For years, Bruce Sterling has been blogging about political sex scandals around the world, calling them "centipedes" — today, he's defined the term in a little essay explaining why they're so darned interesting, speaking sociopoliticotechnically.
Centipedes are new phenomena because the barriers-to-entry in media have crashed. This means that subversive efforts formerly isolated and punished as libel, slander and whispering campaigns can swiftly take on avalanche proportions.
While pretending to be about spontaneous indignation and moral values, centipedes are coolly calculated and all about power.
The asymmetrical advantage that enables a "centipede" is that the conspirators themselves are never outed. They plot, they find a sexual weakness, they accumulate data about it, they launch a scandal from out of the woodwork, and while exposing private deeds to the public glare, the conspirators themselves remain unseen.
My blog lists a host of these political events that have recently taken place in societies all over the world: India, Greece, Poland, Indonesia, South Africa, Britain, USA. (((And Canada.))) I named them "centipedes" because they are segmented, covert, and poisonous. They seem to have a remarkable commonality as a species.