By Mike Cronin
Most of my blog posts have been, I hope, informative, perhaps even instructive. However, I have to admit they probably are not very entertaining. Time to lighten up a little.
Medicine and law love to use exclusive language. Lots of Greek and Latin words. The military, being full of hyper-competitive types, had to go one better, and develop an entire language using jargon and acronyms and the occasional bit of “poetic vulgarity.” I mean, why use a simple term like “car bomb” when a multi-syllabic mouthful like “VBIED” (vehicle-born improvised explosive device) will do?
All news is fake; some news is useful:
I got called up for jury duty. When my group showed up at the appointed place and time, clerks showed us a propaganda video explaining how jury service was a civic duty because we have all enjoy a right to a trial by jury. A little cheesy, but valid. Then the video tried to pump up our patriotism by showing waving flags and national landmarks while the narrator gushed that jury service was crucial to our democracy. Since we don’t have a democracy, and since jury duty can be required or not of citizens under almost any form of government, I had to wonder who put together and/or approved the video, and whether they deserved a trial by jury for inflicting that pious excrement on us!
While commuting, I sometimes see a pink Jeep on my route. Said Jeep has a custom license plate that says: “PINK JEEP.” Thank you, Captain Obvious.
Sometimes my office has to assess whether an engagement mission between the USAF and a foreign air force has had the effect of building a partner relationship. It is extremely difficult. How does one detect “love-trons,” let alone “count” them?
The 1960s TV show Get Smart, a spoof of James Bond movies and the secret agent genre in general, was prophetic in its portrayal of absurd spy gadgets that were meant to keep conversations secure, but actually hindered the agents using them while making the goings-on clearly understandable to any bystander. The “Cone of Silence” was one such ludicrous device. When lowered over the heads of agents, they could not hear each other clearly, but anyone not under the cone could hear the agents perfectly well. The modern security environment on government computers is sadly reminiscent of such shenanigans. It is becoming increasingly difficult for users to actually communicate and collaborate using the communications and collaborations tools meant for the purpose. Hopefully it is not as easy for those who wish us ill to get our information as it was for the opposition on Get Smart!