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Trend-watching humor

June 25th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — the Brits, Google & Brexit, plus some arcane religious info for netizens ]
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A Brit response to Brexit results: Google!!

No, really!

**

And while we’re at it — you’ve probably seen this before —

Wondering which religion to choose? Google!!

**

Somewhere, a couple of machine learning algorithms are laughing at us.

Donald Trump and his Trumpalike, The Denald

June 25th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — reality imitates parody, a subset of life imitates art ]
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The Denald Trump account posted this fake trumpery as satire:

This tweet was quickly followed by an all-too-similar one from the real Donald:

— the only problem here being that the Scots voted to stay..

**

And now the coup de grace — Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau‘s eye catches the match between parody and reality in these two quotes — and tweets them in juxtaposition, DoubleTweet-style:

— with the added bonus of a playful sideswipe at the Bostrom / Musk simulation idea..

**

It seems there really were Scots shouting at Trump to leave — he’s not well-liked over there — so was he the one who was being ultimately playful and ironic — deliberately misunderstanding them for the purpose of his tweet?

Towards the urgent development of the artificial kidney

June 25th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — setting aside my personal interest, there’s a humanitarian / religious angle here ]
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The atrocities described in the lower panel add urgency to the medical development described in the upper panel:

kidney transplants

Sources:

  • Kurzweil AI, Wearable artificial kidney prototype successfully tested
  • Daily Mail, China is forcing up to 90,000 prisoners to have organs removed
  • **

    I took note of the Kurzweil announcement in the upper panel above, because I’m due for some form of kidney dialysis myself — and the new report on Chinese harvesting of religious prisoners’ marketable organs, Bloody Harvest / The Slaughter, because I’m interested in Falun Gong and other religious movements in China that are under intense pressure from the Chinese authorities.

    Here are a couple of excerpts from the 680-page report:

    The narrative of pursuit, arrest, torture, and, in several cases, execution, illustrates that Falun Gong was putting up an increasingly effective resistance – even as the state’s structure of persecution was spinning out of control, and shedding any remaining inhibitions surrounding the mass exploitation of Falun Gong for their organs. The “self-immolation” of Falun Gong practitioners on Tiananmen Square is also examined in detail, with the conclusion that it was not only a set-up but a masterstroke of state propaganda.

    What emerges is a picture of an organ harvesting regime that began giving discreet physical examinations of select Falun Gong practitioners in late 2000/early 2001, expanding into mass examinations (including Tibetan prisoners of conscience and the House Christian group “Eastern Lightning”) by 2003, and an organ harvesting regime wasn’t even being kept fully secret within the Laogai System by 2005

    It’s worth noting that the Uyghur Muslims are caught up in the same situations, too.

    **

    Putting the two halves of this puzzle together — one of the aspects of the harvesting of organs from Chinese religious dissidents is that it attracts what the publishers of the report term organ tourism:

    Governments should enact measures to criminalize the purchase of trafficked organs at home or abroad. They could also require reporting of ‘organ tourism’, ban entry of those involved in trafficking organs, and prohibit their pharmaceutical companies from doing transplant field tests and clinical trials in China.

    The idea of extending one’s life by receiving the transplanted organ of a prisoner separated out for religious reasons and then killed to supply the tourist organ market is both deeply human, in the sense of serving the individual’s survival, and deeply abhorrent and inhuman, as (effectively) a paid enticement to mass murder.

    **

    At one point, the report says:

    Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, began in May 1992 with the teachings of Li Hongzhi. The two Davids [co-authors of the report] have described Falun Gong as a set of exercises with a spiritual and ethical foundation. Ethan Gutmann in The Slaughter states: “Falun Gong, simply put, is a Buddhist revival movement.”

    Saying Falun Gong is “simply put .. a Buddhist revival movement” is a bit simplistic itself, though. Here’s an excerpt of a Time magazine article from 1999 — it appeared in the world edition, but not I think in the US — in which Li Hongzhi explains a major aspect of his concern about where the human race is heading:

    The aliens come from other planets. The names that I use for these planets are different . Some are from dimensions that human beings have not yet discovered. The key is how they have corrupted mankind. Everyone knows that from the beginning until now, there has never been a development of culture like today. Although it has been several thousand years, it has never been like now.

    The aliens have introduced modern machinery like computers and airplanes. They started by teaching mankind about modern science, so people believe more and more science, and spiritually, they are controlled. Everyone thinks that scientists invent on their own when in fact their inspiration is manipulated by the aliens. In terms of culture and spirit, they already control man. Mankind cannot live without science.

    The ultimate purpose is to replace humans. If cloning human beings succeeds, the aliens can officially replace humans. Why does a corpse lie dead, even though it is the same as a living body? The difference is the soul, which is the life of the body. If people reproduce a human person, the gods in heaven will not give its body a human soul. The aliens will take that opportunity to replace the human soul and by doing so they will enter earth and become earthlings.

    When such people grow up, they will help replace humans with aliens. They will produce more and more clones. There will no longer be humans reproduced by humans. They will act like humans, but they will introduce legislation to stop human reproduction.

    I’m pretty sure the Falun Gong people worry the Chinese central authorities because they’re a substantial quasi-millennial sect that’s only too reminiscent of the Taiping sect of the mid-nineteenth century, whose rebellion the government of the day eventually put down at a total cost of somewhere between 20 and 30 million lives. throw in ~150 years’ worth of advances in weaponry, communications media and population size, and the head honchos wouldn’t like to see how wildly destructive a 2000 or 2020 repeat might get!

    Brexit: gunpowder, treason and plot?

    June 25th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — conspiracies in the lead up to Jo Cox’s death and the Brexit referendum ]
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    Amil Khan, aka Londonstani, is a London-based journalist and author of The Long Struggle: The Muslim Worlds Western Problem. If I recall correctly, he was roommate for a while with Andrew Exum, aka Abu Muqawama, and a frequent contributor to Exum’s Abu Muqawama blog.

    **

    Here are three tweets I found that answer Londonstani‘s question — two conspiracy theories and a conspirator with motive:

    and:

    and by way of motive:

    **

    See also:

  • Washington Post, Pencil or pen? An unusual conspiracy theory grips Brexit vote.
  • Veterans Today, BREXIT victory shocks NWO – were “conspiracy theories” responsible?
  • Qur’an 8.30: And Allah is the best of plotters.

    Who am I? I am my motto!

    June 25th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — a curious similarity between the courtroom appearances of the Orlando and Jo Cox killers ]
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    The Orlando killer’s court appearance is featured in the upper panel below, the appearance of Jo Cox MP’s killer in the lower panel:

    I am my motto DQ

    Sources:

  • WSVN, Orlando shooter’s partial 911 transcript
  • Reuters, Jo Cox murder suspect says name
  • **

    It is generally true that one’s name stands for one’s entire identity — which in my own case would include my personalities as a father, friend, poet, blogger, game designer, analyst of apocalyptic, lover of the beloved. To give an ideological response — a motto — repeatedly, when asked one’s name would indicate an uncanny degree of single-mindedness, of focus, of purpose.

    Scott Atran‘s work, eg his paper, Devoted actors sacrifice for close comrades and sacred cause, would be of interest here:

    Studies across cultures suggest that the strongest forms of primary group identity are bounded by sacred values, often in the form of religious beliefs or transcendental ideologies, which leads some groups to prevail because of nonrational commitment from at least some of its members to actions that drive success independent — or all out of proportion — from expected rational outcomes. For such “devoted actors,” rightness of in-group cause often leads to intractable conflicts with out-groups that become immune to the give-and-take common to “business-like” negotiations.

    Thus, our interviews with United States officials familiar with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (now self-proclaimed “Caliph” of the Islamic State) and his close circle, including General Douglas Stone, who commanded Camp Bucca where they were held, suggests absolutely committed “purists,” completely devoted to their idea of Sharia and the Caliphate, and willing to do anything for it, to use violence to instill blood lust among their followers and terror among enemies, who were no match for them. Unconditional commitment to comrades, in conjunction with their sacred cause, may be what allows low-power groups to endure and often prevail against materially stronger foes: since World War II, revolutionary and insurgent groups (e.g., the Islamic State) have beaten armies with up to an order-of-magnitude more firepower and manpower because of devotion to comrade and cause rather than typical reward structures, like pay and promotion (e.g., Iraq’s army).

    All of which ties in with what I was saying four days ago in Firefights, breath, & meditation about “tightly focused” vs “wide-angled” awareness.


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