Signal to Noise

“So there’s a signal?” asked Groesbeck.

“Not really. It’s more like a harmonic effect.” Adams was the communications specialist. “It’s a distortion of the electromagnetic fields that are all around us every day. But it is growing stronger.”

“Harmonic effect; it’s unintentional, then?”

“Almost certainly. At worst, a single source that’s just picked up and retransmitted, reinforced by other signals from the cell phone towers and such.”

The third member of the group, Franklin, suddenly perked up. He began a Google search as the conversation continued.

“It sounds harmless enough.”

“I thought so too,” Adams replied. “But there’s research just out from Columbia. There may be some low-level behavioral effects.”

Unnoticed in the background, Franklin laughed quietly to himself and changed the parameters of his internet search.

“What sort of effects?”

“This harmonic buildup taking place does seem to affect the human brain subtly. The researchers at Columbia suggest it acts as an aggression-suppressant, like low dosage Lithium.”

“So…” Groesbeck thought aloud, “Less crime and aggressive violence, in general. But also lowered achievement drive, competition, impaired memory and concentration… Yeah, Uncle Sam’s going to need a solution.”

“Well, it’s going to take major network overhauls and shielding, won’t be cheap or fast. There might be some short-term palliatives while we clean it up.”

“You mean like this.” Franklin turned his monitor around with glee. On his screen was a popular conspiracy-theorist website, featuring an image of a man wearing a hat made from tin foil.

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