Author Topic: "Potentially deadly bomb ingredients are ‘frequently bought together’ on Amazon"  (Read 5603 times)


rcjordan

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Anyone recall the MacGyver episode where he blew up the place using fertilizer, starter fluid, foam padding, and newspaper?  As we found out with the Oklahoma federal building bombing, it doesn't take exotic materials to build a bomb.

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One chemical for sale is listed as a “Regulated substance” by the Home Office, making it illegal to possess it without a licence, and illegal to supply to a person without checking that the purchaser has a licence.

I seriously doubt the vendor does a license check on that one, though.

Here in the Republic, mail order -and now online ordering- has long been used to get around local or state prohibitive ordinances. Pesticides & herbicides that require an Applicator's License are available to anyone, for instance.

Rooftop

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What is the point they are trying to make here? It seems like they are suggesting a potential bomber would use Amazon recommendations as the basis of a bomb recipe. 

Yeah, I bet that would end well. If hey didn't blow themselves up making it they'd probably end up trying to use fidget spinners as detonators.


Adam C

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The interesting thing for me is behavioural data publicly shining a light on the dark parts of society more so than the suggestions being helpful to a shopping would-be bomber.  The fact that there is sufficient behaviour on Amazon of this nature that the behavioural suggestions work shows either

1. how little data Amazon can use to power the feature (impressive); or
2. how much bomb ingredient shopping goes on (worrying)

Rooftop

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I wonder how many use cases there are for 2 of those ingredients as well.

So maybe a+b are frequently bought together for legitimate purposes, but Amazon's desire to upsell won't leave it at two so surfaces the less obvious pattern of a+b+c

ergophobe

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Rooftop

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It was at this point that the conversation took a delightfully culinary turn, with quinoa making an unlikely appearance in the police inquiries:

Do you own a pressure cooker? My husband said no, but we have a rice cooker. Can you make a bomb with that? My husband said no, my wife uses it to make quinoa. What the hell is quinoa, they asked.

Oh god - that is beautiful.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2017, 05:40:11 PM by Rooftop »