Diving After DB Cooper

“The scientific team has been analyzing particles removed from the clip-on tie left behind by Cooper after he hijacked a Northwest Orient passenger jet in November 1971.
 
A powerful electron microscope located more than 100,000 particles on old the JCPenny tie. The team has identified particles like Cerium, Strontium Sulfide, and pure titanium.“These are what they call rare earth elements. They’re used in very narrow fields, for very specific things,” said Tom Kaye, lead researcher for the group calling itself Citizen Sleuths.
 
Kaye says the group is intrigued by the finding, because the elements identified were rarely used in 1971, during the time of Cooper’s daring leap with a parachute from a passenger jet.
 
One place they were being used was for Boeing’s high-tech Super Sonic Transport plane, which was developed with government funding in the 1960s and 1970s.”
 
See New evidence: Was DB Cooper a Boeing employee?
I love a good mystery. Finding out who “DB Cooper”, the guy who was paid a ransom and parachuted out of a passenger plane back in the day, was is a mystery. One of the best clues are particles found on the tie the guy wore. Unless he seeded the tie as a false lead, it shows some spectacular clues:

  • particles of pure antimony! What the heck?
  • particles containing rare earth elements! They are rarely used for anything because they are rare and expensive, stuff like magnets and semiconductors and phospors…
  • particles containing many diverse elements in high concentrations…
  • silicon, probably as silicon dioxide is most prevalent.

Care to guess what this guy did for a living? He would have had to be a real slob to get a tie so dirty or he just visited a rather dirty place from time to time and didn’t clean the thing. One wonders why it was left behind…

Some of my ideas:

  • a guy who actually mixed dry chemical powders for a living, while wearing a tie…
  • a guy who operated a sand-blaster cleaning up painted equipment and electronics, while wearing a tie…
  • a recycler of electronic waste, while wearing a tie…
  • a chemist who worked with inorganic materials, perhaps a teacher?, who also wore a tie…

I just don’t get ties, however. I don’t even know whether I have one hanging in a closet somewhere. I wear them so infrequently. I’ve met people who insist that even regular working Joes need to wear a suit and tie. Perhaps there were more of them in 1970s USA. The people I’ve met like that were USAians…

So, while this newly released information is interesting. It certainly doesn’t narrow things down much. The pure antimony is just weird. There are few uses of the stuff and almost all uses are combined as alloys, like wheel-weights or lead-acid batteries. Maybe he inspected work-places where all this stuff was carelessly used. The strange mix and the tie just doesn’t fit much else.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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5 Responses to Diving After DB Cooper

  1. oiaohm says:

    dougman
    http://gizmodo.com/the-website-of-donald-trumps-top-cyber-security-advisor-1791145791
    dougman I am sorry to say the person Donald Trump picked as top cyber security advisor own run systems makes Hillary email/server look secure. And Trump has had to admit that the Russia did mess with the USA government election. Of course have to wonder why Trump would have a cyber secruity advisor who cannot run systems as well as Hillary did yet he is not demanding to put him in jail for incompetence and false representation.

    Donald Trump with many of the appointments is looking like a Russia puppet.

  2. dougman wrote, “let the community tackle the data. I bet REAL answers will be discovered in short order.”

    I have the data. It’s bizarre how many different metals are so prevalent in the particles. It had to be a mine or chemical factory or manufacturing place with very diverse metallurgy. I see antimony, which is rather rarely encountered in its pure state as a key. Either the guy salted that tie to mislead or he visited some rather dirty and diverse places working with metals. Silicon, probably as silicon dioxide, could indicate a mine or perhaps sand-blasting/painting. It narrows things but who would notice one guy disappearing in the 1970s? His cohorts are dying off. There must be hundreds of places that contamination could be picked up involving hundreds of thousands of people. That was before photo-ids largely. It was before the Internet took off. Newspapers on microfilm might have the only clues.

    There should be some DNA on the tie. A tie that dirty probably has some slobber… That might narrow it down to a region or a family if there are any key markers with military/police DNA banks. Modern techniques only require a few molecules to make a match but the DNA may be oxidized by exposure to light/oxygen over all these years. I’m sure FBI/Treasury have watched for serial numbers on bills. They would have nabbed the guy by now if they had traces. I guess it will remain a mystery.

  3. dougman says:

    “The news now is that the FBI are giving up but allowing citizens to have a go.”

    Will this include the alleged Hillary email/server, DNC, russia hacking election fiascos?

    I say, let the community tackle the data. I bet REAL answers will be discovered in short order.

  4. dougman wrote, ” Recycling 30-year news are we??”

    It was news back in the day. The news now is that the FBI are giving up but allowing citizens to have a go. The data from the tie are interesting. I’d be surprised that many would have a tie with such particulates. Pure antimony? Particles? Mining? Interestingly, a mine in antimony country closed in BC in 1971. Perhaps this was a retirement project…

  5. dougman says:

    Slow day Pogsey? Recycling 30-year news are we??

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