I don't know either, nor do I know the full story as told from all sides about Einstein's private life. Do you know enough to make the judgement? There is significant speculation that Einstein may have had a form of Asperger's Syndrome. I know a fair bit about that, as I have at least two members of my immediate family affected...
Tuesday, October 24 2017
William Cowper’s poem, “The Task” (1785): “Variety is the very spice of life, That gives it all its flavor.” One of the biggest mistakes we make is assuming that other people think the way we think. — Sonya Teclai (@SonyaTeclai) June 28, 2015 Whether we realize it or not, we all have internalized prejudices, things we’ve learned or been taught by parents, family, friends, and the media. These influences shape how we think and feel about events and people we encounter in our daily lives. Some we might have grown out of or decided to leave behind, like learning to enjoy foods or activities we might have avoided when we were younger. Some prejudices or biases are a little more harmful than disliking broccoli or believing cats are the best pets. Some are also more deeply ingrained and potentially much more damaging . It can take a lot of effort to first recognize and then overcome these. But what does any of this have to do with our writing? Everything. Our Writing Reflects Our Subconscious Beliefs We often don’t realize it, but we bring all our internalized beliefs and prejudices to our writing. Even those of us who have striven to be inclusive and open minded in our writing still have underlying prejudices (and yes, being part of a minority doesn’t mean you’re free of these either). These are what are called implicit associations . Things we don’t even consciously realize we believe. Many of these are rooted in stereotypes of other genders, races, sexual orientations, religions, and so on. Our Harmful Beliefs Can Hurt Our Readers Our writing can negatively affect our readers in ways we might not expect. We might not offend them, but we can accidentally end up reinforcing stereotypes and prejudices . GoodTherapy.org under Prejudice/Discrimination says : “Prejudice and discrimination may have far-reaching effects. People who believe that they are being judged negatively or who are treated as inferior may have difficulty performing to the best of their ability, especially if they experience prejudice or discrimination on an ongoing basis due to an intrinsic characteristic of who they are as a person. The discriminatory actions of others may also lead those affected by these assumptions and behaviors to develop physical or mental health problems as a result.” Let’s illustrate how this can happen. Please read the following examples and then decide which you feel illustrate prejudice by an act of discrimination: Example 1: Matt and James are planning their wedding. Things are going smoothly until James visits their local bakery to order their wedding cake. The owner is very apologetic but refuses to make their cake on religious grounds. Example 2: Jose has applied to job after job yet cannot seem to get any return calls. He’s more than qualified, with several years of experience and a degree in his field. On a whim he changes his name on his CV to “Joe” and applies for yet another job. The very next day he is called in for an interview. Example 3: Christine has just recently started working for a new firm. She loves her job and is doing very well. Her colleagues like her and they work well together. She often finishes projects well before they are due. A new project comes up that falls within her skillset. She goes to her boss and asks if she can have the project and lead the group. Her boss, Elaine, thanks Christine for her initiative but explains that she’s not certain if Christine is quite ready to lead a group yet. This was a bit of a trick question. They all show discrimination or bias in some fashion, some of it more subtly. Don’t worry if you didn’t catch the subtle bias. It takes a lot of practice and deliberate mindfulness to recognize some of these, especially when it comes to our own writing . Awareness Is the First Step Even when we are actively trying to write diversely, it can be easy for us to fall prey to our own blind spots when it comes to characters. I personally often end up with villains who are straight, white and blond haired, something I never even realized I was doing until it was pointed out to me. We must remember that even in our own spheres of experience, we are not the sole representations of our race, gender, profession, et cetera. The same holds true of our characters, and especially of any we write whose backgrounds we don’t share. It can be too easy to fall back on what we think we know about a particular race, orientation, gender, physical ability, religion, age and so on. Stereotypes are often the default “generic” picture we are given, and many times they end up in our writing. Not because we are bad writers (or people), but because we are simply products of our upbringing and environment. It is up to us to recognize our biases and challenge them. Especially as we strive for more inclusivity in our writing. Use Awareness to Challenge Our Biases However, just being aware isn’t enough. It is easy to recognize broader, well known stereotypes—men like sports, women like shopping, gay men are flamboyant—but it’s harder to spot things we’ve internalized, things we don’t even realize we are doing. This is when we need to take a step back from our writing and look closely at ourselves . Just being aware of prejudices alone isn’t going to overcome the need to be mindful, do research, and hire sensitivity readers. You will need to establish goals and strategies to help you overcome internalized prejudices. By deliberately working to be inclusive, you will find yourself with increased awareness of diversity related attitudes and behaviors. This isn’t something that will happen overnight. You will have to work at it. Excuses that doing research or being more inclusive will stifle creativity are tantamount to saying “ my personal opinion is more important than your existence .” That may sound rather harsh, but as writers, we’ve taken on the task of representing life, and life is full of variety. To minimize that is putting on blinders and ignoring things that could make our stories that much richer. As Oren Ashkenazi said in their article Eight Easy Steps for Writing Diverse Stories : “If we can’t imagine diverse worlds in fiction, how will we create one in real life?” Ready to Write Inclusively? Where Do We Start? So with all this advice on how to write inclusively, how do we know where to start? It can be daunting to look at our work and try to be more inclusive. We might feel as though we’re shoehorning characters into the story just for the sake of having them and that’s the last thing we want. But where do you begin adding in diverse characters, and how can you avoid having them seem tacked on? Next we’ll look at some questions to help you get started. You’re welcome to grab a pen and paper and jot things down as you read them. You might be surprised by the answers. How many minorities are represented in your story? List all your minority characters and their roles. Of those characters and their roles, which are stereotypical? (If you are uncertain, research common stereotypes.) List optional roles that break these stereotypes and which fit within your story and plot. If your list from question #1 revealed only a few minorities or none at all, list all your characters and their roles. Look at your list from #3 and pick which characters could be cast as a minority. In a large cast, it is best to pick more than three to cast as minorities, to avoid tokenism. For smaller casts (7 or fewer) pick at least two characters, but be careful to avoid using stereotypes to characterize them. If you feel this wouldn’t suit your story and plot remember: We are not here to force diversity, but to show its natural occurrence. A good example of this is highlighted in the Tumblr post by mybrainmadethis about the TV show Brooklyn 99 . Often the first thing that comes to our minds when writing minorities will be a stereotype. We are constantly bombarded with poor representations of minority groups and will need to actively work to refute those depictions. Is It Really So Bad to Let Assumptions Lead Us? Books like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon can misconstrue and mislead readers into thinking they are true representations of people. While Haddon never claimed the book was about autism and spoke publicly against using his book as an example of how to relate to autistic people, he chose to write a character that in his words: “If he were diagnosed, he would be diagnosed as having Asperger’s syndrome, which is a form of autism. I suppose you’d call it high-function autism in that he can function on, you know, a day-to-day basis, in a kind of rudimentary way.” He added, “I have to say honestly that I did more research about the London Underground and the inside of Swindon Railway Station, where some of the novel takes place, than I did about Asperger’s syndrome. I gave him kind of nine or 10 rules that he would live his life by, and then I didn’t read any more about Asperger’s because I think there is no typical person who has Asperger’s syndrome, and they’re as large and diverse a group of people as any other group in society. And the important thing is that I did a lot of imagining, that I did a lot of putting myself into his shoes in trying to make him come alive as a human being rather than getting him right, whatever that might mean.” ( Gross, Terry (26 June 2003). “Interview: Mark Haddon Talks About His New Book, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time “. NPR .) “Whatever that might mean” is that by not “getting him right” Haddon both reinforced stereotypes, misled his readers and alienated actual autistics. His writing actively hurt and insulted autistics. His refusal to do simple research led to a very skewed and completely inaccurate depiction of autism. He felt that his personal opinion of what makes someone “human” was more important than writing an actual autistic person. We don’t want to make this mistake with our writing. Thankfully, it is very easily avoided by doing our research and being mindful, which are fundamental things all writers can and should do . As fundamental as proper spelling and punctuation. (Note: You can read a critique of the book by an autistic person here .) Writing Fully-Formed People Is Better Let’s look at another example, this one an accurate representation of a trans woman in the show Sense8 . Nomi Marks is a character on the popular TV show; she was born Michael Marks and is portrayed by Jamie Clayton . In the show she is a political blogger and “hacktivist” who is engaged to her fiancée. She faces many challenges, including parents who do not accept her gender identity or her fiancée. She is given a full life that doesn’t just revolve around being trans. She’s not coming out, and she’s not desperately seeking to transition. Jae Alexis Lee , a transgender woman, says of Nomi : “We’re seeing a trans woman living her life . For lots of us, life after transition doesn’t mean you stop being trans. … What I love most about Nomi though is that, while the fact that she’s trans remains part of the story, it is rarely center stage which lets her get on with being the truly badass hacker and team coordinator that she is. She isn’t a lens for the cisgender audience to look at trans issues through, she’s a trans woman that we, as trans women, can relate to.” A lot of writers decide not to attempt to add any diversity to their stories out fear of getting it wrong. But this is easily overcome by researching, seeking out sensitivity readers, and simply challenging ourselves to do better. We all want to be better writers, we want to connect with our readers and reach larger audiences. Being inclusive and doing so with authenticity and compassion has the potential to open up whole new readerships for us. We must be willing to examine ourselves and face things that might be difficult. I promise you, it is worth it. Questions to Help Us Overcome Implicit Biases The following questions will help you start to overcome ingrained stereotypes or implicit associations you might have about minority characters you may already be writing. Pick one of your existing minority characters to answer the following questions: What role does this person play in the story? Is the role the first one that came to mind? Is it a stereotype or does it reflect negatively on the minority (even so called positive stereotypes can be damaging by creating unrealistic expectations) as a group? If so, what changes can you make so that it is not a derogatory or unrealistic characterization of the minority? What is their backstory ? Is this backstory something you feel people of this minority share? What led you to this conclusion? What other possibilities might exist? What job do they currently hold? Why did you pick this particular occupation for them? Is it something you think many people from this minority do for work? If so, why do you feel this way? What other jobs might this person have within the framework of your story? With these few questions you’ll be on your way to a more inclusive story. As mybrainmadethis on Tumblr says : “… if you don’t like token characters, the answer isn’t less diversity. It’s more .” Resources to Help Us Write Diversely and Inclusively I’ve developed a worksheet to help you write more diversely without falling back on stereotypes or feeling as though you’re just filling a perceived quota. The following infographic is a shorthand version of the worksheet and is something I hope you’ll find both useful and educational. Flowchart: Diversity Double Check
Tuesday, October 24 2017
Tuesday, October 24, 2017 Daily 2 Cents: Encounter With An Archangel? -- Bizarre Tentacled Moth -- Singing 'Mermaids' Encounter With An Archangel? Jimmy in Ocean City, Maryland called in to tell of a weird UFO encounter he had: “One night I'm laying in my bed and I don't even know that I'm sleeping but I keep hearing the toilet flush. I keep hearing knocks on the door. I keep hearing voices and then all of a sudden I say "Angels! Angels! Please help me!" Next thing I know, this 7-foot tall being comes through my ceiling and lands by the bed next to me and he's completely golden. A 7-foot tall muscular, very muscular, blond hair, blue eyes...he had armor on and a huge sword. Anyway, so I'm like looking at him and I'm like, "Oh my God, you're so beautiful!" Well, a second or two later, my ears start ringing and then, also, the voice comes into my head and I've never heard somebody else's voice in my head, but it was a voice that wasn't coming through my ears. You know what I mean? It wasn't a thought but it was in my head and he was speaking this language I've never heard before. I remember I was like trying to tune into it in my mind, trying to hear it better and it just got louder and louder...like deafening and then I woke up. I just shook my head and then I woke up and it was crazy because I didn't even know that I was asleep. I've been having a lot of dreams like that when I wake up and I'm able to leave my body and walk around my house but I can't leave my house yet.” Source: Coast To Coast AM - September 6, 2017 Serial Killer Fears in Tampa TAMPA, Fla. (CBSMiami/AP) — Fears over a serial killer have some residents in the Tampa area escorting children to school and the city bus changing its usual routes. Three people have been shot to death in the past two weeks within a 1-mile (1.6-kilometer) radius in the normally quiet Seminole Heights neighborhood. Police believe the shootings are linked by proximity and time frame, but they don’t have a motive or a suspect. The three victims did not know each other, but all three rode the bus and were alone when they were shot on the street. None were robbed.“I’m afraid,” said Maria Maldonado, who lives near the scene of two of the shootings, about 300 yards apart. The other was less than a mile away. Maldonado won’t let her 7-year-old son play in the yard.“We don’t open the door or nothing. A lot of people are scared. I’m scared for my son, for the neighborhood,” she said Monday. Read more at Tampa Area On Edge After 3 Killings, Serial Killer Fears
Tuesday, October 24 2017
« Previous - Next » CRAZY: Footage of some object blasting thru the Sun I thought at first it was a plane but the sun is 'reacting' to this. It definitely does defy any explanation. I have watched 1000+ hours of UFO material, and this one is probably the best. What the hell is this? Embed Code:
Tuesday, October 24 2017
« Previous - Next » Teleportations Caught On Tape In China, Russia And Brazil Strange filming involving supportive teleportation has already been recorded in various parts of the world. This video shows some of them, recorded in China, Russia and Brazil. Different cultures registering the same phenomenon. It's worth as a curiosity. Real or fake ? You decide. Embed Code:
Tuesday, October 24 2017
Google+ If you’re looking for the perfect Halloween gift for the person who has everything (and is over 21), you can’t go wrong with a bottle of Evil Spirits Gin. Its main ingredients come from England’s most haunted town, each bottle is personally cursed by a real witch and the gin is green so you can get sick a second time as you watch it come back up. Evil Spirits Gin (moonpig.com) The limited edition spirit of spirits was brewed over a two week period in September by Union Distillers using “an authentic and unique triple-chilling filter process.” During the distillation, the gin was infused with “possessed” apples and mint that were grown and picked in Pluckley, which was once listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as England’s most haunted village. (More on that later). To top it off, the alcohol was sprinkled with Devil’s Claw, an African plant popular with witches because of its shape and used by herbalists as a treatment for lower back pain. (Perhaps here it’s to ease the ache caused by spending hours bent over retching into a commode?) Devil’s Claw ( Harpagophytum procumbens ) After the 80-proof gin was bottled, each glass container was individually cursed during October’s full moon by Ms. Julianne White , a professional witch (and a screenwriter when not casting spells). Here’s how she describes the spell: “(It) empowers the drinker to follow whatever their hearts desire – whether it is for good or evil.” Witch Julianne White casting her gin spell (Moonpig.com) The cases of Evil Spirits Gin were then delivered to the Moonpig.com online store to be sold for Halloween parties until supplies run out. Witch Julianne got help cursing Evil Spirits Gin from the ghosts of Pluckley – the 12 spirits haunting the town that put it in the Guinness Book of Records in 1989 (locals proudly put the total at 16). They include the ghosts of a screaming brickworker who fell to his death, a highwayman who was run through with a sword and pinned to a tree at Fright Corner and a schoolmaster hanged by his students. The most famous Pluckley ghost would likely be a fan of Evil Spirits Gin. A pipe-smoking old woman who sat on a bridge drinking gin and selling watercress was burned to death when an ember from her pipe accidentally ignited her gin-soaked dress. The Watercress Woman is said to have haunted the bridge ever since. With or without the witch, that’s enough paranormal power to permeate everything in town, says Helen Baird, who owns the Pluckley farm shop and supplied the locally-grown apples and mint. Evil Spirits Gin (moonpig.com) “The ghosts here are legendary – you grow up knowing their stories and looking out for them around the village. With all the produce we sell at our farm shop grown within the village area, you could say that the spooky spirit runs through everything we eat and drink.” If she’s a good businesswoman, she’s probably stocked up with a big supply of curse-breaking Evil Spirits Aspirin. Tags curse England gin haunted places haunted village spirits witch Paul Seaburn Paul Seaburn is one of the most prolific writers at Mysterious Universe. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious. You can follow Paul on and Join Plus+ for $9 a month to access bonus podcasts & premium content!
Sunday, October 22 2017
18 June 2015 You awaken one night to the feeling that you’re being watched. As you lie there, you see out of the corner of your eye a dark figure standing at the foot of the bed. It may look like a full bodied person and usually male, sometimes with a hat and cloak, but it may just as easily be a shadow that fades away as you focus on it. These are what some call the Shadow People, also referred to as “shades.” TSW recently covered the idea of sleep paralysis causing people to see figures in their bedroom (1), which could be considered Shadow People. However, a glance at the Internet will tell you that not only do many people experience this strange phenomena, but it doesn’t always happen during or after sleep. Experiences of Shadow People As mentioned, searching for the term “Shadow People” will bring up numerous forum threads discussing personal experiences of these entities. Many experiences vary, from the shadow flitting past out of the corner of the eye to the full figure who fades away or moves when focused on (2)(3). One person claims to witness a shadow man mostly at night when she’s awake and always in different places. Always male and tall and often with a top hat, he could be walking through the house or standing out in the yard watching her (4). Her husband says she has woken him talking about it, which she doesn’t remember. Another saw many Shadow People as a small child, standing and walking around the room. They are described as dark figures with a soft glow inside them and no features. The person who saw them claims (s)he was definitely not asleep, in fact (s)he walked past the Shadow People to his/her parent’s room (4). I could argue that I have experienced something similar to Shadow People. When I was a child, I lost my little black dog to old age. Within a week of her dying, I could swear that I saw her running through our house out of the corner of my eye. Whether this was the spirit of my dog or just my brain reacting to the grief, seeing that brought me a little comfort to feel that she was still in the house with us. But what about others who have witnessed Shadow People? Does the Brain Hold the Answers? There are a number of explanations for Shadow People, including the rise of the horror films and people’s overactive imaginations, but most are connected to the way the brain, and often peripheral vision, works. One forum thread discussing these shadows includes someone mentioning that a type of anti-depressant drug lists “visual disturbances” as a side effect (5) and that the rise in use of these drugs could account for the increase in Shadow People experiences. When the person witnessing the apparition while lying down claims the figure climbs on top of their chest restricting their breathing, they are most likely suffering from sleep paralysis. This is a terrifying reaction from the body – between sleep and waking, the person cannot move and hallucinates. The human mind seeks to find the recognizable in everything (6), especially human faces and features. It’s why so many faces appear in toast, wood knots and vegetables. The edge of vision is controlled by rods which have a poorer resolution than those in the center of the eye, but there is a high sensitivity to movement (7). This means that you might notice something out of the corner of your eye and, because you can’t see it properly, your brain will mesh together the details to make it something recognizable, like a face or dark figure. Studies have shown that when the left temporoparietal junction (TPJ) region of the brain is stimulated, it causes the person to feel the presence of someone not there. It is suggested that the witnessing of Shadow People is increased in those with certain neurological disorders (8). Neurologists discovered this when stimulating the brain of an epileptic woman while trying to isolate the cause of her fits. When they reached her TPJ, she proclaimed she could sense the presence of a person behind her mimicking her posture and positioning. The Truth Behind Shadow People So a Shadow Person could simply be something ordinary seen out of the corner of your eye, or perhaps a fluctuation in your brain stimulating your TPJ. But that still doesn’t account for all Shadow People experiences. Something that jumps out after reading just a few eye witness accounts is that many describe not remembering interacting with Shadow People although they are told by other witnesses in the same room. As with ghosts, the explanations for Shadow People differ and each personal experience is different. Whether these are shadowy figures that the brain has created, a side effect of medication, ghosts, time or space travellers, or some strange supernatural beings, in many cases something strange is definitely happening and we may never be able to explain it.
Friday, October 20 2017
07 October 2014 In the middle of September, a Ufology website released a YouTube video exclaiming that a “5 miles wide UFO” was caught hovering above the ocean. The video showed just under two minutes of static imagery from NASA satellites. The narrator on the film at least admitted that there could be other possibilities for the black hole, “including camera glitches, gaps missed by the process of stitching together smaller images to make a large enough one to publish, and interference.” The truth is that the video was nothing more than satellite imagery of an area over the Arctic well known to have a “black spot” of missing data due to satellite orbital paths. The Dumbing Down of Ufology My first foray into the strange world of Ufology was just over a decade ago in a large online forum that, at the time, was very well-known for its popular Ufology section. I spent a large portion of my days there, examining UFO sightings and abduction stories , pouring over recently released UFO photographs, and investigating claims of leaked government secrets. In the end, I came to the realization that despite the best intentions of any intelligent, sane academic to elevate the field to one of scientific exploration, it will forever be overrun by ignorant people, and juvenile interpretations of erroneous data. Case in point, the recent “news” about a 5 mile UFO hovering over the ocean in a NASA satellite photograph. The original YouTube video released by The Cosmos News website shows multiple shots from the same NASA still photographs, pulled from satellite imagery stored on the NASA website. The imagery shows the same ominous, dark circle that not only cuts into the ocean, but it even blacks out the clouds and the atmosphere itself. It’s like a very large, black object is hovering at very high altitude over the Earth at that location, sucking in all of the light from the sun, and reflecting nothing. What could this object be? Even the Huffington Post UK picked up this idiotic story , announcing that a “five miles wide” UFO was “caught hovering over the ocean”in its HuffPost Tech section. The author, Michael Rundle, pretty much translated the narration from the video almost word for word – and performed zero investigation or due diligence for a simple and easy explanation for the anomaly. There is, in fact, just such an explanation, and it’s well known by scientists and meteorologists all around the world. The Black Hole is the North Pole Satellites that orbit the Earth do so by staying in a gravitational equilibrium with the planet. However, the extreme north and south poles of the Earth represent a sort of “no-fly zone” for satellites. This is caused by the fact that the orbit needs to circumvent around the axis of the planet, which originates at the North and South poles. Satellites can orbit near these poles, but not directly over them, creating a “pole hole” without any data for all satellites. This is explained by the National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC) as follows: “Not all satellites pass close enough to the North Pole for their sensors to collect data there. This lack of data is indicated by a gray circle, or ‘pole hole,’ in each image.[…]Historically, lack of satellite data directly over the North Pole has not concerned scientists; they have always assumed that the area underneath is covered with sea ice.” (1) This hole is easily represented by charting out the orbit path of satellites – while satellites may traverse close to the “axis” of the planet, should they ever get too close, the orbit will collapse and they will crash. This isn’t a mystery – it’s physics. Satellites orbit the Earth by traveling at a rate of speed (relative to the rotation of the Earth) that’s high enough to counteract the force of gravity, as centripetal force holds the satellite in orbit. All Satellites Have a Polar “No Data” Zone Polar satellites – the satellites that try to capture imagery and data from the poles of the Earth, do so because they are launched on a orbital path that has a much lower altitude than other geo-synchronous satellites. (2) These satellites do move from pole to pole as the Earth rotates beneath them, however, they can never pass directly over the pole, otherwise the orbital path would not rotate around the Earth’s axis, and the lack of centripetal force would send the satellite into space, or have it crash into Earth. Because of this, imagery from polar satellites always contains a circular area where there is no data available to complete the imagery or sensor map. This can be seen in the following image from a mosaic of images provided by NASA’s Terra satellite (Source: NASA). In a 2001 edition of USA Today, Science writer Jack Williams described what satellite sensors tell about the condition of the Antarctic ozone hole, and at the end of his article, he explained to readers why there is that big black circle on the map of sensor data. “Even after all of Antarctica has 24 hours of sunlight, there is still an area around the South Pole with no measurements because polar orbiting satellites don’t pass directly over the pole. The black area in the Dec. 5 image at the top of this page is where the satellite’s instrument can’t “see” the amounts of ozone.” (3) It is inconceivable that a group of people would portray this large black circle as some kind of mysterious “UFO”, but this is exactly the sort of ignorant behavior that you find throughout the field of Ufology , and that is why it’s so difficult to attract the more intelligent scientific minds of the world to explore unidentified aerial phenomenon. Few scientists want to be associated with this kind of nonsense. It is even worse when seemingly reputable news organizations, like the Huffington Post, regurgitate that nonsense and spread it to the rest of the public, without providing the very easy to find scientific explanation for the phenomenon. It may not be as sensational, or sell as many papers, but at least it’s editorially and intellectually honest. You do your readers a great disservice when you don’t provide them with the truth.
Friday, October 20 2017
29 July 2015 What do you do if you have information to leak about a conspiracy theory, a government cover up, or clandestine activity? The info deserves to be exposed, but you are concerned with your identity being known or the safety of your family. The obvious answer is you pursue anonymity. But how? Torrents, that’s how (1). Torrent technology has been around since 2001 (2). It’s popular among hackers and people who want to download free digital files of copyrighted music, videos, and books illegally. But it’s the legal uses of torrent technology, also called BitTorrent, that makes it interesting. A torrent file is a file you download through a peer-to-peer sharing website. There are millions of them online, but not all of them are safe. You need special torrent software to download the files, which allows you to download small bits of large files from multiple locations much more quickly than you can download a single large file from one location. This is the reason torrent websites are so popular among copyright violators. Time is money, you know. But it’s also the reason conspiracy theorists can benefit from it and why there has been an increased interest in torrents among theorists. You achieve anonymity and you can download useful files easily without putting yourself, or your computer, at risk. Who’s Watching and Why You Should Care Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you. If you conduct a Google search, Google has your IP address, which is trackable. If your conspiracy theory has to do with government agents stepping outside their legitimate roles, then you might not want them to know you are on to them. And you can bet the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is tracking your Google searches (3). Not only are your Google searches being tracked by the FBI, but your Internet Service Provider is spying on you too (4). Conspiracy Central (ConCen) has become a hot spot for conspiracy theorists precisely because they can download sensitive files without giving away their identities (5). And then, they can take the information they learn and develop their theories with ease without having to look over their shoulders to see who’s watching them. That should be comforting for all kinds of theorists and whistleblowers, too. How You Can Use The Torrent for Safety and Anonymity The cool thing about ConCen is you can visit the website and download torrent files without signing up as a member. No tracking. You show up, download, leave. Another thing you should know about it is they let you know of potential problems with files. For instance, if there are no flags, they’ll let you know a file has no flags. But if there are potential problems with a file, then they’ll flag it and notify you of the problem (6). One of the flags identified “irrelevant content.” To download the files and read them you’ll need torrent software. There are some popular ones online you can download for free. BitTorrent and uTorrent are two very popular torrent software clients you can use, but there are others (7). Be careful out there, and after you’ve developed your best theories, share them with the rest of us.
Tuesday, October 24 2017
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Wednesday, October 25 2017
Horror Expo Ireland is coming to Dublin this Halloween! We need new writers! Please contact us if you would like to submit an article for Spooky Isles. Horror Expo Ireland is coming to Dublin this Halloween! ANN MASSEY O’REGAN tells us what’s in store for the horror fanatic at Ireland’s premier horror event! As we approach the night where the veil between worlds is at its thinnest, Horror Expo Ireland is showcasing the best of Irish Horror, supernatural and ghoulish imagination in the enigmatic surroundings of the Freemasons Hall, Dublin. Creative Director Dr Sarah Cleary has put together a wealth of Irish and international talent with interviews, Q & A’s, readings, demonstrations and film screenings to keep the dedicated horror fan enthralled on 29 th October. Here is just a selection of what’s on offer: Horror Authors The packed schedule of events kicks off in The Library Bar with a selection of readings from international bestselling horror authors including Ramsay Campbell, Matt Hayward and Spooky Isles’ own Chris Rush ! Ramsay Campbell is an English Horror Fiction veteran inspired by the work of H.P Lovecraft and has received the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement award. Wicklow author Matt Hayward is a musician whose life on the road combines nicely with his dark creative mind to bring us such delights as his debut novel ‘What do Monsters Fear?’ Spooky Isles’ Ireland Correspondent Chris Rush will be reading from his latest novel ‘All Shall Suffer’ along with a sneak preview of his upcoming occult novel ’13 Dead’. Horror and the paranormal The Egyptian Room will lead with SFX demonstrations from The Make Up Crew, Dublin’s award winning make up artistry school. Paranormal Researchers Ireland will reveal their methods and details of some of their chilling investigations with demonstrations and exhibitions including equipment, photos and EVPs. Irish Indie Film Director Stephen Gaffney will be close the evening in the Egyptian Room with a special screening of his shocking dark web based horror, ‘ Red Room .’ Gothic horror meets modern horror In the Grand Lodge there will be a chance to quiz the likes of Ramsey Campbell and world-renowned author, horror critic and journalist, Kim Newman. There will also be a selection of panel discussions for the hard-core horror film fanatic on 21 st Century horror movies as well as discussions on Gothic style and horror and political trauma. The night of Horror exploration and demonstrations will close with a special screening of ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ in honour of the late Tobe Hooper. With all this and so much more besides, it is the place to be in Dublin this bank holiday weekend! For full schedule and tickets go to: https://www.horrorexpoireland.com/