Archive | June, 2013

Mysterious Voynich Manuscript Wasn’t a Hoax, Study Suggests

voynich manuscript

Marcelo Montemurro and his colleague Damián Zanette have discovered that the language of the Voynich Manuscript statistically adheres to linguistic rules. via Live Science

The unreadable Voynich manuscript has eluded linguists and cryptographers since it was discovered by an antique book dealer in 1912.

Carbon-dated to the early 15th century, the book is written in an unknown language that has never been found anywhere else and it is full of equally puzzling drawings; besides depictions of the Zodiac signs, none of the illustrations are immediately recognizable as symbols or objects from the real world (much to the excitement of ancient alien conspiracy theorists).

The text’s nonsensical nature has led some to dismiss the Voynich manuscript as a Renaissance-era hoax. But researchers who revisited the book say the words in its folios are organized with the telltale characteristics of a real language.

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How to Make Money Selling Drugs: The War America Keeps on Losing

How to Make Money Selling Drugs?

via Salon How to make money selling drugsAndrew O’Hehir

A slick documentary with a jokey premise argues that the “war on drugs” has been a soul-destroying disaster

Despite its slick packaging and overtly facetious premise, director Matthew Cooke and producer Adrian Grenier’s faux-educational documentary “How to Make Money Selling Drugs” packs a wallop. While imparting lessons about the economic realities of the drug trade – a thriving, booming and ever-diversifying realm of entrepreneurial capitalism, in spite of the massively expensive attempt to shut it down – Cooke’s film reminds us that America’s destructive global misadventures of the last 20 years have a corollary that’s every bit as bad right here at home.

If anything, the “war on drugs” has been even worse and even stupider than the “war on terror,” although they’ve become so intimately interconnected in moral, technological and philosophical terms that it’s not like we get to choose.

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Fotamecus: The Chaos Magick Film You May Never Get to See

fotamecusIn 2001, Matt Lee, director and epic beard-owner, announced the Fotamecus Film Majik Project, a plan to make a “film about time and modern magick, a story about shifting perceptions of time.”  The film would follow six chaos magicians as they cast a spell through the use of a sigil to “construct a tool with which our subjective perception of time can be altered.”

The film’s title, Fotamecus, comes from the name of a servitor created in 1996 by a magician calling himself Fenwick Rysen.  In chaos magic, a servitor is an artificially created being with limited autonomy that executes a pre-programmed task.  In the case of Fotamecus, the the task was to literally condense or expand time, dependent on the needs of the operator.  Say, for instance, I was running late to an appointment.  In theory, I could call upon the entity to contract the amount of time it would take to get there, and the trip would shorten.  The problem, according to Fenwick, is that to contract time in one place meant that time had to be expanded in another.  To this end, the servitor was then programmed to self-replicate clones of itself as needed, creating a matrix of servitor nodes.  That way, if I needed to make my trip shorter, then a node would be created which another person could access if they wished to make another time period last longer (insert minute man joke here).  This would keep me from having to “pay” for my time.  With me so far?… Read the rest

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Local Police Implement Fake Drug Checkpoints on Major Interstate

fake drug checkpointsPolice in the northeast Ohio town of Mayfield Heights have recently begun putting up “fake” drug checkpoints as a tactic in the city’s war on drugs. Motorists see the signs and police wait for drivers to act suspiciously before taking further action.

via Cleveland.com

Police are not allowed to use checkpoints to search motorists and their vehicles for drugs. So, in Mayfield Heights, officers are trying the next-best thing — fake drug checkpoints.

Police gathered in the express lanes of Interstate 271 on Monday after placing signs along the freeway warning motorists that a drug checkpoint lay ahead.

There was no checkpoint, only police waiting for motorists to react suspiciously after seeing the signs. A Mayfield Heights assistant prosecutor says it’s a lawful and legitimate tactic in his city’s war on drugs.

“We should be applauded for doing this,” Dominic Vitantonio said. “It’s a good thing.”

Civil libertarians and one of the people who was stopped and searched are skeptical.… Read the rest

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MI5 Feared GCHQ Went ‘Too Far’ Over Phone and Internet Monitoring

via The Guardian GCHQ

Amid leaks from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, senior intelligence source reveals worries were voiced in 2008

Senior figures inside British intelligence have been alarmed by GCHQ‘s (Government Communications Headquarters) secret decision to tap into transatlantic cables in order to engage in the bulk interception of phone calls and internet traffic.

According to one source who has been directly involved in GCHQ operations, concerns were expressed when the project was being discussed internally in 2008: “We felt we were starting to overstep the mark with some of it. People from MI5 were complaining that they were going too far from a civil liberties perspective … We all had reservations about it, because we all thought: ‘If this was used against us, we wouldn’t stand a chance’.”

The Guardian revealed on Friday that GCHQ has placed more than 200 probes on transatlantic cables and is processing 600m “telephone events” a day as well as up to 39m gigabytes of internet traffic.

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Did Dan Brown Kill Michael Baigent?

Da Vinci The last supper detail Da Vinci codeNo one’s suggesting that Dan Brown literally murdered Michael Baigent, but the author of The Da Vinci Code and his publisher, Random House, pushed back so hard against the co-author of Holy Blood, Holy Grail‘s copyright infringement lawsuit that it killed him, says Baigent’s friend Graham Hancock, in The Independent:

Dan Brown and his publisher Random House have been sensationally accused of sending a rival author to an early grave.

Michael Baigent was left destitute after losing the case he brought against Random House for copyright infringement in 2006. Writer Graham Hancock says the protracted legal battle “cost Michael Baigent his life” – the 65-year-old author died earlier this month of a brain haemorrhage. Baigent was the co-author of a 1982 non-fiction book, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, which investigated the same conspiracy theories upon which Brown’s later novel, The Da Vinci Code, is based. With Richard Leigh, Baigent’s book explored the theory that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had had a child together.

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Graham Hancock, Joe Rogan experience

Graham Hancock Tells Joe Rogan Why He Quit Smoking Marijuana

Graham Hancock shared with Joe Rogan how and why he gave up smoking weed after decades of wake ‘n bake. What do you think of his decision, Disinfonauts? Will it affect his writing? If so, how? Here’s a link to the full podcast, if you’d like to hear more. Want more Graham Hancock? Check out his recent appearance on episode 51 of our own podcast, The DisinfoCast. Hancock discusses his dust-up with the organizers of the TED Talks and its greater context as part of a “war on consciousness.”

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Media Waits for Mandela To Die: Are They ‘Vultures’?

Bill-Clinton-with-Nelson-MandelaThere’s anger amidst the apprehension in South Africa as the numbers of “journalists” on the Mandela deathwatch grows. Members of his family have about had it, comparing what even the New York Times called a “media swarm” to African vultures that wait to pounce on the carcasses of dead animals.

With President Obama in South Africa, carrying a message that he hyped as one of “profound gratitude” to Nelson Mandela. The Times reported,

“Mr. Obama said the main message he intended to deliver to Mr. Mandela, “if not directly to him but to his family, is simply our profound gratitude for his leadership all these years and that the thoughts and prayers of the American people are with him, and his family, and his country.”

It doesn’t seem as if the South Africa’s grieving for their former president’s imminent demise are too impressed with Obama seeking the spotlight. Some groups including top unions protested his receiving an honorary degree from a university in Johannesberg.… Read the rest

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PayPal And SETI Are Working On An Off-Planet Currency

off-planet currencyEarthly problems are being spread to outer space. The International Business Times reports:

On Thursday, the online payment giant PayPal announced PayPal Galactic, a collaboration with the SETI Institute aimed at developing new payment systems for the final frontier. The frontier is here: Virgin Galactic is launching its first public flight this Christmas, and space hotels could be in orbit around Earth as early as 2016.

“As space tourism programs are opening space travel to ‘the rest of us,’ this drives questions about the commercialization of space,” PayPal President David Marcus said. “One thing is clear: We won’t be using cash in space.”

There are lots of questions about what form a space-friendly money system might take. Will spaceships and habitats have the communications technology needed to transfer money? How will banks manage accounts for people living off-planet? How will government financial regulations pertain to people in space (perhaps to curtail a new kind of “offshore banking”)?

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