Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Quit Facebook in 2015

Ten years ago, Facebook was the cool new social media site that helped you keep in touch with the people you didn’t actually like in high school. Often you wondered where everyone else had gone; you know, the cool kids you hung out with. After all, they weren't on Facebook and if they were, well, they differed from you on favorite meals and locations and top ten movie lists, they had become Democrats (or Republicans), had published a science fiction book or got a patent for a shaved ice dispenser. Generally, they became people we really had nothing in common with anymore. Still Facebook kept it all up-to-date on our relationship status, political views, favorite links, and of course, gender preference — all in the name of staying connected, and all without a thought to our security.

So, it has been a decade since you officially joined the network. And, even though you have an understanding of how sharing information online can be dangerous, you (we) continue to use it anyway. Checking in has become ritual even though a virtual counter out in "the cloud" records your visits and metaphorically speaking, looks over your shoulder all the while you're online. Tell me again, why am I still on Facebook?

Facebook is a waste of your valuable time. The average casual user (17 minutes per day on Facebook) who has been active on the site for 10 years has wasted upwards of 40 entire days of their lives scrolling and liking and commenting on pictures and posts. More engaged users, who spend at least an hour a day on the site, have clocked 150 days feeding the Facebook habit during the same time. What exactly do we get out of checking on what Aunt Sally pickled from the garden this year?

Facebook markets products to you constantly. FB tracks what you buy, what you like, what you dislike, where you go, and on and on in a data gathering effort to know everything about you. They scan through the information and determine what your interests are and subsequently throws related ads at you. The used information? Is it discarded? Not on your life. It goes into databases that are regularly accessed by government agencies and other corporations on data mining expeditions.

In 2012, the site manipulated posts from 689,000 accounts without consent in an experiment that examined whether or not it could affect your emotions by making a few edits on your page. The study was done, according to Facebook, to "improve our services and to make the content people see on Facebook as relevant and engaging as possible." Skeptics think it was really used to discover the monetary benefit of a Like. COO Sheryl Sandberg later apologized, adding that they "never meant to upset you."

Hi! We're from Facebook and we're here to help.
Additionally, we have no faces.
They say the average adult has 338 friends on Facebook and probably doesn't know more than 10 percent of them anymore, or at all. Many of them likely have new lives, some have new last names, new passions, new facial hair, and new humans they're now responsible for keeping alive (read: babies). By and large, they are not the friends you once knew. Keeping up with them could be accomplished much more efficiently by using Twitter. Just kidding.

But you don't care about privacy? Okay. That's your right. The problem is we're setting precedent for the future without understanding how it will affect the free and open Web (apparently not to be free and open much longer), and simultaneously creating an internet that relies on you having a Facebook account to access sites that are not Facebook. As one of nearly 1.2 billion users to date, odds are decent that your account won't be hacked by someone with ill-will toward your family. That doesn't mean permitting easy access to your information goes without consequence, both immediately and decades from now.

Think about this: does anything you post on Facebook really matter? Does contributing to a virtual illusion make you feel as though you are a part of something greater than yourself? Do you feel more attached to the collective?

Ed Norton standing before blow-up of my Facebook page.
If you're serious about quitting Facebook, be forewarned, many people have reported they have found it to be practically impossible to have their Facebook account deleted. Instead, it will be put on ice, sort of a hiatus into suspended animation until you decide you want back in and voila, all you have to do is log in and everything is still there.

Everybody becomes a stalker on Facebook. Maybe that's why it's so popular.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

I don’t want to live in a place where transdimensional spaceworms can appear in the sky and blast superheated steam straight down onto innocent earthlings. So, I guess I'm not moving to Wyoming.

Monday, October 26, 2015

EPA Armed And Ready

What's your carbon footprint?
The Environmental Protection Agency has spent millions of dollars over the last decade on military-style weapons to arm its 200 “special agents” to fight environmental crime.

Among the weapons purchased are guns, body armor, camouflage equipment, unmanned aircraft, amphibious assault ships, radar and night-vision gear and other military-style weaponry and surveillance activities, according to a new report by the watchdog group Open the Books.

“Protecting the environment just got real. With millions of dollars spent on military style weaponry, the EPA is now literally ensconced with all institutional force,” said Adam Andrzejewski, founder of Open the Books and the author of the report.

“Our report discovered that when the EPA comes knocking they are armed with a thousand lawyers, arrest/criminal data, credit, business and property histories, plus a ‘Special Agent’ with the latest in weaponry and technology,” Mr. Andrzejewski added.

Septic tank runover? Overgrown lawn?
The agency spends nearly $75 million each year for criminal enforcement, including money for a small militia of 200 “special agents” charged with fighting environmental crime.

Congress granted police powers to the EPA in 1988, during the Reagan administration.

The special agent “enforces the nation’s laws by investigating cases, collecting evidence, conducting forensic analyses and providing legal guidance to assist in the prosecution of criminal conduct that threatens people’s health and the environment,” according to the EPA’s website. The EPA estimates that each Special Agent costs taxpayers $216,000 per year in salary, travel, equipment, training and other expenses, according to the report.

The EPA’s military weapons spending is just one example of the agency’s questionable purchases highlighted in the 40-page report.

Open the Books, a nonpartisan and nonprofit group based in Illinois, scanned tens of thousands of the agency’s spending contracts totaling more than $93 billion from 2000 to 2014.

Among the findings were hundreds of millions of dollars on high-end office furnishings, sports equipment and “environmental justice” grants to raise awareness of global warming.

The report also reveals that seven of 10 EPA employees make more than $100,000 a year and more than 12,000 of its 16,000 employees were given bonuses last year despite budget cuts.

The EPA also employs more than 1,000 attorneys, making it one of the largest law firms in the country.

The agency also sent over $50 million since 2000 to international organizations, including groups in Mexico and China.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

La Bomba

The most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated was Russia's Tsar Bomba. It is also the single most physically powerful device ever created by man. The fireball reached nearly as high as the altitude of the release plan and was seen 620 miles from ground zero. The mushroom cloud was over 40 miles high and the base of the cloud was 25 miles wide. It was test-denotated on October 30, 1961, in the Novaya Zemlya archipelago.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Garden Of Allah

The Garden of Allah
by Don Henley

It was pretty big year for fashion
A lousy year for rock and roll
The people gave their blessing to crimes of passion
It was a dark, dark night of the collective soul

Now I was somewhere out on Riverside
By the El Royale Hotel
When a stranger appeared in a cloud of smoke
I thought I knew him all too well

He said, "Now that I have your attention
I got something I wanna say
You may not wanna hear it
I'm gonna tell it to you anyway"

"You know I've always liked you boy
'Cause you were not afraid of me
Things are gonna get mighty rough
Here in Gomorrah-by-the-Sea"

He said, "It's just like home
It's so damn hot I can't stand it
My fine seersucker suit
Is all soaking wet"

And the hills are burning
And the wind is raging
And the clock strikes midnight in the Garden of Allah
In the Garden of Allah

"Nice car, I love those Bavarians, so meticulous
Y'know I remember a time when things were a lot more fun around here
When good was good and evil was evil
Before things got so fuzzy"

"I was once a golden boy like you
And I was summoned to the halls of power in the heavenly courts
And I dined with the deities who looked upon me with favor
For my talents, my creativity"

Don Henley
"And we sat beneath the palms
In the warm afternoons and drank the wine
With Fitzgerald and Huxley
And they pawned a biting phrase from the tongues hot with blood"

"And drained their pens of bitter ink
Vainly reaching for the bottle full of empty Edens
Branded specially for the ones who had come with great expectations
To the perfumed halls of Allah, for their time in the sun"

"And we were stokin' the fires and oilin' up the machinery
Until the Gods found out we had ideas of our own"
And war was coming and the Earth was shaking
And there was no more ruin in the Garden of Allah

"Today, I made an appearance downtown
I am an expert witness because I say I am
And I said, 'Gentlemen, and I use that word loosely
I will testify for you, I'm a gun for hire, I'm a saint, I'm a liar'"

"'Because there are no facts, there is no truth
Just data to be manipulated
I can get you any result you like
What's it worth to you?'"

"'Because there is no wrong, there is no right
And I sleep very well at night
No shame, no solution, no remorse, no retribution
Just people selling T-shirts'"

Just opportunity to participate in the pathetic little circus
And winning, winning, winning'"

It was pretty big year for predators
The marketplace was on a roll
And the land of opportunity
Spawned a whole new breed of men without souls

This year notoriety
Got all confused with fame
And the devil is downhearted, babe
'Cause there's nothing left for him to claim

He said, "It's just like home
It's so low-down, I can't stand it
I guess my work around here
Has all been done"

And the fruit is rotten, the serpent's eyes shine
As he wraps around the vine
In the Garden of Allah
In the Garden of Allah

In the Garden of Allah

Friday, October 23, 2015

The quark, a subatomic building block of the proton, got its name from James Joyce's Finnegans Wake, from the line "Three quarks for Muster Mark! Sure he hasn't got much of a bark".

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Olbers' Paradox

Why isn't the night sky uniformly at least as bright as the surface of the Sun? If the Universe has infinitely many stars, then presumably it should be. After all, if you move the Sun twice as far away from us, we will intercept one quarter as many photons, but the Sun's angular area against the sky background will also have now dropped to a quarter of what it was. So its areal intensity remains constant. With infinitely many stars, every element of the sky background should have a star, and the entire heavens should be at least as bright as an average star like the Sun.

(We say "at least as bright" because the stars of such a bright universe would begin to absorb heat from their neighbours, and precisely what happens when a star is heated is a technical matter for thermodynamic and nuclear theories. We don't expect such stars to cool down, but neither do we expect them to heat up indefinitely. Olbers' Paradox originated before physicists had developed the nuclear theory of how stars shine; thus, it was never concerned with how old the stars might be, and how the details of their energy transactions might affect their brightness.)

The fact that the night sky is not as bright as the Sun is called Olbers' paradox. It can be traced as far back as Kepler in 1610, and was rediscussed by Halley and Cheseaux in the eighteen century; but it was not popularized as a paradox until Olbers took up the issue in the nineteenth century.

There are many possible explanations which have been considered. Here are a few:

There's too much dust to see the distant stars.
The Universe has only a finite number of stars.
The distribution of stars is not uniform. So, for example, there could be an infinity of stars, but they hide behind one another so that only a finite angular area is subtended by them.
The Universe is expanding, so distant stars are red-shifted into obscurity.
The Universe is young. Distant light hasn't even reached us yet.

The first explanation is just plain wrong. In a black body, the dust will heat up too. It does act like a radiation shield, exponentially damping the distant starlight. But you can't put enough dust into the universe to get rid of enough starlight without also obscuring our own Sun. So this idea is bad.

The premise of the second explanation may technically be correct. But the number of stars, finite as it might be, is still large enough to light up the entire sky, i.e., the total amount of luminous matter in the Universe is too large to allow this escape. The number of stars is close enough to infinite for the purpose of lighting up the sky. The third explanation might be partially correct. We just don't know. If the stars are distributed fractally, then there could be large patches of empty space, and the sky could appear dark except in small areas.

But the final two possibilities are surely each correct and partly responsible. There are numerical arguments that suggest that the effect of the finite age of the Universe is the larger effect. We live inside a spherical shell of "Observable Universe" which has radius equal to the lifetime of the Universe. Objects more than about 13.7 thousand million years old (the latest figure) are too far away for their light ever to reach us.

Historically, after Hubble discovered that the Universe was expanding, but before the Big Bang was firmly established by the discovery of the cosmic background radiation, Olbers' paradox was presented as proof of special relativity. You needed the red shift to get rid of the starlight. This effect certainly contributes, but the finite age of the Universe is the most important effect.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

I Hope The New World Order...

...doesn't forbid guitar-playing chimps because what will be left of mass entertainment? What?

Monday, October 19, 2015

Is Anybody Out There?

In the vastness of the universe, you'd think the human race would have detected any other species by now, right? Like stray signals or a spacecraft cruising past or maybe an alien looking for a vacation in a nice climate. But none of that has happened. At least, as far as we know.

On the clearest, darkest night, you can see only about 1% of the Milky Way galaxy's 100 billion to 400 billion stars. Yet decades' worth of missions by Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), an organization which listens for signs of life in space, have come up completely empty handed. Every. Single. Time.

So, where is everybody? The scale of the universe and basic math tell us alien life must be common, yet there's no evidence for it. This conundrum is called the Fermi paradox.

People have tried to explain the Fermi paradox since its unofficial inception in 1950. The answers proposed by the experts are deeply unsettling.

Consider how far humanity has progressed in its short 200,000 years of existence. Then consider that our galaxy is roughly 10 billion years old.

If we can go from cave-dwelling hominids to an internet-using and robot-building society in 200,000 years, what could an alien race achieve in 10 billion years?

That's more than enough time for a civilization to develop sophisticated rockets — possibly faster-than-light travel, wormhole technology, or some other kind of cosmic shortcut that would allow them to colonize the galaxy and beyond.

The Kardashev Scale, created by astrophysicist Nikolai Kardashev, is helpful when considering such technological advancement by a developing civilization. It has three types:

A Type-I civilization has figured out how to harness all the energy on its planet. Humans are getting close to achieving this, but that's just the first tier.
Type-II civilizations are so intelligent they've figured out how to harness all the energy of their own star — an incomprehensibly larger amount of energy than what's available on one puny planet.
That's nothing compared to the Type-III civilizations, though. Those have harnessed all the energy available in their galaxy.

There are two distinct categories: one in which aliens don't exist, and we're completely alone in the universe, and one in which aliens do exist, but for some reason we haven't made contact. Let's begin with leading ideas in the former category. Aliens don't exist #1: The Rare Earth Hypothesis

According to the rare Earth hypothesis, life on Earth might simply be a freak accident of nature and may not exist anywhere else in the entire universe. This idea suggests a perfect storm of coincidences like Earth's protective magnetosphere, temperature, size, axis tilt, etc., all came together to create a very precise formula for life to arise. Furthermore, these are the only conditions in which life can arise, and in the universe, they don't exist anywhere else.

Well, it's certainly possible, but the odds aren't in favor of the rare Earth hypothesis — the universe is far too vast. For example, the European Space Agency estimates there's about 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (or 1024) stars in the observable universe. That is a lot of opportunity and potential for the same formula to arise again.

There's no scientific consensus as to how many of those stars might be like our own Sun, and how many may have Earth-like planets orbiting around them but if you take even the most conservative estimate out there, then about 5% of those 1024 stars are like the Sun. That means there are 500 billion billion other Sun-like stars.

Next, if you take the lowest estimate of how many of those Sun-like stars have an Earth-like planet orbiting it (22%), that means about 100 billion billion other Earth-like planets are out there.

Put another way, roughly 100 Earth-like planets exist for every grain of sand on Earth. Seems like pretty good odds, eh? Here's reason #2 Aliens don't exist: The Great Filter.

If Earth isn't the only planet capable of supporting life, and there are definitely no aliens out there, then something else is going on. We call that "something else" the great filter, and it's kind of scary.

The great filter idea is that before a civilization can make it very far along the Kardashev scale of intelligence, it hits a wall — a filter — and it fades. That's why we haven't heard from anyone: Life regularly evolves to where we're at here on Earth, then some powerful, inevitable force snuffs it out. (Nuclear war? Lack of resources? Asteroids? Pestilence?)

The problem is there's no way to know where on the timeline of life that the great filter sits. Did we already make it past the filter, or are we are on our way to inevitable doom?

So maybe we made it past the great filter. This is the most optimistic interpretation. Maybe we're so clever and rare that we somehow found our way past the great filter while all other lifeforms have failed.

There's no way to tell what critical moment in our history may have gotten us past the filter. It may have happened at very beginning of life. Maybe the great filter is the likelihood that life arises at all in the first place.

Or maybe it could be the jump from simple cells to complex ones. Or the jump from semi-intelligent animals to intelligent hominids.

It could be that the great filter is still ahead of us, but we're the first that has a shot of making it past.

If you don't buy into the idea that we're so rare and special that we're the only ones to make it past the great filter, there's another pretty optimistic view point to which you can subscribe.

Maybe it's pretty easy to make it past the great filter, but the conditions in the universe have only just become ripe enough to support intelligent life that makes it to the other side.

That would make us the first form of life that has a chance to survive beyond the great filter. We're simply in the right place at the right time to have a shot.

Maybe television causes extinction.
Or, it could be the great filter is still ahead of us and we're all screwed.

Being in the right place at the right time would take a lot of luck. So if you don't think we're past the great filter, and you don't think we're the first life forms with a shot at making it past the great filter, there's only one remaining conclusion: Humans are toast.

A cataclysmic natural disaster, such as a huge asteroid impact or gamma ray burst, could obliterate the planet. Or we could invent some kind of super-advanced tech that will destroy us all.

That's why some scientists and philosophers are praying that we don't discover even simple microbial life somewhere like Mars or Europa. If we find life elsewhere, that will mean it's much more likely that the great filter is still ahead of us and we're headed for disaster.

...Maybe we just haven't heard from anyone yet.

How about the possibility that extraterrestrial life is abundant — but for a number of reasons, we haven't been able to get in touch with any of it.

Aliens do exist #1: They just visited Earth before intelligent life existed here. This is the Chariots of the Gods type of reasoning put forward by guys like Eric von Daniken and includes the idea that aliens may have seeded life on Earth?

Consider that humans have only existed for about 200,000 years out of the Earth's 4.5-billion-year existence. That's just a tiny sliver of our planet's timeline. That leaves a lot of time for an advanced civilization to visit and perhaps even use the Earth as a giant petri dish.

Aliens do exist #2: The galaxy is colonized but we live out in the boonies.

When Europeans landed in the Americas, it took a long time before they reached some distant Native Americans living far out on the West Coast.

It could be that alien civilizations just haven't traveled far enough to stumble upon us yet.

Aliens do exist #3: Maybe other civilizations live in a utopia and can't be bothered by us.

In this scenario, intelligent alien life may have discovered a way to upload their minds into a completely self-sustaining virtual reality world where they don't need access to outside resources or energy. Pretty far out? Well, they would be perfectly content in the world they created, and not only completely unconcerned about getting in touch with us but reluctant to do so.

Aliens do exist #4: Super-intelligent civilizations prey on lesser civilizations like ours. If you go to the movies, you probably know this one already.

It's possible we haven't heard from anyone else because they know better to broadcast any signals lest one of these killer civilizations pick it up. That's why some experts are vehemently opposed to a Messaging to Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) mission: the controversial next step to SETI, where instead of just passively listening, we actively send messages out into the cosmos.

You can take this creepy idea even farther. Maybe the first civilization that managed to achieve super intelligence is the ruler of the universe and it's out there destroying anyone else that gets close to its level. I don't really buy into it, but it is a possibility.

Aliens do exist #5: Aliens are broadcasting all kinds of signals, but we're so primitive we can't recognize them.

Aliens might be actively broadcasting signals and trying to communicate with us, we just might not have the means to detect any of it. Maybe we can't access the right frequencies. Maybe we don't have the appropriate technologies yet. Maybe other life forms only communicate via telepathy.

Or perhaps super-advanced aliens exist but they don't want to blow our minds by visiting us with their incomprehensible technology and intelligence. They're simply waiting until we catch up.

Aliens do exist #6: They're everywhere, but we can't wrap our puny Type-I minds around what they are.

If you've seen the movie Interstellar, think about the aliens that exist in a fifth dimension and built a wormhole. Like a person trying to communicate with a bug, we may not be able to comprehend what aliens are at all. We might be completely irrelevant to them.

Or we're completely wrong about all of this, and reality is nothing like what we perceive. We could be living in the Matrix, and we were put here by another super-intelligent race as an experiment. Or maybe we're all just one big computer simulation.

Humanity could be completely alone. Or other Type II and Type III lifeforms exist and we're a tiny, insignificant piece of a vast universe full of life. It's humbling, but also oddly comforting to consider that there could be far more to existence than we think there is.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Gold In Them Thar Hills

There are currently somewhere between 120,000 and 140,000 tonnes of gold ‘above ground’. To visualize this, imagine a single solid gold cube with edges of about 19 meters (about three meters short of the length of a tennis court). That's all that has ever been produced.

So, that makes about 23 grams per person, or about 1.2 cubic centimeters each. This equates to about $250 - $350 worth per person on Earth, depending on the current price.

The value of that short tennis court sized cube is about $1.8 trillion. This compares to the US government’s sovereign debt of $6.9 trillion, which until 1971 was part-backed by gold. The US Gold Reserve is just over 8,000 tonnes - which is about 6% of the total gold ever mined. It is worth about $100 billion, or 1.5% of the US national debt.

$1.8 trillion is about one fourteenth of the paper based international bond markets, which themselves, at about $26 trillion, are about two thirds composed of western government sovereign debt almost all of which has appeared, co-incidentally, since 1971 and the declared supremacy of paper money, which was what allowed governments to borrow without caution. The total gold content of the world would pay - at current values - about 7% of the international bond market's sovereign debt. But of course 75% of the world's gold is not available to governments - being held privately as jewellery, bullion and coin. In fact only about 30,000 tonnes, about 1% of the world's sovereign debt is what is held in central bank gold reserves.

Meanwhile the entire gold stock of the world - including the privately held bulk - is much less than one half of one percent of the underwritten risk in the global financial derivatives markets.

The world has placed absolute trust in paper currency denominated assets. Investors have shunned gold for about twenty years while the notional value of paper based financial assets has exploded.

Who owns the gold ?

About 30,000 tonnes of the world’s gold [20-25% of above ground inventory] is held in central bank vaults.

Major Central Bank Reserves (2000)

Nations & institutions /Reserves (Tonnes)

USA / 8139
Germany / 3469
IMF / 3217
France / 3025
Switzerland / 2590
Italy / 2452

The totals for other central banks tail off rapidly after these main holders. Most only hold a few hundred tonnes, and together they make up a bit over 30,000 tonnes in all.

The rest is held by individuals in the form of gold jewellery [approx 70,000 - 80,000 tonnes], coin and privately held bullion [combined at 20,000 tonnes].

90% of the gold above ground has been mined since the start of the California gold rush in 1848. Modern power machinery and chemicals have steadily lowered the price at which gold can be extracted. The average production cost of the world's biggest producer - South Africa - is about $238 per troy ounce. 1997 industry estimates by the Federal Reserve Board suggested an average production cost worldwide of $300 per ounce.

Where it is known about with reasonable confidence, and can be extracted economically, un-mined gold appears on the books of mining companies as ‘reserves’. There remains as reserves about 40% of the total of gold above ground - i.e about 50,000 tonnes. South Africa has 50% of the world's known stock of un-mined gold.

Gold is difficult to find in commercial quantities. It also takes time, typically 5 years, and plenty of money to bring mines into production. In this sense the supply side of the gold equation is relatively constant.

One of the features of this is that boom times encourage investment which takes a considerable time to work through to production and - eventually - to worked out mines. After a boom, when investment decisions may be made on over-inflated expectations of ultimately achievable prices, there is a tendency to subsequent overproduction and poor prices for a considerable period.

The gold price boom of 1979/80 resulted in steadily increasing production all over the world from a stable base of 1200 tonnes annually to a peak of above 2600 tonnes in 1999. All major producing countries except South Africa substantially increased production in this period.

Conspicuous consumption by Flavor Flav.
Production then leveled out and started to dip slightly, as mines were exhausted and poorer mines shut. Also the uninspiring gold market encouraged a decrease in exploration which now means there are a lower number of new mines coming into production than is expected to be required by the market.

Nonetheless for the time being gold is still being mined and refined at the rate of almost 2,600 tonnes per year. Thus the world supply of above ground gold is increasing - or inflating - at just over 2% annually. At current rates the gold supply is growing the under-sized tennis court cube at about 12 centimeters a year. It will reach a full tennis court sized cube in about 20 years time.

Friday, October 16, 2015


Agitprop, abbreviated from Russian agitatsiya propaganda (agitation propaganda), political strategy in which the techniques of agitation and propaganda are used to influence and mobilize public opinion. Although the strategy is common, both the label and an obsession with it were specific to the Marxism practiced by communists in the Soviet Union.

The twin strategies of agitation and propaganda were originally elaborated by the Marxist theorist Georgy Plekhanov, who defined propaganda as the promulgation of a number of ideas to an individual or small group and agitation as the promulgation of a single idea to a large mass of people. Expanding on these notions in his pamphlet What Is to Be Done? (1902), Vladimir Lenin stated that the propagandist, whose primary medium is print, explains the causes of social inequities such as unemployment or hunger, while the agitator, whose primary medium is speech, seizes on the emotional aspects of these issues to arouse his audience to indignation or action. Agitation is thus the use of political slogans and half-truths to exploit the grievances of the public and thereby to mold public opinion and mobilize public support. Propaganda, by contrast, is the reasoned use of historical and scientific arguments to indoctrinate the educated and so-called “enlightened” members of society, such as party members.

The term agitprop originated as a shortened form of the Agitation and Propaganda Section of the Central Committee Secretariat of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union. This department of the Central Committee was established in the early 1920s and was responsible for determining the content of all official information, overseeing political education in schools, watching over all forms of mass communication, and mobilizing public support for party programs. Every unit of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union, from the republic to the local-party level, had an agitprop section; at the local level, agitators (party-trained spokesmen) were the chief points of contact between the party and the public.

The word agitprop is used in English to describe such departments and, by extension, any work, especially in the theater, that aims to educate and indoctrinate the public. It typically has a negative connotation, reflecting Western distaste for the overt use of drama and other art forms to achieve political goals.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


The term New World Order or NWO refers to the emergence of a totalitarian world government with an aim towards drastically reducing the earth's population in order to conserve resources and rid the planet of human suffering. However misguided, to many it is a noble idea and yet throughout history, attempts to obtain such a paradise have resulted in revolution, war, and millions of lives lost.

The NWO is led by the world's power elite who are guided by an agenda that intends to eventually install an authoritarian world government in replacement of sovereign nation-states. Significant events in politics and finance are orchestrated by an influential cabal that operates through many governments, banking cartels, and front organizations.

Belief in such a cabal is widespread and not without justification. Predictably, the counter-reaction from those in charge has been to label any such ideas as merely "conspiracy theories" and nothing short of quackery. Naturally, much condemnation is heaped upon the heads of citizen who oppose big government. The administrative class (globalists) like to say that resulting mass hysteria of an unenlightened population could have devastating effects on American political life, ranging from widespread political alienation to escalating terrorism. They may be correct. People do get angry when they discover they've been manipulated and lied to.

It is also said that the New World Order will be implemented through the use of human population control in order to more easily monitor and control the movement of individuals. The means range from stopping the growth of human societies through reproductive health and family planning programs, which promote abstinence, contraception and abortion, or intentionally reducing the bulk of the world population through genocides by mongering unnecessary wars, through plagues by engineering emergent viruses and tainting vaccines, and through environmental disasters by controlling the weather (HAARP, chemtrails), etc. Free citizens argue that globalists plotting on behalf of a New World Order are neo-Malthusians who engage in overpopulation and climate change alarmism in order to create public support for coercive population control and ultimately world government.

Skeptics argue that fears of population control can be traced back to the traumatic legacy of the eugenics movement's "war against the weak" in the United States during the first decades of the 20th century but also the Second Red Scare in the U.S. during the late 1940s and 1950s, and to a lesser extent in the 1960s, when activists on the far right of American politics routinely opposed public health programs, notably water fluoridation, mass vaccination and mental health services, by asserting they are all part of a far-reaching plot to impose a socialist or communist regime. Due to a number of major social and political changes pushed upon the general public in recent years, it appears that the fears of an authoritarian new world order may indeed be fully justified.

Governments, corporations, and the mass media are all involved in the manufacturing of a national consensus and, paradoxically, a culture of fear due to the potential for increased social control that a mistrustful and mutually fearing population might offer to those in power.

The march toward a "new world order" has revealed that the United States is ruled by an oligarchical elite that wants to change the government system that is under the control of a centralized world government.

According to political scientist David Rothkopf in his 2008 book Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making, the world population of 6 billion people is governed by an elite of 6,000 individuals. Until the late 20th century, governments of the great powers provided most of the superclass, accompanied by a few heads of international movements (i.e., the Pope of the Catholic Church) and "old money" (Rothschilds, Rockefellers). According to Rothkopf, in the early 21st century, economic clout—fueled by the explosive expansion of international trade, travel and communication—rules; the nation-state's power has diminished shrinking politicians to minority power broker status; leaders in international business, finance and the defense industry not only dominate the superclass, they move freely into high positions in their nations' governments and back to private life largely beyond the notice of elected legislatures (including the U.S. Congress), which remain abysmally ignorant of affairs beyond their borders. He asserts that the superclass' disproportionate influence over national policy is constructive but always self-interested, and that across the world, few object to corruption and oppressive governments provided they can do business in these countries.

Furthermore, Rothkopf and other scholars who have studied the global power elite, claim that established upper-class families founded and financed the Bilderberg Group, Bohemian Club, Club of Rome, Council on Foreign Relations, Rhodes Trust, Skull and Bones, Trilateral Commission, and similar think tanks and private clubs. They see themselves as enlightened conspirators plotting to impose the implementation of an authoritarian world government controlled by the United Nations and a global central bank, which maintains political power through oversight of the economy, regulation and restriction of speech through the concentration of media ownership, mass surveillance, widespread use of state terrorism, and an all-encompassing propaganda machine that creates a cult of personality around a puppet world leader and ideologizes world government as the culmination of history's progress.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Masked Marauders

In 1969, Rolling Stone published a review of a nonexistent album by a nonexistent band, a supposed “supergroup” made up of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, and Bob Dylan. Editor Greil Marcus had intended the review as a parody of groups like Blind Faith and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, but readers began clamoring for the album. So Marcus and editor Langdon Winner recruited a Berkeley skiffle band and retroactively recorded a few of the songs that had been mentioned in the review.

When California radio stations began to play these songs, the hoax took on a life of its own. Marcus began to shop the band to major labels, and Warner Bros. won the contract with a $15,000 advance. The Masked Marauders came out that November with liner notes making it clear that the whole thing was a joke. Nonetheless, the record sold 100,000 copies and spent 12 weeks on the Billboard charts.

Dave Stewart
In a related story: In 2004 Dave Stewart and Kara DioGuardi invented a band called Platinum Weird that they insisted had existed in 1974. Supposedly it had been a partnership between Stewart and a mysterious singer/songwriter named Erin Grace who, among other accomplishments, had introduced Stevie Nicks to Lindsey Buckingham. In July 2006 VH1 even aired a documentary in which Ringo Starr, Bob Geldof, Elton John, and Mick Jagger pretended to reminisce about the band. On the same day, though, Stewart admitted to the Los Angeles Times that the whole thing had been a hoax.

“Lots of artists from the ’60s created mythology about themselves,” he said. “We’re in our own perception of our own world. So what’s reality and what’s not?”

Sunday, October 11, 2015

“True propaganda does not seek to persuade.
It seeks to create a climate of thought in which
dissent is seen as something akin to madness”. - Orwell

Friday, October 9, 2015

Check Your Internet Speed

Test your internet connection here. The results from my speed test are below:

As you can see, my provider is Centurylink and they're not doing a very good job for me. Although my internet connection is laggy, I still get to pay a premium price every month. I guess that makes me special. Are you special too?

SN 1604

Supernova 1604, also known as Kepler's Supernova, Kepler's Nova or Kepler's Star, was a supernova that occurred in the Milky Way, in the constellation Ophiuchus. It is the most recent supernova to have been unquestionably observed by the naked eye in our own galaxy, occurring no farther than 6 kiloparsecs or about 20,000 light-years from Earth.

Visible to the naked eye, Kepler's Star was brighter at its peak than any other star in the night sky, and all the planets other than Venus, with apparent magnitude −2.5. It was visible during the day for over three weeks.

The first recorded observation was in northern Italy on October 9, 1604. Johannes Kepler began observing it in Prague on October 17. It was subsequently named after him because his observations tracked the object for an entire year and because of his book on the subject, entitled De Stella nova in pede Serpentarii ("On the new star in Ophiuchus's foot", Prague 1606).

It was the second supernova to be observed in a generation (after SN 1572 seen by Tycho Brahe in Cassiopeia). No further supernovae have since been observed with certainty in the Milky Way, though many others outside our galaxy have been seen since S Andromedae.

Remnants of SN 1604
Present day astronomical evidence exists for a Milky Way supernova whose signal would have reached earth ca 1680 (Cassiopeia A), and another object whose light should have arrived ca 1870. However there is no historical record of either having been detected at the time, by the unaided human eye.

The supernova remnant resulting from this supernova is considered to be one of the prototypical objects of its kind, and is still an object of much study in astronomy.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

They Lie To Us

If you're an adult and you still haven't figured out that your government lies to you (constantly with blatant over-sized whoppers), then there's nothing I can say to convince you otherwise. That knowledge, however, isn't going to keep me from trying to reach the growing numbers who innately understand that there is something very, very wrong with what is going on around them. The facts just don't fit the narrative.

We're actually seeing internet databases scrubbed of relevant information, manipulations of search engine rankings for documents, and in some cases laws are being changed to prevent information from being released.

Despite the fact that people questioning the official narrative is still a hot topic, there's a very real possibility the right questions may never get asked in any meaningful way, at least not publicly. But with so many openly obvious anomalies, ridiculous coincidences and projected media falsehoods surrounding the Sandy Hook incident and, by now, a number of other recent events, people are figuring out what's actually going on.

Additionally, an outpouring of concern over why the media has refused to report the situation accurately has caused a wave of indignation around the country. You wouldn't know it if it weren't for internet bloggers and sleuths. It's as though the media is running a smoke screen. Yet, people are still waking to a reality they thought they'd never have to contemplate. At least, not in the US. But we've experienced an end run around the mainstream media and via the internet, people have shared and spread information that connects the dots and follows the money trails. Mostly, the revelations concerning the staged incidents are simply about logic and people refusing to be fooled any longer.

When you look at the details, the obvious comes into focus. Sympathy turns into feelings of confusion and concern over such egregious misrepresentations of the facts. It is a growing reality that not everybody is buying into establishment propaganda any longer. As a result, the (mainstream) media has gone into damage control.
Just as they've done in countless other similar situations, while treating its followers like children, they first attack outside messengers with derogatory terminology, calling those attempting to point anything out that doesn't fit with the official narrative conspiracy “theorists” and “racists,” etc., just before twisting and misrepresenting what's being pointed out and totally avoiding that which cannot be easily misconstrued or hidden. It's actually quite transparent and easy to see the pattern.

In spite of what the media insinuates, few of us want to believe our government is capable of performing such actions on its own citizens. Be reminded, we're not talking about a Waco-style event where 80 people, men, women, and children are burned and shot to death for their religious beliefs, rather we're suggesting that certain "events" around the country have been staged in order to sway public opinion and give credence to even more freedom-killing police measures. After the fact, a bogus disaster is declared and, in some cases, for years afterwards, monies are collected in sympathy for the survivors of the "victims" -- monies in the millions of dollars! When anyone suggests how such a conspiratorial secret could be kept, the proper answer -- the only answer -- is, of course, money!

Returning to the reality of it all, no one finds it easy to come to terms with their country not being what they thought it was. But when all the facts point to the existence of an alternate reality, as opposed to the one the media forces down everyone's throats (how many times have I told you, DON'T WATCH TELEVISION!), there's no choice but to start having second thoughts, regardless of how unwanted or stomach-wrenching those thoughts may be.

Quite possibly the most obvious example would be to point out that the entire gun control “debate” hinges on the fact that “assault” weapons were used to kill children and staff at the Sandy Hook school. Even though it was reported, complete with video evidence the day after the shootings, the only so-called “assault” weapon at the scene, which actually looks more like a shotgun, was left in the trunk of the car, and was never used.

In spite of this information, the media ran with the false assertion an assault rifle was used and are still going with that fake reality today, while they fully know that's not the case. All we heard the prior year was the constant drumbeat for gun control on practically every radio and TV station in the country, especially the argument that so-called “assault weapons" and large capacity magazines should be banned, despite not being used at the shooting.

Our leaders, including Obama, also ran with it, going so far as producing a string of over 20 executive orders to attempt banning American's right to own the type of weapons "used at the school.” Our President openly and brazenly lied, misrepresenting the circumstances and using it all, including innocent, (naturally-gun-hating) children on the signing stage with him, to garner emotional support for the lie.

Will Obama ever admit to there never having been an “assault” rifle inside Sandy Hook elementary school or why his administration sent literally tens of thousands of the guns he now demonizes to Mexican drug cartels? What a tangled web in which we now find ourselves.

Every American in the country should be absolutely outraged over just this one aspect of the tragedy's aftermath. If nothing else, simply for being manipulated into going along with a controversial political agenda. Especially one that more adult Americans statistically disagree with than those who support it. Unfortunately, that's only the beginning of America's tyranny problem.

In addition to every post-Wild West statistic showing violent crime rates dropping in areas where gun ownership grew, one of the big secrets is that many alternative journalists are getting very good at knowing what to look for, recognizing patterns and seeing the signs that criminals leave behind. Just like old-school journalists used to do, prior to the age of mass-information manipulation. Back when they actually investigated and publicly analyzed every last piece of available evidence, instead of merely reading from official pre-scripted teleprompter copy, or a list of talking points given by “officials” on the scene.

When so many people can see the evidence for themselves by merely going online, by typing in the appropriate search term and taking an honest and objective look, then the ability for our sold-out media to merely say whatever they want and claim control over the “court of public opinion,” is over. They have lost the trust of their audience. We may as well be watching a movie.

It is not my intention to comb through all the hoax evidence for Sandy Hook or these other staged events, but it is fun to look at a few. For instance, have you seen the “crisis actor” father of an alleged victim who was caught laughing and joking before getting into character for the camera while live footage was rolling? Crisis actors abound these days. Why, it's a whole new industry. Google it and you'll find businesses devoted to it. By the way, the organization that was responsible for some of the Sandy Hook actors has mysteriously vanished from the internet. However, an astute observer can still find vestiges of its existence (

There are even more startling examples of the unraveling narrative, similar to the assault weapon is it there or is it in the trunk question that the media initial reports, then totally forgets. For instance, The arrest of a camouflaged individual running into the woods, away from the Sandy Hook school just as officers arrive and the fact that the “crisis actors” and officers on display, for public consumption, seem to have been pulled from an active (school shooter) drill that was ironically being held right down the road at the exact same time. They want us to believe it was simply another extraordinary coincidence, where a pre-planned government exercise turns into a conveniently live event, just like 9/11 on multiple levels, just like the 7/7 London bombings and just like the Boston Bombing. Yes, that's right, there were ongoing drills at each of those events too.

Even though the likelihood of a real world scenario going on at the same time and at the exact same location as a pre-set training drill covering the exact same scenario, is so ridiculously minuscule, the media accepts it, glosses over it, and then those in the audience simply shrug, open a soda, and try another channel. Nonetheless, if you happen to be aware of these circumstances, the establishment and its media push the idea it's all one giant coincidence and you're a conspiracy “theorist” or a “racist” or a “right-wing nut-job” if you'd dare think otherwise. And we certainly don't want to be any of those.

Never mind that websites and Facebook pages, blog postings, tribute videos and victims compensations sites were officially set up or mistakenly posted days and weeks in advance of the shootings. Must have been parallel universes converging.

Here's another one: They also want us to believe it was just a coincidence that a mass casualty medical drill was being held at a local Denver-area medical school, at the exact same time the Aurora Theater shooting happened. Coincidentally, the victims were watching a movie that referenced Sandy Hook on a map as a potential terror-target-area. Yet even more bizarre was that they also just watched the world-premiere of a music video, moments before the movie and shootings began, showing a bunch of skeletons sitting in a movie theater. Officially, it's all just coincidence too.

Officials in Giles County, VA knew better than to believe mere coincidence, however, when they became aware their town's name also appeared on the same Dark Knight Rises terrorist-target-area map. Subsequently, they shut down the entire school district. I guess that means all the public and school officials in Giles County are conspiracy theorists.

The real problem is that an ugly truth about our country, our media, and our leaders is slowly coming to light and the only reason it's taken this long to get out is because, deep down, no one really wants to see it. The establishment knows it and uses it to their advantage.

If you want to push your head in the sand, or if you're so completely in the bag for your favorite political party to even consider these things, then understand you're on the wrong side. Your ignorance of what is really going on won't save you.