Thursday, August 08, 2013

Ghost radar!

I'm sick of writing NSA stories and you're sick of reading them. So right now, I'd like to talk about something that happened as I was walking home from breakfast at Mickey D's.

I heard a small boy sobbing and crying for aid: "Can somebody help me?" He stood just outside of his quaint row house.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"My Mommy and Daddy aren't home and I can't go back in," he said.

"Why not?"

"There's a GHOST!" he cried.

"How do you know there's a ghost?" I asked.

"I was down in the basement and I heard it walking. Real loud. And it was on the radar."

"Radar...?" I asked.

"Ghost radar! iPhone!" He started crying again. I later learned that there is an iPhone app called Ghost Radar, which allegedly identifies paranormal activity in any given location.

I informed him that a lot of people don't believe that ghosts exist.

What really concerned me was the idea of a very young child being home alone. I questioned him as to where his mother and father worked.

At that point, a young lady -- of adult age, or nearly so -- popped out of the front door. She identified herself as the boy's sister. Naturally, I was gratified to learn that the youngster had not been left by himself.

I told her that her younger brother had become convinced of the presence of a ghost in the basement.

"No way," she said. "I sleep in that basement every night. No ghosts."

"Were you walking around on the floor above the basement just now?" I asked.

"I guess. Maybe."

A small dog escaped the front door. The boy -- no longer weeping or upset -- merrily went chasing after it.

Does this anecdote have a point? Well, not a political point -- although if you are imaginative enough to discover a political angle, you will have my deep respect.

But perhaps we can draw a practical lesson from this tale. Parents, please be careful as to which apps you let your child use without supervision. And if you do allow a kid to play with your "ghost radar," make sure the youngster understands the concept of the false positive.

So tell me: Has anyone ever had success using the Ghost Radar app?
I disagree completely, about the children. Hopefully that child will learn a valuable lesson in using logic and rational thought from this experience, and the more important lesson not to trust either woo or iPhones.

I'm sure there's a political point to be made, maybe something to do with amber-alerts or something to do with child-related fearmongering, maybe the tiny number of child abductions by strangers or bring it back around to the NSA using stranger danger and kiddy-fiddlers to justify their eavesdropping. Everything's about the NSA.
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