Friday, November 27, 2009

Still trying . . . verily

I'm still trying to get some reading time in, still trying to keep up with some approximation of mastery of the Internet for the sake of business, still trying to find time to pack and move out of the house. I don't know how anybody pulls off life and love and making a living. I really don't.

I had a great Thanksgiving though, thank you very much. First to the ex-laws, where I felt perfectly welcome, but am never certain, since whoever's not there can be the subject of some damning by faintest praise. And no, that's not why I went! And I did my best to correct the record on behalf of yet another soon to be ex-law, but my reasons are simply to follow my daughter, whom I otherwise would never see. Despite being the servant driver-guild member of the family.

About which I really should get a clue, since servanthood never gets a person anything at all. But then on to the more in-law side of the family, daughter still in tow, or towed by, but in any case, I felt very privileged to sit beside my nephew who'd just written a paper on quantum computing, and could therefore explain it to me with admirable lucidity and poise.

I'm plain jealous is all. Also of my niece back from Ghana who will likely compile episodic epistles into epic culture crossing tales of considerable interest, just like my old classmate Mark Salzman did with Iron and Silk. You see, I'm just dropping names all over the place now, requiring some cred for my waning years.

I was among the lucky readers of Salzman's letters home, which got xeroxed and reproduced by faithful Professorial servants. Imagine the work we had to do back then to get read! Now, it's all reproduced all over the place, and can go from naught to bejillions in nearly a Catalytic jiffy.

Which is what quantum computers promise too! Sure, you know I'm going to shrug my shoulders and claim, "yeah yeah," in self-conscious rehearsal of the supposed impossibility of a double-positive becoming a negative. Why shouldn't double negation not have all the fun?

So, I'm still very trying, but since I was assured that quantum computers don't and can't change the basic laws of the Turing machine, I'm not terribly worried even still (yet?) about impending machine consciousness. It's not like they're just going to wake up some day and start thinking! Which as I've already explained now over and over again, is a social function which depends on language and distance between, much more than it does on computational prowess.

If you just collapse some exponential number of potential states, you might be able to break every cryptogram ever imagined, but you still won't be able to think. Though breaking cryptography is in itself an interesting enough prospect that our own vaunted NSA (No Such Agency, for those of you without ex-laws who work there) spends billions of our non-existent tax dollars working on it.

After all, they absolutely, completely, utterly totally must get there before you and I do.

So, picture this - and I hope you laugh as hard as I do silently to myself - junior minions handing up translations of, let's say, enemy transport transmissions of potential interest. Now these minions are generally selected for their never having been contaminated by excursions out and away from these our shores, nor into thinking which isn't politically corrected already. They might come from Ivy Leagues, and maybe even secret societies, but you won't find any freethinkers there, because first of all why would they want to sign their freedom away, and second of all they couldn't be trusted.

So, up the chain the snippet gets handed, to someone whos job it has been to stay employed despite the changing not only political winds, but also the changing linguistic winds, as in today Russian, tomorrow Chinese, and in the meantime Arabic.

So, that's a pretty good definition of job survival skills, don't you think? of a decidedly bureaucratic fashion, and these types will decide which snooped snippets are worthy of scrutiny, just in case, you know, somebody wants to fly a plane into some tower again.

As if advanced cryptography will help us distinguish between Atilla needs to take a dump and Atilla needs to dump a city. And I can practically guarantee that those bureaucratic folks would never be able to decrypt what I'm saying here, no matter how powerful their algorithmic thinking.

I'm just saying. Sometimes hiding in plain sight is the best way to stay invisible, although sure, these huge armies of translators will at least be able to scout out the larger patterns and learn who to focus in on. Just like hi-resolution cameras can do, and pattern recognition mass e-mail readers which the NSA would also never deploy. Employ.

But really folks, do you think it takes advanced encryption to hide your intentions? Do you think there's any defense against people who spontaneously come up with the same idea at the same time because it occurred to them for the same reasons, because, well we're all just herd animals anyhow? Schools of fish? Dispossessed and reading the very same signals of what, intention is it? to dominate their lives?

Git along little dogies? And I have coyotes almost every night singing out nearby, and still my cats do manage to survive the wild. I suspect we could too if we weren't so freaking determined to be authentic, each and every blue-jeaned one of us. Yeah Yeah Yeah!! (three times and you're outed as a positive-type thinker)

Like, look at me, I'm so special because I'm American and nice and born-again and you should be too, because nobody knows lovin' the way Jesus does? Which might be perfectly true, until you use that fact against people and then they just do things whose intention requires no decryption whatsoever to read. And Jesus would never do the stuff we do, hiding behind his name. And I don't care which brand or style you're talking about, the real one in your heart or the concocted one of 2000 year old bureaucratic fiction. Not a single one of those Named perps would carry on the way we do.

I mean, it's not so much what you say as what you do, right? We smile broadly and eat too much of the world's stuffing is what we do.

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