The Weird, Wild World of Micronations Where Anybody Can Be King

Fancy being a king or queen? Just start your own micronation, which is easier than you might think per Bloomberg Business:

The e-mail was signed “Regards, His Excellency. President Kevin Baugh, Republic of Molossia.”

His Excellency, President Kevin Baugh of Molossia

His Excellency, President Kevin Baugh of Molossia


Come again?

No, you’re not forgetting your ex-Soviet bloc geography. Molossia is not on any world map. But what does exist—”everything a country has,” Baugh asserted earlier in his missive, “a bank, a post office, a railroad, and an active navy”—you’ll find on a dusty, sagebrush-pocked sliver of Nevada desert. It’s a “sovereign, independent nation” as far as “His Excellency” is concerned, and a bizarre, strange lark to most anyone else.

Welcome to the world of micronations, where everyone can be a benevolent dictator.

MicroCon 2015

There was even a conference earlier this month, the first in the actual U.S. of A., held amid chalkboards and school chairs in a public rec room of Anaheim, Calif.’s Central Library.

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The Automation Loop and its Negative Consequences

GlassCage250I’m currently reading Nicholas Carr’s book The Glass Cage: Where Automation is Taking Us. I think it is an important contribution to the ongoing debate about the growth of AI and robotics, and the future of humanity. Carr is something of a techno-pessimist (though he may prefer ‘realist’) and the book continues the pessimistic theme set down in his previous book The Shallows (which was a critique of the internet and its impact on human cognition). That said, I think The Glass Cage is a superior work. I certainly found it more engaging and persuasive than his previous effort.

Anyway, because I think it raises some important issues, many of which intersect with my own research, I want to try to engage with its core arguments on this blog. I’ll do so over a series of posts. I start today with what I take to be Carr’s central critique of the rise of automation.… Read the rest

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Space travel may be bad for your brain – here’s why

I really hope this is the right flag. NASA/flickr, CC BY

I really hope this is the right flag. NASA/flickr, CC BY

Magdalena Ietswaart, University of Stirling and Paul Dudchenko, University of Stirling

There is bad news for those planning to go to Mars in the near future: a study in mice has suggested that radiation in space could cause cognitive decline in astronauts. However, we know from past research that mental, social and physical exercise can boost cognitive functions. With planned Mars missions moving ever closer, it might be be worth exploring activity as a way to counter radiation damage.

There are many hurdles to overcome to get to Mars. The obvious one, of course, is the amount of time it takes – about eight months. But for those brave enough to attempt such a journey, this may well be acceptable. What could be harder to accept, however, are the harmful galactic cosmic rays you’d be subjected to, produced by supernovae far away from Earth.… Read the rest

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Did Washington Post Columnist Cherry-Pick Estimates on Israel Nukes?

alison-weir-bookWell, then.

Alison Weir via CounterPunch:

Washington Post “Fact Checker” columnist Glenn Kessler chastises Iran’s Foreign Minister for saying that Israel has 400 nuclear weapons.

Specifically, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said: “It’s laughable that Netanyahu has become everybody’s nonproliferation guru. He is sitting on 400 nuclear warheads, nuclear warheads that have been acquired in violation of the NPT.”

In an otherwise valuable article, Kessler uses omission to make the claim of 400 nuclear weapons sound unwarranted, concluding “… his figure is more than double the median for the most recent estimate, and five times higher than another credible estimate. Zarif could make his political point without inflating the numbers. He earns Two Pinocchios.”

However, it appears that perhaps the Pinocchios should actually go to Kessler himself for omitting reports on the subject that didn’t fit his own views, thus skewing the numbers.

For instance, A 2009 study by U.S. think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies stated that an Israeli “stockpile of up to 300-400 weapons is possible.”

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Because the Japanese Lolita Sex Dolls Just Aren’t Creepy Enough

As you may or may not be aware (and trust me, if not, your naivete is about to be shattered forever), there is a company in Japan that makes creepy, creepy life-like Lolita dolls.

Well, Buck Dobson (certainly doesn’t sound like a classically creepy name to me) is taking things a step further. One step beyond, as the kids say.

so very very creepy.

No word yet whether or not they’re compatible with AmericanGirl doll outfits.

For the children, of course. Praise Jeepers.

CSglobe tells the grotesque story:

Abused by his adult sister at the age of 10, Buck Dobson of Denver, Colorado, made his mission to cure pedophiles of their illness. But he says every attempt, such as rehabilitation and outreach programs, seems to have failed, which caused him to look into starting a company that will focus on creating child love dolls, according to Celebtricity.

However, the abuse inspired Dobson to spend most of his adult life working to cure pedophilia.

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Psychic Soldier Exclusive!

Episode 150 of The Cult Of Nick

A breakthrough podcast featuring Psychic Soldier Sarah Adams, her Facebook here.


This is Tabitha-Browne.

Here’s the Heseltine article.

Music by The Decadent Marsupials.

“There is no piece of music that is not slightly elevated by a fart noise as its punctuation point.”

The Honest Book of E.Discordia Chapter 23


Hail Eris!

All Hail Discordia!



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Millennials Don’t Trust Anyone

Hey millennials, who do you trust? No one? The Washington Post says that’s a big deal:

Millennials aren’t, it seems, the trusting type.

Yard Laughs 24/06/14: Millennial

Photo: Isabelle (CC)


Of 10 major societal institutions, just two — the military and scientists — garnered majority support from millennials on the question of whom they trust to do the right thing most of the time. That’s according to new polling by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics of this most-written-and-talked-about generation, which encompasses those ranging in age from 18 to 29.

The lack of trust in longtime pillars of society among millennials is striking both for its depth and its breadth. No one is spared their side-eyed looks.

The media gets its worst — with 88 percent of millennials saying they only “sometimes” or “never” trust the press. Wall Street doesn’t fare much better, with 86 percent of millennials expressing distrust. Congress is at 82 percent. Three in four millennials (74 percent) sometimes or never trust the federal government to do the right thing, and two in three (63 percent) feel the same way about the president.

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Things that are not in the Constitution

rights endowed

Seems like every day there is a new story about something some politician is doing or saying that isn’t in the Constitution. Just in case you’re losing track of exactly how many things are not in the constitution, there is a list linked below. Some of the things that are listed are implied powers. Others are powers that congress adopted through the necessary and proper clause. Some of the things listed are not in the constitution and are government policies that are outright unconstitutional. Others aren’t listed because they are considered state powers. Lastly, lots of the rights listed as not in the constitution are powers protected by the 9th and 10th Amendments. I just wish that they had mentioned that the word “democracy” isn’t in the Constitution.

Have you ever heard someone say, “That’s unconstitutional!” or “That’s my constitutional right!” and wondered if they were right? You might be surprised how often people get it wrong.

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May Day Occupation at Guggenheim Closes Museum #GuggOccupied

Photo from Twitter.

Photo from Twitter.

Benjamin Sutton writes at Hyperallergic:

At noon today, a group of artists and activists including members of the Gulf Ultra Luxury Faction (known as G.U.L.F.) unfurled a large parachute in the atrium of the Guggenheim Museum, demanding to meet with a member of the institution’s board of trustees to discuss the labor conditions at its Abu Dhabi site. At the appointed time, members of the collective threw leaflets inspired by the current On Kawara exhibition from the museum’s upper levels and the protesters articulated their demands through a human microphone chant.

“It’s the most beautiful piece in the show,” remarked a French tourist watching from the top of the museum’s rotunda.

Though the protesters’ banner was swiftly destroyed by a guard wielding scissors, the group was allowed to remain seated in the museum atrium. As many as six NYPD officers arrived on the scene but, an hour after the protest began, they were called off by the museum administration.

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Files from the Academic Fringe: Pt. 4 – Skepticism

Eugenie recapitulates phylogeny

Eugenie recapitulates phylogeny

Part 1 — Scientism
Part 2 — Creationism
Part 3 — Racism

It’s hard to believe that scientific skeptics would be anything less than ethical. Aren’t they the good guys in our secular society, sniffing out bullshit and putting age-old wives’ tales to rest? Or is that just a myth?

Apparently debunkers have a dark side. It was just before Halloween 2012. While swirling around the clickbait vortex, I stumbled across a scathing allegation. According to “The Skepchick,” numerous men in the “skeptic community” were bombarding their female colleagues with sexist cracks and crass sexual harassment—and with Richard Dawkins’s tacit approval.

Were these disbelieving libertines trying to open the public’s eyes or reenact Eyes Wide Shut? I had my doubts. About everything.

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