Archive | September 17, 2013

Sexting, Shame and Suicide

Image: Carrie

Image: Carrie

This is a true story about a young lady who was violated, publicly shamed, and eventually committed suicide. A few lessons can be gleaned about who is chosen to be associated with, the vulnerability acquired while consuming chemicals, and the shadow personalties which are prone to be  evoked during a collective inebriation. This may also be a partial answer to a question posed in the recent disinfo post titled American Ephebiphobia.

via Rolling Stone

On the last day of her life, Audrie Pott walked through a crucible of teenage torment. A curvaceous sophomore at Saratoga High School, dressed in the cool-girl’s uniform of a low-cut top and supershort skirt, she looked the same as always, but inside she was quivering with humiliation. In the week since school had started, girls had been giving her looks, and guys had congregated around phones, smirking. On Facebook, messages were pinging into her inbox, each one delivering another gut punch: “shit went down ahah jk i bet u already got enough ppl talking about it so ill keep it to myself haha.

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A Children’s Illustrated History of Presidential Assassination

Longtime disinformation collaborator Bryan Young (producer of the classic obesity film Killer At Large) has a new book in the works and he’s looking for funding via Kickstarter. He has our backing and we endorse the project should you care to lend yours.

Here’s their project description:

A Children’s Illustrated History of Presidential Assassination is a beautifully illustrated book born of a child’s desire to learn and a father’s belief that gaining knowledge should be fun and uplifting. It is designed to educate, entertain, and enlighten children from ages 1 to 100.

A couple of years ago, while visiting Washington D.C. for a writer’s workshop, author Bryan Young visited Ford’s Theatre, the site of John Wilkes Booth’s assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. When he returned home, he showed his children the many pictures he had taken from his trip. To his delight and surprise, his daughter Scout was incredibly interested in the subject of Lincoln’s assassination, and Presidential assassinations in general.

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Disney’s New Microphone Allows Transfer of Secret Audio Message by Placing Finger to Ear

imagesCodename “Wet Willy.” Soon to be followed by the private text message deliver system, “Pull My Finger.” Olfactory messenger app “Smell My Finger” is already in beta test. Tech bloggers are currently researching a new hot app called “FingerBang.”

Via Wired.

Disney researchers have developed a microphone that lets a user record a voice message and then relay that message to another person simply by touching them with a finger.

The microphone converts the voice message into an inaudible signal which is transmitted to the body of the person holding the microphone as an inaudible signal. It can then be transmitted from that person’s body to another person’s body through touch. The recorded sound only becomes audible when touching someone else’s ear. Their ear canal acts as a sort of speaker, allowing them to listen to a secret finger-transmitted message. The sound can’t be heard by anyone else but the person being touched

Check your middle finger for messages and Keep reading.Read the rest

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Libertarianism’s Deficient Models of Human Nature and Society

mmw-fair-society-0711Peter Corning writes at Psychology Today (two years ago):

Who can object to the libertarian principles of individual freedom, personal responsibility, and the right to hold property – at least in the abstract?  The problem is that the real world is never “abstract.”  All philosophies must ultimately confront reality, and the more radical versions of libertarianism (there are many, from extreme anarchism to limited government “minarchism”) rely on terminally deficient models of human nature and society.  Let’s (very briefly) take a look at the problem.

The libertarian model of individual psychology is grounded in the utilitarian, neo-classical economics model of “Homo economicus” (economic man).  Our motivations can be reduced to the single-minded pursuit of our (mostly material) self-interests. Accordingly, mainstream economists seem to consider it their mission in life to help us do so more “efficiently.” The Nobel economist Amartya Sen many years ago scathingly characterized this simplistic model as “rational fools who are decked out in their one, all-purpose preference function.”

The selfish actor model of human nature was tacitly endorsed with the rise of “Neo-Darwinism” in evolutionary biology during the 1970s, as epitomized in biologist Richard Dawkins’ famous book The Selfish Gene.  As Dawkins summed it up, “We are survival machines – robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes….I shall argue that a predominant quality to be expected in a successful gene is ruthless selfishness….we are born selfish.”

A line from libertarian philosopher Robert Nozick’s path-breaking book, Anarchy, State and Utopia, says it all: “Individuals have rights, and there are things no person or group [or state] may do to them without violating their rights.” (When asked to specify what those rights are, libertarians often cite philosopher John Locke’s mantra “life, liberty, and property.”)  Not to worry, though.

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Study Suggests Belief In Ghosts Is Growing

belief in ghostsIs belief in ghosts and psychic phenomena supplanting religion as the public’s refuge from the rational? The Telegraph reports:

A new study suggests belief in ghosts is growing in the UK.

More than half of those taking part (52 per cent) said they believed in the supernatural, a marked increase on the two previous comparable studies, in 2009 and 2005, which both found a level of around 40 per cent. The survey also found that one in five claimed to have had some sort of paranormal experience.

The new study was carried out for the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena (Assap), for its annual conference.

Dave Wood, chairman of the group, said: “It could be that in a society which has seen economic uncertainty and is dominated by information and technology, more people are seeking refuge in the paranormal, whereas in the past they might have sought that in religion.”

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Holy Water Revealed To Be Largely Unsanitary And Harmful To Health

holy waterVia ABC News, a warning that participation in Christian blessings, miracles, and ceremonies may be harmful to your health:

Despite its purported cleansing properties, holy water could actually be more harmful than healing, according to a new Austrian study on “holy” springs.

Researchers at the Institute of Hygiene and Applied Immunology at the Medical University of Vienna tested water from 21 springs in Austria and 18 fonts in Vienna and found samples contained up to 62 million bacteria per milliliter of water, none of it safe to drink.

Tests indicated 86 percent of the holy water, commonly used in baptism ceremonies and to wet congregants’ lips, was infected with common bacteria found in fecal matter such as E. coli, enterococci and Campylobacter, which can lead to diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever.

Public awareness has to be raised to perceive holy springs as potential sources of illness.

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