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A failure to communicate [22 Apr 2007|09:25pm]

On Meet the Press today, Tim Russert asked US Secretary of Education Margaret Spelling whether adding new security measures to university campuses would cost money.

Her answer: The potential for additonal resources is implicated.

When people speak like this, it means they are not actually trying to communicate. They are just treading conversational water, and trying to give the appearance that they have intelligently answered the question.

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A failure to communicate, part deux [22 Apr 2007|10:23pm]

I attempted conversation with United's voice recognition system today.

It asked me for my reservation number. It said I should say I don't know if I did not know it. Usually I would know this information. But through some mystery that I have still not solved, the e-mail confirmation for the reservation I needed to cancel is nowhere to be found. I was even beginning to question whether I ever bought the ticket in the first place.

I don't know, I said.

You said L-F-G-D-Z-A. Is that correct?

The conversation, such as it was, turned out to be pointless. I was hoping to salvage some kind of credit from the $105 ticket to Denver, for use at a later indeterminate date. But the real human who rode in to bail out the flustered paternal robot informed me that I would have to pay a $115 change fee (plus any difference in fare) in order to use the ticket in the future. The human seemed not to understand why I thought that was preposterous. Perhaps it wasn't a human at all. The automaton theory is further supported by the fact that she, after I had canceled my reservation, asked me whether I would be interested in a car rental from Herz.

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