william.scherk
Reading lists, go-to books, Amazon wishes, new on the block editions: MSK and William's recommended books about conspiracy theories ... make perfect Judeo-Christmas non-altruistic gifts! 'Tis the Season (of Reason). From the blurb of Suspicious Minds:

"We’re all conspiracy theorists. Some of us just hide it better than others.

Conspiracy theorists do not wear tin-foil hats (for the most part). They are not just a few kooks lurking on the paranoid fringes of society with bizarre ideas about shape-shifting reptilian aliens running society in secret. They walk among us. They are us. Everyone loves a good conspiracy. Yet conspiracy theories are not a recent invention. And they are not always a harmless curiosity. In Suspicious Minds, Rob Brotherton explores the history and consequences of conspiracism, and delves into the research that offers insights into why so many of us are drawn to implausible, unproven and un-provable conspiracy theories. They resonate with some of our brain’s built-in quirks and foibles, and tap into some of our deepest desires, fears, and assumptions about the world."

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Message added by william.scherk

Reading: "Suspicious Minds: Why We Believe Conspiracy Theories"

I want to recommend a book I just started reading last night: "Suspicious Minds," by Rob Brotherton. As is usual, I read first the chapter that stuck out -- Chapter 5, The Paranoid Fringe. It takes a useful critical look at the seminal article by Richard Hofstadter -- "The Paranoid Style in American Politics" -- and also runs to ground a plausible origin of 'tinfoil hats.' 

The book is written in a wry conversational tone, and is not on the surface a ''scholarly" read thick with endless footnotes, but it also contains a very useful reference list by page number -- as well as a full index at the back.  (My copy is from our local library, but I am going to order it from Amazon so I always have it on hand as a reference book.)

Here is an excerpt from the first page that might whet OLer's appetite for more ...

Quote

allisnitasitseems.png

In a fit of recursion, I include this bit of commentary from earlier this month. It suggests that I am bound by ingrained prejudice/s, which may or may not be true ... yet leaves the door open to further friendly discussion.

On 10/15/2017 at 1:12 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

For those who still don't know how to process conspiracy theorists, I left the following comment over at William's blog the other day (see here). He didn't agree that it was a valid approach (it's hard to let go of a prejudice once ingrained :) ), but that is the way listening to conspiracy theorists works with people like me. And from the looks of things, it works that way with a shit-ton of people all over America.

-- for those who like to check out reviews before purchasing or borrowing from a library, here's a selection -- which I thought remarkable. Remarkable in the sense of "how many reviews do not mention Donald Trump?"

New York Times review by Adrian Chen
Inside Higher Education review by Scott McLemee
Brief Scientific American review by Maria Temming

-- for the benefit of Dear Leader, I found the book is available at his local library too!

MSKevanstonLibarySuspiciousMinds.png



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William,

I might get to it (and I've even got other books criticizing the mentality of those conspiracy theorists), but I am already resolved on how to treat conspiracy theories.

When I see a rich and powerful clique of insiders say, "Trust us. We do not lie, yawp yawp yawp" I see a context for a conspiracy, or at least massive lying (with growth of money, power, sex, etc. for the insiders at the cost of the--to them--inferior subhuman stock that exists mainly to feed and house them so they don't have to work :) ). And when these assholes are caught in one lie after another, I start getting angry at them, and when people try to use peer pressure to get me to believe in them.

On the other hand, when I see someone promoting a conspiracy theory acting like this:

... I don't take it seriously. If something jumps out that I think I should look at, I go research it.

Of course, I could always trust Big Brother.

He cares about me.

He is rational.

:)

The trouble with people who write about conspiracy theories on all sides (pro-establishment and anti-establishment) is these extremes are generally the only categories they admit.

They get confused when they meet people who don't agree that this set of choices is all there is just because those choices are the only ones on their menus.

Michael

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On 10/22/2017 at 12:46 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

I've even got other books criticizing the mentality of those conspiracy theorists

If you have the time or inclination, Michael, can you give a recommendation for one or two or several of these other books?  My old classic stand-bys are three: Extraordinary Delusions (which covers a broader-or-allied question of mass ''buy-in" to  crazes), How We Know What Isn't So, and Why People Believe Weird Things.

On 10/22/2017 at 12:46 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

The trouble with people who write about conspiracy theories on all sides [...] is these extremes are generally the only categories they admit.

This is why I think the book by Brotherton tops my stand-bys: it doesn't pathologize or make too-simple or fuzzily-broad categories, so it doesn't allow you (or me or Dear Reader) to think that conspiracy-theorizing is something only "They" do at the extremes.  It makes a good case that just about everyone is prone to cognitions that don't always comprise objective findings -- that almost all of us humans accept unproven or less-than-likely stories. The book critique of Hofstadter's pathologizing is quite pointed to that effect. 

For those who like to skim through videos, here is the author bringing some of his thought to life with "Psychology of Conspiracy Theories":

 

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Thanks for rounding out the list of recommended books on conspiracy theories and allied matters, Michael. Looks like some good stuff to dip into ... some of which may be new to OL members, guests and readers who land on this page.

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There's a new(ish) locus of scandal in town. It kinda goes like this: Clinton -- Russia -- Corrupt Practices -- FBI -- Uranium One -- Clinton Foundation. Plus  the 'Dodgy Dossier.'  Conspiracy!  Theory! 

TheHill.png

How does it all fit together? Well, Michael has given a link to one of The Hill's stories that launched some furious hoopla ... here's another: FBI watched, then acted as Russian spy moved closer to Hillary Clinton ... but the field of dots in play are instructive if not probative when broken out:

  • Uranium One is/was the Canadian-based company which had a 'takeover' by Russian interests.
  • The takeover had to gain official approvals from the US, not least on national security grounds 
  • There were dual processes of gaining ownership and approvals 
  • Russian interests were not averse to bribing, spying, and conniving 
  • Bribing and conniving were on somewhat parallel tracks
  • The financial conniving by Russian interests was subject to FBI investigation
  • Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State while approval process wended its way through several departments
  • Some of the Russian interests (if not allied connivers) disbursed donations/monies
  • The Clinton Foundation was a beneficiary of some of the monies

Separately(?), during the run-up to the 2016 US election ... a mix of interests paid for so-called "opposition research' via cut-outs

  • Clinton campaign/DNC paid money to the "Dodgy Dossier" author's company
  • GOP (PAC or RNC it is unclear) also paid for the DD work
  • The FBI/DOJ may have squandered expense monies on the DD author

-- my brief points are not comprehensive and may be wrong in part, but on the whole cover the main points at issue in yesterday's spasm of hoopla, even if it doesn't explore questions more deeply (more than one camp paid for the research as it developed? The U1 process of approval was corrupted? The Foundation received monies as quid pro quo for State approval of U1 'takeover'? The 'Dodgy Dossier' was brought to both Obama and Trump by FBI late in the campaign? What was the FBI able to document/prevent in re U1 corruption?)

-- a subset of hoopla concerns "Whaddaya gonna do about it?" and "Did the Clinton campaign conceal its payments for 'research' from the FEC?" and "Congress to Investigate Uranium One-FBI-Clinton-State-Foundation" as the plot thickens. I foresee at least one new Committee of Benghazi for Hillary. Why not? It'll be a nice Judeo-Christmas present for the American people.

On 10/25/2017 at 7:45 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Here's the odd thing, though.

The headlines on Drudge suddenly disappeared.

I've been hopping around the Internet and news of the dossier, this Uranium One stuff, etc., seem to be withering away.

 

 

Spoiler
share.png Dave Boyer / Washington Times:
FEC complaint accuses Clinton campaign, DNC of violating campaign finance law with dossier payments  —  Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee violated campaign finance law by failing to disclose payments for a dossier on Donald Trump, according to a complaint filed Wednesday …
RELATED:
Quote

It's almost like some backstage intimidation is going on.

Now, let me put on my tin foil hat. What could possibly intimidate elitists into using their heavy guns to suddenly shut news down in the manner it is happening, I wonder, I wonder?

I wonder if it has anything to do with sex... maybe children...

For this, we may have to pull out the David Seaman Pedometer.  The Luciferian Pedometer, which is capable of tracking all the trails of Pizzagate-blemished slime left behind. His latest, the first eleven minutes, with subtitles:

Quote

I suspect, though, that the fat lady has sung and the curtain is coming down on a lot of people, starting with the whole Clinton machine. The country is really, really pissed right now and this time, I predict elitist intimation will not stand. More interestingly, let's see who the Clinton folks take with them.

In fact, when you dig into the Uranium One deal, it's starting to look like Obama...

"It usually begins with TheBrandens™" ... but I don't see any problem laying a Russia Russia Russia scandal at Obama's door. Since the underlying Uranium One deal will be the hinge/central dot for all theorizing, I had better do some reading, so I can supplement my crib notes above.

snatchedFromTheJawsOfGoogleReadingListUr

 

Edited by william.scherk

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On 10/26/2017 at 3:12 PM, william.scherk said:

For this, we may have to pull out the David Seaman Pedometer.

William,

The Drudge headline and "re-management" of the news feed things were, thankfully, only for a couple of hours or so. Then things got back to normal.

As to Seaman, you might want to include this guy, too. I know Feldman's thing is Hollywood, but Hollywood has been awfully tight with the ruling class elites on the liberal side, so I bet there will be crossover dirt. It's something to keep an eye out for.

And don't ever forget to keep an eye on the Catholic Church... Take the eye off those dudes and shit always seems to go down again...

:)

Michael

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Those OLers who may have like me a soft-spot for the Youtubery of David Seaman -- I have uploaded a version of his latest live-stream. His themes are censorship by Google and Twitter and a call to picket the home of Youtube's CEO, so she will stop throttling him. Or something.

SEAMANwordcloud.png

 

On 10/27/2017 at 12:01 AM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

As to Seaman, you might want to include this guy, too

Michael, I think I may have (or you may have) inadvertently bozed the URL. "This guy" is ... ?

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5 hours ago, william.scherk said:

Michael, I think I may have (or you may have) inadvertently bozed the URL. "This guy" is ... ?

William,

There was hash in the link field. I think it was from a copy/paste glitch. Sometimes I press "Ctrl C" but the text does not get copied. I have gotten into the habit of checking to make sure, but this time I probably missed it. Sorry.

The guy is Corey Feldman.

I don't remember the article I linked to, but as the date of my post was Oct. 27, I just now did a filtered search for news stories on Oct. 26 and chose one from among those that gave the news of Feldman's project to make a documentary on pedophilia in Hollywood. I chose an article from The Guardian and used that link to fix the former hash. Now if people click on the words, "this guy," in the passage you quoted from me, it will link to that article instead of buzzing, whirring and acting like the computer will explode. :) 

Just for fun, how about more recent news on Corey Feldman and pedophilia? I looked at articles from yesterday, Nov. 3. Let's choose CBS this time, shall we?

Corey Feldman names two of his alleged sexual abusers

Added to recent news involving other celebrities like Kevin Spacey, wind is blowing on the whole power-pervert House of Cards across America and it is starting to fall...

:) 

I'm hearing stories about all kinds of folks now, journalists, politicians, etc., either using their power to sexually abuse people, or using it to engage in pedophilia, or both. Often a press story starts with one adult abuse victim, then others appear. Suddenly there are kiddies...

Since people like the witch hunt technique Gloria Allred perfected in nailing right-wing dudes so much, I hope they continue liking it now that the public at large is using it on Hollywood and other entertainment celebrities and some left-wing moralizers like David Corn, Michael Oreskes, Hamilton Fish, Leon Wieseltier, etc.

Great fun...

Stay tuned and keep laughing at David Seaman. He's a hoot, ain't he?

:) 

Michael

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MASS TWITTER PURGE OF TRUMP SUPPORTERS UNDERWAY

On 11/3/2017 at 11:01 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Stay tuned and keep laughing at David Seaman. He's a hoot, ain't he?

It would probably be a mistake to laugh at him, or rather to only laugh at him as if he were a joke, if that is what you mean. The epistemological foundations of his work are fascinating to me, if not you. 

Here is the latest Youtubery from the man. The Youtube title is: Mass Twitter Purge of Trump Supporters Underway

I wonder why the Twitter people have cautioned Seaman twice (on one of his two Twitter accounts). It might be related to the vaguely menacing remarks about the Youtube CEO ...

Edited by william.scherk

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On 10/26/2017 at 1:12 PM, william.scherk said:

There's a new(ish) locus of scandal in town. It kinda goes like this: Clinton -- Russia -- Corrupt Practices -- FBI -- Uranium One -- Clinton Foundation. Plus  the 'Dodgy Dossier.'  Conspiracy!  Theory! 

And then FoxNews splits in two ...

shepUraniumScandal.png

************************************

At least someone is keeping his eye on the ball: Pizzagate! Pizza-Pedo-Trump Junior-Biden-Gateway Pundit ...

EPIC Pizzagate Tweet From Don Trump Jr ??

BONUS Charts!

V_48NCL0?format=jpg&name=600x314

DOpMFAJWsAA7-hl.jpg

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PIZZAGATE IN 2 MINUTES--MUST WATCH, MUST GO VIRAL!

On 11/3/2017 at 11:01 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

I'm hearing stories about all kinds of folks now, journalists, politicians, etc., either using their power to sexually abuse people, or using it to engage in pedophilia, or both. Often a press story starts with one adult abuse victim, then others appear. Suddenly there are kiddies...

Now and again, great alliances are forged. Today David Seaman promoted a new ally in Truth. Reptilian Giant Illuminati Pizza -- as told by an 'interesting' researcher, David Wilcock.  Short but sweet:

 

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“PAW Patrol Babies Pretend to Die Suicide by Annabelle Hypnotized.”

Over in the mainstream part of the forum, Michael opens discussion on "Elsagate."

14 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:
On 10/15/2017 at 1:12 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

David Seaman is still around and still making videos about Pedogate.

You know, this has created some cognitive dissonance in my mind. YouTube is very strict about restricting content these days, especially content from Trump supporters. Yet David Seaman kept posting "John Podesta is a pedophile" videos over and over and YouTube left them up.

In a few of his earlier videos, David said he had visited Google to talk about this. And I always wondered what they talked about.

Now I think I know. It's a thing called ElsaGate. (See Wikipedia's article on ElsaGate, too.) People have been complaining to YouTube for several years about pedophile-oriented videos that YouTube was monetizing, yet they have stayed in place garnering millions of view. Now that the mainstream press has started reporting on them, YouTube found a conscience. The ElsaGate videos are animations, stop motion or people in costumes, but involve popular characters (like Disney characters) doing weird things, often involving children. Apparently the income from YouTube monetizing these videos was through the roof.

I think this is what David had over Google and why they let him keep doing videos.

I have a difference of opinion on several assumptions stated above, but hey.

I first read of the weird videos on Medium on November 8, "Something is wrong on the internet," which provided an overview of the massive amount of programming directed at children. Here's a sample:

Quote

On-demand video is catnip to both parents and to children, and thus to content creators and advertisers. Small children are mesmerised by these videos, whether it’s familiar characters and songs, or simply bright colours and soothing sounds. The length of many of these videos?—?one common video tactic is to assemble many nursery rhyme or cartoon episodes into hour+ compilations —and the way that length is marketed as part of the video’s appeal, points to the amount of time some kids are spending with them.

YouTube broadcasters have thus developed a huge number of tactics to draw parents’ and childrens’ attention to their videos, and the advertising revenues that accompany them. The first of these tactics is simply to copy and pirate other content. A simple search for “Peppa Pig” on YouTube in my case yielded “About 10,400,000 results” and the front page is almost entirely from the verified “Peppa Pig Official Channel”, while one is from an unverified channel called Play Go Toys, which you really wouldn’t notice unless you were looking out for it [...]

As another blogger notes, one of the traditional roles of branded content is that it is a trusted source. Whether it’s Peppa Pig on children’s TV or a Disney movie, whatever one’s feelings about the industrial model of entertainment production, they are carefully produced and monitored so that kids are essentially safe watching them, and can be trusted as such. This no longer applies when brand and content are disassociated by the platform, and so known and trusted content provides a seamless gateway to unverified and potentially harmful content.

(Yes, this is the exact same process as the delamination of trusted news media on Facebook feeds and in Google results that is currently wreaking such havoc on our cognitive and political systems and I am not going to explicitly explore that relationship further here, but it is obviously deeply significant.)

That goes partway to explaining why anyone would produced bizarre kid-targeted videos. Money.

For actual examples not imagination, Buzzfeed's story contains some of what is disturbing, strange and extremely weird and creepy: YouTube Is Addressing Its Massive Child Exploitation Problem. Eg,

Across YouTube, an unsettling trend has emerged: Accounts are publishing disturbing and exploitative videos aimed at and starring children in compromising, predatory, or creepy situations — and racking up millions of views.

BuzzFeed News has found a number of videos, many of which appear to originate from eastern Europe, that feature young children, often in revealing clothing, placed in vulnerable scenarios. In many instances, they're restrained with ropes or tape and sometimes crying or in visible distress. In other videos, the children are kidnapped, or made to 'play doctor' with an adult. The videos frequently include gross-out themes like injections, eating feces, or needles. Many come from YouTube 'verified' channels and have tens of millions of views. After BuzzFeed News brought these videos to the attention of YouTube, they were removed.

The story contains a plethora of video screen-shots ...

Spoiler

This video, from the account "Mister Tisha," features a man in a clown mask who abducts and forcefully jams a young child into a washing machine.

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Like ToyFreaks, Mister Tisha, was a verified YouTube account run by a family featuring children as actors. It had 1.6 million subscribers as of Tuesday.

sub-buzz-444-1511297011-2.png?downsize=7
 
 

The account was terminated by YouTube shortly after BuzzFeed News contacted YouTube.

 

Mister Tisha's videos are often thumbnailed with unsettling images, including children being bitten by bugs or undergoing fake medical procedures. Some have children covered in fake blood. Many of the most shocking videos have multiple millions of views.

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A recurring series of videos from Mister Tisha includes the keywords "Bad Baby" and involves a child disobeying an adult. The adult is often seen holding a belt when he discovers the child.

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Another YouTube-verified account — "Lady Diana" — featured similarly disturbing videos. According to the account's 'About' page, it is run by a 12-year-old from Ukraine. The account has over 1.3 million subscribers.

sub-buzz-24117-1511297732-3.png?downsize
 
 

The account was terminated by YouTube shortly after BuzzFeed News contacted YouTube.

 

The videos feature adults in frightening costumes kidnapping or mock-torturing children.

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In a video with more than 5.1 million views, a screaming child is being held down while toothpaste is smeared on her face by a man in a 'Joker' costume.

sub-buzz-6711-1511298008-1.png?downsize=
 
 

Like similar accounts, Lady Diana's videos appear to be monetized. Multiple videos — including one called "Naughty Elf," which had 8.9 million views and included a still image of a young girl taped to a wall — included programmatic pre-roll advertisements.

 
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Thanks to YouTube's autoplay feature for recommended videos, when users watch one popular disturbing children's video, they're more likely to stumble down an algorithm-powered exploitative video rabbit hole. After BuzzFeed News screened a series of these videos, YouTube began recommending other disturbing videos from popular accounts like ToysToSee.

 
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The autoplay recommendation algorithm populates videos from multiple accounts, including one trope where bugs attack children. One of the videos featured had over 90 million views.

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For a brief and less graphic discussion, see also: YouTube to crack down on videos showing child endangerment & YouTube ups video removals as concerns over child safety grow. On November 4, the New York Times published: On YouTube Kids, Startling Videos Slip Past Filters, so you may want to consult your internal 'fey canoes' filter before venturing out of the silo.

But just in case you want a peek at what was being said before David Seaman's latter-day attention** ...

It was a typical night in Staci Burns’s house outside Fort Wayne, Ind. She was cooking dinner while her 3-year-old son, Isaac, watched videos on the YouTube Kids app on an iPad. Suddenly he cried out, “Mommy, the monster scares me!”

When Ms. Burns walked over, Isaac was watching a video featuring crude renderings of the characters from “PAW Patrol,” a Nickelodeon show that is popular among preschoolers, screaming in a car. The vehicle hurtled into a light pole and burst into flames.

The 10-minute clip, “PAW Patrol Babies Pretend to Die Suicide by Annabelle Hypnotized,” was a nightmarish imitation of an animated series in which a boy and a pack of rescue dogs protect their community from troubles like runaway kittens and rock slides. In the video Isaac watched, some characters died and one walked off a roof after being hypnotized by a likeness of a doll possessed by a demon.

_________________________

**  David Seaman, meet PAW PATROL Babies Pretend To Die Suicide By Annabelle Hypnotized! Paw Patrol Pups Save Mer Pups ...

Spoiler

 

 

 

Edited by william.scherk

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2 hours ago, william.scherk said:

I have a difference of opinion on several assumptions stated above, but hey.

William,

Oddly enough, you stated this, then followed mostly repeating what I said in different words.

:) 

But hey...

:)

One exception--anything David Seaman-related. You demonstrate contempt for him in all things under all contexts and I don't. It's probably visceral. :) 

Michael

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2 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:
4 hours ago, william.scherk said:

I have a difference of opinion on several assumptions stated above, but hey.

Oddly enough, you stated this, then followed mostly repeating what I said in different words.

There were some claims and assumptions I am not on board with. I didn't get into that, since it is probably the least interesting thing about this topic for our readers. I thought to introduce some more context and points of view. I can always suit up for a round of Conspuracy one-upmanship later.

Maybe David Seaman had something to hold over Google. Maybe, "If you don't let me be free on Youtube, Google, then I will unleash the wrath of the online world on your pedophile-mongering monetized kiddie horror video empire."

As for a label of contempt as the only possible signifier of my attitude or feelings about the guy, sure, if that's the way you see things.

I imagine me striding from scene to scene, with a slash of a mouth, and other Ayn Rand descriptive prose chiseling out my face, very Roarkian, with eyebrows fixed in a Michael Flynn glower. Striding from controversy to controversy with grim and savage disapproval of everything shoddy and second-hand and mobbish and un-Canadian.

But anyway.

I would add to that spectre some fascination. This guy Seaman and his career intersect with a few of my long-term interests.  The satanic cult framework, social contagion, why people believe weird things, the infestation of un-reason, how to disagree without being an asshole, and a few other psychological angles on cultures of belief.

I like to think of us each watching the same Seaman monologues, each of us with useful observations and analysis. We could start a discussion club!

-- back to the subject. The best scope was in the Medium article, to my eyes. The writer teased out multiple levels of amazingly creepy information, much of which I was mostly ignorant. I'll call that the programmatic side of the videos, how automated strategies, algorithm-surfing, the machinery of production and promotion blend in what I think is a taste of what an AI Apocalypse might be like.  Feeding us, goading our children with automated frights and horrors.

who-is-potential-trump-vp-pick-michael-f

 

 

Edited by william.scherk

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9 hours ago, william.scherk said:

... why people believe weird things, the infestation of un-reason...

William,

Would it ever occur to you to include items like manmade climate change (as one example only so as not to go down a tangential rabbit hole) among these rubrics? Others do... And not just people you consider loopy...

In other words, would you ever consider that you, William, believe in some weird things and among those things your reason is infested with un-reason?

:)

Lumping everything that falls outside of a political agenda as a conspiracy caricature seems to me to repeat the very mentality you relish mocking.

Michael

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Emphasis added:

9 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:
18 hours ago, william.scherk said:

[This guy Seaman and his career intersect with a few of my long-term interests.  The satanic cult framework, social contagion,] ... why people believe weird things, the infestation of un-reason... [, how to disagree without being an asshole, and a few other psychological angles on cultures of belief.]

Would it ever occur to you to include items like manmade climate change [...] among these rubrics?

Would it? I recall some discussion of climate change and conspiracy-ideation in the last year, involving the both of us ... but maybe that isn't exactly what you are asking. [link] I haven't interrogated Seaman's productions for his views ... 

Certainly I am interested in how public opinion is shaped by 'expertise' and vested interests surrounding this snarl of issues.  I have several times noted an ideological or party split in America -- where the spectrum of 'belief' and 'disbelief' corresponds to some degree with political opinion.  This split is most marked in America ... 

I figure that if you and I were to have a face-to-face conversation (or chat via Skype) about climate change and conspiracy theory, we could better understand the other's stances. To this date, I would say our discussions are unsatisfactory.

Spoiler
On 11/15/2016 at 12:38 PM, william.scherk said:
Quote

I believe those who have bought into the manmade climate eschatology myths are ignoring a whole lot of dissenting voices in science--or demonizing them when they get some publicity.

This poisons the well.   By denoting as mythical end times nonsense the output of the august bodies, the argument assumes they are all wrong.  This is just a sweeping denigration of the 'understandings' -- as if you stood on higher, better epistemic ground. You know? -- all the august bodies are corrupt, stained, tainted. As a given. 

That precludes discussion of such things as, oh, details. 

I bet you will not mention names.  And I bet you will not give an explanation of what you believe that does not involve some offstage Them.

Quote

If you want to get rid of the bad actors, start by actually doing something to get rid of them instead of shuffling them from one sinecure to another when they get caught acting bad.

This is so general as to be useless.  I have no idea if you are almost a Lukewarmer like Ellen or a Lukewarmer like Bob or a Lukewarmer like Korben or a Lukewarmer like  Matt Ridley or Richard Lindzen or Judith Curry.  I don't know what you read, what you base your opinions on.

I don't accept that there is a seething corrupt class of Bad Actors. One might call them fallible scientists/advocates if not alarmists (in their public agitations).  But for the sake of argument I asked how to rid the world of bad actors you apparently see across the scientific firmament, shot through the international arenas of inquiry. 

 

Be that as it may ...

Quote

Others do... [include items like manmade climate change [...] among these rubrics] And not just people you consider loopy...

This is confusing.  Who are you talking about, who are you denoting?

I was talking about why David Seaman can attract some "contempt" -- your label-gun -- but also fascination, due to the intersection of several of my long-standing interests. Your line of questions and assumptions seems to suggest that I ought put 'man-made climate change' under my rubrics of interest, which is reasonable.  It is one of my interests, if not one of yours, but we aren't on the same "side" -- except perhaps ultimately on the side of reason against un-reason. 

Quote

In other words, would you ever consider that you, William, believe in some weird things and among those things your reason is infested with un-reason?

Sure. Help us out here, though, since you may identify some issues that I am blind to ... pointing out  episodes of shoddy reasoning, prejudice, lack of self-critique, jumping to conclusions without sufficient warrant, lack of good faith ... it benefits me, and it benefits the broader discussion, I think. 

Quote

Lumping everything that falls outside of a political agenda as a conspiracy caricature seems to me to repeat the very mentality you relish mocking.

Well, sure.  I await a paragraph or two that fleshes this out with an illustration or example. 

-- I include here some text from the Rob Brotherton book, with emphasis added:

Quote

Page 200: 

"It shouldn't come as a surprise by now that we are so swayed by motives. In The Happiness Hypothesis, psychologist Jonathan Haidt explains that, in a practical sense, the world we live in is "not really one made of rocks, trees and physical objects; it is a world of opportunities, status symbols, betrayals, saints and sinners." Figuring out other people's intentions is one of the greatest challenges we face. Whether people or enemies or allies depends on their abilities, desires and motives. An event takes on an entirely different significance depending on whether it was accidental or intentional. As psychologist Adam Waytz put it, "a tree branch that another person drops on you is more noteworthy than one the wind blows down on you." There is a huge difference between an airplane that malfunctioned and one that was sabotaged.

Sabotage! 

Edited by william.scherk

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3 hours ago, william.scherk said:

I recall some discussion of climate change and conspiracy-ideation in the last year, involving the both of us ... but maybe that isn't exactly what you are asking.

William,

You got that right. That's not what I was asking.

I was asking if you would ever entertain the possibility that some of your own certainties (and, as an example to illustrate, certainties re man-made climate change) could be weird and infested with un-reason? I assume you agree that an idea that is popular can be weird and nowhere near the ballpark of reason. Human history and even modern human society the world over is loaded with mainstream ideas that fit this description.

In other words, I'm not interested in discussing man-made climate change very much because I don't know how to find a context of reliability. Instead, I was discussing your own attitudes when you point the finger at others and laugh in derogation. 

Look at the unstated premise in your statement. First the statement:

22 hours ago, william.scherk said:

This guy Seaman and his career intersect with a few of my long-term interests.  The satanic cult framework, social contagion, why people believe weird things, the infestation of un-reason, how to disagree without being an asshole, and a few other psychological angles on cultures of belief.

In enumerating your long-term interests, especially when you preface it with "statanic cult framework" and even misspell on purpose the word "conspiracy" earlier as "Conspuracy" to indicate idiotic beliefs, you embed a strong insinuation--a strong unstated premise. Let me rephrase part of your statement to make that premise crystal clear, but I'll leave out the satanic priming reference.

... social contagion (of which I am immune, but those who think differently than me are not), why people believe weird things (but I and those who think like me do not), the infestation of un-reason (which happens to people who don't think like me, but not to me and those who think like I do), how to disagree without being an asshole (which I try to do but others don't), and a few other psychological angles on cultures of belief (that is, irrational beliefs of others because I only truck in science).

Do you see the superior us against the inferior them frame, even when it is not explicitly stated?

You make it very clear which tribe you belong to and why (all those wonderful virtues as opposed to all those loopy vices of the rest of mankind :) ). And you make it clear that this is foundational, even more important than reason. 

My question is: do you ever examine your tribe's sacred cows for foolishness? I don't mean keeping the core belief and blasting the foolish behavior of certain tribe members who suffer from an excess of zeal. I mean questioning a core belief of your tribe (which is often morphed into "science" by sciencey sounding language and presentation format and even includes scientists at times) and teasing out the differences in that belief between propaganda and fact.

I often see you engage with people who hold different views, but I have yet to see you go down to the core and, as Rand said, "question a premise" when it is a core belief of your tribe. That is, you may talk about it, but you never find the belief itself wanting.

I don't find this behavior and attitude deplorable (it's just human nature) and I'm not going to level aggressive language against it. I merely think you would gain by doing some core belief premise questioning since you so often mock the core beliefs of those you disagree with.

I could go deep into the epistemology of myths and things like that (which makes me far more tolerant of loopy-sounding ideas than I used to be), but I find it very difficult to probe and discuss why someone like David Seaman has been right on some really nasty social things when the whole world was roasting him for it, and is proving to be right once again re widespread pedophilia among the ruling class, when the person I am talking to is mocking him for being a fruit-cake.

Doesn't it ever occur to you that your tribe blew it time after time after time--over months and months and months--on their predictions and analyses of Donald Trump's election, and that this means something? (There's a lot more than Trump's election to talk about in this context, but I will keep it to this one item since it is so blatant and cannot be spun or denied.) We are not talking about the fringe folks in your tribe who were flat-out wrong. We are talking about the vast majority led by the finest among you over a long period of time. Doesn't such a humiliating smack-down by reality signal to you that your tribe was believing some weird shit and was infested with un-reason?

Doesn't that signal it would be a good idea to see if you harbor something mock-worthy before yukking it up about someone else's weird shit and infestation with un-reason?

That's all I was asking. I only mentioned man-made climate change as an example where certainty is nowhere to be found, but postures of certainty abound everywhere.

Michael

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Thanks for speaking your mind, Michael, and for speaking my mind as well. If I grasp your opinion with both hands, this is what I, Tribe hold:

  • The Satanic framework [is deleted]
  • I am immune to social contagion
  • My tribe and I don't believe weird things
  • Infestations of un-reason only happen to people who don't think like me
  • I try to disagree without being an asshole, but other people don't
  • Others have irrational beliefs, but I only truck in science

When I am struck down by cancer or heart disease or stroke or fit of moral clarity, if Objectivist Living is still chugging along, I would like the list appended to my death notice. 

OLprofileInformation.png

Now, in a fit of self-absorption, I am going to listen to this, twice:

Less is more, more or less. Least said, soonest mended.

What is so neat about social contagion, weird things, un-reason, disagreeable assholism, irrational beliefs,  sham and fake inquiry  -- it can happen across the above-mentioned tribes. The book I recommend  hammers home the lesson. It's not them, it's us. A tendency to connect dots, impute malice, spy out large menacing things moving in the distance, it's part of the human equipment. Note the signs in members of your own 'tribe' ... help steer each other clear of the shoals. Do your best to hold on to reason and objectivity.

I can't read Michael's mind, but I imagine he would agree to the last point.

 

Edited by william.scherk

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11 minutes ago, william.scherk said:

If I grasp your opinion with both hands, this is what I, Scherk hold...

William,

Maybe.

I'm not inside your head, so I don't know for sure. All I have is the way you put words on a computer screen.

What I said is the message your framing sets up and conveys to the reader. Since you tend to use this kind of "mockery of inferior rube" framing often before launching into a discussion proper, I presume such tribalistic vanity is what you think. But it's only a presumption.

You might be practicing poor rhetorical skills and not give a damn about what your texts convey to the reader. And, you might imagine repeating yourself will fix it.

:evil:  :) 

Michael

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11 hours ago, william.scherk said:

Now that we have been put in our places ...  

William,

Not completely.

What moves a man to place hidden derogatory texts on a site where he claims to seek reasoned discourse?

Vanity?

Sense of superiority?

Mockery of the rubes?

Just musing...

Is your place the shadows? If so, you don't need to be put there. You go there on your own.

Michael

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Featuring the video "No Russian Ever Tried to Screw Me, So Why Would I Fear Russia?"

18 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

I presume such tribalistic vanity is what you think. But it's only a presumption.

You might be practicing poor rhetorical skills and not give a damn about what your texts convey to the reader.

Okay, now we have that straight. Tribalistic vanity ... a vanity that Dear Leader's thinking never exhibits.

6 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

What moves a man to place hidden derogatory texts on a site where he claims to seek reasoned discourse?

I discovered the usefulness of this code a year or two ago: <p style="display:none">Hidden Derogatory Sabotage Texts Eek!</p>.

I wanted to incorporate a javascript+CSS 'show/hide' block for parts of a posting on the blog.  (Javascript is a means to programme web-pages into doing more than simply display text. CSS is Cascading Style Sheets, another essential tool in modern web design; CSS and Javascript work together [with XML to create Ajax], ushering in a new era of webpage interactivity: the ability to 'redraw' parts of a webpage without a return visit to the server and a reloading of a given page.)  A show/hide script lets you post a header and then 'click to show' additional text or whatever.

I learned that the software at OL does not allow any javascript scripts to run independently inside a posting -- for very good reasons (hijacking, redirects, off-site tomfoolery), and never did come up with a way to show/hide better than the 'spoiler' tags.

During this futzing about I discovered that an <Eek! hidden sabotage text> would not of course display in the blog posting, but would show in the 'preview' of the posting.  For example ... if I post a video without general commentary, I can add a 'descriptive headline' for the posting ... and I can use that headline to interest readers in what is in the body of the post. It can also serve to engender alarm. Eg,

cockroach.png

We have some speculation on why a person would do such a thing:

Quote

Vanity?

Sense of superiority?

Mockery of the rubes?

Just musing...

Is your place the shadows? If so, you don't need to be put there. You go there on your own.

I will apologize to Michael and the forum for being a bit too playful or nose-tweaking or glorping, but not for sabotage. If I am told to never again use the header-display trick on the front porch, then I will cease and desist.

In the meantime, a year-old video from one of the OL Ruling Elite's favoured sources of information. There is nothing to fear but fear itself. 

 

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I don't know why this thing is still on Youtube. It could be that it is not the worst, and is but an example of one kind of distressing cartoon, not to be larded into the larger genus reported by James Bridle at Medium or Charlie Warzel at Buzzfeed. It's the video noted in the opening paragraph of the NYT story, cued up to the moment before the scary bit described.

   

 

 

 

 

On 11/25/2017 at 12:16 PM, william.scherk said:

I first read of the weird videos on Medium on November 8, "Something is wrong on the internet," which provided an overview of the massive amount of programming directed at children. Here's a sample:

Quote

On-demand video is catnip to both parents and to children, and thus to content creators and advertisers. Small children are mesmerised by these videos, whether it’s familiar characters and songs, or simply bright colours and soothing sounds. The length of many of these videos -- one common video tactic is to assemble many nursery rhyme or cartoon episodes into hour+ compilations —and the way that length is marketed as part of the video’s appeal, points to the amount of time some kids are spending with them.

YouTube broadcasters have thus developed a huge number of tactics to draw parents’ and childrens’ attention to their videos, and the advertising revenues that accompany them. The first of these tactics is simply to copy and pirate other content. A simple search for “Peppa Pig” on YouTube in my case yielded “About 10,400,000 results” and the front page is almost entirely from the verified “Peppa Pig Official Channel”, while one is from an unverified channel called Play Go Toys, which you really wouldn’t notice unless you were looking out for it

More disturbing are young girls in videos that are 'boudoir-ish' and are pretty obviously not aimed a child audience. Warzel's illustrations for the most part will have been removed but perhaps not all, and copies seem to spawn. This is again from his Buzzfeed piece.

Spoiler

Videos from less popular accounts are frequently more disturbing. A number of videos viewed by BuzzFeed News showed very young children playing doctor with an adult who exposed the upper parts of the child's buttocks in order to mock inject them with a syringe, children pretending to eat feces out of a diaper, and children in bathing suits seemingly being abducted and held under water until unconscious by adults.

 

This disturbing video had nearly 6 million views.

sub-buzz-1834-1511299292-11.png?downsize
 
 

Perhaps most unsettling, however, are a series of webcam videos of young girls which — unlike the ToyFreaks style of videos — do not appear to be aimed at children. These videos come mostly from one-off accounts and show young girls scantily clad talking or singing in front of webcams.

 
sub-buzz-2778-1511300753-22.png?downsize
 
 
 

Some of the videos have millions of views. Many have been up for years. This video, for example, was published in September 2012 and features a young girl in a nightgown.

sub-buzz-8787-1511300822-20.png?downsize
 
 

Like many videos in this genre, it features predatory comments.

sub-buzz-26236-1511300880-13.png?downsiz
 
 

Both the child actor and webcam videos present a specific challenge to YouTube in its effort to moderate potentially exploitative content on its platforms. While all of the videos are bizarre and disturbing, many are creepy in ways that may be difficult for a moderation algorithm to discern. In some cases, the videos occupy a strange gray area between play acting and truly abusive behavior. Some videos, for example, show children taped to walls while laughing, while other videos of children playing doctor seem to be silly with children who appear to be having fun.

These videos, while still bizarre and disturbing, likely pass through some of YouTube's algorithmic moderation channels. In previous statements to numerous outlets, including BuzzFeed News, YouTube has said that it "will be conducting a broader review of associated content in conjunction with expert Trusted Flaggers." And the recent blog post details significant changes in enforcement on this content.

Still, it's unclear whether these programs are substantial enough to catch and limit the volume of disturbing children's content across the platform. YouTube told BuzzFeed News that it plans to continue to evolve its policies alongside the bad actors who will inevitably attempt to keep posting disturbing content of this nature. While the company noted that this will be an ongoing fight, it suggested that machine learning will play an important role to address the issue at scale.

Using some of these hints, I tried to discover how much of this shit is revivified under new accounts or even skims in under content guideline. I think I'd rather re-read a 70 page OL thread than do any more of this research, and don't want to be the guy searching Youtube for 'boudoir of an X-year old' videos.

A big challenge for Google AI is to have the sense to know when some video is likely sick, creepy, pedophilic, exploitative or otherwise something to tamp down on your brand.

Here is what I found still existent of what I looked for -- searching for titles cited in the Buzzfeed article. 

Spoiler

badBabysearch.png

 

scaryKidVideosSearch.png

toyFreaksBabyVideos.png

giantSpiderGirlsleepingSearch.png

 

 

Edited by william.scherk

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This:

15 hours ago, william.scherk said:

I think I'd rather re-read a 70 page OL thread than do any more of this research, and don't want to be the guy searching Youtube for 'boudoir of an X-year old' videos.

More precisely, what's behind this.

:)

Michael

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