Barack Obama would be the first to admit it: “You didn’t build that.” Of course, when he spoke those words, he was addressing people who actually had achieved success on their own. He wasn’t addressing putative clock builder and boy wonder Ahmed Mohamed, who has become a cause célèbre among liberals, first because he is a Muslim (and, it follows, victim of “Islamophobia”) and, second, because he is some sort of electronic genius.
The first part of Mohamed’s story — that he was disciplined for bringing what seemed like a time bomb to school not because of runaway zero tolerance but because of his faith — was effectively debunked earlier this week by J.E. Dyer.
The second part, it appears, is also something of a flight of fancy. From a blog titled AV ArtVoice comes an analysis of Mohamed’s clock project that will disappoint the left and possibly even get admissions officers at Harvard and Yale to take a second look. The author of the post, Anthony, writes:
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….
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.
I, in contrast, am not an electronics geek. Nevertheless, for those who are, here is a picture Anthony includes in his post that may be of some relevance:
So does this mean the story is over? Surely you jest. Ahmed Mohamed is an instant hero, and his fans are not going to give up on worshiping at his altar that quickly.
The one question that still remains is whether Obama’s invitation to the White House via a tweet still holds:
Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.
— President Obama (@POTUS) September 16, 2015