- Chicago is as prepared for a terrorist attack as any big city can possibly be, Mayor Daley maintained today. Then he showcased the technology to prove it on the eighth anniversary of 9/11.
We are remembering the Mobile Communications Van that Shortshanks rolled out to great fanfare a few years back. It was pretty much an empty shell that parked behind OEMC and was unlicensed to operate any of the millions of dollars of equipment supposedly installed. We don't even think it was hardened against EMP while it was parked behind on of the largest targets in Chicago. They had to spend hundreds of thousands to ship it back to Virginia or somewhere for modifications. Does anyone know if it ever came back?
At O’Hare Airport, the city is testing a high-resolution camera capable of detecting debris on the airfield that may be invisible to the naked eye.
“This is able to pick up screws, metal objects, other objects that may cause or could impact damage in aircraft. It allows for a cleaner airfield using technology on top of human inspection,” said Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino.
You know, we are forcibly reminded of a story we read regarding the Space Race of the 1960's. When NASA found out pens wouldn't work reliably in outer space, they spent a few million dollars inventing a "space pen" that used pressurized gases to ensure a steady flow of ink in zero gravity. The pen was rolled out to enormous fanfare. It could write in outer space, under water, upside-down. It was truly a marvel of engineering and American know how.
The USSR sent their cosmonauts into orbit with pencils.
So "silent" Vic's partner is spending millions on a camera system to detect debris on runways? Debris that will still have to be picked up by human hands? How about we just attach a few magnets to the street sweepers already clearing the runways daily? Or improve the brushes to clean a bit more efficiently? Too easy?
And thanks to an “exciting partnership” with Columbia College, the city is developing “virtual reality software that simulates a high-rise fire.”
“It’s an interactive learning tool that…will train you and educate you as far as what needs to be done if there’s an evacuation of your building,” said Ray Orozco, executive director of the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications.
We used to have something like this back in grade school...it was called a "fire drill," and the Fire Department would come by, sound the buzzers and the nuns would line everyone up and evacuate the building. God help you if you talked in line, too. What is an "exciting partnership" with a "virtual reality" simulation going to teach us that Sister Mary Margaret didn't?
- Find the exits, find the stairwells, find an alternate or two and get the hell out if the shit hits the fan.
The last time the City held a "drill," it was on a Friday afternoon, maybe 10 or 20 buildings participated, the employees all got to go home early and the building engineers were propping doors open and handing out bottled water to "evacuees." When it happens for real, it's going to be mass chaos. And unfortunately, quite a few shortcomings are going to be exposed in the worst way and at the worst time possible.
UPDATE: Yes, we know, urban legend. But the point of the story remains the same. Shortshanks and his crew are spending millions of dollars trying to invent a space pen when a simple solution exists.