Virtual reality allows users to enter an unreal world in order to escape their everyday problems. But as VR technology advances and proliferates, acts that would be crimes in the real world have crept in.Read More: I was sexually assaulted — in virtual reality
Jordan Belamire was the victim of one such “crime.”
The incident went down while Belamire (a pseudonym) was playing a game called “QuiVr.” In real life, she was standing next to her husband in her brother-in-law’s living room. In the game, users travel around a snow-capped mountain killing zombies with a bow and arrow. Her avatar, like all other avatars in the game, was simply a disembodied, floating helmet and two hands clutching a bow. The only indication that other players would have of her gender would be her voice.
Belamire was having a great time mowing down the undead next to another user, whose handle she identified as BigBro442. Then, in between waves of zombies, BigBro442’s avatar turned to Belamire’s avatar and started to rub near her virtual breasts.
Belamire screamed, “Stop!” but the admonishment only served to spur the him on.
“He chased me around, making grabbing and pinching motions near my chest. Emboldened, he even shoved his hand toward my virtual crotch and began rubbing,” Belamire wrote on Medium.
Even though she knew that the groping wasn’t real, Belamire still felt like she was being violated.
“Of course, you’re not physically being touched, just like you’re not actually one hundred feet off the ground,” she explained, “but it’s still scary as hell.” She quit the game after minutes of this harassment.
Sunday, October 30, 2016
Saturday, October 29, 2016
Major conspiracies theories, such as a faked Moon landing, would have been exposed within just a few years if they were really true, a scientist has concluded.
Oxford University physicist Dr David Grimes worked out a mathematical way to calculate the chances of a plot being deliberately leaked by a whistle-blower or accidentally uncovered.
He was able to show that the more people share in a conspiracy, the shorter its lifespan is likely to be.
For a plot to last five years, the maximum number of plotters turned out to be 2,521. To keep a scheme operating undetected for more than a decade, fewer than 1,000 people could be involved, while a century-long deception had to include fewer than 125 collaborators.
Applying the technique to four real-life scenarios showed that had the moon landings been a hoax - involving an estimated 411,000 people who worked at Nasa - it would have been found out in three years and eight months.
Back on Earth, a climate change conspiracy with 405,000 conspirators – based on scientists and staff at institutions like the Royal Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) - would have lasted just three years and nine months.Read More: The Telegraph
And if big pharmaceutical companies were keeping a cure of cancer up their sleeves, the plot would be exposed within three years and three months, Dr Grimes concludes.
Yes, the classic too many people would have to know or be in on it theory being propagandized.
Friday, October 28, 2016
“In twenty or fifty years, taking a personalized blue pill you just hallucinate in an entertaining way and then a white pill brings you back to normality is perfectly viable,” said Hastings. “And if the source of human entertainment in thirty or forty years is pharmacological we’ll be in real trouble.”Read More: A Matrix-like hallucinogenic pill may be the future of entertainment, says Netflix’s CEO
Drugs as recreation certainly aren’t a new concept. But what Hastings seems to have in mind sounds straight out of the science-fiction film The Matrix. (Hastings isn’t the only Silicon Valley CEO on a Matrix kick lately. Tesla and Space X CEO Elon Musk may well have had the science-fiction trilogy in mind when he recently said there’s a chance we’re all living in a computer simulation.)
Apparently, Hastings hasn’t yet figured out how Netflix will rival these hypothetical, hallucinogenic entertainment drugs, or if the company would itself forge a path in drug-induced storytelling.
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane (1941), which turns 75 this month, is Donald Trump’s favorite movie. It’s not hard to see why. The film tells the story of an American tycoon, the inheritor of a great fortune, who spends his life vainly pursuing the love he lost in childhood. His historic career takes him right to the cusp of great political power—the governorship of New York—but he falls short thanks to his own hubris.
Something in Charles Foster Kane’s relentless pursuit of more—more wealth, more possessions, more influence—strikes a very definite chord with Trump, as he himself admits. “I think you learn in Kane that maybe wealth isn’t everything,” Trump told documentary filmmaker Errol Morris “because he had the wealth, but he didn’t have the happiness.” Or, as Kane puts it early on in the film, “You know … if I hadn’t been very rich, I might have been a really great man.”
But Kane is about more than just the damaging, isolating power of wealth—or “accumulation,” as Trump puts it. Welles didn’t simply make his protagonist a rich man; he made Kane a media baron, whose influence extends far beyond his riches because he controls the press. And that, more than anything else, is why Citizen Kane remains essential viewing three-quarters of a century after its initial release. Few films offer such a perceptive view of the media’s role in shaping American politics and thought. Even though Kane depicts an era dominated by the newspaper and the telegraph, and emerged when radio and newsreels held sway, its lessons have only become truer in the age of television and the Internet.
Kane’s media empire is built on “fakery in allegiance to the truth.” Like the real historical figure that inspired him (the great yellow journalist William Randolph Hearst), Kane willingly reshapes the facts in service of his own beliefs, heedless of the real-life damage he might cause. As the brash young publisher of the New York Inquirer, he tackles the “money-mad pirates” making fortunes on the backs of the underprivileged—even though his own finances are tied in with theirs. In the same scene, he gleefully seeks to spur a conflict between the U.S. and Spain, cabling a reporter in Cuba (in an echo of Hearst): “[Y]ou provide the prose poems, I’ll provide the war.” He promotes himself as a truth-teller, a righteous defender of the downtrodden, but he always puts his own interests first and foremost. “Don’t believe everything you hear on the radio,” Kane declares early in the film, perhaps in a sly reference to War of the Worlds. As an alternative, he promotes his own paper: “Read the Inquirer.”Read More: The Daily Beast
On the evening of October 30, 1938, radio listeners across the United States heard a startling report of a meteor strike in the New Jersey countryside. With sirens blaring in the background, announcers in the field described mysterious creatures, terrifying war machines, and thick clouds of poison gas moving toward New York City. As the invading force approached Manhattan, some listeners sat transfixed, while others ran to alert neighbors or to call the police. Some even fled their homes. But the hair-raising broadcast was not a real news bulletin-it was Orson Welles's adaptation of the H. G. Wells classic THE WAR OF THE WORLDS.
In BROADCAST HYSTERIA, A. Brad Schwartz boldly retells the story of Welles's famed radio play and its impact. Did it really spawn a "wave of mass hysteria," as the New York Times reported? Schwartz is the first to examine the hundreds of letters sent to Orson Welles himself in the days after the broadcast, and his findings challenge the conventional wisdom. Few listeners believed an actual attack was under way. But even so, Schwartz shows that Welles's broadcast became a major scandal, prompting a different kind of mass panic as Americans debated the bewitching power of the radio and the country's vulnerability in a time of crisis. When the debate was over, American broadcasting had changed for good, but not for the better.
A front page of The New York Times from Sept. 12, 2001, autographed by five U.S. presidents and showing the burning World Trade Center has sold for $11,000 at a New York City auction.Read More: Washington's Top News
The signatures are Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. The ex-presidents signed while attending a national day of remembrance and prayer for Sept. 11 victims at the National Cathedral in Washington days after the attacks.
I actually own one of these September 12th, 2001 New York Times newspapers, having saved it for 15+ years now. Too bad there are no Presidential signatures on my copy.
Thursday, October 20, 2016
A photo of a young Syrian boy covered in dust and blood in an ambulance that was viewed by millions and became the face of Aleppo's suffering is being called fake by Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, a claim that contradicts numerous witness accounts on the ground in Syria.Read More: abcnews.go.com
The boy, five-year-old Omran Daqneesh, was pulled from a destroyed building in the besieged part of Aleppo's Qaterji neighborhood after a Syrian or Russian airstrike on Aug. 17, according to locals, including medical sources and the White Helmets, a volunteer civil defense group that rescued the boy. On social media, many users said that they were particularly moved by his photo because he looked dazed and confused and wasn't crying despite the obvious injury to his head.
A video showing Omran touching his wounded head and wiping away the blood without shedding a tear went viral and has come to symbolize the humanitarian suffering in Aleppo. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton mentioned the boy's story in two of the presidential debates, including last night's.
Now, the Syrian president has said that the photo of Omran is fake. When confronted with the photo in an interview with Swiss TV SRF1 and asked what he would say to Omran and his family, Assad responded: "We have real pictures of children being harmed, but this one specifically is a forged one.”
Assad makes the claim about nine minutes into the televised interview.
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
The Mission of Iraq, which sits on a wealthy Upper East Side block near Central Park, has a dark secret: it’s basement was used as a jail equipped for torture under Saddam Hussein’s regime, The Post has learned.
When he rose to power in 1979, the despot had the terrifying “detention room” installed inside the five-story building at 14 East 79th Street — right across from billionaire former mayor Michael Bloomberg’s home, according to two Iraqi officials speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Saddam’s henchmen – known as Mukhabarat agents — frequently imprisoned local Iraqis in the basement for up to 15 days at a time, using them as leverage to get their relatives back in the homeland to surrender and cooperate with the tyrannical government, the officials said.
“It was a dark room. The doors were reinforced in a way that nobody could break in or out. You didn’t need to sound proof it,” one official said. The other official added, “You’re not going to hear someone screaming down there,” the other official said.
The first room acted as their office; the second was a communications center where they used an encrypted system to send messages back and forth to Baghdad; and the third was the detention facility that was secured by a giant metal door with heavy steel bars that ran across it.Read More: New York Post
To keep their operation strictly covert, Mukhabarat blacked out a skylight in the roof of the five-story townhouse to keep the US Air Force and satellites from peering in and kept a watchful eye on American spies conducting wiretap surveillance from a car across the street, the officials said.
Native Icelandic and alternative pop singer Björk wants you all to know nature turns her on. Yes, as in sexually.
According to a new interview with the Evening Standard, Björk has always found animals sexy, despite also liking what much of the world finds to be traditionally sexy.
“I like bestiality,” the singer continues. “I get turned on by nature. I don’t find urban brothel situations very hot. But that’s just my taste… like, National Geographic porn.”
You might be able to infer her love for bestiality from some of her feminist music, which has been around for over two decades now. Rather than outwardly using sexual lyrics, she tends to include a lot of moaning and unique, suggestive sounds into her songs, which makes it easy for the listener to project their own sexual fantasies. You could even argue such sounds are more primal-sounding than anything else.Read More: Elitedaily.com
Saturday, October 8, 2016
I previously wrote about how it appears Michael J. Fox is doing an acting job for Parkinson's Disease. See here: Acting Job: Faking Parkinson's Disease.
In this clip Michael J. Fox admits to faking Parkinson's Disease on his TV show, The Michael J. Fox Show:
Questioning Our Reality
In this clip Michael J. Fox admits to faking Parkinson's Disease on his TV show, The Michael J. Fox Show:
Questioning Our Reality
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
The Michael Richards exhibition on Governors Island, curated by Alex Fialho and Melissa Levin, proves what an astonishing loss it was when the artist was killed on 9/11. Richards had spent the night in his World Views studio as part of his Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) residency; when a hijacked plane crashed into the 92nd floor of the World Trade Center’s north tower, it killed him. Rumors quickly swirled that he had foreshadowed his own death with the sculpture “Tar Baby vs. St. Sebastian” (1999), for which he had used his own body as a model. Photos of the work showed a fleet of mini airplanes piercing a Tuskegee Airman’s body, the jets uncannily similar to the one that destroyed Richards’s own body in the disaster.Read More: The Prescient Work of an Artist Killed on 9/11
Monday, October 3, 2016
1. Two-Way Wrist Radio Watch (Dick Tracy, 1990)Read More: 10 times technology jumped from movies to reality
“Radio”? How 1930s. The modern-day counterpart of the famous detective’s iconic wristwatch is the Apple Watch.
4. Handheld Communicator (Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, 1984)
The Star Trek franchise inspired many of today’s modern technologies, from 3D printers to medical tricorders. The crew’s handheld communicator, first featured in the ‘60s TV series, is the father of today’s mobile phones.
5. Tablet Computers (2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968)
In Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi classic, two astronauts are seen having breakfast, while watching multimedia content wirelessly on a flat, rectangular device. Inspiration for the iPad, no?
9. Full Body Scanners (Total Recall, 1990)
We laughed when we first saw the intrusive X-ray body scanners in this Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle, but since 2010, such scanners are commonplace at most airports in the world.
The U.S. military has announced it will now pay for gender reassignment surgery for transgender soldiers.Read More: Daily Mail
The move follows the Pentagon's decision in June to lift its ban on transgender troops serving in the military.
Now any soldier whose ability to serve is 'adversely affected by a medical condition or medical treatment related to their gender identity,' they will be eligible for reassignment surgery or hormone therapy, according to the Defense Department.
Children of soldiers and retirees will also be able to take advantage of the new transgender health benefits such as hormone therapy.
Ever hear about the gargantuan octopus that dragged a New York City ferry and its 400 passengers to the river bottom nearly 53 years ago?Read More: Newsday
A cast bronze monument dedicated to the victims of the steam ferry Cornelius G. Kolff recently appeared in Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan, erected a stone's throw from a handful of other somber memorials to soldiers, sailors and mariners lost at sea or on the battlefield.
But if you can't recall the disaster it could be because the artist behind the memorial, Joseph Reginella, made the whole thing up.
The 250-pound monument, which depicts a Staten Island ferry being dragged down by giantoctopus tentacles, is part of a multi-layered hoax that also includes a sophisticated website, a documentary, fabricated newspaper articles and glossy fliers directing tourists to a phantom Staten Island Ferry Disaster Memorial Museum across the harbor.
A controversial foreign PR firm known for representing unsavory characters was paid millions by the Pentagon to create fake terrorist videos.Read More: Fake News and False Flags: Pentagon Paid Millions to Create Fake Terrorist Videos
The Pentagon gave a controversial UK PR firm over half a billion dollars to run a top secret propaganda program in Iraq, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism can reveal.
Bell Pottinger’s output included short TV segments made in the style of Arabic news networks and fake insurgent videos which could be used to track the people who watched them, according to a former employee.
The agency’s staff worked alongside high-ranking U.S. military officers in their Baghdad Camp Victory headquarters as the insurgency raged outside.
Saturday, October 1, 2016
Most people would call Tahir Qureshi unlucky.
But Qureshi — who was injured and nearly killed by falling debris in both 9/11 and Thursday’s Hoboken train crash — believes otherwise.
“I feel blessed — I’m very lucky to be alive,” Qureshi, a 42-year-old father of three from New Milford, NJ, told The Post on Thursday.
Qureshi was literally walking through the front door of the World Trade Center when a plane struck the 98th floor of his offices at Marsh & McLennan.
That time, he escaped with smoke inhalation and bruises, he said.
Marsh & McLennan lost nearly 300 people.
Qureshi was again on his way to work, at the company’s new headquarters in Hoboken, and was standing in the front of his train when disaster struck Thursday.
“The whole roof collapsed, and pinned us,” he told The Post.
“It happened now twice to be in a situation. It’s just one of those blessings that I’m OK.”
As with 9/11, his family members watched the news in horror, unable to reach him for hours.
“She’s terrified right now,” Qureshi’s brother, Shadid, 49, said earlier Thursday of their mother, while waiting to hear from Qureshi, who survived with nothing worse than a bruised knee.
“It’s a miracle,” said his wife, Fatima, 38. “A miracle, twice happened.”
New York Post
It’s been a complicated question for a character with a complicated history, but if you ask Greg Rucka, the writer behind Wonder Woman for DC Comics in the 2000s, the iconic superhero is indeed “queer.”Read More: ‘I don’t know how much clearer I can make it’: Wonder Woman writer confirms superhero is ‘queer’
In fact, Rucka added, “I don’t know how much clearer I can make it.”
Speaking to Comicosity, he said the character had “obviously” been in love and had relationships with other women on her homeland of Themyscira, an island on which only Amazon women live, something which has been hinted at in some of the newer Wonder Woman stories.
He went on to say that he is not a fan of prioritizing “representation” over plot and character development, despite the character’s sexuality having long been speculated upon by fans.
“The character has to stand up and say, “I’M GAY!” in all bold caps for it to be evident,” he said. “For my purposes, that’s bad writing. That’s a character stating something that’s not impacting the story.”
Rucka added that “Nobody at DC has ever said, “She’s gotta be straight.” Nobody. Ever. They’ve never blinked at this. … They would, I think, like any business, prefer this not be an issue to anybody. But most of us human beings would also really rather this not be an issue for anybody anymore. It is what it is. This is how the Amazons live.”
Maybe New Jersey Transit can add the Hoboken Train Crash?
Maybe New Jersey Transit can add the Hoboken Train Crash?