• Getting to Green

    An administrator pushes, on a shoestring budget, to move his university and the world toward a more sustainable equilibrium.


Sometimes I scare even myself

When I hollered "The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!", I thought I was joking. Honest.

December 7, 2009

When I hollered "The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!", I thought I was joking. Honest.

Now, according to information published in The Independent (UK), maybe the Russians really are/were coming. Apparently the direct lineal descendants of the KGB often pay hackers to mine data out of the web, especially when it serves Putin's purposes. And the circumstantial evidence on this one is considerable.

The fact that the stolen emails appear to indicate some minor malfeasance by researchers at the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia is deplorable. But the truth of the matter is that so many folks have been doing so much research at so many locations for so many years that the likelihood that all of them were purer than the driven snow was precisely zero. Given enough time, energy, and technical expertise the forces of "opponent research" (as the politicians call it, I believe) were bound to come up with something. The expectations for Caesar's wife were nothing, compared to the standards now being imposed (or assumed) in high-stakes socio-politico-economic negotiations.

So what we're faced with is a battle for the future of the planet, where what we have to accomplish (definitive global action and the solid consensus which makes it possible) is difficult, what the deniers have to accomplish (disruption of that consensus) is easy, and the deniers hold most of the cards -- money, political power, technological expertise, the mass media, a certainty which can only be justified based on divine revelation, and a willingness to say anything (no matter how absurd) and smear anyone.

On the other hand, if they can deploy hackers, maybe we can deploy viruses. Not computer viruses. And certainly not H1N1. Rather, I'm thinking about that "willingness to say anything" part, especially about some of the absurdities I encounter. Perhaps they need not go unremarked, nor unridiculed.

Meanwhile: a trivia question. There was once a movie, starring Alan Arkin, titled "The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!" On what book, by what author, was the screenplay based?


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