In two separate, but eerily similar incidents, NYC and Austin, TX dealt with business closures, odd occurrences, and some very jittery citizens.
In NYC, a strange odor, some said of natural gas, wafted across most of Manhattan and parts of New Jersey. Commuter train service was temporarily halted, some buildings were evacuated, and, no doubt, lots of people had nervous failed-smiles on their faces. Mayor Bloomberg came out to say he was "confident" the odor was not dangerous, based on testing done by someone official somewhere, but offered no explanations for the odor.
Today in Austin, authorities shut down Congress from the Capitol to Town Lake. The closure extended a couple of blocks east and west of the main thoroughfare as well. The cause of this significant disruption: 60 dead birds were found on sidewalks last night and this morning. Again, officials are going out of their way to state, unequivocally, there is no threat to public safety.
Both events will probably turn out to be nothing, and, most likely, everyone will go about their business. But, coming simultaneously as they did, and knowing AQ's penchant for simultaneous events, one can't help but get the old nervous stomach-jump.
Events like these serve to remind just how vulnerable we remain. And the threat is still out there.