Gaslighting: State Mind Control and Abusive Narcissism

Gaslighting: State Mind Control and Abusive Narcissism
By VANESSA BEELEY
May 26 2017
http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/05/26/gaslighting-state-mind-control-and-abusive-narcissism/

Exceptionalism: the condition of being different from the norm; also:  a theory expounding the exceptionalism especially of a nation or region.

There are many theories surrounding the origin of American exceptionalism. The most popular in US folklore, being that it describes America’s unique character as a “free” nation founded on democratic ideals and civil liberties. The Declaration of Independence from British colonial rule is the foundation of this theory and has persevered throughout the often violent history of the US since its birth as a free nation.

Over time, exceptionalism has come to represent superiority in the minds and hearts of Americans. Belief in their economic, military and ideological supremacy is what has motivated successive US governments to invest in shaping the world in their superior image with little or no regard for the destruction left in the wake of their exceptional hegemony.

In considering itself, exceptional, the US has extricated itself from any legal obligation to adhere to either International law or even the common moral laws that should govern Humanity.  The US has become exceptionally lawless and authoritarian particularly in its intolerant neo-colonialist foreign policy.  The colonized have become the colonialists, concealing their brutal savagery behind a veneer of missionary zeal that they are converting the world to their form of exceptionalist Utopia.

Such is the media & marketing apparatus that supports this superiority complex, the majority of US congress exist within its echo chamber and are willing victims of its indoctrination. The power of the propaganda vortex pulls them in and then radiates outwards, infecting all in its path.  Self-extraction from this oligarchical perspective is perceived as a revolutionary act that challenges the core of US security so exceptionalism becomes the modus vivendi.

Just as Israel considers itself ‘the chosen people’ from a religious perspective, the US considers itself the chosen nation to impose its version of Democratic reform and capitalist hegemony the world over. One can see why Israel and the US make such symbiotic bedfellows.

“The fatal war for humanity is the war with Russia and China toward which Washington is driving the US and Washington’s NATO and Asian puppet states.  The bigotry of the US power elite is rooted in its self-righteous doctrine that stipulates America as the “indispensable country” ~ Paul Craig Roberts: Washington Drives the World Towards War.

So why do the American people accept US criminal hegemony, domestic and foreign brutal tyranny & neo-colonialist blood-letting with scant protest? Why do the European vassal states not rise up against this authoritarian regime that flaunts international law and drags its NATO allies down the path to complete lawlessness and diplomatic ignominy?

[snip]

No, Google’s Not a Bird: Bringing the Internet to Rural India

No, Google’s Not a Bird: Bringing the Internet to Rural India
A recent convert to the wonders of the web is trying to persuade his neighbors in a remote village that “the whole world rests inside the mobile.”
By ELLEN BARRY
May 21 2017
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/21/world/asia/internet-in-india.html

TARADAND, India — Babulal Singh Neti was sitting with his uncle on a recent afternoon, trying to persuade him of the merits of the internet.

It was 105 degrees outside, and the sun was beating down on the frazzled croplands. His uncle said he had no use for the internet, since he had never learned to read; furthermore, he wanted to nap. This he made clear by periodically screwing up his face into a huge yawn.

Mr. Neti, 38, pressed on earnestly, suggesting that he could demonstrate the internet’s potential by Googling the history of the Gond tribe, to which they both belonged. Since acquiring a smartphone, Mr. Neti couldn’t stop Googling things: the gods, Hindu and tribal; the relative merits of the Yadav caste and the Gonds; the real story of how the earth was made.

Access to this knowledge so elated him that he decided to give up farming for good, taking a job with a nongovernmental organization whose goals include helping villagers produce and call up online content in their native languages. When he encountered internet skeptics, he tried to impress them by looking up something they really cared about — like Gond history.

His uncle responded with half-closed eyes, delivering a brief but comprehensive oral history of the Gond kings, with the clear implication that his nephew was a bit of a good-for-nothing. “What does it mean, Google?” his uncle said. “Is it a bird?”

And then, theatrically, he yawned.

While India produces some of the world’s best coders and computer engineers, vast multitudes of its people are like Mr. Neti’s neighbors, entering the virtual world with little sense of what lies within it, or how it could be of use to them.

The arrival of the internet in their lives is one of India’s most hopeful narratives.

In the 70 years since independence, India’s government has done very little to connect Taradand, in Madhya Pradesh State, in central India, to the outside world: The first paved road appeared in 2006. There has never been a single telephone landline. Electricity is available to only half the houses. When Mr. Neti was growing up, if someone in the village needed emergency medical care, farmers tied the patient to a wooden cot and carried him five miles through the forest to the nearest hospital, a journey of four hours.

By comparison, India’s battling telecoms have wired Taradand with breathtaking speed. Two years ago, Mr. Neti counted 1,000 mobile phones in the village, which has a population of 2,500. This tracks with India as a whole; last year it surpassed the United States to become the world’s second-largest market for mobile phones behind only China, according to Groupe Speciale Mobile Association, an industry group known as G.S.M.A.

With the cost of both smartphones and data plummeting, it is fair to assume that Taradand’s next technological leap will be onto the internet.

Those who work in development tend to speak of this moment as a civilizational breakthrough, of particular significance in a country aching to educate its children. India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, has made expanding internet use a central goal, shifting government services onto digital platforms. When Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, toured India in 2014, he told audiences that for every 10 people who get online, “one person gets lifted out of poverty and one new job gets created.”

So it is instructive to follow Mr. Neti as he tries to drum up a little interest in Taradand. Young men use the internet here, but only young men, and almost exclusively to circulate Bollywood films. Older people view it as a conduit for pornography and other wastes of time.

Women are not allowed access even to simple mobile phones, for fear they will engage in illicit relationships; the internet is out of the question. Illiterate people — almost everyone over 40 — dismiss the internet as not intended for them.

Still, Mr. Neti persists with the zeal of the newly converted.

“You can call me the black sheep. That’s what I am,” he said cheerfully. “I don’t care. It’s the internet age. One day they’ll all come around.”

[snip]

She’s got a radical approach for the age of superbugs: Don’t fight infections.

She’s got a radical approach for the age of superbugs: Don’t fight infections. Learn to live with them
By USHA LEE MCFARLING
May 18 2017
https://www.statnews.com/2017/05/18/superbug-new-model-infection/

LA JOLLA, Calif. — As her father lay dying of sepsis, Janelle Ayres spent nine agonizing days at his bedside. When he didn’t beat the virulent bloodstream infection, she grieved. And then she got frustrated. She knew there had to be a better way to help patients like her dad.

In fact, she was working on one in her lab.

Ayres, a hard-charging physiologist who has unapologetically decorated her lab with bright touches of hot pink, is intent on upending our most fundamental understanding of how the human body fights disease.

Scientists have focused for decades on the how the immune system battles pathogens. Ayres believes other elements of our physiology are at least as important — so she’s hunting for the beneficial bacteria that seem to help some patients maintain a healthy appetite and repair damaged tissue even during bouts of serious disease.

If she can find them — and she’s already begun to do so — she believes she can develop drugs that will boost those qualities in patients who lack them and help keep people alive through battles with sepsis, malaria, cholera, and a host of other diseases.

Her approach, in a nutshell: Stop worrying so much about fighting infections. Instead, help the body tolerate them.

And no, she’s not spouting some New Age California mumbo jumbo about letting the body heal itself. An associate professor at the Salk Institute in the heart of San Diego’s booming biotech beach, Ayres is harnessing all manner of high-tech tools from the fields of microbiomics, genetics, and immunology — and looking to a menagerie of animals — to sort out why some individuals tolerate infection so much better than others.

It’s work that’s desperately needed, Ayres said, as it becomes ever more clear that our standard approach to fighting infection using antibiotics and antivirals is hopelessly inadequate. The drugs don’t work for all diseases, they kill off good bacteria along with bad — and their wanton use is contributing to the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria, or “superbugs,” which terrify disease experts because there are few ways to stop them.

Ayres’s father, Robert Lamberton, developed sepsis after a routine gallbladder surgery in 2015. Battling to fight the infection in the ICU, the hospital used an arsenal of antibiotics.

None worked.

“We’re focused only on making new antibiotics,” Ayres said. “And that’s an arms race that we’re never going to win.”

Ayres’s journey started with thousands of sick, mutant flies. It was about 10 years ago, in biologist David Schneider’s lab at Stanford, where Ayres was a grad student. She infected more than 10,000 flies, carrying various genetic mutations, with listeria. “I injured my hand because I had to inject so many flies,” she recalled.

While many immunologists would look for very specific immune responses, Ayres asked a simpler, but perhaps more important, question: Which flies survived?

By comparing the mutants that died quickly against the survivors, she found specific sets of genes that played roles in preventing, curbing, and even repairing damage from the listeria infection — regardless of the level of bacteria in the flies’ bodies.

[snip]

Air Force Academy Cadet Invents Goo That Can Literally Stop Bullets

Air Force Academy Cadet Invents Goo That Can Literally Stop Bullets
By TOM ROEDER
May 7 2017
http://taskandpurpose.com/air-force-academy-cadet-invents-goo-can-literally-stop-bullets/

There are a lot of ways to stop a bullet. Feet of concrete work. A few dozen pounds of steel work, too. Modern fibers like Kevlar work, if you have enough.

But a senior cadet at the Air Force Academy may have come up with something better: A thin coating of gravy.

It’s a special gravy, to be sure. But it’s not that different from the cornstarch-thickened substance best served over breakfast biscuits.

And it would stop Dirty Harry’s .44 caliber magnum as a snack.

Yet it’s flexible enough to bullet-proof, ahem, intimate areas.

“Like Under Armour, for real,” explained cadet Hayley Weir, a Highlands Ranch native who has applied for a patent on her spicy recipe.

Weir, who graduates from the academy this month, is an academy chemistry department dropout who came up with the idea in class.

A professor had asked cadets to think up ways to stop a pistol bullet. She thought of a child’s toy called Oobleck, which has a really scientific second name: a non-Newtonian fluid.

Those fluids, made with substances like cornstarch, are gooey and oozy to a gentle touch, but become as hard as steel when struck.

That means when a object traveling with a lot of force strikes the goo, it runs into something like Superman’s chest.

Weir has a collection of mushroom-shaped spent bullets to prove it.

Weir’s idea gained traction last year when she partnered with academy military and strategic studies professor Ryan Burke, an ex-Marine.

Burke’s Marine Corps experience told him that Weir had stumbled on to something important.

“It’s going to make a difference for Marines in the field,” he said.

Burke called some Marine Corps contacts who shipped materials to test the new bullet-stopping stuff.

In an academy lab, Weir mixes up batches of her secret formula, a viscous black goo. She says it’s less like science and more like baking a cake.

“I use a KitchenAid mixer,” she explained.

The substance is put in vacuum-seal bags normally used for leftovers and flattened into an quarter-inch layer.

That is layered into a wafer with Kevlar fabric.

“It’s all about the layering,” Weir said.

The result was first tested on a gun range in Jack’s Valley, the training area on the northern edge of the 18,500-acre academy campus.

Weir and Burke hit the armor with shot after shot of 9 mm fire. The goo stopped the bullets.

[snip]

Japan’s rising right-wing nationalism

Japan’s rising right-wing nationalism
May 26 2017

Like many nations, Japan is undergoing a surge in right-wing nationalism, the brand of nationism that is skeptical of globalization and outsiders. But while Japan’s nationalism looks similar to other right-wing movements in the West, when you look under the surface, you see a totally different story. 

Video: 7:45 min

Study finds mushrooms are the safest recreational drug

Study finds mushrooms are the safest recreational drug
People taking mushrooms in 2016 needed medical treatment less than for MDMA, LSD and cocaine, while one of the riskiest drugs was synthetic cannabis
By Olivia Solon
May 24 2017
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/may/23/study-hallucinogenic-mushrooms-safest-recreational-drug-lsd

Mushrooms are the safest of all the drugs people take recreationally, according to this year’s Global Drug Survey.

Of the more than 12,000 people who reported taking psilocybin hallucinogenic mushrooms in 2016, just 0.2% of them said they needed emergency medical treatment – a rate at least five times lower than that for MDMA, LSD and cocaine.

“Magic mushrooms are one of the safest drugs in the world,” said Adam Winstock, a consultant addiction psychiatrist and founder of the Global Drug Survey, pointing out that the bigger risk was people picking and eating the wrong mushrooms.

“Death from toxicity is almost unheard of with poisoning with more dangerous fungi being a much greater risk in terms of serious harms.”

Global Drug Survey 2017, with almost 120,000 participants in 50 countries, is the world’s biggest annual drug survey, with questions that cover the types of substances people take, patterns of use and whether they experienced any negative effects.

Overall, 28,000 people said they had taken magic mushrooms at some point in their lives, with 81.7% seeking a “moderate psychedelic experience” and the “enhancement of environment and social interactions”.

Magic mushrooms aren’t completely harmless, notes Winstock. “Combined use with alcohol and use within risky or unfamiliar settings increase the risks of harm most commonly accidental injury, panic and short lived confusion, disorientation and fears of losing one’s mind.”

In some cases people can experience panic attacks and flashbacks, he added, so his advice for people thinking about taking them is to plan “your trip carefully with trusted company in a safe place and always know what mushrooms you are using”.

Even bad trips can have positive outcomes, according to a separate piece of research carried out by Roland Griffiths and Robert Jesse at Johns Hopkins Medicine. 

In their 2016 paper they surveyed almost 2,000 individuals about their single most psychologically difficult or challenging experience with magic mushrooms. Of that group, 2.7% received medical help and 7.6% sought treatment for enduring psychological symptoms. Nevertheless 84% of those surveyed said they benefitted from the experience.

“In a way, it’s not really so surprising,” said Griffiths in a Q&A about the paper. “When we look back on challenging life events we wouldn’t choose, like a bout with a major disease, a harrowing experience while rock-climbing, or a painful divorce, sometimes we feel later that the difficult experience made us notably stronger or wiser. We might even come to value what happened.”

Outside of recreational use, magic mushrooms have been shown in clinical trials to treat severe depression and anxiety.

[snip]

The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI
No one really knows how the most advanced algorithms do what they do. That could be a problem.
By Will Knight
Apr 11 2017
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/604087/the-dark-secret-at-the-heart-of-ai/

Last year, a strange self-driving car was released onto the quiet roads of Monmouth County, New Jersey. The experimental vehicle, developed by researchers at the chip maker Nvidia, didn’t look different from other autonomous cars, but it was unlike anything demonstrated by Google, Tesla, or General Motors, and it showed the rising power of artificial intelligence. The car didn’t follow a single instruction provided by an engineer or programmer. Instead, it relied entirely on an algorithm that had taught itself to drive by watching a human do it.

Getting a car to drive this way was an impressive feat. But it’s also a bit unsettling, since it isn’t completely clear how the car makes its decisions. Information from the vehicle’s sensors goes straight into a huge network of artificial neurons that process the data and then deliver the commands required to operate the steering wheel, the brakes, and other systems. The result seems to match the responses you’d expect from a human driver. But what if one day it did something unexpected—crashed into a tree, or sat at a green light? As things stand now, it might be difficult to find out why. The system is so complicated that even the engineers who designed it may struggle to isolate the reason for any single action. And you can’t ask it: there is no obvious way to design such a system so that it could always explain why it did what it did.

The mysterious mind of this vehicle points to a looming issue with artificial intelligence. The car’s underlying AI technology, known as deep learning, has proved very powerful at solving problems in recent years, and it has been widely deployed for tasks like image captioning, voice recognition, and language translation. There is now hope that the same techniques will be able to diagnose deadly diseases, make million-dollar trading decisions, and do countless other things to transform whole industries.

But this won’t happen—or shouldn’t happen—unless we find ways of making techniques like deep learning more understandable to their creators and accountable to their users. Otherwise it will be hard to predict when failures might occur—and it’s inevitable they will. That’s one reason Nvidia’s car is still experimental.

Already, mathematical models are being used to help determine who makes parole, who’s approved for a loan, and who gets hired for a job. If you could get access to these mathematical models, it would be possible to understand their reasoning. But banks, the military, employers, and others are now turning their attention to more complex machine-learning approaches that could make automated decision-making altogether inscrutable. Deep learning, the most common of these approaches, represents a fundamentally different way to program computers. “It is a problem that is already relevant, and it’s going to be much more relevant in the future,” says Tommi Jaakkola, a professor at MIT who works on applications of machine learning. “Whether it’s an investment decision, a medical decision, or maybe a military decision, you don’t want to just rely on a ‘black box’ method.”

There’s already an argument that being able to interrogate an AI system about how it reached its conclusions is a fundamental legal right. Starting in the summer of 2018, the European Union may require that companies be able to give users an explanation for decisions that automated systems reach. This might be impossible, even for systems that seem relatively simple on the surface, such as the apps and websites that use deep learning to serve ads or recommend songs. The computers that run those services have programmed themselves, and they have done it in ways we cannot understand. Even the engineers who build these apps cannot fully explain their behavior.

This raises mind-boggling questions. As the technology advances, we might soon cross some threshold beyond which using AI requires a leap of faith. Sure, we humans can’t always truly explain our thought processes either—but we find ways to intuitively trust and gauge people. Will that also be possible with machines that think and make decisions differently from the way a human would? We’ve never before built machines that operate in ways their creators don’t understand. How well can we expect to communicate—and get along with—intelligent machines that could be unpredictable and inscrutable? These questions took me on a journey to the bleeding edge of research on AI algorithms, from Google to Apple and many places in between, including a meeting with one of the great philosophers of our time. 

[snip]