Lenin the extension student…

Image from Mental Floss
According to the Weekly Standard (reviewing NYU’s Gallatin division dean Herbert I London’s autobiography) – “The venerable philosophy professor Sidney Hook, mistakenly thinking the new division was an external degree program, asked London if a “great person” had ever graduated from such a program. So nonplussed was I by this question that I couldn’t think of a great person who had graduated from a traditional college program. .??.??. However, Professor Hook was waiting for an answer. Reaching into my memory bank, where trivia about everything from the etymology of “brouhaha” to George Kell’s career batting average swim aimlessly about, I blurted out, “Lenin.” A stunned Hook asked London how he knew that. “I said, ‘Lenin attended the University of Moscow extension division. I remember reading that fact in Bertram Wolfe’s Three Who Made a Revolution.’ At that point, Professor Hook noted, ‘Anyone who knows that deserves my support.’?”

Third Semester Takeaways

  • Drafting means printing out a story, marking it up and rewriting it. The ‘artistic’ process takes root in the reinscription.
  • The above makes writing seem even more excruciating a process.
  • Publishing fiction seems as daunting and frustrating an obstacle as certain other adolescent yes/no binaries were in high school. No doubt in retrospect the angst surrounding it will seem just as wasteful and silly.
  • Solutions to any prose problem can be found in other texts.
  • Reading is as much a process and a ‘search’ as writing is. Output can only be as good as input.
  • One may ignore the mandates of others within ones text, including the MSWord grammar check.
  • James Wood is probably right about free-indirect.
  • Critiquing work properly involves re-re-reading and marking up (i.e. similar to the drafting process).
  • The Prelude to Stuxnet

    Robert Amsterdam pic of Siberian pipelines
    Pic via The Oil Drum, I think
    While reading up on the Stuxnet worm — a USB spread malicious code that targets Siemens industrial control systems computers and has apparently mangled almost a third of the uranium centrifuges in Nantaz — I came across references to a pipeline explosion caused by a trojan horse. A three kiloton explosion..

    The story was covered by William Safire in 2004. Throughout the 70s, the Soviets were back-engineering American computer hardware. They earned huge amounts of foreign currency when oil prices soared and the West was eager to buy oil and gas from them. They spent much of the money on a military technology buying spree, purchasing the latest Western technology through a vast network of shadowy third-party purchasing agents and intermediaries.

    Through a French-run KGB colonel, CIA and NATO began distributing ” deliberately flawed designs for stealth technology and space defense… The technology topping the Soviets’ wish list was for computer control systems to automate the operation of the new trans-Siberian gas pipeline. When we turned down their overt purchase order, the KGB sent a covert agent into a Canadian company to steal the software; tipped off by Farewell, we added what geeks call a Trojan horse to the pirated product.”

    “The pipeline software that was to run the pumps, turbines and valves was programmed to go haywire,” writes Gus Reed, “to reset pump speeds and valve settings to produce pressures far beyond those acceptable to the pipeline joints and welds. The result was the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space.” (NYTimes 2/4/2004)

    Recruitment/Defection

    Soviet Agit-Prop (Global Security)

    “[The] single, simple, self-evident explanation is that the enormous act of defection, of betrayal, treason, is almost invariably the act of a warped, emotionally maladjusted personality. It is compelled by a fear, hatred, a deep sense of grievance, or obsession with revenge far exceeding in intensity these emotions as experienced by normal, reasonably well-integrated and well-adjusted individuals.”

    “All [Soviet defectors] in the writer’s experience have manifest some behavioral problem – such as alcoholism, satyriasis, morbid depression, a psychopathic behavior pattern of one type or another, an evasion of adult responsibility – which was adequate evidence for an underlying personality defect decisive in their defection. It is only mild hyperbole to say that no one can consider himself a Soviet operations officer until he has gone through the sordid experience of holding his Soviet “friend’s” head while he vomits five days of drinking into the sink.”

    TARGET CHARACTERISTICS

  • (Suggests Eleazar Lipsky’s The Scientist as fodder for finding sociopath/psychopaths.)
  • Neurotic. Prepsychopathic. More interesting from ops standpoint. Characterized by strong conflicting currents visible as “spottiness” by an outside viewer. Characteristically unable to evaluate friend/foe objectively.
  • Middle-aged. Period of life from 37 on, which shows the highest incidence of divorce, infidelity etc. “Middle-aged revolt”

    SYMPTOMS AND SOURCES

    Alienation in interpersonal relationships. Lack of close friends in the Soviet colony. Evidence of coldness in personal relationships. Personally difficult to get along with. Arrogant, offensive, sullen, hostile….

    Career situation. Evidence or reasonable inference of difficulties in job situation. Resentment of supervision, direction, interference. Evasion of job responsibilities. Lack of appropriate career progression. Resentment of others’ progression.

    Family situation.

    Non-Duty Outlets. Avoidance of other Soviets. Excessive drinking. Infidelity. Wasting time away in trivial diversions. Predominance of diversions over responsibilities and obligations.

    Personality. Agressive vs. submissive evaluation. Rigid and compulsive behavior patterns. Anxiety and self-protective maneuvers. Unusual shyness and over-dependency. Or anxious efforts to over-please, over-submissiveness. Preoccupied with self (“McLandress dimension”), selfish, overestimating own problems, ideas, outlook. Excessively implusive, chronically impatient, easily angered. Hypersensitive, feelings easily hurt, unable to accept criticism. Tendency to blame others, evade own responsibility. Arrogant, excessively prestige- and status-conscious, anxious to impress everyone with own brilliance and importance. Great mood swings, depressions, evidence of low self-esteem or self-estimate. Constant criticism of others, fault finding, sarcastic manner, sarcastic or anti-social type of humor. Rigid, highly organized, inflexible personality or its opposite.

    (“On the Recruitment of Soviets,” Studies in Intelligence, 1965)