After Reddit’s attempt to find the Boston Marathon bombers turned into a major failure (for which Reddit’s general manager Erik Martin publicly apologized Monday), the over-all conclusion seems to be that the whole experiment was misguided from the start, and that the Redditors’ inability to identify the Tsarnaev brothers demonstrates the futility of using an online crowd of amateur sleuths to help with a criminal investigation. Or, as the Times’s Nick Bilton put it, “It looks as if the theory of the ‘wisdom of crowds’ doesn’t apply to terrorist manhunts.” That proposition may be true. But Reddit’s failure isn’t evidence for it.
Read the rest: "Reddit and the Marathon Bombers: The Wise Way to Crowdsource a Manhunt" [newyorker.com]
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev remembered by Twitter friends as "cool bro, average dude" with whom to "smoke blunts"
Quickly, the authorities secured a warehouse in Boston’s Seaport district and filled the sprawling space: On half of the vast floor, hundreds of pieces of bloody clothes were laid out to dry so they could be examined for forensic clues or flown to FBI labs at Quantico in Prince William County for testing. In the other half of the room, more than a dozen investigators sifted through hundreds of hours of video, looking for people “doing things that are different from what everybody else is doing,” Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis said in an interview Saturday.
The work was painstaking and mind-numbing: One agent watched the same segment of video 400 times. The goal was to construct a timeline of images, following possible suspects as they moved along the sidewalks, building a narrative out of a random jumble of pictures from thousands of different phones and cameras.
“He was just relaxed,” she said.
Depending on which acquaintance's quote you read, the 19-year-old either sounds normal or creepy:
Emily DeInnocentis, 23, said Tsarnaev stood out to her because of some odd behavior, like spreading messy string cheese all over her couch, and picking up her cat and carrying it upstairs for no reason.
“We just didn’t invite him over after that. How many people just pick up your cat and go upstairs?” she said.
Massachusetts State Police (MSP) released this video shot from their airwing helicopter hovering over "The Slipaway II," the boat where 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the second Boston Marathon bombing suspect, was captured and arrested last Friday night. Below, photos taken from the State Police Air Wing during the Watertown manhunt, released through the MSP Twitter account.
The photos were captured with FLIR, "a forward-looking infrared device used to pick up a person's heat signature, combined with night vision technology."
When bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon on Monday, my Facebook feed was immediately filled with urgent messages. I watched as my friends and family implored their friends and family in Boston to check in, and lamented the fact that nobody could seem to get a solid cell phone connection.Read the rest