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By now, everyone has heard. Someone spilled the beans, the cat's out of the bag, the information is out in the ether, and now there are beans and cats everywhere. Granted, it's not that hard to clean up beans, and whoever thought it would be difficult to put a cat back in a bag has never had a cat and a bag. So let's assume we're talking about a cat with a bag phobia and some unusually entropic beans. The point is that this information will never return from the ether. Now that it is known, it cannot be unknown. Which I suppose is true of all information.

Let me start over.

After two years of digging, The Washington Post dropped a story today that was so large they built a whole microsite around it with maps and slideshows and stuff. Reporters have uncovered what they call Top Secret America, a growing segment of the US government that "has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work." Somewhere, Tom Clancy is dusting off his Smith Corona.

The existence of a secret government network is several shades paler than shocking, though the scope of this thing is admittedly a bit impressive. Washington, DC is the epicenter of some 854,000 individuals with top-secret security credentials, spread in overlapping jurisdictions across the country. You would think they'd have leveraged these resources to produce at least one decent sports team, but it's too late for that, because now we all know. The truth, as Mulder would say, is out there. In a handy, easily-navigable microsite.

Surely such sophisticated readers as yourselves have sniffed out where this is going. There's no sense in flittering about like a titmouse, so I'll come right out and say what you have no doubt begun to suspect. Yes, Analog Nation is part of Top Secret America.

Our full designation is the National Initiative for Covert Scientific Signals Intelligence (Analog Division). Funded by creative math deep within the Department of Energy's budget, the Initiative's mandate is to monitor communications and alert the public when scientific developments carry unintended potential. Our sources are the blackest of black-ops. Our specific level of codeword clearance is itself classified information. So if, for example, we were to casually mention that dolphins have been spotted roaming the seas in massive "superpods," or that one of our continents has cracked in half to begin forming a new ocean, you'll just have to trust us. These stories are connected, and indicate that dry land's hilarious run may have run its course — Earth is kinda sick of our shit.

And if that's the stuff we here at Analog Nation are telling you, what about the stuff we aren't telling you? Best you leave that to us. Sleep soundly at night, and let us maintain our vigil. Beans and cats, people. Beans and cats.