Ahmed Mohamed told the Dallas Morning News, “I closed [the ‘clock’] with a cable, I didn’t want to lock it to make it seem like a threat … so it won’t look that much suspicious.”
So he knew going in …..
The clockmeister’s father, Islamophobia huckster Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, declared, “I know you know the story and the world knows the story,” his father said. “But we will repeat it and repeat it until justice is done.”
Justice? This kind of justice — gofundme page to the tune of 100K.
If Ahmed hadn’t been a Muslim, this story would never have seen the light of day. Ahmed is not at a disadvantage because he’s Muslim: on the contrary, as the reaction from Obama and the fawning media shows, he’s privileged.
Further, it turns out, Ahmed Mohamed did not invent anything. He took apart an existing digital clock and put the insides into a briefcase.
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I’m an electronics geek. I was interested in the clock! I wanted to figure out what he had come up with.
I found the highest resolution photograph of the clock I could. Instantly, I was disappointed. Somewhere in all of this – there has indeed been a hoax. Ahmed Mohamed didn’t invent his own alarm clock. He didn’t even build a clock. Now, before I go on and get accused of attacking a 14 year old kid who’s already been through enough, let me explain my purpose. I don’t want to just dissect the clock. I want to dissect our reaction as a society to the situation. Part of that is the knee-jerk responses we’re all so quick to make without facts. So, before you scroll down and leave me angry comments, please continue to the end (or not – prove my point, and miss the point, entirely!)
For starters, one glance at the printed circuit board in the photo, and I knew we were looking at mid-to-late 1970s vintage electronics. Surely you’ve seen a modern circuit board, with metallic traces leading all over to the various components like an electronic spider’s web. You’ll notice right away the highly accurate spacing, straightness of the lines, consistency of the patterns. That’s because we design things on computers nowadays, and computers assist in routing these lines. Take a look at the board in Ahmed’s clock. It almost looks hand-drawn, right? That’s because it probably was. Computer aided design was in its infancy in the 70s. This is how simple, low cost items (like an alarm clock) were designed. Today, even a budding beginner is going to get some computer aided assistance – in fact they’ll probably start there, learning by simulating designs before building them.
Now, the blogger continues to show that basically what Ahmed did is buy an old clock, rip out its insides, stuff it into another box, and take off to school.
So I turned to eBay, searching for vintage alarm clocks. It only took a minute to locate Ahmed’s clock. See this eBay listing, up at the time of this writing. Amhed’s clock was invented, and built, by Micronta, a Radio Shack subsidary. Catalog number 63 756.
The shape and design is a dead give away. The large screen. The buttons on the front laid out horizontally would have been on a separate board – a large snooze button, four control buttons, and two switches to turn the alarm on and off, and choose two brightness levels. A second board inside would have contained the actual “brains” of the unit. The clock features a 9v battery back-up, and a switch on the rear allows the owner to choose between 12 and 24 hour time. (Features like a battery back-up, and a 24 hour time selection seems awful superfluous for a hobby project, don’t you think?) Oh, and about that “M” logo on the circuit board mentioned above? Micronta.
Sooooo…. what happened here? The blogger draws some conclusions:
So there you have it folks, Ahmed Mohamad did not invent, nor build a clock. He took apart an existing clock, and transplanted the guts into a pencil box, and claimed it was his own creation. It all seems really fishy to me.
If we accept the story about “inventing” an alarm clock is made up, as I think I’ve made a pretty good case for, it’s fair to wonder what other parts of the story might be made up, not reported factually by the media, or at least, exaggerated.
I refer back again to this YouTube video interview with Ahmed. He explains that he closed up the box with a piece of cord because he didn’t want it to look suspicious. I’m curious, why would “looking suspicious” have even crossed his mind before this whole event unfolded, if he was truly showing off a hobby project, something so innocuous as an alarm clock. Why did he choose a pencil box, one that looks like a miniature briefcase no less, as an enclosure for a clock? It’s awful hard to see the clock with the case closed. On the other hand, with the case open, it’s awful dangerous to have an exposed power transformer sitting near the snooze button (unless, perhaps his invention was to stop serial-snooze-button pressers by giving them a dangerous electrical shock!)
Read more: here.
And police spokesman James McLellan said that when questioned, the student “kept maintaining it was a clock, but there was no broader explanation,” such as why it was assembled and why it was beeping in class.
Irving police Chief Larry Boyd has tried to meet with the student’s father to talk about what led to the teen’s detention but ElHussein has not made himself available though he’s had plenty of time for national shows.
Officer James McLellan said Thursday the family is free now to recover the clock that was seized as evidence, but the family has not kept appointments for meetings to do so.
Irving Independent School District Communications Director Lesley Weaver said there is more information, but it cannot be released without a privacy waiver from the family.
“All they have to do is sign a release form and we’ll be able to give a different perspective of what happened that day in the classroom and the hours following,” she said.
Mohamed family members declined to discuss a privacy waiver.
Alia Salem, CAIR-DFW
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