Monday, December 1, 2014

Irish Eyes

The Genius from Clonroche

When I decided to write this piece I emailed Scorpion Computer
Almost immediately I received a phone call from the head man, who set it up. I knew he wasn’t a nine-to-five guy when he told me that he was speaking from LA and that it was 2AM. I was talking to Walter O’ Brien.

39 year old Walter grew up in Clonroche, County Wexford, so why is he the subject of Scorpion, a prime-time TV drama in the United States?

Well, Walter has an IQ of 197 (Einstein’s was 175.) Guess who the TV series Scorpion is based on? “ . . . eccentric genius forms an international network of super-geniuses to act as the last line of defence against the complicated threats of the modern world.” When a journalist asked the producer of Scorpion why so much money was been invested in this high IQ Wexfordman he was told, “Walter personally caught the Boston Marathon bombers. This makes for compelling television.” Elyes Gabel plays O’Brien.

But back to Clonroche. When Walter was nine years old he got his first computer, an Amstrad. He learned everything there was to know about the computer in three days. “I didn’t eat or sleep for three days. I just took the computer apart.” Brian Flood, Principal, Courtnacuddy NS, where Walter was a pupil told me, “. . . the school community is very proud of his success. “

At the CBS in Enniscorthy he was, needless to say, a pupil apart. He points out that he was useless at hurling. Something unusual for a Wexford man but perhaps like many people of superior intellect, he saw sport as not being very important. Teachers didn’t always know how to deal with his many questions and things took a dramatic turn when he was thirteen. He had been hacking into the systems of some of the world’s largest and most powerful institutions, including NASA.

He was recently asked about it by Ryan Tubridy on the Late Late Show. He replied “There are things I can’t talk about”. But Tubbs managed to extract, “Yes, I got into a bit of trouble for hacking.” However, if you make a few discreet enquiries around Clonroche or Ballymachessy you will be told that one day when the young teenager arrived home from school, there were a number of formidable men from the USA there to arrest him. And what happened next? According to a Clonroche native, “Young O ‘Brien reached into his schoolbag and took out a prepared extradition waiver and told his visitors that if they signed it he would show them the inadequacies in their system.“

Colonroche: 1
USA: nil.
At 16 he was ranked first in national high speed computer problem solving competitions. Two years later he competed in the World Olympics in Informatics and has ranked as high as the sixth fastest programmer in the world. When he was in his mid-twenties, the United States Department of Homeland Security certified Walter as being of National Interest to the United States economy and granted him an Extraordinary Ability EB 1-1 Visa (also granted to Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill).

His team is now a think- tank for hire that provides intelligence on demand as a concierge service for funded challenges through Since 1988, this team of world class experts partner with clients on a global basis, across industries, to add real measurable value in mission-critical initiatives from planning, to execution, to running the business. Scorpion's senior management has a collective knowledge of more than 413 technologies, 210 years in IT, and 1,360 projects. Walter himself has created over 177 unique technology inventions.

Walter O'Brien

He is a very modest man. He wouldn’t bother mentioning that he met the Queen in October and when a journalist asked him how he rescued a young female journalist, detained in Libya, two days after she was arrested. He said, ”Oh, we partnered with the largest private military group in the US . . .”

The man from Clonroche points out that although he has an IQ which is the fourth highest ever recorded he has a very low EQ (Emotional Quotient.) This means that he is not diplomat material. Despite the fact that he is 22 points higher than Einstein on the Cattel scale he would be inclined to answer honestly if a female asked if her posterior looked large in a particular garment. I’m not sure if he agrees with my own opinion that such a lack of hypocrisy is an asset; I happen to believe that the world would be a better place if more people had low EQs and there was more frankness and honesty and consequently more people to enable us to see ourselves as God sees us. He does admit that dating was always difficult for him; I’m not suggesting that he ever said “you don’t sweat much for a fat girl” but I know what he means. However, he stresses that in this area his own “filter is broken” but emotional intelligence can be learned.

Perhaps he agrees with Euripides that geniuses ,” . . .pay a high price for being intelligent, wisdom hurts” but he doesn’t only employ geniuses at Scorpion Computer Services, he also recruits high EQ people who teach the geniuses how to behave as “humans.” So there you have it.


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