Monday, December 10, 2018

The Spy Who Annoyed Me

Other than the fact that this sounds like an urban legend (that’s what we used to call conspiracy theories when I was a kid,) I don’t doubt it’s true. Spy cameras in wet/dry vacs? Sure. You should read about what was done during the cold war. What can we possibly do with this technology, other than annoy people? We’ve got petabyte databases in NSA secure sites in Nevada. That’s where we keep our petafiles, I suppose. Cell phone metadata. Traffic cams. Selfies. Anonymous selfies. Anonymous selfies in the shower. More data on every square inch of the world than we can ever possibly analyze. Hell, we’ve still got racks of tapes from the 50’s and 60’s of space missions that we haven’t analyzed, some of which are now unreadable, rendering the data lost right there in their secured racks and under our bewildered noses. We have texts from around the world that we can’t interpret. Maya scrolls, the few that survived the fiery Padre’s purges. The Antikythera device. The entire civilization of Harappa. There are more things in heaven and earth…

So, what are we supposed to do now that we are flush with gargantuabytes of information on every man, woman, child, and toilet bowl cleanup in America? Nothing, of course. Like all data, it has to be analyzed, interpreted, cross referenced, and accounted for. ‘Cleaned up’ we used to call it in the industry. So, no. Big Brother is not here yet. Or maybe only as a metaphor. A bad joke with us as the punchline. Misdirection from the real point, as is all politics. A scarecrow that is only meant to put a fire under our visceral brain stems and scuttle us back into submissive behavior like the good little interchangeable parts in the colossus of civilization that we are.

Wouldn’t storm troopers be cheaper?

I can see a back lash. An underground. A movement of epic proportions. So. Take a page from Saul Alinsky. Run out tomorrow and buy several bottles of black nail polish. Inspect every trash compactor and AI possessed toilet you see looking for the tell-tale sign. Some innocent looking circle somewhere strategically placed on the periphery of the bowl or tank or bladder of some disgusting household plunger or other that every house has but ignores. That’s the perfect spy! That hot water bottle in the closet, complete with enema attachment? It’s watching you!

When you locate an innocuous looking circle somewhere on the strategic surface of your suspected spy, see if there is a glass bead in the center. That’s not decorative. That’s the lens, not art. And the little pin pricks around it? Microphones. No need to shout. What the hell is art doing on something that cleans up shit? Place a generous dollop of nail polish all over the glass bead and let it soak into the pricks. You probably did nothing other than to suppress art, but it feels good to give it to the man, anyway. And you may have just saved some poor soul an embarrassment.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

History’s Might Have Been

One of many. 

This is interesting. Also, it is not generally known in the west what the rest of the world does when left on their own. I guess we all think they disappear into China cabinets and Matryoshka dolls and Lederhosen. Well, they’re not. China is currently investing huge amounts of money (trillions,) in building an infrastructure that will encompass Europe, Asia, and Africa. And it could have been done a century ago to an even greater extent.

After the Trans-Siberian Railroad was complete, the backers and leaders of the project wanted to continue it across the Barents Sea, across the Aleutian Islands, and into Alaska, where they would continue into Canada and down into the US. They had a concept down. A plan. All the expertise in building a railroad 6000 miles through wilderness that is frozen for over half the year. And they had the backing. On hand. In the bank. They had all they needed. A little jaunt across the north Pacific should be as easy as borsch.

Until a little jaunt called the Bolshevik Revolution banished the borsch. The money disappeared, of course. Just like Napoleon. Just like Hitler. Just like many countries over the centuries, and just like some clueless countries today, they all thought they could just waltz in and loot the vast wealth of Russia. Well, the Bolsheviks succeeded where everyone else had failed. The dreams of connecting five continents together imploded, gone in an instant. All that historic might-have-been visionary varnish vanished. Replaced by the greed of a few men who viewed the rest of humanity as raw material. Fungible. Workable. Disposable. And they are still trying to break Russia up into sweet and savory pieces. It doesn’t seem to be going well. It usually doesn’t.

Imagine if this project had been finished back then? At least the connection with Alaska might have been completed in a reasonable timeframe. Imagine a marker in New York City that read, 32,544 (20,221) indicating kilometers (miles) from Moscow to New York City like the one in Vladivostok that read 9,228? What kind of unfolding of European and Asian history, not to mention America’s contribution to it, might have happened? One of history’s great might-have-beens. Maybe it yet will be, again. That is, if we can stop thrashing around the world like a wounded and very pissed rhinoceros caught in a bog of its own creation and start working with the rest of the world to have a future.  

Maybe? (Click to see post.)