Every week, and sometimes every day, there is a new revelation about the shady practices of the NSA. After the news broke that the spy agency targeted thirty-five heads of state, not to mention the head of the UN, General Keith Alexander and Obama were on the defensive again and the cartoon ideas were frolicking in my head.
Then, while reading up on the latest NSA story, I found what I think is one of the more disturbing tidbits to date. There, almost as an afterthought, Scott Shane of the New York Times mentions that the NSA, "remains the largest employer of mathematicians in the country." What th?! Maybe everyone else already knew that, but I find that shocking and pretty depressing.
Call it a utopian pipe dream, but just think what we could do if we skimmed off the bulk of those mathematicians and had them work on things like, space exploration, new energy sources or, um, teaching kids. If we weren't so busy tracking every human being's metadata, maybe we'd have cold fusion by now, who knows?
And while you're thinking about the possibilities, do me a favor and pass along the animation on the Intertubes. You can also find out more about the stories behind this animation on my site.
[cute kid voice, fun, kids advertising]
Hey, kids! Are you ready to make math fun?
America's largest employer of mathematicians knows how!
With the Li'l NSA Spy Kit, you can spy on everyone, everywhere!
Who knew math could be so fun!
What's the largest number of people you'll be able to spy on?
Oh, about seven billion, also known as . . .everyone!
If you're going to find a needle in the haystack, you need to cover yourself in as much hay as possible . . . and keep cutting more hay!
What's seventy million calls in France plus sixty million calls in Spain, plus thirty-five heads-of-state, dozens of journalists, one Jihad Jane, and ninety percent of British internet traffic?
Who cares? You're spying on everyone, remember?
And what's another number you don't need to know? Thirty-five percent!
The rest of NSA spying is about the economy, diplomats, drug traffickers, oil and politics!
But thanks to math (with some help from "words"), ninety percent of ten-point-eight billion is perceived to be one-hundred-percent about terrorism!
Speaking of words, with the Li'l NSA Spy Kit, you can make your own code names for your latest spy program!
Just pick one word from a list of a million strong, assertive words, add it to a word from a list of a million creepy, ominous words-- and presto . . . your very own NSA spy program!
--a program that big internet companies will decry and condemn-- right before they get back to mining your data for fun and profit!
The Li'l NSA Spy Kit comes with a constitutional scholar and the General Keith Alexander posable action figure!
Who knew math could be so much fun!