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pages: 244 words: 73,700

Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism by Amanda Montell

"side hustle", barriers to entry, cognitive dissonance, coronavirus, Covid-19, COVID-19, Donald Trump,, epigenetics, financial independence, hive mind, Jeff Bezos, Jeffrey Epstein, Kickstarter, late capitalism, loss aversion, Lyft, passive income, Ponzi scheme, prosperity theology / prosperity gospel / gospel of success, QAnon, Ronald Reagan, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Skype, Stanford prison experiment, Steve Jobs, sunk-cost fallacy, the scientific method, uber lyft, women in the workforce, Y2K

October 16, 2020, dystopian video game: Alyssa Rosenberg, “I Understand the Temptation to Dismiss QAnon. Here’s Why We Can’t,” Washington Post, August 7, 2019, a cognitive analysis of QAnon: Joe Pierre, “The Psychological Needs That QAnon Feeds,” Psychology Today, August 12, 2020, About the Author AMANDA MONTELL is a writer and language scholar from Baltimore, Maryland.

To put it crudely, with QAnon, there are cults inside cults inside cults inside cults; it’s the ultimate cult-ception, and social media made it possible. Depending on their subsect of beliefs, QAnon participants feel free to define the broad talk of “sheeple” and “5D” in whatever way “resonates.” After all, for them, “truth is subjective.” It doesn’t matter to them that some interpretations of this language have led to enough real-world violence* that QAnon has become one of the most threatening domestic terror groups of our time. It also doesn’t matter that at its core, QAnon is just another madcap apocalyptic cult in a line of them that goes back centuries.

over half of the Republicans surveyed: Tommy Beer, “Majority of Republicans Believe the QAnon Conspiracy Theory Is Partly or Mostly True, Survey Finds,” Forbes, September 2, 2020, The glossary goes on and on: “Conspirituality-To-QAnon (CS-to-Q) Keywords and Phrases,”, https://con nightmarish crimes: Lois Beckett, “QAnon: a Timeline of Violence Linked to the Conspiracy Theory.” Guardian. October 16, 2020,

pages: 309 words: 79,414

Going Dark: The Secret Social Lives of Extremists by Julia Ebner

23andMe, 4chan, Airbnb, anti-communist, anti-globalists, augmented reality, Ayatollah Khomeini, bitcoin, blockchain, Boris Johnson, citizen journalism, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disinformation, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, feminist movement, game design, glass ceiling, Google Earth, job satisfaction, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, Network effects, off grid, pattern recognition, pre–internet, QAnon, RAND corporation, ransomware, rising living standards, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social intelligence, Steve Bannon, Steve Jobs, Transnistria, WikiLeaks, zero day

lang=en. 30See 31See 32Kyle Feldscher, ‘QAnon-believing “conspiracy analyst” meets Trump in the White House’, CNN, 25 August 2018. Available at 33Will Sommer, ‘What is QAnon? The Craziest Theory of the Trump Era Explained’, Daily Beast, 7 June 2018. Available at 34Fruzsina Eordogh, ‘What is QAnon, the Conspiracy Theory Attracting Alex Jones, Roseanne Barr and … a Guy from “Vanderpump Rules”’, Elle, 7 August 2018.

No. Q. The success of QAnon is baffling. QAnon mutated from conspiracy theory on the fringes of 4chan and 8chan into a mass movement that has conquered mainstream social media channels as well as pro-Trump rallies. In 2018 alone, ISD’s social media monitors identified close to 30 million uses of the word ‘QAnon’ across Twitter, YouTube and other blogs and forums such as Reddit and 4chan. On YouTube, QAnon videos often attract hundreds of thousands of views, and self-described bakers are in the tens of thousands, with offshoots in almost every part of America and Europe. QAnon followers have a significant overlap with the Reddit board r/The_Donald, one of the alt-right’s favourite mingling hotspots, according to data analysis from the influential twenty-first-century news website Vox.

Wright, who blocked off a highway close to the Hoover Dam in an armoured vehicle in June 2018, had subscribed to the QAnon motto: ‘For where we go one, we go all’.17 Two years earlier, Edgar Welsh, firefighter and father from South Carolina and firm believer in Pizzagate – the QAnon predecessor conspiracy theory which claimed that Democrats were running a massive child-abuse network from their alleged headquarters at Comet Ping Pong, a DC pizza restaurant – opened fire in the pizzeria to free nonexistent children.18 In January 2019, a QAnon supporter killed his brother with a sword because he believed that he was a lizard.19 ‘Military, we need a plan and must expose evil to light,’ Max writes in late 2018.

pages: 372 words: 100,947

An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook's Battle for Domination by Sheera Frenkel, Cecilia Kang

affirmative action, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Ben Horowitz, Bernie Sanders, blockchain, clean water, coronavirus, Covid-19, COVID-19, disinformation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, global pandemic, hockey-stick growth, Ian Bogost, illegal immigration, immigration reform, independent contractor, Jeff Bezos, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, natural language processing, offshore financial centre, Peter Thiel, QAnon, RAND corporation, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Mercer, Sam Altman, Saturday Night Live, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, social web, Steve Bannon, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, subscription business, surveillance capitalism, Travis Kalanick, WikiLeaks

Internal reports also showed a steady rise in extremist groups and conspiracy movements. Facebook’s security team reported incidents of real-world violence, as well as frightening comments made in private groups. Facebook’s data scientists and security officials noted a 300 percent increase, from June through August 2020, in content related to the conspiracy theory QAnon. QAnon believers perpetuated a false theory that liberal elites and celebrities like Bill Gates, Tom Hanks, and George Soros ran a global child trafficking ring. They built their following on the foundation laid by “Pizzagate,” a conspiracy theory that claimed that Hillary Clinton and other prominent Democrats were abusing children in the basement of a Washington, DC, restaurant.

While the theory was repeatedly proven false—the restaurant in question did not even have a basement—the idea that there was a conspiracy being hatched among the global elites persisted and grew under the Trump administration. On August 19, Zuckerberg agreed to take down some QAnon content on the grounds that it could lead to violence. It was a narrow change in policy, pertaining to a small portion of all QAnon content. And in a nod to what some team members called Kaplan’s relentless internal lobbying for political equivalency, Facebook also announced that it would remove 980 groups, such as those related to the far-left antifa movement, a bugaboo for Trump and Republicans, who blamed violent demonstrations on leftist groups.

All I can tell you is that we had to announce both of them the same day,” said one Facebook engineer on an exasperated call with a reporter the day of Facebook’s announcement. “It’s political, okay? We can’t announce QAnon without announcing something on the left.” The Facebook team dedicated to finding and removing extremist content on the site felt Zuckerberg’s decision was a good first step, but they were closely monitoring how QAnon and other right-wing groups responded. They knew that as the election neared, the potential for violence would become more acute. On the morning of August 25, their fears were realized as escalating right-wing anger on the site boiled over.

pages: 533 words: 125,495

Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters by Steven Pinker

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, availability heuristic, Ayatollah Khomeini, backpropagation, basic income, butterfly effect, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, clean water, coronavirus, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, Covid-19, COVID-19, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Attenborough, delayed gratification, disinformation, Donald Trump, effective altruism,, Erdős number, Estimating the Reproducibility of Psychological Science, feminist movement, framing effect, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, high batting average, index card, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, libertarian paternalism, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, meta-analysis, microaggression, Monty Hall problem, Nash equilibrium, New Journalism, Paul Erdős, Paul Samuelson, Peter Singer: altruism, Pierre-Simon Laplace, placebo effect, QAnon, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, randomized controlled trial, replication crisis, Richard Thaler, scientific worldview, selection bias, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Bannon, Steven Pinker, sunk-cost fallacy, the scientific method, Thomas Bayes, Tragedy of the Commons, twin studies, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, Walter Mischel, yellow journalism, zero-sum game

Decision making from economic and signal detection perspectives: Development of an integrated framework. Frontiers in Psychology, 6. Lyttleton, J. 2020. Social media is determined to slow the spread of conspiracy theories like QAnon. Can they? Millennial Source, Oct. 28. MacAskill, W. 2015. Doing good better: Effective altruism and how you can make a difference. New York: Penguin. Maines, R. 2007. Why are women crowding into schools of veterinary medicine but are not lining up to become engineers?

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 145, 621–29. Thomas, K. A., DeScioli, P., Haque, O. S., & Pinker, S. 2014. The psychology of coordination and common knowledge. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 107, 657–76. Thompson, C. 2020. QAnon is like a game—a most dangerous game. WIRED Magazine, Sept. 22. Thompson, D. A., & Adams, S. L. 1996. The full moon and ED patient volumes: Unearthing a myth. American Journal of Emergency Medicine, 14, 161–64. Tierney, J. 1991.

Trump told around thirty thousand lies during his term, had a press secretary who touted “alternative facts,” claimed that climate change was a Chinese hoax, and suppressed knowledge from scientists in federal agencies overseeing public health and environmental protection.4 He repeatedly publicized QAnon, the millions-strong conspiracy cult that credits him with combating a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles embedded in the American “deep state.” And he refused to acknowledge his defeat in the 2020 election, fighting crackbrained legal battles to overturn the results, led by lawyers who cited yet another conspiracy, this one by Cuba, Venezuela, and several governors and officials of his own party.

Hiding in Plain Sight: The Invention of Donald Trump and the Erosion of America by Sarah Kendzior

"side hustle", 4chan, Bear Stearns, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, borderless world, Chelsea Manning, Columbine, corporate raider, desegregation, disinformation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Ferguson, Missouri, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, income inequality, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, Jeffrey Epstein, Julian Assange, Mohammed Bouazizi, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, new economy, payday loans, Plutocrats, plutocrats, QAnon, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Bannon, Thomas L Friedman, trickle-down economics, unpaid internship, white flight, WikiLeaks, Y2K, zero-sum game

“Mueller will save us” had replaced “Comey will save us,” and was later supplanted by “Pelosi will save us” and “the 2020 election will save us,” all while the damage of the Trump administration grew more irreparable. Rumors swirled throughout 2017 and 2018 about imminent indictments and secret plans, and Mueller disciples found a funhouse mirror in the “QAnon” cult surrounding Trump. The QAnon phenomenon—in which Trump acolytes believe an anonymous high-level official named “Q” leaves them coded tips about secret prosecutions as well as other enticing developments, like the underground revolution they claim is being led by a still-alive JFK Jr.—is a disturbing example of savior syndrome.

And so, for two years, one group of political junkies lit Mueller-themed prayer candles while another parsed Trump tweets for coded clues. Both sides told the skeptics to shut up and “trust the plan.” Neither side got what they wanted. The delusion was disheartening to watch. I felt sorry for those QAnon acolytes who were nonviolent and would occasionally would hit on something real, like the Epstein case, and be dismissed as conspiracists by onlookers while Trumpian manipulators drew them deeper into the QAnon cult. But I was also frustrated with the side proclaiming allegiance to logic and law: the legal scholars and political pundits who baselessly assured the public of Mueller’s forthcoming success as Mueller continued to blow the case.

See September 11, 2001 1984 (Orwell) Nixon, Jay Nixon, Richard normalcy bias North Korea autocratic kinship ties in Biegun, Stephen (special representative to North Korea) Kim Jong Un Trump’s threats to nostalgia and The Apprentice under authoritarianism for the future for what never was nuclear weapons and Trump, Donald Obama, Barack and birtherism conspiracy theory declaration of organized crime as national emergency and Missouri voters and Russia 2008 presidential election 2012 presidential election Obama administration Lynch, Loretta and Magnitsky Act research funding cuts on former Soviet Union on Russian interference in 2016 election and Treasury breach unemployment rate Ocasio-Cortez, Alexandria Occupy Wall Street movement oligarchs Abramovich, Roman Blavatnik, Len and Caputo, Michael definition of Deripaska, Oleg Firtash, Dmitry and June 2016 Trump Tower meeting and Kleptocracy Initiative (Hudson Institute) and Kushner, Jared and Lauder, Ronald Leviev, Lev and Magnitsky Act and Manafort, Paul Mogilevich, Semion and the National Rifle Association and Putin, Vladimir and Republican Party and “right of return” sanctions on and Sater, Felix and “torturers’ lobby” firm of Manafort and Stone and Trump, Donald and Trump officials Omar, Ilhan Orbán, Viktor organized crime Clinton, Bill, on and Cohn, Roy death toll from transnational activities “The Evolving Organized Crime Threat” (Mueller “Iron Triangles” speech) Italian mafia and Mogilevich, Semion Obama, Barack, on state as proxy for transnational organized crime and Trump, Donald Orwell, George Papadopoulos, George Pecker, David Pence, Mike Pendergast, Tom Pentagon Papers Pieczenik, Steve Pizzagate conspiracy Podesta, Tony Politkovskaya, Anna Pompeo, Mike post-employment economy Powell, Kajieme Powers, Kajieme Prince, Erik propaganda “alternative facts” as and American media “Big Lie” (Third Reich technique) conspiracy theories as dark money campaigns and digital media “fake news” and gun issues inoculation against and investigative journalism of Trump and networked authoritarianism scandal covering up crime (Trump technique) and sense of time in Syria protest and Andijan massacre anti-globalization protests anti-Iraq War protests anti-Trump protests Arab Spring romanticizing of See also Ferguson protest public good public leverage Putin, Vladimir authoritarianism of and axis of autocrats and Burnett, Mark and Caputo, Michael and Chabad and “the color revolutions” and Deng, Wendi and hypercapitalism and Lauder, Ronald and Lazar, Berel meeting with Trump at G20 and murder of Anna Politkovskaya and oligarchs Order of Friendship granted to Rex Tillerson by pardon power of and poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and Russian interference in 2016 presidential election and Stein, Jill and Trump’s 2013 visit to Moscow Trump’s admiration of underestimation of QAnon Qatar racism and birtherism conspiracy and Central Park Five conspiracy and election of Barack Obama and Ferguson unrest and Missouri and partial repeal of Voting Rights Act and policy racist attacks on Elijah Lovejoy rebranded as populism systemic racism and Tea Party movement and Trump, Donald and Trump administration in works of Mark Twain and Yosef, Yitzhak Rather, Dan Reagan, Ronald and deregulation economic policy and Fairness Doctrine and Soviet Union Red Scare Reid, Harry Reid, Joy Roberts, Virginia Robinson, Don Rogers, Fred Romney, Mitt Rosenbaum, Ron Ross, Wilbur Rove, Karl RT (Russian state media outlet) Rubenstein, Howard Russia.

pages: 250 words: 75,151

The New Nomads: How the Migration Revolution Is Making the World a Better Place by Felix Marquardt

agricultural Revolution, Black Swan, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, British Empire, carbon footprint, coronavirus, Covid-19, COVID-19, dark matter, Donald Trump, ghettoisation, glass ceiling, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Joi Ito, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, out of africa, phenotype, place-making, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, QAnon, Ray Kurzweil, remote working, Richard Feynman, road to serfdom, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, sustainable-tourism, technoutopianism, Yogi Berra, young professional

The Transformative Power of Migration 1 We named the think tank after Abd Al-Rahman al-Kawakibi, a leading nineteenth-century Syrian intellectual and reformist. 2 Fewer than 15 per cent of Muslims are Arab. 3 ‘Get out while you can, says Monsieur Scram. The Times (1 July 2013). 4 Renamed the International New York Times in 2013 and the New York Times International Edition in 2016. 5 The tagline of the WEF. 6 Hedges, C., Sacco, J., and Peters, J. Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt. Bold Type Books (2014). 7 Eisenstein, C. ‘From QAnon’s Dark Mirror, Hope.’ (December 2020). 8 Said, E. ‘Between Worlds’. London Review of Books (7 May 1998). 9 Goodhart, D. The Road to Somewhere. C. Hurst & Co. (2017). 10 Scred Connexion and Mafia K-1 Fry. 2. Going Places 1 Then the managing editor of the International Herald Tribune before becoming its executive editor and eventually the United Nations’ under-secretary-general for global communications. 2 McIntosh, A.

Suicide: A Study in Sociology. Translated by John A. Spaulding and George Simpson. Routledge & Kegan Paul (1952). Durkheim, É. The Division of Labour in Society. Translated by W. D. Halls. Free Press (1997). Eisenstein, C. Climate: A New Story. Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books (2018). Eisenstein, C. ‘From QAnon’s Dark Mirror, Hope.’ (December 2020). Elwood, J., Andreotti, V., and Stein, S. Towards Braiding. Musagetes (2019). Esteva, G., Babones, S., and Babcicky, P. The Future of Development: A Radical Manifesto. Policy Press (2013). Freud, S. Civilization and its Discontents. Translated by James Strachey.

pages: 524 words: 130,909

The Contrarian: Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley's Pursuit of Power by Max Chafkin

3D printing, affirmative action, Airbnb, anti-communist, bank run, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, borderless world, charter city, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, coronavirus, Covid-19, COVID-19, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, David Brooks, David Graeber, disinformation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, Ethereum, Extropian, facts on the ground, Ferguson, Missouri, Frank Gehry, Gordon Gekko, guest worker program, Haight Ashbury, helicopter parent, hockey-stick growth, illegal immigration, immigration reform, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kickstarter, life extension, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, moral panic, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, off grid, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open borders, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel,, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, prosperity theology / prosperity gospel / gospel of success, QAnon, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, randomized controlled trial, regulatory arbitrage, Renaissance Technologies, reserve currency, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, software is eating the world, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Bannon, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, surveillance capitalism, TaskRabbit, technology bubble, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, the new new thing, the scientific method, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Upton Sinclair, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, Y Combinator, Y2K, yellow journalism

Harris was a staunch Trump supporter and a member of the House Freedom Caucus who’d attracted attention in early 2016 when, in what normally would have been a routine vote, he was one of eight Republicans to oppose naming a post office after the poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou. One of the most celebrated Black artists in American history had been, he claimed, a communist sympathizer. Harris would acquire further renown during Trump’s presidency by voting “present” on a resolution condemning QAnon, by opposing COVID stay-at-home orders and what he called the “cult of masks,” and by supporting Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. He was also a longtime advocate for NIH reform, proposing that Congress force the agency to make more grants to younger researchers—a pet cause of Thiel’s.

Bannon suggested that the White House might go further, by regulating Facebook and Google like utilities—essentially controlling prices on advertisements and ensuring that the companies didn’t skew content ideologically (that is, against conservatives); Trump would return to this threat throughout his presidency. As the 2020 campaign began in earnest, Trump invited a group of social media influencers—including those who promoted QAnon, a pseudo-religious right-wing conspiracy theory that saw the president in messianic terms—to a Social Media Summit where the president claimed that tech companies, Facebook included, were censoring his supporters. He pledged to use his power as president to protect them. Even in the face of this blowback from the White House, Zuckerberg had reason to believe that the Democrats posted a greater threat to Facebook than Trump.

A few days later, Cruz made a similar announcement, along with ten other Republican senators. Trump, who was attempting to pressure Vice President Mike Pence into trying to disrupt the certification, had encouraged supporters to amass in Washington that day. Thousands of them showed up—drawn in from QAnon and alt-right “Stop the Steal” groups that had formed and been nurtured on Facebook. They were angry, and some of them were armed for combat. Around midday, as Congress was preparing to vote, Trump hyped the protestors up further with a bellicose speech. He thanked the senators and others for holding the line and urged the crowd to march to the Capitol.

pages: 391 words: 112,312

The Plague Year: America in the Time of Covid by Lawrence Wright

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Bernie Sanders, blockchain, business cycle, coronavirus, Covid-19, COVID-19, cryptocurrency, Donald Trump, full employment, global pandemic, income inequality, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, Louis Pasteur, meta-analysis, mouse model, Nate Silver, Plutocrats, plutocrats, QAnon, RAND corporation, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Bannon, the scientific method, transcontinental railway

Clifford Lane, said he received about $45,000 from the patents; Fauci donated his entire portion to charity.) Mikovits asserts that SARS-CoV-2 was created in laboratories at the University of North Carolina, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Fort Detrick, Maryland, and the Wuhan Institute of Virology, without offering proof or saying why they would do this. Boosted by QAnon and anti-vaccine advocates, Plandemic was liked, shared, or commented on nearly 2.5 million times on Facebook before it was taken down. The contest between science and conspiracy would constantly undermine efforts to coordinate a national response to the Covid-19 pandemic. * * * — The roots of the modern anti-vaccine movement are in the swine flu scare of 1976.

Carlson’s main concern, however, was the effect on the economy. “Millions of unemployed people makes your country volatile,” he said. “You don’t want to live in an unstable country, period.” The next day, the president retweeted a Photoshopped image of himself playing a fiddle. The meme sounded a QAnon slogan: “Nothing can stop what is coming!” Trump commented, “Who knows what this means, but it sounds good to me!” * * * — The New York City Health Department felt muzzled by the mayor. “Every message that we want to get to the public needs to go through him, and they end up getting nixed.

(It didn’t hurt the prospects for building the Rushmore memorial in South Dakota that Roosevelt had been a cowboy in the Dakota Territory). Each of these men knew how to use government for the good of the people. The president always encouraged fringe groups—conspiracy theorists, such as Alex Jones and QAnon followers, and the white supremacists that he tacitly endorsed. Perhaps he believed their dogma. Perhaps he just liked to toy with irrational and polarizing ideas because they stirred up chaos. He had assumed office with little understanding or interest in governing; he demanded loyalty above all, and filled the offices of government with people whose sole mission was to please him.

pages: 239 words: 80,319

Lurking: How a Person Became a User by Joanne McNeil

4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Ada Lovelace, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Burning Man, Chelsea Manning, Chris Wanstrath, citation needed, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, disinformation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, feminist movement, Firefox, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, helicopter parent, Internet Archive, invention of the telephone, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kim Stanley Robinson, l'esprit de l'escalier, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, Mondo 2000, moral panic, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, packet switching, PageRank, pre–internet, profit motive, QAnon, recommendation engine, Saturday Night Live, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Snapchat, social graph, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, surveillance capitalism, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, Turing complete, We are the 99%, web application, white flight, Whole Earth Catalog, you are the product

Those users are put in motion as little cogs in a machine of chaos, in events ranging from distributing naked photos of Jennifer Lawrence obtained without her consent or making an ordinary person’s life miserable on Twitter. Much of the mid-aughts tech enthusiasm took the self-organizing free labor of users for granted, but here is how it landed: one of the best known examples of “peer production” is Gamergate, and QAnon is, perhaps, the world’s only successful work of “transmedia storytelling.” One characteristic has distinguished the racism online today from yesterday’s innocent-ish little cyberspace: online patronage—fund-raising on Patreon or their own crowdfunding platforms when Patreon kicks them off. Social media and crowdsourcing platforms, and today’s internet of micro-fame and grift, appeals to the vanity of racists as much as any other deluded Instagram influencer.

More people edit the page for Justin Bieber than the page for Pascoag, Rhode Island, and Bieber’s page has more visitors, but that does not correspond with more revenue. Both pages meet Wikipedia’s notability guideline, which does not reflect where the internet traffic is raining down at any given moment. This also explains why Wikipedia wasn’t a vector for QAnon or Pizzagate conspiracies. Its standards for notability and reliable sources help prevent the spread of conspiracies and hoaxes—unreliable information is deleted. There is only one Wikipedia page for each subject. There’s no redundancy. The single page might seem simple and obvious (it is an encyclopedia, after all), but in today’s media environment, this constraint means attention is siphoned to a page that can be maintained and guarded.

Yishan Wong, the CEO of Reddit from 2012 until 2014, once refused to ban any content that was legal. That’s the “easiest way to host a forum because you invest no resources,” Kat Lo told me. In the past five years, it has banned a number of extreme subreddits, including r/beatingwomen and a forum for QAnon, and it has “quarantined” others like r/The_Donald. Other tech companies and platforms are strongly censorious when they choose to be, given examples like Facebook’s quick deletion of users with Native American names in 2014 but its resistance to banning Alex Jones until 2019. It took Apple quite some time to remove Alex Jones’s Infowars podcast from its iTunes listings, but in 2012, Josh Begley’s Drone+ app—a simple project that provided users with updates on drone strikes and their location on a map—was swiftly purged from Apple’s App Store.

pages: 173 words: 55,328

Last Best Hope: America in Crisis and Renewal by George Packer

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, blue-collar work, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, collective bargaining, coronavirus, Covid-19, COVID-19, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, desegregation, disinformation, Donald Trump, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Ferguson, Missouri, full employment, ghettoisation, gig economy, glass ceiling, informal economy, Jeff Bezos, knowledge economy, liberal capitalism, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, minimum wage unemployment, new economy, Norman Mailer, obamacare, postindustrial economy, prosperity theology / prosperity gospel / gospel of success, QAnon, ride hailing / ride sharing, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Steve Bannon, too big to fail, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Upton Sinclair, white flight, working poor, young professional

Hundreds of Republican officials broke their oaths in order to advance the lie, and 70 percent of Republican voters believed it, and this belief brought the year to its apocalyptic end two weeks before Inauguration Day, on January 6, when a mob that Trump had summoned to Washington and incited to march on Congress just as it was voting to ratify his opponent’s victory—20,000 neo-Confederate seditionists, QAnon conspiracists, white supremacists, and swag-wearing Trumpists, with their hats and flags and face paint, their sagging bellies and jeans—stormed the Capitol and searched for members of Congress to lynch, or else milled around taking selfies, while Trump watched with pleasure on TV, until our exhausted democracy mustered one last effort to save itself from destruction.

Is that what’s happening today? A lot of noise in the service of the republic? Meet me at the barricades, traitor, loser, cuck, and we’ll figure out how to keep the American experiment alive! Trust? It doesn’t feel that way. I see an image of a Trump rally shot from behind a man wearing a baseball hat with the letter “Q,” for QAnon, sewn on the back—a conspiracy theory that believes leading Democrats are involved in child sex trafficking and other atrocities, a theory to which Trump nodded and a new Republican congresswoman subscribed—and I think: It’s hopeless. But actual secession is impossible. Even Rush Limbaugh admitted this after his listeners took him seriously.

Reset by Ronald J. Deibert

23andMe, active measures, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, availability heuristic, bitcoin, blockchain, blood diamonds, Buckminster Fuller, business intelligence, Cal Newport, call centre, carbon footprint, cashless society, clean water, cloud computing, computer vision, coronavirus, corporate social responsibility, Covid-19, COVID-19, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, data is the new oil, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, disinformation, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk,, failed state, game design, gig economy, global pandemic, global supply chain, global village, Google Hangouts, income inequality, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, liberal capitalism, license plate recognition, longitudinal study, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, megastructure, meta-analysis, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Naomi Klein, natural language processing, New Journalism, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, QAnon, ransomware, Robert Mercer, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, sorting algorithm, source of truth, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Steve Bannon, Steve Jobs, Stuxnet, surveillance capitalism, the medium is the message, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, undersea cable, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks, zero day, zero-sum game

It’s worth remembering that some of the most innovative and “media literate” uses of social media have come from those who aim to sow confusion and undermine accountability. Donald Trump tweets a steady stream of lies, insults, and encouragement of hatred to his nearly one hundred million followers. Russian trolls, murderous Islamic extremists like ISIS, and far-right conspiracy theorists, like followers of QAnon, are all among the most “media literate” entities of our age. Among the partial or fragmented solutions are the technological fixes: We just need a new app to help us correct the errors and false information circulating on all the other apps! Among these are the proposals to use machine learning and artificial intelligence to sweep through social media, keeping humans with all their cognitive biases and other shortcomings on the sidelines.

Retrieved from Questioning the integrity of all media can in turn lead to fatalism: MacFarquhar, N. (2016, August 29). A powerful Russian weapon: The spread of false stories. Retrieved from “A plurality of unreality … encourages the listener to doubt everything”: Zuckerman, E. (2019). QAnon and the emergence of the unreal. Journal of Design and Science, (6).; Farrell, H., & Schneier, B. (2018). Common-knowledge attacks on democracy. Berkman Klein Center Research Publication 2018-7. Social media remain polluted by misinformation and disinformation: Lewis, P. (2018).

See also environment in China, 218–221, 228–229, 241 coal power and, 206–208 mining and, 217–225 technology manufacturing and, 227–229, 234 Polybius, 279 Pomerantsev, Peter, 121, 122 power plants, 207–208 Priest, Dana, 146 Prigozhin, Yevgeny Viktorovich, 123 Privacy Badger, 59 Privacy International (PI), 56–57, 149 psy-ops, 115–128, 295–296 public sphere, 90–91, 114, 315, 318. See also civic virtue deterioration of, 89, 112, 134, 297 social media as, 106–109, 112–113, 140 Putin, Vladimir, 120, 123 QAnon, 269 Q Technologies. See nso Group Quovo Inc., 40–41 Ramirez, Joyce, 126 Range International Information Hub, 241 ransomware, 12, 17, 84 rare earth elements, 214–221 Raytheon Co., 181–182 Reddit, 84 republicanism, 277–278, 279–281, 315–316 and restraint, 281–283, 303–304, 325 reset and restraint mechanisms, 288–289 as term, 6–7, 269, 272 restraint, 32.

pages: 319 words: 75,257

Trumpocalypse: Restoring American Democracy by David Frum

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, anti-globalists, Bernie Sanders, centre right, coronavirus, currency manipulation / currency intervention, decarbonisation, disinformation, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, employer provided health coverage, illegal immigration, immigration reform, labor-force participation, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, microaggression, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nate Silver, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, QAnon, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Steve Bannon

They wanted to lock up Hillary Clinton for sending and receiving emails on a personal server, not caring even slightly when Ivanka Trump did the exact same thing or when Trump outright blabbed to the Russian foreign minister secrets much more vital than anything Clinton could possibly have risked. They plunged into the QAnon fantasy of a wise and good Trump poised to crush a global ring of child molesters—in order to avoid the reality of a malignant Trump who by his own admission had preyed upon teenage beauty pageant contestants.6 Have you ever known anyone swindled by a scam? It’s remarkable how determined they remain, and for how long, to defend the swindler—and to shift blame to those who tried to warn them of the swindle.

., 18 Napoleon, 65 National Enquirer, 109 National Guard, 93 nationalism, 50–51, 62–63, 196 National Lynching Memorial, 117 National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 126 National Rifle Association (NRA), 59, 61 National Security Agency (NSA), 45 National Security staff, 88, 96–97 Navajo Generating Station, 118 Naval Operations Chief, 92 Nazism, 64, 145 NBC, 24, 59 Nebraska, 184 Neller, Robert, 92 Netherlands, 133 Never Trumpers, 90 New Black Panthers, 69 New Hampshire, 76 New Jersey, 75 New Orleans, 80 Newton, Isaac, 157 New York City, 83, 163 New York magazine, 109 New York State, 75, 118, 184–86 New York Times, 41, 43, 46, 61, 65, 95, 102, 111, 118, 194 New Zealand, 55–56, 162, 177 Nicaragua, 108 Nixon, Richard, 62, 82, 85, 99–100, 105, 125, 198 No Child Left Behind Act (2002), 140 Nolte, John, 149 Noonan, Peggy, 196 Norquist, Grover, 196 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), 41, 112, 178 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), 45, 63, 93–94 North Carolina, 76, 78, 80, 123 North Dakota, 122, 164 Northeastern University, 55 North Korea, 44–46, 48–49, 169, 171–72 nuclear energy, 164, 166–67 nuclear weapons, 93–94, 180 Oak Ridge nuclear complex, 167 Obama, Barack, 12, 15, 64, 130–31, 136, 178, 183, 196–97 ACA and, 134–35 bin Laden and, 95–96 China and, 177 climate change and, 152 elections of 2010 and, 79 foreign policy and, 171, 179 immigration and, 21, 24, 106 Iran and, 172 Islamic world and, 53–54, 179 Obama, Michelle, 26 Ocasio-Cortez, Alexandria, 147, 167 oceans, 155–56 Office of Management and Budget (OMB), 102 offshore tax havens, 102, 174 Ohio, 78, 82–83 oil and gas (fossil fuels), 42, 94, 127, 150, 153–56, 161, 163–64 One American News Network (OANN), 15 O’Neill, Brendan, 149 O’Neill, Tip, 127 Orbán, Viktor, 67, 69, 143 Oregon, 118 O’Reilly, Bill, 15 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 132 Ornstein, Norman, 77 Owens, Candace, 64 Paddock, Stephen, 55 Pakistan, 88–89, 95, 173–75, 180 Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), 60 Palin, Sarah, 83, 84 Panama, 45, 108 Paris Bastille Day parade, 90–91 Paris climate accords, 41, 162 Parnas, Lev, 89, 190 Patriot Prayer, 60 Pegler, Westbrook, 83 Pence, Mike, 4, 26, 35, 63 Pennsylvania, 82–83, 118, 186 Perkins, Tony, 3, 75 Perón, Eva, 18 pharmaceutical companies, 133 Philadelphia, 184, 186 Philippines, 44–45, 146 Pierce, William, 60 Pittsburgh, 186 synagogue shooting, 56, 61 plastics, 118, 156, 160 Playboy, 49 Poland, 50, 66–67, 89, 93, 193 polarization, 15, 130–31, 137–38, 187 political correctness, 15, 110 poll taxes, 71 pollution, 159–61 Pompeo, Michael, 47, 171 population distribution, 75–79, 83, 121–22 Prager, Dennis, 149 progressives, 107–8, 110–13 protectionism, 3, 50, 161 Proud Boys, 60–61 public schools, 136–37, 140–41 Pulse nightclub shootings, 53–55 Putin, Vladimir, 3, 32–33, 44, 48, 63–64, 89, 176, 197 QAnon, 34 Quartz, 156 race and racism, 5–6, 43, 56–58, 62–63, 65–66, 107, 111–12, 127, 140–41, 191 voting and, 71, 80–81 Reagan, Ronald, 18, 39, 51, 62, 105–6, 181, 191 real estate, 120 recessions, 12, 127, 144 recycling, 159–60 red flag laws, 117 redistricting, 84 red meat consumption, 163 reform, recommendations for consensus and, 118–19 DC statehood and, 122–23 filibuster and, 120–22 gerrymandering and, 124–25 law enforcement and, 125–26 presidential tax returns and, 119–20 regulation, 127, 188 Reid, Harry, 121 Republican National Convention 2008 (St.

pages: 342 words: 114,118

After the Fall: Being American in the World We've Made by Ben Rhodes

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, British Empire, centre right, Covid-19, COVID-19, Deng Xiaoping, disinformation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, global pandemic, global supply chain, illegal immigration, independent contractor, invisible hand, Mark Zuckerberg, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, new economy, obamacare, open economy, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, QAnon, quantitative easing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, too big to fail, trade route, Washington Consensus, young professional, zero-sum game

Compared to the battles of Russia’s past, the actual fighting in Eastern Ukraine was a small endeavor affecting mainly the people there and the few thousand Russians sent furtively across Ukraine’s borders. But there was something brutal and infectious about the propaganda that went along with it. I noticed it at the time. In memes that anticipated American conspiracy theories like QAnon, Russia’s enemies were cast as pedophiles, sexual deviants, and diabolical criminals. This ability to manipulate and mobilize the national psyche while keeping the stakes relatively low represented a breakthrough for Putin, making easy use of America’s unregulated and sensationalizing social media networks.

That would require an America that came to its senses while recognizing how much had gone wrong. America had helped shape the world we lived in before descending into the cesspool of the Trump years. We now had a government that was busy radicalizing a huge swath of American society, with pockets of the country turning to violent white supremacy or a QAnon conspiracy theory positing that America is secretly run by a cabal of child sex traffickers. At precisely the time that progressive forces around the world were under siege, America absented itself from the defense of the most basic propositions that had once defined it in the eyes of the world: The idea that individuals are entitled to a basic set of freedoms that should be applied equally to all people.

pages: 173 words: 52,725

How to Be Right: In a World Gone Wrong by James O'Brien

Boris Johnson, clockwatching, collective bargaining, death of newspapers, Donald Trump, game design, housing crisis, mass immigration, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post-industrial society, QAnon, ride hailing / ride sharing, sexual politics, Steve Bannon, young professional

Already, a clamour is growing around the idea that arrogant inadequates like Liam Fox and David Davis could somehow have performed much more effectively, if only ‘Remainers’ had stopped pointing out how little they seemed to know or understand about the tasks they had set themselves. In America, the best hope for democracy and truth is that Donald Trump ends up in jail, or at least in deposed disgrace. But even that could present more problems than it solves. The sheer absurdity of what some of his core supporters have been persuaded to believe – the latest nonsense, QAnon, contends that he is secretly leading an international fight against an enormous and omnipotent network of paedophiles – makes me worry at what might follow if the Constitution proves up to the task of removing the sort of president it was designed to resist. Back in Britain, the rise of the mysteriously funded think tank continues apace.

pages: 208 words: 57,602

Futureproof: 9 Rules for Humans in the Age of Automation by Kevin Roose

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, algorithmic bias, Amazon Web Services, Atul Gawande, augmented reality, automated trading system, basic income, Bayesian statistics, big-box store, business process, call centre, choice architecture, coronavirus, Covid-19, COVID-19, disinformation, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, fault tolerance, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Freestyle chess, future of work, gig economy, Google Hangouts, hiring and firing, hustle culture, income inequality, industrial robot, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, Lyft, mandatory minimum, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, meta-analysis, Narrative Science, new economy, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, planetary scale, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Productivity paradox, QAnon, recommendation engine, remote working, risk tolerance, robotic process automation, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, surveillance capitalism, The Future of Employment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

This kind of automation burrows into our brains and affects our inner lives—changing how we think, what we desire, whom we trust. And when it goes haywire, it can cost us much more than a job. I’ve seen lots of examples of this kind of automation in the last few years, as I’ve covered social media for the Times. I’ve interviewed followers of online extremist movements like QAnon, and I’ve seen how the algorithms and incentives of social media can turn normal, well-adjusted people into unhinged conspiracy theorists. In an audio series I helped report, Rabbit Hole, I examined the ways platforms like YouTube and Facebook have been engineered to use AI to lure users into personalized niches filled with exactly the content that is most likely to keep their attention—and how, often, that means showing them a version of reality that is more extreme, more divisive, and less fact-based than the world outside their screens.

pages: 324 words: 80,217

The Decadent Society: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success by Ross Douthat

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Burning Man, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, centre right, charter city, crack epidemic, crowdsourcing, David Graeber, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, East Village, Elon Musk, Flynn Effect, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Francisco Pizarro, ghettoisation, gig economy, Haight Ashbury, helicopter parent, hive mind, Hyperloop, immigration reform, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Islamic Golden Age, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, life extension, mass immigration, mass incarceration, means of production, megacity, microaggression, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, multiplanetary species, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, Norman Mailer, obamacare, Oculus Rift, open borders, out of africa, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, pre–internet, QAnon, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Snapchat, social web, Steve Bannon, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, wage slave, WeWork, women in the workforce, Y2K

The guy who shows up at the Comet pizza parlor in Northwest DC with a gun because he thinks that prominent liberals are running a pedophile dungeon downstairs, or the guy who parks his truck on the Hoover Dam and demands that certain imaginary indictments be unsealed isn’t just a little bolder and action oriented than the typical “Pizzagate” or “QAnon” conspiracy theorists; he fundamentally misunderstands the meaning and purpose of those labyrinthine theories, taking them as literal claims about the world rather than as what they are for their creators (a sport, a grift, a hobby) and for most of their participants (political entertainment and an odd form of virtual community).

pages: 285 words: 98,832

The Premonition: A Pandemic Story by Michael Lewis

Airbnb, coronavirus, Covid-19, COVID-19, dark matter, Donald Davies, Donald Trump, double helix, energy security, facts on the ground, failed state, global supply chain, illegal immigration, Mark Zuckerberg, out of africa, QAnon, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, stem cell, telemarketer, the new new thing, working poor, young professional

The note was short and to the point, and the point was that “the Jasons” wanted Joe to explain how this new biological threat had crept up on humanity, and how the DeRisi Lab had identified it. “My first question,” said Joe, “is who the fuck are the Jasons?” Googling, he found mostly websites promoting conspiracy theories. “Whatever QAnon was back then, that’s what I got,” said Joe. “It was all deep state stuff.” At length he stumbled upon a source that sounded at least faintly credible. The Jasons, it explained, were a shadowy group of scientists and military leaders who met in secret in Washington, DC. “I thought, Hell, I can’t turn this down,” said Joe.

pages: 412 words: 115,048

Dangerous Ideas: A Brief History of Censorship in the West, From the Ancients to Fake News by Eric Berkowitz

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Bonfire of the Vanities, borderless world, British Empire, Chelsea Manning, colonial rule, coronavirus, COVID-19, disinformation, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Filter Bubble, Index librorum prohibitorum, Jeff Bezos, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, microaggression, Mikhail Gorbachev, Minecraft, New Urbanism, pre–internet, QAnon, Ralph Nader, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, source of truth, Steve Bannon, surveillance capitalism, undersea cable, WikiLeaks

An example is the controversy over social media censorship. While Donald Trump’s attacks on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, one of the pillars of speech protections on social media, lost momentum with his election loss, the issues exploded anew in January 2021, when Twitter banned him, along with seventy thousand QAnon accounts, following a pro-Trump attack on the US Capitol building. The immediate results were a drop in online misinformation, the migration of extremist content to the web’s darker reaches, and bitter criticism of “Big Tech” and Section 230 from almost all corners. But even if Section 230 survives intact in the short term, the push to substantially restrict online speech may well bear fruit.