% fortune -ae paul murphy

Fiction as causation

David Brin's novel, Earth, came out in June of 1990. Here's an extract from pages 101 to 103 of the 1991 Bantam paperback edition:

"Watching, all the time watching... google eye geeks."


What brought on Crat's sudden outburst was the sight of yet another babushka, glaring at them from a bench under one of the force-grown shade trees... The very moment they came into view, the old woman laid her wire knitting aside and fixed them with the bug-eyed, opaque gape of her True-Vu lenses..

..her True-Vu's burnished lenses didn't really have to be aimed directly at them to get a good record. Still, she jutted out her chin and faced them square on, aggressively making the point that their likenesses, every move they made, were being transmitted to her home unit, blocks from here, in real time.


These days in Indiana, ...


"Granny could be doing something useful," Crat paused to snarl, bending to really scrape the zone. "She could be gardening or collecting litter. But no! She's got to stare!"

More recently, specifically on January 18th of this year, Newsday staff writer Luis Perez had this to say under the headline: New York City 911 to add video

Smile, you're on 911.

Taking a cue from a program in Indiana, new technology would allow callers to send crime-scene images

Catching criminals in the act these days is sometimes as easy as pressing a button on your camera phone.

Now the city is moving to simplify your ability to share telltale evidence of subway flashers, house burglars or even a suspect pothole, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said yesterday.

"If you see a crime in progress or a dangerous building condition, you'll be able to transmit images to 911 or online to nyc.gov," Bloomberg said in his State of the City address.

Notice that? the program originated in Indiana. And if you don't buy the coincidence, how would you like to explain it?

Paul Murphy wrote and published The Unix Guide to Defenestration. Murphy is a 25-year veteran of the I.T. consulting industry, specializing in Unix and Unix-related management issues.