Hi, Boston, how’s your commute?
Major roads and highways around Boston, and everything along the Charles River, were shut down today after nine “suspicious devices” were spotted in various locations.
The Turner Network has now confirmed that the devices, which look mysterious and have blinky lights on them, were part of a promotion for the TV cartoon show Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
One detail which none of the print media are reporting, but which Kate Salter picked up from listening to WBZ 1030, is that apparently the promotional gadgets were thought to be Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). An odd detail that Reuters is reporting is that the Coast Guard has shut or closed the Charles River. They’re also saying that the Charles feeds from the Atlantic into the city. I don’t believe a word of it. I’ll bet they’ve just shut down traffic on the river, and that the water is flowing in its usual direction.
For the best collection of news stories about this subject, see the wonky but informative WBZ News Radio 1030 Boston website.
Newsbreak: Avram Grumer just wandered in and told me that the blinkylight devices are Mooninites, a sarcastic species of lunar aliens who look like something out of the old Space Invaders game. Avram contributes a link to a close-up photo of one of the threatening devices and a photo of one of them in operation.
WBZ 1030 also has a photo of one of the devices in the wild.
Jim Macdonald comments:
They consisted of magnetic signs with blinking lights in the shape of a cartoon character.Update: the story gets dumber
And everyone knows that bombs have blinking lights on ‘em. Every single movie bomb you’ve ever seen has a blinking light.
Triumph for Homeland Security, guys.
This just in, from the Guardian:
Turner Broadcasting, parent company of Cartoon Network, said the devices, which consisted of magnetic, blinking lights, were part of a promotion for the TV show “Aqua Teen Hunger Force.”Implications:
“The packages in question are magnetic lights that pose no danger,” Turner said in a statement. It said the devices have been in place for two to three weeks in 10 cities: Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Ore., Austin, Texas, San Francisco and Philadelphia.
“We regret that they were mistakenly thought to pose any danger,” the company said.
Police said only that they were investigating where the device came from. The Department of Homeland Security said there are no credible reports of other devices being found elsewhere in the country.
1. The devices have been up for weeks in ten other cities, and no one’s panicked.
2. The devices have been up for weeks in ten other cities, and the Department of Homeland Security doesn’t know about it.
Mark Frauenfelder at BoingBoing says Josh Glenn says that despite what you may have heard, Make was not involved.
And one last update:
The AP reports that the Governor of Massachusetts, the Mayor of Boston, and a Homeland Security Department spokesman are busily scowling and harrumphing, calling the incident a deliberate hoax (I don’t see it), denying that there was anything funny about it, denying that they overreacted, and congratulating each other and the local authorities on their fast and efficient non-overreaction time in responding to this grave threat. AP also notes that at least one of the devices depicts a cartoon character giving the finger.