Combined by allies and used to gain leverage for individual or combined strategic priorities.
Something like, “Here is how negligent you were. Install this person in power or we leak this and your people revolt and you won’t be able to walk away.”
More recently, it seems, some news organizations have begun assembling reports using modeling and expert analysis.
A good example is The NY Times report on Philadelphia Police use of tear gas against a group of trapped protestors. 
Having this information about the Beirut warehouse explosion open-sourced so-to-speak, seems to signal a further shift away from reliance on state intelligence and the advertising-funded third state.
This reminds me some of the collected content created and posted to social media by the public in the aftermath of the downing of Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752. That loose set of content eventually forced the Iranian government to admit responsibility.
I’d presume that the quality and speed of independent research and analysis of public data will increase to where a scene of non-media, ngo research groups grows, beating out the resources of any given media or government.
Sort of like warez, but with information analysis.
What about supporting the need for police while also supporting a need for reforming the police? I doubt there are even many cops that would disagree with a need for reform to some degree.
But creating two extreme positions, and then lumping everyone into those positions, is called politics and is considered mostly harmful.
American politics. The amount of bipartisan countries in the world can be counted on one hand. But I get what you're saying and I agree completely.
Going back to the original point someone made in this thread, I think this two-party multiple-views system in the US actually helps a bit to drive polarization. Seemingly disparate views are drawn together under a banner of [party] with an obvious (not actually clear or cohesive) enemy in the [other party].
First, the US does not technically have a two-party system. If your standard is how many parties have seats in the national legislature or parliament, the US has three parties represented since Justin Amash is now affiliated with the Libertarian Party, as well as a few independents.
Secondly, many countries only have two parties that really matter in terms of having a realistic chance of forming a government--the UK and Canada are two examples that spring to mind. The third largest parties in those countries are the SNP and Bloc Quebecois, respectively--parties who want some specific part of the country to have greater autonomy if not independence. If your complaint is that the US doesn't have a Texas Independence Party winning seats in Congress, weird flex but okay.
Virtually every polity that uses a first-past-the-post voting system will end up with a two-party system. That's Duverger's Law. The primary counterexamples only prove the point, because they more or less replace one of the two national parties on a local level. (I used to live in Seattle, and while Seattle politics are officially non-partisan, Seattle has actually developed a de facto two-party system between mainstream Democrats and socialists.)
I personally favor multiparty systems with proportional representation, but that's no guarantee of anything. Israel (which somehow still ends up with a de facto two party system anyway) and Belgium have both notoriously failed to form majority governments for long periods of time.
That's mostly because Bloc Québécois is concentrated in a specific province, and often specific parts of that province, while the NDP's support is spread across all the provinces.
It's the same in the UK, where the Lib Dems got triple the vote of the SNP, but less than a quarter of the seats.
Ask someone what they think of something as "political" as the H-1B program, let alone, oh, federal cheese labeling standards, and you'll see a lot of people who say "There are good and bad parts, I think we should keep the good parts and reform the bad ones, and my opinion on which specific parts are good or bad can be influenced by quality journalism."
Nah. That's what I would say, but everyone else is a rabid partisan who will slavishly push whichever side their tribe is taking right now on skilled immigration. Or cheese.
When people talk about "support for the police" they are either referring to the degree to which they are comfortable with reform, or disingenuously trying to portray the situation as more partisan than it is.
Nice definition. Sadly, way too accurate.
I'm not saying this one is, but verifying the independence and financing of any organisation is quite hard. A lot of work has gone into this fantastic presentation, and somebody had to pay for that. Since I watched it for free, it wasn't me...
He already said no.
One recent analysis of Bellingcat behavior (not in general, but using a selected case) can be seen in this video (in Russian, but it has good English subtitles): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDhhCLyYCU4 Author of the video is a Ukrainian opposition leader, who fled the country during Yanukovich rule, got asylum in Europe, and since then lives there.
If someone does not want to judge by the video content alone and wants to learn more about the author, you can read the following wiki links:
"How the U.S. Military Buys Location Data from Ordinary Apps"
Did you mean Third Estate? Or a state-like entity governed by ad revenue?
This is hardly new and when it comes to news media it's hardly a good thing. It is incredibly easy to find biased experts and it's even easier to craft a false narrative using "modeling". Moving away from reporting directly observable events and interviewing people who observed them is a sign that modern media is exiting the business they are supposed to be engaged in. They're now (more than ever) firmly in the realm of opinion-shaping.
Am I the only one who finds this a little disturbing?
I mean the thing is beautifully produced, no doubt, I don't want to take anything away from the skills of the people who made it.
But the slickness moves it somehow from "scrappy bunch who gathered all the open data & collaboratively figured stuff out" into a different category. More like "someone with very deep pockets wants to tell me a particular story". Like getting the sort of 10-page glossy brochure they use to sell manhattan penthouses, but it's from the local animal shelter... and there's nothing wrong with the kitten pictures, the photography is excellent, but you wonder a bit who paid all those professionals, and why.
But carefully weighing evidence and doubt isn't exactly the core idea of the art world. You will win few prizes by pointing out factual mistakes in others' work. (Not saying I know of any factual inaccuracies here, to be clear.)
How did I not know about this before! :)
Bye-bye to getting any work done for the rest of the day!
Watching some of their video's, they seem to use Blender a lot. :)
Kind of like marketeers only trusting analytics and never talking to a single customer, but with an element of western arrogance on top of it.
Have a drone take Lidar or whatever model of an area, feed the pictures in and some other data and the system produces videos like this.
This video was incredible!
However, evidently some people (their affiliation is not clear to me) were aware of the major risks this caused and pleaded with the judiciary to do something about it, to no avail. I'm somewhat mystified as to who exactly it is that recklessly put the ammonium nitrate where it is, and I think that the desire to avoid blame here is strong enough (and the blame itself widespread enough) that a proper investigation will only end in stonewalling or scapegoating.
Some underpaid and undereducated laborers. Unfortunately, this society did not have sufficiently developed governance to force the proper storage of ammonium nitrate. There were multiple warnings issued over the years, and multiple mandates by the judicial system, but the political will to spend the money to move it did not exist, so it did not get moved.
If they paid a dozen guys double the minimum wage for Lebanon and it took a whole month, that would be about $10,000.
After all, the AN had been lying there without blowing up for years, so surely someone else is keeping tabs on that too.
What I'm saying is that it's easy in hindsight to see how stupid a decision was, but to the actors at the time they were facing a much more complicated situation with less obvious tradeoffs.
Until we accept this, we will only have finger-pointing blame assigned and accidents will keep happening, because we'll just install new humans in the same flawed system that created the accident.
It's the usual mix of carelessness, lack of security guidelines, bureaucratic inertia and corruption. How hard would it really have been to rent a warehouse outside the city to store explosive and flammable material at?
I can totally imagine the same thing happening in an Indian port. Its mostly because of having a "dont worry, nothing will happen" attitude or even if someone from complained about the goods, getting the bureaucracy to do something is fast is almost impossible.
Do you store things in the attic? plastic tubs? How about the basement? cardboard? Do you have wool, paintings, plastic toys, plastic anything, wooden anything? Look around you and the places you keep things. Oh my god curtains they are more or less just flame conduits.
Your couches, your clothes, everything around you is fuel for a massive fire. It can be a bit scary when you really evaluate it. I bet you have never thought seriously about the risk before.
Admittedly at a city level, 3 kilotons of ammonium nitrate in a strategic location should definitely have set off some real thinking but on a personal basis most people are surrounded by fuel and don't think about it at all.
analogizing a house, the purpose of which is to store and house human occupants, ran by non-professionals, to a dock store-house that houses hazardous compounds and is staffed by employees is pretty useless.
Yes, most everything is fuel.
Storing large amounts of explosive chemicals is beyond the scope of purpose behind a household.
Dock storehouses routinely deal with hazardous/dangerous goods. They are built to do so with the premise that the staff that run them will follow strict (and in most cases clearly written) guidelines.
In other words : I don't need to demonstrate explosion-readiness as a strict rule before home ownership -- but most countries require groups that house and manipulate explosive or combustible goods to demonstrate both their skill in manipulation, and their disaster planning in the worst case.
I was trying to explain why civilian city leadership might not have good intuition for why the storage issue would be a problem for them.
That is because we have safety standards that are explicitly designed to address those risks.
Here is an article about the history of ammonium nitrate:
Rumours of the responsibility of the Hezbollah, or Israel depending on which side of the fence you are, for the blast has been going on since day one, and there hasn't been any substantial proof.
Don't get me wrong, I have no sympathy for the Hezbollah, but lets be honest, the tragedy can be very well explain by the sheer level of incompetence and corruption of the Lebanese government (in which the Hezbollah also plays a big role).
As humankind, we are probably closer than ever to hassle free life and we will nevertheless go down skirmishing and fighting.
Kudos to the team that put together this video, it is extremely well done.
"We" Albert Einstein are prodigies. "We" anti-vax are very far from the other end of "we"
They do investigative journalism using social media/crowd sourcing/leaked database, and many similar forensic techniques. They've done great analysis on the MH17 missile attack for example, which is documented in their podcast: https://www.bellingcat.com/resources/podcasts/2019/07/17/mh1...
I do start to wonder if any of such materials are stored like this in one of our ports, such as Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
I can't imagine such a mess to exist there.
But The Netherlands remembers the Firework explosion in Enschede, from 2000.
It's not nearly at the scale of Beirut, but it killed 23 people.
The storage and production is highly regulated. Every suspicious event must be communicated with the "Nationaal Coördinator Terrorismebestrijding" (coordinator counterterrorism).
This website (and organisation) is fascinating. There are other excellent videos on the site, for example:
There were a few bits of video footage where I watched on horrified thinking "I wonder how they got hold of that memory card, because there's no way whoever filmed that got out alive..."
> Mr Collett contended that from an engineering perspective, the arrangement of goods within the building was the spatial layout of a makeshift bomb on the scale of a warehouse, awaiting detonation.
I'm not sure these instances fall under the photogrammetry umbrella.
Forget for one moment that this makeshift bomb laid dormant for years and nothing was done despite constant warnings from officials.
Had port officials followed basic storage etiquette, like placing the AN in manageable clusters, separating those clusters from each other by a moderate distance, and not storing other combustible material like fireworks and tyres, the Beirut explosion could at least have been mitigated.
The video makes a point that probably 50% of the AN exploded -> 200 people died. I shudder to think what double that would have done.
That's why my question (†) - if it could be really avoidable at the last moment, as the video suggest.
- YouTube links
- links to twitter media
- timestamps for all the screenshots
- (best) zip of all media files on archive.org
That figure comes from the ship's documents. Yet there are estimates that suggest the actual explosion is only equivalent to 1000-1500t, or 700-1000t.
If the actual amount of nitrate was lower that the stated figure this strongly suggests some form of smuggling was involved, and someone was siphoning off the material. This would immediately explain the enormous 'negligence' that let this incident happen in the first place.
Edit: The second link is probably misquoted and is also an estimation in terms of TNT. This is common; nuclear weapon yields are also stated in terms of TNT for example, despite not containing any.
Speculation, very much not my area. Informed by earlier reading however.
Basically the AN is an oxidizer and as such a chemical that "intensifies combustion" and so must not be combined with fuel or oil.
Since it was contaminated, the contaminants are potentially combustable themselves. The warehouse was also likely filled with partially combusted gases from the tyres, fireworks or other burning material.
So the explosion that did occur was not just the Ammonium Nitrate, but a mixture.
As other writers have discussed, the blast would not have fully involved all the material either - some would be lost and some would remain unburnt.
I suspect these changes would appear in the plume or type of explosion; Yet no investigation finds any evidence of any type of material not in the original documents.
So we have 'raw' ammonium nitrate possibly contaminated with trace materials - which brings us back to the explosion weight being inconsistent with the documented weight.
Incredible and inspiring work.
Here is an account on the fireworks present in the warehouse:
And yet it looks like things are still bad around Beirut port:
At 6:06, the commentator says "The 2750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate [...]".
There is a possibility that they're describing 1 tonne sacks, but I'm left wondering whether they meant to say something else. An image search for ammonium nitrate packaging shows many 25-50 kg range sacks, and a 500kg industrial sack, leaving me a) wondering whether the report has sacks/tonnes confused and b) on many watchlists.
edit: A bit further on they show leaked in-warehouse pictures of sacks of ammonium nitrate that must weigh a tonne (with the number 1000 printed on them). Likely no mistake then.
Could we add a word like “Analysis” to the headline please?
Yeah, I'm not sure the "swiss cheese" model of disasters applies here. I'm not aware of any form of metaphorical cheese that could maintain it's structural integrity under the conditions present at this warehouse.
5:38 [5:54pm] as reported by media outlets, the fire brigade arrived approximately 4 minutes after initial call was made to the station, at 5:54pm
4:48 [5:56pm] ..from this point at about 5:56pm the temperature inside the warehouse start to rising rapidly..
5:15 [5:59pm] the sound o fireworks start being heard, approximately 5:59pm, [titles over the gates: 'Closed Closed Closed'] it shows that many windows and doors are shut, according to the experts, confinement creates hotspots, areas of high temperature in which ammonium nitrate can get close to its combustion point
2:31 [6:07:44pm] .. small explosive charges as fireworks..
2:50 [6:08:18pm] single point explosion
- if they open all the big gates soon after they come, making an airflow and avoiding confinement:
would 'the temperature inside the warehouse start to rising rapidly' as well and
would it make the situation [in this case/in theory] better ('confinement creates hotspots') or worse (more oxygen) ?
What was the best they could do, and what when having full situation awareness (run away ??) ?
Tyre fires  are famously hard to extinguish, even on their own. Generally the best a fire department can do here is to prevent the building full of dangerous chemicals from causing nearby fires.
It looks like it was too late for that due to the dangerous storage.
I've always thought it'd be amazing to be able to view an event from different angles via crowd-sourced videos, and that it was very doable. From an information scientist point of view, I'm glad to see it's been done.
my argument is summed up by the famous and relevant xkcd #1179
I disagree, they show that the colour of the smoke and the different burn zones/phases is consistent with the declared contents of the warehouse. Anything further than that would be idle speculation.
Also, they never question why 2 tons of unclaimed ammonium nitrate was just sitting in the warehouse for 5-6 years. This stuff is expensive yet no one was trying to get it back.
They never touched those controversial parts of the explosion:
-was the fire intentional?
-what was it doing there to begin with
The unclaimed ammonium nitrate was simply government negligence, it wasn't unclaimed it was confiscated and never moved or properly secured.
If you actually informed yourself properly about this explosion (instead of reading -- I'm going to assume -- conspiracy websites), why the whole thing was sitting there for so long is pretty clear, and is actually briefly covered in the video (6:05): no one in the government nor military felt responsible nor did they want to take responsibility, having a fight using letters instead of recognizing the danger and acting to fix it. As to the source/why no one wanted it back, that's also been covered in the media.
There was definitely military/gov negligence and I even call kit suicidal levels of incompetence.
However, they never talk about the original owners of the ammonium nitrate to begin with. I remember it being said that it was a ship that was sinking so it had to be emptied at the port for temporary storage. I'm asking why did the original owner of 2 TONS of it never came to get it back?
I don't think what I'm asking merits these kinds of answers.
It's a video showing a 3D model/timeline from publicly released videos. If I claim "my friends saw Aladdin flying on his magic carpet before the explosion" but there's no video/photo of this claim, they can't use that claim for their reconstruction. And they're not going to talk about Aladdin because that's not the point of the video.
Where are these videos?
Here's one article that talks about it. Again, there are plenty of doctored videos that are obviously fake but this article does not use them.
And people here seem to assume that me asking about it means that I believe that that it was an air strike. All I am saying is that I wished Forensic Architecture had tackled these subjects as well and debunked them since these are the actual controversial subjects regarding the blast.
There's no other actual evidence of strikes none of the cameras seems to have caught the missile or bomb which with so many cameras watching the same thing you would have had one catch a frame at least of it and no one's found it.
over central Beirut and not a single clear video of your phantom jet? come on.
Are you familiar with tire fires? That's what the welders set off. These are not rapid combustive fires, they are slow burners that take some time to really get going. The fully expected result of welding setting off a tire fire is that it would smolder and get worse over a prolonged period of time (compared to an explosion)
* they never question why 2 tons of unclaimed ammonium nitrate was just sitting in the warehouse for 5-6 years*
It's been fairly well reported in other outlets that concerns were raised about the conditions in the warehouse, and then ignored.
Jets fly, literally, everywhere.
No analysis has suggested this except conspiracy theory speculation
It was seized, it belongs to the government at that point there was no one to come claim it. It was their job to safely store and dispose of in some manner.
I do wish they had touched on this. I'm not sure if the ignition source is known