Many years ago subliminal advertising was banned by law because it manipulated how people thought – brainwashed them to a degree. Since then the practice has been frowned upon, but, with the popularity of social media, are some people, particularly in some government agencies, trying to secretly manipulate us again?
In January 2012, Facebook ran a secret experiment on 689,000 of its users.
The purpose of that experiment was to see if the company could change those peoples’ moods by altering their news feeds.
The scary thing is that it worked.
The study found that by manipulating the News Feeds displayed to 689,003 Facebook users, it could affect the content which those users posted to Facebook. More negative News Feeds led to more negative status messages, and more positive News Feeds led to more positive statuses.
This means, as the report on the experiment stated, “that emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness.” To put it another way, it is the manipulation of the herd, or zombie, mentality.
Such mass manipulation is only possible now with the immediacy and vast scale of social networks such as Facebook. Now, because of the numbers of people involved, even minor manipulations in how they think can have far reaching consequences.
One of the groups funding the experiment was the US Army which flags up big question marks over their motives and over Facebook’s place as an independent commercial operation.
The fact that government agencies are experimenting as to how they can influence people online has been known for some time, but you have to search for the evidence because they never tell you what they are up to.
The mass surveillance that whistleblower Edward Snowden highlighted is only the first step in a more sinister process. The big question everyone should be asking is, once the government and its agencies have gathered all of that information on us, what are they going to use it for? There must be some end goal. You can be sure that just leaving terrabytes of data languishing in remote computer server farms is not it.
The most obvious use of that information is to manipulate people, which is essentially what the Facebook experiment tells us. Only the moronically naïve or dumb would think otherwise.
In the commercial online world where everyone is used to free services paid for by advertising, information can be used to manipulate consumers into becoming indirect paying customers by simply turning their private information into cash. The more personal, detailed and intimate the data on you is, the more valuable it is to the company collecting and selling it, either directly, or indirectly via targeted advertising especially for you. Yes, what you see when you go to a Google search page is not what I see!
In the world of government control, some of their spy agencies will collect information just for the bureaucratic hell of it. Don’t believe that the NSA, that Snowden highlighted, is the only government data-thief. It may well be the biggest and best funded, but there are many others busy snooping away. And not just in the USA, but in Britain, China, Russia, and many other powerful countries too.
These groups will justify their unwanted intrusions into our private lives by hanging a ‘national security’ sign on it, it’s the excuse they always use. To an extent that is true at the moment since they use information collected by these snooping techniques to smear the reputations of what are deemed to be ‘enemies of the state’. They used to do much the same via planted news reports and information given to friendly newspaper journalists to disseminate. At the moment ‘enemies of the state’ are terrorist groups, particularly Islamic terrorists like ISIS. But in the future, who knows?
Increasingly government agencies will use the manipulation of social media to influence the general population and thereby bring about outcomes that suit their needs.
George Orwell had the right idea about what would happen. His only problem was that he chose the wrong title for his book. By 1984 technology had not caught up with the aspirations of those who wish to exert such control.
It’s an unwritten rule that the more power you give bureaucrats the stupider the regulations they come up with.
The European Union is a prime example. The bureaucrats there have already decided that our bananas shouldn’t be too straight, or our cucumbers too bent. Their scientists have even declared that there was no proof that drinking water helped with dehydration. (Yes, they really did!)
These examples give you an idea just how intrusive and how dumb these people are.
Unfortunately they are in a position to issue these stupid regulations and to have them enforced by an even stupider team of morons who spend their worthless lives checking to make sure that rules that should never have been passed are adhered to.
And it just keeps going.
There are new wattage rules for light bulbs, and televisions, and washing machines, and refrigerators. And within the past few days the poor vacuum cleaner has come under attack.
They’ve decided that vacuum cleaners that use more than 1600 watts can no longer be sold in stores in the EU, nor manufactured in EU plants. And the wattage is to be reduced even further during the next two years to a paltry 900 watts.
I don’t know whether the term “poor suckers” is being applied to these weak powered machines or the citizens of the EU who have to put up with such endless nonsense!
Next on the bureaucrat’s hit list are lawn mowers, mobile phones, hair dryers, kettles, in fact just about everything they can think of interfering with.
Strangely, though, the one thing they never ever consider in their quest to reduce energy consumption is to cut the numbers in the EU Parliament along with their tens of thousands of support staff.
We had it with the real estate market. Billions of dollars being lent to people who obviously couldn’t afford it.
We saw the trouble, hardship, misery and financial woes that were caused as credit dried up, real estate prices began to tumble, and bankruptcies and foreclosures increased.
And we know the damage it did to the economy when irresponsible banks and other lenders went bust and almost brought down the entire financial system.
Smart people would learn from such a situation.
Smart people would never contemplate doing such a thing again.
But despite what they would like to have you believe, bankers are not smart people. They’re dumb and they are greedy, a deadly combination.
As a result of the financial crisis millions of Americans (and people in other countries too) have been left with poor credit scores. Yet remarkably they are now able to easily obtain auto loans from used-car dealers, including some who fabricate or ignore borrowers’ abilities to repay. Even if you are bankrupt or living only on social security, banks like Wells Fargo will lend you thousands of dollars to buy a used car.
It’s called the new sub-prime boom, because the lack of caution resembles the frenzied sub-prime mortgage market before its collapse. And it is already bringing misery to many people who have been suckered into taking out loans that they clearly could not afford.
Worse than that, these sub-prime auto loans often come with terms that take advantage of the most desperate, least financially sophisticated customers, with interest rates that can exceed 20 percent. And many of the loans can be at least twice the value of the second hand cars they are being used to purchase!
This creates a vicious circle for some borrowers, who still owe money on a car that they are trading in when they purchase another one, meaning that the former debt is rolled over into the new loan and they end up, not just paying too much for their current car, but also continue to pay off the loan on their previous car that they don’t even have!
This is the way loan sharks operate. Eventually you end up borrowing your own money and paying them interest for the privilege!
This surge in sub-prime auto lending is being driven by some of the same dynamics that were at work in sub-prime mortgages. There is a veritable deluge of money pouring into sub-prime autos, as the high rates and steady profits of the loans attract investors.
And just as Wall Street stoked the boom in mortgages, some of the nation’s biggest banks and private equity firms are now feeding the growth in sub-prime auto loans by investing in lenders and making money available for loans.
To quote some of the figures, auto loans to people with bad credit have risen more than 130 percent in the five years since the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis, with roughly one in four new auto loans last year going to borrowers considered sub-prime, that is, people with credit scores at or below 640. Wells Fargo, mentioned earlier, made $7.8 billion in auto loans in the second quarter of this year, up 9 percent from a year earlier, and has at least $50 billion in auto loans on its books.
Even worse, as was the case with sub-prime mortgages before the financial crisis, many sub-prime auto loans are being bundled up into complex bonds and sold as securities by banks to insurance companies, mutual funds and public pension funds. They are all scrambling for these, which in turn creates ever-greater demand for loans, and leads to the banks issuing more and more sub-prime credit.
Unbelievably it’s the same crooks doing exactly the same thing, including using incorrect information about borrowers’ income and employment, so that people who had lost their jobs, or were bankrupt, or living on Social Security, could qualify for loans that they could never afford.
Admittedly, the size of the sub-prime auto loan market is only a tiny fraction of the sub-prime mortgage market at its peak, and its implosion would not have the same far-reaching consequences.
For the banks the investors silly enough to buy their bonds, that is.
But the misery is just as great for the people who are suckered into accepting credit they cannot afford.
Illegal it may not be, but immoral it certainly is.
Political leaders who sit astride high horses and purport to be working on behalf of the ordinary people should be doing something about it.
How often have you seen “The Opportunity Of A Lifetime” pop up on the internet or in your email?
This time it’s different, though.
This time it’s true!
Well, sort of.
Because this is your chance to own what is possibly the stupidest dog in the world.
And it won’t cost you anything either, we’re giving him away to the first good home
If you are stupid, and you want a companion at least as stupid as you are, if not more so, this is the perfect dog for you.
His name is ‘Scotty’, (and, yes, I have asked to be “beamed up” several times), but don’t let the name put you off.
You can call him anything you like, ‘Rover’, ‘Patch’, ‘Lassie’, ‘Monday’, ‘Tuesday’, ‘Wednesday’, ‘November’, or whatever, because it’s all the same to him – this dog is so dumb he doesn’t even know his own name.
His lack of knowledge is on such a vast scale I’m astounded the known Universe is expanding rapidly enough to contain it.
He doesn’t know how to sit. He doesn’t know how to stay. He doesn’t know how to come, or to stop, or to heel, or anything you can teach a normal dog to do.
He just doesn’t know anything.
And you won’t have to waste your time and money training him either, because this dog just cannot learn. Believe me I have done my best!
He is painfully stupid in at least the four different languages we have tried. He doesn’t speak English, nor does he hablar español, he hasn’t a clue how to parler francais, and you might as well try to speak klingon as sprechen Deutsch to him.
A big plus is that he is small and won’t eat you out of house and home. All you have to remember to do is buy cat food and not dog food and you’ll be fine. The cat beats him up every time he eats her food, but he doesn’t learn from that either. I don’t think he even knows he’s a dog.
The only one thing he has learned, is not to shit in the house, but in truth I think this has more to do with the fact that every time he tried he discovered he couldn’t with my toe up his arse.
He barks at strangers, which is good. And if he left it at that we wouldn’t mind.
But he also barks at people he knows, or rather, people he should know if he had the brains to remember who they were, which he hasn’t.
And some of the time he barks at nothing at all. It can go on for ages because, when he does bark at nothing, he must hear his own bark, think it’s another dog, and off he goes. Sometimes you can look at his face and watch him trying to figure it out.
“Who said that? Grrrrr.”
“There it is again!”
“Woof! Woof! Woof!”
“There’s another dog here somewhere.”
“Woof! Woof! Woof! Woof!”
And on it goes for a while, until it stops for no reason, the same way it started.
He also doesn’t know his left back leg belongs to him. When he notices it is there, he attacks it as if it is another animal trying to insert itself into his leg socket. I’ve seen other dogs chasing their tail, but this is just ridiculous.
Finally, every time the front gate is opened, he has taken to running down the street after bicycles and motorbikes – that he doesn’t know how to ride – and after cars and other vehicles – that he doesn’t know how to drive. What he would do with them if he ever caught one I just don’t know! Neither does he, but he does it anyway.
Somehow, and I find this rather incredible – and disappointing – he has always managed to find his way back home. I think it’s because he tries every other house on the way back and we are the only one silly enough to let him back in. I’ve told everyone to pretend they don’t know him when he turns up and he’ll just move on to the next house and then next, but they won’t listen to me.
So come on good people of the blogsphere, which of you is going to take advantage of this incredible opportunity of a lifetime?
You know how much I love dogs, I’ve said so before on this blog, but please get in touch as soon as you can and take this stupid dog off our hands before I crack up completely!
My father gave me a lot of good advice, and one of the things he told me many years ago was never to get a dog whose arsehole was bigger than its brain.
You hear now and again on the media about criminal masterminds. And Hollywood is prone to making movies showing these master criminals pulling off some incredible heist or other, like the Ocean’s movie trilogy starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt.
What that says about the police whose capture rate for small time criminals is depressingly low is itself depressing.
Sometimes though, the criminals are so dumb that they catch themselves.
Such was the case recently in Dublin, Ireland when a blundering bomber attempted to place a bomb underneath a Volvo SUV belonging to a local businessman. I don’t know the reason for the attempted bombing and for the purposes of this post it doesn’t really matter.
What does matter is that the dunce planting the bomb under the vehicle was caught in his own explosion because….
….wait for it….
the bomb went off sooner than he expected since he had forgotten about the Daylight Saving Time change in Ireland last weekend and didn’t put his watch forward.
The injured criminal idiot was apparently seen stumbling from the scene “dripping in blood” and getting into a taxi on the junction of New Street and Clanbrassil Street in Dublin.
You can’t really make things like this up – and actually with morons like this on the lose you don’t have to.
One for the Darwin Awards if he has the decency to expire and remove himself from the gene pool.
You may have noticed from the tag line of this blog that its major theme is to expose stupidity and bureaucracy and hopefully to encourage people to fight against it, rather than meekly fall in line with every idiotic rule and regulation that the bureaucratic morons introduce to make our lives a misery.
It is one of those curious contradictions in life that the stupider people are, the more they complicate things and the more they try to regulate things that require no regulation.
They just don’t understand that simplicity can sometimes be the most effective solution to problems – if indeed the problems they perceive even exist in the first place.
On the other hand, things that do need regulating, like the banksters for example, are left largely without interference.
The big question is, why do these idiot bureaucrats needlessly complicate our lives?
Many years ago I figured it out.
They do it to try to enhance their own importance. It’s as easy as that.
Let’s face it, most bureaucratic jobs don’t take a rocket scientist’s brain to cope with them. They are easy and repetitive but if done correctly can be completed quickly and without upsetting anyone.
But the bureaucrats won’t have it that way. Complicate the task is their solution. If they do that they need more staff to help them. If they have more staff they get to be in charge of more people, which makes them more important. If they complicate it even more they might need a whole department. And on and on it goes.
In the business world there are empire builders in all large companies. People of mediocre ability, but with enough survival instinct to create a belief that what they do is useful to the company.
As time goes on they are able to hide within their little empires inside a company and no one questions if what they are doing is really needed and certainly few realize how dumb they are. It is only once they leave this safe environment that the truth becomes clearer.
I have encountered several of these beasts out in the open and it is not a pretty sight. They are so dumb that they have forgotten how dumb they really are. Inflated with their artificially induced and undeserved stature within their former companies they imagine that out in the real world they are, not just ‘as good’ as everyone else, but ‘better’ than everyone else! Invariably they make a mess of things, but unfortunately they cause a lot of damage, sometimes irreparable, before they are caught on and fired.
Obviously the same type of people are in public life too. In fact this is where they excel, because here it is much harder to pin down their accountability and fire them. In many cases the people who have the power to fire them are exactly the same types and the last thing they want to do is diminish the size of their own empires.
Have you ever noticed that an average town or city can function quite well and efficiently with a mayor and a handful of administrators.
Yet if you take the same town or city ten years later, while it probably hasn’t changed much as regards size, (only in exceptional circumstances would it have doubled or trebled its population or area), it’s local bureaucracy has more than doubled and trebled in size, probably a lot more. It probably also has an increasing number of by-laws and regulations and to pay for it all more and more property and other taxes are being demanded from the community. Clearly all this additional bureaucracy is not needed. But it is there and will continue to grow.
Why do we allow this? Why do we keep electing people whose only idea seems to be the provision of the same basic services at an ever increasing cost?
Big government, federal government, is even worse.
The European Parliament, for example, churns out regulation after regulation after regulation, about ridiculous things like how straight a cucumber should be or how bent a banana can be and still be called a banana!
Washington has adopted the same strategy, sticking its nose in things that are none of its business and that only serve to hinder rather than help the people who elected them.
It’s about time we tried to stop this spiral into disaster.
It’s time big brother and all his little administrators had their noses put out of joint.
Remember, “Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”, wherever and whenever you can!
I did a short series a few months back about some of the stupid laws stupid politicians had made. They were quite funny and most of them dated back many years, they just hadn’t been taken off the statute books.
That excused the old laws, maybe.
But they are still at it even today!
I know that you shouldn’t expect too much when a group of uninformed and irresponsible people go out and vote to elect a smaller group of uninformed and irresponsible politicians, while most people stay at home. But we call that democracy these days. And in what passes for normal times you can get away with it.
But these are not normal times we are living in. America, and most of the western world, is in desperate trouble economically. We need help from our politicians.
Help to stimulate economic growth; help to make it easier to do business in and from the US; help to protect us from cheap inferior crap being imported that has destroyed local jobs and industries; help for entrepreneurs to establish new wealth generating businesses; and help from the socialist bureaucratic nightmare that is completely out of hand.
As regard the stupid laws, these days most of them center around ways that bankrupt governments, whether national or local, can think up to extract more and more from the people who elected them.
Currently US bureaucrats are frantically trying to think up another way to tax the internet. Previous attempts failed because of public outcry, but sooner or later they will do it and who will it help? Everybody who isn’t in business in America and the EU probably, because it won’t apply anywhere else!
The mantra of these idiot bureaucrats is to make America more productive and prosperous by making America less competitive and poorer. It sits nicely with their other mantra of solving economic woes by extracting more and more tax from less and less income. Neither works and never will.
What prompted this rant?
Well only the unbelievable fact that the idiot politicians in Maryland have decided to tax rain.
Yes, you read it right, the idiot politicians in Maryland have decided to tax rain.
They call it by a fancy name, of course, the “Impervious Surfaces tax”, or ”storm water management fee”, but what it in effect does is to charge Maryland residents for rainwater that falls on their property.
Naturally, the bureaucrats are dressing up this latest money grab with the lie that it is for the benefit of the people. It’s bit like a pick pocket excusing his theft by saying he was relieving you of the burden of carrying your wallet around in your coat pocket. And it makes just as much sense!
Thankfully, however, there seems to be a few with a working brain left in local government. Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman, for example, vetoed the tax proposal which unfortunately won’t kill it, but will give a little bit of breathing space.
But if the residents of Maryland are “chicken” enough to fall in line with this new tax – and so far it seems most of them have been dumb enough not to even notice it at all – then it won’t be the end of it.
Democratic Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who guided the passage of the storm water tax earlier this month, despite efforts from Republicans to dismantle the bill, has already been responsible for implementing 37 other taxes and fees since taking office — at a cost to residents estimated at somewhere in the region of $3.1 billion annually.
Does anyone really think an idiot like this is going to let the people have air and sunshine for free???
It has been a bit if a theme now for a while on Tuesdays to present some silly questions asked by the general public. Today we have a selection of questions that cruisers on cruises have asked of cruise crews.
Apparently you can have enough money for a cruise and still be dumb!
It really is a good job that they don’t make people walk the plank any more.
“Do you make your own electricity on board?”
“Why can’t I get cable stations?”
“Are you the Captain?” (Asked of crew who are clearly not the Captain)
“Do you actually live on this ship?”
“Do these stairs go up or down?”
“Does the crew sleep on board?”
“Could you call the captain to stop the waves? I am getting seasick.”
“I just saw the Captain in the dining room. Who is steering the ship?”
“Is the water in the toilets salty or fresh?”
“What time does the midnight buffet start?”
“What do you do with the ice sculptures after they melt?”
“Can you get these chips on land?” (Referring to casino chips)
“Why is it so windy outside?” (On a cruise liner traveling 30 miles per hour at the time)
“I see them!” (The inevitable response from a member of the crowd whenever a casino dealer on a cruise liner played a favorite joke — pointing out “penguins” on a “little piece of ice” during a cruise through Bermuda)
“So what is the elevation here?” (On an Alaskan cruise)
“Why can’t I find a USPC post box in town?” (In Ocho Rios, Jamaica)
“I want to change cabins! I paid good money for this cruise, and all I can see is a rusted crane in the harbor!” (Asked before leaving port)