Here is your Homeland Security Competence Update:

“Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, the nation’s largest nuclear power plant, where security officials detained a contract worker with a small pipe bomb in the back of his pickup truck on 02 November 2007. The Department of Homeland Security said there was no known terrorism link to the incident at the plant west of Phoenix, Arizona. The worker, Roger William Hurd, told investigators he didn’t know how the bomb got in his truck and was released”


From a wire service photo caption. I just.

Area Newspaper’s Police Blotter Weird This Week

Newport Beach:

Island, 300 block: suspicious circumstances, July 7. A resident found that an envelope had been placed in her mailbox with her name printed on it. The envelope contained a vibrator, a battery and a note.

Costa Mesa:

Location undisclosed: arrest, July 11. James Norwood Branch, 45, of Newport Beach, was arrested on suspicion of rape of a drugged victim and lewd and lascivious acts.

Police are investigating the cause of a loud explosion and several broken windows at a Costa Mesa apartment building late Monday. Police responded to the 2100 block of Elden Avenue at 9:30 p.m. to reports of a loud explosion, but did not see any evidence that an explosion had occurred. Tuesday morning, one resident found a piece of metal on the front porch and two other residents said their windows were broken, Costa Mesa police said. Arson investigators and the Orange County Sheriff’s Bomb Squad Tuesday morning found evidence that a destructive device was exploded outside the apartment building.


  1. The initial anaerobic detonation reaction, microseconds in duration, is primarily a redox reaction of molecular species. The initial detonation reaction defines the system’s high pressure performance characteristics: armor penetrating ability.
  2. The post detonation anaerobic combustion reaction, hundreds of microseconds in duration, is primarily a combustion of fuel particles too large for combustion in the initial detonation wave. The post detonation anaerobic reaction define the system’s intermediate pressure performance characteristics: Wall/Bunker Breaching Capability.
  3. The post detonation aerobic combustion reaction, milliseconds in duration, is the combustion of fuel rich species as the shock wave mixes with surrounding air. The post detonation aerobic reaction characteristics define the system’s personnel / material defeat capability: Impulse and Thermal Delivery. Aerobic combustion requires mixing with sufficient air to combust excess fuels. The shock wave pressures are less than 10 atmospheres. The majority of aerobic combustion energy is available as heat. Some low pressure shock wave enhancement can also be expected for personnel defeat. Personnel / material defeat with minimum collateral structure damage requires maximum aerobic enhancement and the highest energy practical fuel additives: Boron, Aluminum, Silicon, Titanium, Magnesium, Zirconium, Carbon, or Hydrocarbons.


Suspicious lamp prompts evacuation
A Huntington Beach homeowner saw the object in a garage.

The Orange County Register

HUNTINGTON BEACH — A report of a suspicious lamp in a garage led to a neighborhood evacaution today before the Orange County sheriff’s bomb squad determined that the object was harmless.

A Mangrum Drive homeowner called Huntinton Beach police about 3 p.m. after seeing wires protruding from the base and an unfamiliar light bulb, Sgt. Dave Bunetta said.

Police officers visually inspected the lamp before calling the bomb squad and the Huntington Beach Fire Department’s hazardous material unit, Bunetta said.

Residents within 300 feet of the house were evacuated for about 3½ hours during the investigation.

The house is next door to a home day care, which also was evacuated, and two blocks from Marina High School.

London trains and London bombs

I spent a couple of summers in London as a kid, and oddly enough that’s the city where I learned about living with terrorist bombs, and also the city where I learned to fear trains.

This was during the late 1970s and early 1980s, when the Irish terrorist campaign was in full swing. Everywhere you looked there were signs advising you to report abandoned objects, not to accept packages from strangers, etc. People there were used to it but as a teenager from Southern California I found it both exotic and terrifying.

But that’s not how I got my fear of trains. In the summer of 1980, my father and I were waiting for a train in the Tube station near our place. There was a woman next to me, dressed for the office and carrying a purse and a sweater. I turned to my father to ask him something, the train arrived, and I heard screaming. When I looked back there were her shoes, and her purse, and her sweater neatly folded on top, but no woman. She had jumped in front of the train.

I remember getting on the bus to continue our day while the train was shut down. Every time the bus went over a bump I thought it was a body.

Ever since then, I’ve stood a good long way away from the tracks when I’m in a train station.