Saturday, March 3, 2018

Depuis Pâques je porte dans ma poche l'annonce que mon télescope microscope est à vendre

Alternative title #1: Maximilliona; ou L'exercice illégal de l'astronomie la nanotechnologie

Alternative title #2: The Workshop of the Microscopes

The Affair of the Electron Microscope is elaborate and tedious, thereby meeting the key requirements of Riddled reportage... especially when combined with the salacious details of Burning Semen Syndrome.

It featured (a)  a pair of forensic-microscopy autodidacts who were thwarted in their nano-CSI work for NATO workshops, and (b) an Italian comedian / politician, allegedly a skinwalker. Suffice to say that it spiralled into a three-way cross-fire of recriminations, lawsuits, counter-accusations and questions about the disposition of moneys raised by public subscription. Details here. Ten years later the affair imbroglio is not yet over, and threatens Jarndyce v. Jarndyce in terms of longevity; in fact it has acquired its own FaceBorg page, often the last step before standing in Italian presidential elections. At present, Doctor Gatti and 'Doctor' Montanari are the users of the disputed Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope, for their Nanodiagnostics business ("Bring us your cancer-tissue biopsies, we'll find the nanoparticle carcinogens!"), while the Carlo Bartolini Foundation pays for its maintenance.

But there have been developments.

Dramatic developments?

Developments are always dramatic, and possibly sinister; it must be a tradition, or an old charter or something. In this case, so dramatic that even as you read this, the Riddled Amateur Dramatic Society is hard at work on the petanque lawn in front of stately Riddled Manor, workshopping them into a stage adaptation. This is the scene where the Polizei and Fraud Investigators raid the Nanodiagnostics Laboratory and seize PCs and other microscopy-related records.

Artist's impression of high-tech Laboratory
Ermintrude van Holsterin (Grannie-at-Law) was assigned the role of the Embodiment of Digital Media, here subjected to seizure and sequestration. Some might cavil and complain that Another Kiwi's second-best bed-sheet draped over a drying rack does not make for a convincing high-tech Laboratory, but they are invited to take it up with the Props Department (which is to say, Evangeline van Holsterin's nephew, the vile Throgmorton). Anyway it proved to be entirely serviceable during our $mas Pantomine production of "House at Pooh Corner", starring Louie Carthorse as Eeyore.

Going back to the Dramatic Developments: Montanari has revised his initial statement about the confiscation... and now it did not involve the ownership or practice of electron microscopy. That earlier reaction had been made in the heat of the moment, in a fraught mental state, and is no longer operative.
"Following what I said in the moments immediately following the search, when I was in an understandable state of agitation and great emotional stress, and apologizing if such statements of mine appeared disrespectful or generative of misunderstandings, precise that the facts for which my wife and I are currently subjected to investigations by the Public Prosecutor at the Court of Reggio Emilia do not relate, as far as we know, nor the scientific merit of research on nanopathologies that for many years we lead with dedication and commitment, much less the popular fundraising that we recently launched for the purchase of an electron microscope.We have full confidence in the work of the judiciary and we are sure that we will demonstrate our extraneousness to the facts assumed against us.
There are also hints that a complaint had come from a dissatisfied customer of the "Carcinogenic Nanoparticles 'R' Us" service.

We are indebted to Sylvie Cotaud @Ocasapiens and her commentariat for these insights. Fortunately the Ocasapiens ambit is large enough to include the illegal practice of microscopy... and other Gatti-Montanari activities, such as the latter's role as advisor in the Luft affair.*

Anyways, Gatti and Montanari are popular and much-run-after in US Alt-Reality circles, where antivaxxers are competing to come up with the most conspiratorial explanation for the interest taken by Italian fraud investigators in the couple's business activities.

SaneVax prefer the theory that they know too much, and hold Big-Pharma-damaging information about the Evils of Vaccines... evidence that they planned to present in his testimony in a coming court appearance... evidence now destroyed or sequestered (along with specific details of the court case). Behold the real purpose.
BREAKING NEWS: This morning two scientists from Italy lost their computers, records, and data - all confiscated. Dr. Gatti and Dr. Montanari have been studying the potential effects of micro- and nanoparticles used in vaccines on the human body for years. One of them was scheduled to testify in court regarding an alleged vaccine injury. Several conference presentations were also scheduled over the next few months. Now, there is no data to present. Coincidence? Or, suppression of inconvenient scientific findings?
Commenters wondered whether anyone who ever watched a thriller could be so stupid as to make no back-up copies. Apparently, though, there are precedents for the Men in Black destroying back-ups too. Every time a Whistleblower is about to Bring Down the Whole House of Cards, the whistle is surreptitiously replaced with a kazoo. The SaneVax crew wrote this exercise in conspiratorial cognition with a straight face but it makes most sense as a knowing wink to any other professionals who might be reading.

Whistleblowing: DOIN IT RONG
Not even copies stored on The Cloud are safe from the reach of the Conspiracy, for there is no limit to the steps they will take to conceal themselves... succeeding so well in destroying all trace of their activity that the existence of the Conspiracy is irrefutable and we can only marvel at and tremble before its vast scope and power.

One of the Age-of-Autism stalwarts forwarded this fever-dream, unchanged apart from the addition of eerie theremin music in the background.
Bonus Whistleblowing FAIL

We finish with IPAK. The Institute of Pure and Applied Knowledge, in all its non-specific expansiveness, sounds like a cabal of adversaries in a second-rate superhero movie. It is in fact a holding corporation for James Lyons-Weiler (a.k.a.  LifeBioMedGuru), who is either a polymathic master of multiple scientific disciplines and a veritable reincarnation of Athanasius Kircher, or a sentient embodiment of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

JLW's unique and challenging perspective on the computer-confiscation imbroglio is that Gatti and Montanari have already blown their whistles and shaken their little scrubbers, by testifying to a somewhat slightly political Parliamentary Inquiry into deaths from cancer within the Italian Armed Forces [SPOILER ALERT: Nanoparticles were to blame]. So what's happening now is pure vengeance, exacted by the Fascist Corporate Italian State.
* Ingenious monorail salesmen offered to cleanse the atmosphere of Rome of nanoparticulate contamination by turning the city buses into vacuum cleaners, with roof-mounted extractor-fan / filter machinery, only €20,000 per Grift Luft unit. After a fanfare of publicity in 2009, the city politicians agreed never to speak of the episode again.

Here at Riddled we promote a rival scheme, to filter urban air by circulating it through great conchoidal horns retro-fitted into the sides of buildings, centrifuging out the grit in the manner of giant Dyson vacuums.


Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I believe Brian Eno had something to say about burning semen syndrome.

Emma said...

These poor children. Someone loved them, once; fed them mashed peas; sang them lullabies. Now look at them. They should've stuck to the peas.

As funny/sad as this is, what it suggests to me is that the human desire to believe in something that is demonstrably untrue is insurmountable. Like, once we were all Christians (or Muslims, or Buddhists, or whatever), but then that era waned and the entire foundation of the human soul turned, in unison, to fandom. The stuff you cover here at Riddled — all of it has roots in books and movies. Mostly genre books and movies aimed at nerds. Once we yearned to immanentize the eschaton. Now we just want to live in a Heinlein story (or, some of us do; not sure I'd fare very well in Heinlein). Even our political battles, which have very easy-to-imagine forms of failure hardwired into the combat itself — Democrats embrace unfettered neoliberal economic policy and alienate their base, Republicans embrace unfettered bigotry and alienate everyone who isn't their base — are all about pwning and winning the thread and having your ship incorporated into the canon. Whatever exists that's "real" is tangential to the objectives of most of the adults who have power in the actual world. I feel alienated and depressed and in need of morale-boosting quantities of chocolate. Too bad Easter's almost a whole month away.

(I'm not suggesting we ought to go back to being religious, by the way. I'm suggesting we ought to find a way to aim our planet at the sun.)

Smut Clyde said...

I believe Brian Eno had something to say about burning semen syndrome.

Alternative Title #3: "Of a burning jet that's smoothly flying".