working with London officials 'to go back through the wardrobes of these characters ... to determine, was this a purposeful message or was this just something pulled off the rack?' Bruce Hoffman, a senior Rand Corp. analyst, said it is possible that the terrorists were trying to make a statement with their attire. He speculated that Mohammed 'wearing a New York shirt showed that in his mind he was perpetrating his own 9/11.'"
This is no surprise.
The twilight language is deeply involved in these bombings.
As I have been suggesting for months, the dates, locations, and more should be examined in all these alleged al-Qaeda incidents. Perhaps it is time that the wardrobes of the Madrid, Moscow, and Bali bombers now be reviewed too.
[Thanks to SMiles for the link.]