US Spy Satellite Logo Not At All Subtle: Octopus Enveloping The Earth

from the nothing-is-beyond-our-reach dept

Over the past few months, I've certainly wondered quite a bit about just how bad the NSA seems to be at recognizing how the public feels concerning what it's doing. This week's revelations about tracking mobile phone locations was incredible because folks at the NSA must have known that information about this program was in Snowden's collection, and yet when they were asked about collecting location info a few months ago, they made statements that would clearly look bad, when put next to the truth:
“We don’t get any cell site or location information as to where any of these phones were located.” -- Keith Alexander
These phones. Under this program. But under this other program we collect pretty much everything. Beyond that, the various "code names" the NSA uses are somewhat revealing as well. Lots of people commented on the insanity of calling the giant database FASCIA. But, at the very least, you could argue that the NSA never expected those code names to be made public. And with the misleading statements, they were still holding out hope that maybe, just maybe, a meteor would magically flatten Glenn Greenwald, Barton Gellman and Laura Poitras before the info got out.

But... how about when the US intelligence community actually does something publicly. Like live tweeting the launch of a new spy satellite. Apparently, they slap the most unsubtle logo on it that you can imagine.
You may not be able to see the logo used on the rocket, but here's a closeup.
Yes, it's an octopus, with tentacles reaching all over the globe. And the tagline is "Nothing is Beyond Our Reach."

Sure. They're spies. This is what they do. But, somehow, you'd think that maybe, just maybe, someone with a tiny bit of sense back there at the office of the director of national intelligence would think that, "gee, a lot of people around the globe are pretty fucking angry at us for all the spying we're doing right now. maybe we shouldn't be spitting in their faces, mocking their concerns, and reminding them that we're blatantly evil people who really don't give two shits about their privacy."

Of course, that would take some actual recognition of what anyone thinks of them, and that doesn't seem to be part of the way that the US intelligence community operates.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Ninja (profile), Dec 6th, 2013 @ 4:07am

    But, somehow, you'd think that maybe, just maybe, someone with a tiny bit of sense back there at the office of the director of national intelligence would think that, "gee, a lot of people around the globe are pretty fucking angry at us for all the spying we're doing right now. maybe we shouldn't be spitting in their faces, mocking their concerns, and reminding them that we're blatantly evil people who really don't give two shits about their privacy."

    Actually they gave it some careful thought. They didn't use Cthulhu in the logo.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 5:55am

    No idea

    In fairness, you wouldn't expect a spy agency to know what people are saying about them, would you? How would they even get that sort of information? How many haystacks would they need before they even get that tiny needle?

     

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    DerivedVariable, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 5:55am

    On the tpoic of badges...

     

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    FHuminski (profile), Dec 6th, 2013 @ 5:56am

    Haven't I seen this logo (or one like it) before?

    Oh that's right...it was in the 1966 Batman movie...

    http://images1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20110913193619/batman/images/2/2d/51JL.jpg

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 6:04am

    At this point, the NSA may as well call itself SPECTRE. Sadly in our universe, the suave British spies work for them, too.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 6:06am

    Their true agenda slipping out isn't a bug, it's a feature.

     

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 6:17am

    Google's logo is more like brain worms.

    The focus on NSA -- just its logo here at Techdirt -- misses about nine-tenths of the spying and collating done on everyone. As I wrote (now way back) when the Snowden "leak" came out, distant NSA takes the heat for the whole spy system, especially off its commercial co-conspirators. Since NSA can get anything Google or Facebook have, the system is sheer fascism.

    Edward Snowden: Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, Apple, and the rest of our internet titans must ask themselves why they aren't fighting for our interests the same way -- Ed, those soul-less amoral entities care only about the billions they get BEING snoops!

    02:16:21[c-257-3] [ This suppresses the kids from fraud of using my screen name. And boy, do they need suppressing! ]

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 9:18am

      Re: Google's logo is more like brain worms.

      Actually, this comment was flagged by Mike, and by Mike alone.

       

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    justok (profile), Dec 6th, 2013 @ 6:17am

    Release the kraken for the hackin'!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 6:26am

    i suppose it gives the motto of 'we've got it covered' a new meaning, eh?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 6:47am

    "we're blatantly evil people"

    Nothing quite like generalizing so as to insult an organization staffed by persons (many likely even your neighbors) who are by no stretch of any definition (save perhaps yours) "evil". Feel free to take poetic license to a point, but this is not one such point.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 7:19am

      Re:

      BTW, IMO is has the hallmarks of an ill-conceived logo, much like the absurd song that won $5K of our money awarded by the Dept. of HHS to a teenager who apparently has no concept of the fact that things cost money, and money does not magically appear out of thin air.

       

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      jupiterkansas (profile), Dec 6th, 2013 @ 7:25am

      Re:

      An organization can do horribly evil things even if everyone in the organization thinks that what they are doing is good and they are generally decent, neighborly people.

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 6th, 2013 @ 8:33am

      Re:

      Nothing quite like generalizing so as to insult an organization staffed by persons (many likely even your neighbors) who are by no stretch of any definition (save perhaps yours) "evil". Feel free to take poetic license to a point, but this is not one such point.

      I see. You've gone from your usual position of making totally false statements to now taking my comments completely out of context and pretending I said something I did not. When put back *into* context, I'm pretty clearly not calling the NSA "evil." I'm saying that the logo screams out "we're evil!" which is why it was probably a mistake.

      But, point taken that you don't seem to mind them spying on everyone but it crosses the line to call violating everyone's rights as "evil."

       

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        Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Dec 6th, 2013 @ 9:06am

        Re: Re:

        I'm saying that the logo screams out "we're evil!" which is why it was probably a mistake.
        Would have been clearer if you'd used "suggesting that we're blatantly evil people" instead of "reminding them that we're blatantly evil people"

         

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      John Fenderson (profile), Dec 6th, 2013 @ 9:00am

      Re:

      Yes, it is one such point. Evil is as evil does. If an organization is doing evil, then everyone who works for that organization is doing evil, however "good" they may otherwise be.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 9:11am

        Re: Re:

        But now we get into the difference between doing evil and being evil. Can you do evil without being evil, so long as you are under the mistaken impression that you are doing good? If so, is there a threshold at which you must indeed be evil just from the sheer amount of evil you've done, even if you continue your naive belief in the good you are doing?

         

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      Benjamin C. Wade, Dec 8th, 2013 @ 6:54pm

      02170

      That's the point. Ordinary, everyday, (otherwise)decent people doing evil at the bidding of their "superiors." Read Milgram's study in obedience someday. While imperfect, they show what decent people can do when given orders by someone they believe is in authority.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

       

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    Trails (profile), Dec 6th, 2013 @ 6:49am

    Right, so...

    HAIL HYDRA!

     

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      Jim B, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 7:12am

      Re: Right, so...

      That is exactly what I thought when I read the headline. The motto of cut off one head and two more take its place is also fitting. Every time one is put in the spotlight two others are doing something worse.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 7:03am

    When I first saw this logo earlier via twitter I immediately passed it off as satire. I still think you gotta be shitting me.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 7:39am

    Deep cover technologists

    Perhaps whoever designed the logo was unsubtle on purpose, and his/her intention was to "spit in their faces, mock their concerns, and remind them that we're blatantly evil people".

    But why would they do that?

    My theory is that there are deep cover technologists hidden within the NSA who make it act in the most extreme way possible, to help discredit it and weaken its influence.

     

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    McCrea (profile), Dec 6th, 2013 @ 7:40am

    People forgot about hops.

    Hated how popular news, and I thought the TD article, only mentioned if there's a possible connection to a possible terrorist. No, remember it's more like a possible connection to a possible connection to a possible connection to possible terrorist.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 7:45am

    Fine... It's not the NSA...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 8:01am

    I presume everyone realizes that the mission logo was chosen before the Snowden revelations.

     

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      nasch (profile), Dec 6th, 2013 @ 8:41am

      Re:

      I presume everyone realizes that the mission logo was chosen before the Snowden revelations.

      Even so, this was publicly announced. Nobody thought, hey, let's get a can of spray paint and cover that up because it looks really bad.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 10:39am

        Re: Re:

        Well, it's a known fact that the ODNI sucks at PR. Case in point: they still let Clapper open his mouth in public. So it's no shocker that they would think this was a good idea.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 11:25am

        Re: Re:

        Kind of late when mission patches and coins with the logo are already widely available. As for the "public announcement," it was mostly back page stuff that people generally ignore.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 8:07am

    Can't tell

    I honestly can't tell which of the following situations is true...

    1) The Intelligence community is so completely out of touch with reality because they honestly thought this was a good idea.

    2) The Intelligence community is simply saying, fuck you we can do whatever we want because no one will stop us.

    3) The Intelligence community is simply trolling the world and whatever it is launching is benign.

     

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      sciamiko (profile), Dec 6th, 2013 @ 8:23am

      Re: Can't tell


      2) The Intelligence community is simply saying, fuck you we can do whatever we want because no one will stop us.

      I think you've got it right there. They believe they have the capability and are going to use it whatever anyone says. Spies are in the business of manipulating others and have no regard to what anyone thinks of them doing so.
      It's the sort of psychopathic behaviour that will brazen everything out right up until someone takes their toys away.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 8:41am

    You used the word evil in the context of everyone within the organization, so please spare me that I have taken your words out of context.

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 6th, 2013 @ 10:07am

      Re:

      You used the word evil in the context of everyone within the organization, so please spare me that I have taken your words out of context.

      Haha. You totally took what I said out of context and I called you on it and you can't even admit that you look completely foolish. Incredible. You're a piece of work.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 10:37am

        Re: Re:

        I now appreciate your point. It is not what you actually said, but your "intent" in how you used it.

        Mea culpa for taking your words at face value.

         

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          Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 6th, 2013 @ 11:29am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I now appreciate your point. It is not what you actually said, but your "intent" in how you used it.

          Mea culpa for taking your words at face value.


          Uh no. You directly took my words out of context. You did the opposite of taking them at face value. It would be like me taking your "mea culpa" and saying "it's so nice to see you finally admit that you made a giant mistake."

          You know that you're not admitting that. I know that you're not admitting it. Only a complete moron who takes others words out of context would think otherwise. You're not that moronic, are you?

           

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    The Real Michael, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 8:49am

    Gee, that emblem doesn't make us look like bullies.

    I can't find it but there was a swastika hidden in plain sight in one or two government emblems.

     

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    mattshow (profile), Dec 6th, 2013 @ 8:55am

    Wow, they actually managed to make the Simpsons look subtle.

    http://blog.lib.umn.edu/isoke001/engaging_justice/americ-try-and-stop-us.jpeg

     

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    Adam, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 9:11am

    So Mike can't believe how out of touch the NSA is? Look what I found hidden under the photo gallery.

    "Alternate HTML content should be placed here.This content requires the MACROMEDIA Flash Player.Get Flash" (All-caps mine.)

    That says volumes to me.

     

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    The Original Anonymous Coward (profile), Dec 6th, 2013 @ 9:34am

    The James Bond graphic designers may have a court case

    Once again, the government may be in for trouble. This is an obvious rip-off of the logo used for Spectre in the James Bond movies. Here's their version:

    http://www.hakes.com/product_images/14/102239/001_big.jpg

     

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    Brazilian Guy, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 9:42am

    Well, i think the logo is proposital, after all they look like massive nerds.

    At wikipedia there is this list of their NRO Launches. The Green Dragon clutching Earth is my favorite of the bunch. Either they are Nerds, or they used to be Illuminati players ( the card game by Steve Jackson Games, not the conspiracy). But yes, very creepy.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_NRO_Launches

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/common s/8/85/NROL19_USA171_patch.jpg

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 9:46am

    It's paint, Mike. It's there to imply they have capabilities that they don't actually have in the hope that everyone else but themselves is fool enough to believe it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 10:27am

    Let's talk about something tangentally related.

    Let's talk about reality imitating fiction

    This is the logo for Majestic 12. A fictional organization in Deus Ex whose goal was to setup a world-wide surveillance infrastructure, which they then used to blackmail every corporate and political leader on Earth into giving into their hostile takeover of the world.

    I'm thinking there was a graphics designer somewhere that knew he was designing the logo of an evil cyberpunk organization, and played his part with a smile and a nod.

     

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    Krish (profile), Dec 6th, 2013 @ 11:37am

    It's actually not logo. It's a mission patch:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mission_patch

    It's kinda like a tee shirt given out to people affiliated with the launch. They have a long tradition of being weird and kinda unsettling:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_NRO_Launches

    I like the one for launch 49 with the motto "Better the Devil you Know":

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NROL49_patch.jpg

     

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    Oolong Kaloofid, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 12:58pm

    I strongly object to lowering an intelligent animal like an octopus to the level of the NSA. Call ASPCA!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 1:13pm

    "...we're blatantly evil people..."


    Above a snippet from a quote you made up that an exec at the NSA should probably have asked before approving the use of what I readily admit is a stupid graphic given what has been reported over the past several months. My original comment was meant to convey that there is a distinction between an organization and those who are in its employ. While I do not share your view that the NSA is inherently evil (it does do a heck of a lot more than what has been discussed on this site), I obviously take issue with anything that can even remotely be interpreted as those in its employ sharing that same characteristic.

    And, BTW, Wyden set Clapper up, leaving Clapper with no choice but to answer as he did in order to not disclose, directly or indirectly, classified information.

     

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      nasch (profile), Dec 6th, 2013 @ 2:39pm

      Re:

      And, BTW, Wyden set Clapper up, leaving Clapper with no choice but to answer as he did in order to not disclose, directly or indirectly, classified information.

      And he chose to lie, so now we know that not disclosing classified information is more important to him than not lying to Congress.

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 6th, 2013 @ 3:06pm

      Re:

      While I do not share your view that the NSA is inherently evil (it does do a heck of a lot more than what has been discussed on this site), I obviously take issue with anything that can even remotely be interpreted as those in its employ sharing that same characteristic.

      Why do you continue to insist on taking what I said out of context? I did NOT say that the NSA is inherently evil, nor do I believe it. The *quote* was clearly pointing out that they should have realized that MAKING THEMSELVES LOOK TO BE EVIL is a monumentally stupid move. I don't understand how I can be any clearer.

      Put the snippet in context and you'd understand what it meant. Why you insist on misrepresenting what I said -- as you have for years, is known only to your sick and demented mind.

      And, BTW, Wyden set Clapper up, leaving Clapper with no choice but to answer as he did in order to not disclose, directly or indirectly, classified information.

      You don't want to start on that bullshit again. We wiped the floor with that last time. Now you're just trolling. You really are not nearly as smart as you seem to think you are.

       

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        nasch (profile), Dec 6th, 2013 @ 3:31pm

        Re: Re:

        The *quote* was clearly pointing out that they should have realized that MAKING THEMSELVES LOOK TO BE EVIL is a monumentally stupid move.

        I don't think it was that clear. You've now explained it clearly, but "reminding them that we're blatantly evil people" definitely sounds like you think they're evil people. I don't think it was phrased very well to communicate what you meant to say. I don't think it's as big a deal as this guy is making it out to be, though.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 4:10pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          If it makes anyone feel better, I DO think they're all evil - every single one of them, without any question at all.

           

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            mdpopescu (profile), Dec 7th, 2013 @ 12:16pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            This. I am sick of people defending cops (to use a different example) because "they're not all bad". Yes they are; if they weren't, they'd arrest the ones we know to be this bad.

            Same thing applies to the NSA. The only one of them to do something about it was Snowden. All the others are evil.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Dec 7th, 2013 @ 2:16pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You mean to say that all "worker-bees", no matter what their job, are evil beyond redemption? I am sure the ladies in the cafeteria are at this very moment plotting their next metadata-interception lunch menu.

               

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                AwakeSmellingCoffee, Dec 8th, 2013 @ 6:17am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                When one realizes their employer is insidious, one either quits or joins that insidiousness. The fact that others may depend on your almighty dollar makes you no less insidious. Playing dumb is no excuse. If your supervisor commands you, "Look not at the terminal screen, lest you see the truth.", and you actually avert your eyes, then you're super-special boot-licking insidious.

                 

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                Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2013 @ 5:26pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I mean to say that you're stupid and sycophantic beyond redemption.

                 

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 4:15pm

        Re: Re:

        The use of "reminding them" in the quote was not helpful to an understanding of the point you were trying to make.

        As for Wyden, yes, on an infrequent basis I give in to a trollish impulse.

         

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    ndrew, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 3:46pm

    It's the Rothschild octopus. It was prominently featured in the 2012 occult Olympic closing ceremonies.

     

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    Peris, Dec 7th, 2013 @ 6:16am

    NSA tone-deafness

    Of course, that would take some actual recognition of what anyone thinks of them, and that doesn't seem to be part of the way that the US intelligence community operates.

    Like recognizing what Snowden thought of them, for instance?

    Can there be a more insular organization than the NSA? This the kind of antisocial behavior that insularity breeds, produced by the great wall we have put around them. Kinda like our own little North Korea.

    Similarly, I think economic sanctions are in order.

     

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    krfuykrf, Dec 7th, 2013 @ 10:21am

    Let's not all call this irrelevant now...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danny_Casolaro

     

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    Anonymous, Dec 7th, 2013 @ 5:10pm

    Over 60 comments and not one Jefferson Starship "Red Octopus" reference?!
    (Guess I just made one.)

     

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    GEMont, Dec 7th, 2013 @ 6:15pm

    No escape from reality...

    "In order to defeat the next Evil Empire, we must become the next Evil Empire."

    Mission accomplished.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2013 @ 12:00am

    A disgrace

    It is an absolute disgrace that we have more spy satellites looking down on us than looking out on the galaxy. The sheer small mindedness is mind-blowingly depressing. You create hubble telescopes - and keep it down on earth out of greed and paranoia! I shudder to think how much progress has been held back by these morons running the show.

     

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