Is this supposed to be reassuring?

The Obama administration is increasingly confident that China's government, not criminal hackers, was responsible for the extraordinary theft of personal information about as many as 14 million current and former federal employees and others, The Associated Press has learned. One sign: None of the data has been credibly offered for sale on underground markets popular among professional identity thieves.

Whew! For a moment there I thought someone stole the information for nefarious purposes. No shake-up at the agency is anticipated:

White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Wednesday said President Barack Obama continues to have confidence in OPM's director, Katherine Archuleta.

Wasn’t her fault, after all. The OPM agency head explains away the lack of security thus:

"It is not feasible to implement on networks that are too old." She added that the agency is now working to encrypt data within its networks.

That’s a relief. The horses are out and gone and the barn burned down and the bank repossessed the farm, but they’re working to effect a strategy to optimize the procedure for prioritizing the process for requisitioning a new lock for the door. Here’s the part that makes some people wonder whether the level of stupidity at the agency has created a new standard against which all other stupidity will be judged. Arstechnica:

Some of the contractors that have helped OPM with managing internal data have had security issues of their own—including potentially giving foreign governments direct access to data long before the recent reported breaches. A consultant who did some work with a company contracted by OPM to manage personnel records for a number of agencies told Ars that he found the Unix systems administrator for the project "was in Argentina and his co-worker was physically located in the [People's Republic of China]. Both had direct access to every row of data in every database: they were root.

Yes. China had root. In the real world, this is the look you might be given if you had to tell your boss you gave China root.

THE HORROR Newsweek sent a brave fellow to drive one of the loneliest stretches of road in the land. You may recall yesterday’s quote about journalists’s dislike of malls may color their reporting; well, here’s another bit of self-admission that makes you wonder why you should read the nine billion words that follow.

Driving is one of the dreaded chores of the modern American experience. Few do it with pleasure or for pleasure. It is often expensive and sometimes dangerous.

Speak for yourself, lad. Everything is bad now, but don’t fear: even before the new age of wonders dawns, they can ruin that too.

There will then come a time, and come soon, when a teenager accustomed only to the gentle purr of an iAuto will listen to “Born to Run” and feel no goose bumps from Bruce Springsteen’s growling evocation of highways “jammed with broken heroes on a last-chance power drive,” for the only highways known to this coddled and hapless youth will be the sleek, “smart” roads of the pixelated age: Facebook Freeway, Apple Turnpike, Cloud Storage Solutions Highway. He will coast along in perfect safety, perfectly bored.

As opposed to the pleasureless dread of today. Well, if you’re interested, the fellow survives the drive across the desert’s loneliest stretch. It’s 297 miles. That’s like, oh, Stillwater to Fargo.

LAW Fusion has a line that sums up where we are as a culture: “Three years ago, we didn’t have a broadly-accepted term for the category of sex tape Hulk Hogan was featured in.” No, we certainly didn’t. More on why the Hulk Hogan case is do-or-die for the internet snark factory, here. Gawker’s founder says this is about principles. Those deeply held Gawker principles.

According to Capital New York, Denton told his staff that the company will argue that “we’re fighting for the truth to hold elites accountable … whether that light exposes a Florida celebrity having a swingers party invited by the host to have sex with his wife—whether it’s that or whether it’s the fact that the system is rigged and people can’t make it.”

Quite a nice philosophical continuum you’ve got there, Nick. Shame if anything . . . .happened to it.