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Dilma’s Reelection Proves “Citizen Kane” Style Media Still Alive and Well in Brazil

Disinformation - 2 hours 41 min ago

“They Knew About Everything”: the sensationalistic cover of Veja magazine intended to take down Dilma at a newsstand in Rio de Janeiro.
Photo: Veja

It’s a scene that’s just as famous among film scholars as it is among news junkies: Charles Foster Kane, owner of an influential news conglomerate in the early 20th century, is settling in to married life with his first wife, who becomes increasingly worried with the coverage in Kane’s newspapers. When she points out his outrageous headlines and begins to ask him what people will think, he cuts her off: “What I tell them to think”.

This depiction in Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane, based on real life media baron William Randolph Hearst, was a fairly accurate assessment of the influence peddling typical of media outlets at the time. But the days of Hearst-style manipulation of the media are now long gone. Not to say there isn’t still yellow journalism in the states (perhaps it’s just turned a different shade of yellow). But these old-school kingmaking tactics are still going strong in another country: Brazil.

The connection between Citizen Kane and Brazil was not lost on a group of British documentary filmmakers who traveled to Brazil in the early nineties to make a film about the country’s largest media network, O Globo. Their film reveals close ties between the network’s leader Roberto Marinho and the country’s dictators who ruled until 1985, and continuing efforts to maintain the dictators’ free market economic policies long after they had left office.

At every turn, Marinho’s intentions with O Globo seemed to be not to simply inform the public, but rather to position his outlet as a key political player. His editorial decisions oriented toward the consolidation of political power within his group. Struck by the O Globo’s resemblance to the managerial style depicted in Welles’s 1940s classic, the directors decided to call their film Beyond Citizen Kane. Despite a bitter battle with O Globo who tried to suppress its distribution in Brazil as well as England, the film received various screenings in the 90s, and today is available online for free (though the English subtitles are a bit spotty).

Though O Globo is now forced to share the stage with other media outlets, many of these outlets share its imperious mentality – a fact which couldn’t have been made clearer during last Sunday’s presidential election. Brazil’s sitting president Dilma Rousseff ended up being elected, but not after a bitter slugfest with right-wing (or as he prefers to call himself, “business friendly”) candidate Aécio Neves. The election revealed a profound schism between the country’s less developed northern states and the wealthy areas around São Paulo and southern Brazil, with troubling racial overtones: there is a much higher percentage of black Afro-Brazilians in the north than there is in São Paulo. Dilma’s victory unleashed a shitstorm of anti-north hatred by wealthy Paulistas, rallying around the Twitter hashtag #RIPBrasil. Highlights included comparisons of Dilma to Hitler:

disse tudo oq eu pensei #SouDoNordesteMesmoEComOrgulho #RIPBrasil pic.twitter.com/Jfm6tsoJiR

— LarissaDie (@sweet_talkerN1) October 27, 2014

Margaret Thatcher’s “socialism lasts until we run out of other people’s money” quote translated into Portuguese:

#RIPBrasil pic.twitter.com/fdpCjvOHgn

— Geysi Iria Vieira (@Geysi_lora) October 27, 2014

And the suggestion that northern Brazil should be walled off from the rest of Brazil:

Sou a favor da divisão do Brasil! #RIPBrasil pic.twitter.com/8hrxZEg7Dq

— Felipe Oliveira© (@Gaviao_SCCP) October 26, 2014

So, obviously there was a lot of organic intra-Brazilian hate going on (for a more detailed round up of the post-election Twitter wars, see these write ups at Al Jazeera and, if you speak Portuguese, O Estado de São Paulo). But the media played a key role in this, not only by fanning the flames but by making a power play whose goal was no less than deciding the election.

This time, the ploy came not from O Globo but from Veja magazine, a consistently right-leaning publication whose owner has been called “The Rupert Murdoch of Brazil.” In its edition before the election, Veja ran a massive spread on a kickback scandal at Brazil’s state run oil company, Petrobras. Though the scandal was already well known, it was unclear how involved Dilma and her predecessor “Lula” da Silva were. At least, it was unclear to everyone except the editors of Veja, who in their pre-election edition ran a cover with sad-looking photos of Lula and Dilma and the headline “They Knew About Everything.” Though Veja usually hits the stands on Saturdays, for this pre-election edition publication was moved up to Friday so that it would shake up the news cycle and have a better chance at taking down Dilma.

It’s fair to look at this and think that, even though the cover was an obvious ploy by Veja, Dilma’s corruption (if it really does exist the way Veja describes it – some have questioned the source they used) should be called out. But here’s the thing: Neves is not exactly corruption free either. During his time as a senator, he was charged with building an airport in a small town that would only really benefit his rich family members who had property there.

But Veja’s coverage of this scandal is quite different. There’s no scandal-mongering front page cover, of course. But there is a brief article called “The truth about the airport” that reads like one of those tacky websites built by McDonalds or Wal-Mart to convince you that pink slime or union busting isn’t really that bad. In other words, if Veja likes a candidate, their corrupt acts don’t count. If they don’t like the candidate, that candidate’s scandals show that he or she is rotten to the core.

And this, my friends, is how media power-brokering works in a nutshell. As anyone who follows politics can tell you, the old saying that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” is proven true time and again, and not just for people who hold office but for anyone who comes anywhere near doing so. Thus, anyone looking to find corruption in pretty much any presidential candidate in any country around the world will easily be able to do so. But by deciding which corruption scandals to reveal and which to conveniently keep quiet (or, if necessary, do damage control on), the media steps out of its purported role as honest informer acting in the public interest and crowns itself kingmaker. Though on its surface this might not exactly be fulfilling the desire voiced in Citizen Kane to spoon-feed information to the general public, it’s a clear effort to control what’s fresh in people’s minds. Thus the media gets the public to think what they want them to think.

And this is not to say that Dilma isn’t trying to fight back using the same dirty tactics. The virulently pro-Dilma TeleSur, the official media arm of the MercoSur league of populist South American governments, has lashed out at Neves and the Brazilian media. And in the wake of the election, Dilma is now considering a law to bust up private media establishments, with troubling implications for freedom of the press.

But this just adds to the power of the private media. By cementing the perception that their private ownership grants them complete neutrality, they can then make the implicit (and sometimes explicit) claim that “our competitors are both biased and tyrannical, while we are noble bastions of truth.” In practice, this perceived neutrality only makes it more effective when outlets like Veja decide not to be neutral and throw their hat in with a certain candidate. In other words, not looking like you’re trying to tell people to think what you “want them to think” is a better way to actually get them to think what you want them to think.

So, if this “Citizen Kane” style media power-brokering is so prevalent in Brazil, why did it die out in the US? I think the answer has to do with how well established the two party system is. In the US context, we take it for granted that “pro-Democrat” usually also means “anti-Republican,” and vice versa. But in a global context, this is something of an oddity: opposition to one party doesn’t imply support for another. And even within the US, it’s also relatively new. Though the two parties have controlled the presidency for more than a century, they faced viable challenges all the way up to the end of World War Two.

Which is not to say there isn’t media manipulation in the US – there is. While major local media outlets try to be as “neutral” as possible, often tiptoeing around clearly politicized hot button issues, national level outlets tend to line-up behind the generally defined blocs that center around one of the two major parties (unless they’re CNN, in which case they line up behind missing Malaysian Air jetliners). It’s important to note that what holds these blocs in place, what keeps skeptical Democrats supporting for Obama and skeptical Republicans sticking with the GOP, is not so much by the love of their own party as by the hatred of the other. And role of the US media is basically to drive this hate – fulfilling the Chomskian dictum of “strictly limiting the spectrum of acceptable opinion but allowing very lively debate within that spectrum” – and also make sure that their own party doesn’t ever make concessions to the other side.

But all this changes when there are viable third parties in the mix. The squabbling between various parties leaves a power vacuum that media outlets are all too eager to fill. This is all too true in Brazil, and the most telling example of this came not during the final election but months earlier. Though the sensationalistic October Veja cover story might be a much more visible act of media manipulation, the Brazilian media also played an active role in making sure that Neves was sent to the run-off instead of his less right-wing competitor, Marina Silva, who was voted out of the running on October 6.

Based on these two examples, it’s safe to conclude that in a strong two party system, media outlets will more often play the part of cheerleader, whereas in a situation with three or more parties the media will step up to fill the role of kingmaker. Here in the states, we may not see the same kind of manipulation the Brazilians do as long as our two parties are firmly in place. But if they ever face a serious third party candidate, the days of Citizen Kane may come roaring back.

Drew Reed is a writer focusing on urban planning issues, politics, and Latin America. Follow him on Twitter at @the_drewreed

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It Does Appear Maniacal Clowns are Attacking People with Guns and Knives in France

Disinformation - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 17:30

Some “evil clowns” spotted in southern France. Note the shoes. Photo via Facebook/Vice


via Vice:

For my entire life, when I’ve met new people and arrived at the point in the relationship where we find ourselves talking about our fears, I’ve come away feeling disappointed. Why? Well, here is a list of legitimate fears: attack dogs, STD tests, that heartbeat moment when you Snapchat your junk to someone and their name begins with the same letter as someone in your family, your house burning down in the night.

Nowhere on that list is the word clowns, because for a long time, being scared of clowns has been the most bullshit fear on Earth. It’s a fear adopted by teenagers who don’t know any better to make them seem interesting by association. It’s a fear sprung from seeing a picture of Pennywise from Stephen King’s It and thinking, Yeah, that seems like a cool fear.

But now I’m starting to think that the clown fearers might have a point, because gangs of young men have been marauding around France dressed as clowns chasing innocent bystanders with pistols, poles, knives, and bats.

Read More: http://www.vice.com/read/a-series-of-attacks-in-france-just-validated-your-fear-of-clowns-836

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Long Live the Old Flesh: David Cronenberg’s ‘Consumed’

Disinformation - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 16:00

via Pop Matters:

I took a film studies course during my undergraduate program that was focused on the works of Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg, probably the most visible Canadian filmmaker after James Cameron. I remember that the professor introduced Cronenberg by saying that he actually never originally set out to be a director. Rather, he wanted to be a novelist. It was just happenstance that he started making films.

Well, here we are more than four decades into Cronenberg’s career (I’m counting early works such as Stereo and Crimes of the Future), a period that includes films such as Scanners,Videodrome, The Fly, A History of Violence and countless, countless others, and Cronenberg has finally gotten around to fulfilling his early dream. At the age of 71, he has finally published his debut novel, Consumed. And, pardon the pun, there’s a lot to chew on here.

Plot-wise, on the surface, this is a book that’s preoccupied with cannibalism and Cronenberg’s take on the “body horror” genre. At the start of the novel, an almost elderly French couple living in Paris, who are renowned philosophers and something of a national treasure, have hit the headlines, as Célestine Arosteguy has been found by police dismembered in the apartment she shared with her husband, Aristide. What’s more, parts of Célestine have been cooked on the stove and eaten. Aristide, meanwhile, has simply vanished into thin air. The general consensus is that Aristide committed the crime, even though the police are not officially treating him as a suspect.

Read More: http://www.popmatters.com/review/186990-consumed-by-david-cronenberg/

Get the novel on Amazon.

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[Poll] Favorite Film Genre

Disinformation - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 15:30

826 PARANORMAL (CC by 2.0)

Happy Halloween, Disnfonauts. I hope you all have a good and safe weekend. We’re starting a new poll today, a little bit different than some of the others–and definitely more mundane. With that being said, it’s something that I’ve been curious about for quite sometime now. I want to know your favorite film genre. Of course there is a lot of overlap, and I tried to stay away from the sub-genres (the list would be giant with them). I’d also like to note the contention around animation: is it really a genre? Or is it a technique that encompasses all genres? Personally, I always hesitate to definitively label it as a genre, but a lot of folks do, so I’m including it here.

The last poll was a simple “yes” or “no” question.

Have you ever had a paranormal experience?
  • Yes (64%, 526 Votes)
  • No (36%, 296 Votes)

Total Voters: 822

I was hoping for stories in the comments!

New Poll: Favorite film genre?

Science Fiction


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The Illusion of Democracy

Disinformation - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 14:30

Hartwig HKD (cc by-nd 2.0).

via News Junkie Post:

From people’s rule to a broken social contract.

It is ironic, considering democracy’s pitiful state worldwide that, in accordance to its etymology, it literally means “common people’s rule” or, more simply, “people’s power.” The English term democracy and the 14th-century French word democratie come from the Greek demokratia via the Latin democratia. The Greek radical demos means “common people,” and kratos means “rule, or power.”

How did we manage to pervert such a laudable notion of power to the people and diametrically turn it into a global system of rule at large under the principles of oligarchy and plutocracy? Everywhere we look, from east to west and north to south, plutocrats and oligarchs are firmly in charge: puppet masters of the political class. They have transformed democracy into a parody of itself and a toxic form of government.

The social contract implied in a democratic form of governance is broken.

Read More: http://newsjunkiepost.com/2014/10/27/the-illusion-of-democracy/

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Connecticut’s Museum of the Occult

Disinformation - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 13:30

If you’ve seen the Hollywood horror films, The Conjuring or Annabelle, then you’re probably aware of Ed and Lorraine Warren. But I’m willing to bet that some, if not most, are generally unfamiliar with their work and past. I’ve been fortunate enough to have met Lorraine Warren a few times (I actually went with her and some neighbors to see The Conjuring when it was released) because my boyfriend’s friend (we’ll call him Jake, for the sake of privacy) lives next door to Lorraine.

Yes, he lives next door to the Museum of the Occult.

(The above video shows a tour of the Museum. The quality is bad, but they tell an interesting story about the Annabelle doll.)

Their website is extremely outdated and hard to read with the black background and flashy graphics, so I’ll copy their bio for you here:

For over fifty years now, Ed and Lorraine Warren have been considered America’s preeminent experts on the subject of spirits and demonology. Even more important perhaps, is the fact that they have also been the very same people for the past fifty years whom religious authorities have repeatedly called in to control some of the most profane outbreaks of diabolical phenomena in the country. Cases where priests become possessed. Cases where people are physically attacked. Cases where unworldly entities manifest and then preside. Cases where time is violated and the physical environment is completely rearranged. Cases where spirits don’t just haunt a house, they visibly tear it apart.

Lorraine Warren with Annabelle

Ed and Lorraine Warren have dedicated their lives to this work, and they share the wisdom they have gained during their extraordinary career in this field. The work they perform is remarkable. And you can be certain, after all this time, they know things that are completely astounding. The cases they divulge will shock you; yet it is the significance of what they say that will actually floor you. Moreover, the Warrens don’t mince words. They know what they’re talking about. They have seen it. They have done it. The Warrens reveal both the methods and the motives behind spirit activity; indeed they reveal what really breaks the peace in haunted houses, and precisely what it means to you. Both now and forever.

Ed Warren is a demonologist. Lorraine Warren is a trance medium. But you’d never know it if you met them on the street. They are not occultists. They are not strange. They are essentially ordinary people who happen to do highly extraordinary work. And though the Warrens have no ax to grind, their orientation is distinctly religious. For in reality, that is the only way it is possible to function in this work. Because that which they confront are not vaporous, indistinct phantoms that simply come and go in the night. The forces they confront are religious entities that – by their own admission – exist for the sheer purpose of opposing the works of God.

Ed passed away a few years ago and now Lorraine lives in the house with a Catholic priest and her pet rooster, Einstein. I personally have not toured the museum, and probably never will. I’m not necessarily the strongest believer, but I’d rather not interfere with things that I don’t understand. I can tell you, however, that the Annabelle depicted in The Conjuring and Annabelle looks nothing like the real Annabelle doll (shocking, huh?).

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Lorraine a few times, though I don’t know her as well as my boyfriend and Jake. During the summer, when we would hang out on Jake’s back deck, Lorraine would stop by to say hi and always offer us pizza or brownies.

It’s true that Lorraine is nothing like you’d expect. She’s somewhat grandmotherly with badass style (she’s always wearing earrings that I’m envious of). I remember one encounter that truly proved her charm.

Jake and my boyfriend were skating in the street and I was sitting on the front stoop, drinking tea. Lorraine saw us and made her way over to say hi and offer us some food. We talked for awhile and she told was about the work she was doing for Yale.

At some point, Lorraine took notice of my boyfriend’s Ol’ Dirty Bastard shirt. She looked at it thoughtfully. “Old Dirty Bastard,” she said. Her eyes glazed over with distant rememberings. She smiled at us, and quipped, “I knew one of those once.”

She winked and we all laughed. We explained who Ol’ Dirty Bastard was and why my boyfriend was wearing the shirt. She then offered to buy us a pizza. We declined as we always do. Why? I’ll never know. Maybe we thought it was polite, but looking back, I think she wanted some company. I also regret not getting to pick her brain, not necessarily about the occult, but about life. Maybe the next time I’m out there.

The last time I saw Lorraine, she was surrounded by loving friends, family, and neighbors. We all went to see The Conjuring together. It was fun and Lorraine herself has a cameo in the film. A true superstar, that woman.

If you live on the East Coast, Lorraine presents filmed exorcisms in the CT area around Halloween. You can follow the events here.

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Everything You Know Is Wrong. Really.

Disinformation - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 12:30

The disinformation mantra has long been “Everything You Know Is Wrong.” Now a new poll across 14 countries by Ipsos MORI shows that in fact, most people really are wrong about the basic make-up of their populations and the scale of key social issues.

Perils of Perception – Global from Ipsos MORI
  • Teenage birth rates: on average, people across the 14 countries think that 15% of teenagers aged 15-19 give birth each year. This is 12 times higher than the average official estimate of 1.2% across these countries. People in the US guess at a particularly high rate of teenage births, estimating it at 24% of all girls aged 15-19 when it’s actually 3%. But other countries with very low rates of teenage births are further out proportionally: for example, Germans think that 14% of teenage girls give birth each year when it’s actually only 0.4% (35x the actual figure).
  • Muslims: people across just about all countries hugely overestimate the proportion of their population that are Muslim: the average guess across the countries is 16% when the actual proportion is 3%. For example, on average people in France think 31% of the population are Muslim, when the actual figure is only 8%. In Australia the average guess is nine times the actual proportion: people estimate it at 18%, when the actual proportion is only 2%.
  • Christians: in contrast, majority-Christian countries tend to underestimate how many people count themselves as Christian. In the 12 majority-Christian countries in the survey, the average guess is 51%, when the actual proportion counting themselves as Christians is 61%. This includes countries like the US where people think 56% are Christian when official data shows it is 78%.
  • Immigration: across the 14 countries, the public think immigration is over twice the actual level – the average guess is that 24% of the population was born abroad, when the actual figure is 11%. This includes some massive overestimates: the US public think 32% of the population are immigrants when the actual is 13%; in Italy the public think 30% are immigrants when it’s actually 7%; and in Belgium the public think it’s 29% when it’s actually 10%.
  • Ageing population: we think the population is much older than it actually is – the average estimate is that 39% of the population are 65+, when only 18% are. Italians are particularly wrong on this – on average, they think nearly half the population (48%) are 65+, when it is actually 21%.
  • Voting: every country in the study underestimates the proportion of the electorate who voted in their last major election. The average guess is that 58% voted, when in fact 72% did. The French in particular are too pessimistic about the extent of democratic engagement: estimating that only 57% of the electorate voted in the Presidential election, when in fact 80% did.
  • Unemployment: people tend to greatly overestimate the extent of unemployment in their countries. The average guess is 30%, when the actual figure is 9%. This includes some huge overestimates, for example in Italy, where the average guess is that 49% are unemployed, compared with an actual rate of 12%.
  • Life expectancy: this is one area where on average we have a much better grasp of reality. Across the 14 countries, the average life expectancy for a child born this year is estimated to be 80 years, when across these countries as a whole it’s actually 81 years. However, there is still a wide range between countries: people in South Korea are too optimistic, expecting the average life expectancy to be 89 years, compared with an actual of 80 years; but Hungarians are too pessimistic, only expecting 68 years, when the average is predicted to be 75 years.
  • Murder rates: 49% of people across the countries think that the murder rate is rising and only 27% think it is falling – when in fact in all countries in the study, the murder rate is actually falling. The British are the most likely to have an accurate view of murder rate trends: 49% think it’s falling and only 25% think it’s rising.

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Outrage Over Israeli 9/11 Cartoon

Disinformation - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 11:30

Unlike the Danish cartoonists who mocked Mohammed, the Israeli political cartoonist Amos Biderman who has caused massive controversy with a cartoon depicting a jet flying into the Twin Towers a la 9/11 probably won’t receive any death threats, but still…

The post Outrage Over Israeli 9/11 Cartoon appeared first on disinformation.

God Is the Machine

Disinformation - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 10:30

Vancouver Film School (cc by 2.0)

via Wired (from 2002):

“A Mind Bending Meditation on the Transcendent Power of Digital Computation.” By Kevin Kelly

At today’s rates of compression, you could download the entire 3 billion digits of your DNA onto about four CDs. That 3-gigabyte genome sequence represents the prime coding information of a human body — your life as numbers. Biology, that pulsating mass of plant and animal flesh, is conceived by science today as an information process. As computers keep shrinking, we can imagine our complex bodies being numerically condensed to the size of two tiny cells. These micro-memory devices are called the egg and sperm. They are packed with information.

That life might be information, as biologists propose, is far more intuitive than the corresponding idea that hard matter is information as well. When we bang a knee against a table leg, it sure doesn’t feel like we knocked into information. But that’s the idea many physicists are formulating.

The spooky nature of material things is not new. Once science examined matter below the level of fleeting quarks and muons, it knew the world was incorporeal. What could be less substantial than a realm built out of waves of quantum probabilities? And what could be weirder? Digital physics is both. It suggests that those strange and insubstantial quantum wavicles, along with everything else in the universe, are themselves made of nothing but 1s and 0s. The physical world itself is digital.

Read More: http://archive.wired.com/wired/archive/10.12/holytech.html

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New World Disorder: Challenges for the UN in the 21st Century with Kofi Annan

Disinformation - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 09:30

[Editor's note: The video below is not the full speech. The above video also has part of the Q&A, which Luke is a part of.]

This is a speech that Kofi Annan gave in NYC at Baruch college that was titled “New World Disorder.” We couldn’t believe it ourselves so we wanted to post the full video of the former general secretary of the U.N talking openly about the plan for a New World Order.

Via We Are Change

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Terrestrial Energy Co.: Vanquish the Arrested Future of Nuclear Energy

Disinformation - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 08:30

In a Sept 2014 talk at the Economic Club of Canada, Hugh MacDiarmid coolly lays out the groundwork of a new energy future, without the pie-in-the-sky wishes of fusion, the intermittent inadequacy of solar and wind, or the non-renewable carbon emissions of coal, oil, and gas.

Canadian company Terrestrial Energy is on track to make the first commercially viable molten salt nuclear reactor by early next decade, at first supplementing coal but ultimately supplanting it for electricity production. The molten salt reactor (MSR) is a type of Generation 4 reactor with roots in the 1950s at Oak Ridge National Lab and has manifold advantages over existing reactors. The MSR uses a liquid salt loop to contain its fissile material such as uranium, thorium, or plutonium oxides. Since the reaction occurs in liquid fuel, it is literally impossible to melt down, and since it reacts at atmospheric pressure there is no need for a massive reinforced containment vessel. Furthermore, the high temperature allowed by the design results in far less transuranic nuclear waste; in fact a desirable fuel source for molten salt reactors is the existing stockpiles of nuclear waste from reactors that have been in operation for the last 60 years.

So if the technology is so great and it’s been around since the dawn of the nuclear age, why wasn’t it implemented long ago? Good question. I spoke briefly in a previous article about the poor policy decisions, lack of funding, and military-industrial kowtowing that led to the moth-balling of the original molten salt reactor that ran for 10,000 hours at Oak Ridge National Lab. Fortunately some Canadian entrepreneurs at Terrestrial Energy have picked up the ball where the American-government-boondoggle left off decades ago. But they aren’t alone, at least a dozen countries are actively pursuing advanced nuclear reactors including (VERY recently) the USChina is making large strides in developing and implementing molten salt reactor technology to account for the massive increases in electricity demand that are happening now and in the near future.

There are many other applications for MSR besides cheap electricity production including tar sands and other mining energy resource, seawater desalinization, medical applications, and deep-space exploration. Perhaps most importantly is that the technology will produce many jobs in low- and high-tech sectors, and be driven by market-based economics rather than bureaucratic-nightmare government subsidies to propagate and develop.

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Why Republicans Keep Telling Everyone They’re Not Scientists

Disinformation - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 08:00

Gov. Rick Scott

Hint: “I’m not a scientist” = “I don’t want to talk about that.” Coral Davenport investigates the new Republican mantra for the New York Times:

Gov. Rick Scott of Florida, a Republican who is fighting a Democratic challenge from former Gov. Charlie Crist, was asked by The Miami Herald if he believes climate change is significantly affecting the weather. “Well, I’m not a scientist,” he said.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who is locked in a tight re-election race, was asked this month by The Cincinnati Enquirer if he believes that climate change is a problem. “I’m not a scientist,” he said.

House Speaker John A. Boehner, when asked by reporters if climate change will play a role in the Republican agenda, came up with a now-familiar formulation. “I’m not qualified to debate the science over climate change,” he said.

“I’m not a scientist,” or a close variation, has become the go-to talking point for Republicans questioned about climate change in the 2014 campaigns. In the past, many Republican candidates questioned or denied the science of climate change, but polls show that a majority of Americans accept it — and support government policies to mitigate it — making the Republican position increasingly challenging ahead of the 2016 presidential elections.

“It’s got to be the dumbest answer I’ve ever heard,” said Michael McKenna, a Republican energy lobbyist who has advised House Republicans and conservative political advocacy groups on energy and climate change messaging. “Using that logic would disqualify politicians from voting on anything. Most politicians aren’t scientists, but they vote on science policy. They have opinions on Ebola, but they’re not epidemiologists. They shape highway and infrastructure laws, but they’re not engineers.”…

[continues at the New York Times]

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Debunking the Myth of Why the Atomic Bombs Were Necessary | Brainwash Update

Disinformation - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 07:30

Abby Martin reflects on the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and explains why this wasn’t a necessary action in order to end World War II.

The post Debunking the Myth of Why the Atomic Bombs Were Necessary | Brainwash Update appeared first on disinformation.

Unsettling Post-Mortem Photographs from the Victorian Era

Disinformation - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 06:30

via Viral Nova [Please follow the link to see all of the photos]:

The Victorian Era was a pretty morbid time in human history. One of the most unsettling traditions of the era was the practice of post-mortem photography (that is, photographing the dead). By today’s standards, this is would be pretty taboo, but at the time it was seen as quite normal.

That doesn’t mean that seeing those pictures now makes them any less creepy, in fact it probably makes them even more creepy. Here are 21 of the most unsettling examples of Victorian post-mortem photography we could find. Warning. #13 might really freak you out.

9.) Notice the odd position of the curtain behind the boy? It’s likely there was someone behind it holding the boy’s head up.

Read More: http://www.viralnova.com/post-mortem-victorian-photographs/

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So, You Want To Be A Porn Star?

Disinformation - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 19:00

There is something unique about porn stars. It isn’t just the fact that they fuck a lot of people on camera, although that is surely attention getting. It goes deeper than that.

Society is obsessed and captivated with the sex industry. The men and women who work in the industry are often either adored or derided. But with every fantasy comes reality. So what is the reality for the stars in this business?

Some believe that porn stars must be different than the rest of us, and maybe even deficient in some way. They have to be right? Not just in what they do for a living but deep inside. How could someone spend their days having sex for money, and on camera no less? What is wrong with them? How could they do it? Aren’t they ashamed?

Others go the other route, they are starstruck by porn stars. They are in awe of the lifestyle, or what they consider it to be. Beautiful people, doing drugs, partying, having sex, all day long. And getting paid for it no less.

But then what happens? What happens when it is over? There are a couple of older porn stars that are still performing, but they are the exception. What does one do later in life? How does one go from being filmed to have sex with ten people one day, to being middle aged the next? Are these people now brittle and broken? Used up by the industry that they once championed? Or are they content  in their middle years, away from the spotlight and all that sex? That has to get exhausting. Right?

More and more, the place to go to find out is BearManor Bare. While many publishing houses publish porn memoirs ,BearManor Bare is the only one that makes it their bread and butter. Publisher Ben Ohmart has been cranking them out for a while now. Already on his roster are books by or about John Holmes, Seka, Howie Gordon and Marilyn Chambers. Soon to be released is a memoir by Rebecca Lord

Recently two books have been released by BearManor Bare that help answer the constantly burning question…”How the Hell did you do that?”

Porsche Lynn is a legend of adult film. In her book she walks us through her career in burlesque, porn, and kink. Porsche started as a dancer, became an adult film star, and is now a dominatrix at her own dungeon in Phoenix. Porsche appears to have no regrets at all about her life and her choices. Although her books make it clear she has grown immensely as a person over the years, she still lets her freak flag fly and seems to have a great time doing so.

On the more poignant side of things is a book by Serena. She calls her book a “memory” book and with good reason. Serena had a severe fall and was in the hospital for a month in a coma, which resulted in near total amnesia. In a poignant manner, her book helps her, and the rest of us, recreate a map of her life. Serena tells the tale of growing up with bipolar disorder before becoming a  model for adult magazines and subsequently a famous porn star.

These books answer the questions that we all have about porn stars. Why did you do it? What was it like? And what effect has it had on the rest of your life? Combine those existential questions with a lot of screwing and one has a Hell of a good read. As long as there are people screwing on camera, there will be people watching. And as long as porn stars want to share their experiences, people are going to want to read about them.

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Ouija Boards Are Even Creepier When You Know How They Work

Disinformation - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 17:30

By Jenna (cc by 2.0).

via The Nerdist:

With Halloween just around the corner, it’s time to pull your Ouija board off that seldom dusted shelf and channel a spirit or two for answers to your most sleepover-enhancing questions. It’ll will be even creepier when you realize that the answers are coming from inside the house, inside you.

The Ouija board first appeared in stores in the 1890s, a mark of 19th century America’s obsession with spiritualism. It was a flat board with the letters of the alphabet written in two arced rows over a straight line of numbers, 0 through 9. The words “YES” and “NO” appear in the uppermost corners and “GOODBYE” is written at the bottom. The board comes with a planchette, a tear-drop shaped device on little feet with a hole in its body through which you can read the number or letter underneath it.

Instructions for using the board are simple: two or more people — mediums — place their fingers lightly on the planchette, ask a question, and let the spirits guide the planchette around the board. The answer will either be a yes or no, or it will be a word spelled out.

For best results, the board asks for mediums who are serious about the process, turn off anything that emits electrical disturbances, and who light candles and incense.

Read More: http://www.nerdist.com/2014/10/ouija-boards-are-even-creepier-when-you-know-how-they-work/

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Politics can interact with evolution to shape human destiny

Disinformation - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 16:30

Image from page 47 of “The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex” (1871)

Press Release via Eureka Alert:

Politics can have unintentional evolutionary consequences that may cause hastily issued policies to cascade into global, multigenerational problems, according to political scientists.

“Most western democracies look at policies as if they are bandages, we fix what we can and then move on,” said Pete Hatemi, associate professor of political science, Penn State. “But we need to consider generational policies so that we can fix what we can now, but also be prepared for what comes next.”

The researchers said that there is an interaction between political and cultural forces and evolutionary results. Genes can shape culture and political institutions, which in turn can shape biology and physiology, passing on certain traits to future generations. The environment’s influence on adaptation and how it changes biology is better known and often easier to observe, said Hatemi, but the way culture can affect gene expressions in future generations is often harder to show and may take longer to reveal itself.

One more obvious way to see how culture affects natural selection is the effect that politically inspired atrocities — for example, Communist purges in China and USSR and the Nazi Holocaust — have on genetic diversity, according to the researchers, who released their findings in a recent issue of Advances in Political Psychology.

Other examples are just beginning to be studied. For example, researchers are starting to investigate whether, in certain conflicts, such as the Sudan, children who endured violence as soldiers, or mothers who suffered stress and malnutrition during famines, experience shifts in gene expression.

“Biology is affected by culture just as culture is changed by human biology,” the researchers write.

Hatemi, who worked with Rose McDermott, the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor of International Relations, Brown University, said this interaction between culture and biology could explain why some troubled hot spots remain troubled over many years. People who are born in aggressive environments may pass on traits that make it more likely that future generations react to certain situations violently, he added.

“These changes, then, may have a long-range effect on children and on who those children become when they grow up,” said Hatemi. “Those who grow up in a violent culture may have more of a tendency to respond with aggression in the future.”

More: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-10/ps-pci102814.php

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From Dictatorship to Democracy

Disinformation - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 15:00

From Dictatorship to Democracy

Last night, whilst watching TV, a very interesting documentary was on, called How to Start a Revolution. I had never heard of the book “From Dictatorship to Democracy” before, nor how it had been instrumental to the Velvet and Orange revolutions of Eastern Europe, not to mention several other popular uprisings around the world (Arab Spring, etc.). The methodology in the book are tried, tested and have worked all around the world.

The 198 rules (in the appendix) are a road map to peacefully overthrowing a repressive regime and may represent human-kinds last best hope of changing our seemingly inevitable course towards climate induced species extinction.

This should be required reading for anyone who has any wish to change the current oligarchical status-quo of psychopathic elites willing to kill us all for a few more dollars.

You can read the full book here

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Batman at 75

Disinformation - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 13:34

While I’ve been posting all year about the William S. Burroughs centenary, I have yet to mark this illuminated text with the dark shadow of Batman who is celebrating his 75th anniversary this year. “The Caped Crusader,” “The Dark Knight,” “The World’s Greatest Detective,” first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in 1939.

Batman earned his own storylines. He was unique among comic book heroes in that he never had any super powers. Batman honed his intellect and built his body into a crime fighting machine fueled by his vow to avenge the homicidal death of his parents and restore justice to Gotham City. Batman’s lone vigilante origins also contributed to recent, noir interpretations that blur the line between the good and evil in the Batman universe. Questions like “Is Batman insane?” are common to the telling of his tale in a way that they could never be in the pages of Superman or Captain America.

Here is the history of Batman from his inky origins to his cinematic debut, featuring commentary by Harlan Ellison, Kevin Smith, Frank Miller and more…

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