AuthorTopic: Things That Make Me Say, "Dafuq?"  (Read 24313 times)

Offline Surly1

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PLEASE, GOD, LET IT BE ALIENS AND NOT TRUMP’S SPACE FORCE
« Reply #315 on: June 01, 2019, 08:39:45 PM »
PLEASE, GOD, LET IT BE ALIENS AND NOT TRUMP’S SPACE FORCE
It appears the U.S. government is softening us up for a revelation, either regarding extraterrestrial life or a world-disruptive military technology. It’s sad to say that alien life seems like the safer option.


A crowd points to a UFO flying over the Chrysler Building
From GraphicaArtis/Getty Images.

Perhaps the only thing more curious than the news that the U.S. Navy is establishing new guidelines for reporting UFO sightings is the decision to let the public know. For decades, we have assumed government secrecy on such matters. In Ed Wood’s 1959 film, Plan 9 From Outer Space, it is suggested that even a deadly alien invasion would be hidden, at least if casualties were low. “For a time we tried to contact them by radio, but no response,” says Plan 9’s Colonel Tom Edwards, who is in charge of saucer field activities. “Then they attacked a town. A small town, I’ll admit. But nevertheless a town of people. People who died.”

The subordinate says he missed the news. “It was covered up by the higher echelon,” Edwards explains. “Flying saucers, Captain, are still a rumor. Officially.”

And yet, now, we’re reading about UFOs in the New York Times,seeing footage of them on video, and pilots are putting their names to their sightings. We hear the pilots chattering and laughing in a manner that’s almost ominous, reminiscent of movie scenes depicting similar lightheartedness prior to vaporization. Then again, everything concerning UFOs is reminiscent of some movie scene, which only makes harder to engage with the details now being reported. One of the vehicles in question is said to have resembled “a giant Tic Tac” the size of a commercial plane, and the UFOs were able to “accelerate, slow down and then hit hypersonic speeds.” Another is said to be “like a sphere encasing a cube.” These UFOs seem to stay airborne all day, despite having no apparent source of energy. According to the latest Times story, they “appeared almost daily from the summer of 2014 to March 2015” in the skies above the East Coast.

What’s going on? Speculation is rife on the Y Combinator forums. Guesses include U.S. drones (a terrestrial craft), “Von Neumann probes” (self-perpetuating extraterrestrial craft), and a “disinformation campaign” (none of the above). Politico reports that advocates of the Navy’s new UFO reporting rules simply want to change “a culture in which personnel feel that speaking up about it could hurt their career.” After all, in an age when “removing the stigma” has become a refrain on everything from cannabis to male postpartum depression, maybe it was inevitable that overcoming UFO shame was next. We don’t want to invalidate your flying saucer feelings.

Whatever the case, this new transparency feels like part of a trend. The 1970s saw a raft of regulations opening up the workings of government to public eyes, and these sprang from a feeling that trust had been abused in the prior decades, when Cold War anxiety was higher. Today, we see similar sentiments, especially following revelations about our counterterrorism policies after 9/11. With less war, or at least with less immediate war, we have the luxury of looking more closely. Ironically, despite the indefensible cover-up described by Tom Edwards in Plan 9 from Outer Space, there’s no great sense of distrust or outrage toward the authorities for their opacity and lies. Today, government makes itself much more transparent, even as Americans distrust it more than ever.

What’s also new is the concreteness of these sightings. When I was a kid, a neighbor of my family in upstate New York claimed to have witnessed an enormous craft touch down on one of her fields, terrifying her and the nearby livestock. She was otherwise a no-nonsense type, but it was her experience alone, and most UFO sightings tended to be of this variety: the product of a lone witness. As the physicist Richard Feynman once wrote, “I think that it is much more likely that the reports of flying saucers are the results of the known irrational characteristics of terrestrial intelligence than of the unknown rational efforts of extra-terrestrial intelligence.” The UFO sightings described in the Times, by contrast, are shared experiences, discussed by multiple personnel, and captured on tape. When that happens, covering it up—especially given the human tendency to pass on amazing stories—can cause more trouble than reporting it.

If the objects are real, as opposed to optical illusions or radar glitches, they move in a mystifying manner and suggest a technological breakthrough of history-altering importance. Odds are low that they’re products of the U.S. military, because some of these vessels have come close to colliding with manned U.S. aircraft, and such recklessness would be unlikely among aerospace experts in a secret program. On the other hand, such recklessness would also be odd for any other country capable of producing such vessels. Looks like that leaves only Zorgon.

Even alien spacecraft must obey the fundamental laws of time and space, or so we assume, and so those looking to explain these latest vessels must turn to increasingly abstruse sources, far above the technical ken of mere political journalists. NASA engineer Paul R. Hill (1909–1990), who had a fascination with what might power UFOs, concluded, in a posthumous book called Unconventional Flying Objects: a Scientific Analysis, that “force-field propulsion” using some sort of combination of stored and gathered energy could do the trick. I won’t pretend to be able to evaluate Hill’s claims, but his reputation seems to be decent. It might be time to give it a look. A partially declassified list of government reading materials, produced under the Pentagon’s now-defunct Advanced Aerospace Threat and Identification Program, included such titles as Aneutronic Fusion Propulsion and State of the Art and Evolution of High Energy Laser Weapons. Perhaps these would be worth reading too.

Some people speculate that the U.S. government, by making these sightings public, is softening us up for a revelation, either regarding extraterrestrial life or a world-disruptive technology. It’s sad to say that alien life seems like the safer option. If the UFOs turned out to be man-made, then the first worry would be that the inventors weren’t American. The second worry would be that they were. If China or Russia had developed a force-field propulsion technology, whatever that is, they could use their new power for ill, as they have in the past. On the other hand, if the United States had developed a force-field propulsion technology—well, our stretch as a lone superpower following the collapse of the Soviet Union was not characterized by excessive prudence. Compared to earthly hegemons, alien Tic Tacs seem benign, apart from their erratic driving.

These UFOs could change human history, but, for now, we aren’t giving them much thought. They’re just floating about, unexplained and unidentified, and we have work to do. But mention them in conversation and they’re likely to lead to nervous humor, as do most things unfamiliar and out of our control. The pilots may be laughing, because they have the comfort of peers who are seeing the same thing, but most wouldn’t be laughing if they were alone. We know that life is fragile and that it continues at the mercy of a universe on a little planet orbiting around a star that will eventually flame out. The odds of these supersonic ovals in our midst turning out to be a net plus for humanity are low. Worrying about Donald Trump is almost reassuringly small by comparison. But at least we’re trusting our military personnel to see what’s in front of them. As Colonel Edwards asks, “How could I hope to hold down my command if I didn’t believe in what I saw and shot at?”

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline Surly1

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"Greatest social control scheme in history..."
« Reply #316 on: June 03, 2019, 03:25:59 AM »
No surprises here, but yet...

Looooong. Pack a lunch. Snowden appears @25:00 in.

Snowden warns of greatest social control scheme in history

Watch

June 02, 2019 "Information Clearing House" - It's through the use of new platforms and algorithms that are built on and around these capabilities that they are able to shift our behavior. In some cases, they are able to predict our decisions and also nudge them to different outcomes.

” Snowden told the audience in Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada via live stream from Moscow this week, stressing that the US government “corrupted our knowledge... towards a military purpose.”

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/oizhVJstxC4" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/oizhVJstxC4</a>
« Last Edit: June 03, 2019, 03:29:24 AM by Surly1 »
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline Surly1

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Trump Companies Accused of Tax Evasion in Panama
« Reply #317 on: June 03, 2019, 05:40:13 PM »
Prepping the tweets that ask, "Panama? What's that? Don't they make hats there?"

Trump Companies Accused of Tax Evasion in Panama
In the latest chapter in ongoing litigation, the private equity fund that bought what used to be called the Trump Ocean Club claims the Trump entities pocketed money that should have gone to the Panamanian government.




ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom based in New York. Sign up for ProPublica’s Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox as soon as they are published.

The owners of a 70-story Panama City hotel tower formerly managed by President Donald Trump’s companies are accusing them of stiffing the Panamanian government.

In a legal filing Monday in an ongoing lawsuit in Manhattan federal court, private equity manager Orestes Fintiklis and the company he leads, Ithaca Capital Partners, claimed that two Trump companies failed to pay Panamanian taxes equal to 12.5% of the management fees they drew from the hotel.

The Trump entities were allegedly supposed to withhold those fees in advance and pay them to the government regardless of whether the property was profitable or not. Instead, the Trump companies simply kept the money, the suit claims, “thus intentionally evading taxes.” That and other financial irregularities exposed Fintiklis and the companies he represents “to millions of dollars in liability,” according to the suit, which also claims Trump companies sought to cover up their actions. The filing does not say whether a tax penalty has been levied by Panamanian authorities.

Fintiklis declined to comment.

The Trump Organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In prior legal pleadings, the Trump entities have denied wrongdoing. The Trump Organization also countersued last year, accusing Fintiklis and Ithaca of a “fraudulent scheme” that breached Trump’s 20-year management contract.

The dust-up is the latest fallout from Trump’s foreign business entanglements. Trump projects in Canada, Mexico, India, Azerbaijan and elsewhere have also come under scrutiny. And he has spent nearly his entire presidential tenure seeking to dismiss or downplay his dealings with Russians related to a plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. His former lawyer Michael Cohen is serving a prison term in part for lying to investigators about that project.

In recent years, Trump has typically licensed his name to other players — selling the right to put his name on the building but not investing his own money. He often also seeks to manage the building once it’s built. Like many other projects, the Panama development is a hotel-condo arrangement, where buyers purchase hotel rooms that are then rented out by the management company.

Ithaca Capital’s suit, filed originally in January last year and amended Monday, is seeking at least $17 million in damages, alleging that Trump companies mismanaged the hotel and let it fall into disrepair. The suit claimed that the hotel sat “virtually empty,” with portions going uncleaned for years.

A man removes the word Trump from a sign outside the Trump Ocean Club in 2018. (Arnulfo Franco/AP Photo)

Led by Cypriot businessman Fintiklis, Ithaca Capital bought 202 of the 369 hotel-condo units at what was then called the Trump Ocean Club in 2017. The next year, Ithaca evicted Trump Organization employees from the sail-shaped waterfront structure, which also houses a casino and shops. Trump employees and security personnel tried to block the effort, resulting in shoving matches that attracted international headlines.

Trump’s company tried unsuccessfully to convince Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela to intervene on Trump’s behalf. When Fintiklis’ group eventually took control, it found walls had been hastily built to obstruct access to certain areas — one was in the middle of a hallway, another in front of an elevator bank — including inner offices. Trump employees also shredded hotel documents, Fintiklis’ group alleged.

Trump’s name was scraped from a stone wall in front of the tower, which is now the JW Marriott Panama. It was one of several properties that have removed Trump’s name in recent years.

In its complaint, Ithaca Capital also claims Trump’s son Eric and employees misled Ithaca when it was performing due diligence before buying into the hotel. The claims echo similar complaints made in other projects involving Trump businesses. ProPublica in October detailed how Trump and his children engaged in deceptive practices — including in Panama — while promoting at least a dozen development projects in the U.S. and abroad.

At an August 2016 meeting, Eric Trump allegedly told Fintiklis and two other Ithaca board members that the hotel was outperforming the market in Panama, a claim the suit asserts was false. After the meeting, Trump companies sent Ithaca two brochures that reiterated his statements about the hotel “maintaining a leading market share” in Panama.

Trump representatives repeated the statements to Ithaca in early 2017, the new legal filings say. At a February 2017 Trump Tower meeting that included Donald Trump Jr., Trump employees again said the hotel was outperforming the market. Ithaca Capital leaders relied on these statements when deciding to make the purchase, the suit said, adding that “these representations were false and designed to mislead Ithaca into believing that the Hotel was performing better than its peers.”

The suit said the false representations were made to other owners, too. In a December 2017 letter to hotel owners other than Ithaca, it said, Eric Trump wrote, “Over the last three years, the hotel has outperformed the market by a wide margin — as much as 20 percent — by virtually every measure.”

Trump companies also “artificially deflated” the hotel’s expenses and underreported Trump’s management fees in financial statements presented to Ithaca, the suit alleged, leading the hotel to appear to be in a better financial position than it was.

The suit alleged other improper financial behavior, saying that instead of making the necessary distributions to hotel room owners, “Trump hoarded their cash.” It said Trump companies failed to make appropriate financial disclosures and drained reserve accounts to pay operational costs, “all the while Trump lined its pockets with ill-gotten management fees.”

The suit said Ithaca wouldn’t have bought the hotel if it had known about the tax and social security problems and other financial irregularities.

An earlier suit filed by Trump Ocean Club condo owners also objected to the Trumps’ management practices. The plaintiffs accused Trump employees of overspending and taking excessive bonuses, as well as mishandling the building’s finances. Owners said they saw a steep increase in fees. Trump responded by suing those owners, too, demanding $75 million for wrongful termination. That litigation was settled in 2016.

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline Surly1

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Dubya, Kobe Bryant, Jordan Peterson Promote Shady Multilevel Marketing Co.
« Reply #318 on: June 27, 2019, 07:04:51 PM »
George W. Bush, Kobe Bryant, Jordan Peterson Promote Shady Multilevel Marketing Company
What is bringing together a former president, NBA star, and celebrity Canadian professor? Insurance!




Will Sommer
Kelly Weill

Former President George W. Bush, basketball star Kobe Bryant, and right-wing Canadian professor Jordan Peterson will lend their famous names this summer to a multilevel insurance marketing company that critics say is better at getting money from its own recruits than it is at selling insurance.

They are scheduled to speak in late July at the People Helping People Conference, an annual event organized by insurance sales company PHP Agency. They’ll be joined by Oakland Athletics executive Billy Beane, who inspired the Michael Lewis book Moneyball. Representatives for the speakers didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The conference lineup became public through the poster announcing their appearance, which features a logo that’s nearly identical to the symbol for the Autobots, the good robots from Transformers. The poster features the celebrities arranged around PHP Agency’s CEO, Patrick Bet-David, a star in YouTube’s business motivation community who has amassed more than 1 million followers on his channel.

Keynote speakers at the 2019 @PHPAgency convention have officially been announced! Beyond grateful to be apart of this company/movement 😈 you guys still think it’s a pyramid scheme ?😄 pic.twitter.com/eCI5RFls1c

— Greg🦁 (@Gregxfitness) May 21, 2019

PHP Agency is a multilevel marketing company, meaning that it makes money when people recruit lower-ranking members, who then funnel their sales commissions upwards. Agents move up through the ranks based on their recruitment rates, according to a 2016 PHP fact sheet on “compensations and promotional guidelines.”

But much of PHP’s income appears to come from fees paid by the recruits themselves, according to complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau. Its PHP page is littered with complaints. Multiple people complained that someone had persuaded them to join their insurance team and pay $150 for “training material,” plus a monthly recurring fee of $14.95. A Reddit forum devoted to discussions of multilevel marketing companies is filled with similar horror stories about the company, with tales of PHP agents pressuring friends and family members to pay initiation fees to join the company and savings squandered on PHP Agency trainings.

Bet-David, PHP’s CEO, told The Daily Beast that his company doesn’t do multilevel marketing.

“There’s nothing about our model that’s multilevel marketing,” Bet-David said.

Bet-David denied that his company participated in the practices that former sales associates complained about to the Better Business Bureau, citing industry regulations.

“Think about the most regulated industry out there, it’s this industry,” Bet-David said.

“It’s like a lottery. A few people are going to win, but most are going to lose.”
— attorney Douglas Brooks

By lending their reputations to PHP Agency, experts say celebrities like Bush and Peterson are bolstering the business’s legitimacy in the eyes of recruits.

“That’s a big game the companies play,” said Douglas Brooks, an attorney who has filed lawsuits against multilevel marketing companies and who is a board member of watchdog group Pyramid Scheme Alert. “They find some celebrity endorser who will speak at a convention, so that gives them the air of legitimacy. People will say, ‘Well, I don’t really understand this business, but if Mr. X is involved, hey, it must be OK.’”

Multilevel marketing companies rely on recruiting endless new chains of subordinate sales associates, according to Brooks, meaning that people who have already paid to join the company are increasing their own pool of competition. A PHP Agency brochure promoting the company calculates that even a part-time associate could make more than $23,000, while noting in tiny print below that the income figures are "hypothetical and are not based on actual results."

“It’s like a lottery,” Brooks said. “A few people are going to win, but most are going to lose.”

Robert FitzPatrick, the president of Pyramid Scheme Alert, said big-name conference speakers like Bush and Peterson are key to reassuring members of multilevel marketing companies that they aren’t wasting their money on training fees.

The speakers’ reputation can lend the programs a sense of legitimacy that their own business models can’t provide.

“You’re not really thinking, ‘How in God’s name am I going to go sell life insurance?’” FitzPatrick said. “It diverts you from due diligence.”

Bush isn’t the first president to make money from a multilevel marketing company. Former president Bill Clinton gave a speech to Amway in 2013, and Donald Trump endorsed two multilevel marketing companies before becoming president.

Peterson is a psychologist who first made a name for himself by refusing to use transgender students’ preferred pronouns. In at least one conversation with a far-right YouTuber, Peterson invoked bunk “race science” tropes. He has since generated a massive right-wing following by becoming a sort of surrogate father for alienated young men. In his bestselling book, 12 Rules for Life, Peterson urges them to, among other things, make their beds every day and learn life lessons from the behavior of lobsters.

But while Peterson has built his reputation on offering life advice, his appearance at the PHP Agency convention promises to lend an air of respectability to a business that experts say nearly everyone involved will lose money on.

“The point of the meeting is to keep people involved in the business,” Brooks said. “It’s one thing to recruit someone to start, but in order for the whole thing to work, you’ve got to keep those people in it for as long as possible, you’ve got to keep people in it until they’ve wiped out their bank accounts.”

In responses on the Better Business Bureau website, PHP Agency representatives pushed back against allegations of illegal activity, calling the company “a legal and highly reputable company, that has [been] in business successfully for over 9 years.” Many of the people who complained about an unexpected $150 charge said they received a refund.

One of PHP’s first celebrity endorsements came from then-Fox News host Glenn Beck, who declared that the company “empowers those who still believe in the American dream.” Previous PHP Agency conventions have featured comedian Kevin Hart and former hockey star Wayne Gretzky.

“These meetings are central to the messaging, and the messaging is a kind of utopian cult vision of life, with that financial scheme as the only vehicle that can deliver you into this heaven on earth,” FitzPatrick said.

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline K-Dog

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Re: Things That Make Me Say, "Dafuq?"
« Reply #319 on: June 27, 2019, 11:21:51 PM »
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
« Last Edit: June 27, 2019, 11:24:33 PM by K-Dog »
Under ideal conditions of temperature and pressure the organism will grow without limit.

Offline azozeo

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George W. Bush, Kobe Bryant, Jordan Peterson Promote Shady Multilevel Marketing Company
What is bringing together a former president, NBA star, and celebrity Canadian professor? Insurance!




Will Sommer
Kelly Weill


<p>Former President George W. Bush, basketball star Kobe Bryant, and right-wing Canadian professor Jordan Peterson will lend their famous names this summer to a multilevel insurance marketing company that critics say is better at getting money from its own recruits than it is at selling insurance.</p>
<p>They are scheduled to speak in late July at the People Helping People Conference, an annual event organized by insurance sales company PHP Agency. They’ll be joined by Oakland Athletics executive Billy Beane, who inspired the Michael Lewis book Moneyball. Representatives for the speakers didn’t respond to requests for comment.</p>
<p>The conference lineup became public through the poster announcing their appearance, which features a logo that’s nearly identical to the symbol for the Autobots, the good robots from Transformers. The poster features the celebrities arranged around PHP Agency’s CEO, Patrick Bet-David, a star in YouTube’s business motivation community who has amassed more than 1 million followers on his channel.</p>
<div>
<blockquote data-twitter-extracted-i1561681314291331456="true">
<p lang="en" dir="ltr">Keynote speakers at the 2019 @PHPAgency convention have officially been announced! Beyond grateful to be apart of this company/movement 😈 you guys still think it’s a pyramid scheme ?😄 pic.twitter.com/eCI5RFls1c</p>
— Greg🦁 (@Gregxfitness) May 21, 2019

</div>
<p>PHP Agency is a multilevel marketing company, meaning that it makes money when people recruit lower-ranking members, who then funnel their sales commissions upwards. Agents move up through the ranks based on their recruitment rates, according to a 2016 PHP fact sheet on “compensations and promotional guidelines.”</p>
<p>But much of PHP’s income appears to come from fees paid by the recruits themselves, according to complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau. Its PHP page is littered with complaints. Multiple people complained that someone had persuaded them to join their insurance team and pay $150 for “training material,” plus a monthly recurring fee of $14.95. A Reddit forum devoted to discussions of multilevel marketing companies is filled with similar horror stories about the company, with tales of PHP agents pressuring friends and family members to pay initiation fees to join the company and savings squandered on PHP Agency trainings.</p>
<p>Bet-David, PHP’s CEO, told The Daily Beast that his company doesn’t do multilevel marketing.</p>
<p>“There’s nothing about our model that’s multilevel marketing,” Bet-David said.</p>
<p>Bet-David denied that his company participated in the practices that former sales associates complained about to the Better Business Bureau, citing industry regulations.</p>
<p>“Think about the most regulated industry out there, it’s this industry,” Bet-David said.</p>
<div>
<div>
<div>“It’s like a lottery. A few people are going to win, but most are going to lose.”</div>
</div>
<div>— attorney Douglas Brooks</div>
</div>
<p>By lending their reputations to PHP Agency, experts say celebrities like Bush and Peterson are bolstering the business’s legitimacy in the eyes of recruits.</p>
<p>“That’s a big game the companies play,” said Douglas Brooks, an attorney who has filed lawsuits against multilevel marketing companies and who is a board member of watchdog group Pyramid Scheme Alert. “They find some celebrity endorser who will speak at a convention, so that gives them the air of legitimacy. People will say, ‘Well, I don’t really understand this business, but if Mr. X is involved, hey, it must be OK.’”</p>
<p>Multilevel marketing companies rely on recruiting endless new chains of subordinate sales associates, according to Brooks, meaning that people who have already paid to join the company are increasing their own pool of competition. A PHP Agency brochure promoting the company calculates that even a part-time associate could make more than $23,000, while noting in tiny print below that the income figures are "hypothetical and are not based on actual results."</p>
<section></section>
<p>“It’s like a lottery,” Brooks said. “A few people are going to win, but most are going to lose.”</p>
<p>Robert FitzPatrick, the president of Pyramid Scheme Alert, said big-name conference speakers like Bush and Peterson are key to reassuring members of multilevel marketing companies that they aren’t wasting their money on training fees.</p>
<p>The speakers’ reputation can lend the programs a sense of legitimacy that their own business models can’t provide.</p>
<p>“You’re not really thinking, ‘How in God’s name am I going to go sell life insurance?’” FitzPatrick said. “It diverts you from due diligence.”</p>
<p>Bush isn’t the first president to make money from a multilevel marketing company. Former president Bill Clinton gave a speech to Amway in 2013, and Donald Trump endorsed two multilevel marketing companies before becoming president.</p>
<p>Peterson is a psychologist who first made a name for himself by refusing to use transgender students’ preferred pronouns. In at least one conversation with a far-right YouTuber, Peterson invoked bunk “race science” tropes. He has since generated a massive right-wing following by becoming a sort of surrogate father for alienated young men. In his bestselling book, 12 Rules for Life, Peterson urges them to, among other things, make their beds every day and learn life lessons from the behavior of lobsters.</p>
<p>But while Peterson has built his reputation on offering life advice, his appearance at the PHP Agency convention promises to lend an air of respectability to a business that experts say nearly everyone involved will lose money on.</p>
<p>“The point of the meeting is to keep people involved in the business,” Brooks said. “It’s one thing to recruit someone to start, but in order for the whole thing to work, you’ve got to keep those people in it for as long as possible, you’ve got to keep people in it until they’ve wiped out their bank accounts.”</p>
<p>In responses on the Better Business Bureau website, PHP Agency representatives pushed back against allegations of illegal activity, calling the company “a legal and highly reputable company, that has [been] in business successfully for over 9 years.” Many of the people who complained about an unexpected $150 charge said they received a refund.</p>
<p>One of PHP’s first celebrity endorsements came from then-Fox News host Glenn Beck, who declared that the company “empowers those who still believe in the American dream.” Previous PHP Agency conventions have featured comedian Kevin Hart and former hockey star Wayne Gretzky.</p>
<p>“These meetings are central to the messaging, and the messaging is a kind of utopian cult vision of life, with that financial scheme as the only vehicle that can deliver you into this heaven on earth,” FitzPatrick said.</p>



LOCK 'EM UP , LOCK 'EM UP. LOCK 'EM UP, etc....

Good job Surly  :emthup:
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

Offline Surly1

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Re: Things That Make Me Say, "Dafuq?"
« Reply #321 on: June 28, 2019, 07:40:11 PM »
The Man Who Walked His Life Away



Illustration: Elena Scotti (G/O Media), Photo: Getty, Shutterstock, Wikimedia Commons
Paul Brown
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George Wilson stepped out into the medieval-walled prison yard and began to walk. He was 47 years old, beaten-down, and half-starved. His squat frame and stubby legs hardly suggested athletic excellence. But Wilson was well-known as a perambulator, a peregrinator, and a master of “leg-ology.” He was a celebrated competitive walker and a champion in the bizarre sport of pedestrianism.

It was April 16, 1813, and Wilson was in prison for his failure to pay a debt of 40 pounds owed to his brother—in 2019 terms, roughly $3,200 USD. The fantastically grim Newgate Jail, in Wilson’s hometown of Newcastle upon Tyne in the north east of England, had originally been a fortified gate tower in the ancient town wall—an eight-foot-thick defense built in the early 13th century to protect from attack by Scottish invaders. By the time Wilson arrived, Newgate was 600 years old, and its battlements and arrow slits were no longer in use. Wilson was one of around 40 prisoners shoved into six cramped stone rooms with no heating, no sanitation, and not enough beds.

Penniless and shunned by his family, Wilson carried out menial tasks for his fellow prisoners in exchange for food. He was forced to work for a gang that trafficked alcohol into the prison and was tormented and beaten by gang members and guards. “I believe I should ultimately have perished,” he wrote in his memoir, “but for an extraordinary incident in which my favorable practice of walking procured me a most reasonable relief.”

Wilson proposed, for a wager of three pounds and a shilling (around $250 in 2019), to walk 50 miles in 12 hours within the narrow confines of the prison yard. For his stake, Wilson pledged his only possession other than the ragged clothes on his back: his father’s watch, which he said he valued “almost as much as my life.” Wilson had been undertaking walking challenges for more than a decade, but never in such unusual circumstances. “This was a feat that appeared so utterly impracticable,” he wrote, “that my challenge was readily accepted.”

The small paved yard measured around 35 feet by 25 feet. One newspaper described it as “probably the smallest track on record.” Wilson would have to make 2,575 laps of the yard to complete the 50-mile challenge. With the other prisoners watching from the doorway, counting his every revolution, he walked with a shuffling gait along the inside of the walls, turning at each of the four corners to complete a lap.

“George Wilson the Pedestrian”
“George Wilson the Pedestrian”
Image: John Thomas Smith (National Portrait Gallery)

He walked for an hour, then two, then five, then 10, punishing his feet as darkness fell. With an hour remaining, he had four and a half miles left to go, right about on pace. He kept walking, one step at a time, and hit 50 miles with four minutes and 43 seconds to spare. He had completed the challenge “to the great disappointment and wonder of my antagonists.”

News of Wilson’s feat soon breached the prison walls. It was reported with awe in newspapers in London, Manchester, and Edinburgh. The Sporting Magazinedescribed it as “an effort of human strength in so circumscribed a situation as stands unparalleled in the records of pedestrianism.” Wilson—“the Newcastle Pedestrian”—was now famous across Britain and now had three pounds and a shilling in his pocket, but the relief that brought him was short-lived.

Wilson had in mind a much greater challenge over a much longer distance that would generate even wider fame. He would need to overcome a terrible, crippling injury. He would need to escape from poverty and free himself and his children from strangling debt. And he would have to walk farther than any pedestrian had ever gone before.

And before any of that, he would need to get out of the hands of the gang and out of jail. Wilson’s celebrity brought unwanted attention, and he was preyed upon by the gang boss who, Wilson said, forced him to become his “bedfellow”—a word that, in the early 19th century, had intimate connotations. Wilson served the boss for eight months and became a trusted aide. But when he refused to help extort other prisoners, he was stripped and beaten by a gang enforcer, who knocked him to the ground and smashed his face against the stone floor. Then he was seized by the prison guards and thrown, naked and bleeding, into a gruesome dungeon known as the Black Hole.


George Wilson was a shoemaker by trade, which was useful given the number of soles he would wear out over his career. He walked great distances long before walking became his profession. As a youngster, Wilson decided he wanted to be a policeman in London, so he walked 276 miles from Newcastle to London, presented himself at a police station, was told to go home, and walked 276 miles back.

He had been born on June 26, 1766 in Newcastle and began his life in relative prosperity as the son of eminent shipbuilder Robert Wilson. But his childhood lurched into Dickensian hardships after the shipbuilding business collapsed and his distraught father, according to Wilson, “died of a broken heart.” With the family mired in debt, Wilson was handed over to the charge of the Newcastle Corporation—the town’s local government—and was apprenticed to a cordwainer or leather shoemaker who, he said, treated him with “great unkindness and cruelty.”

After several years under the cordwainer’s heel, Wilson eventually earned his freedom. He continued to make shoes and began to trade in clothing and fabrics. The work required him to travel every couple of months to London. “As walking was always my favorite amusement,” he wrote, “my visits were always performed on foot.”

Illustration for article titled The Man Who Walked His Life Away
Image: G. Woodward (National Portrait Gallery)

In 1795, Wilson married Isabella Tubman, a household servant. Over the next decade, the couple had six children. The pressures of raising a family saw Wilson seek various additional employments to increase his income. He worked as a pawnbroker, a courier for a law office, and a tax collector. “The want of industry never formed any part of my character,” he wrote.

The tax collector job gave him the enjoyment of walking 50 or 60 miles each day but saw him ostracized by the local community. He was jeered and hissed as he made his collection rounds and received the nickname “Dog-tax.” “The office of a tax-gatherer is not the most popular,” he noted. The 30-pounds-a-year wage “sweetened the bitterness of my duties,” but he eventually resigned and returned to his clothing business.

It was on one of his business trips to London in 1805 that Wilson met a mapmaker named John Cary. Impressed with Wilson’s walking, Cary invited him to help plot his maps and to sell them along the way. Cary offered Wilson a mechanical wheel called an ambulator to measure distances, but Wilson claimed to be able to measure accurately using only his stride: “I declined the trouble and embarrassment of pushing the wheel through a journey so extensive.”

Wilson traveled widely across Britain, making amendments and additions to Cary’s maps before returning to London for his next assignment. He was accompanied on many of his journeys by his faithful dog, Rosa, a cross between a Newfoundland and a British mastiff. “She was of very large size, great strength, and inviolable fidelity to me,” wrote Wilson, “and more than once saved my life.”

One of those occasions occurred in the craggy landscapes of the Scottish Highlands. After negotiating Loch Ness and the Moray Firth, Wilson decided to climb Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain. As he neared the peak, a dense fog descended, and he was saved from stumbling over a 200-foot precipice only by Rosa’s barked warning. Man and dog huddled on the freezing cliff-edge overnight, “trembling with horror,” before carefully descending in the morning light.

Wilson claimed he regularly completed his walking assignments “in little more than half the time expected ... I found as my exertions advanced that my fatigue decreased, and my strength and agility were rather improved than exhausted.” He had a conspicuous talent for walking long distances and had found an opportunity to make it pay. Believing his wife and children could successfully maintain his clothing business, he decided to keep on walking and turn his pastime into a profession of its own.

Wilson was not a typical athlete, by the standards of his or any other time. He was 5-foot-4 and weighed just over 120 pounds. He had short, bowed legs and small feet. His thighs were “awkwardly hung together,” and his arms were “rather disproportionately long.” He walked with a short, shuffling step. “In person, Wilson by no means had the appearance of a man capable of great muscular exertion,” said the Sporting Magazine. It was noted, however, that he had remarkable strength and stamina, and that he “seldom perspired.” He was an unusual sportsman, but pedestrianism was an unusual sport.

In Wilson’s time, the era of the Napoleonic Wars and the First Industrial Revolution,sporting popularity was on the rise, driven by an increasingly insatiable appetite for gambling. Wagers were placed on sporting feats “both sublime and ridiculous,” according to Montague Shearman’s history of the sport in the Victorian-era book Athletics and Football. “The more extraordinary the wager, the more excitement it often caused among the public.” His book records wagers placed on a challenge for an unnamed man to run seven miles in 45 minutes with 56 pounds of fish on his head. It also describes a race between a young man with a jockey strapped to his back and an elderly fat man without a rider, and then a race between a man on foot and a man on stilts. (The man on stilts won.)

Pedestrianism challenges were slightly less wacky if no less remarkable. Most were endurance challenges in which competitors walked great distances against the clock for a wager or a prize, often in front of tens of thousands of spectators. Others were more formal races or “matches” with multiple walkers competing around a track, again over long distances, usually until there was one competitor left standing.

The first celebrity pedestrian was Foster Powell, a law clerk by trade, who, in 1773, walked from London to York and back again, a distance of 396 miles, in six days for a wager of one hundred guineas. A guinea was a gold coin worth one pound and one shilling, and it would take the average worker more than five years to earn one hundred guineas. According to Shearman, Powell—or, perhaps more accurately, Powell’s winnings—“did much to spread the popularity of pedestrianism as a sport.”

Powell’s fame was eclipsed a few decades later by that of Robert Barclay Allardice, a captain in the British Army who became known as Captain Barclay. Barclay’s most remarkable feat of pedestrianism was the successful completion of one thousand miles in one thousand hours at Newmarket Racecourse in June 1809 for a wager of one thousand guineas(in 2019 terms, about $1.2 million).Taking only occasional rest breaks, Barclay walked an average of 24 miles every day for 42 consecutive days.

Captain Barclay, tailed by death, walks “1000 miles in 1000 hours for 1000 guineas.”
Captain Barclay, tailed by death, walks “1000 miles in 1000 hours for 1000 guineas.”
Image: Robert Hancock (National Portrait Gallery)

By the early 1800s, only bare-knuckle boxing could match pedestrianism for popularity. In 1811, Englishman Tom Cribb and American Tom Molineaux fought an epic “world championship” bout in front of 25,000 spectators for a prize purse of 600 guineas. Cribb, who was backed and trained by Captain Barclay, had been a coal porter and Molineaux was a former slave. Both became hugely wealthy. Sports offered a rare opportunity to climb out of poverty at a time of almost insurmountable social inequality.

Wilson said he would have liked to have been a boxer if his “ill stars” had not prevented him. Instead, he was driven to achieve the fame and earnings of a professional pedestrian. “Most men have an ambition to be thought excellent in some pursuit,” he wrote. “Walking was the object of my emulation. I anticipated that it could open my road to celebrity and emolument. It was this spark that cheered me by day and lighted me by night in many a tedious journey, gave new spring to my sinews, and encouraged, perhaps, my vanity, to perseverance.”

Wilson’s first notable feat of pedestrianism was in 1805, at age 40, when he walked across England at its narrowest point—a distance of 84 miles in 22 and a half hours. He undertook high-profile challenges at Newmarket in 1807 and London in 1808. Then, in 1809, he walked 360 miles over six consecutive days for a prize of 50 guineas.

More than two hundred years later, the feats of Powell, Barclay, and Wilson seem relatively quaint when compared to the achievements of today’s athletes. (In the modern sport of race walking, the world record over 50km (31 miles) was set by Yohann Diniz in 2014 at just over three hours and 32 minutes.) Athletes are stronger and faster than they were two hundred years ago thanks to advances in training and technology and a better understanding of the capabilities of the human body. But Wilson and his fellow pedestrians can’t be measured by modern standards.

“Given exactly the same task, a modern-day athlete would find it almost impossible to accomplish what George Wilson and the ultra-tough 19th-century pedestrians managed,” says Paul S. Marshall, a historian of pedestrianism and the curator of the website [url=http://www.kingofthepeds.com]www.kingofthepeds.com[/url]. “By ‘exactly the same task,’ I mean replicating as much as possible the same conditions. That would mean eating the same food and wearing the same footwear and clothes.”

Wilson ate boiled chicken and eggs and drank tea and “a moderate quantity of Madeira wine.” He wore a cotton shirt and trousers, gaiters over his handmade shoes, and a straw hat on his head. He walked every single day, for pedestrian challenges, for his mapmaking work, and to satisfy an elemental need to keep moving. “The profession of walking is not altogether a matter of choice,” he explained.

In 1812, after several months away and thousands of miles walked, Wilson returned to Newcastle. His children were pleased to see him, but his wife was not. “I found her reception of me cold, and her affections quite estranged from me.” Wilson shortly deduced that Isabella was having an affair with someone who was very close to him, perhaps his brother. He accused his wife of having neglected the family and business—despite having himself been away from both for the greater parts of several years.

Then he lost Rosa. His beloved dog had walked alongside him for a decade, but had been worn out “to almost a skeleton.” Rosa died of exhaustion, “and thus left me to lament the loss of the most truly faithful and unchangeable friend I ever had.”

Isabella convinced Wilson’s “deluded” brother to have him arrested for the debt of £40, and he was thrown into Newgate. This betrayal, he said, was “a wound in my heart deeper, if possible, than all I had previously suffered.” His brother did eventually show a degree of mercy, after hearing of his incarceration in the Black Hole, by arranging for Wilson’s release—subject to a payment of £10 to write off the debt. A friend made the payment, and Wilson went home. But his ordeal was not over.

According to Wilson, Isabella’s betrayals had become “so flagitiously infamous” that the couple constantly argued, often violently. On one occasion, Wilson wrote, he was so “maddened by her infidelities” that he struck his wife. Isabella, “a robust woman,” grabbed him by the throat and pinned him to the floor. Then their oldest son, 17-year-old George Jr., took a red-hot poker from the fire and struck Wilson with it several times.

Dreadfully injured, Wilson was arrested and thrown back into jail. He had terrible wounds to his left leg, which the prison doctor considered amputating. The leg was eventually saved but Wilson, the professional pedestrian, would walk with a limp for the rest of his life.

Wilson left Newcastle on a bitterly cold morning in February 1814 with only the clothes on his back and two shillings and nine pence in his pocket. It had taken him several months to recover from his injuries, after which he borrowed money to bail himself out of jail. Aware that Isabella was seeking to have him imprisoned for life, Wilson walked to London, but this time didn’t make the round trip. In London he resumed his paid-for pedestrianism, walking 96 miles in 24 hours for 30 pounds, and used the money “to pay my debts and to fulfill the duties of a father.” Then came his greatest challenge.

Captain Barclay’s 1809 achievement of walking one thousand miles in one thousand hours remained the greatest feat of pedestrianism and had not been topped in six years, despite several attempts. Wilson decided he would not only better Barclay’s achievement; he would batter it. He would walk one thousand miles in less than half the time it took Barclay – in just 480 hours, or 20 days. He would do so for the relatively modest prize of one hundred pounds, although he hoped wagers and subscriptions from benefactors might substantially increase his purse.

Handbills were distributed all over London:

George Wilson, pedestrian, aged fifty years, proposes to perform the laborious task of walking one thousand miles in the space of twenty days at the rate of fifty miles a day, a task, if accomplished, will never have been surpassed—commencing on Monday the 11th of September, 1815, on Blackheath at six o’clock in the morning.

Blackheath is an area of grassland, about half a mile across, in south-east London. Wilson set off from the Hare and Billet pub on the corner of the heath. He walked circular laps between markers, clocking up a mile every time he passed back by the pub. He walked 50 miles on the first day “without appearing the least fatigued.” “If God spares my health, and barring all accidents,” Wilson told journalists, “I am sure I shall complete my task.”

Bookmakers were less sure, offering odds of 20 to 1. And the task became more difficult on subsequent days, partly due to unusually hot and dusty conditions and partly due to a growing crowd of onlookers, which swelled in size from hundreds to thousands and began to obstruct his way.

Some obstructions were accidental, and some were deliberate. Gamblers had bet up to one thousand guineas on Wilson to fail, and some of them took direct action to ensure that happened. One man kneeled on Wilson’s foot while pretending to tie his shoelaces, and also put pebbles in his socks. Another individual ran at Wilson and kicked him in the back, knocking him to the ground. Wilson got up and thumped his assailant before being restrained.

One evening Wilson was approached by two men who offered him one hundred guineas to throw the challenge. “I would sooner lose my right hand and see it consumed in a fire than accede to such a measure,” he told them. On another occasion, he was handed a drink that turned his stomach and was found to contain poison of the kind used to incapacitate racehorses. He was prescribed a remedy by a doctor and advised not to accept any further food or drink from strangers.

On the 10th day, he reached the halfway point, 500 miles. By now the crowd was becoming so disruptive that Wilson’s supporters walked alongside him carrying poles and driving whips to clear the way. “Perhaps on no public occasion did there congregate on one spot so numerous an assemblage of all descriptions,” wrote one reporter. “They were in fact literally beyond calculation, and harmlessly happy.” The press christened Wilson with a new moniker that would stick with him for the rest of his life. “The Newcastle Pedestrian” became “The Blackheath Pedestrian.”

“...having walked 500 and 50 miles in eleven days with every appearance of being able to accomplish the undertaking”
“...having walked 500 and 50 miles in eleven days with every appearance of being able to accomplish the undertaking”
Image: Charles Williams (National Portrait Gallery)

By the 12th day, with no signs of his flagging, the odds on Wilson completing the challenge had fallen to even. The heath now resembled a carnival. Colorful tents and booths were erected all over its surface, offering alcohol and entertainments including “tumblers, rope-dancers, fire-eaters, and conjurers.” There were theater and music tents, two brothels, and two menageries. A large elephant stood outside the Hare and Billet and roared “most conscientiously” every time Wilson completed a mile. Several portrait artists turned up to capture Wilson’s fame. Printing presses were set up on the heath and “a very fair likeness” could be obtained for three pennies.

This hubbub inevitably attracted the attention of local lawmakers. Magistrates ordered the closure of many of the booths, primarily those selling alcohol. Then the magistrates came for Wilson. On the morning of the 16th day, having walked 751 miles, Wilson was arrested by a “posse” carrying a warrant stating that the pedestrian was “occasioning a considerable interruption to the peace of the inhabitants.”

Wilson’s friends were outraged. He received hundreds of letters of support, and newspapers condemned his treatment. He stated that he hoped to complete the challenge as soon as the magistrates’ court cleared him. But the court appearance was delayed beyond the 20th day. Wilson’s attempt had failed. “I must only declare that my failure does not arise from any want of physical strength,” he said. A doctor who was called to assess Wilson’s health added, “I do not doubt he would have accomplished his task, had he been permitted.”

Five days later, Wilson appeared in court. In remarkable scenes, it was revealed that a corrupt magistrate, John Rice Williams, had falsified the warrant for Wilson’s arrest, perhaps under the influence of a gambler. The charges were immediately dropped, and Wilson was discharged. “The pedestrian was then conducted home in triumph,” reported the Morning Chronicle, “decorated with ribbons, and accompanied with the shouts of the multitude.”

Wilson made a special appearance outside the Hare and Billet. He walked a lap of the heath, surrounded by cheering supporters, and was serenaded with a newly-written song, “Looney’s Visit to Blackheath”:

Then I went to Blackheath where I see’d an old man,
I think that they called him a pe-des-tri-an.
He walked days and nights, ‘tis beyond all belief,
So they stopped him for fear he should wear out the heath.”

Wilson took to the stage and made a speech, prefaced by the warning that “walking and not talking is my trade.” He thanked the crowd and told them he would continue to walk to earn money to support his family. He would “rise like the sun from an eclipse or the gloomy envelope of a cloud to shine with renovated splendor.” The crowd cheered and threw coins onto the stage. The coins, to Wilson’s disappointment, came to the value of just four pounds.

He was still at Blackheath when he wrote his memoir. Its remarkable full title was: A Sketch of the Life of George Wilson, the Blackheath Pedestrian; Who Undertook to Walk One Thousand Miles in Twenty Days!! (But Was Interrupted by a Warrant From Certain Magistrates of the District, on the Morning of the Sixteenth Day, Having Completed 750 Miles.) The book—really an 80-page pamphlet—was partly an attempt to highlight the corruption that had halted his challenge, but also an effort to capitalize on his growing fame.

The controversial end to the challenge only increased public interest and caused Wilson’s fame to cross the Atlantic. The Times of London, Britain’s newspaper of record which generally ignored sporting news, had provided daily updates on Wilson’s progress. After the arrest, the Times reported that “the New York newspapers” were also covering the affair. He had achieved the celebrity he desired, if not the “emolument” he needed. Wilson had found fame through failure.

In October 1816, 12 months after Blackheath, George Wilson stood in the walled garden of the Ship Launch Inn, in Hull, Yorkshire. He had, as promised, continued to walk—50 miles in under 12 hours in Norwich, one hundred miles in 24 hours in Yarmouth, 250 miles in five days in King’s Lynn. But Wilson had not forgotten his failure at Blackheath, and now he intended to complete the thousand-mile challenge even quicker than he had previously attempted. In the pub garden in Hull, he would walk one thousand miles in just 18 days.

He had chosen a private garden so he wouldn’t be obstructed—or arrested—but Wilson was still watched by a crowd of onlookers who paid for admission, or who had scaled the walls and climbed through hedges. On he went, clocking up more than 55 miles each day. On the 18th day, as he walked his one-thousandth mile, a band played Handel’s “See, the Conqu’ring Hero Comes.” Wilson completed the greatest challenge pedestrianism had ever seen with 40 minutes and 50 seconds to spare, “amidst the cheers of the populace.” He had finally eclipsed Barclay and become the greatest pedestrian the world had ever seen.

Unfortunately, Wilson was once again short-changed. He complained that the prize fund raised for the challenge was barely sufficient to pay his expenses. “This is very fortunate for the public,” noted the Northampton Mercury, “as it will tend to put an end to such exhibitions. If every idle fellow who chooses to take an extraordinarily long walk is to be paid for his trouble, there would be no end of such useless exertions, nor of the evils they bring to the indolent and thoughtless who lose their time in witnessing them.”

But Wilson continued to walk, accepting new challenges every few months all around Britain, selling his book and newly-printed postcards bearing his portrait as he went. He repeated his greatest feat by walking one thousand miles in 18 days in Manchester in 1817 and did it a third time in Chelsea in 1820. By then, he was 54 years old, and he declared he would not attempt it again, “having accomplished so many extensive and arduous undertakings.”

Wilson was bowing out before the golden age of pedestrianism really got going and before several of the sport’s biggest stars were born. Pedestrianism became an international phenomenon in the late-1860s and 1870s when British peregrinators such as Charlie Rowell and George Hazael faced off against American perambulators like Edward Payson Weston and Dan O’Leary for prize belts at the Royal Agricultural Hall in London and the original Madison Square Garden in New York.

Before Wilson retired, he had a hometown swansong. He returned to Newcastle in 1822, walking 90 miles in 24 hours on the town’s racecourse in front of a crowd of up to 60,000 people. Afterward, he was carried into the town center, where “the bells greeted his achievement with several merry peals.”

Illustration for article titled The Man Who Walked His Life Away
Photo: The Blackheath Society

But his return home forced him to face up to his past. In August 1823, he was arrested and convicted of being a “rogue and a vagabond” for abandoning his wife and children. He was sentenced to three months’ hard labor. Wilson may have been grateful for one small mercy: the dreaded Newgate Jail, condemned by prison reformers, had been demolished the previous month.

Still, Wilson wasn’t entirely done. In 1824, he walked 140 miles in 48 hours at Alston, Cumbria, despite reports he had “been lame in one of his legs for three months past.” His dedication to walking was catching up with him. “The circumstances of my life,” he noted, “have been chequered with vicissitudes that, long since, would have reconciled me to the fate which must, sooner or later, be the common lot of humanity.”

He died in 1839, aged 73, with the Newcastle Courant noting, understatedly, that Wilson was “well known in this town for his remarkable feats of pedestrianism.”

His fame was worldwide but short-lived. Pedestrianism proved a strange diversion that would soon be forgotten by the majority of the sporting world, and Wilson’s role in the craze was remembered by even fewer. In the days following the Blackheath challenge, Wilson’s toenails fell off and were donated to the British Museum in London. They were to be exhibited for posterity as a lasting monument of one of sports history’s most unusual characters. Unfortunately, having searched its collection more than 200 years later, the British Museum told me it can find no record of George Wilson’s toenails.

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline K-Dog

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Re: Things That Make Me Say, "Dafuq?"
« Reply #322 on: June 28, 2019, 09:58:09 PM »
Fascinating.  This made me look up Vagabond which we know only as a word with negative connotations.

'an idle wanderer without a permanent home or visible means of support; tramp; vagrant.

Note the key word 'idle.

In a world without oil a man who is mobile is not working.  Walking has limited possibilities as a job.  Working as a tax collector did not work out and George did not think about becoming a courier in London where he could have made bank.  Isabella liked to be shlonged and I have a feeling George did not measure up.  George did not provide but wanting to get your husband locked up for life indicates she mush not have seen George as a man with ANY redeeming qualities.

I wish the article said what happened to the bitch.  But back to the bigger point.  In a world without oil the rabble is not allowed to venture more than twenty miles from where they serve.  For life.  Expanding ones horizons by walking would be easy to do besides getting tranquility from domestic abuse it would be and act of rebellion.



A more recent historical version from the world of black and white.  When the post in post-modern was fresh and shiny and its evil unknown.
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End of an Era
« Reply #323 on: July 04, 2019, 04:02:31 PM »
We all get old.

Mad magazine, a pioneer of modern satire, will soon cease publishing new content


In 2018, "Artistically Mad: Seven Decades of Satire," an exhibit celebrating the artistic legacy of Mad magazine, went on display in Columbus, Ohio. The magazine will effectively cease publishing new content this fall. (Andrew Welsh-Huggins/AP)

By Michael Cavna
July 4 at 3:48 PM

Mad magazine, the once-subversive humor publication that helped redefine American satire and influenced a half-century of comedians and comic artists, will soon disappear from the newsstand. And after October, it will cease being the fresh creative force that it was across seven decades.

“Age hits everybody: It hits magazines, it hits the movies, it hits technology,” legendary Mad cartoonist Sergio Aragonés told The Washington Post on Thursday. “It’s been a logical development.”

Mad magazine hit a peak of more than 2 million subscribers in the early ’70s, when it memorably satirized shifting social mores and cultural attitudes. Emblematic of that era — when Mad flexed the most pop-culture muscle as a powerhouse of topical irreverence — was a Watergate-era sendup of President Richard Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew in a “big con” spoof of the hit Oscar-winning movie “The Sting.”

But commercial pressures had changed since the ’90s. To try to survive in more recent years, as circulation dwindled precipitously, the magazine owned by Warner Bros.' DC division shifted to a quarterly publishing schedule and moved its offices from New York to the Los Angeles area. Now, the Mad brand will mostly endure by simply recirculating its classic vintage material, living on through the appeal of what it once was.

“We have influenced or entertained a great many people who are now grown and introduced it to their children,” another legendary Mad cartoonist, Al Jaffee, told The Post on Thursday. “It’s mostly nostalgia now.”

Mad will begin disappearing from newsstands, though it will remain available to subscribers and through comic shops. After this fall, the magazine will produce no new content, except for the end-of-year specials. All issues after that will be republished content culled from 67 years of publication, and Mad will continue to publish books and special collections, multiple people told The Post. DC declined a request for comment.

“Of course we all knew this was coming,” veteran Mad artist Tom Richmond wrote on his blog Thursday. “Last week, DC laid off one art director and three of the four remaining editors. Not too many magazines can keep publishing without any staff.”

MAD had an incalculable influence on satire, comedy in general, and the humor of the entire planet,” wrote Richmond, adding that it “regularly featured some of the greatest cartoonists who ever lived like Harvey Kurtzman, Jack Davis, Mort Drucker, Wally Wood, Will Elder, Al Jaffee, Sergio Aragones, Don Martin, Paul Coker . . . too many to list, really.”

“From Kurtzman to [Al] Feldstein to [Nick] Meglin to [John] Ficarra, each editor brought their own talent,” Aragonés said of the leadership that spanned most of the magazine’s history since its founding in 1952, when mainstream outlets for subversive humor were far less common.

“What made it great was the writers and the artists — it was an incredible group — and the team was special, because of the trust between editors and the talent,” added Aragonés, 82, whose work has appeared in nearly every issue since 1962.

Comedy titans such as Stephen Colbert and Judd Apatow have written in Mad collections about how the magazine inspired them in their formative years. And “Weird Al” Yankovic and CNN anchor Jake Tapper have served as guest editors and guest contributors.

“There are generations of MAD readers who learned subversiveness, dark humor, hatred of idiocy and bullies, and the quality of not taking ourselves too seriously from that esteemed magazine," Tapper, who drew a comic strip for Roll Call in the ’90s and early ’00s, said Thursday. "This is a big loss for cartooning, for humor, and for the young American ethos.”

“I like to think that what I do is sort of the audio version of Mad magazine,” Yankovic told The Post in 2015. “I certainly went beyond Mad magazine to discover Spike Jones and Stan Freberg and Tom Lehrer, but it all started with Mad — that kind of irreverent humor that hadn’t been explored.”

“I can’t begin to describe the impact it had on me as a young kid,” Yankovic tweeted Thursday in saying farewell to “one of the all-time greatest American institutions.”

“It was like living a childhood dream,” said the New York-based Jaffee, 98, who created the standing back-page “Fold-In” feature soon after he was hired by Kurtzman in the ’50s, as well as “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions.” “It’s been a long hobby.”

Mad was long guided by Bill Gaines, who died in 1992. “Once Bill died . . . ,” Richmond wrote, “the slow but unstoppable taking over by the suits began.”

Some veterans of the magazine say that in a certain way, Mad was a victim of its own influential success.

“Its smart satire and irreverent and self-deprecating humor spawned entire generations of humorists who brought those sensibilities to books, film, TV and eventually the Internet,” Richmond told The Post. “New generations then received their satirical influences from these new-media stars, not knowing where the source came from. Even up until the end, Mad was doing sharp satirical work, but ultimately audiences were elsewhere.”

Aragonés agreed that the quality has remained strong, “The changes weren’t Mad’s fault,” he said by phone from Ojai, Calif. “Mad was always a primer for humor for kids, who always found something in it.”

That truth bucks the old joke about Mad. In the magazine’s early years, the editors published a letter from the editor with the gag that the latest Mad already wasn’t as good as Issue No. 1.

“Mad speaks to the times,” Ficarra told The Post in 2014. “For each reader, Mad was funniest when they first discovered it.”

Meanwhile, Mad’s iconic mascot continued to be Alfred E. Neuman, the freckled and gaptoothed “What, Me Worry?” slacker — even if his recognition declined with younger generations. When President Trump mockingly referred to Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg as Alfred E. Neuman in May, the reference seemed to hit a generational dividing line. “I’ll be honest. I had to Google that,” Buttigieg, 37, said by way of comeback.

Yet the best of Mad stands as some of the greatest American satire ever, including fake ads and recurring features such as “Spy vs. Spy,” as well as film and TV takeoffs that were often appreciated by the Hollywood talents they spoofed.

And the magazine endured because of its truthful approach to satire, Aragonés said. “Mad always criticized with humor, politically and socially — and honesty.”
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Savage tick-clone armies are sucking cows to death; experts fear for humans
« Reply #324 on: July 14, 2019, 11:46:40 AM »
Savage tick-clone armies are sucking cows to death; experts fear for humans.
Spreading invasive tick spawns without mating and can transmit deadly disease.
https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/07/savage-tick-clone-armies-are-sucking-cows-to-death-experts-fear-for-humans/



Engorged Haemaphysalis longicornis female tick.

Ravenous swarms of cloned ticks have killed a fifth cow in North Carolina by exsanguination—that is, by draining it of blood—the state’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services warned this week.

Experts fear that the bloodthirsty throngs, which were first noticed in the United States in 2017, will continue their rampage, siphoning life out of animals and eventually transmitting diseases, potentially deadly ones, to humans.

Just last month, infectious disease researchers in New York reported the first case of the tick species biting a human in the US. The finding was “unsurprising” given the tick’s ferocious nature, according to Dr. Bobbi S. Pritt, director of the Clinical Parasitology Laboratory in Mayo Clinic. And it’s “extremely worrisome for several reasons,” she wrote in a commentary for the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

  • Haemaphysalis longicornis tick, commonly known as the longhorned tick.
  • Engorged Haemaphysalis longicornis female tick.
  • Engorged ticks on animal ear.A nymph (left) and an adult female (right).

The tick—the Asian longhorned tick, or Haemaphysalis longicornis—was first found terrorizing a sheep in New Jersey in 2017 and has established local populations in at least 10 states since it sneaked in. Its invasive sweep is due in large part to the fact that a single well-fed female can spawn up to 2,000 tick clones parthenogenetically—that is, without mating—in a matter of weeks. And unlike other ticks that tend to feast on a victim for no more than seven days, mobs of H. longicorni can latch on for up to 19 days.

Bloody blitzes

According to the new report out of North Carolina, the latest victim there was a young bull in Surry County at the border with Virginia. At the time of its death, the doomed beast had more than 1,000 ticks on him. The official cause of death was acute anemia, which is typically associated with severe hemorrhaging. The bull’s owner had lost four other cattle the same way since 2018.

The case echoes the first report of the tick, which stalked a lone sheep paddocked in an affluent neighborhood in New Jersey in August 2017. The animal was besieged by hundreds of ticks, which scrambled up the legs of health investigators when they walked in to survey the situation.

Since then, researchers at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories looked back through their tick samples and discovered a larval H. longicornis was isolated from a white-tailed deer in Tyler County, West Virginia, in 2010, backdating the first case known in the US. Still, researchers don’t know when the tick first arrived and were it came from.

H. longicorni originates—as its moniker suggests—in Asia, specifically, eastern China, Russia, Korea, and Japan. In recent decades, it has made its way into Australia, New Zealand, and several Pacific islands, as well as the US.

Infectious bites

In China and South Korea, the tick is known to spread SFTSV, short for the Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus. SFTSV is related to Heartland virus found in the US and has had reported mortality rates up to 30%.

H. longicorni is also known to transmit Rickettsia japonica, the cause of Japanese spotted fever, and Theileria orientalis, which is behind cattle theileriosis. It has also been found harboring relatives of US pathogens, including those that cause anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, and the Powassan virus. ​

So far, health investigators haven’t found the ticks harboring any of these germs. But there’s a risk that at any point they could be introduced, Dr. Pritt notes. And, if they are, the diseases could easily spread like wildfire through the ravenous hordes of ticks.

The 66-year-old New York man who had the first recorded H. longicorni bite was healthy before and three months after the encounter. He found the tick on his right leg after working on his lawn and brought it to a Lyme Disease Diagnostic Center, suspecting he might be at risk of Lyme disease.

Though the biting tick was disease free, when investigators went back to the man’s lawn and a nearby park, they easily found more of the ticks. More concerning, the ticks were lurking in short, sunny grass, whereas other ticks in the area tend to stick to shady, wooded areas.

The authors note that, “the findings of this investigation suggest that public health messages may need to be changed, at least in certain geographic areas, to emphasize a wider range of potential tick habitats.”

H. longicorni populations are known to exist in Arkansas, Connecticut, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Astonished divers come across massive jellyfish
« Reply #325 on: July 19, 2019, 05:19:13 AM »
Astonished divers come across massive jellyfish
They swam with this gentle giant for an hour off the coast of England.
https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/stories/giant-jellyfish-barrel-cornwall-england



Christian Cotroneo
July 16, 2019, 1:32 p.m.

If there's still a place for giants on this planet, it's in the depths of the seemingly endless ocean.

Even there, humans occasionally bump into a behemoth.

Like this barrel jellyfish.

A barrel jellyfish swimming in the ocean with a diver
Despite packing stingers on each of its eight tentacles, the jellyfish didn't seem to mind the company. (Photo: Dan Abbott)

Underwater cinematographer Dan Abbott and biologist Lizzie Daly were diving just off the coast of Cornwall this week when this tentacled titan emerged from the murky waters.

Rumors of box jellyfish growing as big as — and bigger — than humans had long been known to science. But to suddenly find yourself alongside one is a different story as they're rarely seen, aside from when a corpse occasionally washes up on a beach.

"It's known to get this large, but I haven't seen one this big." Daly, who is also a wildlife presenter for the BBC, tells CBS News. "Dan said he hasn't seen one this big either."

And what do you do when you're surprised by a creature of downright mythological proportions?

Well, when you're as passionate about ocean life as Daly and Abbott — the pair were on a seven-day expedition to raise awareness about marine life — you bask in its glory. And, of course, keep your finger on the video record button.

"It really humbles you to be alongside an animal that size," Daly tells Motherboard. "It's an experience we'll never forget."

Daly ended up swimming with the jellyfish for about an hour, while the video Abbott captured would become a massive viral sensation.

For the jellyfish's part, it didn't seem all that bothered by the gawking humans in its entourage. Not bothered enough, at least, to flash its stinger.

In fact, this jellyfish has eight arms, each with stinging tentacles.

The thing is, for all its daunting dimensions, the barrel jellyfish doesn't pack much of a wallop. At least, not the potentially deadly attack a box jellyfish is known to unleash.

"They're not a threat to humans," Daly explains to CBS. "They have a mild sting, but wouldn't cause damage to humans."

But, as we see here, this creature is capable of stunning us all with just one glorious look.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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First human-monkey chimera raises concern among scientists
« Reply #326 on: August 03, 2019, 06:03:41 AM »
First human-monkey chimera raises concern among scientists

Researchers reprogrammed human cells before injecting them in the monkey embryo

Scientist with monkeys
The human-monkey chimeras have reportedly only been allowed to develop for a few weeks. Photograph: Xinhua/Barcroft Images

Efforts to create human-animal chimeras have rebooted an ethical debate after reports emerged that scientists have produced monkey embryos containing human cells.

A chimera is an organism whose cells come from two or more “individuals”, with recent work looking at combinations from different species. The word comes from a beast from Greek mythology which was said to be part lion, part goat and part snake.

The latest report, published in the Spanish newspaper El País, claims a team of researchers led by Prof Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte from the Salk Institute in the US have produced monkey-human chimeras. The research was conducted in China “to avoid legal issues”, according to the report.

Chimeras are seen as a potential way to address the lack of organs for transplantation, as well as problems of organ rejection. Scientists believe organs genetically matched to a particular human recipient could one day be grown inside animals. The approach is based on taking cells from an adult human and reprogramming them to become stem cells, which can give rise to any type of cell in the body. They are then introduced into the embryo of another species.

Izpisúa Belmonte and other scientists have previously managed to produce both pig embryos and sheep embryos which contain human cells, although the proportions are tiny: in the latter case, researchers estimate that only one cell in 10,000 was human. Pig-human and sheep-human chimeras are attractive in part because pigs and sheep have organs about the right size for transplantation into humans.

Details of the work reported this week are scarce: Izpisúa Belmonte and colleagues did not respond to requests for comment.

However Alejandro De Los Angeles, from the department of psychiatry at Yale University, said it was likely monkey-human chimeras were being developed to explore how to improve the proportion of human cells in such organisms. “Making human-monkey chimeras could teach us how to make human-pig chimeras with the hope of making organs for transplantation,” he said. “It could teach us which types of stem cells we should be using, or other ways of enhancing what’s called ‘human chimerism levels’ inside pigs.”

De Los Angeles pointed out that, as with previous work in pigs and sheep, the human-monkey chimeras have reportedly only been allowed to develop for a few weeks – ie before organs actually form.

Prof Robin Lovell-Badge, a developmental biologist from London’s Francis Crick Institute, agreed. “I don’t think it is particularly concerning in terms of the ethics, because you are not taking them far enough to have a nervous system or develop in any way – it’s just really a ball of cells,” he said.

But Lovell-Badge added that if chimeras were allowed to develop further, it could raise concerns. “How do you restrict the contribution of the human cells just to the organ that you want to make?” he said. “If that is a pancreas or a heart or something, or kidney, then that is fine if you manage to do that. [But] if you allow these animals to go all the way through and be born, if you have a big contribution to the central nervous system from the human cells, then that obviously becomes a concern.”

The news of the monkey-human chimeras comes shortly after it was reported Japanese researchers such as Prof Hiromitsu Nakauchi received government support to create mouse-human chimeras.

In March Japan lifted a ban on allowing such embryos to develop beyond 14 days and being implanted in a uterus, meaning these chimeras can, if permission for an experiment is granted, be brought to term. Nakauchi has said he does not plan to bring the human-mouse chimeras to term yet.

Lovell-Badge said it is very unlikely the animals, if brought to term, would take on human-like behaviour, but said the animals might not behave like “normal” rodents.

“So there are some animal welfare issues as well as the ‘yuck-factor’ ethical issues from making something more human,” he said. “Clearly if any animal born had aspects of human appearance, their faces, their hands, their skin, then I suspect, while scientifically very interesting, people might get a little upset with that.”

De Los Angeles and colleagues have suggested monkey-human chimerascould, in theory, provide new ways to study neurological and psychiatric diseases in humans.

“In theory, for diseases where primate models are not good enough, making human-monkey chimeras could provide a better model of brain diseases,” he told the Guardian, adding that in the case of Alzheimer’s more than 150 trials have failed in 20 years, possibly because of a lack of a good disease model.

One possible approach for brain research is that a monkey embryo could be genetically altered and then injected with human stem cells so that part of the brain, for example the hippocampus, is composed only of human cells. A similar approach has previously been used by Izpisúa Belmonte and colleagues to grow a rat pancreas inside a mouse.

“If you just swap the hippocampus, it doesn’t mean you are now going to have a human-functioning brain,” said Lovell-Badge. “It might have perhaps slightly better memories or slightly different memories … but they are not going to have a human cortex, which is what actually makes us human.”

But such proposals walk straight into the ethical arena others have been at pains to dodge: the possibility of human cells ending up in monkey brains, a development some fear could result in the creatures being human-like. Researchers have previously said they are able to prevent human cells ending up in chimeras’ brains or sex organs.

De Los Angeles said there is still a long way to go before human-monkey chimeras are brought to term.

“The evolutionary distance between humans and monkeys spans 30-40 million years, so it is unclear if this is even possible,” he said. “This difference is greater than 10 million years between mice and rats, and even the efficiency of making mouse-rat chimeras is already quite low.”

While making monkey brains more human is a red line for some, in some ways it has already been crossed. In April scientists in China published a study in which they claimed to have introduced a human brain gene into monkeys, with the animals showing features including better short-term memory and shorter reaction times. These animals are not chimeras, but it is clear that new boundaries are being pushed.

Lovell-Badge said he thought it possible that the development of human-monkey chimeras to study a part of the central nervous system could gain approval, but that it would take a while.

“In the UK, any proposal to make human-monkey chimeras would have to be very well justified, and it would have to get through a very tough review process,” he said. “I am sure that any proposal to go straight to live born chimeras would not get approval in the UK and probably not also in Japan.”

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Thousands of Tardigrades Stranded on the Moon After Lunar Lander Crash
« Reply #327 on: August 06, 2019, 02:40:09 PM »
Thousands of Tardigrades Stranded on the Moon After Lunar Lander Crash



When you look up at the moon, there may now be a few thousand water bears looking back at you.

The Israeli spacecraft Beresheet crashed into the moon during a failed landing attempt on April 11. In doing so, it may have strewn the lunar surface with thousands of dehydrated tardigrades, Wired reported yesterday (Aug. 5).

Beresheet was a robotic lander. Though it didn't transport astronauts, it carried human DNA samples, along with the aforementioned tardigradesand 30 million very small digitized pages of information about human society and culture. However, it's unknown if the archive — and the water bears — survived the explosive impact when Beresheet crashed, according to Wired. [8 Reasons Why We Love Tardigrades]

The tardigrades and the human DNA were late additions to the mission, added just a few weeks before Beresheet launched on Feb. 21. Much like Cretaceous fossils locked in amber, the DNA samples and tardigrades were sealed in a resin layer protecting the DVD-size lunar library, while thousands more tardigrades were poured onto the sticky tape that held the archive in place, Wired reported.

But why send tardigrades to the moon? Tardigrades, also known as moss piglets, are microscopic creatures measuring between 0.002 and 0.05 inches (0.05 to 1.2 millimeters) long. They have endearingly tubby bodies and eight legs tipped with tiny "hands"; but tardigrades are just as well-known for their near-indestructibility as they are for their unbearable cuteness.

Tardigrades can survive conditions that would be deadly to any other form of life, weathering temperature extremes of minus 328 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 200 degrees Celsius) to more than 300 F (149 C). They also handily survive exposure to the radiation and vacuum of space.

Another tardigrade superpower is their ability to dehydrate their bodies into a state known as a "tun." They retract their heads and legs, expel the water from their bodies and shrivel up into a tiny ball — and scientists have found that tardigrades can revive from this dehydrated state after 10 years or more.

In other words, if any creature were capable of surviving a crash-landing in space, it would probably be a tardigrade. Whether any of the Beresheet tardigrades are biding their time in a lunar impact crater until they can be resuscitated, only time will tell.

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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A New Species: Diner Tardigradus
« Reply #328 on: August 07, 2019, 08:10:57 AM »
Thousands of Tardigrades Stranded on the Moon After Lunar Lander Crash

I have Desiccated Tardigrades in the hidden compartment of my Tombstone, along with my DNA.  I figure after millions of years the DNA will recombine with the Tardigrade DNA and create a new species, Diner Tardigradus:icon_sunny:

I also have mushroom spores in there so the new species has food to eat after emerging from the stone.  ;D

RE reborn in 10M Years

RE
Save As Many As You Can

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‘We are moving into a new, controlled society worse than old totalitarianism’ – Zizek on Google leak


Published time: 17 Aug, 2019 23:12 Edited time: 18 Aug, 2019 11:20
‘We are moving into a new, controlled society worse than old totalitarianism’ – Zizek on Google leak
FILE PHOTO: Banner protesting against 'Google Campus' construction in Berlin, August 17, 2018 ©  AFP / John MacDougall
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Modern censorship is more dangerous than open totalitarianism, it being concealed and incorporated in our daily routine, says Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek, commenting on the insider leak detailing Google’s news blacklist.

The intellectual told RT he’s not advocating for online anarchy, comparing it to snuff movies in hardcore pornography – some regulation should be in place to block harmful content on the internet, he says. But hiding political motives for suppressing voices online is what worries Zizek the most. 

“We all know we have to censor things at some level, but the main rule for me is that the process should be transparent. Not in the way – I’m talking about the developed West – it is done now, when all of a sudden somebody is prohibited and you are not even allowed to debate it,” Zizek explains. The “false choice” between politically correct censorship and radical liberalism is a trap, he believes.

ALSO ON RT.COM‘Assange extradition should be warning to liberals who believe in American democracy’ – Zizek

This week, conservative transparency group Project Veritas published documents it received from an ex-Google employee. The documents appeared to confirm that Google can boost or de-rank news sources based on a seemingly biased set of internal rules. Calling the practices “dark and nefarious” the whistleblower, Zachary Vorhies, also leaked a doc detailing Google’s “blacklist” that lists nearly 500 websites, including both conservative and leftist media outlets.

Zizek believes the Big Tech's practice of blacklists and shadow bans could prove an opportunity for right-wing activists to show themselves as a group fighting establishment politics and targeted for their opposition. The philosopher thinks this tactic will actually backfire against liberals by giving “the new populist right a position where they can say: you see, we’re the true alternative, we’re the true oppressed.”

ALSO ON RT.COM‘Something dark & nefarious’: Google insider leaks docs revealing search engine ‘blacklist’

Google is likely not the only tech megacorporation with a tight grip on their users’ digital menu, Zizek argues – but “the process isn’t some kind of a dark plot,” rather an inconspicuous slide “into a new, controlled society.”

What’s terrifying about it is that we don’t even experience it as something controlled. We just use social media, buy things, go to a doctor – and all the data about us is out there. But those are the things that we perceive as our freedom. So what we perceive as freedom becomes the very way we are controlled.

One doesn’t know anymore “if there is secret police following you or somebody reading your letters,” and this in Zizek’s mind is what differentiates it from the totalitarianism of the past. Modern control is hidden and undeclared, Zizek says.

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

 

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