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Art Project Causes Atlanta Police To Close Highway and Call Bomb Squad 208

McGruber writes: Yesterday, a ridiculously huge commotion and massive traffic jam occurred when Atlanta Police closed the downtown connector (Interstates 75 & 85) and called out the bomb squad to detonate a "suspicious device" taped to a bridge. Today, Georgia State University officials announced that the suspicious device was a student camera, "one of 18 used by students in an art project and deployed at various locations in the city." PetaPixel has additional information about Solargraphy, the style of pinhole photography apparently being done by the Georgia students.
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Art Project Causes Atlanta Police To Close Highway and Call Bomb Squad

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  • by Drethon ( 1445051 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2015 @04:38PM (#48973651)
    Just with the help of the bomb squad.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by penguinoid ( 724646 )

      I heard that one of the suspects had a Canon. Also a news crew on the scene reported that they were taking shots.

  • by sandytaru ( 1158959 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2015 @04:39PM (#48973671) Journal
    It's not every art student who gets to say their project brought in a bomb squad! (I'd say that's normally the domain of freshman chemistry students.)
  • by Deffexor ( 230167 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2015 @04:45PM (#48973757)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 03, 2015 @04:46PM (#48973761)

    While bringing in the bomb squad and blowing shit up was an over reaction, people have to be fucking morons to think that NO reaction is going to (or should) occur if they do stupid shit like this.

    • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2015 @04:57PM (#48973891) Homepage Journal

      A real terrorist would hide the bomb in any of the billions and billions of McDonald's bags littering the streets.

      I notice those never get picked up or blown up for safety.

      • They would also use a bomb big enough to blow up the bridge.
      • What is saving the Western Civilization is that the terrorists are remarkably dumb. If they had one hundredth of your smartness, he would not be a terrorist. Being a suicide bomber is the stupidest thing a person can do.

        The goal of a terrorist is to terrorize the population. If the most common reaction they provoke is derision and ridicule they might give up. But that won't happen. We have 24 hour news channels with insatiable appetite for something. They will give so much of air time to the terrorist and

      • by dywolf ( 2673597 )

        pretty sure -anything- duct taped to the bottom of a bridge, especially a bright white bag, would arouse suspicions.

    • by magarity ( 164372 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2015 @05:01PM (#48973917)

      The second article claims a note was attached to it saying it was for an art project, so the person who did it is only guilty of assuming people can read calmly.

      • by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2015 @05:08PM (#48973989)

        Image of the "device." [cmgdigital.com]. Yes, it was an overreaction because it was not a threat, but I don't see a note there... perhaps there's one in the shadow. If you suspect it's a bomb, are you supposed to get close enough to read the note on it?

        Hindsight is 20/20... deciding what to do in situations like these is very difficult, but there's no way that, looking at that picture, you can't call it suspicious.

        • by adolf ( 21054 ) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 03, 2015 @05:24PM (#48974143) Journal

          To my untrained and naive eye that looks more like the type of pipe bomb that portrayed in every movie involving pipe bombs, than anything resembling a pinhole camera (which has no pre-defined shape).

          My opinion sways even more toward "some crazy person put a dangerous thing on that bridge" because of the hasty duct-tape mounting job, which (similar to the device itself) resembles every crazy taped-together implement that has ever been portrayed in every movie that involves a crazy person and a roll of tape.

          Also, TIL: When placing an object in public, whether nefarious or harmless, it is important to always make sure there is a note explaining that it is an art project....because notes on crazy-looking things are always believable.

          • Which movie involves pipe bombs?
          • by houghi ( 78078 )

            TIL: When I place a bomb, just put a note on it that it is an art object.

            People have thrown away art objects that were displayed in museums.People have had trouble for having t-shirts with wires on them.

            Thanks to the media, we are now afraid of everything. In Brussels there was a bomb-threat-alarm, because somebody put a suitcase next to a dumpster.
            As a male I am afraid to help a child in need, because people might think I am a pedophile.

            We are learning to be afraid all the time and as it has been said befo

        • Seriously If I saw THAT taped to a bridge I would suspect it of being something nefarious! That thing looks dodgy as fuck!

          I don't think I would think it was a bomb though, mainly because of the placement. It is not near a support it is near a light pole which is bolted too the bridge AND it is below the walkway. Any kind of detonation there is going to waste the vast majority of its force on empty space and knocking over a light pole.

        • Even if it had a poster attached that said "Not a Bomb", I would be very disappointed in any police force that didn't immediately shut down the surrounding area and try to safely denote the unknown device. It's round and covered with duct tape, is it a soda can filled with black powder and pellets? is it an unattended camera for an art project? At least put your phone number on that shit so people can call you and ask you what it is before taking the safest course of action.

        • by Ksevio ( 865461 )
          That's a pretty poor mounting job - the tape it going to leave a mess. If you're going to attach a camera (or bomb) to something, you'll want a clamp that looks a little sturdier and more professional.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I was a combat engineer in Iraq, and my job was disposing of roadside bombs.

          It looks like it could be an explosive device. I would think that the guy who placed it was an idiot, as its too small to do much, and way to obvious. I still would have assumed it was such a device.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by tburkhol ( 121842 )

            I was a combat engineer in Iraq, and my job was disposing of roadside bombs.

            It looks like it could be an explosive device. I would think that the guy who placed it was an idiot, as its too small to do much, and way to obvious. I still would have assumed it was such a device.

            That sounds like an appropriate response, if one is in Iraq, Afghanistan, or any other conflict zone where IEDs are a regular, or even unusual occurrence. Here in the US, we seem to have about one bombing or bombing attempt every two years (half of which are FBI "sting" operations) despite having 10 times as many people. In that environment, it seems appropriate to put a little more credence in the note explaining the art project.

            If you're out on the lake, and it quacks, it's probably a duck. If you're i

        • Yes, it was an overreaction because it was not a threat, but I don't see a note there..

          NOTE: This long, heavy, red, ticking thing [instructables.com] is not a bomb. Really, it's not!

          BTW, if a RoadRunner happens to stand by you, please push the button on the side to take a picture.

          Thanks. -WEC.

      • by GTRacer ( 234395 )
        *adds entry to Bad Guy handbook*

        "Label it innocuously and you'll be home free!!"
      • by Xenx ( 2211586 )
        While I believe they overreacted, humans are easily capable of lying to get the results they want.
      • by Livius ( 318358 )

        a note was attached to it saying it was for an art project

        Which does not mean that it was for an art project or that it wasn't a bomb.

      • Ceci n'est pas une bombe [cecinestpasunsiteweb.com]

    • by Minwee ( 522556 )

      I guess I had better call the bomb squad right away. I just saw a whole bunch of suspicious devices placed near a local high school.

      They looked a lot like these, and could be weapons of mass distruction.

      http://www.polkcountytoday.com/images/792_dwi021111_7_.JPG [polkcountytoday.com]

    • How is following protocol to the letter an "over reaction" ? We should pat them on the back for doing precisely what they were hired to do.

    • people have to be fucking morons to think that NO reaction is going to (or should) occur if they do stupid shit like this

      No they don't. It isn't stupid. It is, in fact, stupid that the bomb squad wastes their time with these.

  • Two things... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Em Adespoton ( 792954 ) <slashdotonly.1.adespoton@spamgourmet.com> on Tuesday February 03, 2015 @04:47PM (#48973773) Homepage Journal

    Thing 1: Didn't anyone think to take a picture of the device and ask if anyone knew what it was?
    1a) Doesn't anyone know what a pinhole camera looks like?

    Thing 2: Where does GSU get off attaching private property to public infrastructure? That's a known no-no. At a minimum, you notify public works first so that things like this don't happen. There was no ass covering done here.

    As a result, the bomb squad, the police, and the university all end up looking foolish.

    • Re:Two things... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2015 @04:58PM (#48973893)

      Doesn't anyone know what a pinhole camera looks like?

      Given that a pinhole camera is basically an enclosed volume with literally a pinhole at one end and film inside at the other end, how are you going to look at anything and say "Oh, OK, that's a pinhole camera" ?

    • If I'm envisioning the location of this bridge properly, it's adjacent to the school. I-75/85 is basically the east side border of their campus. They don't think of it as public infrastructure, they think of it as the boundary.
      • Wrong school: the bridge is almost adjacent to Georgia Institute of Technology (actually, it's a bit North: the GA Tech campus mostly ends at 10th St.). The school responsible for the "art project" is Georgia State University, which is a couple of miles further south.

        • Ah, thanks for the clarification. Both schools are merely "things I drive past going to the airport."
      • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
        It was 14th Street, which is one bridge over.
      • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

        If I'm envisioning the location of this bridge properly, it's adjacent to the school. I-75/85 is basically the east side border of their campus.

        Nope. GSU is roughly 2.25 miles from 14th Street. Now, if they had a camera in Hurt Park or Woodruff Park, or on 75/85 near I-20 and the state capital, then maybe. Someone screwed up and should have notified GDOT and GHP (probably though GSU campus police) that they were intending to put a camera on the bridge.

    • by NoKaOi ( 1415755 )

      1a) Doesn't anyone know what a pinhole camera looks like?

      Do you? It's any box or canister thing that the student had lying around, so it's not going to look like a camera.

      Where does GSU get off attaching private property to public infrastructure?

      This wasn't the university, it was a university student. It's not like art departments have an internal review board.

      At a minimum, you notify public works first so that things like this don't happen.

      In which case the CYA bureaucrats would say no. Seriously, why would somebody have predicted such an overreaction? They probably figured the worst that would happen is the camera would be removed and thrown in the trash if anybody noticed. Perhaps in the future with this sort

      • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
        And then perhaps in the future terrorists will label their bombs with sharpies, stating that it's a student project. It doesn't work... sadly, in this day and age, you actually need to get permission to do something like that, and probably have the "device" inspected beforehand.
    • Re:Two things... (Score:5, Informative)

      by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <fairwaterNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday February 03, 2015 @05:05PM (#48973961) Homepage

      1a) Doesn't anyone know what a pinhole camera looks like?

      You're obviously not a photographer - because pinhole cameras can look like literally *anything*. A cardboard box, a wooden box, a soda can, potato chip can, an oatmeal box, a piece of Tupperware... literally anything. There's a group that turned an entire aircraft hangar into a giant pinhole camera. There's also a guy who rebuilt the back of a van into a pinhole camera.

      A pinhole camera doesn't look like a specific thing - it's just a light tight container with a pinhole on one end and a way of holding film more or less flat inside it.

    • I wouldn't blame the University. Sometimes, students are just stupid.

      In this particular case, the student was not only stupid, but also super lazy [imgur.com]. And this false positive will in no way affect the reputation of the police or the bomb squad. In this case, they reacted the exact right amount (given the suspicious nature of the attachment).

    • Thing 1: Didn't anyone think to take a picture of the device and ask if anyone knew what it was?

      The bomb squad did better than than -- one of their members was put in a fire truck's basket and lifted up to be right next to the device/pinhole camera.

      • The bomb squad did better than than -- one of their members was put in a fire truck's basket and lifted up to be right next to the device/pinhole camera.

        Now that was stupid. They should have strapped a bomb robot to the truck's lift and raised that to the device.

    • 1a) Doesn't anyone know what a pinhole camera looks like?

      Do you know what a pinhole camera looks like?

      The amazing thing about a pinhole camera is it can look like anything. It can look like a real camera, it can look like a small pipe held together by tape (as it was in this case [cmgdigital.com]). It can also look like an entire aircraft hanger [petapixel.com].

      I've made many pinhole cameras over the years. I certainly would not be able to tell you what one looks like.

  • by meustrus ( 1588597 ) <meustrusNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday February 03, 2015 @04:53PM (#48973835)
    If you see something, say something.
  • by njnnja ( 2833511 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2015 @04:54PM (#48973839)

    I'll be the first to complain about the stupidity of zero tolerance policies and curtailments of civil rights in the name of the war on terror (or war on drugs), but that is clearly surpassed by the stupidity of duct taping a box to a transportation chokepoint without telling the people who own and operate it.

    • by kylemonger ( 686302 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2015 @05:07PM (#48973971)

      True, but the odds are pretty much 100% that your art project request will be denied for liability reasons. People sue the hind legs off each other for anything nowadays, and rampant paranoia is the natural result. So if you want to do your project you just roll the dice and hope that no one notices your guerilla installation.

      Oops, someone noticed? Now comes the part where you beg for forgiveness.

    • It is only reasonable to shut down the freeway if the [probability that the object is actually a bomb] * [the damage caused by it exploding] costs more than [the damage caused by shutting down a major Interstate during rush hour]

      Considering that the chance of it being a real bomb is incredibly low, that even a soda-can worth of high explosive can't do that much damage (especially since it was placed on a decorative rail, not supporting column), and that a whole lot of people were delayed by the shutdown, th

    • by Rinikusu ( 28164 )

      The fucking idiot probably got a goddamned trophy for doing it, too.

    • by Livius ( 318358 )

      Exactly. Whoever put it there committed trespass and vandalism and deserves to be hauled into court for being so dumb as to not contact the city first.

    • but that is clearly surpassed by the stupidity of duct taping a box to a transportation chokepoint without telling the people who own and operate it

      Was the box at least a cubic meter in size? Then it wasn't any kind of danger to that kind of infrastructure. You wouldn't think a pellet gun had the same kinetic force as an anti-materiel rifle, so why stress out over a shoebox sized cylinder?

  • I think an unfortunate result of this overreaction is that concerned citizens may now want to think twice before calling anything in to the police. If you call something suspicious in, the police WILL call in the bomb squad, and shut down the city.

    Of course the real blame should be on whoever in the police department decided to go all 9/11 rather than just taking a look at it and figuring out it was harmless.

    At least it wasn't a Mooninite. No telling what they would have done then.

    • by kogut ( 1133781 )

      I think an unfortunate result of this overreaction

      I don't think it's an overreaction. Everything went by the book.

      9/11 rather than just taking a look at it and figuring out it was harmless.

      At least it wasn't a Mooninite. No telling what they would have done then.

      Most cops aren't trained to ID bombs either by "taking a look at it" or any other means. There's protocol. EOD guys ID suspected ordnance. Everyone just calls in "suspicous" looking things. And the thing did look suspicous.

      • I don't think it's an overreaction. Everything went by the book.

        Yes but the book is titled "The Big Book of Overreactions"

  • Terrorists FTW? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2015 @05:15PM (#48974047) Homepage

    I think so. I don' t think any of the 911 planners knew who much their actions would kick into action deep seeded anti freedom views from inside western governments.

    • by Livius ( 318358 )

      They knew exactly what the reaction would be and that was their objective all along.

      Their only miscalculation was that when the Arab Spring finally came it leaned more towards liberalism (in the classical sense) than theocracy.

  • Not surprising. A few days ago, this nine year old kid was suspended for making "Terroristic Threats".

    Specifically, he told one of his classmates that he had a magic ring forged at Mount Doom and he could make him disappear.

    http://fw.to/kSQ7iAQ [fw.to]

    • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
      Where does it say anything about "Terroristic Threats?"
    • im gonna have to say, that school... isn't really a learning institution so much as a christian day care.

      from your linked article:
      “He loves that book. They were studying the solar system and he took it to school. He thought his teacher would be impressed,” the boy's father said. He went on to explain that, after the teacher discovered that the children’s encyclopedia contained a section on pregnancy, including an illustration of a pregnant woman, bringing it in was deemed a suspension-wort

  • This is why I don't hide any on bridges
  • I cannot turn in my assignment because the bomb squad blew it up. Hope that wasn't their senior project.
  • I know that art is powerful, but this is ridiculous. It didn't cause them to do any such thing. They decided to overreact.

  • Professor: "Jhonny, Don't tell me dog ate your homework!"

    Jhonny: "No Prof! The bomb squad blew it up. Honest! Swear to God!

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