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06 February 2008

123 Meme, with variation

Thanks to Mountainrunner, we have been tagged with one of these random interweb memes that seem to us to be a deliberate attempt to spark a convulsive degree of self-consciousness within the restless stirring of electrons that is the Parallel Universe. (And given the gentleman’s interest in all things UxV, one cannot discount his role as agent provocateur in welcoming the new robot overlords – after all, he is the individual that inserted reference to Cylons into a serious DOD briefing.)

For those that may have been thus far spared exposure to this particular viral idea

  1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages)
  2. Open the book to page 123
  3. Find the fifth sentence
  4. Post the next three sentences
  5. Tag five people

Given that our group format by its very structure creates a different response to this question for each participant, we found ourselves internally cross-tagged. After some discussion, we also decided to introduce an additional element of randomness in the passages selected – within a moderate degree of ambiguity near to the canonical 123 meme segment – just to stir the echoes a bit more (and no doubt as further evidence of our contrarian nature). After all, intelligence professionals should not become accustomed to too high an artificial measure of certainty in anything.

Thus we offer a few of the more notable passages from the various and sundry texts offered by our contributors:

Ransom, Harry Rowe. Central Intelligence and National Security. Harvard University Press. 1958.

“’New concepts’ earlier mentioned in State’s intelligence organization are partly the result of the influx of Foreign Service officers into intelligence – ‘Wristonization’ – and partly the result of a redefinition of intelligence requirements of the Department. Effort is being made to assure that the intelligence produced is attuned to the real needs of State’s policy makers and operators. Through various administrative devices closer daily operational contact exists between officials responsible for making and implanting policy and those supplying intelligence.”

Earley, Pete. Comrade J. GP Putnam’s Sons. 2007.

“Having tasted the reforms sparked by perestroika and glasnost, Soviet legislators were not willing to turn back the clock. This left the KGB chairman and his cronies with only one option. If they wanted to stop the Union Treaty, they had to remove Gorbachev with military force before the August treaty was signed.”

Sageman, Marc. Leaderless Jihad. University of Pennsylvania Press. 2008.

“Unlike traditional terrorist organizations that have physical sites and more territorial ambitions, there is no incentive for a leaderless virtual social movement to moderate or evolve beyond terrorism. Because there is no formal organization, with assets, sunk costs, physical commitments, or other stabilizing elements, participants who become more moderate in their views simply leave the forum and move on, or are banished from the forum by the webmaster. But their legacy lives on; their previous commitments and activities (writings, videos, and terrorist operations) are still archived in the forums and could continue to inspire new generations of dreamers to capture the glory that had inspired the old stalwarts in the first place.”

Anderson, Terence; Schum, David, and Twining, William. Analysis of Evidence, 2nd edition. Cambridge University Press. 2005.

“The logic is simple; the complexity lies in the materials to be analyzed and in identifying the relationships between the propositions in an extensive argument based on a mass of conflicting evidence. The logic is binary: every relevant proposition either tends to support or tends to negate a single hypothesis or conclusion (the ultimate probandum). The technique is dialectical: the aim of the chart-maker should be to construct the most cogent possible argument for and against the ultimate conclusion and to relate the opposing arguments within a single coherent structure.

But we do also wish to tag a few others, for we are far more interested in thoughts which originate outside of our little skunkworks. Thus:

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