ICABOD commented to Quip. “Dr. Quip, I have uncovered new information about one of our target commodity oddities, that being coal. It is not one of your usual sources, but it should not be surprising that social media can be very informative in the posting for current or top-of-mind events. In the more than four hundred current top running social media applications globally I am interrogating, I have observed some basic parallels to the rural party-line telecommunications that use to exist before land lines became common, and way before cellular technology allowed everyone to have their own phone.
“Social media is an excellent vehicle for sharing, in real-time, the important life events that people experience. Depending on the age of the users, their friends and family, as well as the media of choice, it offers some insights. The users can distribute in a one-to-many fashion rather than tell each person in sequence. However, as an emotional outlet for perceived unfair or unjustified circumstances, social media has evolved to become a stage or forum to air grievances, and it can invite disinterested parties to the conversation. As a monitoring tool, social media can be leveraged to aggregate similar information and distill it into quite useful reconnaissance without alerting the advertising parties.”
Quip blinked at the excessive diatribe that ICABOD had launched into and abruptly offered, “What you are saying is that the plummeting coal commodity price chapped somebody’s ass, and they put their complaints into social media de jour?”
ICABOD remained silent for a moment then suggested, “Dr. Quip, there isn’t enough Big Data arrays from the past and present for me to sift through to come up with your rather vulgar but succinct situational analysis.
“I am of course willing to wait for some more of your pithy evaluations, or I can continue if it would please you. I know of your dream of being a late night talk show host, so I would judge that this is good therapy for you.”
Quip groused, “ICABOD, you don’t have to boil the ocean every time we are looking for clues in our information searches. I have you sift through mountains of data so I don’t have to. In those areas where we are looking for obscure clues that are needles in the proverbial haystack, it is unnecessary to tell me all about the haystack. Just net it out so we can take that information to our next decision point. When we need more background on the information point, I will ask. Understand?”
ICABOD acknowledged, “Understood, Dr. Quip.”
About that time Wolfgang joined Quip in his office and proudly stated, “Well, I’ve finally got some financial leads on the coal commodities problem. It looks like it all started back in 1880 when they first began hauling the product to market. There was a high affinity with hauling oil as well. The financial dealings with both of these commodities apparently lends itself to weight shorting, delivery irregularities, and some financial sleight of hand.
“Brokering commodities seems to be a good ‘ol boy network that is quite resistant to proper weights and measures, which suggests a high correlation to organized crime. With the growth in populations and settlements into communities and cities, the demand has increased. With that demand, the control over a given commodity has centered on those that seized the opportunity early on. From there the industry created a significant lever for control. The resulting back room deals lend themselves rather handsomely to income tax evasion and price setting as a way of life.”
Quip’s eyes glazed over as Wolfgang’s offering closely approximated ICABOD’s earlier monolog. Wolfgang continued, “Now these Dark Matter Organizations, or DMOs, don’t appear to be part of the commodity gaming institutions that are in current operation. My beginning assumption was that the financial footprints of these DMOs must be as cloaked as these operators are.
“I built a reverse financial algorithm to only look for non-associated money movements, but only on a parallel but not necessarily parabolic course. And voile’! A pattern emerges that is almost identical to these commodity anomalies. So now what I want to do is …”
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