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One of my favorite psychological parlor tricks is the Invisible Gorilla. A subject is shown a video in which a few people pass around a ball. The subject is told to count the number of passes. In the process of counting, the subject completely misses the fact that a man in a gorilla suit walks through the frame. The phenomenon is called “inattentional blindness”. When you focus your attention on one thing in particular, it can blind you to significant things that occur right in front of your nose.
In the latest step in a war of attrition with Israel, Hamas targeted one of the country’s nuclear reactors with rockets — an act which escalates the recent outburst of violence in the area to the level of nuclear combat.
An act of terrorism against a nuclear reactor in any form is defined as terrorism, as set out by the United Nation’s 2005 International Convention for the Suspicion of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.
According to the United Nations, “any nuclear reactor, including reactors installed on vessels, vehicles, aircraft or space objects for use as an energy source in order to propel such vessels, vehicles, aircraft or space objects or for any other purpose,” or “any plant or conveyance being used for the production, storage, processing or transport of radioactive material.”
Three rockets were fired towards Israel’s nuclear reactor in Dimona, but the rockets were intercepted, and there are no signs of damage to the reactor.
Immediately after the attack, Hamas claimed responsibility for the rockets, stating that they launched long range M-75 rockets towards the reactor in southern Israel.
Keep your eye on the ball: We must avoid getting embroiled in Iraq (or Syria) once again. Via Reuters:
Insurgents in Iraq have seized nuclear materials used for scientific research at a university in the country’s north, Iraq told the United Nations in a letter appealing for help to “stave off the threat of their use by terrorists in Iraq or abroad.”
Nearly 40 kilograms (88 pounds) of uranium compounds were kept at Mosul University, Iraq’s U.N. Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in the July 8 letter obtained by Reuters on Wednesday.
“Terrorist groups have seized control of nuclear material at the sites that came out of the control of the state,” Alhakim wrote, adding that such materials “can be used in manufacturing weapons of mass destruction.”
“These nuclear materials, despite the limited amounts mentioned, can enable terrorist groups, with the availability of the required expertise, to use it separate or in combination with other materials in its terrorist acts,” said Alhakim.
He warned that they could also be smuggled out of Iraq.
A U.S. government source familiar with the matter said the materials were not believed to be enriched uranium and therefore would be difficult to use to manufacture into a weapon. Another U.S. official familiar with security matters said he was unaware of this development raising any alarm among U.S. authorities.
The last paragraph in the Reuters piece hints at the U.S. government’s inattentional blindness. Further evidence comes from Bryan Preston, who compares two versions of the AP’s story and notes: “The new version of the story is more than twice as long as the original. It adds several paragraphs written to play down the threat that ISIS’ seizure of the Saddam-era weapons facility poses. It’s clear from the above, and other edits that follow, that the AP published, then discussed the issue with the Obama administration and the United Nations, and then made very significant edits to its original story.”
Keep your eye on the ball: We must not limit immigration over the southern border. What would we do without Michael Ramirez?
So the question is: Will we notice the invisible gorilla in time to stop him before he leaves the frame?