1. Wired: Why Is This Cargo Container Emitting So Much Radiation? →

    The tale of shipping container TGHU 307703 0 22G1, which showed up at a Genoa port emitting six chest x-rays’ worth of radiation per minute. And interesting information about the mysteries of shipping containers in general, and the security around them (or terrifying lack thereof).

    So after 10 years and more than $1 billion spent on scanners, radiation detectors, and beefed-up intelligence, most US ports are still scanning containers onshore, after unloading. Unfortunately, the detectors are easily foiled. Lots of harmless things are slightly radioactive—kitty litter, ceramic tiles, even bananas. So most detectors are set to ignore low radiation levels. Basic shielding would be enough to mask all but the strongest sources. “The radiation portals that were deployed in the aftermath of 9/11 are essentially fine, except for three problems: They won’t find a nuclear bomb, they won’t find highly enriched uranium, and they won’t find a shielded dirty bomb,” says Stephen Flynn, a terrorism expert and president of the Center for National Policy. “Other than that, they’re great pieces of equipment.”

    From Spook Country:

    "You said they put it on a truck today," she said.


    "And they’re taking it into the United States, through Idaho?"

    "We think Idaho. The unit inside is still functioning, though, and Bobby is keeping track of that for us. We should be able to anticipate where they’re going to cross."

    "If we fail to do that," the old man said, "and they enter the country undetected, we do have other options."

    "Though we prefer the radiation be detected at the crossing."

  2. Dean Potter’s record-breaking wingsuit BASE jump off the Eiger.

    From Zero History:

    "Look at you. Motherfucker’s on YouTube, jumping off skyscrapers in a flying-squirrel suit."

  3. Nasser al-Neyadi and Omar Alhegelan, setting the world BASE jump record from the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. To Garreth’s immense chagrin, of course. And they used parachutes, not wingsuits.

    From Zero History:

    "Don’t look on YouTube."

    "At what, on YouTube?"

    "Burj Khalifa world-championship base jump."

    "That hotel? Looks like an Arabian Nights sailboat? What happened?"

    "That’s Burj Al Arab, Burj Khalifa’s the world’s tallest building—"


    "The jump on YouTube, that wasn’t him. That was earlier. That guy high-pulled, they say here. That’s when—"

    "What happened to Garreth?"

    "The guy on YouTube holds the world’s record now for jumping out of a building. Your boy figured a way to get in and go off it higher up. They still hadn’t finished closing all the windows at the top. There was this crane—"

    "Oh God—"

    "And the security had of course gotten lots tighter, since YouTube guy did his, but your boy’s an expert at—"

    "Tell me!"

    "He was on his way up, however he was managing that, and they got onto him. He got up to a point where the windows weren’t installed, and went off from there. Actually a little lower than YouTube guy—"


    "Did the bat-suit thng. Took it really far out, really low, probably pissed that he’d jumped from below the record point. Trying for points on style."

    Hollis was crying now.

    "Had to come down on a freeway. Four in the morning, there was a vintage Lotus Elan—"

  4. Jeb Corliss wing-suit demo from Jeb Corliss on Vimeo.

    This is is a reel of the exploits of wingsuit BASE jumper Jeb Corliss, sailing over cliffs, mountains, trees, valleys, and the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio. This is the sort of thing Garreth likes to get up to in his free time, apparently.

    From Spook Country:

    "What did you do, Garreth, before you started doing whatever this is that you’re doing now?"

    He considered. “Extreme sports. Some hospital, as a result. Fines and a little jail, likewise. Built props for films. Did stunts for them as well. And what did you do, between ‘Hard To Be One’ and what you’re doing now?”

    "Did badly in the stock market. Invested in a friend’s music store. What do you consider ‘extreme’ sports?"

    "BASE jumping, mainly."


    "Acronym. B building, A antenna, S span, as in bridge, arch or dome, E earth, a cliff or other natural formation.  BASE jumping."

    From Zero History:

    The old man would not, Hollis imagined, have approved of their involvement, but the multiskilled Garreth would have been impossible to replace. A man whose idea of fun was to fling himself off skyscrapers in a nylon suit with airfoil membranes sewn between the legs, and arms-to-thighs; a human flying squirrel, amid lethally unforgiving uprights of glass and steel.

    (Source: io9.com)