« Fun with jumping out of airplanes | Main | A, um, music video »

Lu Report Retrospective (Volume 1)

[Firefighter] So in the months following September 11, I emailed lots of links to friends. Eventually, I started sending these emails to a bigass cc list, and I called them "The Lu Report". Looking back, this is exactly the sort of thing I would've blogged, had I been blogging, so I thought I'd blog them! It'll be a window into the mind of Kenneth post-September 11.

I'll do this in batches. Of course, it started as just a bunch of links I'd send to friends and such, so in this post, I'll take you up to the first one I called The Lu Report. Apologies in advance for all the expired New York Times links where you'll only be able to see abstracts now. (In fact, I make no guarantees about any of the links still being valid.)


P.S.: The photos I linked to on September 14 (including the one to your right) still give me shivers....

From: kenlu@mit.edu
Subject: Jane's analysis
Date: September 12, 2001


From: kenlu@mit.edu
Subject: WTC structural design
Date: September 12, 2001


From: kenlu@mit.edu
Subject: The Story of the Firefighters
Date: September 12, 2001

Here's a mirror copy of a New York Times article on the firefighters..


(Please let me know if you can't read the link.)

I don't know.. It may sound cheesy, but the story of the HUNDREDS of
firefighters who risked and lost their lives going UP the stairwells
when most people barely got out... I guess that somehow hits me the
most.  Maybe it's because of my own fear of death, and how hard it is
for me to see myself risking my life for others.. and there's a part of
me, whether social or otherwise, that really doesn't like that.. that
really feels that I SHOULD be willing to risk my life for others like
that without a second thought...

Anyway, that article got me all misty-eyed, so I thought I'd share it
with you.

From: kenlu@mit.edu
Subject: Passengers may have thwarted flight 93's hijackers
Date: September 12, 2001

I haven't seen this elsewhere in the news yet...


Scroll down to "Thwarted by Passengers".

It seems that, on the flight outside of Pittsburgh, the pilot secretly
left on a mic in the cockpit that played in the cabin.. And passengers
likely managed to suppress the terrorists and either retake control or
struggle for control of the plane, but they couldn't maintain control,
causing it to crash, but well outside any populated area.

From: kenlu@mit.edu
Subject: a rebuilding suggestion
Date: September 12, 2001

someone showed me this suggestion for rebuilding the WTC:


From: kenlu@mit.edu
Subject: Photos from the inside...
Date: September 14, 2001


especially this one:



From: kenlu@mit.edu
Subject: Falwell: The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this
Date: September 14, 2001

[Fixed WaPo link Feb-2008]

I don't think I need to make any more comments for this, because it
speaks for itself..

From: kenlu@mit.edu
Subject: Pictures some people are going to have a lot of fun with
Date: September 14, 2001

Figured y'all would be interested in what will soon be the latest

[Link is dead, but here are the pictures it showed. Feb-2008]

Mmm.. gotta love low-res compression artifacts!

From: kenlu@mit.edu
Subject: Account from someone inside
Date: September 14, 2001


Another WTC story.. this one from someone who was on the 87th floor of
WTC 1 and got out 15 minutes before it collapsed.  It seems like it
would be representative of the stories of many survivors.  Reading it
just boggles my mind.

A friend of mine sent this to a mailing list I was on:

From: S.C.
Date: Sat, 15 Sep 2001
Subject: Fwd: Reaction in Chile

 In light of what Kenneth said, here's an email I got
 from a high school friend who's currently living in

One of the reasons that my experiences abroad are so important to me is
that it allows me to witness world news from a different point of view. 
I remember very clearly hearing the OJ Simpson verdict when I was living
in Mexico.  I was in a car with my Mexican host mom and a canadian
exchange student.  The news was as of much interest to them as it was to

September 11 is a historic and volitile day in Chile.  Sept. 11, 1973
the presidential palace was bombed and President Allende was
assasinated.  That was the beginning of Pinochet's 20 year
dictatorship.  Every year there are protests and riots in Santiago.  We
expected the same this year.  I went to sleep the night before expecting
to see the tear gas and fires on the news in the morning-they are
present every Sept 11 in the capital.  I did not expect to be awakened
by the phone call I got.  The phone woke me up at 9:30am--  "They
attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon!!" Still half asleep I
said "no, that can't be possible, no one can attack the Pentagon"  So I
went to the TV where everyone was already watching the morning's events
unfold.  We watched all morning, we saw the towers fall, everyone was
glued to the TV.  I went to the gym and everyone there was watching
too.  Everywhere I went all day everyone was watching the news. All
national programming was suspended, all channels only had news of the
attack all day long.  I realized that if everyone here was glued to the
screen, most likely everyone in the whole world was watching too.  And
all day I kept hearing "how could this happen, we thought the US was
invincible" And so did I.

I have known for a long time that many people think of the US as a big
bully-- too powerful.  But now the feeling is different-- as much as
people here might not usually like it, I think it gives them a sense of
security that the US is always in control.  The terrorist attacks have
made people here feel vulnerable.  They are scared.  There was an
immediate panic about what would happen with the economy.  The price of
the dollar rose 30 Chilean Pesos in the first couple of hours.  The
supermarkets were crowded all day. Everyone was stocking up on the
essencials-- either because they were afraid of a 3rd World War or
because they were afraid that the price of everything imported will
skyrocket out of control.  It is amazing to me that the people here, who
are so far from the US, who live completely different lives from what we
live in the US, are so impacted by what happens there.

My response to that:

From: kenlu@mit.edu
Date: Sat, 15 Sep 2001
Subject: Re: Peace

I actually find this whole discussion very fascinating..

I was thinking about how much we care about this bombing, and we should,
but I was also thinking about how we care so little about the incredible
suffering going on in many countries in the world, most ironically in
Afghanistan.  I mean, even as we talk about retaliation, there's still
very little talk about the horrible conditions there.  When the Taliban
started destorying historical treasures a few months back, people made a
big cry about it, ignoring all the incredibly oppressive activities of
the Taliban that affect the people in that country today..

And I don't mean to insult anyone.. I mean, I certainly admit to caring
more about the WTC bombings myself, as well.  I figured that it's
probably because we relate more to those who died at the WTC.. Even if
there wasn't anyone we knew personally, they seem like the kind of
people we know.. they seem like US.  I think that's why we feel more for
them.  Of course, fear plays a large factor in it as well. (The "that
could have been me" factor.)

So then we get to the world reaction.. Politically, it's seems to me
that most countries want to be on good terms with the US because of our
clout, and thus officially express condolences while they don't bother
when something bad happens in some politically weaker country.

But as for the citizens of those countries.. I dunno.. I think perhaps
it's more complicated.. In Western countries, the relating factor
certainly applies.  But would there be as large a world reaction of a
large terrorist attack like this happened in, say, England, France, or
Germany, even?  I feel that part of the world community's reaction comes
from a deep fear that, if this can happen to the most powerful country
in the world.. what's next?

I dunno.. those are my thoroughly uninformed thoughts.  What do others

(Remember all that goodwill we had after September 11? Remember? No? Me neither....)

From: kenlu@mit.edu
Subject: thrusting therapy on trauma may backfire
Date: September 15, 2001

Here's an article I found interesting..

It basically says that some psychologists think trying to give
psychological aid to trauma patients too early may deprive them of a
normal grieving period and thus be counterproductive.


Subject: Motives and OUR propaganda
Date: September 16, 2001

Here's an article mentioning bin Laden's motives and condemning our lack
of coverage of those motives.


A quote:

    The first time I asked someone why they thought these people did
    this, the paraphrased response was "because they're crazy
    fundamentalist terrorists who hate America because they've been fed
    propaganda by their government". Hopefully the irony isn't lost; out
    of 48 hours of media attention, perhaps five minutes has been spent
    on understanding the motives of the other side. In the eyes of
    America, the "other side" is not even human. They're not people
    avenging the deaths of their children or the loss of their
    property--they're just a bunch of crazy terrorists who need to be

I have to totally agree.. I'm absolutely amazed and disgusted at the
lack of coverage of his motives and the simultaneous flood of "quoting"
people saying things like, "This is motivated by pure hate, and we must
eradicate it."

Who are the ones propagating pure hate here?!

Then again, perhaps we should not blame the media.. perhaps it's only
giving us what we want.  I mean, I know _I_ don't do all I can to keep
abreast of international politics.  I didn't know what bin Laden's
grudge against us is, nor did I know much about the Israel-Palestinian
conflict.  So perhaps it's our own fault for not caring more, but our
news sources certainly aren't helping.

And also, here's an excellent article, written by someone who's had to
endure IRA violence:


And now, Ladies and Gentlemen, what you've been waiting for: the very first official Lu Report!

From: kenlu@mit.edu
Subject: Techie and gov't solns
Date: September 17, 2001

The techie solution:  Make fuels safer so planes don't blow up when they


And here's a nice article on the various military and other options the
gov't is considering:


I was just discussing with Paul yesterday that the toughest part of this
is how hard it is to find terrorists, making the task of "destorying the
terrorist networks" really difficult.  That is why, it seems, the gov't
is going after the easier goal of going after "gov'ts that harbor or aid
terrorists", but the problem with that is.. Is that really a reasonable
thing to do?

Questions questions questions.

This has been a part of the Lu Report news service.  This is not spam. 
You are subscribed to this service because you at some point in your
life befriended one Kenneth Lu.  If at any time you would like to opt
out of receiving any future mailings, please simply email kenlu@mit.edu
with "unsubscribe" in the message body.  Don't worry.  He'll still be
your friend.

More to come!

View all Lu Report Retrospective volumes

Comments (4)

I really wish I had my email from then. It's amazing to me how so much of this has almost become part of a canon of sorts. I hate saying the world changed, because it seems so cliche, but it really did.

The few nytimes.com links I checked still seem to work - but for links that no longer exist, web.archive.org can often help. For example, here is what the klog looked like a few months after it first started.

Archive.org won't work for NYTimes, though, because it requires registration. For instance, here's an attempt.

As for linking to the NYTimes today, you do know about this site, right?


It uses the RSS feeds to bring back the full article.

Post a comment





This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 13, 2005.

The previous post in this blog was Fun with jumping out of airplanes.

The next post in this blog is A, um, music video.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.3