Abbé Boulah’s Hack-Rigged Funding Scheme

In the Fog Island Tavern:

Hey Vodçek — has Abbé Boulah been in today?

And a good morning to you, too, Bog-Hubert. No, haven’t seen him yet. What’s stirring your urgency to see him?

Well it’s a mystery. I was out in the Gulf trying to get to Rigatopia — you know, the new refugee society on that abandoned rig, when my GPS conked out and I had to navigate by compass, the old-fashioned way. Turns out I’d forgotten to re-set the compass declination to the new position of that wandering magnetic North Pole. So I ran into a different rig, nearby, but was warned off by radio to go anywhere near it. Secret prison rehab project or something. Near Rigatopia? Sounded like another one of Abbe Boulah’s crazy schemes: do you know anything about it?

Ah Bog-Hubert: You’ve been over in your Tate’s Hell bog cooking stuff to long. Yes, it’s Abbé Boulah’s new project. He’s gotten another abandoned oil rig for it. But this one has prison inmates on it, working on a new kind of ‘community service’ to try to get reduced sentences.

Doesn’t surprise me. Abbé Boulah again. Prison inmates? What kind of community service — there’s no community out there? And why secret?

Patience. Remember Abbé Boulah and his friend up in town working on that global planning discourse project?

Of course:  I was working on that one too.

Oh yes, I forgot. Well, one day, here, Abbé Boulah was talking about it with a guy who turned to to be a bit of a planning discourse-cum-argument-evaluation-sceptic — a ‘NAA’ —’never argue-arguer’, Abbé Boulah calls them. This one thought it’d be impossible to get any serious mainstream company to write the programs for that kind of public platform, and funding the implementation even for small local prototypes. So Abbé Boulah sat there fuming for a while, using up a good part of my Sonoma Zinfandel supply, and came up with this idea to get imprisoned hackers to work on the project. You know, some of those brilliant computer freaks who were caught showing humanity how naively vulnerable our precious IT systems have become.

Brilliant guys, eh — but not brilliant enough to avoid getting caught?

Well, turns out some of them were sold out by their peer hackers. You know there’s fierce and unfair competition even in that murky kingdom too. And I think the FBI has hired some such experts…

But hey, sounds like an interesting idea?

We’ll see how it works out. Anyway, he got some judges convinced that incarcerating these people at great expense to society is a sinful waste of brilliant minds and public money, and to set up a program to offer these guys reductions of their sentences if they worked on writing the programs needed for this project. And similar projects. So Abbé Boulah got a friend of his — a brilliant fellow, once a student of his buddy up in town — who’s been busy getting people whose lives have been disrupted by all the stupid wars in the Middle East to learn programming to get well-paying jobs — to rehab another abandoned rig. Where these people can be kept safely to work on that project.

Hmm. Sounds a little like putting the fox to work on guarding the hen-house, though?

Well, the things they come up with will be thoroughly tested, of course.

Tested, how?

Easy. They put separate hacker or hacker teams to work on trying to hack the system designs. Promising those guys rewards — three years of life off, if they can break the competition’s system… And vice versa. Anyway, it’s an inexpensive way to get those programs written, putting those minds to productive use, work no other company wants to do. And possibly getting those people not only a chance of keeping their skills honed but also a better chance of rehabilitated legitimate existence once released.

So Abbé Boulah is out there on that rig now, is that what you are saying?

Not sure. He’s a difficult fellow to keep track of. Of course somebody has to tell those guys what the platform is supposed to do. And he’s getting some sailing and fishing in on his breaks…

I knew it. Having a great time doing interesting stuff… I’ll drink to that.

Cheers!

—o—

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