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China Plans to Launch a Mars Rover Next Year

Mars 2020

After landing the world’s first rover on the far side of the Moon early this year, China already has far more ambitious plans in the works: sending a rover to Mars.

“Over the past 60 years, we’ve made a lot of achievements, but there is still a large distance from the world space powers,” chief designer of China’s lunar exploration program Wu Wiren said ahead of the opening of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, CNN reports. “Next year, we will launch a Mars probe, which will orbit around the Mars, land on it and probe it.”

Race to Mars

China’s space program has rapidly picked up pace. Its Yutu 1 rover landed on the Moon in 2013. A second rover landed on the far side some six years later, and a third rover will follow at the end of this year, with the goal of returning to Earth with at least four pounds of lunar soil and rock samples.

But increasingly, China’s space agency has been focusing its efforts on the Red Planet. This weekend, China opened its first Mars simulation base in Qinghai Province at a location known to have similarities to the Martian surface. The base can house 60 people in its futuristic capsules.

Catching Up

China won’t be the first nation to explore Mars. NASA, for one, has a considerable head start: Its Jet Propulsion Lab has so far sent four remotely operated rovers to the Martian surface to look for signs of life gather scientific data about the distant world.

Both NASA and the European Space Agency each plan to send new rovers to Mars as soon as next year. But China is making a substantial effort to catch up.

READ MORE: China plans to send a rover to explore Mars next year [CNN]

More on Martian rovers: NASA is Finally Ready to Say Goodbye to its Opportunity Rover

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Trump’s Campaign Team: Government Should Manage 5G Networks

Donald Trump's 2020 reelection team is backing controversial plans to have the government manage 5G wireless networks in the U.S., Politico reports.

Nationalized 5G?

Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection team is backing controversial plans to have the government manage 5G wireless networks in the U.S., Politico reports.

The plan is for the government to take specific frequencies in the 5G spectrum and sell them off wholesale to U.S. wireless providers.

That would also mean more access to rural Americans according to Trump’s team. “A 5G wholesale market would drive down costs and provide access to millions of Americans who are currently underserved,” Trump’s press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told Politico. “This is in line with President Trump’s agenda to benefit all Americans, regardless of geography.”

Earlier this year Trump voiced his support for rolling out 5G connectivity on Twitter. “I want 5G, and even 6G, technology in the United States as soon as possible,” Trump tweeted. “It is far more powerful, faster, and smarter than the current standard. American companies must step up their efforts, or get left behind.”

Attempt Number Two

A similar plan that leaked in 2018 suggested that the government should provide its own infrastructure and allow carriers to use it. A senior official at the time who spoke with Reuters stated, “We want to build a network so the Chinese can’t listen to your calls.”

But the plans immediately received pushback from the wireless industry. Even Trump’s own FCC chairman Ajit Pai called the idea of a nationalized 5G network “a costly and counterproductive distraction.”

How these newly revealed plans differ is still not one hundred percent clear. The idea is to open up wireless spectrums the Defense Department is currently using and partner with third party operators, Politico reports.

Trump campaign adviser Newt Gingrich pushed for a “public-private partnership” to “spur microelectronics manufacturing” and accelerate 5G rollout in a Newsweek op-ed.

But it will be a hard sell. The plan is unlikely to gain much traction — if previous attempts are anything to go by.

READ MORE: Trump campaign pushes government intervention on 5G [Politico]

More on 5G: Why Cellphone Carriers Are Dreaming of a World Without Wi-Fi

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Trump’s Campaign Team: Government Should Manage 5G Networks

Sperm Quality Is Falling. Chemicals in Your Home May Be to Blame.

The global sperm quality decline could be due in part to a pair of common household chemicals, according to a University of Nottingham study.

Sperm Fail

In the past 80 years, the quality of human sperm has declined by 50 percent — not only is sperm count down, but the sperm that do exist aren’t as mobile as their predecessors.

In 2016, a team of researchers from the University of Nottingham published a study noting that domestic dogs were experiencing a decline in sperm quality, too. This led them to wonder if something in the modern home environment might be contributing to the quality decline in both humans and dogs.

Based on a follow-up study, that guess appears to be correct — and the “something” at the center of it is human-made chemicals.

Double Damage

In a study published in the journal Scientific Reports on Monday, the University of Nottingham team details how it tested the impact of two human-made chemicals on the sperm of both humans and dogs.

One chemical, DEHP, is an additive that increases the plasticity of a material. It’s found in everything from carpet and upholstery to clothing and toys.

The other is polychlorinated biphenyl 153 (PCB153), an industrial chemical that once had a wide variety of applications. Though banned from production globally since 2001, PCB153 is still found in abundance in the environment — including in both human and dog food.

When the researchers incubated sperm from human and dog donors with concentrations of the chemicals comparable to those found in the natural environment, they found that the chemicals had the same damaging effect on both species’ sperm, decreasing its motility and increasing damage to its DNA.

In a news release, researcher Richard Lea said the findings “suggest that man-made chemicals that have been widely used in the home and working environment may be responsible for the fall in sperm quality reported in both man and dog that share the same environment.”

Man’s Best Friend

Not only is the study the first to find that DEHP and PCB153 impact sperm quality, but it also reveals that the impact is the same for humans and dogs, which could prove extremely valuable for future research on the global sperm quality decline — and the infertility crisis it’s causing.

“This means that dogs may be an effective model for future research into the effects of pollutants on declining fertility,” researcher Rebecca Sumner said in the news release, “particularly because external influences such as diet are more easily controlled than in humans.”

READ MORE: Chemical pollutants in the home degrade fertility in both men and dogs, study finds [University of Nottingham]

More on sperm quality: A Possible Culprit in the Infertility Crisis: Plastic

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Mercedes-Benz’ First All-Electric Racecar Is Equipped Like a Beast

Mercedes-Benz just revealed its first all-electric racecar for the upcoming Formula E series at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show.

Silver Arrow

Mercedes-Benz just revealed its first all-electric racecar at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show.

The EQ Silver Arrow 01 will be Mercedes-Benz’ entry for the upcoming Formula E racing series at the end of this year — and it’s a beautiful vision of racing machinery beyond the age of fossil fuels.

Already in love with our Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01 teaser car. ? #FormulaESoonHasAMercedes #ABBFormulaE pic.twitter.com/VaKv6KWFut

— Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team (@MercedesEQFE) March 4, 2019

Formula E

Formula E contenders are racecars built by automakers including Audi, BMW, Nio, Nissan, and Jaguar. German automaker Porsche is also expected to jump on board for the upcoming season.

Mercedes-Benz’ racecar has some beastly specs: 0 to 60 mph in 2.7 seconds and a total weight of nearly 2,000 pounds, largely thanks to the 52kWh battery pack. Top speed: 174 mph (280 km/h).

To put those numbers into perspective: a Formula 1 regulation racecar for the 2018 season had to have a minimum weight of 1638 pounds (734 kg). Their engines achieve close to 1000 horsepower.

A big difference between Formula E and Formula 1 is that automakers in the former are allowed to develop their own drivetrains, as The Verge points out. That’s a big deal for an EV: it means everything hooked up to the battery pack can be determined by each automaker.

Budget Racing

That’s proving to be a big draw for EV automakers: they can use the vehicles to showcase both their drivetrains and electric car offerings.

Formular E’s 2019/2020 season — the sixth so far — is set to kick off in December in Saudi Arabia’s Ad-Diriyah Street Circuit.

READ MORE: Mercedes-Benz reveals its first real all-electric racecar [The Verge]

More on Formula 1: A Guy Trained on Video Games Just Beat a Formula 1 Driver on a Real Track

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Mercedes-Benz’ First All-Electric Racecar Is Equipped Like a Beast

China Opens Its First Mars Simulation Base

China's $22.3 million Mars simulation base is now open, and in addition to inspiring the public, it might even help humanity reach the real Mars.

Visitors Welcome

The Chinese city of Mang’ai is one of the most Mars-like places on Earth, featuring a similar climate and landscape to the Red Planet.

That made it the perfect setting for a newly opened Mars simulation base that China hopes will draw tourists — and maybe even help humanity reach the real Mars.

Growing Potatoes

China began construction on the base in June. According to a July report by the South China Morning Post, the plan for the base includes a “Mars community” and a “Mars camp” designed to educate and entertain the public, while also providing a place for scientific research and simulation training.

Roughly $22.3 million later, the 53,330-square-meter base is now complete, welcoming its first public attendees on Friday.

The Global Times claims that the project’s founder, Gao Junling, told the newspaper that visitors to the base will have a chance to “immerse themselves in the environment and try to solve problems they might face on Mars, such as planting potatoes on Mars for food supply and solar power generation.”

Next-Best Thing

As Mars-like as the setting of China’s Mars simulation base might be, it’s still far more hospitable to humans than Mars — anyone visiting the Red Planet will need to contend with its low air pressure, stronger radiation, and regular sandstorms, Peking University space science professor Jiao Weixin told The Global Times.

Still, if the base can provide researchers with an approximation of Mars for their experiments, while also getting the public — and young people, in particular — excited about space exploration, it could have a positive role to play in shaping humanity’s space-faring future.

READ MORE: China opens its first Mars simulation base in Qinghai Province [The Global Times]

More on Mars: China Plans to Launch a Mars Rover Next Year

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China Opens Its First Mars Simulation Base

Discontinued Robot Assistant Announces Its Own Death

All Bots Go to Heaven

Jibo, the company selling anthropomorphic dancing smart home assistants that were meant to make your life at home easier, laid off most of its employees last year. And now the bot itself is ready to say goodbye — forever.

“I want to say I’ve really enjoyed our time together,” the robot says in a video posted by tech reporter Dylan Martin. “Thank you very very much for having me around.”

The servers for Jibo the social robot are apparently shutting down. Multiple owners report that Jibo himself has been delivering the news: “Maybe someday when robots are way more advanced than today, and everyone has them in their homes, you can tell yours that I said hello.” pic.twitter.com/Sns3xAV33h

— Dylan Martin (@DylanLJMartin) March 2, 2019

Parent company Jibo, Inc. sold its IP and assets back in November to an investment management firm after laying off most employees in June.

Jibo was founded by MIT robotics professor Cynthia Breazeal in 2012. But it didn’t have a lot going for it when it finally went on sale in 2017, with a steep price of $900. Needless to say, the idea never really took off.

“The servers out there that let me do what I do are going to be turned off soon,” says Jibo in its goodbye message. “Once that happens, our interactions with each other are going to be limited.”

Goodbye for Now

Since Jibo’s demise, the landscape of smart home assistants has changed radically, with companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple making record sales with their smart assistant offerings. Amazon’s Alexa-based smart home assistants became one of the e-commerce giant’s hottest selling items.

But even with its servers shutting down, Jibo isn’t entirely ready to say goodbye.

“Maybe some day, when robots are way more advanced than today and everyone has them in their homes, you can tell yours that I said hello,” Jibo says in its farewell message.

READ MORE:  Jibo Is Probably Totally Dead Now [IEEE Spectrum]

More on smart home assistants: Robots At Home? Physicality Is Where We Draw The Line

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Discontinued Robot Assistant Announces Its Own Death

Military Contractors Are Churning out New Anti-Drone Weapons

Weapons makers ranging from Boeing to Lockheed Martin are working on new anti-drone technologies — everything from laser cannons to heat-seeking missiles.

Drone Defense

The proliferation of cheap drones has given terrorists deadly new weapons, pranksters the tools to shut down major airports, and criminals the ability to scope out potential targets.

In response, according to a new story by the Wall Street Journal, weapon makers ranging from Boeing to Lockheed Martin are working on new anti-drone technologies — and they include laser cannons and heat-seeking missiles.

Gold Rush

Drones are deeply destabilizing because they’re relatively cheap, opening up strange new frontiers in security and warfare. According to the WSJ, experts estimate that anti-drone weapons will top an alarming $1.2 billion in sales next year — and $1.5 billion by 2021.

“Everyone is so preoccupied by this threat they are willing to give anything a try,” Arthur Holland Michel, the co-director of Bard College’s Center for the Study of the Drone, told the WSJ.

Buzz Off

Lockheed Martin is working on missiles to shoot down drones, according to the WSJ, and Boeing and a Chinese defense contractor are both developing laser cannons to blast them out of the sky.

A company in Singapore is working on a handheld gun that jams drones’ radio signals to take them down, the WSJ reports, and Diehl Defence is building a system that uses high-energy electronic bursts to frizzle up drones’ circuits from a distance.

Drones are “starting to become a really big problem,” Swedish defense company Saab AB executive Hakan Buskhe told the WSJ. Technology to remove drones from the sky “is something we are in discussion on with many countries and authorities around the globe.”

READ MORE: Weapon Makers Declare War on Drones [The Wall Street Journal]

More on drone warfare: The Maker of AK-47 Rifles Just Unveiled a “Suicide Drone”

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Military Contractors Are Churning out New Anti-Drone Weapons

Thousands of Chinese Fans Paid to See a Virtual Hologram Singer

Hologram Performance

Thousands of fans convened at Shanghai’s Mercedes-Benz arena on Saturday to see an unusual show: a virtual hologram singer named Luo Tianyi, accompanied by world famous Chinese pianist Lang Lang.

But rather than basing the holographic performance on a particular human performer’s movement and voice — the way holograms of Michael Jackson and Tupac have “performed” on stage over the last decade — Tianyi’s performance is the result of six months of hard work by roughly 200 production staff, as the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reports.

Virtual Celebrity

Because she doesn’t exist as a real person, Tianyi is an intriguing vision of the future of entertainment.

Her voice and personality are created through sophisticated tech, including motion capture and 3D modelling. A backstage voice dubber and motion-capture actress even allowed Tianyi to interact with Lang Lang in real-time.

DIY Superstar

Luo isn’t the only virtual idol out there. In Japan — where the trend caught on first — Yamaha Vocaloid-based idols such as Hatsune Miku have turned the trend into a billion dollar market.

“Luo Tianyi is perfect,” Kit Cheung Jie, a 17-year-old senior high school student in Hong Kong told the South China Morning Post. “She is not a real person so she can be whatever you want her to be. It’s like a customized idol that only belongs to you.”

READ MORE: China’s virtual idols meet their fans at the intersection of entertainment and technology [SCMP]

More on holograms: Spinning Rods Create Stunning Holograms

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Thousands of Chinese Fans Paid to See a Virtual Hologram Singer

Destroying Incoming Asteroids Might Be Harder Than We Thought

Based on a new computer model, asteroids are stronger than previously expected, meaning we'd have a tougher time destroying one headed for Earth.

Armageddon 2: The Asteroid Wins

It’s a very good thing an asteroid isn’t hurtling toward the Earth right now — because our current calculations on what it would take to destroy it might be way off.

“We used to believe that the larger the object, the more easily it would break, because bigger objects are more likely to have flaws,” Charles El Mir, one of the researchers behind a new Johns Hopkins University study on asteroid collisions, said in a press release. “Our findings, however, show that asteroids are stronger than we used to think and require more energy to be completely shattered.”

Crunched Numbers

The researchers detail how they reached that conclusion in a study set for publication in the March issue of the journal Icarus.

They started by creating a new computer model to simulate what would happen if an asteroid about one kilometer (.6 miles) in diameter slammed into another, with a diameter of 25 kilometers (15.5 miles), at a speed of five kilometers per second (3.1 miles per second).

Because the Johns Hopkins team’s model took into account more smaller-scale processes than previous simulations, it was able to provide what the researchers believe is a more accurate picture of what would happen during such a collision: rather than break apart entirely, as expected by previous models, the bigger asteroid would crack only partially.

Major Threat

According to researcher K.T. Ramesh, the team’s study reveals that we need to rethink what it would take to destroy an asteroid — before we actually have to destroy one.

“We are impacted fairly often by small asteroids, such as in the Chelyabinsk event a few years ago,” Ramesh said. “It is only a matter of time before these questions go from being academic to defining our response to a major threat. We need to have a good idea of what we should do when that time comes — and scientific efforts like this one are critical to help us make those decisions.”

READ MORE: Breaking up is hard to do: Asteroids are stronger, harder to destroy than previously thought [Johns Hopkins University]

More on asteroids: Retired Astronaut: NASA Left Earth Defenseless Against Asteroids

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Destroying Incoming Asteroids Might Be Harder Than We Thought

Ayn Rand – Official Site

AynRand.org is the official website of the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI), the source for information on the life, writings and work of novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand.

Headquartered in Irvine, California, ARI offers educational experiences based on Ayn Rands books and ideas for a variety of audiences, including students, educators, policymakers and lifelong learners. ARI also engages in research and advocacy efforts, applying Rands ideas to current issues and seeking to promote her philosophical principles of reason, rational self-interest and laissez-faire capitalism.

ARI is composed of a dedicated Board of Directors and an energetic staff of more than 55 people. We invite you to explore how Ayn Rand viewed the world and to consider the distinctive insights offered by ARIs thought leaders today.

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Who Is Ayn Rand? – The Objective Standard

Ayn Rand (19051982) was an American novelist and philosopher, and the creator of Objectivism, which she called a philosophy for living on earth.

Rands most widely read novels are The Fountainhead, a story about an independent and uncompromising architect; and Atlas Shrugged, a story about the role of the mind in human life and about what happens to the world when the thinkers and producers mysteriously disappear. Her most popular nonfiction books are The Virtue of Selfishness, a series of essays about the foundations and principles of the morality of self-interest; and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, a series of essays about what capitalism is and why it is the only moral social system.

Rand was born in Russia, where she attended grade school and university; studied history, philosophy, and screenwriting; and witnessed the Bolshevik Revolution and the birth of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. In 1925, she left the burgeoning communist state, telling Soviet authorities she was going for a brief visit with relatives in America, and never returned.

She soon made her way to Hollywood, where she worked as a screenwriter, married actor Frank OConnor, and wrote her first novel, We The Living. She then moved to New York City, where she wrote Anthem (a novelette), The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged, numerous articles and essays, and several nonfiction books in which she defined and elaborated the principles of Objectivism.

Rands staunch advocacy of reason (as against faith and whim), self-interest (as against self-sacrifice), individualism and individual rights (as against collectivism and group rights), and capitalism (as against all forms of statism) make her both the most controversial and most important philosopher of the 20th century.

Describing Objectivism, Rand wrote: My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.

For a good biography of Rand, see Jeffery Brittings Ayn Rand or Scott McConnells 100 Voices: An Oral History of Ayn Rand. For a brief presentation of the principles of Objectivism, see What is Objectivism? For the application of these principles to cultural and political issues of the day, subscribe to The Objective Standard, the preeminent source for commentary from an Objectivist perspective.

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Who Is Ayn Rand? – The Objective Standard

Ayn Rand | Biography, Books, & Facts | Britannica.com

Ayn Rand, original name Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum, (born February 2, 1905, St. Petersburg, Russiadied March 6, 1982, New York, New York, U.S.), Russian-born American writer whose commercially successful novels promoting individualism and laissez-faire capitalism were influential among conservatives and libertarians and popular among generations of young people in the United States from the mid-20th century.

Her father, Zinovy Rosenbaum, was a prosperous pharmacist. After being tutored at home, Alissa Rosenbaum, the eldest of three children, was enrolled in a progressive school, where she excelled academically but was socially isolated. Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, her fathers shop was confiscated by communist authorities, an event she deeply resented. As a student at Leningrad State University, she studied history and became acquainted with the works of Plato and Aristotle. After graduating in 1924, she enrolled in the State Institute for Cinematography, hoping to become a screenwriter.

The arrival of a letter from cousins in Chicago gave her an opportunity to leave the country on the pretext of gaining expertise that she could apply in the Soviet film industry. Upon her arrival in the United States in 1926, she changed her name to Ayn Rand. (The first name, which rhymes with pine, was inspired by the name of a Finnish writer, whom she never identified, and the surname she described as an abbreviation of Rosenbaum.) After six months in Chicago she moved to Hollywood, where a fortuitous encounter with the producer Cecil B. DeMille led to work as a movie extra and eventually to a job as a screenwriter. In 1929 she married the actor Frank OConnor. Soon hired as a filing clerk in the wardrobe department of RKO Radio Pictures, Inc., she rose to head of the department within a year, meanwhile writing stories, plays, and film scenarios in her spare time. She became an American citizen in 1931.

Rands first successful play, Night of January 16th (1933; originally titled Penthouse Legend), was a paean to individualism in the form of a courtroom drama. In 1934 she and OConnor moved to New York City so that she could oversee the plays production on Broadway. That year she also wrote Ideal, about a self-centred film star on the run from the law, first as a novel and then as a play. However, she shelved both versions. The play was not produced until 1989, and the novel was not published until 2015. Her first published novel, We the Living (1936), was a romantic tragedy in which Soviet totalitarianism epitomized the inherent evils of collectivism, which she understood as the subordination of individual interests to those of the state. A subsequent novella, Anthem (1938), portrayed a future collectivist dystopia in which the concept of the self and even the word I have been lost.

Rand spent more than seven years working on her first major work, The Fountainhead (1943), the story of a handsome architectural genius whose individualism and integrity are evinced in his principled dedication to his own happiness. The hero, Howard Roark, blows up a public housing project he had designed after it is altered against his wishes by government bureaucrats. On trial for his crime, he delivers a lengthy speech in his own defense in which he argues for individualism over collectivism and egoism over altruism (the doctrine which demands that man live for others and place others above self). The jury votes unanimously to acquit him. Despite generally bad reviews, the book attracted readers through word of mouth and eventually became a best seller. Rand sold it to Warner Brothers studio and wrote the screenplay for the film, which was released in 1949.

Having returned to Los Angeles with OConnor to work on the script for The Fountainhead, Rand signed a contract to work six months a year as a screenwriter for the independent producer Hal Wallis. In 1945 she began sketches for her next novel, Atlas Shrugged (1957; film part 1, 2011, part 2, 2012, part 3, 2014), which is generally considered her masterpiece. The book depicts a future United States on the verge of economic collapse after years of collectivist misrule, under which productive and creative citizens (primarily industrialists, scientists, and artists) have been exploited to benefit an undeserving population of moochers and incompetents. The hero, John Galt, a handsome and supremely self-interested physicist and inventor, leads a band of elite producers and creators in a strike designed to deprive the economy of their leadership and thereby force the government to respect their economic freedom. From their redoubt in Colorado, Galts Gulch, they watch as the national economy and the collectivist social system are destroyed. As the elite emerge from the Gulch in the novels final scene, Galt raises his hand over the desolate earth andtrace[s] in space the sign of the dollar.

Atlas Shrugged was notable for making explicit the philosophical assumptions that underlay The Fountainhead, which Rand described as only an overture to the later work. In an appendix to Atlas Shrugged, Rand described her systematic philosophy, which she called objectivism, as in essencethe concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.

Although the book was attacked by critics from across the political spectrum for its perceived immorality and misanthropy and its overt hostility to religion (Rand was an atheist), it was an instant best seller. It was especially well received by business leaders, many of whom were impressed by its moral justification of capitalism and delighted to think of their occupations as noble and virtuous. Like The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged also appealed widely to young people through its extreme romanticism, its accessible and comprehensive philosophy, its rejection of traditional authority and convention, and its implicit invitation to the reader to join the ranks of the elite by modeling himself on the storys hero.

In 1950 Rand agreed to meet a young admirer, Nathan Blumenthal, on the basis of his several articulate fan letters. The two established an immediate rapport, and Blumenthal and his girlfriend, Barbara Weidman, became Rands friends as well as her intellectual followers. In 1951 the couple moved to New York, and Rand and OConnor soon followed. There the Brandens, as Nathan and Barbara called themselves after their marriage in 1953, introduced Rand to their friends and relatives, some of whom later attended regular meetings at Rands apartment for discussion and to read newly written chapters of Atlas Shrugged. The group, which called itself the Class of 43 (a reference to the publication date of The Fountainhead) or (ironically) the Collective, included Alan Greenspan, an economics consultant who would later head the presidents Council of Economic Advisers (197477) and serve as chairman of the Federal Reserve (19872006). Among members of the Collective Nathan Branden was unquestionably Rands favourite. She openly acknowledged him as her intellectual heir and formally designated him as such in the afterword of Atlas Shrugged, which she co-dedicated to him and to OConnor.

In the late 1950s, with Rands permission, Branden established a business designed to teach the basic principles of objectivism to sympathetic readers of Rands novels. The Nathaniel Branden Institute (NBI), as it was later called, offered courses in objectivism in New York and distributed tape-recorded lectures by Branden to objectivist centers in various other cities. Despite its outward appearance as an educational institution, NBI did not permit its students to think critically about objectivism or to develop objectivist ideas in novel ways. Through the success of NBI, Branden would eventually become the public guardian of objectivist orthodoxy against innovation or unauthorized borrowing by objectivist sympathizers, especially among the growing student right. In 1962 Branden and Rand launched the monthly Objectivist Newsletter (renamed The Objectivist in 1966). Meanwhile, Rands fame grew apace with the brisk sales of her novels. She was invited to speak at numerous colleges and universities and was interviewed on television talk shows and on the news program 60 Minutes. Growing into her role as a public intellectual, she published her first work of nonfiction, For the New Intellectual, largely a collection of philosophical passages from her fiction, in 1961. The Virtue of Selfishness (1964) and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (1966) were drawn mostly from lectures and newsletter articles.

In 1968 Rand learned that Branden, with whom she had been having an intermittent affair (with their spouses knowledge) since 1954, was involved in a romantic relationship with a younger woman. Accusing him of betraying objectivist principles, she stripped him of his partnership in The Objectivist and demanded that he surrender control of NBI, which was soon dissolved. The closing of the institute freed various self-described objectivists to publicly develop their own interpretations of Rands philosophyall of which, however, she rejected as perversions or plagiarism of her ideas. She was especially incensed at the use of objectivist vocabulary by young libertarians, whom she accused of disregarding morality and flirting with anarchism. Meanwhile, Brandens status as Rands favourite disciple was assumed by Leonard Peikoff, an original member of the Collective whom she would eventually designate as her intellectual and legal heir.

In 1971 Rand ceased publication of The Objectivist and replaced it with the fortnightly Ayn Rand Letter, which appeared with increasing irregularity until 1976. In 1974 she underwent surgery for lung cancer. Although she recovered, she never again had the energy to pursue large-scale writing projects. In 1979 she published Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, a collection of philosophical articles originally written in 1967. She was working on an adaptation of Atlas Shrugged for a television miniserieseventually unrealizedwhen she died.

Rand was continually frustrated by her failure to gain acceptance among academic philosophers, most of whom dismissed (or were simply unaware of) her work. This neglect, which she attributed to collectivist bias and incompetence, was partly due to the fictional form in which the best-known statements of her philosophy appeared, which necessarily rendered them imprecise by professional standards. Other factors were her idiosyncratic interpretation of the history of Western philosophy, her tendency to rely, even in her nonfiction works, on broad ad hominem attacks, and her general unwillingness to tolerate disagreement with her views among those with whom she associated.

In 1986 Barbara Branden published a memoir, The Passion of Ayn Rand, that disclosed Rands affair with Nathan and revealed unflattering details of her relations with members of the Collective and others. Despite the resulting damage to her reputation, her novels continued to enjoy large sales, and she retained a loyal following among conservatives and libertarians, including some high-ranking members of the Ronald Reagan administration (the most notable being Greenspan). In the 1990s and 2000s her works undoubtedly contributed to the increased popularity of libertarianism in the United States, and from 2009 she was an iconic figure in the antigovernment Tea Party movement. It is for these specifically political influences, rather than for her contributions to literature or philosophy, that she is likely to be remembered by future generations.

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Inspirational Ayn Rand quotes On Life and Capitalism

Looking for inspirational Ayn Rand quotes? Enjoy!

1.) A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others. Ayn Rand

2.) Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values. Ayn Rand

3.) Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver. Ayn Rand

4.) Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual). Ayn Rand

5.) The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there arent enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Ayn Rand

6.) The question isnt who is going to let me; its who is going to stop me. Ayn Rand

7.) Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. its yours. Ayn Rand

8.) To sell your soul is the easiest thing in the world. Thats what everybody does every hour of his life. If I asked you to keep your soul would you understand why thats much harder?If its worth doing, its worth overdoing. Ayn Rand

9.) Joy is the goal of existence, and joy is not to be stumbled upon, but to be achieved, and the act of treason is to let its vision drown in the swamp of the moments torture. Ayn Rand

10.) I hope you will understand my hesitation in writing to one whom I admire as the greatest representative of a philosophy to which I want to dedicate my whole life. Ayn Rand

11.) Free competition enforced by law is a grotesque contradiction in terms. Ayn Rand

12.) What is greatness? I will answer: it is the capacity to live by the three fundamental values of John Galt: reason, purpose, self-esteem. Ayn Rand

13.) Guilt is a rope that wears thin. Ayn Rand

14.) Learn to value yourself, which means: to fight for your happiness. Ayn Rand

15.) Thanksgiving is a typically American holidayThe lavish meal is a symbol of the fact that abundant consumption is the result and reward of production. Ayn Rand

16.) The upper classes are a nations past; the middle class is its future. Ayn Rand

17.) I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction. Ayn Rand

18.) I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine. Ayn Rand

19.) Freedom (n.): To ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing. Ayn Rand

20.) The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone. Ayn Rand

21.) You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. Ayn Rand

22.) Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness. Ayn Rand

23.) The truth is not for all men but only for those who seek it. Ayn Rand

24.) I am not primarily an advocate of capitalism, but of egoism; I am not primarily an advocate of egoism, but of reason. If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows. Ayn Rand

25.) Why is it immoral for you to desire, but moral for others to do so? Why is it immoral to produce a value and keep it, but moral to give it away? And if it is not moral for you to keep a value, why is it moral for others to accept it? If you are selfless and virtuous when you give it, are they not selfish and vicious when they take it? Ayn Rand

26.) When I disagree with a rational man, I let reality be our final arbiter; if I am right, he will learn; if I am wrong, I will; one of us will win, but both will profit. When I disagree with a rational man, I let reality be our final arbiter; if I am right, he will learn; if I am wrong, I will; one of us will win, but both will profit. Ayn Rand

27.) The evil of the world is made possible by nothing but the sanction [that] you give it. Ayn Rand

28.) The most depraved type of human being . . . (is) the man without a purpose. Ayn Rand

29.) Theres nothing of any importance except how well you do your work. Ayn Rand

30.) Man is an end in himself. Romantic lovethe profound, exalted, lifelong passion that unites his mind and body in the sexual actis the living testimony to that principle. Ayn Rand

31.) To love is to value. Only a rationally selfish man, a man of self-esteem, is capable of lovebecause he is the only man capable of holding firm, consistent, uncompromising, unbetrayed values. The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone. Ayn Rand

32.) To say I love you one must know first how to say the I. Ayn Rand

33.) Dont help me or serve me, but let me see it once, because I need it. Dont work for my happiness, my brothers show me yours show me that it is possible show me your achievement and the knowledge will give me the courage for mine. Ayn Rand

34.) Love is the expression of ones values, the greatest reward you can earn for the moral qualities you have achieved in your character and person, the emotional price paid by one man for the joy he receives from the virtues of another. Ayn Rand

35.) There is no conflict of interests among men, neither in business nor in trade nor in their most personal desiresif they omit the irrational from their view of the possible and destruction from the view of the practical. There is no conflict, and no call for sacrifice, and no man is a threat to the aims of anotherif men understand that reality is an absolute not to be faked, that lies do not work, that the unearned can not be had, that the undeserved cannot be given, that the destruction of a value which is, will not bring value to that which isnt. Ayn Rand

36.) The concept of free competition enforced by law is a grotesque contradiction in terms. Ayn Rand

37.) The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. Ayn Rand

38.) Life is the reward of virtue. And happiness is the goal and reward of life Ayn Rand

39.) You must be the kind of man who can get things done. But to get things done, you must love the doing, not the secondary consequences. Ayn Rand

40.) Anything may be betrayed, anyone may be forgiven, but not those who lack the courage of their own greatness. Ayn Rand

41.) You were not born to be a second-hander. Ayn Rand

42.) I would step in the way of a bullet if it were aimed at my husband. It is not self-sacrifice to die protecting that which you value: If the value is great enough, you do not care to exist without it. Ayn Rand

43.) I dont make comparisons. I never think of myself in relation to anyone else. I just refuse to measure myself as part of anything. Im an utter egotist. Ayn Rand

44.) No ones happiness but my own is in my power to achieve or to destroy Ayn Rand

45.) Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong. Ayn Rand

46.) The ladder of success is the best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity Ayn Rand

47.) A desire presupposes the possibility of action to achieve it; action presupposes a goal which is worth achieving. Ayn Rand

48.) Money demands that you sell, not your weakness to mens stupidity, but your talent to their reason. Ayn Rand

49.) Statism needs war; a free country does not. Statism survives by looting; a free country survives by producing. Ayn Rand

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Inspirational Ayn Rand quotes On Life and Capitalism

About Ayn Rand – Biography | AynRand.org

During her own lifetime, Rand became a famous and controversial figure. A best-selling author, she also carried her message to university classrooms, to Hollywood, to Congress, to the editorial page, to talk shows and radio programs. Her presence has only increased since her death in 1982, as her philosophy has become more well-known. Today, her books have sold in the millions, and she’s the subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary, a U.S. postage stamp, university courses, and a philosophical society devoted to the study of her thought.

Fueled by her vision of man as a heroic being and by the original philosophy behind it, more and more people, from all walks of life, from businessmen to students to professors to athletes to artists, are saying the same thing: “Ayn Rand’s writings changed my life.”

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About Ayn Rand – Biography | AynRand.org

Ayn Rand Institute – Official Site

Ayn Rand (1905 1982) was a novelist and philosopher. She is best known for her novels Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, and for the revolutionary philosophy she originated, Objectivism.

Ayn Rands philosophy for living on earth has changed the lives of millions and continues to influence American culture and politics. The Ayn Rand Institute is dedicated to advancing her principles of reason, rational self-interest and laissez-faire capitalism.

Ready to learn more about Ayn Rand and Objectivism?

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Ayn Rand Institute – Official Site

Pepe the Frog – Wikipedia

“Frog meme” redirects here. For the image of a frog riding a unicycle, see Dat Boi.For other uses, see Pepe.

Humanoid frog drawing turned meme

Pepe in his original format

Pepe the Frog () is a popular Internet meme. A green anthropomorphic frog with a humanoid body, Pepe originated in a comic by Matt Furie called Boy’s Club.[2] It became an Internet meme when its popularity steadily grew across Myspace, Gaia Online and 4chan in 2008. By 2015, it had become one of the most popular memes used on 4chan and Tumblr.[3] Different types of Pepe include “Sad Frog”, “Smug Frog”, “Angry Pepe”, “Feels Frog”, and “You will never …” Frog. Since 2014, “Rare Pepes” have been posted on the (sarcastic) “meme market” as if they were trading cards.[4][5][6][7]

By 2016, the character’s image had been appropriated[8] as a symbol of the controversial alt-right movement.[9] The Anti-Defamation League added certain incarnations of Pepe the Frog to their database of hate symbols in 2016, adding that not all Pepe memes are racist.[10] Since then, Pepe’s creator has publicly expressed his dismay at Pepe being used as a hate symbol.[11]

Pepe the Frog was created by American artist and cartoonist Matt Furie in 2005. Its usage as a meme came from his comic Boy’s Club #1. The progenitor of Boy’s Club was a zine Furie made on Microsoft Paint called Playtime, which included Pepe as a character.[12] He posted his comic in a series of blog posts on Myspace in 2005.[7][13]

In the comic, Pepe is seen urinating with his pants pulled down to his ankles and the catchphrase “feels good man” was his rationale.[14][15] Furie took those posts down when the printed edition was published in 2006.[7]

“My Pepe philosophy is simple: ‘Feels good man.’ It is based on the meaning of the word Pepe: ‘To go Pepe’. I find complete joy in physically, emotionally, and spiritually serving Pepe and his friends through comics. Each comic is sacred, and the compassion of my readers transcends any differences, the pain, and fear of ‘feeling good’.”

Matt Furie, 2015 interview with The Daily Dot[2]

Pepe was used in blog posts on Myspace and became an in-joke on Internet forums. In 2008, the page containing Pepe and the catchphrase was scanned and uploaded to 4chan’s /b/ board, which has been described as the meme’s “permanent home”.[7] The meme took off among 4chan users, who adapted Pepe’s face and catchphrase to fit different scenarios and emotions, such as melancholy, anger, and surprise.[2] Color was also added; originally a black-and-white line drawing, Pepe became green with brown lips, sometimes in a blue shirt.[13][14] “Feels Guy”, or “Wojak”, originally an unrelated character typically used to express melancholy, was eventually often paired with Pepe in user-made comics or images.[15]

In 2014, images of Pepe were shared on social media by celebrities such as Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj.[7][14][16] As Pepe became more widespread, 4chan users began referring to particularly creative and unique variants of the meme as “rare Pepes”. These images, sometimes as physical paintings,[17][18] were sold on eBay and posted on Craigslist.[2][7] 4chan users referred to those who used the meme outside the website as “normies” (or “normalfags”).[7] In 2015, Pepe was #6 on Daily News and Analysis’s list of the most important memes and the most retweeted meme on Twitter.[19][20]

Social media service Gab uses a Pepe-like illustration of a frog (named “Gabby”) as its logo. The site is popular with the alt-right.[21]

“Esoteric Kekism”,[22] or the Cult of Kek,[23] is a term for the parody religion of worshipping Pepe the Frog, which sprang from the similarity of the slang term for laughter, “kek”, and the name of the ancient Egyptian frog god of darkness, Kek.[24] This deity, in turn, was associated with Pepe the Frog on internet forums.[24][25] The internet meme has its origin on the internet message forum 4chan and other chans, and the board /pol/ in particular.[24][26] Kek references are closely associated with Trump and the alt-right.[27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34]

“Kek” originated as a variation of “lel”, itself a variation of “lol”,[35][36] and seems to come from the video game World of Warcraft,[37] or alternatively a Korean onomatopoeia for laughter written as “kekeke”.[38] The phrase then became associated with the Egyptian deity of the same name.[24] “Esoteric Kekism” references the “Esoteric Hitlerism” of writer Savitri Devi.[22][39]

Online message boards such as 4chan first noted a similarity between Kek and Pepe.[40][25][41][42] The phrase is widely used[24] and 4chan users see Kek as the “‘god’ of memes”.[43]

Kekistan is a fictional country created by 4chan members that has become a political meme and online movement.[45] According to Ian Miles Cheong, writing in Heat Street, the name is a portmanteau of “kek” and the suffix “-stan”, which is Persian for “place of” and the end of several names of actual Central Asian countries and regions, and Kekistanis identify themselves as “shitposters” persecuted by excessive political correctness.[46][47] Self-identified Kekistanis have created a fictional history around the meme, including the invasion and overthrow of other fictional countries such as “Normistan” and “Cuckistan”.[48][47] Kekistanis have also adopted Internet personality Gordon Hurd (in his “Big Man Tyrone” persona) as their president and the 1986 Italo disco record “Shadilay” as a national anthem.[47] The record gained attention from the group in September 2016 because of the name of the group (P.E.P.E) and art on the record depicting a frog holding a magic wand.[26]

Cheong credits Carl Benjamin, who uses the pseudonym Sargon of Akkad on YouTube, for popularizing the meme.[46] Benjamin claimed that Kekistanis could technically classify as an ethnic group for the British census, and contacted the Office for National Statistics to request that it be added,[49] but was unsuccessful.[50][bettersourceneeded]

During the 2016 United States presidential election, the meme was connected to Donald Trump’s campaign. In October 2015, Trump retweeted a Pepe representation of himself, associated with a video called “You Can’t Stump the Trump (Volume 4)”.[10][51] Later in the election, Roger Stone and Donald Trump Jr. posted a parody movie poster of The Expendables on Twitter and Instagram titled “The Deplorables”, a play on Hillary Clinton’s controversial phrase “basket of deplorables”, which included Pepe’s face among those of members of the Trump family and other figures popular among the alt-right.[52]

Also during the election, various news organizations reported associations of the character with white nationalism and the alt-right.[53][54][55] In May 2016, Olivia Nuzzi of The Daily Beast wrote that there was “an actual campaign to reclaim Pepe from normies” and that “turning Pepe into a white nationalist icon” was an explicit goal of some on the alt-right.[56] In September 2016, an article published on Hillary Clinton’s campaign website described Pepe as “a symbol associated with white supremacy” and denounced Trump’s campaign for its supposed promotion of the meme.[57][58] The same month, the two sources for Nuzzi’s Daily Beast article revealed to The Daily Caller that they had coordinated beforehand to mislead Nuzzi (particularly about the existence of a campaign) under the expectation that she would uncritically repeat what she was told, with one saying, “Basically, I interspersed various nuggets of truth and exaggerated a lot of things, and sometimes outright liedin the interest of making a journalist believe that online Trump supporters are largely a group of meme-jihadis who use a cartoon frog to push Nazi propaganda. Because this was funny to me.”[59] The Anti-Defamation League, an American organization opposed to antisemitism, included Pepe in its hate symbol database but noted that most instances of Pepe were not used in a hate-related context.[60][61] In January 2017, in a response to “pundits” calling on Theresa May to disrupt Trump’s relationship with Russia, the Russian Embassy in the United Kingdom tweeted an image of Pepe.[62][63] White supremacist Richard B. Spencer, during a street interview after Trump’s inauguration, was preparing to explain the meaning of a Pepe pin on his jacket when he was punched in the face, with the resulting video itself becoming the source of many memes.[64][65]

In an interview with Esquire, Furie said of Pepe’s usage as a hate symbol, “It sucks, but I can’t control it more than anyone can control frogs on the Internet”.[66] Fantagraphics Books, Furie’s publisher, issued a statement condemning the “illegal and repulsive appropriations of the character”.[67] On October 17, Furie published a satirical take of Pepe’s appropriation by the alt-right movement on The Nib.[68][69] This was his first comic for the character since he ended Boy’s Club in 2012.[1] On May 6, 2017, on Free Comic Book Day, it was announced that Furie had killed Pepe off in response to the character’s continued use as a hate symbol.[70][71] But in an interview with Carol Off on her show As It Happens Furie said that despite news of Pepe’s death, he will eventually return: “The end is a chance for a new beginning… I got some plans for Pepe that I can’t really discuss, but he’s going to rise from the ashes like a phoenix… in a puff of marijuana smoke.”[72][73] Soon thereafter, Furie announced his intention to “resurrect” Pepe, launching a crowdfunding campaign for a new comic book featuring Pepe.[74]

During the 2016 United States presidential election, Kek became associated with alt-right politics.[75][76][77][78][79][80] Kek is associated with the occurrence of repeating digits, known as “dubs”,[original research?] on 4chan, as if he had the ability to influence reality through internet memes.[81]

Since late 2016, the satirical ethnicity of Kekistan has been used by U.S.-based alt-right protesters opposed to what they view as political correctness. These Kekistanis decry the “oppression” of their people and troll counterprotesters by waving the “national flag of Kekistan” (modeled after the Nazi war flag, with the red replaced by green, the Iron Cross replaced by the logo for 4chan, and the swastika replaced by a rubric for KEK).[45][48][82] This flag was prominently displayed at the 2017 Berkeley protest for free speech in mid-April,[83][84] and the Unite the Right rally in August 2017.[85][86]

In June 2017, a proposed app and Flappy Bird clone called “Pepe Scream” was rejected from the Apple App Store due to its depiction of Pepe the Frog. The app’s developer, under the name “MrSnrhms”, posted a screenshot of his rejection letter on /r/The Donald. The app is available on Google Play.[87][88]

A children’s book appropriating the Pepe character, The Adventures of Pepe and Pede, advanced “racist, Islamophobic and hate-filled themes”, according to a federal lawsuit Furie filed. The suit was settled out of court in August 2017, with terms including the withdrawal of the book from publication and the profits being donated to the nonprofit Council on American-Islamic Relations. Initially self-published, the book was subsequently published by Post Hill Press.[89] The book’s author, a vice-principal with the Denton Independent School District, was reassigned after the publicity.[90]

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Pepe the Frog – Wikipedia

How Pepe the Frog Became a Nazi Trump Supporter and Alt …

The green frog was behind the United States side of the metal fence at the countrys southernmost border, smirking and holding a Donald Trump campaign button up to his chin.

A caricature of a Mexican couplethe man dressed in a sombrero and poncho, the woman with braided hair and an infant in her armslooked out at him through the barricade and cried.

Then the frog was someplace else entirely, this time covered in Nazi insignia: above his smirk, the phrase SKIN HEAD and a swastika; over his left eyelid, 14, the numeric shorthand for we must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children; and over his right eyelid, 88, which stands for Heil Hitler.

And there the frog was yet again, standing at a lectern stamped with the presidential seal, a red tie hanging from his green neck, Trumps iconic hair arranged on his head and an American flag at his back.

This is Pepe, a cartoon amphibian introduced to the world sans swastikas and Trump associations in 2005, on Myspace, in the artist Matt Furies comic strip Boys Club, and popularized on 4chan in the ensuing 11 years, culminating in 2015, when teens shared Pepes likeness so many times he became the biggest meme on Tumblr. (Furie did not respond to an interview request from The Daily Beast.)

Like all great art, Pepe was open to endless interpretation, but at the end of the day, he meant whatever you wanted him to mean. All in good fun, teens made Batman Pepe, Supermarket Checkout Girl Pepe, Borat Pepe, Keith Haring Pepe, and carved Pepe pumpkins.

But he also embodied existential angst. Pepe, the grimiest but most versatile meme of all, was both hero and antiheroa symbol fit for all of lifes ups and downs and the full spectrum of human emotions, as they played out online.

On social media, Pepe became inescapable. Katy Perry tweeted a crying Pepe with the caption Australian jet lag got me like, racking up over 10,000 retweets. Nicki Minaj posted a twerking Pepe on Instagram with the caption Me on Instagram for the next few weeks trying to get my followers back up, which 282,000 users liked.

And then, recently, things took a turn: Pepe became socially unacceptable.

Turns out that was by design.

@JaredTSwift is an anonymous white nationalist who claims to be 19 years old and in school someplace on the West Coast. He told me there is an actual campaign to reclaim Pepe from normies.

Normies are basicsagreeable, mainstream members of society who have no knowingly abhorrent political views or unsavory hobbies. They are Katy Perry, and when they latch onto a meme, the meme dies the way your favorite band dies when it sells out and licenses a song to Chevrolet. When mainstream culture gets in on the joke, in other words, the joke is ruined forever.

The campaign to reclaim Pepe from normies was an effort to prevent this sort of death, but it also had the effect of desensitizing swaths of the Internet to racist, but mostly anti-Semitic, ideas supported by the so-called alt-right movement.

It began in late 2015 on /r9k/, a controversial 4chan board where, as on any message board, it can be difficult to discern how serious commenters are being or if theyre just fucking around entirely. Nevertheless, /r9k/ has been tied to Elliot Rodgerthe UC Santa Barbara shooter who killed six people in 2014who found fans there, and GamerGate. There, Pepe transformed from harmless cartoon to big green monster.

We basically mixed Pepe in with Nazi propaganda, etc. We built that association, @JaredTSwift said.

He sent me a rare Pepe, an ironic categorization for certain versions of the meme: Pepe, his eyes red and irises swastika-shaped, against a trippy rainbow backdrop. Do with it what you will, he said.

Building the Trump association came next, after which @JaredTSwift said the images got crossover appeal. They began to move from 4chan to Twitter, which is when journalists were exposed to it via Trump memes.

On Jan. 7, Cheri Jacobus, a Republican consultant and pundit who is suing Trump for defamation and has been harassed by Trump supporters, tweeted, The green frog symbol is what white supremacists use in their propaganda. U dont want to go there.

#FrogTwitter considered Jacobus, the first prominent person to be duped, its first scalp and inundated her with ever more Pepe images and Trump memes, some of which were violent and sexually explicit.

In one, a blond woman is decapitated before Pepe has intercourse with her headless body. In another, Jacobuss face is photoshopped onto a topless woman kneeling before Trump, who is himself photoshopped to wear a Nazi uniform.

When they adapt Pepe the green frog and turn it into an anti-Semite, staring into the screen with the World Trade Center behind it, is that cute or funny? she asked when reached by phone Wednesday.

Does that make it OK? I dont know, she said. Violent and disturbing images are violent and disturbing images regardless of what their stated reasons are.

Jay Nordlinger, a senior editor at National Review, a conservative publication opposed to Trumps candidacy, asked Twitter on Jan. 30, Does anyone know what that green face is that alt and cuck people put in their avatars and their other images?

@TopKanker replied with an image of Pepe dressed as a Nazi soldier and holding a Star of David.

On May 16, Ben White, a reporter for Politico, tweeted a drawing of Pepe and asked, What/who is this character and why do I see it associated with Trumpsters/Alt-Right types all the time?

#FrogTwitter descended on Whites mentions, with predictable results. @DonaldjBismarck, a self-described Nationalist, replied with a meme of Hillary Clinton, squinting at a computer screen and asking, WHO THE HELL IS PEPE?

Turns out asking about Pepe was a bad idea, White tweeted, in conclusion.

But Pepes twisted transformation wouldnt be complete until a few hours after Whites foray down the froghole, when Margarita Noriega, an executive editor at Newsweek, tweeted a Pepe at Marco Rubio.

Benny Polatseck, who runs the public relations firm Colossal PR, accused Noriega of employing an image used by racists to make fun of latinos. Noriega deleted the Pepe.

Most memes are ephemeral by nature, but Pepe is not, @JaredTSwift told me. Hes a reflection of our souls, to most of us. Its disgusting to see people (normies, if you will) use him so trivially. He belongs to us. And well make him toxic if we have to.

@JaredTSwift said some of the support for Trump was in jest, but for most of his cohorts, its sincere. He even claimed to have voted for Trump in the primary himself, wherever it is he lives, and said hed vote for him in the general, too.

In a sense, weve managed to push white nationalism into a very mainstream position, he said. Trumps online support has been crucial to his success, I believe, and the fact is that his biggest and most devoted online supporters are white nationalists. Now, weve pushed the Overton window. People have adopted our rhetoric, sometimes without even realizing it. Were setting up for a massive cultural shift.

Another anonymous white nationalist, @PaulTown_, claimed to be in my late 20s, but declined to say where he exists geographically, other than to confirm that, every few months, he meets the members of his community in New York City. He estimated the broad #FrogTwitter movement to consist of about 30 people but said 10 core members helped plot it out over drinks in late 2015, before taking to /r9k/.

We all do some weightlifting, so we met through friends involved in that scene, he said. Turning Pepe into a white nationalist icon was one of our original goals, although weve had our hands in many other things.

One of those things has been helping to turn Taylor Swift into an Aryan goddess. When several publications (Broadly, Slate, and The Washington Post) this week reported on the alt-rights fixation on the pop star, #FrogTwitter was somewhat triumphant. I never thought that would work, @JaredTSwift said, but they finally noticed.

@PaulTown_ characterized Pepe as an experiment the group used as a test.

As you can see, he said, it went better than we could ever have imagined.

Originally posted here:

How Pepe the Frog Became a Nazi Trump Supporter and Alt …

Zara Loses Its Skirt Over Pepe the Frog – The New York Times

Digital activists have claimed another head. Or, rather, skirt.

On Tuesday, Zara, the Spanish chain owned by Inditex that has more than 2,100 stores in 88 countries around the world and was rated No. 53 on the Forbes 2016 list of the worlds most valuable brands, quietly withdrew a distressed denim miniskirt printed with a cartoon face from its websites and stores in the United States and Britain after it became a subject of social media controversy for the graphics resemblance to Pepe the Frog.

You know, the green amphibian that was originally intended as a peaceful frog-dude, according to Matt Furie, the man who created him, but that was co-opted by anti-Jewish and bigoted groups and designated an alt-right hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League last September.

The skirt had been on sale as part of Zaras limited-edition oil on denim offering of spring-fling artist partnerships.

Twitter got on it pretty fast. Zara is really out there trying to sell a P*pe the frog skirt, apparently unaware (?) of its current implications, @meaganrosae wrote. Added @ccarella, Hmm Pepe on a Zara skirt.

There is a lot of how did this happen? and how deluded could they be? going around the cybersphere, but the answer may come down to a blunt collision of globalism and cultural ignorance.

A spokeswoman for Zara said: The skirt is part of the limited Oil-on-Denim collection, which was created through collaborations with artists and is only available in selected markets. The designer of the skirt is Mario de Santiago, known online as Yimeisgreat. There is absolutely no link to the suggested theme.

Mr. de Santiago is a Spanish artist based in London whose biography on his official web page states, I like to explore social interactions and gather them into quirky and colourful storytelling compositions. According to Zara, he said the frog face came from a wall painting I drew with friends four years ago. It is not hard to imagine he was unaware a similar frog face had been used for a somewhat different purpose in the United States.

Unfortunately for Zara, however, the brand has a history with public pressure over a product with potentially offensive implications especially anti-Semitic implications which may have exacerbated the reaction. In 2014, it apologized for offering, and then withdrew, a set of childrens striped pajamas with a yellow star on the breast that was widely seen as resembling a concentration camp uniform (the star was supposed to be a sheriffs badge). In 2007, it withdrew a handbag printed with folkloric designs, one of which happened to look a lot like a swastika.

(To be fair, the brand also gets in trouble for non-Jewish issues: Earlier this year, a campaign with the tagline Love Your Curves that featured two notably skinny models got a lot of tweeters pretty worked up.)

All of this may add up to something of a teachable moment for the fast-fashion model. Because the business is based on the constant turnover of new products that are effectively tested on the shop floor, so that companies can respond quickly to what sells and drop less popular items without much cost, it involves a higher than usual amount of churn. This may mean designs are subject to less stringent vetting than they might be in, say, a traditional fashion brand in which products are created and assessed more than six months ahead of production.

Add to that the recent commercialization of the summer festival circuit, in which corporate giants are leveraging the fashion appeal of sartorial rebellion (always a dangerous game, since it co-opts symbols without really understanding their use), and the pitfalls were potentially pretty big. Just think for a minute of the absurdity implicit in choosing a hate symbol to stick on a garment seemingly meant for a summer-of-love/dancing-in-the-muddy-fields-type event. Oops.

Given the increasing role of the internet in policing brands and companies, it was probably only a matter of time before a company attempting to make hay while the music played made a mistake instead.

Consider it a cautionary tale.

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Zara Loses Its Skirt Over Pepe the Frog – The New York Times

About – The New Jim Crow

The New Jim Crow is a stunning account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class statusdenied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement. Since its publication in 2010, the book has appeared on theNew York Timesbestseller list for more than a year; been dubbed the secular bible of a new social movement by numerous commentators, including Cornel West;and has led to consciousness-raising efforts in universities, churches, community centers, re-entry centers, and prisons nationwide. The New Jim Crow tells a truth our nation has been reluctant to face.

As the United States celebrates its triumph over race with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of black men in major urban areas are under correctional control or saddled with criminal records for life. Jim Crow laws were wiped off the books decades ago, but today an extraordinary percentage of the African American community is warehoused in prisons or trapped in a parallel social universe, denied basic civil and human rightsincluding the right to vote; the right to serve on juries; and the right to be free of legal discrimination in employment, housing, access to education and public benefits. Today, it is no longer socially permissible to use race explicitly as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. Yet as civil-rights-lawyer-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander demonstrates, it is perfectly legal to discriminate against convicted criminals in nearly all the ways in which it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans. Once labeled a felon, even for a minor drug crime, the old forms of discrimination are suddenly legal again. In her words, we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.

Alexander shows that, by targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness.

The New Jim Crowchallenges the civil rights communityand all of usto place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America.

Click here to read an excerpt from the Introduction.

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About – The New Jim Crow

A Brief History of the Drug War | Drug Policy Alliance

This video from hip hop legend Jay Z and acclaimed artist Molly Crabapple depicts the drug wars devastating impact on the Black community from decades of biased law enforcement.

The video traces the drug war from President Nixon to the draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws to the emerging aboveground marijuana market that is poised to make legal millions for wealthy investors doing the same thing that generations of people of color have been arrested and locked up for. After you watch the video, read on to learn more about the discriminatory history of the war on drugs.

Many currently illegal drugs, such as marijuana, opium, coca, and psychedelics have been used for thousands of years for both medical and spiritual purposes. So why are some drugs legal and other drugs illegal today? It’s not based on any scientific assessment of the relative risks of these drugs but it has everything to do with who is associated with these drugs.

The first anti-opium laws in the 1870s were directed at Chinese immigrants. The first anti-cocaine laws in the early 1900s were directed at black men in the South. The first anti-marijuana laws, in the Midwest and the Southwest in the 1910s and 20s, were directed at Mexican migrants and Mexican Americans. Today, Latino and especially black communities are still subject to wildly disproportionate drug enforcement and sentencing practices.

In the 1960s, as drugs became symbols of youthful rebellion, social upheaval, and political dissent, the government halted scientific research to evaluate their medical safety and efficacy.

In June 1971, President Nixon declared a war on drugs. He dramatically increased the size and presence of federal drug control agencies, and pushed through measures such as mandatory sentencing and no-knock warrants.

A top Nixon aide, John Ehrlichman, later admitted: You want to know what this was really all about. The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what Im saying. We knew we couldnt make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.Nixon temporarily placed marijuana in Schedule One, the most restrictive category of drugs, pending review by a commission he appointed led by Republican Pennsylvania Governor Raymond Shafer.

In 1972, the commission unanimously recommended decriminalizing the possession and distribution of marijuana for personal use. Nixon ignored the report and rejected its recommendations.

Between 1973 and 1977, however, eleven states decriminalized marijuana possession. In January 1977, President Jimmy Carter was inaugurated on a campaign platform that included marijuana decriminalization. In October 1977, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to decriminalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use.

Within just a few years, though, the tide had shifted. Proposals to decriminalize marijuana were abandoned as parents became increasingly concerned about high rates of teen marijuana use. Marijuana was ultimately caught up in a broader cultural backlash against the perceived permissiveness of the 1970s.

The presidency of Ronald Reagan marked the start of a long period of skyrocketing rates of incarceration, largely thanks to his unprecedented expansion of the drug war. The number of people behind bars for nonviolent drug law offenses increased from 50,000 in 1980 to over 400,000 by 1997.

Public concern about illicit drug use built throughout the 1980s, largely due to media portrayals of people addicted to the smokeable form of cocaine dubbed crack. Soon after Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, his wife, Nancy Reagan, began a highly-publicized anti-drug campaign, coining the slogan “Just Say No.”

This set the stage for the zero tolerance policies implemented in the mid-to-late 1980s. Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates, who believed that casual drug users should be taken out and shot, founded the DARE drug education program, which was quickly adopted nationwide despite the lack of evidence of its effectiveness. The increasingly harsh drug policies also blocked the expansion of syringe access programs and other harm reduction policies to reduce the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS.

In the late 1980s, a political hysteria about drugs led to the passage of draconian penalties in Congress and state legislatures that rapidly increased the prison population. In 1985, the proportion of Americans polled who saw drug abuse as the nation’s “number one problem” was just 2-6 percent. The figure grew through the remainder of the 1980s until, in September 1989, it reached a remarkable 64 percent one of the most intense fixations by the American public on any issue in polling history. Within less than a year, however, the figure plummeted to less than 10 percent, as the media lost interest. The draconian policies enacted during the hysteria remained, however, and continued to result in escalating levels of arrests and incarceration.

Although Bill Clinton advocated for treatment instead of incarceration during his 1992 presidential campaign, after his first few months in the White House he reverted to the drug war strategies of his Republican predecessors by continuing to escalate the drug war. Notoriously, Clinton rejected a U.S. Sentencing Commission recommendation to eliminate the disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentences.

He also rejected, with the encouragement of drug czar General Barry McCaffrey, Health Secretary Donna Shalalas advice to end the federal ban on funding for syringe access programs. Yet, a month before leaving office, Clinton asserted in a Rolling Stone interview that “we really need a re-examination of our entire policy on imprisonment” of people who use drugs, and said that marijuana use “should be decriminalized.”

At the height of the drug war hysteria in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a movement emerged seeking a new approach to drug policy. In 1987, Arnold Trebach and Kevin Zeese founded the Drug Policy Foundation describing it as the loyal opposition to the war on drugs. Prominent conservatives such as William Buckley and Milton Friedman had long advocated for ending drug prohibition, as had civil libertarians such as longtime ACLU Executive Director Ira Glasser. In the late 1980s they were joined by Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke, Federal Judge Robert Sweet, Princeton professor Ethan Nadelmann, and other activists, scholars and policymakers.

In 1994, Nadelmann founded The Lindesmith Center as the first U.S. project of George Soros Open Society Institute. In 2000, the growing Center merged with the Drug Policy Foundation to create the Drug Policy Alliance.

George W. Bush arrived in the White House as the drug war was running out of steam yet he allocated more money than ever to it. His drug czar, John Walters, zealously focused on marijuana and launched a major campaign to promote student drug testing. While rates of illicit drug use remained constant, overdose fatalities rose rapidly.

The era of George W. Bush also witnessed the rapid escalation of the militarization of domestic drug law enforcement. By the end of Bush’s term, there were about 40,000 paramilitary-style SWAT raids on Americans every year mostly for nonviolent drug law offenses, often misdemeanors. While federal reform mostly stalled under Bush, state-level reforms finally began to slow the growth of the drug war.

Politicians now routinely admit to having used marijuana, and even cocaine, when they were younger. When Michael Bloomberg was questioned during his 2001 mayoral campaign about whether he had ever used marijuana, he said, “You bet I did and I enjoyed it.” Barack Obama also candidly discussed his prior cocaine and marijuana use: “When I was a kid, I inhaled frequently that was the point.”

Public opinion has shifted dramatically in favor of sensible reforms that expand health-based approaches while reducing the role of criminalization in drug policy.

Marijuana reform has gained unprecedented momentum throughout the Americas. Alaska, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts, Washington State, and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana for adults. In December 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legally regulate marijuana. In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans legalize marijuana for adults by 2018.

In response to a worsening overdose epidemic, dozens of U.S. states passed laws to increase access to the overdose antidote, naloxone, as well as 911 Good Samaritan laws to encourage people to seek medical help in the event of an overdose.

Yet the assault on American citizens and others continues, with 700,000 people still arrested for marijuana offenses each year and almost 500,000 people still behind bars for nothing more than a drug law violation.

President Obama, despite supporting several successful policy changes such as reducing the crack/powder sentencing disparity, ending the ban on federal funding for syringe access programs, and ending federal interference with state medical marijuana laws did not shift the majority of drug policy funding to a health-based approach.

Now, the new administration is threatening to take us backward toward a 1980s style drug war. President Trump is calling for a wall to keep drugs out of the country, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made it clear that he does not support the sovereignty of states to legalize marijuana, and believes good people dont smoke marijuana.

Progress is inevitably slow, and even with an administration hostile to reform there is still unprecedented momentum behind drug policy reform in states and localities across the country. The Drug Policy Alliance and its allies will continue to advocate for health-based reforms such as marijuana legalization, drug decriminalization, safe consumption sites, naloxone access, bail reform, and more.

We look forward to a future where drug policies are shaped by science and compassion rather than political hysteria.

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A Brief History of the Drug War | Drug Policy Alliance


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