Tuesday 14 Aug 2018 | 13:14 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 14 Aug 2018 | 13:14 | SYDNEY

Friday funny: The button


Sam Roggeveen


20 May 2011 16:46

This xkcd cartoon... 

...leads neatly to this passage from PJ O'Rourke's Parliament of Whores (1991):

But at least the president can blow up the world. He has that briefcase that goes everywhere with him, the 'football'. And in that briefcase is...Let's think about this for a minute. Do you suppose the president understands how the computer codes that activate our nuclear arsenal work? When he opens the 'football', will he be able to tell whether the stuff in there is real or whether it's just some readouts and LED displays slapped together by the Pentagon art department to look cool? And if you were the person who did know how our nuclear arsenal is activated, would you design the 'football' so that anyone except you could activate it? Say you are this very smart but jerkish MIT computer genius who works in an extremely secret part of the Defense Department and gets picked on by beefy military types. And they come to you and say, 'Hey, Numbers-Butt — you with the glasses taped together — rig something so the president can blow up the world.' Would you do it? Besides, how often does anybody look inside the 'football'? Do you suppose George Bush kicks back after a long day muddling sound bites and says, 'Gosh, let's open the blow-up thing and, hey, take a gander'? Nixon, maybe, but not Bush. There's probably nothing inside but a copy of Penthouse and a pint bottle of Hiram Walker — a Penthouse from back inthe seventies when Penthouse was really dirty, I'll bet.

Have a good weekend.