TwitterFacebook

Guardian Author Says Mysterious Godlike Entity Deleted Text for His Snowden Book as He Was Typing

The NSA ate my homework
Weird • Views: 25,314

Rarely do I laugh out loud while reading something on the Internet, but this latest piece from Guardian writer Luke Harding, author of the Guardian’s book on Edward Snowden, provoked a genuine lolwut out of me: Writing the Snowden Files: ‘The Paragraph Began to Self-Delete’.

I was writing a chapter on the NSA’s close, and largely hidden, relationship with Silicon Valley. I wrote that Snowden’s revelations had damaged US tech companies and their bottom line. Something odd happened. The paragraph I had just written began to self-delete. The cursor moved rapidly from the left, gobbling text. I watched my words vanish. When I tried to close my OpenOffice file the keyboard began flashing and bleeping.

Over the next few weeks these incidents of remote deletion happened several times. There was no fixed pattern but it tended to occur when I wrote disparagingly of the NSA. All authors expect criticism. But criticism before publication by an anonymous, divine third party is something novel. I began to leave notes for my secret reader. I tried to be polite, but irritation crept in. Once I wrote: “Good morning. I don’t mind you reading my manuscript - you’re doing so already - but I’d be grateful if you don’t delete it. Thank you.” There was no reply.

A month later the mysterious reader - him, her, they? - abruptly disappeared. At a literary event in Berlin my Guardian colleague David Leigh told a journalist about my unusual computer experiences; he led with the anecdote in a piece for the leftwing daily Taz. After that, nothing. I finished The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man in December.

In idle moments I wonder who might have been my surreptitious editor. An aggrieved analyst at the NSA’s Fort Meade spy city? GCHQ? A Russian hacker? Someone else intent on mischief? Whoever you are, what did you think of my book? I’d genuinely like to know.

Yes, folks, let’s recap. Luke Harding claims that while he was writing his book with OpenOffice, he saw text being deleted right in front of his eyes, not once, but several times over the course of several weeks.

But he did nothing to find out what was going on, or to try to stop it? He didn’t turn off his network connection? He didn’t take out his iPhone and record a video of it happening? He didn’t call the Guardian’s IT department to check his computer for malware? He didn’t check to see if his Delete key was sticking? Didn’t ask his officemates if they were playing a prank on him?

He just watched it happen, over and over? And the only action he took was to write cute little notes to… a godlike entity who was reading every word he typed?

It’s difficult to finish this post because I keep breaking out in laughter, but where do I get one of those cool flashing beeping keyboards? Mine just sits there.

UPDATE at 2/20/14 3:04:03 pm

^ back to top ^

TwitterFacebook

Turn off all ads for a full year by subscribing!
Take advantage of our yearly subscription, and save 50% off the normal subscription price! One-year ad-free subscriptions are just $59.95. Turn off all ads for a full year by subscribing now and save!
Read more...

► LGF Headlines

  • Loading...

► Tweeted Articles

  • Loading...

► Tweeted Pages

  • Loading...

► Top 10 Comments

  • Loading...

► Bottom Comments

  • Loading...

► Recent Comments

  • Loading...

► Tools/Info

► Tag Cloud

► Contact

You must have Javascript enabled to use the contact form.
Your email:

Subject:

Message:


Messages may be published unless you request otherwise.
Tech Note:
Using the Contact Form
LGF Pages

This button leads to the main index of LGF Pages, our user-submitted articles. You can post your own LGF Pages simply by registering a free account with us.

Create a Page

This is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.

Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.

Last updated: 2015-04-18 5:26 pm PDT

LGF User's Guide
Recent Pages
Rocky-in-Connecticut
Outstanding Salon Article…Jindal splintering the GOP
This article by Heather Cox Richardson in Salon contains one of the best and most succinct publications I've ever read concerning the formation and evolution of the modern Conservative movement. It goes on to describe how Jindal has possibly and ...

39 minutes ago
Views: 36 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
Thanos
3 Young Women Jailed in Russia for Twerking Next to Monument
But according to the right it's us who live under tyranny... A court in southern Russia has sentenced three young women to brief jail terms for making a video showing them twerking next to a World War II memorial. Russia ...

4 hours, 12 minutes ago
Views: 127 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 2 • Rating: 1
EiMitch
Cracked: 5 Things You Won’t (Want to) Believe I Saw Guarding US Nukes
cracked.com If there happens to be anyone reading LGF who opposes nuclear disarmament for any reason, you probably need to know that our doomsday arsenal is less secure than a revolving door in a prison. I'm just saying that we're ...

7 hours, 9 minutes ago
Views: 119 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
TheTruthHurts
Israeli settlements profit from Palestinian children
Muhammad is one of hundreds of Palestinian children who has dropped out of school and started working for low wages in exploitive conditions to ensure some Israeli agricultural settlements prosper...

4 days, 8 hours ago
Views: 476 • Comments: 4
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
Higgs Boson's Mate
Sleeping Bear Dunes shipwrecks spotted by helicopter patrol
LEELANAU COUNTY, MI -- A Northern Michigan Coast Guard helicopter crew on routine patrol captured some excellent images of the shipwrecks that dot the waters off Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The Traverse City-based crew posted six photos on ...

5 days, 6 hours ago
Views: 467 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 2 • Rating: 6
CriticalDragon1177
Skepchick - Ad Hominem Fallacy: A Lesson for Sea World ( Video )
Rebecca Watson takes on Sea World, and their attacks on John Hargrove. She takes them to task for attacking him, rather than even trying to refute his allegations, and in the process gives us a lesson in critical thinking. Read ...

6 days, 3 hours ago
Views: 718 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 37 • Rating: 3
lostlakehiker
Solar will soon be as cheap as coal
Better wafer fabrication techniques Inside a sprawling single-story office building in Bedford, Massachusetts, in a secret room known as the Growth Hall, the future of solar power is cooking at more than 2,500 °F. Behind closed doors and downturned blinds, ...

1 week, 1 day ago
Views: 647 • Comments: 16
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 9
FemNaziBitch
IRS Should Crack Down on Private Equity’s Abusive Tax Alchemy
As Warren Buffett famously observed, "...while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks." He was referring to the fact that capital gains earned by wealthy investors are taxed at a ...

1 week, 1 day ago
Views: 446 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 1
philosophus invidius
Bioethicist Live-Tweets Her Son’s Sex-Ed Class
The tweets were simultaneously disturbing and hilarious. "We are going to roll this dice 8 times. Every time your number comes up, in pretend your condom failed and you get a paper baby." JESUS!!! — Alice Dreger (@AliceDreger) April ...

1 week, 3 days ago
Views: 620 • Comments: 7
Tweets: 2 • Rating: 9
Great White Snark
Pope Francis Uses ‘Genocide’ for Killings of Armenians
Grateful Armenia This consternation over the use of the word 'genocide' occurs regularly. And Armenians are equally upset, when Turkey protests it. Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian rebuked Turkey. "We are in a situation in which Turkey speaks a ...

1 week, 6 days ago
Views: 572 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 4
 Frank says:

Don't cry...
Gotta go bye bye...
Suddenly die die...
Cop kill a creep!
Pow pow pow!