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Comment "Second Covers" (Score 4, Interesting) 58

UFOs are often convenient cover for secret Re:Carl Saganflight tests.

That gives the government an incentive to encourage UFO nuts.

A lot of the cold-war-era "conspiracy theories" sound like "second cover" stories. That's a psychological technique for diverting investigation into some large-enough-to-be-worth-the-effort secret project. Works like this:

Plant TWO cover stories. The first is plausible but misdirection. The second is fruitcake-nuts (but ideally has aspects that look attractively like actual artifacts of the project being hidden). Somebody investigating what is going on first hits the first cover. If he accepts it, fine. If he notices it doesn't quite fit and digs deeper, he finds the obviously screwy second cover. Oops? Now what?

The tendency of the more rational is to reject it - but bounce back to the first cover and give up there. The less well-hinged may report the second cover (much to the glee of the security people). Few are going to keep digging past both to discover some approximation of what's really going on - and if they DO get there and talk about it in public, if they happen to have said anything related to the second cover story (or even if the HAVEN'T), they can be debunked by painting them as having accepted the self-evidently tinfoil-hat-grade second cover story and propagating a variant of it.

The "conspiracy theories are always wrong and insane" meme is very convenient for this as well (as it is for any actual conspirators B-) )

Comment Re:Carl SaganUFOs are often convenient cover for s (Score 1) 58

UFOs are often convenient cover for secret flight tests.

Wasn't there a not too long ago release of government info-or-whatever about the Roswell incident?

Story was that one of the things they were testing there was the reentry mechanism for the upcoming (and still very cold-war-secret-military-tech) mercury launches, by lifting various model reentry vehicles to the edge of the atmosphere using weather balloons and dropping them . Not all that good a model of the heating, but a great way to check whether it would end up flying heat-shield-first until it was at low-atmosphere terminal velocity and time for the 'chutes.

Video showed a mercury capsule heat-shield, with retro-pack still attached, upside-down on sawhorses-or-the-like in a hanger. Looked very much like the canonical flying-saucer artwork of the era, and the picture was given as an explanation for the story of a passerby seeing what looked like a flying saucer in a hanger.

Comment Re:Being pedantic (Score 1) 378

... the felonious taking of the property of another from his or her person or in his or her immediate presence, against his or her will, by violence or intimidation.

What Alphabet did is by definition Robbery.

If they'd given, or promised, a Christmas Bonus, then yes it would be robbery.

If the (or their predecessors) had led the workers to expect bonuses only by voluntarily giving them in the past, but had never written contract terms or otherwise promised the bonuses for this year, then the hypothetical missing bonus was never the property of the workers in the first place.

Comment Re:'"We are looking into the matter" (Score 2) 137

Hell they probably would have accepted the offer for a free pen test. Instead many orgs react rather violently if they dont know about it and you did it.

An unexpected, unauthorized, "free pen test" is indistinguishable from a bad-guy cracking attempt, and must be treated as if it's a real threat. This causes ENORMOUS extra costs as the victim has to batten the hatches, examine everything for corruption and/or possible persistent threat instalation, compare working databases to backups and examine the differences vs. update audit trails, and so on.

Not to mention the concern that it might be a real attempt by the DHS, or a rogue group within it, to hack the election.

Comment Re:Being pedantic (Score 2) 378

If your company removes money from you and gives it to someone else, that is called Robbery.

But if the company just doesn't give you a Christmas/End-of-Year gift that they had been voluntarily giving previously, it may be a disappointment but it isn't Robbery.

= = = =

It may also be really stupid move on the company's part, though. It's going to cost them a bunch in employee satisfaction, and thus performance, over the next year or more.

Of course, if they were thinking of replacing a bunch of the employees with H1Bs or the like, tweaking them off so they perform poorly could then be used in claims that they were not good performers and thus needed replacing.

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