The CCCP settlement of Pyramiden, on an archipelago belonging to the Norwegians, provided a utopian lifestyle of work and plenty as an example to the people back home. However, when the Communist might of Russia collapsed, the people steadily abandoned the dream rather than struggle in the face of insurmountable hardship.
I daresay this subsidised paradise in the chilly north could easily form the backdrop for some modern day PARANOIA or perhaps some spin on the The Prisoner, with happy workers leading happy family lives amidst a basically fabricated and unsupportable community. Mandatory sports days, social events and art classes anyone?
Perhaps Pyramiden could be that colony set up on the agreement of The Computer, or one of the High Programmers, as a way to understand the way a small, above-ground community might work – or to comprehend the Communist mindset? Could the Troubleshooters wake to find they have led happy, ordinary lives as honourable and loyal Communists with loving families and generous prospects? Take them through the routine of labour in the mines, followed by swimming, song, and sitting around the fire telling stories to the children – but, over time, introduce clear signs of hardship, of a lack in essential maintenance skills and materials (because the central office back home always sends a replacement) and the remoteness of the colony. Then cut the lifeline completely, pull the plug, and leave them with nothing but static. Invariably, panic will grow, desperation follows when bellies grumble, and The Computer will send in ‘support‘, highly likely to be mistaken by the mind-altered inhabitants of the colony as a Capitalist invasion force… What fun!
…because physical components of the machines expand and contract in response to temperature changes, the amount of time a machine has been running, or even the time of day, might affect calibrationâ€”which could explain why the problem didn’t show up in later attempts to reproduce the error.
After the last presidential election, you’d have thought the tech firms responsible for touchscreen voting systems would have used the intervening years to make improvements. The iVotronic machines implicated in the voting problems of Florida in 2006 have come under scrutiny again, as people voting Democrat find the selection jumping to the Republicans.
Not only can the environment and time of day impact the performance of the touchscreen calibration, but also the height of the user and how long the device has sat in storage. The opportunities in PARANOIA for confusion and bewilderment seems endless, as R&D constantly mothball and then recycle technologies. That nifty touchscreen control for the ActivePeril Plasma-fusion Multi-load Missile Launcher worked a treat in the lab, delivering multiple ordnance types against a range of test targets… but, out in the field, in a corridor with functionally-challenged air conditioning or traitor-sabotaged strip lighting, will it work with the same streamlined functionality?
What about other control interfaces, from auto-medication dispensers and elevator controls, to vending machines or automatic bank tellers?
CITIZEN NICK-R-LSN – YOU HAVE INPUT A REQUEST TO WITHDRAW 1,000,000 CREDITS. YOU HAVE INSUFFICIENT FUNDS TO MEET THIS REQUEST. DO YOU FEEL YOU ARE UNDERVALUED, CITIZEN NICK-R? I NOTE YOUR EQUIPMENT OFFICER HAS IDENTIFIED SEVERAL ITEMS OF GEAR NOT RETURNED ON MISSION COMPLETION. WOULD YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THAT, CITIZEN NICK-R? IS THAT A NEW JUMPSUIT YOU ARE WEARING?
Uh, no. No, hang on. I input a request for 100 credits. Not a million. I… uh… this jumpsuit isn’t new… I just…
ARE YOU LOGGING A COMPLAINT ABOUT THE INPUT INTERFACE OF THE AUTO-TELLER, CITIZEN NICK-R? ARE YOU (A) QUESTIONING THE EFFICIENCY OF TECH SERVICES MAINTENANCE PROTOCOLS? (B) LOGGING A REPAIR DETAIL INADEQUACY REQUEST AGAINST…
Uh… No. Look, I…
I AM SORRY, CITIZEN NICK-R, YOUR RESPONSE DOES NOT MATCH THE SELECTION OFFERED. I AM DESPATCHING A VULTURE SUPPORT, COUNSELLING AND RIOT SUPPRESSANT SQUAD TO ATTEND TO YOUR REQUEST. PLEASE REMAIN AT THIS LOCATION UNTIL THEY ARRIVE.
Like having about a dozen CCTV cameras per head of population wasn’t bad enough (yeah, OK, so I’m exaggerating a bit), the UK Government seems dead set on knowing what email we read, web sites we view, and mobile phone calls we make.
The basis for this intrusion? That the misdeeds of the few outweighs the privacy of the many, apparently. With a dozen terrorists crouching in our midst, knowing what illicit sites Mr Sidnham of Ipswich visits of an evening will make all the difference. Next time a bomb doesn’t go off, remember it’s because the Government know exactly when Mr Sidnham did.
The Government want the right to access almost anything that might allow them to defeat terrorism, taking it out at the root. Existing laws allow the Government some leverage in extracting the information they need, but they want more. They want a database with all that yummy email, web and phone call information on it. Remember, this is the Government that loses laptops and contracts to companies that lose DVDs and hard drives like anyone else might mislay keys or loose change. Would you trust the Government not to accidentally hand this database over to a herbal medication peddler or the loyal retinue of a Nigerian prince?