Helicopters are everywhere

Helicopter low over Boylston Street

Jake Walker was one of many people to wonder about the helicopter flying low along Boylston this morning. He notes he looked down on the chopper from his 22nd-floor office.

This comes a day after people wondered about the fleet of helicopters flying around town. They're all Marathon related, of course. Today's might be your standard background radiation testing, nothing to be concerned about, they say.

Neighborhoods: 

Topics: 

    Free tagging: 

    Comments

    Seriously

    Makes me think of Seattle a few weeks ago when a news copter (previously from Boston) crashed downtown killing it's occupants. It would be depressingly ironic if one of these had a mechanical problem or flew too close to a building which resulted in injuries. The way they are being used today serves absolutely no purpose other then a "show of force" to justify increased budgets.

    Had there been helicopters last year would the bombs not gone off? The brothers captured sooner? Less people injured? All it would have done is created background noise to make it harder for the emergency workers to communicate.

    up
    18

    Background radiation measurements.

    Any radiation anomaly will get their undivided attention. Dirty bombs are a real concern, hospital medical waste is enough to scare those that are easily scared (Radiation! Bad!) and it's not implausible that it could happen.
    So, if you live on the race route and are planning to build a rock wall from genuine Vermont granite, might want to wait till it's over to get the delivery...

    up
    14

    What about the MIT reactor?

    Or, even, the triple-packed spent fuel pool made from unarmored concrete in Plymouth?

    Attacking the latter would be much simpler than a dirty bomb.

    up
    15

    Not how this works

    By on

    They're not looking for anomalies.

    This is the background scan. First off, no terrorist playing with radiation is going to have it out in the open where a) sensors would find it and b) it would kill them while they worked on it/set it up. They have no expectation from these runs to find any anomalies or any bombs.

    What they are doing is figuring out where natural sources of radiation are located in the area and what the general background level of radiation is from all sorts of sources (radon, possibly medical sensors, maybe certain insulators under the street...). Then, IF a dirty bomb were to go off, they would fly the same routes and determine where the hot zones are above background to know where to keep people away from and where to send in remediation crews.

    This isn't about defeating the terrorists. It's about cleaning up afterwards if they succeed in detonating a dirty bomb.

    up
    17

    Right.

    By background I meant the way it is now. Any significant changes in the future (like next Monday) would be noted and investigated.

    "This isn't about defeating the terrorists. It's about cleaning up afterwards if they succeed in detonating a dirty bomb." Ok, ya, but it's about everything. Finding odd counts that differ from previous measurements. Believe me, you don't need a big dose to scare folks. You say 'radiation laced dirty bomb' and even if it was old latex gloves from a hospital, the damage, psychologically, would be done.

    I assume they still have them, but I remember rad detectors installed at the weigh-in scales at trash transfer stations in the eighties. It was a time of hospitals 'cheating' a bit by hiring fly by nighters that didn't document the trash chain of responsibility all that well.

    There's a nuke reactor in Lowell that had a Chinese teacup that would trigger the personnel badges...it was just for show and tell, but still, that's some really interesting clay.

    up
    10

    Kid pees in reservoir, Portland flushes 38 M gallons

    Speaking of the Northwest and public welfare scares, there was a crazy story on how the city of Portland flushed 38 million gallons of water from the system because surveillance video spotted a teen pee into the reservoir. Really pointless given birds likely fly over and poop now and then, and greater than homeopathic scale dilution of anything!
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/17/teens-pee-in-portland-water_n_5...

    up
    12

    MSP

    By on

    I listen to the Massachusetts State Police on the scanner. They have been testing the helicopter video feed between Hopkington and Boston for at least two weeks.

    up
    10

    Watertown - check

    By on

    One just blew over our office, which is located pretty close to the infamous boat property. Only caught a brief look, but it did seem to be the same coloration as what's in the picture.

    up
    10

    Radiation levels

    By on

    they're checking radiation levels. Need I say more?

    You civilian types baffle me...

    By on

    When bad shit happens, you want to know why it wasn't prevented by the magic safety and security wand you think your taxes dollars buy you. Then, when said bad shit happens and the safety and wand goes to work, you bitch about that too. Seriously, just be glad knowing that there are men and women out there who are more than willing to get between you and the danger so that you can go home to your family.

    up
    16

    Oh yeah?

    By on

    14 years in the Coast Guard and counting. Have a nice day.

    up
    10

    We've heard and read a lot

    about how, over the past 30 years or so, thanks originally due to the "war on drugs," the Coast Guard was transformed from an organization focused on safety at sea to one focused on law enforcement.

    Take a look at these photos of a heroic 1952 rescue and think about just how much the mission has shifted.
    IMAGE(<a href="http://www.uscg.mil/history/gifs/Pendleton_Survivors_1.jpg)">www.uscg.mil/history/gifs/Pendleton_Survivors_1.jpg[/img]

    up
    12

    Coast Guard was created for law enforcement in 1790

    By on

    Specifically revenue collection. The life-saving aspect came much later. I'd venture LE has always taken precedence as well since rescues at sea aren't constant. Crime is.

    up
    10

    We're still about safety...

    By on

    I think maybe you should stick to whatever your area of expertise is. A huge part of Coast Guard operating budgets goes to safety of life. There are 11 different mission areas for the CG. LE is just one of them.

    My field of knowledge is history

    By on

    I have a degree in it My comment was well within my knowledge base. Your comment in no way shed light on the CG's operations and where LE and lifesaving rank.

    I have to say you're an incredibly poor ambassador for your service and the work they do. it's almost unimaginable how poorly you reflect upon the USCG.

    I'd venture that you cold be written up for spewing the nonsense you have. And I'd welcome it.

    Shape up and represent your service with honor. Trolling the internet is conduct unbecoming, in my opinion.

    Gather your own data

    Go find 100 sailors who have been around for a while. Pick from among tanker crews, yacht racers, harbor tug operators, weekend boaters, offshore passage-makers, etc. Ask them how the relationship between the Coast Guard and the mariners they are sworn to protect has changed over the past 30 years.

    Really? Is there anyone who

    By on

    Really? Is there anyone who was on the record last year in saying the police did not do enough to prevent the attack? Since you seem so wise, what should have been done differently last year to prevent the attack?

    up
    17

    You missed the point...

    By on

    I take issue with the sneering sarcasm people spew I the direction of people who are sworn to help them. Read the above comments if I'm still not being clear enough.

    up
    12

    Lighten Up Please

    There is an orgy of preparedness going on for this event. We are allowed to be concerned about what seems to be a ridiculous amount of security for the marathon. There were far more people between packed between Mass Ave and Clarendon Street for the Sox parade and we didn't need radiation detectors then. Why now?

    My town has a Humvee. For what? Are the commie nazi talibanis attacking the beach? No. Law enforcement for the most part likes toys, shiny, shiny toys.

    There are a lot of great cops out there. There are also the pants stuffed into boots type. The stuffies seemed to be getting their mellon on here.

    After you are all done on Monday would you please stop the terrorism in Dot, The Bury, And Mattapan? It seems like you have the resources.

    up
    19

    Sworn to help

    By on

    Isn't a license for treating the people who earn the money that pays your salary with utter contempt, indifference, and condescention.

    Nor is it a license for mindlessly pushing people around for no good reason other than goodfeels in your pants.

    up
    17

    You could always reimburse them.

    By on

    But I doubt it is possible to shave a penny that thinly.

    Those store coupons often have a nominal posted value of, like 1 250th of a penny to satisfy some legalese issue. Maybe that would cover it?.

    Sneering sarcasim is warranted

    when said people who are sworn to help are directed by their self-aggrandizing management structure to waste enormous amounts of their time and talent and our treasure on bullshit that has no net effect.

    up
    17

    Show us the proof

    By on

    That all the money we are spending on your toys DOES ANYTHING.

    The burden of proof is on YOU darling.

    How's this for stats?

    Show me the stats...that prove that increased security measures have no effect.

    How many fatalities, on American soil, from terrorist attacks during the ten year period 1991 through 2000? And what was it in the ten year period 2002 through 2011? Now, how much did we spend on the "war on terror" and associated security measures during the first period vs the second? Divide the difference in fatalities by the difference in spend, and you have lives saved per trillion spent, a number that might factor into an assessment of the effectiveness of the measures.

    Speaking of which, did you know that wearing green underwear protects you from attack by tigers, lions, bobcats and the like? I've been wearing green underwear since 1973 and during that period I've *never* been attacked by a big cat. Pretty obvious proof that green underwear is effective, eh?

    No worry, their sneer needs

    By on

    .. a bit more snarl and the derision lacks precision.

    They probably need to take the Advanced Snarl Seminar at the Boston Institute of Implied Importance.

    They'll be sneering like seasoned pros in no time, with a razor edged nastiness that will make even the most rabid jackal collapse from overawed fits of helpless frustration.

    Why the very foundations of Boston will shudder from the ponderous vibrations of these mightily shaken dongs.

    There are few things more pathetic than crappy adversaries and the only way to keep the game interesting is to give em a leg up.

    Meanwhile, Happy Easter and thanks for your service.

    Really, none of that makes

    By on

    Really, none of that makes sense. Is the magic security apparatus working or not? Does any of this expensive militarization of our police forces really have a useful impact in lowering the already miniscule threat of death-by-scary-Muslim that we now call terrorism?

    There's a famous Ben Franklin quote that I won't bother to paste here. I want the Marathon Monday of my youth back, and I'm sure not going to get it with fucking radiation survey helicopters.

    up
    16

    Required reading:

    http://www.prisonexp.org/

    In this famous study, The experimenters were very careful to choose well-adjusted, mentally healthy volunteers, whom they randomly assigned to either the prison guard or the prisoner role in a simulation. The two week experiment had to be cut short after a few days, because the "guards" became so abusive of the "prisoners."

    What does this tell us? It tells us that how we act is determined at least as much by the role and context in which we are placed as it is by who we are.

    For the people complaining about police excess: You may not like to acknowledge this about yourself, but take any aspect of police misbehavior, small or large, that you don't like, and chances are pretty good that you would act pretty much the same way in the same circumstances. That doesn't of course excuse police excess in any way, but recognize it as a complex system problem to be solved, rather than one that could be solved "By firing all the asshole bullies on the police force and replacing them with more reasonable people." Because, as the Stanford prison experiment demonstrated, the guards who acted so abusively were not, in fact, asshole bullies, but carefully screened and randomly selected normal,psychologically healthy people.

    And, on the other side, for the people taking offense at criticism of police excess: When people criticize police misbehavior, try not to take it personally: Pointing out ways in which the system is broken is not an attack on the people who work in it. Acknowledge that there are, in fact, problems to be solved.

    up
    11