Just How Gullible Are You?

Peter McGuire reports for the Irish Times on a recent experiment in which scientists deliberately made false claims on social media sites to find out how easy it is to dupe people into believing in spurious conspiracies (some of their conjured theories are pretty funny – Viagra chemtrails anyone?):

Earlier this year, Italian scientists and data researchers set out to chart how conspiracy theories – the idea that a secret society, politician or, increasingly, large corporation, is responsible for an unexplained event and cover-up – spread in the information age. And, if someone thinks, despite the lack of any evidence, that Princess Diana was murdered by the British royal family, the moon landings were faked and that secret, shadowy groups such as the Illuminati or lizard people rule the world, what else might they believe?

SCIE CHIMICHE A MATERA - ChemTrails in Matera (Basilicata) - Italy

Could these be Viagra chemtrails?

The scientists got together and, in more than 5,000 comments on Facebook, made deliberately false claims: the trails left by aircraft had been chemically analysed and were found to contain Viagra; an infinite energy machine has been created but is being suppressed; and mosquito sprays are toxic to humans.

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Entrapping the Entrappers on Domestic Surveillance and Psyops

entrapping-header-810x456An American in Berlin Offers Advice to the Perturbed, on Rebel News

Domestic surveillance and psyops have long gone together in America. The FBI, for example, subjected Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. to a combination of these techniques in response to his Civil Rights Movement activities. One such combination entailed recording his affairs, calling his wife, and playing the tape — then sending him a letter suggesting he should commit suicide because if the affairs came out, it would hurt the movement.

This sort of thing is happening now with social media, e-commerce, phone, and physical elements of misinformation, harassment, intimidation, and threats. It has the potential to achieve an inestimable breadth and depth of professional and personal damage. In the military term of art, this is full-spectrum dominance — against civilians in peacetime. And the American people might not approve of it if they knew what was happening in their name.

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It should be a capitalist flop, but Banksy’s Dismaland is pure magic

Banksy Releases Promo Video for Dismaland

It’s not easy being a superstar anti-establishment art celebrity. Back in the late 1990s I was one of a group of art students who, for a time, became mildly famous as art pranksters. Within the group we could never be sure – and this despite our most earnest efforts – that our work really was the stuff of revolution. But we were in the papers. We were on the Turner Prize programme. We were even offered a book deal. Nonetheless it’s hard to maintain revolutionary kudos once you’ve been interviewed by Timmy Mallett.

And so I feel for Banksy. In Bristol, his street-pieces are still powerful landmarks even if we know, and he knows, what a dichotomy he represents, caught somewhere between art and artifice; an anarchist in capitalist giftwrap.

This being so, I was not expecting much from his latest hyped-up creation, Dismaland. I assumed it would be trying too hard to recapture that lost edginess; that old sold-out soul.… Read the rest

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Alien Transit Systems May Be a Giveaway in the Search for ET

Scientific American reports on the “Harvard professor [who] devises a scheme to detect extraterrestrials by tracking how they might commute from one world to the next”:

Avi Loeb has an unorthodox new idea about how to search for alien civilizations—and it is hardly a surprise. Loeb, who chairs the astronomy department at Harvard University, has spent much of his career thinking about how the first stars came to life after the big bang, and how galaxies were born. But lately he’s become intrigued with the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, or SETI, and he tends to come at it in unusual ways.

Blue solar sail. Credit: NASA/MSFC/D. Higginbotham

Blue solar sail. Credit: NASA/MSFC/D. Higginbotham


Over the past few years, for example, Loeb has suggested searching for aliens by looking for artificial lighting on Pluto, in the admittedly unlikely event that extraterrestrials (ET) have set up an outpost there. He also has proposed trying to detect industrial pollution on distant exoplanets.

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Pulling the Cosmic Trigger: The Contact Experiences of Philip K. Dick & Robert Anton Wilson

robertantonwilson.jpgOur old friend Kenn Thomas’s Steamshovel Press has an exclusive essay by AK Wilks on the similarities between the contact experiences of two of our favorite writers, Philip K. Dick and Robert Anton Wilson:

This article will look at some of the similarities between the contact experiences of two American writers, Philip K. Dick and Robert Anton Wilson. In the 1973-1974 time frame, both would have unusual experiences that they thought could be contact with an extraterrestrial civilization. Or some undefinable something that wanted them to think it was extraterrestrial. And as incredible as it sounds, some of their experiences are confirmed by other people, and include verified transmission of knowledge that it seems they could not have obtained from any human source. We will also look very briefly at some other possibly related contact experiences involving musician and cultural icon John Lennon, researcher into human-dolphin communication and consciousness Dr. John Lilly and the Swiss scientist and inventor of LSD Dr.

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Top 50 Most Influential Marijuana Consumers

The Marijuana Policy Project has published a list of the people it deems the “Top 50 Most Influential Marijuana Consumers.” Most of them are not notable current potheads it must be noted.


The criteria for inclusion on the list were that, “individuals must (1) be alive, (2) be a U.S. citizen, and (3) have consumed marijuana at least once in their life according to either their own account or that of a legitimate source. They do not need to currently consume marijuana or support marijuana policy reform.”

1. President Barack Obama

“When I was a kid, I inhaled. Frequently. That was the point.”

Source: NBC News

2. 2016 Presidential Hopefuls

At least eight of the 23 major-party presidential hopefuls have consumed marijuana, and only six say they have not. The other nine — Joe Biden, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, Martin O’Malley, and Jim Webb —  do not appear to have ever publicly said whether they have consumed marijuana.

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A Confederacy of Conformists

Confederacy of Conformity fabConfederate flags are proliferating in the Southeast. Having spent the last two years in Portland, Oregon, the scene is pretty jarring. Ever since the Corporate Cleansing of Twenty-Fifteen, the Southern Crosses have spread like chiggers in a hay farmer’s underwear. Once again, our overlords imposed a prohibition and now the bootleggers are making a fortune.

The real stunner came last week when I drove through Pigeon Forge on my way to the Smokies. You thought this cartoonish tumor was tacky before? Every other storefront is now covered in big blue Xs. Fuzzy dudes in roaring pickup trucks parade up and down the main drag with double battle flags flapping in the breeze.

For the low, low price of $19.95, the South will rise again!

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The Case Against Sustainability

Via Peak Oil News and Message Boards:

Do you recycle? Cool, me too. Do you turn off your lights when you leave the room? Good idea. Do you only buy produce that’s in season? Nice! Way to support your local farmer. Are you worried about the future of the planet? Politically active in some way around conservation of resources or green energy? Awesome, politics is really important.

If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, you’re probably concerned about sustainability in some way.

But I’ve got some news. “Sustainability” is a dangerously flawed way to think about the world.

What does “sustainability” mean?  Something is sustainable if you can sustain it—if you can keep doing it forever.

The world as it currently exists is deeply unequal and violent; the political and economic structures that shape the way that most of us live our lives depend on exploitation.  

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Changing The World [Debate]


Changing the World

From Tahrir Square to Hong Kong, Occupy Wall Street to Anonymous, we have seen a surge in grassroots and social media activism. Yet the army is in power in Cairo and bankers continue to draw their bonuses. Is activism a failed strategy? Are political parties the only way to drive change or will student and street activism surprise us yet?

The Panel

Political campaigner Peter Tatchell, research director at Demos Carl Miller and Telegraph columnist Dan Hodges contest the best ways to bring about change.

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