1 in 4 Americans Open to Secession

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America the Beautiful, Pat’s Run, April 2014, Tempe, Arizona. by Kevin Dooley via Flickr (cc by 2.0)

Scott Malone writes at Reuters:

The failed Scottish vote to pull out from the United Kingdom stirred secessionist hopes for some in the United States, where almost a quarter of people are open to their states leaving the union, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll found.

Some 23.9 percent of Americans polled from Aug. 23 through Sept. 16 said they strongly supported or tended to support the idea of their state breaking away, while 53.3 percent of the 8,952 respondents strongly opposed or tended to oppose the notion.

The urge to sever ties with Washington cuts across party lines and regions, though Republicans and residents of rural Western states are generally warmer to the idea than Democrats and Northeasterners, according to the poll.

Anger with President Barack Obama’s handling of issues ranging from healthcare reform to the rise of Islamic State militants drives some of the feeling, with Republican respondents citing dissatisfaction with his administration as coloring their thinking.

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Do Conspiracy Theorists Feed on Unsuspecting Internet Trolls?

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Have fun with this one, disinfonauts, found at Pacific Standard:

You know who you are. Somebody posts some daft claim about chemtrailsfaked moon landings, and a supposed connection between vaccines and autism. You step in, trying valiantly to show them the error of their ways.

Well, your plan won’t work. No, if anything, it’ll make it worse.

That’s the conclusion of a new study by a team of Italian computer scientists, physicists, and, yes, social scientists. They scoured data from Italian Facebook—acquired through the publicly available Graph system—that showed how users had interacted with Facebook pages devoted to science news, conspiracy theories, conspiracy debunkers, and satirists and trolls.

Generally speaking, fans of actual science news and fans of conspiracy theories were pretty similar.

Sorting through 1.2 million users in all, the team first identified individuals who had used 95 percent of their likes on either science or conspiracy pages.

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Actually, You ARE the Customer, Not the Product

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Ramez Naam writes at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies:

Don’t believe the hype. You’re the customer, whether you pay directly or by seeing ads. Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: “On the internet, if you’re not paying for something, then you’re not the customer. You’re the product.”

This meme, and its various permutations, are meant to to convey that if you’re not shelling out direct cash for a service, that you should expect to be used by that service. Perhaps. But there are many many things wrong with it. In fact, it’s wrong in almost every way.

You are the customer. You can do things no “product” can do.

Think about the things you can do that a “product” can’t do:

  1. You can stop using the service.  You can deny the company that provides it the revenue you represent. What product ever abandoned its parent company?
  2. You can look around for competitive offerings, and choose one of those. Again, no ‘product’ can do this.
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The War on ISIS: Views From Syrian Activists and Intellectuals

Syrian rebels from the “Al-Qasas Brigade” or “Justice Brigade” run through an olive grove to avoid Syrian Army snipers as they travel between villages on foot in the northwestern Jabal al-Zawiya area. By Freedom House via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Syrian rebels from the “Al-Qasas Brigade” or “Justice Brigade” run through an olive grove to avoid Syrian Army snipers as they travel between villages on foot in the northwestern Jabal al-Zawiya area. By Freedom House via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

via Dissent Magazine:

Conspicuously absent from the debate about ISIS and U.S. intervention—both in the mainstream and in the leftosphere—are Syrian voices. ISIS and U.S. officialdom occupy center stage, leaving the perspectives of Syrian civil society activists and writers out of the equation. While hardly surprising, this omission is troubling.

In an attempt to remedy this imbalance, I asked several Syrians—longtime activists and intellectuals from a range of backgrounds, including Kurdish, Palestinian, and Assyrian Christian—what they think about the ISIS crisis and Western intervention. Here are their responses.

Three Monsters

I am ambivalent about a Western attack against ISIS.

On the one hand, I would like to see this thuggish gang wiped from the face of the earth.

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Welsh Satanic Sex Cult Exposed

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Wales. What do you think of? Choral singing? Rugby? Gareth Bale? But probably not satanic sex cults, right? The Mirror does its best to change that, exposing an alleged cult that had a “twisted ideology, based on a bizarre text called the Book of the Law by Aleister Crowley”:

The victim of a satanic sex cult has told how she will never forgive her “evil” mother for putting her through 11 years of hell at the hands of the sick group.

Annabelle Forest was initiated into a notorious sex cult that operated from a quiet Welsh cul-de-sac by her own mum at the age of seven.

Even worse, she was abused by her mother as a teenager under the orders of the cult’s leader Colin Batley – the man she can’t even bring herself to name.

Now a mum herself and living happily in another part of the UK, Annabelle has taken the brave step of recounting her horror in a bid to get others to speak out about suspected abuse.

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CIA brags about media manipulation and more

In the latest Freedom of Information Act CIA disclosure, the agency reveals media manipulation, foreign covert operations details, and a moment by moment account of being by Bush’s side the morning of 9/11 and more.

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via The Intercept:

The CIA has declassified a trove of articles from its in-house journal, Studies in Intelligence. Ostensibly a semi-academic review of spycraft, Studies emerges in the pieces, which date from the 1970s to the 2000s, as so much more, at turns mocking excessive secrecy and bad writing, dishing on problematic affairs, and bragging about press manipulation.

Of course, there is plenty of self-serious material in the journal too, including scholarly reviews, first-person memoirs, interviews and intellectual ruminations on everything from maps to “How We Are Perceived” and “Ethics and Clandestine Collection.”

The CIA posted the hundreds of declassified articles to its FOIA site. Here are a few that caught our eye.

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Man who ate napkins to conceal insider trading pleads guilty

By Ged Carroll via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

By Ged Carroll via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

via Reuters:

A Brooklyn, New York mortgage broker, who would scribble secret stock tips on napkins and pass them to an accomplice in Grand Central station before eating them, pleaded guilty to insider trading on Friday, federal prosecutors said.

Frank Tamayo, 41, was the middleman in what prosecutors called a three-man scheme that generated $5.6 million in illegal profits over five years, based on tips about a dozen transactions being negotiated by a prestigious New York law firm.

Tamayo, who had been cooperating with authorities, pleaded guilty to securities fraud, tender offer fraud, and conspiracy charges in the federal court in Trenton, New Jersey, according to U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman in New Jersey.

The defendant also agreed to forfeit more than $1 million, the contents of two brokerage accounts, and a 2008 Audi Q7. He faces up to 20 years in prison on the fraud counts.

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DatC #047 – The Witch’s Eight Paths of Power with Lady Sable Aradia

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047_lady_sable_aradiaHello and thank you once again for joining me down at the crossroads for some music, magick, and Paganism. Where witches gather for the sabbath, offerings are made, pacts are signed for musical fame and we cross paths with today’s most influential Pagans, occultists, and deep thinkers. Tonight, we meet with witch, High Priestess, blogger, and author Lady Sable Aradia to discuss her new book The Witch’s Eight Paths to Power: A complete course in magick and witchcraft. We have a great, friendly, and open discussion as we go into her experiences with writing the book as well as delving into some of its more controversial aspects, like ritual drug use, such as the incorporation of intoxicants and entheogens, and the heavy topic of sex in initiation within certain forms of traditional based Wicca.

In his Book of Shadows, Gerald Gardner writes about the witch’s Eightfold Way as a means of developing one’s magickal abilities.

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