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The Porcupine's Quill: A Satire Column
by Arshad M. Khan
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the satire column
July 14, 2013
A BUG IN DISTRESS ... FINDS PEACE
News Item: Whistleblower Edward Snowden remains in Moscow's Sheremetyevo
Airport after meeting with human rights NGOs and accepting all offers of asylum.
It's worse than the tower of Babel when you've listened to humans talking about all
manner of things in all kinds of languages; you've heard everything you want to hear
for a lifetime. Billions and billions of conversations, emails ...
Is that why you blew the whistle?
Oh no! It's the idea of someone always listening like a toothless evil monster with a
crooked mustache leering at every private conversation ... it is the indecency ... and
the lies of claiming to keep us safe.
But they said they prevented 50 attacks ...
Did they give specifics?
No, they said, trust them ...
After the man said ... it was the least lie he could tell? And no one asked if they could
have gotten the same from targeted surveillance ... and increased competence.
You mean they are incompetent ...
Do you remember the underwear bomber? The father informed them of the danger
his disturbed son posed ...
And they ignored him?
Well, when you process billions and billions of pieces of information, it's easy for
something to get lost in the shuffle. Let me explain: Imagine quiet, and this father
appears with worrying information about his son. Everybody listens! There's a hum
of activity, and the boy is apprehended. Now imagine this information in a sea of
threats, warnings, double meanings and what have you. The information has to be
sifted, analyzed, categorized, collated, ranked, etc., etc., etc. In this a prominent
banker's concern about his son is not going to receive the highest priority ... thus the
underwear bomber ... under the radar of over-rational computer analysis.
There must be some good in all of this ...
Yeah! In today's economy, it's one of the few growth industries! But you know what,
in a way limbo is peaceful. It's quiet here.