Archive for the ‘humanitas’ Category

Nothing Can Stop Google. DuckDuckGo Is Trying Anyway.

January 16, 2019

Extract from: Nothing Can Stop Google, Duck Duck Go Is Trying Anyway on Medium.com

The excerpt is longer than ‘fair use’ normally permits, but if it helps people to understand there are alternatives out there to the increasingly evil search service provided by Google, the author will not mind too much.

All photos: Monique Jaques

2019 may finally be the year for ‘The Search Engine That Doesn’t Track You’

In late November, hotel conglomerate Marriott International disclosed that the personal information of some 500 million customers — including home addresses, phone numbers, and credit card numbers — had been exposed as part of a data breach affecting its Starwood Hotels and Resorts network. One day earlier, the venerable breakfast chain Dunkin’ (née Donuts) announced that its rewards program had been compromised. Only two weeks before that, it was revealed that a major two-factor authentication provider had exposed millions of temporary account passwords and reset links for Google, Amazon, HQ Trivia, Yahoo, and Microsoft users.

These were just the icing on the cake for a year of compromised data: Adidas, Orbitz, Macy’s, Under Armour, Sears, Forever 21, Whole Foods, Ticketfly, Delta, Panera Bread, and Best Buy, just to name a few, were all affected by security breaches.

Meanwhile, there’s a growing sense that the tech giants have finally turned on their users. Amazon dominates so many facets of the online shopping experience that legislators mayhave to rewrite antitrust law to rein them in. Google has been playing fast and loose with its “Don’t Be Evil” mantra by almost launching a censored search engine for the Chinese government while simultaneously developing killer A.I. for Pentagon drones. And we now know that Facebook collected people’s personal data without their consent, let companies such as Spotify and Netflix look at users’ private messages, fueled fake news and Donald Trump, and was used to facilitate a genocide in Myanmar.

The backlash against these companies dominated our national discourse in 2018. The European Union is cracking down on anticompetitive practices at Amazon and Google. Both Facebook and Twitter have had their turns in the congressional hot seat, facing questions from slightly confused but definitely irate lawmakers about how the two companies choose what information to show us and what they do with our data when we’re not looking. Worries over privacy have led everyone from the New York Times to Brian Acton, the disgruntled co-founder of Facebook-owned WhatsApp, to call for a Facebook exodus. And judging by Facebook’s stagnating rate of user growth, people seem to be listening.

For Gabriel Weinberg, the founder and CEO of privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo, our growing tech skepticism recalls the early 1900s, when Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle revealed the previously unexamined horrors of the meatpacking industry. “Industries have historically gone through periods of almost ignorant bliss, and then people start to expose how the sausage is being made,” he says.

Gabriel Weinberg, DuckDuckGo CEO and Founder

This, in a nutshell, is DuckDuckGo’s proposition: “The big tech companies are taking advantage of you by selling your data. We won’t.” In effect, it’s an anti-sales sales pitch. DuckDuckGo is perhaps the most prominent in a number of small but rapidly growing firms attempting to make it big — or at least sustainable — by putting their customers’ privacy and security first. And unlike the previous generation of privacy products, such as Tor or SecureDrop, these services are easy to use and intuitive, and their user bases aren’t exclusively composed of political activists, security researchers, and paranoiacs. The same day Weinberg and I spoke, DuckDuckGo’s search engine returned results for 33,626,258 queries — a new daily record for the company. Weinberg estimates that since 2014, DuckDuckGo’s traffic has been increasing at a rate of “about 50 percent a year,” a claim backed up by the company’s publicly available traffic data.

Just before DuckDuckGo’s entrance sits a welcome mat that reads, “COME BACK WITH A WARRANT.”

<!–

“You can run a profitable company — which we are — without [using] a surveillance business model,” Weinberg says. If he’s right, DuckDuckGo stands to capitalize handsomely off our collective backlash against the giants of the web economy …

READ ALL >>>

2019 may finally be the year for ‘The Search Engine That Doesn’t Track You’

All photos: Monique Jaques

In late November, hotel conglomerate Marriott International disclosed that the personal information of some 500 million customers — including home addresses, phone numbers, and credit card numbers — had been exposed as part of a data breach affecting its Starwood Hotels and Resorts network. One day earlier, the venerable breakfast chain Dunkin’ (née Donuts) announced that its rewards program had been compromised. Only two weeks before that, it was revealed that a major two-factor authentication provider had exposed millions of temporary account passwords and reset links for Google, Amazon, HQ Trivia, Yahoo, and Microsoft users.

These were just the icing on the cake for a year of compromised data: Adidas, Orbitz, Macy’s, Under Armour, Sears, Forever 21, Whole Foods, Ticketfly, Delta, Panera Bread, and Best Buy, just to name a few, were all affected by security breaches.

Meanwhile, there’s a growing sense that the tech giants have finally turned on their users. Amazon dominates so many facets of the online shopping experience that legislators mayhave to rewrite antitrust law to rein them in. Google has been playing fast and loose with its “Don’t Be Evil” mantra by almost launching a censored search engine for the Chinese government while simultaneously developing killer A.I. for Pentagon drones. And we now know that Facebook collected people’s personal data without their consent, let companies such as Spotify and Netflix look at users’ private messages, fueled fake news and Donald Trump, and was used to facilitate a genocide in Myanmar.

The backlash against these companies dominated our national discourse in 2018. The European Union is cracking down on anticompetitive practices at Amazon and Google. Both Facebook and Twitter have had their turns in the congressional hot seat, facing questions from slightly confused but definitely irate lawmakers about how the two companies choose what information to show us and what they do with our data when we’re not looking. Worries over privacy have led everyone from the New York Times to Brian Acton, the disgruntled co-founder of Facebook-owned WhatsApp, to call for a Facebook exodus. And judging by Facebook’s stagnating rate of user growth, people seem to be listening.

For Gabriel Weinberg, the founder and CEO of privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo, our growing tech skepticism recalls the early 1900s, when Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle revealed the previously unexamined horrors of the meatpacking industry. “Industries have historically gone through periods of almost ignorant bliss, and then people start to expose how the sausage is being made,” he says.

Gabriel Weinberg, DuckDuckGo CEO and Founder

This, in a nutshell, is DuckDuckGo’s proposition: “The big tech companies are taking advantage of you by selling your data. We won’t.” In effect, it’s an anti-sales sales pitch. DuckDuckGo is perhaps the most prominent in a number of small but rapidly growing firms attempting to make it big — or at least sustainable — by putting their customers’ privacy and security first. And unlike the previous generation of privacy products, such as Tor or SecureDrop, these services are easy to use and intuitive, and their user bases aren’t exclusively composed of political activists, security researchers, and paranoiacs. The same day Weinberg and I spoke, DuckDuckGo’s search engine returned results for 33,626,258 queries — a new daily record for the company. Weinberg estimates that since 2014, DuckDuckGo’s traffic has been increasing at a rate of “about 50 percent a year,” a claim backed up by the company’s publicly available traffic data.

Just before DuckDuckGo’s entrance sits a welcome mat that reads, “COME BACK WITH A WARRANT.”

“You can run a profitable company — which we are — without [using] a surveillance business model,” Weinberg says. If he’s right, DuckDuckGo stands to capitalize handsomely off our collective backlash against the giants of the web economy and establish a prominent brand in the coming era of data privacy. If he’s wrong, his company looks more like a last dying gasp before surveillance capitalism finally takes over the world.


DuckDuckGo is based just east of nowhere. Not in the Bay Area, or New York, or Weinberg’s hometown of Atlanta, or in Boston, where he and his wife met while attending MIT. Instead, DuckDuckGo headquarters is set along a side street just off the main drag of Paoli, Pennsylvania, in a building that looks like a cross between a Pennsylvania Dutch house and a modest Catholic church, on the second floor above a laser eye surgery center. Stained-glass windows look out onto the street, and a small statue of an angel hangs precariously off the roof. On the second floor, a door leading out to a balcony is framed by a pair of friendly looking cartoon ducks, one of which wears an eye patch. Just before DuckDuckGo’s entrance sits a welcome mat that reads “COME BACK WITH A WARRANT.”

“People don’t generally show up at our doorstep, but I hope that at some point it’ll be useful,” Weinberg tells me, sitting on a couch a few feet from an Aqua Teen Hunger Force mural that takes up a quarter of a wall. At 39, he is energetic, affable, and generally much more at ease with himself than the stereotypical tech CEO. The office around us looks like it was furnished by the set designer of Ready Player One: a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy print in the entryway, Japanese-style panels depicting the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the bathroom, and a vintage-looking RoboCop pinball machine in the break room. There’s even a Lego model of the DeLorean from Back to the Future on his desk. The furniture, Weinberg tells me, is mostly from Ikea. The lamp in the communal area is a hand-me-down from his mom.

Weinberg learned basic programming on an Atari while he was still in elementary school. Before hitting puberty, he’d built an early internet bulletin board. “It didn’t really have a purpose” in the beginning, Weinberg says. The one feature that made his bulletin board unique, he says, was that he hosted anonymous AMA-style question panels with his father, an infectious disease doctor with substantial experience treating AIDS patients. This was during the early 1990s, when the stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS remained so great that doctors were known to deny treatment to those suffering from it. Weinberg says that the free—and private—medical advice made the board a valuable resource for the small number of people who found it. It was an early instance of Weinberg’s interest in facilitating access to information, as well as a cogent example of the power of online privacy: “The ability to access informational resources anonymously actually opens up that access significantly,” he told me over email.

After graduating from MIT in 2001, Weinberg launched a slew of businesses, none of which are particularly memorable. First there was an educational software program called Learnection. (“Terrible name… the idea was good, but 15 years too early,” he says.) Then he co-founded an early social networking company called Opobox, taking on no employees and writing all the code himself. “Facebook just kind of obliterated it,” Weinberg says, though he was able to sell the network to the parent company of Classmates.com for roughly $10 million in cash in 2006.

It was around that time when Weinberg began working on what would become DuckDuckGo. Google had yet to achieve total hegemony over the internet search field, and Weinberg felt that he could create a browser plugin that might help eliminate the scourge of spammy search results in other search engines.

Weinberg bought a billboard in San Francisco that proudly proclaimed, “Google tracks you. We don’t.” The stunt paid off in spades, doubling DuckDuckGo’s daily search traffic.

To build an algorithm that weeded out bad search results, he first had to do it by hand. “I took a large sample of different pages and hand-marked them as ‘spam’ or ‘not spam.’” The process of scraping the web, Weinberg says, inadvertently earned him a visit from the FBI. “Once they realized I was just crawling the web, they just went away,” he says. He also experimented with creating a proto-Quora service that allowed anyone to pose a question and have it answered by someone else, as well as a free alternative to Meetup.com. Eventually, he combined facets of all three efforts into a full-on search engine.

When Weinberg first launched DuckDuckGo in 2008 — the name is a wink to the children’s game of skipping over the wrong options to get to the right one — he differentiated his search engine by offering instant answers to basic questions (essentially an early open-source version of Google’s Answer Box), spam filtering, and highly customizable search results based on user preferences. “Those [were] things that early adopters kind of appreciated,” he says.

At the time, Weinberg says, consumer privacy was not a central concern. In 2009, when he made the decision to stop collecting personal search data, it was more a matter of practicality than a principled decision about civil liberties. Instead of storing troves of data on every user and targeting those users individually, DuckDuckGo would simply sell ads against search keywords. Most of DuckDuckGo’s revenue, he explains, is still generated this way. The system doesn’t capitalize on targeted ads, but, Weinberg says, “I think there’s a choice between squeezing out every ounce of profit and making ethical decisions that aren’t at the expense of society.”

Until 2011, Weinberg was DuckDuckGo’s sole full-time employee. That year, he pushed to expand the company. He bought a billboard in Google’s backyard of San Francisco that proudly proclaimed, “Google tracks you. We don’t.” (That defiant gesture and others like it were later parodied on HBO’s Silicon Valley.) The stunt paid off in spades, doubling DuckDuckGo’s daily search traffic. Weinberg began courting VC investors, eventually selling a minority stake in the company to Union Square Ventures, the firm that has also backed SoundCloud, Coinbase, Kickstarter, and Stripe. That fall, he hired his first full-time employee, and DuckDuckGo moved out of Weinberg’s house and into the strangest-looking office in all of Paoli, Pennsylvania.

Then, in 2013, digital privacy became front-page news. That year, NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked a series of documents to the Guardian and the Washington Post revealing the existence of the NSA’s PRISM program, which granted the agency unfettered access to the personal data of millions of Americans through a secret back door into the servers of Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Apple, and other major internet firms. Though Google denied any knowledge of the program, the reputational damage had been done. DuckDuckGo rode a wave of press coverage, enjoying placement in stories that offered data privacy solutions to millions of newly freaked-out people worried that the government was spying on them.

“All of a sudden we were part of this international story,” Weinberg says. The next year, DuckDuckGo turned a profit. Shortly thereafter, Weinberg finally started paying himself a salary.


Today, DuckDuckGo employs 55 people, most of whom work remotely from around the world. (On the day I visited, there were maybe five employees in the Paoli office, plus one dog.) This year, the company went through its second funding round of VC funding, accepting a $10 million investment from Canadian firm OMERS. Weinberg insists that both OMERS and Union Square Ventures are “deeply interested in privacy and restoring power to the non-monopoly providers.” Later, via email, Weinberg declined to share DuckDuckGo’s exact revenue, beyond the fact that its 2018 gross revenue exceeded $25 million, a figure the company has chosen to disclose in order to stress that it is subject to the California Consumer Privacy Act. Weinberg feels that the company’s main challenge these days is improving brand recognition.

“I don’t think there’s many trustworthy entities on the internet, just straight-up,” he says. “Ads follow people around. Most people have gotten multiple data breaches. Most people know somebody who’s had some kind of identity theft issue. The percentage of people who’ve had those events happen to them has just grown and grown.”

The recent investment from OMERS has helped cover the cost of DuckDuckGo’s new app, launched in January 2018. The app, a lightweight mobile web browser for iOS and Android that’s also available as a Chrome plugin, is built around the DuckDuckGo search engine. It gives each site you visit a letter grade based on its privacy practices and has an option to let you know which web trackers — usually ones from Google, Facebook, or Comscore — it blocked from monitoring your browsing activity. After you’ve finished surfing, you can press a little flame icon and an oddly satisfying animated fire engulfs your screen, indicating that you’ve deleted your tabs and cleared your search history.

The rest of the recent investment, Weinberg says, has been spent on “trying to explain to people in the world that [DuckDuckGo] exists.” He continues, “That’s our main issue — the vast majority of people don’t realize there’s a simple solution to reduce their [online] footprint.” To that end, DuckDuckGo maintains an in-house consumer advocacy blog called Spread Privacy, offering helpful tips on how to protect yourself online as well as commentary and analysis on the state of online surveillance. Its most recent initiative was a study on how filter bubbles — the term for how a site like Google uses our data to show us what it thinks we want — can shape the political news we consume.

Brand recognition is a challenge for a lot of startups offering privacy-focused digital services. After all, the competition includes some of the biggest and most prominent companies in the world: Google, Apple, Facebook. And in some ways, this is an entire new sector of the market. “Privacy has traditionally not been a product; it’s been more like a set of best practices,” says David Temkin, chief product officer for the Brave web browser. “Imagine turning that set of best practices into a product. That’s kind of where we’re going.”

Like DuckDuckGo — whose search engine Brave incorporates into its private browsing mode — Brave doesn’t collect user data and blocks ads and web trackers by default. In 2018, Brave’s user base exploded from 1 million to 5.5 million, and the company reached a deal with HTC to be the default browser on the manufacturer’s upcoming Exodus smartphone.

Google knows that I’m in Durham, North Carolina. As far as DuckDuckGo is concerned, I may as well be on the moon

Temkin, who first moved out to the Bay Area in the early ’90s to work at Apple, says that the past two decades of consolidation under Google/Facebook/Netflix/Apple/Amazon have radically upended the notion of the internet as a safe haven for the individual. “It’s swung back to a very centralized model,” he says. “The digital advertising landscape has turned into a surveillance ecosystem. The way to optimize the value of advertising is through better targeting and better data collection. And, well, water goes downhill.”

In companies such as Brave and DuckDuckGo, Temkin sees a return to the more conscientious attitude behind early personal computing. “I think to an ordinary user, [privacy] is starting to sound like something they do need to care about,” he says.

But to succeed, these companies will have to make privacy as accessible and simple as possible. “Privacy’s not gonna win if it’s a specialist tool that requires an expert to wield,” Temkin says. “What we’re doing is trying to package [those practices] in a way that’s empathetic and respectful to the user but doesn’t impose the requirement for knowledge or the regular ongoing annoyance that might go with maintaining privacy on your own.”


In November, I decided to switch my personal search querying to DuckDuckGo in order to see whether it was a feasible solution to my online surveillance woes. Physically making the switch is relatively seamless. The search engine is already an optional default in browsers such as Safari, Microsoft Edge, and Firefox, as well as more niche browsers such as Brave and Tor, the latter of which made DuckDuckGo its default search in 2016.

Actually using the service, though, can be slightly disorienting. I use Google on a daily basis for one simple reason: It’s easy. When I need to find something online, it knows what to look for. To boot, it gives me free email, which is connected to the free word processor that my editor and I are using to work on this article together in real time. It knows me. It’s only when I consider the implications of handing over a digital record of my life to a massive company that the sense of free-floating dread about digital surveillance kicks in. Otherwise, it’s great. And that’s the exact hurdle DuckDuckGo is trying to convince people to clear.

Using DuckDuckGo can feel like relearning to walk after you’ve spent a decade flying. On Google, a search for, say, “vape shop” yields a map of vape shops in my area. On DuckDuckGo, that same search returns a list of online vaporizer retailers. The difference, of course, is the data: Google knows that I’m in Durham, North Carolina. As far as DuckDuckGo is concerned, I may as well be on the moon.

That’s not to say using DuckDuckGo is all bad. For one, it can feel mildly revelatory knowing that you’re seeing the same search results that anyone else would. It restores a sense of objectivity to the internet at a time when being online can feel like stepping into The Truman Show — a world created to serve and revolve around you. And I was able to look up stuff I wanted to know about — how to open a vacuum-sealed mattress I’d bought off the internet, the origin of the martingale dog collar, the latest insane thing Donald Trump did — all without the possibility of my search history coming back to haunt me in the form of ads for bedding, dog leashes, or anti-Trump knickknacks. Without personalized results, DuckDuckGo just needs to know what most people are looking for when they type in search terms and serve against that. And most of the time, we fit the profile of most people.

When I asked Weinberg if he wanted to displace Google as the top search engine in all the land, he demurred. “I mean, I wouldn’t be opposed to it,” he says, “but it’s really not our intention, and I don’t expect that to happen.” Instead, he’d like to see DuckDuckGo as a “second option” to Google for people who are interested in maintaining their online anonymity. “Even if you don’t have anything to hide, it doesn’t mean you want people to profit off your information or be manipulated or biased against as a result [of that information],” he says.

Even though DuckDuckGo may serve a different market and never even challenge Google head-on, the search giant remains its largest hurdle in the long term. For more than a decade, Google has been synonymous with search. And that association is hard, if not impossible, to break.

In the meantime, the two companies are on frosty terms. In 2010, Google obtained the domain duck.com as part of a larger business deal in a company formerly known as Duck Co. For years, the domain would redirect to Google’s search page, despite seeming like something you’d type into your browser while trying to get to DuckDuckGo. After DuckDuckGo petitioned for ownership for nearly a decade, Google finally handed over the domain in December. The acquisition was a minor branding coup for DuckDuckGo — and a potential hedge against accusations of antitrust for Google.

That doesn’t mean relations between the two companies have improved. As the Goliath in the room, Google could attempt to undercut DuckDuckGo’s entire business proposition. Over the past few years, even mainstream players have attempted to assuage our privacy anxieties by offering VPNs (Verizon), hosting “privacy pop-ups” (Facebook), and using their billions to fight against state surveillance in court (Microsoft). With some tweaks, Google could essentially copy DuckDuckGo wholesale and create its own privacy-focused search engine with many of the same protections DuckDuckGo has built its business on. As to whether people would actually believe that Google, a company that muscled its way into becoming an integral part of the online infrastructure by selling people’s data, could suddenly transform into a guardian of that data remains to be seen.

When it comes to the internet, trust is something easily lost and difficult to regain. In a sense, every time a giant of the internet surveillance economy is revealed to have sold out its customers in some innovatively horrifying way, the ensuing chaos almost serves as free advertising for DuckDuckGo. “The world keeps going in a bad direction, and it makes people think, ‘Hey, I would like to escape some of the bad stuff on the internet and go to a safer place,’” Weinberg says. “And that’s where we see ourselves.”

–>

Advertisements

Stalin was as bad as Hitler – so why do the hard Left still defend his ideas?

November 30, 2018

I’ve asked this question many times, when I have seen leftists denying that Hitler and his Nazis were socialists. I even had an exchange with someone who (verifiably,) claimed to be a university professor, who told me I was an idiot for trying to pretend there were similarities between Hitler’s regime and Stalin’s. “Stalin was a communist, Hitler was a fascist, he informed me from the lofty heights of his ivory tower.

“But fascism is not a political philosophy, I pointed out, it is an authoritarian system of government in which ‘the state’ is supreme, and no sane person would argue that the soviet state was not supreme in all matters.

Then I stuck the boot in. “If you are saying the Nazis were not authoritarian, pleasse cite academic history texts which support you case. And also address these points: Hitler persecuted Jews, Stalin persecuted Jews; Hitler persecuted gypsies, Stalin persecuted gypsies; Hitler executed mentally and physically disabled people, Stalin executed mentally and physically disabled people; Hitler executed political opponents, Stalin executed political opponents … and I continued at some length.

his reply was a rather pathetic assertion that Stalin had done all those things in the name of socialism which justified the actions, while Hitler’s motivation was fascism which is evil.

I pointed out that to my mind and the minds of most people I know, killing or torturing human being because you do not like their skin colour, religion, political position, race or the fact that they do not conform to the norms of society can never be justified. I didn’t hear from him again.

It’s good to see now that people are starting to take the same approach to demouncing the hypocrisy of the left.

Book Review:
The Kremlin Letters (ed David Reynolds & Vladimir Pechatnov)
reviewed by Simon Heffer for The Daily Telegraph

    extract:

One gets a fair insight into the relationship between Winston Churchill and “Uncle Joe” Stalin, the mass murderer with whom he found himself in alliance against Hitler, from this remark the British prime minister made to George VI’s private secretary in February 1944: “If my shirt were taken off now, it would be seen that my belly is sore from crawling to that man. I do it for the good of the country, and for no other reason.”

It is lucky that Churchill had a sense of humour, or he might have found it impossible to cope with the ironies of the situation in which he found himself after the Wehrmacht made its ill-fated invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. A quarter of a century earlier, when he was secretary of state for war in Lloyd George’s coalition government, he had sought to “strangle at birth” the Bolshevik state. Now, in the existentialist crisis of the Second World War, he was forced to address Stalin not just as an ally, but as his “friend”. He had to send the dictator warm wishes on his birthday, and congratulations on the anniversary of the foundation of the Red Army.

Yet, as his “crawling” remark shows, he was under no illusions. Even had Churchill survived in power after July 1945, the relationship was never going to last, once Russia had resumed its savage, anti-democratic destiny. When the Germans launched Operation Barbarossa, Churchill remarked that “if Hitler invaded Hell, I would make at least a favourable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons”.

Read all >>>

Freedom Of Thought And Information: Quotes.

March 22, 2017

If the ruling elites want to establish global control they need to be able to control all information the general population have access to. The idea of controlling information in order to limit the ability to think and develop ideas served Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tse Tung and many other dictators well but was completely exposed by George Orwell in the novel ‘1984’.

In recent decades the technique for controlling thoughts and ideas has been more subtle, but that has not prevented many commentators higlighting what is going on.

“If those in charge of our society – politicians, corporate executives, and owners of press and television – can dominate our ideas, they will be secure in their power. They will not need soldiers patrolling the streets. We will control ourselves.” — Howard Zinn, historian and author

“The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of the wonders of the Western world. No First World country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity” – much less dissent. Gore Vidal

“Understand that all battles are waged on an unconscious level before they are begun on the conscious one, and this battle is no different. The power structure wishes us to believe that the only options available are those which they present to us, we know this is simply not true.” – Teresa Stover

“People in the West need to understand that if the news they receive bears on the interests of the US military/security complex, the news is scripted by the CIA. The CIA serves its interests, not the interests of the American people or the interests of peace.” – Paul Craig Roberts

In the years the USA could claim with some credibility to be the only global superpower, the elites managed to gain control of print and broadcast media throughout the developed world. Unfortunately the technology developed as a tool to to enhance the ability of the elite to control information while maintaining the illusion of freedom, The Internet, backfired on them. The General public forever despised by intellectuals and derided by the elite and the media proved to be a lot more intelligent and adaptable than ‘the controllers’ suspected.

RELATED POSTS:

Elsewhere: [ The Original Boggart Blog] … [ Daily Stirrer.shtml ]…[Little Nicky Machiavelli]… [ Ian’s Authorsden Pages ]… [ It’s Bollocks My Dears, All Bollocks ] [Scribd]…[Wikinut] … [ Boggart Abroad] … [ Grenteeth Bites ] … [ Latest Posts ] [Ian Thorpe at Flickr ] … [Latest Posts] … [ Tumblr ] … [ Authorsden blog ] … [Daily Stirrer Headlines]

[ Ian at Facebook ]

How Trump Has Rewritten The Rules – Tim Montgomerie

January 22, 2017

Tim Montgomerie is a British journalis and blogger best known outside the news industry and politics for founding the Conservative Home blog. In spire of what some people may choose to believe, this blog is not run by conservatives (we’re not Labour supporters either) but we want to share an excellent article from Mr. Montgomerie which puts the Trump phenemenon in perspective vis – a – vis globalism and the rampant authoritarianism of the ‘left’.

How Trump has rewritten the political rules

By

Tim Montgomerie spent much of the past year in the United States covering one of the most extraordinary presidential elections in history. This is the second in a three-part series, summarising what he learned. (The first part can be found here.)

The weaknesses of the mainstream American media have reached a critical, democracy-endangering stage

The mainstream media plays a vital role in democracy. It educates the public about what politicians are doing (and not doing). And almost as importantly, it educates politicians about what is happening in the country they seek to serve, and what they might be missing.

But for year after year, in this age of hugely disruptive internet-based competition, the mainstream media – especially what online insurgents call the “dead tree press” – has been in a fight for its economic survival. Newsrooms have shrunk as reporters have been fired to cut costs, and it’s often the higher-paid and more experienced reporters who get dropped first. Some of the best journalism has become hidden behind paywalls.

At the same time, the tendency of media organisations based in New York and Los Angeles – both bastions of liberal leftism – to employ like-minded people has accelerated. Hard data about the ideological composition of newsrooms is difficult to come by, but research during the recent campaign by the Center for Public Integrity found that 96 per cent of political donations by journalists were to the Clinton campaign.

The executive editor of The New York Times recently admitted that “we don’t get religion”. Not getting religion in one of the most religious nations on earth is not a minor journalistic failing. And what about not getting people with guns, or people who work in coalmining, or veterans who’ve served in the military?

Some newsrooms have been so busy recruiting more women and ethnic minorities – very correctly – that they have forgotten other forms of diversity which ensure that groupthink doesn’t compromise editorial decisions. The result is the equivalent, if we were to put it into a British context, of an editorial conference full of Remainers: they can try their best to reflect the views of the rest of the nation, but it won’t be easy or complete. On top of which, such journalists often choose to think the worst of people they don’t naturally agree with, or even mix with. This is one reason why wanting your country to govern itself – the dominant motivation of Leavers in the UK – is regularly and disproportionately portrayed as racist or xenophobic.

These two key trends, of tough revenue models and ideologically monochrome newsrooms, have reached a point in America (and the London-based media may not be so very far behind) where the press can’t afford to do its work of reporting the nation – a nation which it doesn’t even know half of as well as it should.

An environment is created where large numbers of voters stop trusting the media and choose instead to read fringe alternatives: the Age of Breitbart.

 ‘Liar, liar, liar’ turns into ‘Yawn, yawn, yawn’

One of my favourite moments during the confirmation hearings now taking place on Capitol Hill (and I know I shouldn’t laugh) was when Rex Tillerson, the ex-Exxon chief, friend of Vlad-the-Bad and nominee for Secretary of State, was asked by one Senator about lobbying against sanctions on Russia by the company he ran until very recently.

Tillerson, wearing a face as straight as a pipeline, replied by saying that he had not been aware of any lobbying. Er, said Senator Corker, the foreign affairs committee chairman, I remember you lobbying me at the time. Read more >>>

RELATED POSTS:
Obama‘s Legacy
Deep State In Trouble
How Elites exempt themselves from ideologically driven agendas
Racist professor calls for white genocide
The President Who Was Not Present
US Democrats Can Protest All They Want, here’s Why They lost

America Is Lost: Rigged election, Rigged Media, Rigged Candidate says Assange

The Unreported Scandals Of The Obama Administration

Obama’s Farewell – The World Breathes A Sigh Of Relief

Obama and The End Of Utopia

While We Have Been Distracted By Trump Hysteria, Obama Has Been Easing The West Towards War With Russia

Europe Rejects Obama Doctrine – US Exceptionalism Is Not Acceptable

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elsewhere: [ The Original Boggart Blog] … [ Daily Stirrer.shtml ]…[Little Nicky Machiavelli]… [ Ian’s Authorsden Pages ]… [ It’s Bollocks My Dears, All Bollocks ] [Scribd]…[Wikinut] … [ Boggart Abroad] … [ Grenteeth Bites ] … [ Latest Posts ] [Ian Thorpe at Flickr ] … [Latest Posts] … [ Tumblr ] … [Ian at Minds ] … [ Authorsden blog ] … [Daily Stirrer Headlines]

[ Ian at Facebook ]

Germany’s Der Spiegel Say Political Correctness Has backfired On America

January 6, 2017

from Der Spiegel International

It’s a Friday afternoon in Oberlin, Ohio, around one month before the country heads to the polls to elect Donald Trump as its next president. The final classes and lectures of the week have just ended, and a young woman comes walking by in bare feet with a hula hoop gyrating around her waist while others are performing what seems to be a rhythmic dance to the African music that’s playing. Two black students are rapping.

It’s the kind of scene that could easily play out on a beach full of backpack tourists, but this is unfolding at one of the country’s most expensive universities.

Many female students here have dyed their hair green or blue, they have piercings and their fashion sense seems inspired by “Girls” creator and millennial star Lena Dunham, who, of course, also studied here.

In such a setting, it seems almost inconceivable that this country could go on to elect Donald Trump as its president only a few weeks later. Yet pro-Trump country is just a few miles away. Oberlin is located in Ohio, one of the swing states that made Trump’s election possible. Drive five miles down College Road toward town, and you start seeing blue “Trump Pence 2016” signs on people’s lawns.

Places like Oberlin are the breeding grounds of the leftist elite Trump’s people spoke so disparagingly of during the election campaign.

Only a few months earlier, a handful of students claimed they had been traumatized after someone used chalk to scrawl “Trump 2016” on the walls of buildings and on sidewalks at Oberlin and at other liberal universities. It triggered protests on some campuses, with students demanding “safe space” where they would be spared from hearing or seeing the name of this “fascist, racist candidate.”

In the months prior to the election, “safe spaces” had been one of the most widely discussed terms at Oberlin. The concept has its roots in feminism and describes a physically and intellectually sheltered space that protects one from potentially insulting, injurious or traumatizing ideas or comments — a place, in short, that protects one from the world. When conservative philosopher and feminism critic Christina Hoff Sommers was scheduled to give a speech at Oberlin last year, some students did not approve and claimed that Sommer’s views on feminism represented “microaggressions.”

When Sommers appeared anyway, leading some Oberlin students to create a “safe space” during the speech where, as one professor reported, “New Age music” was played to calm their nerves and ease their trauma. They could also “get massages and console themselves with stuffed animals.”

Read more >>>

RELATED POSTS:

Elsewhere: [ The Original Boggart Blog] … [ Daily Stirrer.shtml ]…[Little Nicky Machiavelli]… [ Ian’s Authorsden Pages ]… [ It’s Bollocks My Dears, All Bollocks ] [Scribd]…[Wikinut] … [ Boggart Abroad] … [ Grenteeth Bites ] … [ Latest Posts ] [Ian Thorpe at Flickr ] … [Latest Posts] … [ Tumblr ] … [Ian at Minds ] … [ Authorsden blog ] … [Daily Stirrer Headlines]
[ Ian at Facebook ]

America Is Lost: Rigged election, Rigged Media, Rigged Candidate says Assange

October 21, 2016

To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of Julian Assange’s death were greatly exaggerated. After his web feed was cut by staff at the Ecuadorian Embassy earlier this week Assange’s usual stream of tweets, leaks and posts was stilled. The web, being the web, went mad with conspiracy theories but Wikileaks themselves did not comment on the wilder speculation.

Well Julian is back on Hilary’s case, and this time it’s more personal than ever.

After consistently leaking damaging internal information from both the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign on an almost daily basis for months, much of which provides evidence of criminal behavior sufficient to trigger a police investigation were anybody but a member of the Washington ‘liberal’ (née neocon) elite the chief suspect, but seemingly has no impact on the Mrs Clinton’s ratings in the polls, Julian Assange has concluded that “There is no US election. There is power consolidation. Rigged primary,
rigged media and rigged ‘pied piper’ candidate drive consolidation.

Another way of looking at it is that Mrs. Clinton’s continued involvement in the election race shows that to her supporters the fact that Hillary Clinton has a vagina (allegedly) is more important that evidence of her many crimes ranging from high treason to cheating Bernie Sanders out of the nomination, this blog can’t understand why the candidate’s genitals should be a factor in the election. After all, in every election from 1988, Americans have voted to put a cunt in The White House.

It is difficult to disagree with Assange’s assessment (or ours for that matter).  That an establishment candidate, the ultimate Washington insider, running for The Democratic Party which claims it supports poor people and minorities, can still be in the race after an extended FBI investigation into a security scandal involving handling classified material on an unsecured private network that concluded multiple federal laws were clearly and intentionally broken by Mrs Clinton and her staff,  and clear evidence that the decision not to prosecute was influenced by the intervention of President Barack Hussein Obama in what amounted to a gross abuse of power, is astounding. Equally astounding is that evidence of  collusion between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department during the time Hillary Clinton was Secretary has not warranted an investigation.  Throw in evidence from WikiLeaks clearly linking the DNC to criminal efforts to incite violence at rallies, electoral fraud during the Democratic Party primaries, contravention of electoral rules in accepting donations from foreign governments, blatant media collusion, etc, etc, and it actually becomes clear that The Obama Administration and the Democratic party (heavily influenced by the Clinton’s have introduced levels of corruption normally found in third world failed states into the political system of the USA.

And, while no amount of corruption or scandal seems to sway an American electorate that is intent upon throwing the country off a cliff, Assange has promised a “surprise” for Tim Kaine and the Democrats’ “persecuted christian woman”, Donna Brazile who assumed the role of chair of the Democratic National Committee (as a thanks for helping Hillary stab Bernie Sanders in the back?) after her predecessor was made the patsy for Hillary’s email treason.Let’s hope that finally wakes up mainstream media to tell the truth about the election being rigged in favour of the Wall Street / Corporate / Military – Industrial complex candidate.

The real irony is that Hillary Clinton represents all of that which the ‘liberals’ of the ‘progressive left’ claim they hate most, yet still they support her because her vagina blinds them to the (not fit for purpose) quality of her character, just as eight years ago the colour of Obama’s skin blinded mostly the same people to the fact that he was a plant who in office would be a neocon puppet.

 

RELATED POSTS:

FBI Drops Hints They Are Ready to INDICT Hillary Clinton
Sources close to the FBI investigation into Democratic Party presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s offences relating to national security when she was Secretary of State say the Feds are ready to indict the frontrunner in the nomination process on charges relating to classified information.

The Video That Ought To spell The End Of Hillary Clinton’s Campaign
The case is human beings are easily manipulated and a propaganda campaign consisting of a toxic mix of lies and scaremongering has frightened the weak of will, the apologies for human beings who rather than face life as a great adventure instead desire instead to cringe behind the apron of Nanny State.

The Business of War: Defense Sales Keep Economies Of Manufacturing Nations Afloat
Tens of thousands have been killed and millions displaced due to ‘humanitarian’ interventions by the developed nations (led by the USA, France and the UKm the FUKUS axis) in the domestic politics of third world nation. Usually the interventions support rebel groups who if they came to power would be far more oppressive and brutal regime than the one they replaced.

War Is Good, The Obama Worshipping Guardian Says
Alas that all went down the pan in 2008 when the USA elected its first (and probably last) black president. Like American liberals, the hacks at The Guardian could not see past the colour of Obama’s skin and before Obama had even been sworn into office they were declaring him not just the greatest president ever but the greatest human being ever

New Hampshire Primary:Sanders and Trump Victory For Vox Populi
Today in New Hampshire where both US political parties have a proper ‘primary’ election as opposed to a caucus a system that apparently chooses candidates by tossing coins, drawing lots, cutting cards or maybe in extreme cases, making the candidates have a fight, it was a different …

New Poll Shows Clinton, Sanders Tied As Hillary’s Lead Crumbles
A new opinion poll from Quinnnipac University shows Hillary Clinton’s lead in the contest to become the Democratic Party Presidential nomineee has almost completely evaporated. From a lead of around thirty points in early December, the numbers are now 44% Clinton, 42% Sanders, which is such a narrow gap the only two contenders left in the race are in a statistical tie.

At Both Ends Of The Political Spectrum Americans Agree The Government Is FUBAR
For the Democrats there is, on the left a socialist, selling a political philosophy that has peviously been anatemas to American voters, yet generating the most enthusiasm of any of the other candidates. On the other end of the spectrum, Republican voters are gravitating, nay stampeding, toward Donald Trump. The only serious rival to Trump is Ted Cruz although it is early days yet and we can expect a compromise candidate to emerge

The Video That Ought To spell The End Of Hillary Clinton’s Campaign
The case is human beings are easily manipulated and a propaganda campaign consisting of a toxic mix of lies and scaremongering has frightened the weak of will, the apologies for human beings who rather than face life as a great adventure instead desire instead to cringe behind the apron of Nanny State.

The Business of War: Defense Sales Keep Economies Of Manufacturing Nations Afloat
Tens of thousands have been killed and millions displaced due to ‘humanitarian’ interventions by the developed nations (led by the USA, France and the UKm the FUKUS axis) in the domestic politics of third world nation. Usually the interventions support rebel groups who if they came to power would be far more oppressive and brutal regime than the one they replaced.

War Is Good, The Obama Worshipping Guardian Says
Alas that all went down the pan in 2008 when the USA elected its first (and probably last) black president. Like American liberals, the hacks at The Guardian could not see past the colour of Obama’s skin and before Obama had even been sworn into office they were declaring him not just the greatest president ever but the greatest human being ever

At Both Ends Of The Political Spectrum Americans Agree The Government Is FUBAR
For the Democrats there is, on the left a socialist, selling a political philosophy that has peviously been anatemas to American voters, yet generating the most enthusiasm of any of the other candidates. On the other end of the spectrum, Republican voters are gravitating, nay stampeding, toward Donald Trump. The only serious rival to Trump is Ted Cruz although it is early days yet and we can expect a compromise candidate to emerge

Trump, Sanders: The Anti-Globalists
While most candidates for the US Presidency are political hacks guaranteed to follow the party line, the success of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump reflects how angry American voters are with the ruling elite, and how dangerous a situation the USA is in

Yes, the Panama Papers Could Really End Hillary Clinton’s Campaign
We’ve been chronicling the downfall of Hillary Clinton, from her seemingly unassailable position as the anointed successor to Barack Obama, whose path to first the Democratic Party nomination and then the Presidency itself had been carefully planned and all obstacles removed. The fixers and deal makers had reckoned without two factors however, Bernie Sanders and Mrs. Clinton’s poor image with voters, a result of her spoiled little rich girl arrogance and the incompetence she showed in office as Secretary of State.

Elsewhere: [ The Original Boggart Blog] … [ Daily Stirre.shtml ]…[Little Nicky Machiavelli]… [ Ian’s Authorsden Pages ]… [Scribd]…[Wikinut] … [ Boggart Abroad] … [ Grenteeth Bites ] … [ Latest Posts ] [Ian Thorpe at Flickr ] … [Latest Posts] … [ Tumblr ] … [Ian at Minds ] … [ Authorsden blog ] … [Daily Stirrer News Aggregator]

Elsewhere: [ The Original Boggart Blog] … [ Daily Stirre.shtml ]…[Little Nicky Machiavelli]… [ Ian’s Authorsden Pages ]… [ It’s Bollocks My Dears, All Bollocks ] [Scribd]…[Wikinut] … [ Boggart Abroad] … [ Grenteeth Bites ] … [ Latest Posts ] [Ian Thorpe at Flickr ] … [Latest Posts] … [ Tumblr ] … [Ian at Minds ] … [ Authorsden blog ] … [Daily Stirrer News Aggregator

Alien Life? Who Needs Lizard Men? There Is A Universe Of Ideas Out There.

August 23, 2016

by Ian R Thorpe
6 August, 2016

Since before civilization began there have been prophets, visionaries, dreamers (or dickheads according to one’s point of view) who have had a very different perspective on life, the universe and everything.* to that held by the mainstream of society. In the Book of Revelation, Saint John the Divine claimed to have seen ‘a new heaven and a new earth’. Chaucer, in the Dream Vision The House of Fame, travels into the heavens on the back of an eagle, which tells him that ‘in this region, certeyn, dwelleth many a citezeyn’.

An idea popular among theoretical physicists which they probably think is new (such people are to be pitied for their naive belief in science, reason and logic,) is the theory of the multiverse, an infinite number of dimensions in each of which exists a separate universe. The idea is not new, as you might expect of any ‘new’ idea proposed by theoretical physicists (they’re good at equations but otherwise not very bright.) Giordano Bruno in the sixteenth century argued for an infinite number of inhabited worlds, with intelligent beings existing on other planets throughout the universe.

Until two hundred years ago, the visionaries and the dreamers controlled the game. The belief that the universe was only a few thousand years old was so well embedded in the human psyche that Shakespeare’s Rosalind could mention it in passing: ‘The poor world is almost 6,000 years old.’ In such a young universe only intelligent design could be a satisfactory explanation for complexity and diversity of life, and a God-created universe could contain all kinds of wonders. It is no surprise that William Blake saw angels in the trees of Peckham Rye, (anyone following his footsteps today would see plastic carrier bags and condoms) and that Emanuel Swedenborg claimed he had conversed with spirits from Mars, Venus, Mercury, Saturn, Jupiter and the moon.

In the centuries following the renaissance of the sciences our understanding of the universe has been completely transformed and with it our knowledge of life on Earth. Geology provides the timeline for evolution; Darwin and his followers described the processes involved. Our more recent understanding of DNA and the workings of genetics provide the tool kit for evolutionary processes. On Earth, instead of regarding ourselves as a unique species, created in the image of our creator we now realise that homo sapiens sapiens (man who knows he knows) is the survivor of a large genus of hominids. It is only the relatively recent extinction of our most persistent competitors, the Neanderthals, that has led us to imagine a human – centric universe.

The change in our universe – view was initially from speculation to investigation, from vision to observation. Every decade has brought new discoveries that broadened our knowledge and understanding of the world to the point we have at last reached: now on the threshold of truly wondrous advances in understanding our scientists seem hellbent on abandoning scientific study in favour of speculation and theory once more.

Astronomers and physicists claim we are on the threshold of discovering planets that could support lifeforms similar to ours, lifeforms that we could recognise and investigate on a scientific basis. The pace of discovery is rapid and accelerating, because we recognise the significance of the search and are devoting enormous resources to it. This only proves what a bunch of dickheads, fuckwits and tunnel visioned idiots physicists really are. They cannot see beyond their own narrow interests. There may be planets out there on which Homo Heidelbergensis – or Homo Neranderthalis, like species are surviving as primitive humans did. There might just as well be highly developed species who regard our civilizations as no more significant than ant’s nests and who would suck us up in a tractor beam into the belly of their mothership to reduce us to basic nutrients.

The scientists who talk about making contact with aliens (based on the flimsiest of evidence that there might, just might, by some one in a billion chance there could be a planet orbiting some distant star that might, just might, by some one in a billion chance support a life form like ours that really wants to be best mates with humanity and go for picnics, attend the First Church of Christ Astronaut services and support “liberal” causes with us are crazy. These are the people who want to spend whatever it takes on discovering the fundamental particle that holds everything together (the Higgs Boson or God particle) and yet vehemently deny the existence of God. These are the nut jobs who are turning science into a religion. Their kind of science has replaced observation, experiment, investigation and critical analysis with dogma, made icons of mathematical models and the statistics they produce, turned untestable theories into a creed and scriptures, and insisted things that may or may not have happened unimaginable distances away and incredibly long ago have been proved by speculative mathematics and statistics derived by subjectively interpreting data. Hand having deluded themselves into believing their fantasies are true they stand on a bogus scientific authority to insist these truths are unchallengeable.

The only reason people would try to convince the world that such infantile fantasies are in fact true is they have such limited intelligence they cannot deal with abstract ideas. Thus they insist that Big Bang Theory is a proven fact, when in fact it is just another variation on creationism. Leaving aside the creation myth of The Book Of Genesis which is really two creation myths in one, some creation stories are quite interesting. The alt_creation in the New Testament’s Gospel of St. John for example, which starts “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.” OK, what does it mean, you might well ask.  Nobody can really tell you with any certainty, but here’s an idea. The word for God in one of the regional dialects (there was no cohesive ‘Hebrew’ language, but many dialects of Aramaic, the common tongue of the middle east region) was Ea or Jah. This means “I am.” So we are led to ask is the creation really the dawning of consciousness? Think that’s bollocks? Renaissance artist Michaelangelo didn’t. Below is his depiction “The creation of Adam,” from the ceiling in Rome’s Sistine Chapel. Note how God is not forming Adam from clay as in the Genesis version, but is reaching out to touch a fully formed human. For what? To bestow the gift of consciousness perhaps?

tony3

That’s one take on creation, the one in the Zoroastrian Avesta is in some ways similar. The Zoroastrians were great astrologers (in the true sense – study of the movements of stars, not fortune telling) and knew the earth was round. Their god, Ormazd or Ahuru Mazda however created the world of intelligent humans by flattening it (making maps possible) and ‘squaring the circle’ (mathematics) so that area and distance could be measures. Thus in  a way the development of those arts and sciences gave us consciousness by granting our ancestors the ability to be aware of their place in our environment.

My personal favourite creation story belongs to the Uitoto people of the Orinoco rain forest in South America. Here’s how Sacred Texts presents it:

In the beginning, the word gave origin to the Father. A phantasm, nothing else existed in the beginning; the Father touched an illusion, he grasped something mysterious. Nothing existed. Through the agency of a dream our Father Naimuena [he who is or has a phantasm] kept the mirage to his body, and he pondered long and thought deeply. Nothing existed, not even a stick to support the vision: our Father attached the illusion to the thread of a dream and kept it by the aid of his breath.

Don’t get carried away by your rationalism, I said I like the story, not that I believe it. But you will find plenty of respected philosophers and scientists in the developed world who will argue that our world is an illusion, what we see is not solid objects but energy (light) reflected off objects.And physics can offer us no better explanation of matter than that it is highly compressed energy. We really understand very little about the universe of which we are part.

Twenty years ago it was agreed that while in a universe estimated to contain hundreds of billions of galaxies each comprised of hundreds of billions of stars anything might be possible and it was very likely there were other intelligent life forms out there, we had no positive evidence of the existence of extra solar planets. Now scientists claim we know of 700, and the Kepler mission indicates that there may be 50 billion in our galaxy alone. Already the astrophysicist Steven Vogt has claimed that the likelihood of life existing on the unromantically named planet Gliese 581g is ‘100%’. But what real evidence is there of this. A bunch of people whose living comes from taxpayers funded sinecures, they are paid by us to spend their lives sitting around stargazing in other words, have looked at electro magnetic radiation coming from space in the region where these stars and their planets are though to be and interpreted it; “Oh look at that frequency pattern, from my equations using data extrapolated from mathematical models of the universe, we see clear evidence this energy has passed close by a body with an Oxygen / Nitrogen atmosphere on which carbon based life forms might be able to flourish.” Evidence? It wouldn’t stand up in a court of law. Scientists, in spite of their delusions, are just human beings and like the rest of us are inclined to see what they expect to see.

Obviously claims such as Vogt’s are complete bollocks. One only has to note the ways in which words like might, maybe, possibly and chance are used to see the authors of such guff are just phishing for research grants. In fact even a lay person reading this account will ascertain that Vogt’s childish enthusiasm for playing with Star Wars toys finding evidence of alien life has got the better of his common sense. The joint discoverer of Gliese 581g is a little more objective however, as the link shows.

Alpha Centauri, the nearest star cluster is over 4 years journey away at the speed of light (186,000 miles or about 300,000 km per second). The fastest spacecraft we have ever launched however would take 70,000 years to reach the closest star in Alpha Centauri. We should not forget that the universe, defined as that which is with the shock wave that has emanated out from Big Bang at the speed of light for 13 billion years (estimated) is … chuffing big. Now a light year is the distance travelled by light at the aforementioned speed and our fastest spacecraft as at March 2011 when I looked it up is 17 km per second (around 11 miles) although that is in a heliocentic orbit, the fastest we have on a trajectory that will take it out of our solar system is going at a mere 15.75 km per second because of the effect of solar gravity. I carried out that little exercise in response to a bunch of “scientists” who were yelling about how important it was for governments and international agencies to start throwing money into a fiscal black hole named “Let’s build spaceship to take us half witted wankers to the stars.” To put this into perspective our current fastest spacecraft would reach the nearest star, the Alpha Centauri constellation, in 70,000 years. And to get to Gliese 581g, the nearest planet yet discovered that might just might, possibly support some form of life, would take 20 times as long. Ad think how disappointed those scientists would be if they found life on that planet had not evolved beyond the amoeba stage or worse still had become extinct during humanity’s journey to greet them.

If we were to commission an exploratory expedition lasting say 40 years to Proxima Centauri, the closest star in the Alpha Centauri group at a distance of approx 4.2 light years from earth we would need to build a spacecraft capable of a tenth the speed of light, 18,600 miles or 30,000 kilometers per second. Now remember that what we have now, even with the pedal to the metal will only do 16 km per second. It is not science these imbeciles are talking about, it’s science fiction.

Not only do we have not have any new technology on the horizon capable of achieving such speeds but new materials would be needed to resist the stresses on the spacecraft and very possibly a completely new type of human being to cope with conditions on board the craft and devote forty years of their life to something that pointless.

What would be the consequences of the discovery of alien life, even if it were of the merest microbial life form on a planet orbiting a distant star? Well apart from “scientists” all round the world having a spontaneous orgasm and running off to change their underwear, none at all. If such a planet were to be discovered in our solar system it would be a different matter but no such planet exists in our solar system. Our species has developed its beliefs, its cultures, its religions on the basis of our uniqueness, on the idea that we are alone, the only truly intelligent life form in the universe. Some believe this universe was specifically designed for us – and I am not just talking of religious creationists here. Physicist Dr. John Gribben (In Search Of The Multiverse) proposes the universe may have been designed by an intelligent life for much like ourselves – I do not agree but it is an idea and this article is about ideas not mathematics. Incontrovertible proof that we are not alone would force us to reexamine all our knowledge, to build new theories of life, its origins, its diversity, perhaps its purpose. If we discover one life form we will discover many, for the universe is vast and the number of stars almost uncountable. Somewhere out there, almost certainly, would be life forms that possess intelligence recognisably like our own, for they will have developed by the same laws of evolution, bound by the same physics and chemistry that we know on Earth. Should we prioritize seeking contact with these hypothetical life forms, ahead of matters like feeding our growing population of meeting increasing demand for food, water and raw materials. What if they turn out to be bigger, harder and more technically advance than us … and complete bastards to boot.

Though the level of our current knowledge suggests humans will be earth bound for the foreseeable future there is a universe of ideas out there in the deep space of our minds waiting to be explored. In addition to Gribben’s Designer Universe we have the possibilities of Quantum Entanglements which I have written about in a deliberately provocative way, the Morphic Resonance theory proposed by biologist Dr. Rupert Sheldrake and the ideas of many other pioneers in various branches of the sciences. And then there are the ideas of philosophers, both humanist and religious, the philosophies of established religions and the speculations of modern visionaries, artists, poets and writers. I find it particularly sad that among people who claim to be “scientists” (though in reality they are science fans, a dogmatic approach has taken hold. These people will try to suppress or shout down discussion of interesting, off – message ideas because they are convinced there is only one idea and one way of thinking that can possibly be right.

* Life, the universe and everything: a line from Douglas Adams’ Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy. I mention it because in an article some time ago when I used this very well known phrase one of those cupid stunts who commented, the type of person whose only contribution to the exchange of ideas on the internet is to attack original thought and try to suppress free discussion accused me of plagiarism in a pathetic attempt to discredit my article.

The Battle Of Ideas festival

RELATED POSTS:

Chinese Lunar Rover Finds No Evidence of American Moon Landings
As the ‘Science Squad’ (Brian Cox, Dara O’Briain and assorted Star Wars fans) get hyper over Major Tim Peake ‘going into space’ I call for scepticism. He hasn’t gone into ‘space’, the space station is in a fixed orbit 250 miles above the earth and that is within the earth’s atmosphere, in the layer known as The Thermosphere, which is not even the outermost sphere of the atmosphere.

It Doesn’t Take Much To get Scientists Excited

Yesterday we saw on television news bulletins pictures of scientists jumping up and down, screaming and shouting and generally behaving they way we would expect from Liverpool football supporters if they heard Mario Balotelli had been transferred to another club. What was the cause of this celebrationete? You might well ask …

Creativity Must Triumph Over Conformity
Bruce Elkin argues that to save civilisation creativity must triumph over conformity. We must kick our addiction to consumption, rediscover the things that are really important and use the unique abilities of humans to create a society in which fullfillment is the goal rather than wealth and power. In other words we must redefine what we mean by success.

Why The Intellectual Elitie Truly Despise The Lower Classes
Have you noticed that the professional hand wriners of the left have shifted their focus from ‘the poor’ to minorities. They did not succeed in abolishing poverty so what’s going on? Simples. The intellectual left having elected themselves to speak for the poor found the poor were able to speakl for themselves and resented posh pokenoses pontification about matters of which understanding cannot be gained by reading books. This article exposes the hypocrisy of the left …

Science, Certanties and Stereotypes
The left are always quick to accuse their opponents of stereotyping but when it comes to embracing certainties and applying stereotypes there is no political group worse than the left, which includes the supporters of politicised science and the miolitant atheists for stereotyping their opponents as a way to suppress views opposed to their own. …

Scalar Waves – the true sustainable energy

Why has science become so intolerant of those who question

The Truth Is Not Out There

Before Big Bang part 1

Before Big Bang part 2

Brian Cox’s wonders of the universe replaces reality with computer simulations

Are we becoming slaves of our machines

Alchemy For Beginners

Carl Sagan Day

We Need A Culture of Existentialism To Counter Scientific pseudoreligion

Not Intelligent Design but a Designer Universe

Turd Nine From Outer Space

Return Of Turd Nine From Outer Space
Quantum metaphysics: forget the God Particle, this will blow your mind.
Scientists claim to have created artificial life in a laboratory are just showeboating
Did you see that? Those half feen shadows might be Amoeba Constabulae
Life on Mars – a crazy look at how the ‘canals’ on the red planet might have been made
Who wants to live forever? In an overpopulated world what is the point of science trying to extend our lifespan
Clear Night – across the universe in a thought

Atomic Verse – a poem on quantum physics

CREATIVE COMMONS: Attribute, non commercial, no derivs.

 

Guilt Is For Losers

July 28, 2016

Over on Facebook, Chanti Niven wrote: “Sigmund Freud said, “Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.” Do you agree? Give reasons for your answer. Don’t just say yes or no.”

Skipping over a number of replies that indicated the person commenting believed people shirk responsibility because of laziness rather than fear, I replied:

Ian Thorpe We only have to recall Fraud’s ideas on men’s attitudes to their mothers to understand he was a con man who understood nothing of human nature. Many people shirk responsibility through laziness, others because they are insecure. Fear might have a little to do with it but most people will step up when they have to.
(You can tell I’m not a fan of Freud, can’t you?)

Rocco Pietrocarlo came back at me: Freud was a genius….although Jung went so far beyond him we sometimes forget the greatness of the men that come before. Be that as it may, the world is fallen…..filled with shadows and the dead-ness of souls. That is why The Zombie stories are so popular…they speak of our age….We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men…..we are an age that has allowed massive genocide to occur on several occasions, and we have wealth to feed and clothe all people in the world…yet let them starve and die. And we are all responsible for this…just like the Germans living near the concentration camps that could smell the bodies and yet did nothing! Freedom….we want to be without pain and responsibility….we want our cars and bars and chicks with dicks and drugs and all that kills the thrills of being responsible for the well being of all creatures great and small…..Most people do not step up….they run and hide from the truth….our world rewards sin and power and sadism over honor, dignity and self-sacrifice.

To which I could only say, “I don’t do guilt.” Others are welcome to wallow in self loathing if they wish, leave me out of it.

I have to say here, Rocco’s pompous reply seems to relate more to the failed Pharisee Saul of Tarsus than to Sigmund Freud, a pussy whipped Viennese sissy whose big idea was based on transferring his own creepy desires towards his mother onto all human males. Based on my own observations and conversations, 99.99999999% of us love our Dear Old Mums without even entertaining carnal desires towards them, nor they towards us.

RELATED POSTS:

Elsewhere: [ The Original Boggart Blog] … [ Daily Stirre.shtml ]…[Little Nicky Machiavelli]… [ Ian’s Authorsden Pages ]… [Scribd]…[Wikinut] … [ Boggart Abroad] … [ Grenteeth Bites ] … [ Latest Posts ] [Ian Thorpe at Flickr ] … [Latest Posts] … [ Tumblr ] … [Ian at Minds ] … [ Authorsden blog ] … [Daily Stirrer News Aggregator]

There Is NothingIn The Dumbing Down Of Education That Does Not Support ‘The Agenda’

July 6, 2016

Most of this long post is exerpted from a post on Minding The Campus blog, a US blog site for dissident educators. The article is written from the perspective of an educator: It is reproduced here under ‘fair use terms’ in the public interest. The article exposes some misconceptions about the nature and purpose of modern education . The author opens by bemoaning the standard of education found in young people.

My students are know-nothings. They are exceedingly nice, pleasant, trustworthy, mostly honest, well-intentioned, and utterly decent. But their brains are largely empty, devoid of any substantial knowledge that might be the fruits of an education in an inheritance and a gift of a previous generation. They are the culmination of western civilization, a civilization that has forgotten nearly everything about itself, and as a result, has achieved near-perfect indifference to its own culture.

He’s complimentary to the children:

[T]hey rarely allow themselves to become passionate and invested in any one subject); they build superb resumes. They are respectful and cordial to their elders, though easy-going if crude with their peers. They respect diversity (without having the slightest clue what diversity is) and they are experts in the arts of non-judgmentalism (at least publically). They are the cream of their generation, the masters of the universe, a generation-in-waiting to run America and the world.

But:

Some students, due most often to serendipitous class choices or a quirky old-fashioned teacher, might know a few of these answers. But most students have not been educated to know them. At best, they possess accidental knowledge, but otherwise are masters of systematic ignorance. It is not their “fault” for pervasive ignorance of western and American history, civilization, politics, art and literature. Science fares somewhat better but it is learned by rote and theories are passed off as fact; mathematics is all important though most of us will never use any branch but arithmetic after leaving school.

Modern pupils however have learned exactly what we have asked of them – to be like mayflies, alive by happenstance in a fleeting present.

This can’t be stressed enough. In my last decade in work the constant mantra was that new is good, therefore right and I was nothing to do with education. But old mavericks like me, men and women who had benefitted from that education system known as “The Renaissance Education” which taught us to question, were being phased out. When I left the last corporate job I had in the early 1980s to become a freelance Information Technology consultant, the management services director (another Renaisance Education type) stormed into Human Resources demanding to know why I was being allowed to take a redundancy package and go when a number of notorious plodders would be staying.

“This company needs people who can implement corporate policy, not people who question it,” he was told.

Mordern teachers are, on the whole, open to new developments coming out of the curriculum branch, but when something bad comes along (such as Common Core in the USA, and britain’s National Curriculum, few are prepared to stand up say, ‘Hang on, since when did education take a one-size-fits-all approach, what about diversity?’

New! New! New! That’s the mantra.

And of course new policy is backed up by new teaching materials, innit, which comprise texts and exam books, extension work – anything to get the school to buy three texts per child, not one. Let alone the teacher texts. And inside those books are a complete political system based on the assumption that all pupils conform to a standard model and thus have identical educational needs. So  who are  the drivers of the new ideas? They are bureaucrats working for central government, people who have rarely if ever taught a class or, since they left school themselves, interacted with people from different educational classes or social backgrounds. but they will all have obtained a PhD ‘education’ which qualifies them as much greater experts that teacher who have spent years working at ‘the chalk face.’

Everyone below the ‘educationalists’, through the teachers, classroom assistants and down to the pupils, is expected to fall into line behind the currently fashionable theory of education.. Teachers are afraid to appear reactionary, racist, sexist, homophobic and even the moist trivial dissent from the official line will see one branded thus. Those who doubt the message may gently and quietly mock but teachers have mortgages and bills and need to eat and they know it’s more than their job’s worth to voice criticisms or point out that the system is failing.

Of late, people have started to wake up to the fact that the BBC is in effect the broadcating arm of The Ministry Of Truth and that the leftie luvvies and ‘speshul snowflakes’ it employs seem to be so brainwashed they cannot distinguish between facts and their personal beliefs and prejudices. The damage was done  a generation ago it was done, to Generation X and Generation Y who were taught never to question authority and to accept the assumptions of the politically correct left as facts.

And voila, the culture of the 40s, 50s and 60s is not only gone, it’s mocked. A lady who was  in a blog group I was in, in 2006/7, wrote to me that I sounded as if I were from the 60s. That was meant to be bad, that was meant to cut. It didn’t, because all I had been doing was questioning the assumptions of the left.

The immense power of the people controlling the media is incalculable. And yet those people are always hidden and are always at work, advancing the agenda. Any topic, say demonstrating  a relative pronoun, can be loaded with embedded values, (e.g. (1) the boy who bullied immigrant children (2) we gave to a charity that drills wells in Africa) Every single excerpt, every single example, reinforcing the message.

Back to Minding the Campus which gets down to the nitty gritty here (BTW nitty gritty is a racist phrase because it refers to the gravel that was used as ballast on slave ships according to American educators. In fact the term originally referred to the ballast on all ships, but hey, never miss an opportunity to reinforce the message):

Our students’ ignorance is not a failing of the educational system – it is its crowning achievement. Efforts by several generations of philosophers and reformers and public policy experts — whom our students (and most of us) know nothing about — have combined to produce a generation of know-nothings. The pervasive ignorance of our students is not a mere accident or unfortunate but correctible outcome, if only we hire better teachers or tweak the reading lists in high school. It is the consequence of a civilizational commitment to civilizational suicide. The end of history for our students signals the End of History for the West.

This is not an overreaction at the end – it really is the end of history. Being a sad case, I’ve always liked history books and when I was staying at a mate’s place, his son’s old history book was in the bookshelf. Took it out and it had the leather bound, hardback look which spelt gravitas.

Good, the old history, I thought. Several pages in and I was already muttering, then expostulating – the guff included as given truths were off the planet. Usually it’s the bias of selection and omission but this one included total porkies. I looked at the date – mid-90s.

Oh my goodness – who was going to correct these things? Well obviously people such as I. And just how was I going to do this? Track down the authors when I had a dozen things to do that day? And the son was now grown, out in the world. You see the impossibility of the task. And who’s to say he’d even listen or see it as relevant to his own world these days?

Back to the teachers and how far can they be blamed? Those in charge are Gen X, the new teachers are Millennials – the process has already been done on them.

Some saw it and tried to fight back by producing alternative materials:

E.D. Hirsch even worked up a self-help curriculum, a do-it yourself guide on how to become culturally literate, imbued with the can-do American spirit that cultural defenestration could be reversed by a good reading list in the appendix. Broadly missing is sufficient appreciation that this ignorance is the intended consequence of our educational system, a sign of its robust health and success.

Heads would look at it – hmmmm, interesting angles but reactionary, racist, every other -ist. And that was that. Those values were never going to be reintroduced by us. The only real chance is that some bright kids start to see something’s wrong, something’s missing and start exploring.

It’s not unlike The Who’s song 905:

In suspended animation
My childhood passed me by
If I speak without emotion
Then you know the reason why
Knowledge of the universe
Was fed into my mind
As my adolescent body
Left its puberty behind

And everything I know is what I need to know
And everything I do’s been done before
Every sentence in my head
Someone else has said
At each end of my life is an open door/a>

I have a feeling deep inside
That somethin’ is missing
It’s a feeling in my soul
And I can’t help wishing
That one day I’ll discover
That we’re living a lie
And I’ll tell the whole world
The reason why.

Chilling, yes? The point made over and over is that none of this is random, the rising and falling wave of civilization – this is quite deliberately introduced and it has succeeded. These are very patient people.

The earliest confirmed example was long ago, called the Lincoln School in America, Rockefeller funded and embracing what’s known as Wundtian philosophy. I’ll leave you to explore Wilhelm Wundt who might have died an obscure experimenter, were it not for his inclusion in the genesis of the new education.

There are just too many articles on education but one good one, on research methods, was reprinted here on my former blog:

http://archive-random-nour-obscur.blogspot.co.uk/2006/10/appendix-h.html

The theme of deliberate intervention in order to suppress the very natural human instinct to question and rebel was, when I started blogging in 2005, seen as tinfoil hat conspirascy stuff, despite senior teachers and lecturers writing many essays and books critical of the way education was heading. Today, it’s seen as part of the fightback against dumbing-down which most of us (everyone who has used Facebook or Twitter for example) have observed in all its ingloriousness.

RELATED POSTS:

Elsewhere: [ The Original Boggart Blog] … Daily Stirrer …[Little Nicky Machiavelli]… [ Ian’s Authorsden Pages ]… [Scribd]…[Wikinut] … [ Boggart Abroad] … [ Grenteeth Bites ] … Ian Thorpe at Flickr ] … [ Tumblr ] … [Ian at Minds ] … [ Authorsden blog ] … [Daily Stirrer News Aggregator]

Polish Government Policy To Suppress Discussion Of Holocaust

May 5, 2016

by Ian R Thorpe
This blog does not get many readers, it was never intended to the reason for keeping it going is to do with Search Engine Optimisation for other blogs. So not many people will have seen our previous post about a German historian questioning the official narrative on the Holocaust. Those who did however, might have wondered why we would post such a thing.

As the founder of the blog I will explain that neither I nor my colleagues question the fact that very bad things happened to members of Jewish communities in Germany and central Europe between 1933 and 1945. We all, have a questioning nature and did not believe (or disbelieve) the details but broadly the story stood up to examination.

Then it became fashionable among political activists to call for ‘Holocaust Denial’, the opinions of people who claimed the story of mass exterminations, was not true to be criminalised. And that made us suspicious because we all believe in free speech. Only fascist regimes try to suppress open debate, and as far as all of us are concerned, because in the medieval era we would have been executed for our rejection of God, Jesus and the Church, we defend the right of people to question r reject something the authorities insist we accept is true. It is also no different to criminalising ‘climate change denial’, opposition to mass immigration, the introduction of Genetically Modified food crops or globalisation.

Criminalising ideas is the territory of tyrants, and as it becomes more obvious that the ruling elites are moving towards establishing a global totalitarian government, is it any wonder more people, if not exactly questioning The Holocaust, are questioning the eagerness to suppress free discussion of an event which has shaped much of the political evolution in the free world since 1945.

And since we started to question, it is clear there are a number of gaping holes in the Holocaust narrative, which apparently nobody wants to try to explain. Here’s another:

New Polish historical policy could silence Holocaust debates

WARSAW, Poland (via Associated Press) — Poland’s governing party is seeking to shape the country’s future by controlling perceptions of the past.

The conservative Law and Justice party’s strategy includes the use of museums, film, public television and other tools to promote certain episodes in Poland’s history, like the anti-communist resistance after World War II. More controversial, though, are attempts to suppress discussion and research into painful topics, primarily Polish violence against Jews during the Nazi occupation.

Law and Justice, which since last year has wielded more power than any party in post-communist times, sees the moves as harnessing history in a mission to build a stronger nation state. President Andrzej Duda said the nation’s new “historical policy offensive” aims to create a new generation of patriots and “to build up the country’s position in the international space.”

Critics see historical revisionism that will produce little beyond national self-righteousness and will prevent an honest reckoning with the country’s wartime history — an extremely complex story that includes suffering and heroism of the highest order but also cases of murder and betrayal by Poles of defenseless Jews.

Read All >>>

RELATED POSTS:

Elsewhere: [ The Original Boggart Blog] … Daily Stirrer …[Little Nicky Machiavelli]… [ Ian’s Authorsden Pages ]… [Scribd]…[Wikinut] … [ Boggart Abroad] … [ Grenteeth Bites ] … Ian Thorpe at Flickr ] … [ Tumblr ] … [Ian at Minds ] … [ Authorsden blog ] … [Daily Stirrer News Aggregator]