The Onion on the Hudson River Plane Crash

Fowl Qaeda.

Posted on March 17, 2009 at 5:42 AM • 23 Comments


A nonny bunnyMarch 17, 2009 5:56 AM

Reminds me of the plans for pigeon-guided missiles in WW2. You could probably train birds to fly into yet-engines.

CalumMarch 17, 2009 6:12 AM

The only trouble is reassembling them once trained. I can't really see how you'd do non-destructive testing here.

jmMarch 17, 2009 7:33 AM

Geese wouldn't probably be intelligent enough to undergo this kind of training, but Russians in WW2 actually used specially trained dogs to deliver bombs under enemy tanks:

The dogs selected for the special service units were strong and healthy and possessed plenty of stamina. Their training was very simple. First, they were not fed for several days, and then they began to receive food near some tanks: the meat was given to them from the tank's lower hatch. So the dog learned to go beneath the tank to be fed. The training sessions quickly became more elaborate. The dogs were unleashed in the face of tanks approaching from quite considerable distances and taught to get under the tank, not from the front but from the rear. As soon as the dog was under the tank, it stopped and the dog was fed. Before a battle the dog would not be fed. Instead, an explosive charge of between 4 and 4.6 kg with a pin detonator was attached to it. It was then sent under the enemy tanks. (V. Suvorov: Spetsnaz)

BjörnMarch 17, 2009 7:41 AM

Wasn't the problem with the russian dogs that they recognised the "friendly" tanks as food-bearing tanks, and ran under those instead of the enemy tanks? Or is that just a myth?

AnonymousMarch 17, 2009 8:13 AM

This is a bit off topic, but fits under humor.
I am wondering if Bruce is going to sue Fox for defamation of character for their claim that the author of Blowfish left a backdoor in the cypher?

Ian WoollardMarch 17, 2009 9:10 AM

Actually geese are one of the smarter birds, you might well be able to train them to do this.

Anonymous twoMarch 17, 2009 9:10 AM

@anon at 8:13a
Yeah, I was pretty upset by that too. 24 is certainly horrible when it comes to technical accuracy, but that was too far.

FPMarch 17, 2009 9:23 AM

@Anonymous: Technical accuracy?

The ability to crack any kind of encryption at your fingertips just because you're a level 5 analyst, or recovering vital fragments of data from formatted or destroyed media in seconds is certainly ridiculous. Never mind the technique of enhancing low-res pictures.

But it's not like the show is any more accurate in non-technical matters.

Traveling to any destination in less than 10 minutes. Turning battle-hardened suspects to give up vital information in seconds. And of course the bad guys' stupidity to kill hundreds of victims yet never shooting Jack Bauer when they have the chance.

There is more "accuracy" in Star Trek.

Dave AronsonMarch 17, 2009 9:45 AM

@Anonymous: The so-called back door is simply Bruce's own innate ability to crack any encryption that has ever been developed, or ever will be (even before it has). ;-)

Chris SMarch 17, 2009 10:10 AM


Those were "Canada geese".

Unless passports or other travel documents are found, the nationality of the geese in question will remain undetermined.

24 LoverMarch 17, 2009 10:57 AM

Hey the 24 thing last night was awesome. The best part about it is only real hard core security geeks like us would catch it. I have been watching for schneier's comment on it. Sure the whole thing is fiction, but that is the reason we watch.

Anonymous twoMarch 17, 2009 11:12 AM

That is true, they have a lot of accuracy problems. But of the two subject from the show that I know best (guns and computers), they're FAR worse at computers. They do still screw up the gun play a lot, but it's nothing compared to most movies and shows.

@24 Lover
Yeah, with most things I'm able to look past it, but they push it too much with computers. As I said above, they screw up gun play, but not enough to pull me out of my suspension of disbelief.

Clive RobinsonMarch 17, 2009 11:58 AM

@ Chris S,

'Those were "Canada geese".'

Err the last time I looked out the window here it was "Canada Geese" (as the breed is known in the UK) cr4pping on the grass by the rivers edge (admitadly due to the unexpectedly warm and sunny afternoon here I was looking for a different kind of bird to be parading on the grass ;)

Clive RobinsonMarch 17, 2009 12:00 PM

I notice nobody has cracke the oblicitory "siting duck" joke ah well must be a slow afternoon...

Clive RobinsonMarch 17, 2009 12:12 PM

Ugh, so many typos in a single sentance...

I must stop looking out the window it's to distracting...

Anonymous twoMarch 17, 2009 12:42 PM

@Clive Robinson
I hate those damn geese. We have them in the parking lot at work, and all they do is crap EVERYWHERE, even on the cars.

Tom O'BrienMarch 17, 2009 3:06 PM

I thought perhaps there were hunters on the plane, and it was a suicide mission by WETA, waterfowl for the ethical treatment of animals.

ReaderMarch 19, 2009 10:17 AM

@Clive Robinson
RE: sitting ducks and jets.... check out a cartoon strip from Australia called "The Swamp" ( check cartoon numbers 8572 and 8574... there are some earlier ones as well in the archives

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