Insufficient Porn?

     So it was porn that caused the financial crisis?
     Or might porn have snagged Bernie Madoff if just given the chance?
     Am I insane?
     Well yeah, probably, but then I’ve got lots of company.
     In case you missed the news reports, the Securities and Exchange Commission released a memo saying that 33 SEC employees – out of 4,000 – had been caught looking at pornography on computers on the job over the past five years.
     Wow!
     I find that pretty unbelievable. 3, 967 out of 4,000 were not looking at porn!
     Is this a boring agency or what?
     Kudos to all those fine men and women focused on their jobs.
                No, wait, apparently I’m wrong. This is a scandal that must be reported. In fact, Rep. Darrell Issa, the Republican “ranking member” – obviously a porn expert – of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued a statement saying it was “disturbing that high-ranking officials within the SEC were spending more time looking at pornography than taking action to help stave off the events that brought our nation’s economy to the brink of collapse.”
                As a result, he said, we ought to question whether to give the SEC any more authority.
                Or should we give them more porn?
     Think about it. Almost all of those guys were porn-deprived on the job and they completely missed all that financial wrongdoing. Imagine what they could have done if they actually had some stimulation on the job – if they actually looked forward to going to work – if they were actually awake.
     The memo apparently doesn’t tell us whether the 33 porn people were any better at work than the 3,967 non-porn people. It does tell us, though, that one lawyer spent up to eight hours a day on porn. Now there’s dedication and drive.
     Don’t we need more of that?
     Or maybe there’s a third explanation for all of this.
     The report notes that the number of SEC porn viewing cases rose from two in 2007 to 16 in 2008. In other words, SEC office porn went up after the economy collapsed and it was too late for regulation to do any good.
     Those guys were just depressed.
     
     HISTORY IN THE MAKING. Promise you won’t read ahead before answering the question I’m going to pose in just a moment.
     A lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court last week contains the following sentence: “If he could bring together a team of experts to design and create the necessary technology, and obtain the support of corporate sponsors, Mr. Hogan knew he could contribute to a spectacular and historic human achievement.”
     Your question is: what do you think that historic achievement might be? Take a moment to make a list of possibilities (and don’t cheat by reading what comes next).
     OK. Done?
     The answer is the plaintiff wanted someone to jump off a hot air balloon 24.6 miles above the earth’s surface, fall at supersonic speed through the atmosphere, and then land safely in New Mexico. I’m assuming they’re thinking somewhere near Roswell, but the suit doesn’t say that.
     Why would someone do this?
     Well, according the suit, this historic event would generate between $375 and $625 million worth of free media coverage.
     It’s a death-defying commercial.
     In case you’re wondering why there’s a lawsuit, the plaintiff, one Daniel Hogan, claims he brought the project to Red Bull GmbH and now they’re doing it without him.
     Expect to see an appellate ruling in the future on whether falling is a protectable trade secret.

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