If you find yourself with over $90,000 in debt, working a shitty job you hate, living with a girlfriend that hates you and seeing no light at the end of the tunnel, you might want to consider working in a war zone.
Accommodations were free, if spartan. We bunked in a single room at a Blackwater team house in the Green Zone. Those guys were scary enough that I didn?t leave our room except to the use the bathroom. (Even this was a mistake; during one trip to pee, I was intercepted by the ?house leader? and literally dragged around the facility by the scruff of my neck to underscore how dangerous absolutely everything was.) Most of our meals were free as well, courtesy of the military dining facilities in the CPA palace headquarters and the Al Rashid Hotel, though, for the sake of variety, we would take the occasional meal at the ?Back Chinese? restaurant or the Green Zone Caf?. Mostly, we just worked.
My job was ostensibly to plan the IT and communications infrastructure for the newly established Independent Electoral Commission for Iraq (IECI). Nationwide elections were scheduled for January 2005, only five months away. Given that no one had a firm grasp on how any of this was going to work, my job was initially little more than an intellectual exercise, but concepts had a disconcertingly rapid way of becoming reality in Baghdad. By the end of my second week, I was asked to stay on through February to build what I had planned.
I demurred, finished my contract, and returned to Kosovo. I was ambivalent about taking on the project, I was tired of being separated from D.D., and it was, of course, exceedingly dangerous. The Green Zone had been mortared frequently, and one had landed close enough to where we were having dinner that I could hear the shrapnel ricocheting in the street.
Still, I never actually said no.
|The Little Mouth of Horrors|
|"Hitmen are more boring than we make them out to be."|
|Firefighting is Less Dangerous than Being a Car Mechanic|
|Goodbye Liddy, and thanks for the all the fish|
|The Longest Rescue|
|"You look in the mirror and see your body and your face and you think that’s you—but that’s really just the machine you’re riding in."|
|"This created a bubble, and like housing, that bubble has now burst."|
|Where AI is Currently At|
|"Academics who study basic income said the pilot gives a chance to see how the idea plays in a changed economy."|
|"A spacecraft may be possible that could maintain a steady acceleration into and through interstellar space without the need to carry along propellants."|
|“Trump is what happens when you fail to understand our global problems in their interconnected, systemic context.”|
|"John Deere is the largest operator of autonomous vehicles."|
|The End of Doodling|
|"Super-detailed scans of actual human brains that run as models on computers"|
|Religious Loophole to Turn Lights On and Off During Shabbat|
|Extinct Alien Civilisations|