Tuesday, February 7, 2023, 2:57 P.M.
While Angel was explaining some of the finer points of using the senses of smell and taste in 24th Century sex to Satoshi, Annalina Nutt was reading the latest lobbyist position paper John Baker had sent her.
Senator Annalina Nutt. Junior Senator representing the State of New York. Her opponents liked to refer to her as “Wing-Nutt”. Some of them, rather tastelessly, even dropped one “n” when spelling her first name, a failure not caused by stupidity but evil intent. “Annalina” is a fine name, meaning “graceful light” in Swedish. But it does invite this kind of thing.
Senator Nutt didn’t mind these childish attacks one bit. On the contrary, she liked the attention they unfailingly created for her. Each time, some of her allies could grab dozens of free minutes on television and radio shows feigning outrage. She had a couple of paid double-agents in the opposition camp who stepped up to use that slur again if there was a lull in the natural, steady stream of real opponents bringing it up.
As a Senator, she would not usually read this kind of paper herself. She had staff for that. But she made an exception for her good friend John Baker.
John Baker, the head of Non Standard Oil, the leading fossil fuel company on the planet. He had been most generous in helping her fund her various campaigns, back from the days when she was running her first time for State Assembly Member. Non Standard Oil had a program for discovering promising talent early on.
And there was another reason she needed to read this herself. So she did. The document was titled “Fossil Fuel as a Job Machine”. It started like this:
“Non Standard Oil understands that there may be some problems with CO2 emissions caused by our products. We must admit it. Emissions were up another 3.7% over the year in 2022.
“There have been three major storms hitting New York in the last couple of months. The subway system is flooded half of the time. A project to build a large dam to protect New York City is underway, but it is difficult to find the funds.
“On the other hand, these problems are largely caused by the Chinese. They are burning way too much coal.
“The contribution of our company to CO2 emissions is only 1.8% of the whole global record. If we shut down Non Standard Oil tomorrow, like the environmental terrorists want, would that solve global warming? It certainly would not. Not with the Chinese increasing their emissions every year.
“But it would of course lose every job for everyone working at Non Standard Oil. It really would. This is kind of obvious.
“And it would remove lots of other jobs in the United States of America. If we can’t deliver energy to our industry, how are we supposed to compete with the Chinese on the World market? Shutting down the fossil fuel industry in this country would be an unmitigated disaster.”
The paper went on in the same way for another couple of pages. But Senator Nutt wasn’t interested in what it said anyway. She had known that stuff in and out for decades now.
No, she was interested in how it was said. She looked very closely at the first couple of paragraphs.
The first letter she got out of the exercise was a capital “S”, the first letter of “Standard” at the beginning of the text.
The next letter was the “d” out of “understands”. She proceeded to choose letters in a way only known to her personally and to John Baker. There were some numbers chosen as well, which was the reason John Baker used them in the text in the first place.
This was challenging work. Senator Nutt couldn’t afford to get this wrong. She took a short break, fondling the sand in her right pocket. She had some sand taken from a bunker in her golf course there, in a small plastic bag that she could break easily if she ever really wanted to throw this sand in someone’s eyes. There were some very fine pieces of glass added to the sand, calculated carefully to inflict maximum damage. She had also dried and ground some habanero and added it lovingly to the mix. In a situation where her security detail was not around, this might be very effective as a method of self-defense. Or attack. She spent a lot of time on online forums discussing the fine art of using sand to take out the eyes of an opponent. “Pocketsand”, it was called, coming from the traditional Japanese ninja technique of metsubushi. She loved to fantasize about treating some of her political opponents to a taste of that.
Once Senator Nutt had her string of random letters and numbers, she typed it into a computer not connected to the Internet and created the associated public Bitcoin address with that private key. Then she printed out both the private key and the address.
Senator Nutt opened a secure Internet connection. As a Senator, she was not subject to tracking and recording of all her online communication by the NSA, a very rare privilege that came with the membership in this particular club. She checked the balance at the address. Three bitcoins. At $123,000 that added up to $369,000 no one would ever know about.
It was nice to have good friends like John Baker in her job.
Just to make sure, she searched for the address that had sent the funds in the blockchain and found that it had been funded in 2011 and never used after that. It had a remaining balance of around 12 bitcoins. There was no way this could ever be tied to Non Standard Oil. John Baker or whoever handled this transaction for him knew what he was doing.
“Let’s see now. What can I do for getting the tax break for drilling oil in the Arctic extended?” Senator Nutt said to herself.
Then she ran the lobbyist position paper through her high-tech shredder. It would be shredded to tiny pieces. Immediately after that, a strong flame would turn those remaining pieces to ashes. Those ashes then would be mixed under high pressure with some water to produce a small ball of sludge, the final product, which would be embedded into concrete and sunk on the bottom of the ocean later on. No one would ever read that position paper again.
It had been sent to her as a printed document, the only copy that ever existed, since it was produced with a word-processing device without memory recently invented in 2021 (called a typewriter).
While Angel was explaining some of the finer points of using the senses of taste and smell in 24th Century sex to Satoshi, and Senator Nutt was extracting her private Bitcoin key from the lobbyist position paper, Alexandrina Heathershaw wrote the third post of the day on her climate change denial blog.
It was called “Galileo Now”. The tagline was “and yet it warms on its own”. The idea was of course that just like in Galileo’s time the correct thinking on science was imposed by people with other agendas, right now also people were forbidden to think or publish that there may be other reasons for climate change than CO2 emissions.
She had started that blog in 2013, when she was only fifteen years old. For the first couple of years her position had been neutral. She wanted to provide a forum where posts from both sides of the debate were welcome, as long as some minimal common sense and courtesy was observed. Whatever one thought about global warming, there was a need for civilized debate of the issue.
But over time, her focus had shifted. She was leaning more and more to the skeptical position.
The main reason for this was that she perceived the debate to be controlled. She thought that the majority forced their opinions on their opponents. She did not like being told what she was allowed to think or write.
As the stakes got higher with more damage from global warming becoming clear to everyone, the tone of the debate had got worse. And there was of course the issue of getting access numbers. She had been World famous before her twentieth birthday for her “fearless dissent”, as supporters called it.
Alexandrina was not in it for the money. Of course she had to eat, like everyone, but a modest advertising revenue of around $7,000 a month from her blog was enough for her for the moment. She might follow the path of Senator Annalina Nutt (one of her allies) later on.
Alexandrina was in it for her convictions. And most of all, for the purpose of standing up for the right of the minority to voice their opinions. She was rather effective at that.
This third blog post of the day was about the latest Non Standard Oil press release. That press release talked about the big contribution of the Chinese to CO2 emissions, and the fact that Non Standard Oil products only accounted for 1.8 percent of the global record. It was basically the same thing Annalina Nutt had read.
Only without the $369,000 hidden message.
Alexandrina did get around $3,000 a month in ad revenue from Non Standard Oil, though. But that was all openly declared. She had only her integrity to sell in the opinion market place. She would never take any money without declaring it.
There was of course no way of hiding ad revenue anyway. One would have to hide the ads, which would kind of defeat the purpose.
Link to part 13: Worse Than Global Warming