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Suppose one country wanted to slow the growth of an economic and political rival?

The costs and risks of a direct military attack would greatly exceed any possible benefits. Secretly introducing crop or livestock pests might be significantly less risky, but any nation caught doing that could expect various nasty consequences, especially if the disease spread beyond the borders of the target country.

Small-scale sabotage of the target country's communications, though, might trigger only small-scale retaliation,even if discovered. And it could certainly suppress economic growth. Of course, I would never advocate such a thing.

But what if a fast-growing country sabotaged its own communications? Would any government be stupid enough to do that? Apparently so. Mention certain words, in any context, and your cell phone call drops or your email doesn't go through.

When mentioning "freedom" is banned, can "free radical", "ribonuclease-free", and "free-machining" be far behind? If "protest" is banned, will "in favor of testing" be next? Can I discuss statistical tests, develop a new cancer test, study for the GRE? If I can't announce a political "demonstration", how do I invite people to a demonstration of a new invention?

If you love free-machining aluminum, let's meet at KFC for a t-test !

This could be just the opportunity the US needs to catch up. Of course, we're busy sabotaging ourselves, undermining the basic-research foundation of technological progress, replacing science education with religious indoctrination, and pursuing wars that create new enemies faster than we can kill them....

Let's see, what should we call "evolution" after the creationists take over? "Environmentally acquired inheritance", maybe?

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