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Category Archives: Memetics
Army Of Contact-Tracing Workers Being Recruited To Help Combat Coronavirus Pandemic – CBS San Francisco
Posted: May 22, 2020 at 11:47 am
by Maria Medina and Abigail Sterling
SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) Experts say contact tracing is going to play a critical role in fighting the coronavirus. Its been practiced for decades, used to fight SARS, Ebola and AIDS, but never on as big a scale.
Technology is sure to play an ever-growing role in contact tracing. But for COVID-19, its starting off the old fashioned way, person to person and boots on the ground.
When the pandemic made Robin Fletchers sales job grind to a halt, she jumped at an opportunity to use her people skills for something more meaningful.
We really need to think about on a deeper level what I am capable to do, its going to call us to adapt, said Fletcher. A friend mentioned contact tracing, I had never heard of it, even though its been around for a bit.
Contact tracing starts with basic detective work. The average person who has the coronavirus transmits it to two or three other people, who each then potentially could transmit it to three others.
So one contact leads to another, and everyone along the way has to be notified, isolated, and treated, if necessary, to try to contain the viruss spread.
Fletchers first step: a free, five-hour online course offered through Johns Hopkins University where she learned the types of questions to ask, skills for effective communication, and how to balance public good with privacy.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates at least 100,000 contact tracers will be needed to combat the coronavirus. But they are just one piece of a complex process.
Our team is very multi-disciplinary, said Dr. Darpun Sachdev, lead physician for contact tracing at the San Francisco Department of Public Health. We have case investigators who are the first line of calling people after they get a new diagnosis with COVID. We also then are working very closely with clinical leads and with a team of social workers to help us to identify resources for people who need to isolate and quarantine.
San Francisco is working with the University of California, San Francisco on the project, using a customized data-gathering program. Thats just a way of really making sure that once weve interviewed someone, that all the different touchpoints can be notified at the same time, said Satchdev. So our goal is really to ensure that people get tested on that day that were notifying them or the next day.
In San Francisco for now, contact tracing involves just health department staff, with some new help from furloughed employees in other city departments.
But outsourcing will soon become necessary. Third-party companies are already poised to provide the service, like Applied Memetics, an IT sourcing company for businesses that are now targeting the contact tracing market.
Most health authorities are already doing some form of contact tracing. Theyre using their existing staff to pull lab results for infected patients. But theyve all reached capacity, said Erin Thames of Applied Memetics. What theyre looking for is not only those contact tracer roles but coordinator, investigator and navigator roles, so they can manage those tracer teams, really just taking that burden away from the already overloaded public health system.
Thames says her company is already getting requests for help from health departments across the country.
Fletcher has already applied. She hopes her sales experience will help her get a job. Youve got to have some courage, to put it politely, to pick up the phone and call someone and establish immediate rapport and do it well, said Fletcher. There is an aspect of educating, there is an aspect of social work, theres an aspect of just being a good listener. There are a lot of skills that people I think can really bring to this.
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Posted: February 10, 2020 at 11:47 pm
With reports riddling headlinesof "fake news"in the media, questions have arisen as to whether this is simply poor journalism, or if there is a concerted effort by some journalists to co-operate with state-sponsored Information Operations (InfoOps). Is this a "liberal" problem, or could disinformation be found in "conservative" outlets, too? Should citizens trust the news presented to them? What if it comes from a source such as the Vatican?
Pope Francis met with members of the Vatican Dicastery for Communications, cautioning them to take initiative "unmasking"news that was "false and destructive"ahead of the recent controversial Pan-Amazon Synod. Speaking to the members of the Vatican and Italian pressSept.23, the pope advisedthat "the task of a journalist is to identify credible sources... put them in context, interpret them and give things their due importance."
The Pope's comments have come, however, after a tumultuous year for the Vatican press, including a scandal now known as "lettergate." MonsignorDario Vigan, then prefect of the Secretariat for Communications (and now newly appointedvice chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences) was forced to resign after doctoring photos and omitting paragraphs of a letter sent by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
Recently, Pope Francis receiveda copy of a book during an in-flight press conference, written by a member of the press, claiming certain Catholic media outlets and their financiers are promoting disinformation about him from the United States. The pope lauded the book, stating, "For me it's an honor that Americans attack me,"and that the book was a "bombshell."
The presentation, its timing and the pope's statement drew heavy criticism, especially in the United States: Was this a concerted attempt by the Vatican at propaganda operations?
Ridicule is man's most potent weapon. There is no defense. It's irrational. It's infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.
Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions. People hurt faster than institutions.
Within the weeks that followed, certain individuals went to social media and published within their media outletscertain questionable rhetoric.
It was questionable, as they repeated keywords and themes that when observed in context with one another displayed a clear attempt at spreading disinformation. Concerning, as more than a few are directly connectedto the Vatican Dicastery for Communications.
These events renewed questions as to whether some in the media including Catholic media are engaging in propaganda, or spreading disinformation. How is a reader to decipher if a journalist or media outlet is doing so?
I sat down with Daniel P. Gabriel, a former CIA Officer and subject matter expert on Information Operations (IO). Aside from his service in the Central Intelligence Agency, Gabriel has served as a senior strategic communications advisor and strategist to U.S. policymakers, civilian/military officials, international media organizations and foreign governments. He is also founder and CEO of Applied Memetics.
Gabriel shared with me how IO is active in the press, identifying factors and a standard of ethics readers should expect from journalists reporting the news.
Bree Dail: Mr. Gabriel, can you provide a synopsis of your expertise in the area of IO and journalism?
Daniel Gabriel: I graduated from George Washington University with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and a minor in political communications.When I joined the CIA as a staff operations officer in 2003, my focus was the "war of ideas" specifically understanding how violent Islamic extremism posesa threat to the West.This job required me to apply everything I understood and had learned about strategic communications to advance the national security interests of the U.S. Government.I did this by working at Langley and overseas (including Iraq, Afghanistanand southeastAsia) to prevent the spread of this ideology.
BD: What are the basic definitions of IO?
DG: IO is often referred to as PSYOP, propaganda, active measuresor covert influence. The terminology and the methodology tends to depend on the sponsoring organization or government agency. However, it proceeds from a general principle that the intent is to "inform" with the goal of affecting behavior or in some cases preventing behavior.In this sense, it's really as simple as marketing or advertising, where the strategic objective is to change behavior. What's different and in some cases can seem sinister is when the hand of the sponsoring agent is concealed. In government circles, this spectrumis defined between "white" propaganda (attributed), to "black" propaganda (non-attributed, or, in some cases attributedto a third party actor (aka "false flag").
BD: Based on your expertise in the agency (and in the private sector), what should readers know about IO?
DG: The methodology can be easy to spot, but the funding is critical to understanding the ultimate motivations of those engaged in IO.This is why so much attention is spent on identifying the nefarious and global activities of organizations like those sponsored by George Soros. In other words, follow the money.
BD: Why might a journalist spread disinformation or propaganda?
DG: In recent times, it has become fashionable for journalists to become advocates. The editorial line has disappeared from newspapers and broadcasts, and the Western public simply isn't sufficiently well-educated to be able to discern between opinion and reporting. It's all the same thing. In modern journalism, it is common for journalists to wear their stripes on their sleeves. Look no further than the Twitter accounts of most national political journalists to understand where they are coming from. Look for common language use among similar outlets, common narratives or the use of anonymous, uncorroborated sourcing. Readers should expect journalists to prove their story to them, with factual data. Refuse to be told how and what to think by a journalist.
BD: What might indicate a journalist is an "agent provocateur"or a propagandist, and how might a journalist or outlet avoid being targeted for disinformation or propaganda operations?
DG: Be suspicious of the bylines that always seem to have the best access, especially "inside"access. Journalists have to work hard to obtain or maintain that level of access.Nothing is free in this world.
Be suspicious if journalists rely on anonymous sourcing. You're essentially taking their word for it, and sources are easily compromised no matter how "trusted."
There are groups of so-called media personalities that are there to engage, entertain and "troll,"but these are hardly journalists. They are "agent provocateurs."They don't care about the truth, they care about a narrative. You can find them on the political right and the left. They will take a truthand spin a lie from it often to discredit the personal reputation of another.
Journalists, on the other hand, would be well-advised to stick to the principles of journalistic best practices, as taught in media programs and J-schools dating back to modern American political history. These practices include identifying sources, corroborating the information provided by sources, presenting both sides of an argument and letting the reader draw their own conclusion.
BD: There have been recent cases in the mediawhere a certain journalist or outlet has published breaking news based on anonymous sourcing and no corroboration. Later, these stories were discredited by other outlets. Was this disinformation operations or just poor journalism?
DG: To me there are some broad takeaways in this scenario. First, I don't think any true journalist any even semi-professional journalist would put out something they know is false and can be disproven. However, if a journalist is misinformed to the extent that the story they are providing is inaccurate? Well, I think shame on them. They deserve to be discredited. Why would anyone want to be in such a position? It's embarrassing.Was no due diligence done? Why would an editor print a story without corroboration?
If a journalist's report is untrue, and proven so, he or she loses credibility and so does their outlet. As a journalist, you are there to inform, to educate and to influence.
As I said, journalists and "agent provocateurs"are two very different categories, and I believe it is impossible to be both, because as a journalist you are concerned about your credibility. You are going to check your sources, you are going to corroborate with factual evidence.
However, if this outlet in question and I suspect this might be the case is on the other side of the spectrum with the willingness to print outrageous or outlandish things to draw in readership or "clicks,"then you've moved away from journalism. You've become an "agent provocateur."In other words, you're "fake news."
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Posted: December 22, 2019 at 11:44 pm
Neal Stephenson's classic cyberpunk novel Snow Crash is getting a TV series adaptation for HBO Max. Stephenson's 1992 novel covers a wide variety of topics includinghistory, linguistics, anthropology, archaeology, religion, computer science, politics, cryptography, memetics, and philosophy.
The news comes from Deadline, who stated that Michael Becall (21 Jump Street) will write the adaptation and serve as co-showrunner with Angela Robinson, while Joe Cornish (The Kid Who Would Be King) is set to direct. Frank Marshall will serve as producer for the series.
Last year, it was announced that a Snow Crash TV series was heading to Amazon, but that's no longer happening.
With a talented team of writers and directors, and a great source material, Snow Crash is definitely one of the most exciting sci-fi shows to look forward to.
Here's the book synopsis for Snow Crash:
Only once in a great while does a writer come along who defies comparisona writer so original he redefines the way we look at the world. Neal Stephenson is such a writer andSnow Crashis such a novel, weaving virtual reality, Sumerian myth, and just about everything in between with a cool, hip cybersensibility to bring us the gigathriller of the information age.
In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzos CosoNostra Pizza Inc., but in the Metaverse hes a warrior prince. Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus thats striking down hackers everywhere, he races along the neon-lit streets on a search-and-destroy mission for the shadowy virtual villain threatening to bring about infocalypse.
Snow Crash is considered to be one of the best science fiction books ever, and if you love cyberpunk and haven't read this novel yet, then you should read it before the show premieres. Stephenson's novelwas nominated for both the British Science Fiction Award in 1993, and the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1994.
Are you excited for a Snow Crash TV series? Who should play Hiro and Y.T.?
Related: Cyberpunk 2077 Will Have Fully Motion-Captured Sex Scenes
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Posted: December 18, 2019 at 8:57 pm
Neal Stephensons sci-fi classicSnow Crash is getting the TV treatment for HBO Max. Writer Michael Bacall (21 Jump Street)and director Joe Cornish (Attack the Block) are tackling the adaptation. Stephensons novel covers a wide range of topics, including history, linguistics, anthropology, archaeology, religion, computer science, politics, cryptography, memetics, and philosophy.
Deadline has the scoop on theSnow CrashTV series, stating that Michael Bacall will write the adaptation and serve as co-showrunner with Angela Robinson, while Joe Cornish directs. Frank Marshall will serve as producer. Heres the books synopsis:
Only once in a great while does a writer come along who defies comparisona writer so original he redefines the way we look at the world. Neal Stephenson is such a writer andSnow Crashis such a novel, weaving virtual reality, Sumerian myth, and just about everything in between with a cool, hip cybersensibility to bring us the gigathriller of the information age.In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzos CosoNostra Pizza Inc., but in the Metaverse hes a warrior prince. Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus thats striking down hackers everywhere, he races along the neon-lit streets on a search-and-destroy mission for the shadowy virtual villain threatening to bring about infocalypse.
I havent readSnow Crash, but this sounds similar toReady Player One, which doesnt get me very excited. However, Snow Crash pre-dates Ready Player One by years and is considered one of the most important science fiction novels of the past few decades. So of course lesser work has ripped it off. Also,, Joe Cornish should have a much bigger career by now, so Im always happy to see him with a new project.
A potentialSnow Crash adaptation has been a dream for many for years, but the novels sprawling nature has complicated things. Cornish actually wrote a script for a feature film adaptation, and Stephenson loved it, calling Cornishs take on the material amazing. But it looks like everyone involved have now decided to use TV to bringSnow Crash to life rather than try to cram everything into a feature film. Last year, it was announced that a TV adaptation was headed to Amazon, but thats no longer the case, and the series is destined for HBO Max.
See original here:
Posted: at 8:57 pm
A HBO series based on Snow Crash, the 1992 science fiction novel which coined the term metaverse, is currently in production.
Snow Crash is a 1992 science fiction novel written byNeal Stephenson. The book has a deeply complex plot touching on archaeolinguistics, religion, simulation theory, philosophy, computer science, and memetics. It was nominated for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the most prestigious science fiction award.
The series will reportedly be directed by Joe Cornish, who recently directed The Kid Who Would Be King. The writer is apparently Michael Bacall, who also wrote 21 Jump Streetand Project X.
Stephenson will be a producer of the series, alongside Cornish, Bacall, Angela Robinson, Frank Marshall, and Robert Zotnowski.
Last we heard, Stephenson works at AR startup Magic Leap. His official title is Chief Futurist. He manages a team called the Self-Contained Existence Unit (SCEU). SCEU focuses on content R&D, pushing the boundaries on what can be developed in AR, figuring out best practices, and providing examples to developers.
Despite being released before evenWolfenstein 3D and three years before the Virtual Boy, much of Snow Crash takes place in a massively multiplayer VR world called the Metaverse a term Stephenson coined. Essentially, the metaverse is the spatial version of the internet. The term Metaverse is popular in VR today.
Meta means after or beyond, and verse is taken from universe. Thus a metaverse is a new universe beyond and after the real one.
When the book was written almost 30 years ago, VR headsets were rare. The few which existed cost in excess of $50,000 and had resolutions of just a few hundred pixels on each axis.
The book also popularized the term avatar the virtual character which represents a user in a virtual world. The descriptions of avatars in Snow Crash still apply to proto-metaverses like VRChattoday.
Michael Abrash is Chief Scientist at Facebook Reality Labs. Thats the division of Facebook which researches future VR & AR tech. He also reportedlyco-leads Facebooks new AR glasses team.
In 1994, Abrash was working at Microsoft. He had helped develop the core graphics architecture of Windows. After reading Snow Crash, he quit Microsoft and joined John Carmack at Id. Together they developed Quake one of the first widely popular online multiplayer FPS games. He then worked at companies like Microsoft (again) and Intel until 2011 when he joined Valve to work on AR and VR.
After joining Valve, Abrash wrote a blog postexplaining his history. The first sentence: It all started with Snow Crash.
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Posted: November 30, 2019 at 9:43 am
Art is the spice of life, and Memetics, a nonprofit organization that's dedicated to fostering art in the community, wants to show off this idea on Friday at their artist showcase event Blackout Black Friday.
"Art challenges perception and sparks ideas, and creativity cultivates invention," says Jamie Carpenter, founder and executive director of Memetics Memphis. "It's only through a diverse lens that a community can prosper and grow."
Multiple mediums of art will be included, with a musical lineup that features EDM DJ Brandon Thornburg and instrumentalist, composer, producer, and DJ Odd Wilson, along with visual artists like Jacob Platania, Ex Ossium, Brandon Hodges, and Phvntm Fuego displaying live, installation, and interactive arts. There will also be tarot card readings and a youth activities station.
While it's an eclectic mix of arts, Carpenter says it's important for the community to showcase their talents.
"Art brings us together," she says. "It's the human connection. It's about community finding a purpose beyond our individual selves."
Memetics is hosting this event, along with bake sales and other similar events, to fund their 501(c) filing and to help them throw their next event.
"Our next production, in spring 2020, will focus on arts in local schools and will feature only area youths," says Carpenter. "A school will be chosen at that show for our artists to create a mural."
So as traditional holiday markets swamp your social media feeds, let Memetics show off what Memphis' local arts community has to offer.
Blackout Black Friday, Hi Tone, Friday, November 29th, 7 p.m.-3 a.m., free.
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The Hi-Tech Traditionalist: From Samizdat To Memetics What Is Similar And What Is Different Between Soviet And American Dissidents – Tsarizm
Posted: November 15, 2019 at 1:48 pm
Americans are late to come to terms with their loss of freedom and its consequences. Most choose to remain inside the Matrix.
Amazingly, I remember them still. Their fragile pages of carbon copy paper fraying at the edges from use by many hundreds if not thousands, use that should have shredded them to pieces a long time ago. The bindings, if you can call it that, pieces of black or green poster board sewn to the pages with simple needle and thread as if they were socks that needed darning. Inside, faint blue letters, copies of copies of copies, with the words of Alexander Solzhenitsyn or Natan Sharansky or a few lines of Hebrew text with Russian transliterations.
They made furtive appearances in our small Kiev apartment, these fleeting guests, much admired, revered almost, hidden from view, only appearing on our living room coffee table at night when special guests like the lonely Jewish jazz musician who practiced his base playing late at night in his upstairs apartment came to visit. They were read out loud, if one can call loud barely audible whispering and each passage was endlessly pored over, discussed, passionately argued.
The existence of places out there in which any book could be printed, sold, bought, and read in the open was postulated, but never really fully believed. That these same places had blue jeans and winter coats made out of synthetic materials rather than cotton wool and canvas and could be closed using (GASP) zippers, was way too much to give any credence to.
You see, my friends, in the 1970s USSR many books and other writings were forbidden to print, disseminate, and even possess. Among them were writings by those who exposed the brutality of the Soviet system and its utter incompetence in allowing the Germans to attack Russia in June of 1941 and in prosecuting the ensuing war for the first to years. There were pamphlets by prominent regime critics like Sakharov and Jewish community leaders who wished to leave the USSR and repatriate to Israel, like Sharansky and Edelshtein. For those who, like my parents, dreamed that such an impossible dream may one day become a reality and wished to be prepared, there were Hebrew language textbooks, also forbidden in the communist Russia.
The hunger for these illicit words was so large, the market demand as we might call it in the West, so strong, that an underground publishing network was born. This anti-regime, anti-communist network got a very communist name, a portmanteau, a word mashup: Samizdat. Made up from the words sam (myself) and izdatyelstvo (publishing house), Samizdat was a loose network of brave souls who had access to carbon copy machines at their place of work and who, at much personal risk to their freedom and livelihoods spent nights copying copies of forbidden books that someone had dropped off for them. The copies would then be passed from user to user, never permanently given away let alone sold, lent for a short time before they had to move on.
Samizdat was riddled with KGB infiltrators and many of its producers and users were discovered. The producers, those nocturnal copiers and binders, got prison terms. The users, like my parents, would more typically get expelled from their universities, fired from their jobs, get notes in their ever-present permanent records that would make it impossible for them to find other employment or other places to study. Quite often, their privileges of living in large cities like Kiev or Moscow or Leningrad were revoked and they had to eke out a marginal existence in the periphery, in Central Asia or in Siberia.
This happened often; Samizdat people hardly well-trained operatives. They were just secretaries and lab assistants, and grad students, but the network grew until it won the war with the regime and earned its own redundancy. Alas, things did not turn out, in the most part, as the Samizdat people had thought they would. Many of the Jewish or pretend-Jewish folks left the USSR, some in the 1970s when it was dangerous, others in the 1990s when it was safe, some to settle in Israel, others in Brighton Beach. Non-Jews stayed on through the terrible deprivations of the 1990s and on to Putins klepto-oligarchy of today.
But what about that magical place at the other end of the rainbow, the place of blue jeans and rock n roll, of freedom to print and read anything we want?
It did seem for a while that such a place had indeed existed, didnt it? I well remember my fathers great sigh of relief when on a grey chilly morning in November of 1973 our train crossed the miles upon miles of razor wire that was the East German Austrian border. This was the West! We were finally free.
Nearly half a century had passed since those giddy days and it was not kind to the original inhabitants of the Land of Freedom. They took for granted the freedom that so many in the USSR were willing to give their very lives for and they squandered it. They sold it for cheap drugs, cheap porn, cheap government handouts. They treated it like a crack whore, this precious gift of liberty that was handed down to them by the blood of generations upon generations of their ancestors. They flooded their countries with countless foreigners to whom the concept of freedom was as foreign as gay marriage would have been to the Founding Fathers.
Liberty is not a bird that long lives where it is not wanted, so it has long since departed the lands of the West, perhaps all the lands of Men and returned, Tolkien-like, to its abode somewhere far beyond the setting sun. The America of today, that erstwhile bastion of freedom, that shimmering mirage that glimmered over the western skies of my childhood and did battle with the Soviet jammers on short wave radio when I was a kid is no longer any more free than the USSR used to be, though it is still far more prosperous. Just like in the early days of the Bolshevik revolution, the American Bolsheviks are engaging in a frenzy of statue destruction and book banning. Just like in the old Soviet bloc or in todays China, faceless apparatchiks are lording it over us every second of every day from their sinecures at the Deep State and its metastatic arms, the corporate HR departments.
Just like there, in the East, we in the West are forced to believe and publicly profess things that are obviously false, though here they are, perversely, of predominantly sexual nature. Things that were and should be abhorrent to every human throughout history like sodomy and the sexual exploitation of children are celebrated in the public square, any opposition to them earning you the Soviet treatment of losing your job, your university admissions, your livelihood, your career, your electronic platform.
Signs of resistance are appearing. American dissidents like Laura Loomer, brave souls who are willing to risk much are standing up to be counted. An American Samizdat of sorts, adjusted for the 21st century is being born in the shape of memetics, images and short video clips that cut through the chase with scathing humor and deadly accuracy. Because the creation of these communiques requires a free and even rebellious spirit, our grey masters suck at this medium. No one they can hire can do it well simply because the condition of hire is unquestioning allegiance to Loshanqua from HR and daily recital of diversity is our strength and men can menstruate. People like that cannot meme and will never be able to.
Pepe the Frog is a great symbol of freedom from the rule of the world elites, but let yourself not be fooled, he is more of a sanctioned safety valve variety than a true revolutionary. All totalitarian regimes have safety valves, means for the enslaved masses to express their discontent, to grumble, to have an illusion of agency, a mirage of freedom. It is simply cheaper to maintain these safety valves than to engage in Stalinist full-scale nonstop repression. A population that is, Matrix-like, manipulated to think that it is (or may one day be) free is a more peaceful, compliant, and productive population than one that has no hopes for a better life and has only experienced beatings. Plus, repeated beatings have a problem with diminished returns as populations subject to them develop an ever-higher threshold for pain.
Samizdat was to a large degree a safety valve. The KGB could have shut it down in a minute. The communist party simply didnt want them to. They were ordered to play a cat and mouse game which convinced the Samizdat people that they were doing something exceptionally brave and that things were getting better because of them, but was never intended to shut them down.
The much more sophisticated totalitarian rulers of America have developed a system of two complimentary safety valves. First and foremost they have a stable of bought and paid for mainstream resistance leaders who go on Fox and some other media channels and utter strong words from behind fat contracts and daily briefings that set out in excruciating detail just how stunningly brave they are allowed to be. These are the Laura Ingrahams, the Sean Hannitys, the Tucker Carlsons and the Ben Shapiros of the world. They could be called controlled opposition, if they were any kind of opposition rather than simply the loyal employees of the ruling technocracy. This safety valve is now operating at near 100% efficiency and its efficacy is unmatched.
Yet the highly advanced American ruling elites, having built themselves up on the shoulders of high technology, are not satisfied with this valve alone. To supplement it, they have allowed, on the margins, a Samizdat-like grassroots resistance movement that produces memes and wacko conspiracy theories and constantly pats itself on the shoulder for being so amazingly, so stunningly brave. Just like Samizdat, the folks in this movement, the likes of Jack Posobiec and many others do not work for the elites, but they might as well be because they provide Americans with an illusion of freedom, a simulacrum of it, and most regrettably with an excuse not to see the truth and start developing real strategies for coping with it.
Just like the KGB could shut Samizdat down at will, so can the the American techno-oligarchy shut down Pepe and his disciples within moments from being ordered to do so. Not a single 1 or 0, neither a solitary electron, nor a lonesome photon goes from one place to the next in America without express permission of the elites. Of that we can be certain. So the truth, my friends, is much worse than it appears to be. But wait! There is more! Not content with creating the best let-the-steam-out social safety valves that have ever existed, the American ruling classes have created historys most powerful social control instrument: fiat money.
You see, money does not exist anymore. What exists are 1s and 0s that our rulers have made us believe to be money. And since they control everything about these 1s and 0s, they control everything about money. Dont believe me? Ask yourself what would happen to your mortgage payments if interest rates go up by a couple of percent.
So here is the bottom line, folks. That glimmering, shimmering mirage that was the West, with its freedom and liberty and blue jeans did exist for a while, but it didnt put up much of a fight and sold itself out for a few fake dollars. Now what remains to us is what the real dissidents in the USSR had: the freedom of the mind. Consuming, uncritically, the 1s and 0s that come at us from any source including this one does not make you free or brave. Think for yourself. Become an intellectual. Read old books before they are banned and destroyed. Watch old movies and try to get into the minds of Americans from decades past, Americans who really were free. Understand what has been lost. Mourn it. When repeating the mantras that our rulers demand of us, keep a strong mental reservation. Acknowledge to yourself that they are false, ridiculous even, but repeat them nonetheless. After all, you still have a mortgage to pay and kids to put through college.
Speaking of kids, have them. Have many kids and teach them that once there was freedom and maybe, if they are lucky they may yet experience it for themselves one day though that day may be far, far away.
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Posted: November 4, 2019 at 6:43 pm
This is a rush transcript and may contain errors. It will be updated.
Alexandria O.: You announced recently that the official policy of Facebook now allows politicians to pay to spread disinformation. Do you see a potential problem here with a complete lack of fact checking on political advertisements?
Mark Zuckerberg: Well, Congresswoman, I think lying is bad and I think if you were to run an ad that had a lie, that would be bad.
Alexandria O.: So you wont take down lies or you will take down lies? I mean, its just a pretty simple yes or no.
Mark Zuckerberg: In democracy, I believe that people should be able to see for themselves what politicians that they may or may not vote for are saying [crosstalk 00:00:30]
Alexandria O.: So you wont take them down.
Marc Steiner: I dont want to be on her bad side. That was of course, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pushing Mark Zuckerberger over the false advertising that Facebook allows with no fact checking by right-wing candidates.
So lets start there and hello and welcome to The Real News. Im Marc Steiner. Good to have you with us. What did he say? I think hes the new king of doublespeak. Facebook cut a news deal with the Breitbart. Breitbart, remember them? The news liars from the right and now employees there are revolting at Facebook because Zucc, as hes called by, some allows politicians to post ads that are clearly lies and from folks are taking full advantage of that. So when AOC asked if she could run an ad full of lies it inspired someone to post this ad on Facebook.
Speaker 4: When Teddy Roosevelt became president, our land, forests and wildlife had been exploited for more than 100. But the consequences of these lost resources had not yet dawned in the public conscience. President Teddy Roosevelt fired the imagination of the American people, shook our nation from its lethargy and began to rescue the public domain.
Speaker 5: Clean air and clean water, a wise is use of our land, with the protection of wildlife and natural beauty. These are part of the birthright of every American. To guarantee that birthright, we must act and act decisively. It is literally now or never.
Speaker 6: It breaks my heart to see that the conservative movement in America has really abandoned a century of tradition, of support for conservation and environment.
Senator Graham: Im Senator Graham from South Carolina. Im here to announce with my colleagues that we care about conservation. We care about the environment. From a Republican point of view, I think we need to look at the science. Admit that climate change is real. Simply put, we believe in the Green New Deal.
Alexandria O.: This should not be a partisan issue.
Senator Graham: Im not a scientist. I have the grades to prove it, but I have really taken this issue to heart.
Marc Steiner: So who knew? I mean this is a whole different Graham than anyones ever seen before. I kind of liked this Graham, might changing my whole idea of what to do. I dont know. Lets welcome the man who did this ad that was taken down by Facebook. Hes now running for governor of California. Adriel Hampton, welcome to The Real News. Good to have you with us.
Adriel Hampton: Hey, thank you Marc. Its good to be here.
Marc Steiner: So whyd you tell those lies?
Adriel Hampton: Well, during the hearing where Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez questioned Mark Zuckerberg, she laid out the scenario for an ad just like that one. And the interesting thing is what happens when you really do it, right? So we have a political action committee called The Really Online Lefty League. And Wednesday night after seeing that testimony, I got a flash of insight and I thought we need to make that ad and see what happens if we put it up on Facebook.
So I contacted a friend who works with me, Mike Ramsey, who is the founder of something called the Institute for Progressive Memetics and hes a very talented designer and obviously video editor. And we discussed the idea. I had thought about doing an image first. He said, its got to be a video. He cut that video for The Really Online Lefty League. And the next day, Thursday, we put it up and I thought after this hearing and Ocasio-Cortez said, Could I run an ad saying that my, the GOP candidates in the primaries support the Green New Deal? And I thought Zucc would have sent a missive around to make sure that that ad didnt get approved, but it did get approved. Facebook has a review process and then they, if they get complaints or media contact them, then they react.
And that ad ran for about a day, very little spend. The goal was never to intentionally deceive. It was to test the policies that are allowing a president whose campaign manager has run millions of Facebook ads, he claims to have, and he also is planning to spend $1 billion on Trumps re-elect. Thats on Facebook, thats enough money, even a 10th of that is enough to sway an election in my opinion, depending on what other candidates are doing. But its that exemption for falsehood is very big. Now then Facebook took down our ads saying that it is a political action committee, not a politician.
So then Mike Gravel, the former candidate for president, put it up on his page. They took it down again this time saying it had been debunked on our page, so it couldnt be run subsequently on someone elses page. And then Facebook fact checkers also indicated to me that they might rule that Mike is a former politician, even though hes actively doing interviews and hes promoting his book and hes clearly a politician, but hes not in elected office or actively seeking elected office.
So Monday morning I went and I filed to run for governor of California because I figured if you can launch a run for governor by attacking Trump, Mark Zuckerberg and the biggest recipient of PG&E, large S in California politics, thats a pretty good way to kick it off.
Marc Steiner: And you did. So of course in California, it doesnt cost anything to run for office, right?
Adriel Hampton: It doesnt. Not when you declare. You have to pay a fee thats not in consequential, much closer to the actual election in 2022. So yeah. Yeah. Just about anyone could go and file for office right now in California. You basically, you cant be a felon and you have to sign your name on it. Its a one page form.
But I think in this case, the interesting thing is we have the technical acuity to keep doing these kinds of ads. And we now have myself, Mike Gravel and one other federal candidate who are all all of us will run these fake ads if we have to, to beat up at the system until we get politicians and right wingers treated the same as everyone else. And I swear, Marc, if they dont change, it wouldnt take me very much money to defeat them. And I can explain why.
Marc Steiner: So I mean, so youre running for California, basically, so you can undermine Facebook and tell a lot of lies about the other side.
Adriel Hampton: Im running for California governor because this issue Ocasio-Cortez is doing a great job, it looks like, at the federal level, but shes not in House leadership. And you need someone like a governor or a chair of a powerful committee in California or in Congress to hold real hearings on this. We can hold hearings for months figuring out how in a democracy you police this kind of false speech, disinformation, the audience targeting that Facebook allows that is really more powerful than anything ever invented. And thats the whole Cambridge Analytica scandal, right? And Im very familiar with psychometric targeting. I have not run millions of Facebook ads, but I have run tens of thousands.
Marc Steiner: So, speaking of Zuckerberg, Im going to come back to this Cambridge Analytica thing and what happened with AOC, but this is Zuckerberg talking at Georgetown, I believe in Washington DC just a little bit ago.
Mark Zuckerberg: In times of social tension, our impulse is often to pull back on free expression, because we want the progress that comes from free expression, but we dont want the tension. Pulling back on free expression wasnt the answer. And in fact, it often ends up hurting the minority views that we seek to protect. We can either continue to stand for free expression, understanding its messiness, but believing that the long journey towards greater progress requires confronting ideas that challenge us. Or we can decide that the cost is simply too great, yet still a strict first amendment standard might require us to allow things like terrorist propaganda or bullying people that almost everyone agrees that we should stop, and I certainly do. So once were taking this content down, the question is, where do you draw the line?
Marc Steiner: Where do you draw the line? And he, I mean, he made it very clear when he was being questioned by Ocasio-Cortez. He sounded like a 12 year old. I dont lie, I dont like lies. So what do you make of Mr. Zuckerberg in this?
Adriel Hampton: Well, I heard the word free a lot of times from a man who runs a $531 billion advertising platform. So I find it to be incredibly disingenuous and in fact dishonest. And Mark Zuckerberg himself is dealing in gross misinformation. And before we came on air, and I think in some of the slides here, I saw references to Popular Information which is a newsletter that regularly talks about how Facebook is not enforcing its policies against Trump. And Facebook, I believe, explicitly clarified its policies to make sure that it was clear that it was okay for Trump to lie. They also use Tucker Carlsons Daily Caller as a fact-checking organization. I believe they created a foundation to be a fact checker.
Now Ive just refused my first Fox on air interview and will continue to do so, because these are the companies, Fox, Daily Caller, Daily Wire, Breitbart, that are really a part of the problem of gross right-wing propaganda. Its also interesting, you dont see The Real News being asked to provide a fact checking crew. You dont see Occupy Democrats being asked to be a news source inside. They have I think a publication called The Washington Times, thats not highly regarded for truthfulness, but neither was Daily Caller. And then Daily Wire has 14 Facebook pages coordinating to boost its content on a daily basis, making it more popular on Facebook than CNN and New York Times on many days.
Marc Steiner: So tell me. Theres this is tweet that AOC put out about Cambridge Analytica and I just looked, for our viewers to take a look at this a minute. I mean, heres what we know that Zuckerberg doesnt know when Facebook discovered, he discovered that Cambridge Analytica scandal, thats hard to believe. And so Zucc privately met with Trump and the far right. Hes now allowing pages for disinformation ads. He didnt tell the whole truth about his fact-checkers. So thats what you were alluding to. And, so what do you thinks afoot here when you have that and you had the News Wire and Ben Shapiro having 14, 16, 7 or the number of Facebook pages spewing out lies. He cut a deal with Breitbart, the right wing news media. I mean, is it all about money?
Adriel Hampton: Yeah, I want a smile, but I have to grimace through all of that. I think its about money and I think its about power, right? You consider, I gave a scenario of some both independent and very left organizations that could correlate to some of the organizations that are in power now with Facebook. And I guess the issue that were hammering on is that right now it appears that Facebook is either has a pure profit motive or it has the motive of kissing up to the administration, right? If you know that Trump is going to be really pissed off if you start censoring his content or if you start messing with the Daily Wire, then Facebook, they might do this stuff just to stay in Trumps good graces.
And weve also seen that Mark Zuckerberg does not want Elizabeth Warren to be president because shes openly called for the breakup of Facebook. So we have the CEO of a company manipulating an election here. And Im challenging their standing to be the arbiter of truth on their platform. Who gave Mark Zuckerberg the right to decide what the first amendment means.
Marc Steiner: I mean, thats the danger-
Adriel Hampton: Hes not a judge. Hes not a politician. Hes not democratically elected.
Marc Steiner: No. And thats the danger in part of this, is when the public commons is privately owned, it changes the nature of our democracy and could. I mean AOC put this other tweet up and when she.. the end of this tweet I think is shes really pushing hard here. When she writes to the end, they are making active and aggressive decisions that imperil our elections. And I think thats very real. And I think thats the point that were just beginning to uncover. I mean, Im not sure where this goes.
I mean, let me conclude with this, this last tweet here up from Carole Cadwalladr, who is in The Observer. And I thought what she said here was really something. Its not a crime. Its the coverup always, always, always. This weekend was he brought this fire out. And thats why I think theres trouble ahead for Zucc. This isnt the end of the Cambridge Analytical scandal. Its the beginning. I mean, so talk a bit about where you think this going to unfold and what this means for you and what youre about to do.
Adriel Hampton: Yeah. I think that we need democratic regulation of these companies. They should not be allowed to regulate themselves. If its a free speech issue from the first amendment, thats the government, not Facebook, that gets to decide how thats interpreted, right? We do, those of us on the progressive side of the spectrum, its challenging that we have more conservative Supreme Court than I would like to see these things. But Congress can act and also Sacramento can act and thats the importance of me running for governor. We will continue to challenge these policies.
Have I given you theres a Mitch McConnells scenario. Do you want to hear it?
Marc Steiner: Yep, please.
Adriel Hampton: So Mitchell McConnell right now is blocking action on any bills, right? Hes kind of saying Im the Grim Reaper of the Senate. Well, Mitch McConnell, how about we run a parody, a parody ad and well run it and it wont say that we want to elect or defeat you and it wont be an electioneering ad, but it will talk about how you secretly want to be president and you were secretly planning to stab Trump in the back in the impeachment hearings. And we will run that ad in Kentucky and well run it to, and these are real categories inside Facebooks ad targeting, and well run it too likely to engage with political content, (conservative) and people with a high school education.
Marc Steiner: Ill tell you what, well continue our conversations down the road for the next year. If you have you put something up, well try to do it and well put it out there on our sites as well and continue this conversation. And Im glad-
Adriel Hampton: Thanks.
Marc Steiner: its good to see a man whos not afraid to fight and have a sense of humor and keep pushing this so.
Adriel Hampton: Thank you Marc. Appreciate it.
Marc Steiner: Adriel Hampton, thanks so much for joining us today. Its been great.
Adriel Hampton: Absolutely.
Marc Steiner: Keep on telling them. And thank you all for watching The Real News. Im Marc Steiner. Good to have you with us. Let us know what you think. Take care.
Posted: August 22, 2017 at 11:57 pm
MEMESAN ongoing social phenomenon. These often come in the form of funny pictures and texts combined, creating jokes that are passed on across cultures throughout the world wide web.
One cannot possibly open social media or at the very least use the internet without coming across memes. For baby boomers (the generation born before the internet began), these things are mere silly distractions that take up most of generation Ys time. However, the truth is, theres more to it than meets the eye.
To address this misunderstanding between two different generations, Tropical Futures Institute (TFI) held a one night only open-sourced exhibit of memes entitled The Meme Show last Aug. 18. TFI is a loose group of like-minded individuals, an arm of 856 G Gallery that focuses on neo-centric community shows, focused more on bringing people together as emphasized by Anne Amores, assistant gallerist of 856 G Gallery.
Anyone can join. Its a celebration of the meme culture and were trying to elevate memes into an art form which it arguably is, said Zach Aldave, meme enthusiast and a member of TFI.
Memes relate to the Dada movement. The dada began as a reaction to the limitation of art. Dada started like that; its anti-art art. We can relate that to memes, which are satirical social commentaries, he continued. Its a super-mutated form of satire, added Anne.
The interrelation of cultures before was brought about by intercontinental travels and interracial marriages. Back in the day, globally educating oneself was expensive and entailed one to physically expose himself to another culture, but in the present generation this happens in a different way, more accessible and easier.
If you look at the meme and you strip all the unnecessary sh*tall the irony and all the humorit boils down to being just a pure form of social commentary, said Zach.
Memes are cultural symbols or social ideas in the form of jokes, and are virally transmitted through wires without needing one to get out of the house. So despite the fact that one is just staring into the computer screen reading memes, one is actually being educated about the varying cultures from the different corners of the Earth.
As a form of art, memes are also forms of expression. Some memes exhibit dark humor which represents the sector from which it comes, and which a lot of people surprisingly empathize with.
Some memes are also sort of expressing deeply seated feelings like depression. Whats good about memes is that these are like an outlet for a lot of people who are struggling. Usually theyre cloaked in irony or humor, and they empathize with each other through memes, said Anne.
Unknown by many, memes can be traced back in history. It is being brought to light as a science with a study called Memetics. Memetics is a study begun by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. In this study, memes are understood to be cultural genes, carrying cultural information from one person to another and human beings are vehicles of their transmission.
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Posted: August 20, 2017 at 6:15 pm
by Mikaela T. Bona and Joma M. Roble Published 20 August, 2017 at 1:01 AM from the April 2017 print issue
A meme is both the picture that is worth a thousand words and the few words that can make a thousand picturesor not.
Like hungry brigands waiting by the side of busy trade route, memes ambush and bombard many of us in our own journeys across the Internet, particularly when we travel by social media. They can strike our newsfeeds unexpectedly and boldly. However, unlike bandits out for bounty, Internet memes are seemingly a much more pleasant sight to encounter.
In her 2008 TED talk, memeticist Susan Blackmore explained that memes are bits of information that replicate themselves from person to person through imitation. Memeticists study memetics, a field which explores how ideas propagate among people. Blackmore then continued to say that we human beings have created a new meme: what she calls the technological meme, or the teme for short, which is a meme disseminated via technology. The teme is what is commonly known to be the meme with a comical picture and text shared on social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter.
This merry friend of ours still has much to share with us. As it acts as a mirror that can reflect our joys and sorrows in an instant, memes have also become a mouthpiece of a generation in constant flux.
To define it is to kill it
Ethologist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins is the first to coin the term meme in his bestselling book, The Selfish Gene. Deriving from the Greek mimemes and the French mme which mean imitated thing and memory, respectively, he defines the traditional meme as a living structure that transfers from brain to brain in the process of imitation.
According to Dawkins, memes could be tunes, ideas, catch-phrases, clothes, fashions, ways of making pots, or [even ways] of building the arches. He states further that memes and genes are both meant to sustain as well as change humans, but while genes exist for biological evolution, memes, on the other hand, are replicators that allow for cultural transmission throughout generations.
Interestingly, Dawkins did not lay down specificities as to why memes proliferated. Internet memes are steadily reproduced for an unknownand possibly nonexistentreason. As The Atlantic writer Venkatesh Rao puts it, the Internet meme is a meme in the original sense intended by Richard Dawkins: a cultural signifier that spreads simply because it is good at spreading. It pertains to something that is necessarily vague for it to be universally understood.
While a picture is often described to speak a thousand words, the meme goes beyond interrelated ideas and event. A photo of a smirking man with his right index finger pointing on the right side of his forehead, for instance, would mean hes thinking of something clever. What that thing is though is uncannily up to all of us, making us not just observers, but active participants in the meme experience.
When you speak of memes, you just feel that its a meme. It takes its own being of being a meme in your mind and it can become as weird or not weird as your imagination wants. Its just what it is for you, shares Vince Nieva, of the meme page Ageless Ateneo Memes, in his talk for Arete 2017: Hayo held last April 5.
The ambiguous quality of Internet memes have been subject to research since 2011. This is what paves the way for a designation of new meanings that creates a sense of flexibility. With every user that is able to add a new twist or plot to the meme, it becomes more amorphous and far-reaching that it connects seemingly disparate ideas into relational entities.
A language of its own
Rao believes that memes are an effect of the post-everything world we live in. He explains the complex intertwinement of ideas in our fast-paced world by emphasizing that there is a distinction between the Harambe meme and the actual slain zoo gorilla. This is an age wherein stories are captured while they are still unfolding.
Rapid media technology is going faster than humans can process, which can warp and stunt the emotional reactions to current news. The shock caused by the 2016 American election results led to the creation of many Donald Trump memes pre- and post-elections, which have since been correlated with other memes. In a world freer than ever before, we are both repressed by our technological creations and freed by them.
The universality of meme sharing on social media platforms has made it difficult to continue a single train of thought. In his contribution to the book The Social Media Reader, Patrick Davison states that viewing and linking...is part of the meme, as is saving and reposting. Ironically, the ability of anyone to take part in the dialogue, by a multitude of means through memes, has orchestrated cacophonies. However, genuine relationships can still be formed in the ruckus.
Memes can prove to be a global inside joke amongst ourselves. They can be a way for us to make [some] sense [out] of confusing events and perhaps even cope with personal lost-ness. Memes are a way to get people to connect, says Alfred Marasigan, an Ateneo Fine Arts lecturer, during his talk in Arete 2017: Hayo.
The practice of meme creation draws up a vague sense of community among those who partake in meme sharing; this creates a mutual understanding of what the meme isand principally, what it can be. People partake in the definition production that sustains the meme vogue for as long as possible until a new one comes along to dominate the cyber sphere, while the former eventually dies out.
As old memes die, strong emotions from people who share the same experience come together to form a new meme. Interestingly, it has also been a medium for cultural and socio-political critique. According to Know Your Meme, which tracks the origin of memes, the Evil Kermit meme is an image of Kermit and his nemesis Constantine, who is dressed like a Star Wars Sith lord and instructs Kermit to perform various indulgent, lazy, selfish and unethical acts.
The meme has been used to point out religions underlying crusade tendencies and even question meme culture itself. Other examples include the nut button, which evolved from having sexual implications to anything that can trigger one to act strongly, Arthurs Fista reaction to situations that are frustrating or infuriating, and many more.
Show and tell
In the technologically-forward society we live in, the way culture is transferred from person to person is changing. Internet memes have revolutionized communication by their nature of transmuting meaning as it spreads. As expressions of our alienation from what our traditional memes can normally keep up with, it is vital to note that we are satirizing something that we cannot fully understand. The world is perpetually moving and memes are constantly angled towards a multitude of narratives.
Memes are like junk food, says Andrew Ty, a lecturer at the Ateneo Department of Communication. Their gratification is immediate and not long-lasting and you end up waiting for the next one very quickly. In the end, [memes] are just one part of this overall tendency nowadays towards viral communication.
A study conducted at the University of Bonn in Germany provided mathematical models to explain the temporality of memes. Internet memes are just fads, but they are ones that persist by coming back with the same vague appeal and rhetoricalbeit in different forms. Their vogue is infectious to the generation as of now. Soon, however, theyll be images of the past.
It may seem hard to see memes as something akin to Edo Japans The Floating World of Ukiyo-e, or even Victorian era post-mortem photographs, but they might just be one of our eras most distinguishing and awestriking depictions. After all, the meme is representative of a world moving faster than we can understand. As its uncanniness pulls us in, it is likely for memes to one day be an iconic portrayal of our generation.