I’d so much rather you were a cyberterrorist…

Not too long ago, I found myself – not for the first time – trying to talk one of my conspiracy-theorizing friends out of another conspiracy theory (It happens a lot). I don’t remember specifics but I do recall something about esoteric power and secret information being kept from the masses for many a millennium.  I’m pretty sure the Rosa Crucia was involved. Bildergerg, maybe. And oh yeah, DARPA too. Now it’s coming back to me. On and on about a data center in Colorada (?) Nevada(?) he went. “Why do they need all that processing power? What are they looking for?” To which I responded something along the lines of, “Could be anything I suppose but there seems to be a fairly well documented answer to that question, and yes, it is cause for concern but its too late for me – I’m a husband, a father and a homeowner. I’m all in.” In retrospect, I guess what I was saying was, not only do I have the wherewithal not to venture down the never-ending wormhole of right-and-left-wing conspiracy theories alike, I wouldn’t have the time to do so if I lacked that sense. But that’s not to say I prefer to keep my head in the sand – at least not exactly.

I bend pipe. I pull wire. And I do it forty hours a week. It’s not particularly conducive to answering the unanswerable questions proposed by conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory. But given my less than glorious workplace conditions (sometimes we don’t even have running water or toilet paper on the job much less wi-fi or a strong cellular signal) I think I stay pretty well apprised of worldly goings on.

 So I went on in trying to talk my buddy down from his conspiratorial heights (though at this point I kinda felt like I was justifying my position in life) and, after some meandering explanation about the dynamics of power, our small place within them, the necessity of countervailing institutions, and something about the role that information technology can play in bringing power to the powerless, I said in frustration, “I’d so much rather you were a cyberterrorist than a conspiracy theorist”. Now don’t get me wrong, I’d be lying if I said I knew enough to support everything about the open source movement but I can’t help but see great potential for major shifts in power from nation states to their citizens (see: Arab Spring) when I look at the capabilities that information technology lays before us. I then went on about Wikipedia, the open source movement as a whole, and vigilante hackers like Anonymous. And that’s where he stopped me dead in my tracks. “Anonymous?!” he asked, “That’s just a front for the CIA”.

Fucking conspiracy theorists. There’s just no talkin’ to ’em.

 

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4 thoughts on “I’d so much rather you were a cyberterrorist…

  1. jmquealy Post author

    DiscomustachioJanuary 15, 2013 at 8:33 AM
    Arguing with a conspiracy theorist is like arguing with a priest. All they do is pretend to hear what you say and then try to indoctrinate you into their way of thinking as a way of validating their weak understanding of the world around them (I have a weak understanding too, but I don’t pretend like I have all the answers). Try telling a priest that there is no God. Try telling Al Sharpton that criticizing Obama isn’t a racist exercise. Try telling an extreme Teapublican that Obama isn’t a Kenyan Marxist who feasts on abortions who’s mere moments away from instituting “Forced Sodomy Zones” just outside church parking lots. And hell, try telling that tanning-bed-monstrosity Giorgio “Greek guy last name” from Ancient Aliens that any event that ever happened in history, including that time he couldn’t find his car keys last April, WASN’T the work of extra terrestrials.

    If I was surrounded by those sorts of people all day I will probably kill myself…or at least drink on the job or something…

    Reply
  2. FTC

    Ahhhh, the data center. Goes online in September. Wikipedia even has a page about it now. Here’s the Wired link describing the plans for it in all its glory in case you haven’t read it yet.
    Able to store and process YOTTABYTES of data (A million exabytes equal a yottabyte.)

    The more commonly known name for the data center is “Intelligence Community Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative Data Center”.
    This project sees its roots in a program that was “officially” shelved over a decade ago, but certain elements have continued to receive funding nonetheless:


    Yes, that is a DARPA project.
    As the official data center name would imply, its official purpose is to catch cyberterrorists. Now we know why they need all that processing power… And lieu of the titles ‘conspiracy theorist’ or ‘cyberterrorist’, we should stick to ‘keen observer’.

    We should guess the Arab Spring scared the shit out of them, since they’ve envisioned that vulnerability for over a decade…errrh, millennia… umm , centum millennia… and subsequently built this data center to prevent it .

    Found this, you might find time between being a husband, father, and bending pipe to give it a watch. Include your wife, she’ll probably be interested as well. The host sums up nicely in the second 30 seconds why we try to make topics like this after-dinner conversation. There is even footage of construction cranes for the kid.

    So, let’s talk about it. Talking about it is where it’s at. “…and this, Ladies and Gentlemen, is how we start to fight back. Because we’ve proved that they’re lying, and then we hold them accountable.”

    SCIENTIA EST POTENTIA, indeed.

    Reply

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