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CNN Shows Adafruit Part During Bombing Segment

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CNN Shows Adafruit Part During Bombing Segment


A sharp-eyed Twitter user noticed that during a breaking news segment about the crash of the Russian Metrojet Flight 9268 in Egypt this week, CNN briefly displayed an Adafruit Industries component while discussing the possibility that an ISIS bomb might have brought down the aircraft.

Adafruit is an open-source hardware company that sells Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and Beaglebone boards and components. The component that CNN showed appears to be Adafruit’s BMP180 Barometric pressure, temperature, and altitude sensor. The photo that CNN displayed, in fact, appears to be pulled from the component’s product page.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether CNN meant to imply that an Adafruit sensor had been found at the site of the crash or whether they put the image up to illustrate the generic possibility that a barometric pressure sensor could have been used to trigger an explosive.

In response to questions from Make:, CNN spokesperson Neel Khairzada clarified that it was the latter.

“This graphic was part of a conversation about barametric [sic] pressure triggers,” Khairzada said. “It was not identified as something used but a larger conversation about these triggers.”

Some electronics enthusiasts were unforgiving.

“Adafruit should sue [CNN] for their stupidity,” wrote one user on the electronics subreddit.

Regarding the crash, Make: sends condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims.

24 thoughts on “CNN Shows Adafruit Part During Bombing Segment

  1. Matt Richardson says:

    Of course, you can try to sue for anything you want, but something tells me Adafruit won’t be taking legal advice from Reddit anytime soon.

    1. Jon_Christian says:

      Yeah, who do they think they are, r/legaladvice?

    2. John Daniels says:

      They might have liable/defamation type suit they could sue for, or more realistically a copyright infringement suit for using their photo without permission in a commercial setting.

      1. Matt Richardson says:

        They’re probably not taking legal advice from comments here, either.

        1. John Daniels says:

          I’m sure they’re not, but it is informative for people who have no idea what types of laws may have been broken. Whereas your comments are just snide and unhelpful.

          1. Matt Richardson says:

            Sorry to be snide. It’s very interesting to me when something like this happens and you often have a whole chorus of people saying “they should sue,” or “they might have a case” likely without any actual knowledge of the law. I wonder if it perpetuates misconceptions about how the law works.

      2. sophiacamille says:

        CNN might be liable, but the term you’re looking for is libel… which is defamation or slander that’s in writing. Legally, I wonder how photos factor into that? There must be some precedents somewhere..

        1. John Daniels says:

          Sorry about the typo. My fingers tend to type in patterns. I don’t hunt and peck each letter like I did when I was 5. Occasionally the wrong word slips out. I do know the difference between liable and libel. I believe libel applies because of the editorial nature of news. If you prefer to call it slander because it’s spoken, whatever floats your boat. I think it could go either way because the photos are being reproduced. In a world where print media is quickly fading, multimedia is becoming the new print. Eventually this will be taken into consideration. Still, whatever you call it, it is potentially damaging to their brand and uses their photos irresponsibly and without permission. As such they should have some form of legal recourse.

  2. schadenfreudian says:

    Congratulations, you’ve made the big time. Like so many others, hobby electronics are now a stock stand in for evil.

  3. StormingR says:

    That breakout board is like 10 times bigger than the actual sensor.

  4. Brutus says:

    A fire could have been started with a newspaper as well. [cut to shot of The New York Times]. Should flammable materials be so easily available?

  5. DSMatthews says:

    The aircraft was half a kilometre above the maximum range for that type of sensor when normal flight was interrupted.

    Friday 6 November 01:22 UTC 2015

    1. s_f says:

      Does the sensor at that altitude saturate or merely becomes inaccurate (too big nonlinearity)?

      1. DSMatthews says:

        Check the spec sheet, the link is on the product page, it says max range.

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    2. Shawn Wilson says:

      You could code it to go off if certain conditions are met (at a certain time, upon receipt of a text message or call, etc.), but use a barometric sensor to confirm it’s at least at X altitude to make it doesn’t go off if it misses its plane or whatever. There are stories of bombers tying their bombs only into an incoming call and getting blown up when someone dials a wrong number (don’t know if they’re true, but it’s certainly likely).

      1. Karey Black says:

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    3. Doug Strickland says:

      Though it is entirely plausible to write code that starts a timer after the BMP reaches max alt.

      1. DSMatthews says:

        True but it is an error state,

        on error
        start explode countdown.

        I’d say it was crazy and risky, but we are talking about crazy terrorists anyway.

  6. IpseCogita says:

    Suing CNN for stupidity would be a full time job for a very large team of lawyers.

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  7. William Discourse says:

    Adafruit should add “As seen on CNN” to it’s product page.

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  9. Antron Argaiv says:

    Balloon in a box and a couple strips of metal.

    (not my idea, read it in an article years ago)

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Jon Christian is the co-editor of the Maker Pro Newsletter, which covers the intersection between makers and business. He's also written for the Boston Globe, WIRED and The Atlantic.

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