Author Archive | majestic

Does Subliminal Advertising Actually Work?

Subliminal advertising messages wouldn’t be banned if they didn’t work – would they? BBC News Magazine investigated with a test of its own.

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These were the key findings:

  • The test group watched a clip which included subliminal flashes of the word Lipton
  • The control group watched a clip without any flashes
  • The participants were then asked whether they wanted to drink Lipton iced tea or mineral water
  • Test group (all participants): 46% chose Lipton, 54% water
  • Control group (all participants) 37% Lipton, 63% water
  • Results refined to exclude those who would definitely have chosen Lipton, or who would definitely not have chosen it
  • Test group (refined) 53% Lipton, 47% water
  • Control group (refined) 61% Lipton, 39% water
  • Experts agreed the differences were not statistically significant

[read the full story at BBC News Magazine]

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United States Air Force UFO Files Now Available

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cybergedeon (CC)

Potentially exciting news for UFOlogists reported by Military Times:

The truth is out there — and it’s now on the web.

The fabled Project Blue Book, the Air Force’s files on UFO sightings and investigations, have tantalized and frustrated extraterrestrial enthusiasts for decades. But this week, nearly 130,000 pages of declassified UFO records — a trove that would make Agent Fox Mulder’s mouth water — hit the web.

UFO enthusiast John Greenewald has spent nearly two decades filing Freedom of Information Act requests for the government’s files on UFOs and other phenomena. On Jan. 12, Greenewald posted the Blue Book files — as well as files on Blue Book’s 1940s-era predecessors, Project Sign and Project Grudge — on his online database, The Black Vault.

Project Blue Book was based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. Between 1947 and 1969, the Air Force recorded 12,618 sightings of strange phenomena — 701 of which remain “unidentified.”

According to a 1985 fact sheet from Wright-Patterson, posted online by the National Archives, the Air Force decided to discontinue UFO investigations after concluding that “no UFO reported, investigated and evaluated by the Air Force has ever given any indication of threat to our national security [and] there has been no evidence indicating that sightings categorized as ‘unidentified’ are extraterrestrial vehicles.” Wright-Patterson also said the Air Force has not seen any evidence suggesting the sightings “represent technological developments or principles beyond the range of present-day scientific knowledge.”

Skeptics smelled a whitewash.

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Scientists Tame Schrodinger’s Cat

Because so many of you are Robert Anton Wilson fans, I just know you’re going to be excited that scientists are using Schrodinger’s Cat to create a new quantum computer, as reported by PhysOrg:

Physicists at the University of Sussex have tamed one of the most counterintuitive phenomena of modern science in their quest to develop a new generation of machines capable of revolutionizing the way we can solve many problems in modern science.

The strange and mysterious nature of quantum mechanics is often illustrated by a thought experiment, known as Schrӧdinger’s Cat, in which a cat is theoretically both dead and alive simultaneously.

According to a new study published this week in Physical Review A, Sussex physicists have now managed to create a special type of “Schrӧdinger’s” cat using new technology based on trapped ions (charged atoms) and microwave radiation.

Like the cat, the researchers made these ions exist in two states simultaneously by creating ‘entanglement’, an effect that challenges the very fabric of reality itself.

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How Expensive It Is to Be Poor

The excellent Charles M. Blow dissects a Pew Center report entitled “The Politics of Financial Insecurity” for the New York Times:

Earlier this month, the Pew Research Center released a study that found that most wealthy Americans believed “poor people today have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything in return.”

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This is an infuriatingly obtuse view of what it means to be poor in this country — the soul-rending omnipresence of worry and fear, of weariness and fatigue. This can be the view only of those who have not known — or have long forgotten — what poverty truly means.

“Easy” is a word not easily spoken among the poor. Things are hard — the times are hard, the work is hard, the way is hard. “Easy” is for uninformed explanations issued by the willfully callous and the haughtily blind.

Allow me to explain, as James Baldwin put it, a few illustrations of “how extremely expensive it is to be poor.”

First, many poor people work, but they just don’t make enough to move out of poverty — an estimated 11 million Americans fall into this category.

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Richest 1% Will Control Half of Global Wealth by 2016

The unprecedented rise of the wealthiest one percent has been massive news in the United States, but it’s a global phenomenon. The charity Oxfam has released a new study indicating that by next year the richest 1% of people will control half of the world’s wealth. Don’t expect them to stop there, of course.

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“In 2014, the richest 1% of people in the world owned 48% of global wealth, leaving just 52% to be shared between the other 99% of adults on the planet.1 Almost all of that 52% is owned by those included in the richest 20%, leaving just 5.5% for the remaining 80% of people in the world. If this trend continues of an increasing wealth share to the richest, the top 1% will have more wealth than the remaining 99% of people in just two years, as shown on Figure 2, with the wealth share of the top 1% exceeding 50% by 2016.”

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[Full report available from Oxfam]

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John McAfee: ‘I know who hacked Sony Pictures – and it wasn’t North Korea’

Remember John McAfee, the onetime cybersecurity king who lost the plot and went on the lam? Ironically he’s now a sort of hacker hero and he tells IB Times that through his knowledge of the hacking community he knows who hacked Sony Pictures’ computer systems and it definitely wasn’t North Korea:

Anti-virus pioneer John McAfee claims to have been in contact with the group of hackers behind the devastating cyber-attack against Sony Pictures and guarantees they are not from North Korea.

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Speaking to IBTimes UK about his current roster of security startups under his Future Tense brand – including secure messaging app Chadder – McAfee spoke about working with the FBI previously but said that, in this case, the agency was “wrong”.

“I can guarantee they are wrong. It has to do with a group of hackers – I will not name them – who are civil libertarians and who hate the confinement the restrictions the music industry and the movie industry has placed on art and so they are behind it.”

In December Sony Pictures was the victim of a devastating cyber-attack by a group calling themselves Guardians of Peace.

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New ‘X-Files’ Returning To Fox

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I’m sure there’s more than a few X-Files fans among disinfonauts, so you’ll be interested to learn that David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are (probably) going to revive their X-Files personae in a revamp of the Chris Carter series to air on Fox, per Deadline:

Following the success of Fox’s 24 limited series, the network is looking to bring back another iconic drama series, The X-Files. Fox TV Group chairman Gary Newman today confirmed chatter that the network is in talks for a new installment of Chris Carter’s cult supernatural drama, which starred David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. Newman went on to say he was “hopeful” about the outcome.

Later, fellow Fox TV Group chairman Dana Walden said that the conversations so far have been only logistical, looking at windows when the key X-Files players, creator Carter and stars Duchovny and Anderson, are available. She confirmed that a potential X-Files followup will star the original leading duo of Duchovny and Anderson.

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Why Drugs Cost So Much

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More specifically, the question is why do prescription drugs from the large corporations collectively known as Big Pharma cost so much.

In an op-ed for the New York Times, Peter B. Bach, a physician and director of the Center for Health Policy and Outcomes at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, suggests, almost heretically one would have thought given his position in the healthcare establishment, that America should move to the European model of drug pricing:

Eli Lilly charges more than $13,000 a month for Cyramza, the newest drug to treat stomach cancer. The latest medicine for lung cancer, Novartis’s Zykadia, costs almost $14,000 a month. Amgen’s Blincyto, for leukemia, will cost $64,000 a month.

Why? Drug manufacturers blame high prices on the complexity of biology, government regulations and shareholder expectations for high profit margins. In other words, they say, they are hamstrung. But there’s a simpler explanation.

Companies are taking advantage of a mix of laws that force insurers to include essentially all expensive drugs in their policies, and a philosophy that demands that every new health care product be available to everyone, no matter how little it helps or how much it costs.

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NASA Live Stream Cuts Out After Alleged Alien UFO Sighting

Well, what do you make of this, skeptics? From the Houston Chronicle via Seattlepi.com:

UFO watchers are looking for anyone who might have been tracking NASA’s live feed of the International Space Station on Jan. 6.

According to Disclose.tv, veteran UFO hunter Toby Lundh spotted what he determined was an unidentified flying object just outside the space station as he was monitoring the live feed on his laptop.

In a text-message conversation with Blake at Disclose.tv, Lundh said he was sending a couple screen shots he took from the live feed before it was interrupted after 10 to 15 seconds.

According to Lundh’s text messages, he has found through persistent viewing that there are “always some UFOs showing up.” Likewise, he said, NASA always cuts the feed when a UFO gets close to the station…

[continues at the Houston Chronicle via Seattlepi.com]

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Scientology’s Desperate Move To Stop HBO”s ‘Going Clear’

In a story entitled “NYTimes Desperate: Accepts Full Page Scientology Ad Bashing HBO Doc, Compares to Rolling Stone-UVA” Showbiz 411 suggests that the New York Times is so desperate for money that it agreed to run a full page advertisement from the Scientology cult. I’d argue that refusing to take the ad would be de facto censorship and, moreover, the entity that’s truly desperate is Scientology. In fact the Times has reported on the story itself, and filmmaker Alex Gibney has been mocking the Scientologists via Twitter:

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The ad is shown below. If the Scientology cult thinks it’s going to make fewer people want to watch the film, I’m afraid they’ve made the same mistake as the radical Islamists who thought that massacring the staff of Charlie Hebdo magazine would stop cartoons featuring the Prophet Muhammad from being published.

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