As high-tech as information has become, the low-tech ways of acquiring it are still very much in practice. In fact, CIA "black bag jobs" -- wherein government agents go on foot into people's homes to plant bugs, rifle through drawers, copy hard drives, and eat the rest of the Milanos in the pantry -- are currently being used at levels we haven't seen since the Cold War. Always remember, no spy agency has cracked the riddle that is two cans affixed to a piece of twine.
North Korea Will Fix Your Missiles for Sugar
A North Korean ship departing from Cuba was recently stopped at the Panama Canal. What was on board? 240 tons of Cold War-era missiles, two MIG fighter jets, and 250,000 sacks of sugar, because North Korea doesn't do anything unless it is bizarre enough to be reenacted on an episode of Unsolved Mysteries.
As it turns out, Cuba was sending the old weaponry to North Korea to be refurbished, and the copious bounty of sugar was included as payment. That's right -- North Korea is repairing old Soviet technology in exchange for sugar. Cuba's economic strategy has apparently not changed since the 16th century, as they are still operating on the currency metric of a Caribbean pirate trying to barter his way into the governor's mansion.
On second thought, maybe the sugar was North Korea's idea ...
Check out XJ's $0.99 science-fiction novella on Amazon here, with the sequel OUT NOW. And of course, you should look at his writing blog and poke him on Twitter. And happy birthday Remy!