Now and then the news delivers one of those stories that makes me swell up with joy and threatens to leave me curled up on the floor of my office, giggling helplessly, possibly for hours. One of these happened today, courtesy Reuters. I don't like linking to URLs I can't be reasonably sure are stable but this might be close enough at least for the while it takes people to double-check that I didn't make this up: I read the article at http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE57D14R20090814, by Jim Finkle, with the headline U.S. tests technology to break foreign Web censorship. Quoting from the start:
BOSTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government is covertly
testing technology in China and Iran that lets residents break
through screens set up by their governments to limit access to
news on the Internet.
The "feed over email" (FOE) system delivers news, podcasts and data via technology that evades web-screening protocols of restrictive regimes, said Ken Berman, head of IT at the U.S. government's Broadcasting Board of Governors, which is testing the system.
I didn't even know the United States had a Broadcasting Board of Governors, but never mind that. The news makes me feel good: finding ways to overcome censorship and let people talk freely is the sort of thing I like in covert government operations. But then came the closing paragraph, which lifted it into delight with the world:
Berman, however, said there would be modest filtering of pornography on the system. "There is a limit to how much (U.S.) taxpayers should have to pay for," he said.
There. Aren't you smiling now, too? Don't you feel on this very ground the small flags waving and tinny blasts on tiny trumpets? And we haven't even got to the penguin given a wetsuit.
Trivia: Whiskey distillers, which the United States had shut down for war production after laying in what was supposed to be a five-year supply, returned to whiskey production for the month of August 1944. Source: Don't You Know There's A War On?, Richard Lingeman.
Currently Reading: Cash, Tokens, and Transfers: A History of Urban Mass Transit in North America, Brian J Cudahy.