I was reading an email from my grandfather. He was replying to me, after receiving something I'd written to a relative about him that seemed favorable. One focus on the letter was about how he had read my website in the past and cited several sentences from it which were supposed to be indication or justification of why he did not communicate... he didn't even know what those sentences meant (and still didn't).
I didn't remember writing the letter being cited, nor did I recognize any of the quotes. Puzzled, I was trying to understand the letter when I heard his voice, and then realized he was behind me and had been talking.
me: "I'm sorry, I was totally zoned out reading this letter from you, so I didn't hear a thing you've said."
grandfather: "Yeah, that's ok."
me: "I wonder if they've done a study, where people are reading letters from someone, if that decreases the likelihood that they'll notice if that person starts speaking while in the room with them. As if they're in a mindset where you're already virtually 'hearing' their voice in your head, so you just integrate it with what you're already reading."
grandfather: (chuckling) "Well, I guess that's possible."
Because the letter was about opening a channel of communication, I decided to ask a question. I know little about his medical career, he was a general practitioner and not a researcher.
me: "Did you ever have a theory, or study some kind of effect like that, and get it published?"
We suddenly were taken to a lab room. There were people frozen in it, as if we'd walked into some moment of history. Paperwork regarding the study was there, as well as the chemicals and things they had been using. I could make out some of it... and it had to do with the effects of lavender oils and other materials on schizophrenia. The study had been started in 1905 and continued for many years.
There was a dusty book that he pointed out to me on a shelf in the office. It was a light brown, and was information about the UNICODE standard--an unusual book to be in a doctor's office.
me: "Considering that we're talking, and you're dead, how did it come to be that you navigated us to this frozen room?"
He raised a hand and a map descended from the ceiling.
grandfather: "As for the location coordinates, you just touch the part of the map right here."
me: "After death, how long was it before you had access to this, um, interface? Was there a period of judgment, or, um..."
grandfather: "Funny, I don't remember exactly, but as far as I can tell it was relatively instantaneous. We could ask the Greek Gods about the details."
At that moment, a fairly ordinary-looking woman walked in the room, with dark hair and wearing dark clothes. I was under the impression that she was supposed to be one of the Greek Gods who had been summoned. She looked at me:
her: "Who are you?"
me: "No one to be concerned about. Well, unless you're concerned about some guy who's asleep waking up and taking back secrets behind how the spirit world works and making it open and comprehensible to everyone!"
her: "It's not in your power to sacrifice that. Even if you could, you wouldn't have the right to."
me: "I think information is everyone's right."
her: "Well think about things like device drivers, opening up that development to the entire world. When you buy a computer with a cheap printer, they don't just write a solid printer driver. They write one that doesn't work, and put all kinds of hooks in for bugs. Then they install all kinds of other software you don't need that uses the hooks."
me: "Security through obscurity isn't real security."
I woke up somewhere around here, before I could make some kind of broader argument back. My last line there is what I wanted to say though I probably didn't get it out that cleanly.
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