What’s up with the 'mystery missile' off California?

Updated: Your guess would seem to be as good as any

So let me get this straight: Yesterday the Transportation Safety Administration tells us that printer cartridges may no longer be brought into the U.S. aboard airplanes because they may contain explosives, yet today no one in the government is able to say who fired that big-ass missile caught on tape off the coast of Southern California.

Unrelated, you say?

I say given my druthers I'd rather have the printer cartridges than a mystery missile. But that's just me.

(2010's 25 Geekiest 25th Anniversaries)

It would be somewhat comforting if the denials of knowledge coming from military sources held a strong undercurrent of, "We know but we just can't tell you."

Unfortunately, such is not the case.

It would seem as though they just don't know.

The Los Angeles Times came up empty in its efforts to get an explanation, but here's what they did get:

"We are aware of the unexplained contrail reported off the coast of Southern California yesterday evening," according to a statement Tuesday from the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the U.S. Northern Command, which operates the U.S. and Canadian missile warning system. "At this time, we are unable to provide specific details but we are working to determine the exact nature of this event.

"We can confirm that there is no indication of any threat to our nation and we will provide more information as it becomes available," the statement said.

Yes, perhaps there is a hint of unspoken awareness in the words "specific" and "exact," but, if so, the least they could have done would have been to say, "Rest assured that it was one of ours."

Meanwhile, Stars and Stripes would appear to have no inside sources.

The IEEE Spectrum invites IEEE-type speculation.

And Space.com speaks of an "investigation" that would really seem to be nothing more than everyone in the government staring at each other with quizzical looks on their faces.

But at least we have a handle on those printer cartridges.

(Update, Wednesday, Nov. 10: Experts say "mystery missile" neither a mystery nor a missile.)

Welcome regulars and passersby. Here are a few more recent Buzzblog items. And, if you'd like to receive Buzzblog via e-mail newsletter, here's where to sign up.

HP and "Where's Leo?" parlor game crash Oracle/SAP trial.

“First-person shooters” steal early jump on “Call of Duty: Black Ops.”

Train station photo tests your destination imagination.

Why the need for IPv6? Vint Cerf keeps blaming himself.

Microsoft wants to know if my computer is possessed.

IMDb turns 20, takes stroll down memory lane.

10 reasons to fear Google's self-driving car.

Bank of America is holding my online accounts hostage.

Linus Torvalds is now an American citizen.

Fly on the wall says Apple made Newsday kill funny iPhone app ad.

An example of why cell phones do not belong in public bathrooms.


Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

The 10 most powerful companies in enterprise networking 2022