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(DINOSAUR FIELD WORK)
Fabio Marco Dalla Vecchia wrote:
> You wrote: <<OK, this is obviously hearsay and unverified
> information, but
> so are 100% of all leads that come into a security office before they are
> verified--and some percentage of those leads DO eventually become verified.
> So, at the risk of looking foolish ('cause I care...), I will take some
> responsibility for further propagating this one. Information is what led
> to the actions that brought the fourth jet down on the 11th, and we are
> never going to know how many people that saved. I know that this is 180
> degrees away from the "mission" of this list, but there are some things
> that are a little more important than dead animals.>>
> My message has a more strict connection to the future of the dinosaur
> There seems to be an exaggerated fear of terrorism in USA now. It is
> probable that terrorists are not going to strike in this moment. It is too
> risky, there is too much control. Terrorists will wait for 6 months, a
> year, two years, ten years. Their perception of time is different from that
> of people from western countries. They will wait for a moment of inattention.
> Of course, USA citizens abroad will be more in danger than those at home.
> It is a dramatic situation which probably will last for many years.
> Will the USA paleontologists go on with their field work all around
> You are working in Egypt, a country where the danger of a violent
> burst of
> islamic integralism is real. Do you think you will go on with the field
> work there, or this political situation will stop the research?
> People working in non-islamic countries could also be in danger. The desert
> Patagonia or the hills of Madagascar are a suitable place for an ambush to
> an isolated crew, mainly when its presence there is divulgated by the
> mass-media (as usually happens for dinosaur excavations).
> I feel that I could be in a similar situation as an Italian citizen (Italy
> is in the NATO), and I would like to know how other paleontologist think to
> manage this problem.
> All the best
> Fabio Dalla Vecchia
> Fabio M. Dalla Vecchia, PhD
> Museo Paleontologico Cittadino
> Via Valentinis 134
> I-34074 Monfalcone
I hope all is well with you in Italy, my friend. Regarding domestic US
(I really hate the use of this word--the only intelligent thing I have ever
Bush say is his treatment of the acts of 9.11 as an act of war), I don't think
the probability of another hit now is less than it was on 9.10 or is less than
will be in 8.2002. There have been a lot of showy, knee jerk reaction moves to
increase national security, but given what I have observed in several airports
recently, I am less than convinced that an actual increase in safety has
least in those places. Speaking tactically (and perhaps strategically), now is
rather good time for a second hit, before whatever security upgrades that occur
really in place (but while confusion is high) and while the country's emotional
is taught. Indeed, there is little better time. That doesn't mean I think
something else WILL happen right now, but this is definitely a good time for
to be keeping their heads down.
What will all of this do to international fieldwork? Well, I suspect our US
colleagues that work in Pakistan will feel the pinch of the current global
faster and more sharply than many of us. As the director of the project in
might imagine that I am a bit concerned. The events of yesterday in Cairo don't
bother me all THAT much; we have seen such things before, even while we were
I still maintain that Egypt is safer than perhaps anywhere else in the Islamic
but it isn't Kansas. We are actually currently discussing what we are going to
regarding an early 2002 Egypt field season. No conclusions have yet been
We are still hoping to go, but there is a real possibility of sitting this year
However, if we DO go, we are going to keep a pretty low profile and are going to
change more than a few things about our daily operating procedures. We will
also be very very picky about who we decide to take with us. Such are the
with a science that is based on specimens and outcrop--we end up being acutely
affected by politics.
Department of Earth and Environmental Science
University of Pennsylvania
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240 South 33rd Street
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(215) 898-5630 (Office)
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