- - In Rod Serling’s “A Penny For Your Thoughts” (Twilight Zone episode 52, February 3, 1961) Twilight Zone resident Hector B. Poole, an easily identified with everyman, is given the ability to hear other people’s thoughts. This ability is bestowed when a coin toss results in the “freakish chance of a million” of the coin landing on its edge. Mr. Poole soon unhappily learns about the dissonance between people's thoughts and their behavior. Poole’s confusion and anxiety is optimistically relieved when, at episodes end, the ability to read other people’s thoughts is lost as he upends the still edge standing coin.
I would respectfully submit for your consideration that today we are all Twilight Zone residents. Social media has given us the ability to experience the thoughts and perspectives of others. Consequently we are also unhappily learning more than we ever wanted to know about the dissonance between people's thoughts and their behavior. Like Poole, our subsequent confusion and anxiety can only be optimistically relieved when we “upend the coin” of social media by disconnecting. - theGUDA -
- - "It is hard to believe nowadays that people could ever have been as brilliantly duplicitous as James Wait-until I remind myself that just about every adult human being back then had a brain weighing about three kilograms!
There was no end to the evil schemes that a thought machine that oversized couldn’t imagine and execute.
So I raise this question, although there is nobody around to answer it: Can it be doubted that three-kilogram brains were once nearly fatal defects in the evolution of the human race?
A second query: What source was there back then, save for our overelaborate nervous circuitry, for the evils we were seeing or hearing about simply everywhere?
My answer: There was no other source. This was a very innocent planet, except for those great big brains." - Kurt Vonnegut, Galapagos -
- - In 2017 the American public learned that the sensitive data of 150 million Americans had been plundered from the Equifax credit bureau by unnamed hackers. The stolen data included Social Security and drivers license numbers, birthdates, addresses, payment histories and other personal information.
The United States government’s and Equifax’s response to the breach included fines levied on Equifax by jurisdictional government agencies, netting hundreds of millions for the government, and class action law suit settlements netting millions to trial lawyers. For those who could prove their data had been compromised these settlements resulted in payments of a few dollars and/or a year’s worth of free Equifax credit monitoring (once enrolled a user would have the choice after year one to continue the credit monitoring for a fee as part of Equifax’s subscriber service).
Thus a business opportunity was created from Equifax’s indifference and incompetence.
No meaningful legislation or regulations concerning individual privacy rights or an organization’s responsibilities and liabilities to protect those privacy rights has ever been enacted as a result of this breach.
In 2019 the American public learned that a federal grand jury had indicted four Chinese nationals working for the People’s Liberation Army in the Equifax breach. The Equifax breach thus joined other mass-scale breaches including 20 million files of United States government employees and their associates from the Office of Personnel Management, tens of millions records from Anthem health insurance (health insurance records comprise the most sensitive of personal information and are nominally protected under Federal HIPPA laws), and hundreds of millions of records from Marriott International (2014). Investigations and indictments involving these hacks accuse operatives and associates of the Chinese Communist Party as the perpetrators.
No meaningful legislation or regulations concerning individual privacy rights or an organization’s responsibilities and liabilities to protect those privacy rights has ever been enacted as a result of these breaches.
Unites States intelligence agencies worry that analysis of stolen data will lead to counterintelligence dossiers used to compromise U.S. diplomats and undercover spies.
Chinese intelligence will likely use the massive data in efforts to develop artificial-intelligence capabilities.
Ironically, part of the Equifax breach included theft of Equifax’s proprietary database management capabilities. Thus the Chinese stole not only the data of hundreds of millions of Americans but also the means to make that data intelligible to the thieves.
The final irony appears to be the very likely possibility that The Chinese Communist Party now holds dossiers and personal information for most Americans that are more complete and thorough than anything the U.S. government, commercial or private American institutions currently, legally possess.
Maybe the CCP will offer a personal data backup service to Americans in the near future. Thus, creating a business opportunity from American indifference and incompetence. - theGUDA -
- - “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” - George Orwell, 1984 -
- - “I believe there is one story in the world, and only one, that has frightened and inspired us, so that we live in a Pearl White serial of continuing thought and wonder. Humans are caught - in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their kindness and generosity too - in a net of good and evil. I think this is the only story we have and that it occurs on all levels of feeling and intelligence. Virtue and vice were warp and woof of our first consciousness, and they will be the fabric of our last, and this despite any changes we may impose on field and river and mountain, on economy and manners. There is no other story. A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard, clean questions: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well - or ill?”
- John Steinbeck, East of Eden -
- - "It was like coming this close to your dreams and then watching them brush past you like a stranger in a crowd. At the time, you don't think much of it. You know, we just don't recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they're happening. Back then I thought there'll be other days. I didn't realize that was the only day." - Moonlight Graham, Field of Dreams -
- - "A second with you is like a year with an angry mob." - Maurice "Buddy" Sorrell -
- - For the longest time I thought Vonnegut and his depiction of humanity as an evolutionary experiment in big brains, or it’s corollary argument of big brains with opposable thumbs, to be most likely. Now I tend to agree more with Mr. Spock and his Vulcan kin. Humanity, as an evolutionary experiment, is best defined as an experiment in emotion and impulse. - theGUDA -