The Great Spy’s Dream

I asked Patrick if there was anything particularly useful he could pass on to me “about the CIA.” “The first thing to remember is that nobody connected to the Agency calls it the CIA. It’s plain CIA.”

—Harry Mathews, My Life in CIA. 

STUXNET question

James McGirk: How much damage did the STUXNET virus really do to Iran’s nuclear program?

Answer: James, it’s hard to know for sure, but reports out of Iran admitted to fairly extensive damage to the uranium gas centrifuges, especially at Natanz. Furthermore, it seems that the STUXNET virus replicated and spread itself elsewhere and also was followed by other, similarly damaging cyberwar viruses…

Privatizing Paradise in the Murder Capital of the World

WHAT WOULD IT BE LIKE for a corporation to not only run an entire city, but to have built that city from scratch, to its own specifications, according to a planned, privatized model of everyday life?

Google On The L Train: Sci-fi, Wifi And The MTA

Last week, gracious youngsters from Google, Inc. were stationed below 14th Street, handing cards to commuters. The cards confirmed that those wireless signal bars appearing on certain subway platforms weren’t phishing expeditions by identity thieves or digital phantoms. Rather, they were the fruit borne of a partnership between Google and a wireless Internet provider named Boingo. Log in to their hotspot and get a summer of free Wi-Fi access all over New York City. In return, Google gets to hoard the information they generate, assembling an accurate picture of who exactly was passing through the station and when.