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Pray for Rain

Week of 15 October 2002
Natural inverse selection has its advantages.

Recent events as uncovered by Slash Dot and the Associated Press have brought attention once more to Redmond Washington, arguably the area of the planet with the highest concentration of terminal stupidity.

Angered by Apple Corporation's successful 'switch' campaign, the brainiacs at Microsoft decided to stage a campaign of their own - 'stage' being the operative word.

Whereas Apple's campaign is a true campaign, where the corporation for an entire year solicited letters from fans about their 'switch', and used real people which they flew out to the coast for photography, interviews, filming etc, Microsoft never had any such ambitions.

The matter was turned over to an advertising copy writer at a PR firm under contract to Microsoft, and evidently she didn't feel any compunction to be honest either. What the world can now tell, 'Val Mal Gal' would have laughed if anyone had suggested she actually go out and find someone willing to talk about switching from a Mac to Windows XP - and not just because the idea is so ridiculous, but because - well, following Microsoft's lead, why bother?

All the PR blurbs emanating from Redmond are made up anyway. No one working in advertising ever takes them seriously. All the supposed pictures of the people Microsoft supposedly interviews for their supposedly authentic articles are culled from standard stock photo discs at Bill Gates's photo company, Getty Images. The actual interviews are written by PR people working under contract for Microsoft. No one takes any of it seriously.

Like the supposed grass roots movements they're always starting - to stifle some sort of real grass roots movement most often. They take names off gravestones and from county records and then employ a PR firm to make some stuff up - like Linux is bad for freedom of choice, like the US federal government is hurting the consumer by checking on Microsoft's monopolistic practices, etc. The first time something like this was uncovered it might have been a bit of a chock, but the chock value is long since gone. This is how Microsoft promote their products. They really are this dumb - or dangerous, whichever way you want it.

But this latest fiasco goes the extra mile, with twists and turns and angles of its own, with nadirs of stupidity that even ambitious Microsoft have heretofore been unable to attain. For starters, it was relatively easy to find the actual stock photo used for the ad: all the sleuths had to do was go to Getty and type in 'woman sitting with coffee cup' and presto bingo there it was, just like every other time they've published pictures of 'real people'.

But here is where it gets worse. For the work on the ad was done on a Mac - and Microsoft in their incomparable stupidity inadvertently provided this information to an entire planet already doubled up in hysterical laughter. The 'ShowYourSkills.doc' file linked at the bottom of the ad reveals both the author's name, email address, and recently registered domain (VALMALGAL.COM) - as well as the version of Microsoft Word she was using.

0000000000004360  4D 69 63 72 6F 73 6F 66 74 20 57 6F 72 64 20 31  Microsoft Word 1
0000000000004370  30 2E 30 00 40 00 00 00 00 5E D0 B2 00 00 00 00  0.0.@....^в....

00000000000052B0  E4 04 00 00 1E 00 00 00 0E 00 00 00 76 61 6C 6D  ä...........valm
00000000000052C0  61 6C 67 61 6C 2E 63 6F 6D 00 6F 00 03 00 00 00  algal.com.o.....

0000000000005450  00 00 00 6D 00 61 00 69 00 6C 00 74 00 6F 00 3A  ...m.a.i.l.t.o.:
0000000000005460  00 69 00 6E 00 73 00 69 00 64 00 65 00 72 00 40  .i.n.s.i.d.e.r.@
0000000000005470  00 6D 00 69 00 63 00 72 00 6F 00 73 00 6F 00 66  .m.i.c.r.o.s.o.f
0000000000005480  00 74 00 2E 00 63 00 6F 00 6D 00 00 00 00 00 1F  .t...c.o.m......
0000000000005490  00 00 00 01 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 03 00 00 00 82  ...............Ç
00000000000054A0  F7 95 27 1E 00 00 00 09 00 00 00 43 6F 6D 6D 65  ÷•'........Comme
00000000000054B0  6E 74 73 00 67 54 6F 1E 00 00 00 2C 00 00 00 56  nts.gTo....,...V
00000000000054C0  61 6C 65 72 69 65 20 4D 61 6C 6C 69 6E 73 6F 6E  alerie Mallinson
00000000000054D0  20 28 57 65 73 20 52 61 74 61 75 73 68 6B 20 26  (Wes Rataushk &
00000000000054E0  20 41 73 73 63 20 49 6E 63 29 00 1E 00 00 00 01  Assc Inc)......

Version 10 for the Macintosh.

At which point it's lights out and game over for Microsoft once again. But not quite, for the Associated Press tracked this lady down, and Slash Dot tracked the screen dumps in the ad down, and the trails led to completely different people. The AP's trail led to Microsoft's PR writer, while the Slash Dot trail led to in-house Microsoft employee Dan Funt.

But still it was not over, for the AP actually interviewed this PR writer, and gradually the story became clear: Microsoft didn't want to search forever for a single person idiotic enough to willingly switch from a Mac to Windows XP; all they wanted was another phony ad.

Which makes one sort of wonder. Microsoft has done it so many times before, there must be surgeons on duty 24/7 in Redmond who specialise in foot from mouth extractions and emergency brain removal surgery. Everybody does a dumb thing now and again, the stupider among us do even stupider things, and the really stupid do outrageously stupid things, but no one has ever come close to Microsoft in any field of endeavour.

And their expertise in the field of software engineering - or rather their lack of it. All the bugs and vulnerabilities, their not being able to hang onto a single good engineer (they run for the hills in fright), the never-ending rumours of totally lost individuals responsible for getting major products out the door - and having no clue how to go about it - and more, always more: the AARD code, the scandal with Internet Explorer, and Outlook, and then IIS, castigated by the US federal government as hopelessly beyond repair - realistically anyone can see that these people are a singular - and perhaps unique - bunch of morons.

But is this necessarily bad? Perhaps not. What is actually going on here? It may very well be a systematic process of 'Inverse Evolution'. Darwin talked about this in his notebooks, but not many scientists refer to it today. Darwin suspected that nature would help itself 'flush the dregs down the drain' by concentrating inferiority in a single location. It was not always possible to eliminate inferiority in a single generation, but its concentration at a remote location would protect the rest of the race from further contamination and difficulties. And the species could always get lucky - there could always be a natural catastrophe which eliminated the dregs in one fell swoop overnight.

There are a lot of morons who really want to work for Microsoft. We know they are morons because they see working for Microsoft as something positive. And Microsoft never hire on intelligent people - they specifically look for morons, just as police departments specifically look for people who can't pass monkey IQ tests.

And once they get to Redmond, Microsoft let BALLMER at them. And everyone knows BALLMER is one of the planet's biggest morons. BALLMER squishes these young (but stupid) minds until they're all hopelessly beyond repair, just like the Microsoft software. And the more brain-dead stuff Microsoft do, the more the morons flock to Redmond - it's inverse evolution.

This phenomenally high concentration of stupidity in the Pacific Northwest can only mean one thing: the median intelligence of people anywhere else is on the rise. And given the proclivity of the species to engage in sticky activities in the dark of the night under compromising bed covers, this in turn means that the offspring of these 'protected' people will successively be more intelligent.

And so while the area immediately surrounding Redmond Washington will more and more resemble a 'black hole' for the species, the rest of the planet is kept from danger. While the 'Twin Peaks IQ Suck' goes on up there, the rest of the species will enjoy unparalleled success and happiness.

The Pacific Northwest is known for its ceaseless rain but is otherwise relatively free from natural catastrophe: no sufficiently destructive volcanic eruptions, no cataclysmic earthquakes, no nothing. All that's available is rain - and lots of it. But with the atmosphere as screwed up as it is, who knows? Maybe it will rain so much that the entire Redmond area will be washed out to sea.

So give your species a helping hand. Pray for rain for the Seattle area. Lots and lots of it.

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