It Looks Like Ahmed’s “Cool Clock” Was A Hoax After All. Now What?

Ah, Barack, Barack, Barack.  I keep telling you that responsible leaders don’t inject themselves into local matters and trivial issues, warping attention and priorities, politicizing issues that shouldn’t be political, making things worse. But your learning curve is still, on this as regarding so much else, flatter than a Jeb Bush’s poll numbers. Why? Why?

It is increasingly looking like Ahmed Mohamed didn’t build a clock after all. Whatever he brought with him to school, it shouldn’t have gotten him arrested, and whatever got him arrested, it shouldn’t have gotten him a White House invitation when so many other worse examples of school abuse of kids, some spurred by your own excessive rhetoric about guns, didn’t even cause a momentary hitch in Obama’s golf swing. As it stands now, what may have been a  dishonest stunt by a smart Muslim kid has paid off big time, and either the kid is trapped in a lie that keeps getting worse, or enjoying the fact that he is making a lot of people look like  fools, including the President of the United States. This is increasingly looking a real life version of the famous Simpsons episode in which Bart’s practical joke involving an imaginary child named “Timmy” who has fallen down a well causes a media frenzy that traps Bart.

Ahmed is a child: his conduct can be forgiven. The adults in the episode, however, shouldn’t be.

Let’s catch up with the narrative, which I last visited here. It always looked like an example of confirmation bias gone wild, with just another example of school administrators showing no judgment and being cruel to students  appropriated by Democrats, progressives and the media to serve their agenda of framing legitimate distrust of radical Islam as racism and bigotry. Now, however, it appears that all of them were taken in by a stunt of the sort that most of us, if we think back, can recall from one or more of our own classmates: the faked science project.

Over the weekend, a blogger at Artvoice  used media photographs of the thing to “reverse engineer” Ahmed’s clock, and concluded that far from “inventing” anything,  Ahmed falsely represented as his own creation a 1986 Micronta digital alarm that had its casing removed and its innards transplanted into a  Vaultz Locking Pencil Box. Techie Thomas Talbot performed a similar analysis and came to the same conclusion: the clock was no “cool” invention by a middle schooler, but a fraudulent representation of one. “This is a commercial alarm clock, as you would purchase in any department store and use at your bedside,” says Talbot. “All that he did was remove the plastic case from the alarm clock. This is not an invention. This is not something that someone built or even assembled.”

On a brief and clear video, Talbot elaborates on  the reasons for doubting Ahmed’s story. “If someone had really made a clock, this circuitry would not look like this. First of all, this transformer is for a 120 volt line. People who do ‘maker’ things do not tend to use AC power because it’s a bit more dangerous and there’s no reason to do it. You can use batteries,” Talbot says. Pointing to the circuit boards, he points out: “These are manufactured, printed circuit boards, with printed circuit board circuits with a micro-controller in the middle. Those manufactured boards are used in manufactured products or professional engineer sample runs.”

There is more, Talbot says.

“The ribbon cables in between these are also indicative of a manufactured product. As a matter of fact, commercial clocks tend to have 9-volt battery backup and this even has the 9-volt battery backup. This was put in here to look like a device – with these cables and cords – this was put in here to look like a device that would be suspicious and, I think, intentionally so…I see no evidence that this is any creation whatsoever or that there was any modification or even assembly of anything, to have made things out of a kit for example. This is simply taking a clock out of its case.”

Next, Talbot  shows a picture of crude clock he created and tinkered with to show the difference between actual inventions and commercial products, saying…

“It’s on a protoboard, where you can attach wires to a micro-controller. Something like this is much more likely to be something you would see if someone had actually made anything.”

Talbot concludes,

“I’ve worked with kids in contests who have actually built things. I’ve seen 12-year-olds and 14-year-olds make amazing things on their own.Unfortunately, whether it fits your narrative or whatever you want to believe or not, this particular child down in Texas did not make anything. He did not make a clock. He simply took something out of the casing. People should not recognize this as an invention and recognize this child as an inventor for this particular creation when plenty of other kids have invented things…So if you thought this kid made an invention, you’ve been fooled.”

There are other reasons to be suspicious. Appearing on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said that he talked to the boy over the telephone, and could hear his sister whispering Ahmed’s answers to Cuban’s questions before he spoke them to Cuban.  Ahmed’s father’s background raises red flags too: he’s not exactly Robert Young in “Father Knows Best.”  Mohamed Elhassan debated the Koran-burning  pastor Terry Jones in 2011, and the Washington Post described him “as a native of the Sudan who is now an American citizen, likes to call himself a sheik….wears a cleric’s flowing white robes and claims hundreds of followers throughout Egypt, Sudan and in the United States.”

Then there’s this.

Meanwhile, this is all working out wonderfully for Ahmed; time will tell if this is like the story about the guy falling off a ten story building who shouts as he’s passing a window on the third floor, “So far, so good!” He’s a sudden media celebrity, he was invited by the President Obama to visitthe White House, he was given a VIP pass to the Google Science Fair, and was praised by an MIT astrophysicist, who gave Ahmed  an invitation to tour the university during an MSNBC segment. 

As the trainwreck unfolds, the uncurious mainstream media is adamantly refusing to revisit its unprofessional handling of the story, and ignores the growing suspicions, pigeon-holing them as the usual racist Islamophobia and Obama attacks, the usual rantings of  “conservative media.”  Who knows, they might get lucky. But I doubt it.

What’s going on here?

Hell, I don’t know.

Maybe the kid really did invent a clock. Maybe all the debunking is wrong, Maybe all the suspicious peripheral details are just coincidences.

Or maybe Ahmed tried to make his friends think he had invented a clock, the situation got out of control, spun into directions he couldn’t have anticipated, and he was trapped in a lie, with the President’s help. Maybe his family really thinks he did invent the clock. Or, maybe the father was using his son to manufacture sympathy for American Muslims. Maybe Ahmed was a pawn, like “Balloon Boy.”

Presumably we will eventually find out. I do know this, however:

…The news media disgraced itself by following a political, pro-Muslim, bigoted Texas narrative that fit its own biases rather than investigating the facts thoroughly.

…I know that there is no reason to conclude that Ahmed’s ethnicity and religion played any part at all in his treatment by the school, since schools all over the country have treated kids as badly or worse for less.

…Once again, we are seeing how the internet and bloggers are the saviors of the nation’s perspective and ability to be informed, since the news media is too incompetent, gullible and biased to be trusted.

…A lot of self-important and supposedly smart people may end up looking like dupes, and we will learn a great deal about their character when they do.

…I know that if Ahmed is living a lie with a short fuse, I would not want to be him, now or later,

… President Obama either has complete toadying morons as advisors, or ignores the one or two who aren’t. But I already knew that, and

…I know that the President has once again shown a flat learning curve, blatant bias, an absurd determination to counter rational distrust of Muslims by many American by trusting them beyond all reason himself, and has turned a moderate ethics train wreck into a huge one, while demonstrating his wretched judgment.

__________________________________

Pointer: Instapundit

Sources: National Review, Weasel Zippers, Artvoice

 

62 thoughts on “It Looks Like Ahmed’s “Cool Clock” Was A Hoax After All. Now What?

  1. Yep.

    An additional bit of obfuscation is the parents’ adamant refusal to allow the release of the documentation of Ahmed’s questioning. If the adults and police were the only bad actors in this situation, don’t you think that information might vindicate the accusations of the parents?

    Yes.

    But of course they have every right by law to block the release since he’s a minor.

  2. So there’s no one in the White House who’s an electrical engineer? No Navy guys (or women) who worked on nukes? No one who built a computer they bought from Tandy or Radio Shack when they were kids? No one said, “Uh, wait a minute gang….” Nope. Valerie Jarrett is going to let a non-liberal arts person into a decision making circle? Nope. They don’t have a full time contrarian on staff to keep them out of these situations? Nope. Hey, maybe once they have his court marshal quashed, they can hire Sergeant Bergdahl for that slot. But hey, President Obama is the smartest guy in the room (which tells us more about the others in the room than it does about our President).

    • Sure there are those people. But in this administration, practical real world questions AREN’T asked of the professionals who could answer.

      Here’s what was asked:

      “Hey, do yall think scoring points amongst non-whites and guilt-ridden-liberal-whites would be easy to accomplish by jumping on a narrative that the media has framed as a racist Texas town trying to crush a non-white boy’s ingenuity?

      We will score points? Great, let’s do it!

      What if it’s all a huge mistake and the kid IS in the wrong? Don’t worry! The media has us covered! Look Ben Carson has already said something about Muslims or something, the Media has us covered if this is all a mistake!”

  3. But as to “now what?” That should be really interesting to watch. Will he still get a garden party? It would be fun to see what Ahmed’s PSATs are in a year or two. Maybe he’s a totally unexceptional, or even marginal student. The fact he spouts his sister’s talking points does however indicate he may be a good candidate for chairperson of the Democratic National Committee. Heck, he could even become House Minority Leader..

  4. It’s a provable lie with a lot of progressive talking points. it will further deaden the culture. It will cause real threats to be ignored or promoted. It messes with people’s minds. It is, in short, one of the building blocks for another dangerous and false national narrative. Quack lives matter.

  5. In any event, this poor kid Ahmed is doomed. Who will he be able to trust? His father? His sister? His mother? How will he ever be bright enough to live up to the hype that’s been foisted upon him. That deer with glasses on in headlights look he sports does not bode well for him.

    • I still remember with humiliation being punished with Saturday School in 7th grade for being part of a walk-out in protest of canceling the Spring dance. I even have nightmares about it occasionally. Ahmed, if he wasn’t already, is now radicalized, along with probably thousands of Muslim middle school students who watch and learn. The lesson: publicity by the mainstream media can get your message out to the world very quickly. And, the closer it gets to what progressives want it to mean the faster and more effective it is.

      • My guess he has neither the nerve nor the intelligence to become an activist. I bet he’s just an average or less than average kid who will be damaged beyond repair by all the inanity he’s now at the middle of. A fate he doesn’t deserve. I suspect he was duped.

          • I honestly thought we’d get to have the dance.
            14 year olds aren’t very realistic. It was in the early days of campus sit-ins and we thought small town Wyoming school administrators would cave. My parents were appalled. I was in more trouble at home than at school. I’m still considered the family hippy rebel.

            My experience leads me to think Ahmed is being used and this is a trial balloon set up by his parents or by the local Muslim community. He probably was enchanted by the idea of getting a lot of attention and didn’t realize how huge this could get. And, really, it got so big because cynical adults, instead of helping him through an understandable small typical mistake, made a national issue out of it. Obama should be ashamed of himself.

  6. Interesting; I was just in Irving for a couple of days. Irving, TX was also the cite of a dispute over Sharia law; local Muslims are angry with the city for prohibiting Sharia courts. This looks increasingly like a political hoax. The device had a digital counter and was in a pencil case to make it look like stereotypical bomb. The kid’s shop teacher warned him not to show it to other teachers because it would be taken the wrong way. And Ahmed proceeded to do exactly that- causing the clock to make noises during English class. It was the English teacher who finally overreacted to the fake bomb- which seems to be exactly what the poor kid’s dad ultimately wanted.

    Ahmed has received tons of free tech, and money is pouring in through crowd funding for some reason (I’ve heard they cracked $100,000.) So no, the media, Bill Gates, and the President will never acknowledge that they were duped. It’s the sunk cost fallacy on a massive scale.

    • https://ethicsalarms.com/2015/09/18/ahmed-mohamed-justin-carter-and-white-house-priorities/comment-page-1/#comment-354444

      I don’t think they wanted straight up Sharia courts though they were asking for independence in many aspects from the American legal system for resolving some disputes…which was immediately quashed and their effort morphed into more of a mediation advisory board or something.

      In the military, when anticipating the actions of others we always evaluated:

      Most Likely Course of Action and Most Dangerous Course of Action…

      Parallel to this kind of analysis and we have What Likely Occurred here vs Worst Case Scenario…

      I think it is a stretch to say this was a concerted effort to elicit a political response, but that it is much more likely that after the fiasco occurred, the parents have cashed in on the political response that did occur. But I am increasingly open to the suggestions that dad or the culture may have subtly encouraged conduct likely to illicit a political response. The Worst Case Scenario which is far from likely (but closer to likely than we’d like to give credence to) that I’ve heard floating around is that this effort WAS concerted (though probably unknowingly by Little Ahmed) as an evaluation of the official response to conduct like this…a sort of probe, if you will. I of course don’t see it, but who knows these days.

      • I think this is a case similar to Steve Rannazzisi. The kid thought he would cheat on his project by taking a clock apart and putting it in a new case. He ended up causing a disturbance and getting arrested because interest in technical things is considered a mental disorder by our educational establishment. Now he has drawn attention to himself, is getting money, Presidential visits, etc, and it is all based on a lie. Will the kid be ashamed and feel guilty, or did this teach him that cheaters DO prosper?

      • I agree with Tex that this was more likely the parents and the local culture capitalizing on the school’s abysmal handling of the situation. Given the father’s activism, the sister’s alleged bomb threat, the Irving mayor’s outright hostility to Muslims and Islam, the call for Sharia courts to mediate disputes between Muslims, Trump and Carson saying things about Muslims, and the general air of concern over September 11, 2001 (remember, the kid brought his science project to school at or near the fourteenth anniversary of September 11), and that the device could easily be mistaken as a home-made bomb, this incident had all of the necessary ingredients for good old fashioned witches’ brew of political theater. And the Obama Administration, never one to let a good opportunity to bash the prevailing culture go to waste, picked up the story and came to the family’s defense, without really knowing the facts (a common theme during this administration).

        White liberal guilt and a pandering news media looking to stoke the fires of discord, didn’t waste much time jumping into the fray, either, to both parties’ discredit. Local media in Houston ran the story as “Confusion over a science project or an example of racism in a north Texas town”. There was no analysis, no investigation, or critical thought.

        From my never-to-be-humble perspective, all of the parties involved share equally in this debacle.

        jvb

  7. This is from the original story from the local paper:
    http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/northwest-dallas-county/headlines/20150915-irving-ninth-grader-arrested-after-taking-homemade-clock-to-school.ece
    “Here in high school, none of the teachers know what I can do,” Ahmed said, fiddling with a cable while a soldering iron dangled from the shelf behind him.

    He loved robotics club in middle school and was searching for a similar niche in his first few weeks of high school.

    So he decided to do what he’s always done: He built something.

    Ahmed’s clock was hardly his most elaborate creation. He said he threw it together in about 20 minutes before bedtime on Sunday: a circuit board and power supply wired to a digital display, all strapped inside a case with a tiger hologram on the front.

    He showed it to his engineering teacher first thing Monday morning and didn’t get quite the reaction he’d hoped for.

    “He was like, ‘That’s really nice,’” Ahmed said. “‘I would advise you not to show any other teachers.’”

    He kept the clock inside his school bag in English class, but the teacher complained when the alarm beeped in the middle of a lesson. Ahmed brought his invention up to show her afterward.

    “She was like, it looks like a bomb,” he said.

    “I told her, ‘It doesn’t look like a bomb to me.’”

    The teacher kept the clock. When the principal and a police officer pulled Ahmed out of sixth period, he suspected he wouldn’t get it back.”

    This “counterattack” by those on the right of a nerdy 14 year old boy is just stupid. He never claims to have actually “invented a clock”, because, well, the mechanical clock was invented sometime in the 1600s, the electrical clock in the 30s. Nor was it part of some formal science project. He was fiddling around with some stuff, hoping to impress a teacher and be king of the nerds, failed to do so, and put it away as suggested by the teacher.

    It is clear that no one thought it was a real bomb, as the complaining teacher held on to it for several class periods, nor was the school evacuated. Ahmed never claimed it was a bomb, nor even alluded to it being one. It is clear that hoax charges were inappropriate in this case. All the rest is just dross.

    • Did you read the post? Because this is completely irrelevant. The hoax referred to in the title is the hoax of being an invention, not a bomb.

      How is a kid falsely representing that he “made” a clock when he didn’t “dross”?

      • I think deery’s implication is (and I may be reading it incorrectly) is that Ahmed REALLY is that talented to make something that looks like industrial grade manufacturing…

      • He never said he “invented” a clock. Which is why I linked to the original story. He said: Ahmed’s clock was hardly his most elaborate creation. He said he threw it together in about 20 minutes before bedtime on Sunday: a circuit board and power supply wired to a digital display, all strapped inside a case with a tiger hologram on the front.

        I think we can agree that he was not at the factory making component parts, so he must have bought them or acquired them from somewhere. After that, he rearranged them and made them work. Hardly brilliant (which is no doubt why the original teacher was unimpressed), but we are talking about a 14 year old boy here.

        • Arguing over the term “invention” is quibble factor 9 here. Invention isn’t the right term… change out the term with the phrase “from scratch electronics project” and the objections raised are all still valid.

          • But he never said that he made it from scratch either. The digital display and the 20 minute time frame would be the biggest indications, I would think.

            • And that’s sort of the premise of the skeptics video above…

              His video is less aimed at Young Ahmed and more aimed at the slathering masses raving that this kid is some electronics prodigy…

              • Ah, ok. Just from the initial pictures released it was clear to me what Ahmed did. But I guess not everyone likes fiddling around with household crap.

                  • Well the title suggests that Ahmed was perpetrating some sort of hoax, claiming that he “invented” a clock, (and some commentators falsely suggesting he was doing so for a formal science project) when if anything, he explicitly says he was fiddling around with some stuff, and brought it in a failed attempt to impress a teacher for one of his clubs. I’m sure if he knew he was going to be a media star over it, he would have put a lot more effort into it.

                    I think his scientific curiosity and mechanical know-how is to be commended, but as a piece of scientific genius, no. But he never held it out to be such. Ahmed basically calls it a throwaway project in his initial interview. No hoax.

                    • “(and some commentators falsely suggesting he was doing so for a formal science project)”

                      Irrelevant to this sub-thread.

                      “when if anything, he explicitly says he was fiddling around with some stuff, and brought it in a failed attempt to impress a teacher for one of his clubs.”

                      Ok? This isn’t about Ahmed, this is about the raving crowds oohing and aahing over what probably isn’t a big deal in terms of skills – as the skeptic’s video makes a good argument regarding.

                      “I’m sure if he knew he was going to be a media star over it, he would have put a lot more effort into it.”

                      This isn’t about Ahmed.

                      “I think his scientific curiosity and mechanical know-how is to be commended,”

                      Yep. Curiosity and autodidacticism (?) are extremely underrated in this culture these days.

                      “but as a piece of scientific genius, no. But he never held it out to be such. Ahmed basically calls it a throwaway project in his initial interview. No hoax.”

                      This isn’t about him…

                    • Do you read this stuff at all?
                      The post clearly says that he was not trying to be or expecting to be a media star. He is, however, willing to be hailed as the second coming of Tesla for something he did not do and you claim didn’t pretend to do. If he didn’t make a cool clock, then he should have turned down the Presidents (absurd) invitation. Was he being feted because he’s a brilliant kid? Well, putting the innards of a clock in a pencil box doesn’t say “brilliant” to me. You? Because he was mistreated by a school (which, if that’s the criteria, thousands of kids have a right to feel slighted) or because he’s Muslim and should be treated better than everyone else?

                      Or does it prove that lying has benefits?

                      From CNN: “I built a clock to impress my teacher but when I showed it to her, she thought it was a threat to her,” Ahmed told reporters Wednesday. “It was really sad that she took the wrong impression of it.”

                      Putting a preexisting clock’s works into a pencil case is not “building a clock.” Saying otherwise is a lie. It is this lie—kid who cleverly builds clock from components accused of bomb hoax–that constitutes the CLOCK hoax, and that got him all his rewards. What’s cool about making a functioning clock into a clock that is worse–it looks like a mess—and that people think looks like a bomb? Nothing cool about that at all. Cool is making a clock out of a non-clock. which is what “built” implies.

                      I can’t believe you’re making this argument.

                    • That’s why I too from the initial interview of Ahmed, not later ones after it became the cause celebre. Though honestly I think it’s all just semantics. He assembled/reassembled/built/rebuilt a clock, depending on the exact details. I don’t really care that much about the general word choice of a 14 year old boy. He gave enough detail about what he did to give anyone who knew anything at all about mechanics an idea of the work/effort involved (not much by his own admittance).

                      It became a hot trending topic on Twitter because he was arrested for it, a good picture was available of his arrest, with him looking both all nerdy and stunned while in a NASA shirt, and no bomb squad was called/ and his ethnicity combined to make a good story. There is no good algorithim as to why some stories take off with the general public, while others are ignored. If there were, more people would be taking advantage of it. But that’s not really a problem with Ahmed, but the news cycle. Still no hoax.

                    • If he’s so brilliant, he can be expected to know the difference between I destroyed a clock, I took a clock apart, I built a clock, I invented a clock, I altered a clock, I pooped out a clock, I disgorged a clock, I created a clock, I invented a clock, I took a clock and made it look like a bomb to see if I could freak out my teachers and vindicate my sister. He said he built it, he didn’t. He is being honored for doing something remarkable, and he didn’t.

                      13 isn’t too young to understand what a lie is.

                    • I’m still enough of a geek to maybe provide background here.

                      There is an old and honourable tradition of “case-mods”.

                      You take the gubbins of something, the worky bits, and put them in a new container to create something new.

                      A laser pointer becomes a Star Trek phaser. A mobile phone a communicator. A tablet a tricorder.

                      A particularly cool example is this one –
                      http://www.stonehill.org/casenotnamed/

                      Who could resist having a boring old desktop PC casemoded to look like this?

                      Or taking an antedeluvian heathkit clock and putting it into an 8″ pencil case?

            • SPIN. If someone says “they made a clock,” it i presumed they didn’t start with a clock. Taking the innards of a cloch and adding something is worthy of a White House visit and praise by celebrities? Wow. These people would have made young Tom Edison KING.

              Ridiculous.

        • “a circuit board and power supply wired to a digital display, all strapped inside a case with a tiger hologram on the front.”

          This is incorrect though. As numerous videos made by nerds have now shown, it is quite literally an alarm clock, taken out of its plastic casing, and placed unaltered into a metallic pencil case.

          A kid lying about inventing something is the best-case scenario though. Everyone’s BS detector should be lighting up. That “clock” looks exactly like something you would cook up if you wanted to scare people with a fake bomb. Just try leaving something like that in an airport. Considering who the kid’s dad is, the incident with his sister, how the sister had attempted to create a media reaction too, how Ahmed appeare to be coached by his family when talking to Mark Cuban, and the reality that it is common for certain politically-minded Muslims to exploit liberal sensibilities to gain Western sympathy and support, the media should have thought long and hard about touching this one.

  8. That’s a good review of what we’ve already gone over many times, did you draw any conclusions from this episode?

    “This “counterattack” by those on the right of a nerdy 14 year old boy is just stupid.”

    What are you talking about?

    None of this was political except when Obama stuck his nose where it doesn’t belong… and anyone criticizing that is correct.

    But this did get politicized…by the way, who politicized it?

    • Your link is not good, but I assume that you were trying to link to previous kids whose projects were also mistaken as bombs? I think the difference is, in this case, at least from the several links that I looked at, the makers of those projects were not arrested as “hoax bombers”, when it was clear that the objects were not bombs, nor were they claimed to be. In this Ahmed was.

      Nerdy kid made a little project, and it got out of hand. All this Zaprudering by random bloggers on the internet deconstructing what the kid admits was a 20 minute project that he brought in to try to impress a teacher seems excessive. We should already know that he didn’t “invent” anything, that should go without saying. He maybe built something from some component parts, at best. I don’t know if we can expect much out of a 20 minute project from a 14 year old. But these conspiracy theories makes the right-wing look just more than just a little unhinged, and quite pathetic.

    • It’s an argument mismatch… Deery is trying to defend the kid and Tex is trying to condemn the media, and the train wreck in general. I agree with Tex, and I understand Deery, but I’m not willing to give the kid a complete out.

      In law, it often doesn’t matter if you meant to commit the crime you are charged with, if you meant to commit a crime. If you assault someone by punching them, and they have an organ failure and die, it didn’t matter that you only meant to punch them, you’re probably going to be convicted of manslaughter. I don’t know if Ahmed was deliberately trying to squick his teachers with a fake bomb (although the family still hasn’t released the gag order on the teachers, and I for one would love to hear their side of the story), but I don’t buy that this was entirely innocent. The most favorable possible interpretation, I think, is that he thought the people around him would be too stupid to realize that he hadn’t built that thing from scraps. Ahmed lied, deliberately, and the response was extreme and stupid… But that doesn’t change that he lied.

  9. Who exactly is praising the kid’s brilliance and saying he’s the next Tesla? My understanding is that the outcry is due to the perception that he was mistreated–his mechanical genius or lack thereof is not really the issue, is it?

    And yes, of course, lots of kids have been mistreated by schools, and yes, of course, his religion and the perception of bigotry is a big part of why this became a big news story.

    • Of course it is, unless the President and Mark Zuckerberg and MIT profs routinely give extraordinary rewards to every kid who gets screwed by unfair school discipline. The whole idea was that he’s an extraordinary kid who got punished for his extraordinariness necause he was also Muslim. Take the presumed brilliance away, and the episode makes even less sense than it already did.

  10. I can remember being fourteen and I can’t imagine me thinking at that time anyone at my high school would be the least interested in my having disassembled a clock and put it into a brief case-like piece of luggage. If Ahmed thought that, he’s a moron.

  11. This Thomas Talbot is an irresponsible hack of professor. The University of Southern California should be ashamed.

    Every media report I read from the beginning described it is a clock removed from it case, and reassembled in a new one. If anyone in the media, or SoCal, or the White House mistook this as a true invention, it their reading comprehension skills that are at fault.

    Talbot’s analysis is utterly wrong on several accounts. He says that no assembly was performed. Yet, the image shows clearly shows a hole was cut out of the box, and the display was mounted to that box. That is called, in technical terms, ASSEMBLY! Further, the box was not an electrical box, but an off the shelf pencil box, or jewelry box, that was modified by Ahmed for a new purpose. This alone shows innovative and original thinking.

    It is thus utterly irresponsible for him to blindly accuse Ahmed of intentionally making it look suspicious. By Talbot’s own admission, nothing in the new box was included that was not part of a commercial clock. Why, pray tell, is a 9-volt battery cord suspicious? If anything, that is exculpatory. There is no evidence that the loose wiring is indicative of anything other than very amateur assembly.

    If this project were submitted as part of Ahmed’s application package to attend SoCal, Talbot’s dismissal of its originality would be warranted. However, this project was never submitted to the world to be judged on its originality. It was not even a school assignment or science project. It was simply a small project a freshman student built of his own initiative, that he thought his science teacher would like.

    Media reports consistently and accurately described the nature of the project. Hyperbolically calling one’s project an “invention” is not a lie. In the very interview where he called it an invention, he described how he built it, specifically describing it as “something small”, while showing other projects in progress (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mW4w0Y1OXE). He is a freshman, awkward, and unsavvy in the media. He did not ask to be placed in the position of defending his small projects to the world. Ci

    If anyone changes their mind about how this boy was treated because the project were just a clock in a the box, they are wholly in the wrong. The boy was treated grossly unfairly, and trying to discredit his story over small details is wrong. If Talbot cannot comprehend the big picture here, he is the one is who is discredited.

    • Is that the issue? I thought the issue was that what he did is neither interesting nor remarkable, so why is it being praised as if he was the second coming of Edison. Why is it a “cool clock”? If it is what you say, then why is he taking bows?

      Nobody I have read disputes that his arrest and punishment was wrong. Why does this conduct warrant attention and exorbitant praise from Google, Mark Zuckerburg, Obama and the news media?

      It is described over and over again as a “homemade clock.” How do you dispute that? The kid says, like here, that he “built a clock.” He didn’t. If I take a commercial cake, take it out of its box, scrape of the frosting and put a different canned frosting on it, and put it in another box, did I bake a cake? Invent a cake? Create a cake? Make a cake? No, I took a cake and messed with it.

      He did nothing wrong until he was forced by Obama and the media to play the part of some kind of wunderkind.

      • He did nothing wrong until he was forced by Obama and the media to play the part of some kind of wunderkind.

        That is a fair enough assessment, but “build a clock” is very generic statement. I could go to Michael’s, buy a quartz mechanism, carve a piece of wood, and paint numbers on it, and say honestly say “I have a homemade clock”. What Ahmed did is no different.

        why is it being praised as if he was the second coming of Edison.

        Poor reading comprehension skills, and a desire blame every issue on on racial bias.

        I agree that his project unremarkable on an absolute scale, although “pretty cool” for something a freshman whipped together in a few minutes. The issue is, and should always have been, his grossly disproportionate punishment. I agree that Obama had no business getting involved, but that is hardly Ahmed’s fault. In every interview, he accurately described what he built. The media is exploiting him for ratings, while not shedding light on the far greater issue of rampant punishment in schools. It is instead poo pooing the white administrators for racism, when they accurately say they would handled any student the same way. That latter statement is the scariest of all.

        • I could go to Michael’s, buy a quartz mechanism, carve a piece of wood, and paint numbers on it, and say honestly say “I have a homemade clock”. What Ahmed did is no different.

          But its still deceit, and your argument is essentially “Everybody is deceitful.” We can’t allow that excuse. Words have meaning. Remodeling a house isn’t building a house. Turning a commercial clock into one that is less convenient and mistaken for a bomb isn’t a positive achievement, much less one deserving of international praise.

  12. I can /build/ a huge software product of which I wrote not a single line of code by typing the command ./buildall in an appropriate source code directory.

    My intuition is that ‘build’ is an /extremely/ flexible verb.

Leave a Reply to Humble Talent Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.