Friday, August 02, 2013

1208 Ask Igor

1208 Ask Igor

It’s like the old “Ask Jeeves” search engine, only this one understands the question and actually works, something Jeeves never quite did.

Igor is a computer.  All computers are named Igor, even those who respond to other names like “Siri” who sounds like a woman but isn’t.   And even those which respond to long strings of unprintable words.  All computers are named Igor.

But this particular Igor is special.  It belongs to the National Security Agency a government organization that makes the CIA look like kids playing hide and seek in the woods.

Now, No Such Agency has admitted not only that it exists, but that all the stuff that Edward Snowden said about it is pretty much accurate.  To summarize:  they know everything there is to know about you and claim they won’t use any of it without good reason and a warrant.


Congress is considering a law to privatize Igor.  Or, more accurately, a private public partnership under which the NSA would retain ownership but allow investors to run it and to provide information for a fee.

Several companies have said they’re thinking about bidding,  Google, Microsoft and Bain Capital among them.

You e-mail a question, say, “what brand of birth control pills does that hot chick down the street use?”  And for a fee you get a reply: “She doesn’t use the pill.  She has a NuvaRing which is due for a change in February of 2014.  So far she has had no symptoms associated with the device’s side effects, but as a precaution has contacted a law firm that advertises on television.”

Ask: “My boss has been spending a lot of money lately, can he afford to?”  Answer:  “Your boss has $75,000 in credit card debt.  He pays $1262.51 each month for mortgage, insurance and into a tax escrow account.  On his salary of $134,000 a year including benefits he will run out of money by the end of this year unless he finds a second source of income.  Since his contract calls for bonuses based on reducing expenses, get your resume polished.”

Ask: “She loves me or she loves me not?” Answer:  “Not. She is stringing you along.”

Ask: “Where will the Dow close tomorrow?” “Answer: 15,654.38.”

Ask: Who will win the Yankees-Red Sox game on July 26?” “Answer: Boston, 4-2.

Ask:  “Will Pope Francis eventually relent and allow women into the priesthood?”  Answer:  “We know but cannot answer due to the separation of church and state.”

Ask: “Hey, I thought Bain Capital was running the machine.”  Answer: “Yes it is, but the government still owns it.”

Well, don’t worry about your privacy.  The NSA chief, Gen. Keith Alexander assures us we’re safe from prying eyes.  He can’t, he says, “even intercept” his four daughters’ email.

Sure you can, sir.  Just push all four stars on your right shoulder simultaneously while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance into your smartphone.  Their passwords will appear on the screen.


--Google now forces users to put one space between sentences rather than two.  How? By starting a sentence that ends near the right margin
here rather than
here when you use two spaces as do most of us former typewriter users.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to

© WJR 2013

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