07 June 2016

Aristotle deleted

Just imagine: you receive an e-mail from someone called 'Desert Scorpion' with the message that Aristotle's lost writings, including the dialogue De Philosophia, but also lots more, have been miraculously found in the Syrian desert, accidentally unearthed by a drone-fired missile.
Unfortunately, the scrolls fell into the hands of Islamists, who burnt them as unislamic.
To prove that they had had them and rub salt into the West's wound, however, they painstakingly photographed and digitized all of them, and put them on their web-site for propaganda purposes.
U.S. cyber-warriors took down the Islamists' web-site, inadvertently destroying also all the happily rediscovered, digitized Aristotelean manuscripts..
But shortly before this U.S. cyber-intervention, an alert individual calling himself Desert Scorpion had downloaded all the rediscovered Aristotle and encoded it in a blockchain.
Desert Scorpion then sent out an e-mail en masse calling on each recipient to respond, thus securing the existence of the invaluable philosophical documents. If a dozen people worldwide didn't respond by a certain date, the digitized Aristotle would self-destruct, he said.

But you're short of time. You really, really mean to get back to this very important link, but forget. You have super-urgent things to do. Almost all the other recipients of the e-mail are also too busy. There were only three clicks by the deadline to save the digital files. The long-lost, but now rediscovered, Aristotelean treasures self-destruct due to the blockchain algorithm.

"That's the way the cookie crumbles," you think to yourself when, weeks later, you recall the ignored e-mail. "Who needs Aristotle, anyway, now that we have modern science?"

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