Monday, January 08, 2007

Big Apple Stench 

Fox News TV is reporting that people in a large area of midtown Manhattan are reporting an odor that smells like a gas leak. Latest is that it's not harmful, after Con Ed determined that there's no gas leaks in the area. The smell has evidently been noticed across the Hudson in Jersey City.

It strikes me that, if a terrorist were planning to release a chemo or bio agent in the New York area and wanted to learn how the agent would disperse, one easy way to do so would be to release an odorant like methyl mercaptan (the stuff they put in natural gas to make it smell bad) and see where the reports come in from. I'm sure I'm far from the only person who's thought of this--I sure hope I'm far from the only person who's thought of this.

The only thing wrong here is that the weather in NYC is wet/drizzly/foggy and it seems to me that would hinder the dissipation of any kind of agent, especially a bio agent like anthrax. If someone were doing a dry run, I would think he'd want the meteorological conditions to be similar to those in which he'd conduct the actual attack, rather than the most adverse conditions. All in all, I believe that this incident is purely an accident or an honest mistake by someone, but post 9/11, it's prudent not to be complacent.

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