Sep 192015
 

Remember a few years ago when the nations media was spellbound at the idea of a little kid trapped in a free-floating balloon, and it turned out to be a hoax? It seems that may be the case with Ahmed Mohamed and his clock, too.

Reverse Engineering Ahmed Mohamed’s Clock… and Ourselves.

In short, that clock this kid built? It seems that he didn’t so much build it as simply remove the guts of a commercially available mid-1980’s digital clock and stick them into a hard-shell pencil box. If this analysis is accurate – and it sure appears to be – this kid didn’t “invent” a damn thing except for a media circus. Note that his father is well practiced in the art of PR, having run for President of Sudan. You have to wonder how much of this was intended as a publicity ploy for the family, or an attempt to garner some of that sweet  “oh, boo hoo, come and see the Islamophobia inherent in the system” sympathy.

The clock the kid took apart was made by Micronta, a Radio Shack subsidiary. It’s an odd looking thing, but has the advantage of being pretty simple by modern standards… the sort of thing that might *look* like a a smart kid cobbled it together. But apparently…he *didn’t.* Still, for a minimum expenditure of time and resources, he’s looking to make out like a bandit.

Ahmed Mohamed gets a new Surface Pro 3, Band, and more from Microsoft

 Posted by at 12:37 pm
  • Bruce

    They should give him an XBox too just for fun.

  • Jandanagger Laterobinson

    Yeah, because every dad’s dream is to send his kid to school with a fake bomb so that he can get arrested, cuffed and interrogated in juvie.

    The Dad grew up in a Sudanese village and gained a Philosophy degree from Cairo University before moving to the U.S. in the mid 80’s. The degree wasn’t accepted here so he hit the streets of NY as a hot dog vendor. The family moved to Texas (hey which Follower of the Prophet wouldn’t) working in Dallas as a cab driver while taking classes at a community college.

    He went on to form his own taxi company which he later sold to Yellow Cab, Hey – lots of people run for President. And I mean lots. Can’t blame the guy for trying

    • Scottlowther

      > every dad’s dream is to send his kid to school with a fake bomb

      Of course, some father’s dream is to send their kid to school with a *real* bomb.

      But we’ve seen a *lot* of cases in recent years where people have lied and played the victim for political or personal reasons… fake “hate crimes,” that sort of thing. Every time some violent thug gets shot dead by somebody defending themselves from said thugs advances, we’re told by thugs mom that he was a “good boy.” Some parents just don’t seem to be on the same level of reality as the rest of us. Some people know how to game the system.

      But never mind that. Assuming the analysis is correct, and the clock in question is simply the unimproved guts of an old commercially available clock, how do you square that with the kids claim that he “invented” it, while *not* making him into a liar?

      • B-Sabre

        In case anybody missed Scott’s reference:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balloon_boy_hoax

        So yeah, parents do exploit their kids. I think that the kid was “earnest” in taking his “clock” to school and the dad is merely being a 1st class opportunist (Hello! He’s a politician!) and milking it for all it is worth.

      • publiusr

        To me, as someone who loves the look of huge red LEDs (and nixie tubes too)—the real crime here is that a vintage Radio Shack Micronta clock was savaged (salvaged).

        I hate the look of current devices. Everything on Laptops and tablets.

        Dials, knobs, slides, levers, switches–flipping digit clocks built like a rolodex–that’s where its at.

      • Jandanagger Laterobinson

        He’s 14 FFS. Who knows what he was thinking.

  • guest

    I think the worst part about this story is not the possible publicity stunt, but the fact that a box with a few wires in it got such a predictable, hysterical, over-the-top, inappropriate reaction from adults.

    When I was his age we had people from the Fish & Wildlife department come to school and do hunter safety training–with real firearms–on school property, during school hours. There was a JROTC group that had a little indoor fifty-foot rifle range in the basement, on which they used an assortment of beat-up old hand-me-down Mossberg 44s, with–ERMAHGERD!–real live ammunition.

    It was only thirty years ago.

    Imagine any public high school permitting anything like this today.

    Imagine what would happen if you even asked about these things during a parent-teacher conference. Imagine the pearl-clutching antics of all the teachers. You’d be damned lucky to get out of the building without them calling the cops and siccing the SWAT team on you, and it’s guaranteed that you’d get multiple visits from Children’s Services, with orders to make any trouble they possibly could for you.

    Was the kid engaging in a publicity stunt that his father put him up to? It’s possible. I can’t rule it out. Was the reaction predictable? Yes. Is there a single public high school in the US that wouldn’t have overreacted the same way, if not ten times worse? I doubt it–if it exists, show it to me. When was our educational system taken over by a bunch of shrieking hysterical bedwetters who have anxiety attacks when a kindergarten kid bites a Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun?

    Blame the people who are infantilizing America. Don’t blame the kid for noticing.

    • Paul451

      Was the reaction predictable? Yes. Is there a single public high school in the US that wouldn’t have overreacted the same way, if not ten times worse? I doubt it–if it exists, show it to me.

      Supposedly the kid’s middle school encouraged stuff like this.

      They’re not all broken yet.

    • allen

      “You’d be damned lucky to get out of the building without them calling the cops and siccing the SWAT team on you”

      I’ve taken to calling my volvo an Armored Personnel Carrier. hey, if they can call a semi-auto an “assault rifle” I can call things by scary names too.

      once, I had the job of picking up my niece from school. I told them I had a green armored personnel carrier, and I’d be there in 20 minutes.

      the SWAT team was completely clueless, and woefully under-armed for a REAL APC had I showed with one.

    • Herp McDerp

      I think the worst part about this story is not the possible publicity stunt, but the fact that a box with a few wires in it got such a predictable, hysterical, over-the-top, inappropriate reaction from adults.

      Bingo! In my humble opinion, every adult involved in this mess acted stupidly. And the kid was a jerk, too.

      I’ll bet the kid just intended to pull a prank that he couldn’t be punished for. He probably took the measure of his English teacher and pegged her — accurately! — as a clueless idiot, so he put together something that only an idiot would mistake for a bomb. If you look at the photo of the clock, you’ll note that (1) there are no
      explosives or anything that looks like an explosive, so the kid had
      plausible deniability, and (2) the clock display is mounted to face
      into the case,
      so you have to open the case to read it. (The pencil case would have been
      a good project box if he had cut a rectangular hole for the display, so

      it could be read without opening the case. But he didn’t do that.) I’ll
      bet the teacher remembered any number of “Cut the red wire!” “No! Cut
      the blue wire!!!” scenes in action movies, and she
      thought she knew what a bomb was supposed to look
      like.

      The clock was running on its backup battery, and the alarm was set to go off during her class. He wanted to get a reaction from her, and he succeeded beyond his
      wildest imagination.

      Okay, so the English teacher thought it was a bomb. Why did she (or whoever) wait so long before calling the authorities? Why didn’t she evacuate the classroom?

      The cops were waaaaay too quick to assume the kid was an A-rab terrorist. “I knew it would be one of them.” And HANDCUFFS?!

      The school administrators then doubled down on stupid — after it was obvious that the clock wasn’t a bomb and that the kid had never claimed that it was a bomb, they accused him of perpetrating a bomb HOAX. To be fair, that might have been his intent … but if so, he seems to have deliberately made it obvious to anyone with an IQ above room temperature (Fahrenheit or Celsius, take your pick) that it wasn’t a bomb. Alas, these were school administrators …

      In short, the kid was a smug twerp, the English teacher was a mouth-breathing idiot, the cops were assholes, and the school administrators were spineless, brainless, cowardly assholes.

    • Herp McDerp

      When was our educational system taken over by a bunch of shrieking
      hysterical bedwetters who have anxiety attacks when a kindergarten kid
      bites a Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun?

      Heh. Back in college I dated a couple of Elementary Education majors. Let’s just say I wasn’t impressed by their towering intellects or their vast creativity.

  • Paul451

    It’s stunning the amount of effort and energy that’s gone into trying to discredit the kid and manufacturing some devious plot by his family.

    • Scottlowther

      > the amount of effort and energy that’s gone into trying to discredit the kid

      *Vastly* less effort has gone into checking an ebay auction for an old clock and comparing photos than has gone into praising this kid as the next Tesla and decrying the Obvious Racism.

      If all this kid did was gut a clock and put the bits in a box, it points out that he’s a *liar* if he says he invented it. Dick-in-a-box is more of an “invention” than gutted-clock-in-a-box. And so you’ve got a *lot* of effort and energy going into praising – and financially rewarding – a liar. You’ve got people lauding the engineering skills of someone who has demonstrated no such skill. Regardless of who or what the kid is, showing praise upon the unworthy is… unworthy.

  • Edohiguma

    So did the thing he allegedly built in his alleged genius even work? Because I’ve heard nothing of it working.

    I too can stuff electronics into something. I can also take apart working electronic parts. I did that when I was 10. But instead of being celebrated on the not yet existing Twitter, I got a scolding from my dad.

  • DJF

    Hopefully someone teaches the kid something about electrical safety.

    He has taken a 120vac clock out of its casing and stuck it in a pencil box with what appears to be little concern about shock hazard to people or the chance of something shorting out.

  • Trimegistus

    The liberals who have shoved these asinine zero-tolerance policies down everyone’s throats because they hate guns and little boys now get to preen about how non-racist they are because a Muslim kid got hit by their asinine policies.

  • xvdougl

    Wow, look at all the cool stuff I can crack open the case on and claim I invented.