A place where fictional quotes are recorded and conversations between non-existent people take place.

Letter to [redacted] regarding nuclear weapons

Dear [redacted],

Per our previous correspondence in which you sought assessment of your country’s situation:

Realistically, your nuclear program will not advance beyond stockpiling the weapon.  The number of enemies that you have requires a multitude of devices even when factoring in the scale of fallout and the prevailing winds; by the time you are done building the right amount, there will be no one left to fight.  If you try to sell it to a third party, you will likely catch the attention of agents monitoring the black market. Considering the [redacted] and its allies have previously placed their hand in that pot, your chances of successfully completing the transaction without a trail leading back to your house are small though not impossible. The odds are higher that it will be stolen from you.

My advice would be to continue building your nuclear facilities, albeit very slowly; when they are finished, officially abandon your nuclear weapon plans (should you still be interested in them) entirely. This course of action achieves two things. First of all, drawing out the process grants you time to expend your resources on more important projects, specifically the tools of cyber warfare.

You yourself can attest to the effectiveness of this method of espionage. A virus in one of your structures recently impeded your nuclear progress by forcing music to blare at inopportune times at night.  You are not the only victim of an assault on energy structures, but you will be if you do not study proper safeguards. The Flame malware program secretly mined data from your database for an indeterminate amount of time before you were able to ferret it out. [Redacted]’s plan for attack involves crippling your infrastructure via a cyber attack in conjunction with missiles. Learning to counter these strategies is of utmost priority in the near, if not immediate, future. The rules of engagement have not been officially outlined at the moment, which allows you the leeway to experiment and attack; no one can currently charge you with anything as long as you are somewhat careful in covering your digital signature.  And while you’re gathering knowledge about cyber warfare, your adversaries will be busy fretting over the nuclear weapons you don’t have.

The fact that your own people were able to ground a drone using a form of GPS spoofing is a testament to how powerful a technological assault is. Imagine gaining access to a drone’s guidance and onboard weapons systems and turning it on a civilian population. The damage to your enemies’ reputations would be substantial if not catastrophic.

The other boon is that by terminating your weapons program before it has started, you have achieved the higher moral ground, at least on the surface of things. The [redacted] and other nations have repeatedly warned that your ambitions are detrimental to the region. If you complete your facilities for peaceful purposes as you have always asserted, their warnings become baseless claims based on paranoia and fear. The international community will be hesitant to listen to future accusations against you, justified or otherwise.

Forfeiting your nuclear ambitions also improves your longevity as a nation.  Based loosely on economist Martin Shubik’s concept of the three-way duel, my findings determine that your survival actually improves in the short term.  In the case of a nuclear war, the ones holding the weapons will be the first to perish as they are the greatest threats to each other.  “Blessed are the meek” rings true in this case.  After the major global players are dead, then and only then is creating a nuclear weapon an attractive option. 

If need be, ask trusted members of the [redacted] government for consultation. Although the extent of their capabilities are unknown to me, they have shown evidence of meaningful investment. They will not provide you with everything they know, but they could offer some knowledge (in exchange for something of an equivalent value, of course)

You requested my expertise. I have given it. My standard fee is $10,000 USD; I expect that amount to be credited to my account in the next 10 days.


The Information Broker


Todd Akin issued another apology today.  I guess the previous ones weren’t legitimate if they didn’t take.  

-Illogical Man


After Mars

Earlier today, NASA landed the Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars

The team responsible for landing the rover should be commended.  It was a great achievement of teamwork, coordination, and technical prowess.

A problem arises with the question, “What happens next?”  The problem, however, is not the question itself but the answer.  “But the answer is not known,” one will counter. 

But it is.  The implication of the Curiosity’s success is that humanity will eventually devise of a way to send humans to Mars’ surface.   After that, terraforming to make the environment hospitable.  That can only lead to good things… right?

Not necessarily.  It never occurs to anyone whether or not we should even try.  Trying to do new things can be argued to be a natural component of who we are.  Evolution drives it, and we are better for it, etc., etc., but will Mars be better for it?  True, it is merely a planet, a non-sentient celestial body.  It has no inherent rights.  Technically, we are free to do with it as we wish unless someone else can persuasively claim otherwise. 

The most pressing matter on my mind is whether or not will we repeat the same mistakes we have made on Earth.  Clearly, our hubris will follow us wherever we go, but we can at least try to minimize the impact of its destructive lows, inevitable as they are.  Will nations argue amongst themselves as to how to distribute the land?  Will the richest start “buying” plots before human expeditions are even mounted (as ludicrous as this sounds, parts of our moon have already been bought)?  Will there be a new rule(s) of governance?  Currency?  Customs?  Will Mars be seen as a colony rather than an independent planet?  What obligations will the planets have towards each other?  Most of these questions are trivial compared to the ideological benefit of hope with which drives the human race to stretch beyond its original home, and I would agree.  That is precisely what depresses me: that the above questions will be endlessly debated without solution (or with a poorly designed one) due to selfishness, mediocrity, and the refusal to appreciate the responsibility with which we steward- not conquer- Mars. 

Currently, the euphoria of reaching Mars has momentarily pushed aside doubts and concerns as to the kind of future it will provide, and I admit that my outlook is perhaps unjustifiably gloomy; I only pose these theoretical questions because I do not want to be the only one to ask them when reality collides with aspiration.  Also, it would be best if they were resolved by the time we expand to other planets.  In the future, however far or near it is, I hope that someone or a group of someones will successfully make the best of Mars’ potential in matters of greater (coexistence) and lesser importance (division of resources). 

- That Guy