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5 Places on the Internet Where You Can Educate Yourself For Free

By Daniel Korn | The Plaid Zebra

Everybody is self-taught. Whether you’re a guitarist who’s never taken a lesson or an engineering undergrad at the University of Wherever; regardless of its level of formality, all education hinges on the student’s ability to internalize concepts on their own time.

One of the greatest things about the Internet is how it’s made autodidactism (self-education) easier and more accessible than ever. There’s been an influx of well-designed educational websites in recent years that cater to the more interactive needs of modern students. Even better, they’re all free. As such, here are some of the best places on the Internet for you to get your learn on.

1. Duolingo

duolingo owl

Duolingo is a language-learning service designed by Luis von Ahn of the Carnegie Mellon University, under the belief that everyone should be able to learn a language for free. The site currently offers nine complete language courses, with seven more coming in the next couple years, ranging from French to, erm, Klingon. The courses are divided up into bite-sized chunks, lightly personalized based on parts of the language the user is having trouble with, and gamified with experience points, fake currency, and streak bonuses.

The lessons are very similar to what you’d find in the significantly more expensive Rosetta Stone programs, cycling between listening, writing, and speaking exercises. While it has its faults—sometimes the explanations of grammatical concepts are dense and hard-to-follow—it’s a pretty effective approach. Speaking from experience, after six months of daily practice on Duolingo, I can now string together a series of German words into something approximating a full sentence.

2. Code Academy

computer codes

Speaking of languages, computer code is one that’s particularly arcane. Coding, when it works, is basically magic—a highly-specific set of words that, when invoked, creates something out of nothing. A more forward-thinking world would look at the increased dependency we have on computers and make coding a mandatory subject in schools. Until then, we’ve got Code Academy, which offers hands-on courses in standard coding languages like HTML, JavaScript, and Python. They’ve also recently added lessons on specific APIs like Soundcloud, YouTube, and Twitter.

3. Coursera

coursera

This site offers university-level courses on various topics, using a mix of video lectures, quizzes, and peer-reviewed assignments. There are over 1,000 different courses on the site offered by various reputable institutions, so whether you want to learn about chemistry, music production, or computer programming, you’ll probably be covered. You can also turn a string of related courses into something resembling a full semester by “specializing” in a more general topic, like Entrepreneurship or Data Science.

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Black Man’s ‘Free Hugs Project’ Focuses On Police, Sheds Light On Their Humanity [Must See Video]

Credit: ‘Free Hugs Project’

Credit: ‘Free Hugs Project’

By Amanda Froelich | True Activist

Yes, police brutality is a serious concern. But are all the people who wear a police uniform corrupt individuals? Absolutely not.

As Rep. Joe Salazar recently stated, referring to a potential $15,000 charge against cops in Colorado who stop civilians from filming them:

“It takes a very special person to be a police officer. We want to honor them, but at the same time, we have a few bad apples who need to be aware that their conduct now has major, major consequences.”

Right – a few bad apples. To shed light on the fact that law enforcement workers are ordinary people too – oftentimes spouses, parents, siblings, and children of others, the man behind the “Free Hugs Project” recently shifted his focus to cops.

In case you don’t know Ken Nwadike, the activist has made a name for himself by founding the  movement in which he offers free embraces of compassion to anyone who might receive one. In the past, he dealt free hugs to people at the Boston Marathon and recently, he attended the Republican National Convention to promote peace.

Nwadike recognizes that love – not hate – is the solution to today’s problems, and is inspired to help put an end to violence by “being the change” he desires to see in the world.

In the video below, he states:

“The way you find peace is you spread love. That love touches people’s hearts.”

It hasn’t been easy for individuals of ethnic minorities or police officers in recent weeks, especially since  Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were both shot and killed under seemingly unjust circumstances. However, some law enforcement workers are trying to make amends for the few that have abused their power.

Recently, cops in Wichita, Kansas, held a cookout with the local community to address concerns in a peaceful, fun setting. And, other officers have been conducting positive deeds elsewhere – without seeking acknowledgement – because they want to change the negative stereotype associated with the police force.

Are police brutality and racial disparity two major concerns which need to be addressed and remedied in the U.S.? Absolutely. But fear-based reactions will never result in peace. That’s why Nwadike’s activism is so profoundly moving.

Please watch the video below:

What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!


This article (Black Man’s ‘Free Hugs Project’ Focuses On Police, Sheds Light On Their Humanity [Must Watch]) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TrueActivist.com

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The Black Dot Campaign Takes the Internet By Storm (By Identifying Victims of Domestic Violence)

Black Dot-compressed

By Vandita | We Are Anonymous

A new social media campaign was started in September 2015 to give victims of domestic violence a new way to ask for help. The Black Dot Campaign was an initiative that encouraged women to draw a small black dot on the palm of their hand as a silent plea to alert friends and family that they were domestic abuse victims, and in trouble. Started on Facebook to identify and help the most vulnerable victims of domestic violence, the novel idea for empowering abused women soon went viral.

The campaign was launched by Danielle Tredgett, a domestic violence survivor who faced physical, emotional and sexual abuse for a long time. The campaign’s Facebook page, which has since been taken down, stated on September 8:

The Black Dot Campaign is to enable victims who cannot ask for help verbally to ask for help with a simple black dot and people recognise this and help. This is a campaign to help the most vulnerable victims of Domestic Violence. They simply draw a black dot on their hands and agencies, family, friends, community centres, doctors, hospitals can recognise this person needs help but cannot ask for it.

However, after many users expressed concern that an abuser could see the dot instead of someone in a position to offer help, the organizers tried to clear the air with a lengthy Facebook post:

The original ethos for this campaign was to enable a victim to put a dot on their hand around someone they trusted to enable a conversation to start, so they could open that door and hopefully start a process of seeking professional help. This is an idea, thinking outside of the box, trying to open up the world’s eyes and ears to what is going on in terms of abuse. The idea came from a former domestic violence victim.

Professional bodies have not been advised or trained in the Black Dot, what it symbolises and what it means. When people contact us we open the gates of communication and put them in touch with people who can really help.

Putting such a campaign on Facebook was about raising awareness on a social media platform. This isn’t the solution that will help everyone, if anything it should help people realise what abuse is, how it affects people and how to access help.

And most importantly SAFETY MUST ALWAYS COME FIRST. If you see a black dot or are approached by someone for help, if safe to do so take them to safety and get them in contact with the relevant agency. Intervention and support should only be done by professionals.

blackdot

Dina Polkinghorne, executive director of domestic violence prevention organization Project Sanctuary, later shared her opinion in a statement:

The Black Dot Campaign is a very well-meaning idea, but a bad idea nonetheless. The campaign is getting a lot of attention, so abusers may also be aware of it. They might question why their partner would have the dot on their hand. A well-meaning family member could also see the dot, and inadvertently compound the violence.

In her response, Tredgett told BBC that critics had missed the point and that the campaign was never about encouraging victims to post selfies online.

“I imagined it as a tool to start face-to-face conversations between friends, or with professionals. I was basing it on my experiences and I was thinking, how could I prompt people to talk about domestic violence? A black dot is easy to make, and easy to erase. As a female, you could go to the toilet, draw one on with mascara, and then later wipe it out. Being in the centre of your palm, you could close your palm and hide it from view. As a way of seeking help, it’s not going to be a solution for everybody. As a victim, you know what triggers your abuser. So if it’s not safe to draw a black dot, don’t do it. Just because you’re a victim doesn’t mean you’re stupid – you know yourself what is safe and what is not safe.”

Despite criticism against the campaign and removal of campaign’s page from Facebook, it shows no signs of slowing. The campaign has now spread and women across the world are drawing black dots on their palms to show they are survivors of abuse and to support the victims.

https://twitter.com/FieryTwoozles/status/686471130081800192?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw


This Article (The Black Dot Campaign Takes The Internet By Storm. Well, Literally!) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and AnonHQ.com.

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Just as Air, Land, Sea & Space, NATO Just Declared The Internet A Jurisdiction of War

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By righteous  | We Are Anonymous

In the wake of cyber attacks on governments all around the world, at the hands of other governments all over the world, the member nations of NATO have just declared cyber space as a new official battleground of warfare. Prior to today, cyber-war was more of a figurative term used metaphorically, however, thanks now to NATO, cyber space is now literally classified a physical object; a jurisdiction of war – joining air, sea, land and space.

Any attack on the cyber space of a country will now be treated as a military attack on that country – same as shooting down a plane, or sinking a ship or moving troops. The terms of agreement belonging to NATO indicate that an attack on one country is an attack on all the countries. Though some countries, such as the USA, have already adopted cyber space as a battle ground of war dating back to 2011, make no doubt, this news marks a global landmark event.

Indubitably, these measures are in response to the building tensions in the Baltic with NATO, as well as the fact that Russia and China – both whom are not member nations of NATO -have been very active in several prominent hacking campaigns around the world over recent years.

Most recently, Russia placed a worm inside the Democratic National Committee’s data-bases for well over a years time in order to steal information about political candidates and political strategy before the upcoming national elections.  China on the other hand is infamous for hacking business sectors, stealing information, technologies, innovations and opportunities away from the people who actually invented them.

As NATO has just formed this new policy, the ramifications of declaring the Internet a war-zone have yet to play themselves out. Will nations move troops against one another for the actions of a hacker sitting back in their recliner? Will the actions of an independent (Anonymous) hacker un-affiliated with any countries government accidentally incite a War between nations?  How will all of this be regulated or differentiated? We could be setting a dangerous precedent that may have more implications then many people in power care to realize.

It might not be at the forefront of media coverage right now, but internet rights are slowly eroding. The other week,  US courts just allowed the FCC to sensor the internet same as like they do television.Leading Republican candidate Donald Trump has also proposed placing “restrictions” on the internet in America and in other countries such as China and Turkey, the internet and social media is already censored.

With the internet now officially classified as a jurisdiction of the military worldwide, it may be a justifiable fear that the internet itself may come under attack in the from of governments or nations all in the name of “national security.” The two magic words that allows government around the world to act with complete immunity to laws, constitutions, treaties and regulations.

Meanwhile, the Global Commission on Internet Governance published a new report 6/22/2016 – essentially decrying that governments must come to a consensus governing internet behavior. The group fears with recent attempts to undermine encryption rights to mandate back door’s media systems, censorship of the internet and unregulated spying programs on behalf of national government under the guise of ‘national security’ have violated peoples civil rights on a global level.

Governments should not compromise or require third parties to weaken or compromise encryption standards, for example, through hidden ‘backdoors’ into the technology as such efforts would weaken the overall security of digital data flows and transactions…

…Legal thresholds for lawfully authorized access to communications data must be redefined to ensure that the aggregated collection of metadata—such as an individual’s full browsing history—are treated with the same respect for privacy as access to the actual content of a communication, and should only be made under judicial authority.

The report calls for a “greater respect for the privacy of foreign citizens’ data.” You can read more here: https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/06/one-internet-global-internet-governance-report-analysis/

Sources: Softpedia, Reuters, The New York Times


This article (The Internet has Just Officially Become Militarized) is a free and open source. You have permission to republish this article using a creative commons license with attribution to the author and AnonHQJoin the conversations at www.anonboards.com

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Dan Rather on Skepticism AND Optimism in this “New Age of Media”

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The legendary journalist says that he is “an optimist by nature.” But he also cautions that in this new age of information we need to be skeptical.

After just over a decade post his much publicized exit as news anchor and managing editor for the CBS Evening News, one might expect that Dan Rather would fade quietly into the annals of news reporting. But even at 84 years of age, Rather is determined not to be left out of the loop when it comes to embracing and participating in this new age of media. In fact he’s seized this burgeoning platform in big ways!

In my exclusive interview with the man who has covered every history making news story of the last half century, we discussed everything from the speed of technology and the perils and promise of the digital revolution, to the anomalous nature of the current presidential campaign.

 

 

Rather was clear in articulating how demonstrably unsubstantial and bizarre this campaign has been to-date. “I lament the fact that so much of the campaign so far, has been at such a low level,” he said.

Still, he urges the American public to not give up on what he fervently believes to be our constitutional right to democracy and freedom. But he cautions that we must engage our voice and demand that issues of significance be discussed and followed up on, or otherwise suffer the consequences to our individual and collective peril.

Rather also spoke out about the public’s tendency toward the titillation about the “horse race” aspects of political debate and less so about the issues that should be in the forefront.

Dan Rather_600x900

Dan Rather now hosts “The Big Interview” on Cable Network AXS TV.

Now that we’re looking in the rearview mirror of yet another unfathomable and tragic event with the recent Orlando mass shooting, the candidates can’t help but seize the moment (and not waste a good crisis). But how long will it take for the discussion about this latest tragedy to revert back to the familiar theme of name calling and back biting that has made this campaign so distastefully exploited?

Though tempting to spend the majority of our time musing over the oddities of this presidential campaign, we managed to give equal play to other critical topics of substance, not the least of which is the necessity to keep up with the pace of news and the way it’s being delivered. “It’s not just everyday, but every nanosecond the world is becoming increasingly more digital and more mobile…The acceleration of the pace of change in the digital world, and the mobile way that people get their news is really awe inspiring.”

This optimistic view has kept Rather relevant and eager to participate in this new brand of media culture. And participate he has. On June 1st, Rather made a Facebook post that has (as of this writing) been shared by north of 86 thousand people and still growing.

When I asked Rather to explain his vehement commentary about Trump’s “fusillade against the press,” he said, “For a presidential candidate, this [treatment of journalists] is unacceptable behavior. It needs to be stated…a free and independent press… is the red beating heart of freedom and democracy.”

It should be no surprise that in typical Rather fashion, he’s been all over the #Orlandoshooting story. And justifiably so. In another Facebook post dated June 12 he said, “As I reflect on where we are in the wake of the Orlando tragedy, I once again wish to summon the invaluable advice of the great Edward R. Murrow – “steady.” Steady does not mean complacent. It does not mean cowardice, or passivity, or a lack of a resolve to act. It is to realize that action without thought is too often a road to folly and mistakes. It is to remember that tragedies, even on the scope and scale of this horror, cannot be divorced from the larger currents and contexts of our world. And it is to pray that our leaders use wisdom rather than recklessness as they weigh their response.”

And what about other big headline making news stories? In the aftermath of the tragic death of Prince on April 21, and the news that followed some weeks later about his passing, due apparently to an opioid overdose, Rather had this to say: “The public at-large is barely aware, if they are aware at all, that the problem [of opioid addiction] is growing and it’s only when it sort of explodes. And in terms of exposure like something like Prince’s death that so many people say, ‘Gosh, I never heard of that’ or ‘I never realized that [this] is as widespread as it is.’”

On the matter of skepticism. This is a sticking point that Rather doesn’t want any to disregard. “There’s never been a time when we need skepticism as much as we do today. …I want to be very clear – not cynicism. Never cynicism, but skepticism….Be skeptical of what politicians say of course, but be skeptical of what various news sources say.” He then adds, “A lifetime of news has taught me – and it’s never more useful than it is today, to keep in mind that frequently the first things you hear – let’s say on a big breaking news story…many of them are going to prove to be wrong…That’s the kind of skepticism I’m suggesting. You get an alert on your device and it comes up ‘breaking news’…Well don’t automatically assume that because it’s up and labeled ‘breaking news’ that it’s true.”

Despite Dan Rather’s criticism about what we face in the throws of peril as a news consuming public, he remains eternally optimistic. “The benefits in terms of education and understanding one another better, to say nothing of culture better, in the medium and long range, I think it’s overwhelmingly positive.”

Tune in to my full interview with Dan Rather HERE.

Learn about Dan Rather’s exciting project with Mind Body Network HERE.

Get Dan Rather’s new ebook Lessons from the Field: Everything I Learned About Life I Learned from Reporting HERE.

*(Audio Interview Correction: The Big Interview – Legends Lost is now available on-demand via iTunes and not YouTube).

Visit Dan Rather’s website News and Guts and official Facebook page.

About the Author:

alexisheadshotv2Alexis Brooks is the #1 best-selling author of Conscious Musings, writer/editor for CLN and host of Higher Journeys Radio. Alexis brings over 30 years of broadcast media experience to CLN. For over half of that time, Alexis has dedicated her work to the medium of alternative journalism, having researched and reported on the many aspects and angles of metaphysics, spirituality and new thought concepts.

This article and its accompanying media was originally created and produced by Higher Journeys in association Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Alexis Brooks, HigherJourneys.com and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.

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A Single Meme’s Message on Hemp Plastic Was So Powerful, It Sparked an Internet Revolution

why not hemp plastics

By Claire Bernish | Activist Post

If you still don’t believe in the power of Internet-based activism, the incredible explosion of interest inhemp plastic — literally generated by a single meme — will convince you otherwise.

“Oil based plastics are destroying the environment,” the meme — originally posted to Facebook — states, asking, “Why not hemp plastics? They are both biodegradable and non-toxic.” Pictured at the top are marine animals tangled in plastic waste, while the bottom image shows a time-lapsed progression of a hemp plastic bottle in states of decay — complete in just 80 days.

Apparently, the meme’s message so impacted social media, well over 350,000 people shared it from its original place on End the Drug War — more than twice the total followers on that page. Other large Facebook pages also shared the meme, sometimes in an abbreviated format — and each of those pages garnered similar interest, resulting in thousands more shares.

But the true magic of spreading awareness — the foundation of all activism — could be seen on Google trends with a sudden astronomical spike in searches for “hemp plastic” beginning on the date the meme hit social media (top image). In just one dynamic image, a seed of awareness about a viable alternative to petroleum-based plastics found roots in the minds of hundreds of thousands — and with those roots, vast potential for change.

And that awareness couldn’t come too soon.

Plastic refuse so chokes the world’s oceans, a recent report predicts more of it will occupy space in the sea than fish, by as early as 2050. Every year, at least 8 million tons of discarded plastic winds up in the ocean. A full garbage truck’s worth of plastic is jettisoned into the ocean every minute. However, according to the report,

If no action is taken, this is expected to increase to two per minute by 2030 and four per minute by 2050 […]

In a business-as-usual scenario, the ocean is expected to contain 1 tonne of plastic for every 3 tonnes of fish by 2025, and by 2050, more plastics than fish (by weight).

At present, plastics account for around 6 percent of global oil consumption — the same rate as oil consumed by the entire planet’s aviation industry. However, by 2050, “If the current strong growth of plastics usage continues as expected, the plastics sector will account for 20% of total oil consumption.”

Plastic waste in the oceans tragically ensnares or is consumed by wildlife in telling quantities. A September 2015 report by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in conjunction with Imperial College London found nearly 60 percent of all seabird species “have plastic in their gut” — but by 2050, that number could jump to 99 percent. Indeed,

The scientists estimate that 90 percent of all seabirds alive today have eaten plastic of some kind.

While plastic doesn’t biodegrade, exposure to sunlight causes it to break down into smaller pieces easily ingested by marine and aquatic animals. Further disintegration of larger fragments results in smaller particles known as micro-plastic, which can be ingested by a greater range of species, including those lower on the food chain. Any toxins absorbed by the micro-plastic thus make their way back up the food chain to be consumed by larger animals and humans.

Considering Americans throw out 2.5 million plastic bottles every, single hour, while recycling only 13 percent of plastic waste, it’s no wonder marine and other wildlife bear the brunt of our convenience. But simply increasing the rate at which we recycle plastic amounts to little more than a superficial fix — and the recycling industry has taken a serious hit with consistently dropping oil prices.

Though recycling might be somewhat romanticized as an altruistic venture by people who feel relegating plastic waste to a separate bin means acting responsibly, the fact remains, recycling is a business like any other. In order to function, revenue must cover costs — and right now, low oil prices have forced many to shutter operations.

Fortunately, exactly as the viral meme suggests, an alternative to petroleum-based plastic already exists in the dynamically versatile hemp plant.

“Industrial hemp is grown in abundance in many parts of the world and produces the strongestnatural fiber known to man. Hemp as a raw material is one of the most useful plants on our planet with thousands of applications including a viable plastic material,” one of many sources touting thebenefits of hemp plastic explains.

Hemp plastic is a bioplastic made using industrial hemp. There are many different types of hemp plastic; from standard plastics reinforced with hemp fibers, to a 100% hemp plastic made entirely from the hemp plant. Hemp plastic is recyclable and can be manufactured to be 100% biodegradable.

Plastic manufactured with hemp could drastically curtail the destruction of our oceans and the impact wrought by the manufacture and careless disposal of petroleum-based plastics over prior decades.

Hemp plastic could replace its toxic predecessor in every application imaginable — from phone chargers, lamps, and electrical sockets, to industrial construction components, railways, and toys. In 2014, LEGO executives even announced a plan to abandon toxic petroleum plastics in favor of an as-yet undetermined sustainable resin by 2030 — which sparked conjecture hemp plastic LEGO bricks could be on the horizon.

But before a major push for such sweeping changes to an ubiquitous industry, people must be made aware of the extent of the problem — and that the solution isn’t merely wishful thinking.

And sometimes, the path to implementing meaningful change begins with something as humble as a meme.

Claire Bernish writes for TheFreeThoughtProject.com, where this article first appeared.

Read more great articles at Activist Post.




Here’s What Politicians Would Sound Like If They Told the Truth [Watch]

Gil for President-compressed

Amanda Froelich | True Activist

Introducing Honest Gil, the most trustworthy politician you’ll ever meet.

In 2014, the world was introduced to Honest Gil, a satirical politician who only tells the truth.

When he first made his debut, Gil Fulbright (or Phil Gulbright. Or Bill Fulbright. Or Phillip Mimouf-Wifarts. You’ll understand once you’ve watched the ad below) was challenging then Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Democratic rival Alison Lundergan Grimes in what was then the most expensive Senate election of all time. Now, the satirical politician has returned to campaign for something even higher: President of the United States.

Of course, when Represent.us first released this ad, it was in September of 2015 as the U.S. presidential election was just beginning to heat up. Regardless, it’s still worth watching

Gil begins his cookie-cutter political commercial promising to be “a president with the conviction to nod, the courage to point, and the experience to cram buzzwords into everything I jobs.”

He then assures the populace that he will make education “um…good,” to improve the economy “by repeating the word jobs,” and “blablabla, something to get votes from women and minorities.” The dramatic camera angle and bland music undoubtedly help assure voters that he’s legitimate.

In fact, it’s quite similar to his first campaign ad (below):

When Gil’s campaign ad for POTUS was first released, it was an instant hit with voters. Within the first 24 hours, his campaign commercial received over 1 million views. Perhaps this is because Americans are becoming disillusioned with the amount of money in politics.

Gil Fulbright for president, anyone?

Please comment your thoughts below and share this article!


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Chemtrails and Chill: New Dating Site Seeks to Connect Conspiracy Theorists

chemtrail-couple

By Jake Anderson | We Are Anonymous

There are many kinds of dating sites out there these days; they are tailored specifically to groups like Christians, Jews, farmers, and stoners — and the list goes on and on. The newest niche is Awake Dating, the first online dating site for conspiracy theorists.

Developed by Jarrod Fidden, Awake Dating features all the normal bells and whistles of a dating network, but with the caveat that most — if not all — the users consider themselves “awoken” to the true nature of reality. Under this wide tent are the lovesick eyes of every variety of truther you can possibly imagine.

I signed up — purely for research purposes — and soon found myself at an impasse when asked to describe my interests. The list of identifying idiosyncrasies is breathtakingly long, and it includes Illuminati Symbolism, Underground Bases, Freemasonry Conspiracy, Atlantis, UFO, Population Control, Universal Consciousness, Fibonacci Sequence, Mind Control and Magick in Corporate Music Industry, HAARP, Predictive Programming, Flat Earth, Shadow Government, Hollywood Psyops and Mind Control, Whistleblowers, Crop Circles, Shamanism, Ley Lines, Planet X/Nibiru, Nano Technology, Fukushima Fallout, 9/11 Truth, Hollow Earth, and dozens more.

Fidden, the COO and founder, defines his typical ‘awake’ user as “one who has investigated and come to his or her own conclusions on a collection of topics and issues. And through this research and critical thinking, [he] has ‘woken’ from the fantastic false dream carefully crafted for the ‘consumer.’”

Fidden believes he is providing a service that is desperately needed in today’s society.

“Knowing and discussing ‘socially inconvenient conclusions’ distances one from most everyone who has yet to engage in their own research,” he says. “Your family, former friends, and colleagues will prefer to brand you as ‘cracked’ for speaking what you perceive as truths.”

Fidden believes his site will empower fringe thinkers who have been ostracized from ‘normal’ social circles because they hold outlandish and stigmatized beliefs that are not part of standard consensus reality. He doesn’t even subscribe to the word conspiracy theorist, instead preferring “early adopter of inconvenient truths.”

Even if one is not looking to date, there is an element of world-building on the site, too. The community features a virtual 3D environment called “Awake City,” where members can meet each other in avatar form.

Now that Awake Dating has passed the beta stage, signups have trickled in at a consistent pace, with over 1,200 in under two months. These are certainly not Facebook numbers, but most people using the site would likely prefer Awake remain small and organic, unlike the data mining ‘Fedbook’ many now eschew because of privacy issues.

Speaking of which — and in keeping with the theme of the site — let me proffer a final conspiracy: what if Awake Dating is a puppet site set up by the CIA to help identify radicalized citizens? Happy hunting.


This article (Chemtrails and Chill: New Dating Site Seeks to Connect Conspiracy Theorists) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Jake Anderson andtheAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, emailedits@theantimedia.org.

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Watch This Incredibly Funny Viral Video: Laughing Chewbacca Mask Lady

This viral video is one of the funniest you’ll ever see. Watch Candace Payne laugh uncontrollably in her car after she puts the Chewbacca Mask that she had just purchased at her Kohl’s store.

After putting on the mask, Candace opened up her mouth to let the Chewbacca noises come out and she started to hysterically laugh for over a minute and a half!  She may just have the world’s most contagious laugh. Watch for yourself and you’ll quickly be laughing along.

“I’d like to say that I bought this for my son that would really, really want it. And let’s be honest, he’ll probably confiscate it from me… He’ll probably take it from me. However, this is mine. At the end of the day, this is mine that I bought and I’m going to keep it for my own!” Candace excitedly said to her followers.




Photoshopped: Singer Meghan Trainor Wants Her Waist Back in Newest Music Video

By Clyde Hughes | Newsmax

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Singer Meghan Trainor, fearing that her waistline was photoshopped in the video accompanying her song “Me Too” which debuted Monday, said she pulled it from circulation.

The chart-topping singer told USA Today she took a closer look at the video after fans started commenting online Monday about it being digitally altered.

“I saw fans posting it and was like, ‘Why are fans ruining my waist? Are you kidding?'” Trainor told USA Today. “Then I went to the video and was like, ‘Oh my God.’ I texted the editors like, ‘I never asked you to touch my waist. I want my waist back.'”

Billboard magazine said Trainor told her record label to take down the video, which has now been replaced.

“And just 24 hours later, the ‘All About That Bass’ singer’s label re-serviced the clip on Tuesday afternoon (May 10) in what appears to be an unadulterated form,” reported Billboard.

“I asked them like, ‘hey, can you hide my mustache and take out my mole hair?'” Trainor told Howard Stern on his SiriusXM radio show Tuesday. “So I just asked them to do that, but I never said, ‘cut off my rib.’ I saw screenshots the fans were taking on Instagram and I was like, ‘why are the fans messing with my waist?'”

Trainor, who later posted the photoshopped image and the original on her Instagram page, told Stern that was when [sic] took action.
“I called every head of label – L.A. Reid, Sylvia Rhone – I called all of them and said, ‘Take this video down. I don’t care what it takes,” the singer told Stern. “I’m the poster child for no Photoshop. That is my thing.”

Trainor appeared to find support for her move on social media.

[Read more here]

Originally entitled: “Meghan Trainor Photoshopped, Wants Her Waist Back on Video”

Robert O'Leary 150x150Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield (MA), New England & “virtually” the world, with his website, www.romayasoundhealthandbeauty.com. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail.com

 




This Viral Green 4/20 Moon Meme Is Everything That’s Wrong with the Internet

Green Moon

By Claire Bernish | The Anti Media

(ANTIMEDIA) Apparently, the internet can’t take a joke. After weathering an increasingly cynical and cantankerous general populace on April Fool’s Day, a friend of mine crafted a satirical meme about a Green Moon ostensibly occurring on April 20 — but once the meme began to go viral, it quickly became clear the joke had gone, well, laughably awry. Along with the image of an intensely green-tinted moon, the meme reads:

“On April 20th 2016 several planets are going to align which will cause the Earth’s moon to appear green for about 90 minutes. This phenomenon is known as ‘Green Moon’ and only happens once every 420 years. Please share this event.”

green-moon

Intended as satire for what’s known by cannabis enthusiasts as Weed Day, the internet, for the most part, missed the obvious reference — though that didn’t entirely surprise the meme’s creator, Johnny Liberty (yes, that’s an obvious pseudonym, but in light of the topic at hand, I feel it must be said).

What began as a request from his brother for a cannabis-themed green moon meme — in the same vein as common memes heralding Blood Moons, Pink Moons, and the like — turned into a humorous challenge when he jokingly suggested I share it to see how many people would be fooled.

I bet him it would take three minutes for someone to take it seriously — it took twelve — but that wasn’t the end of it. Not by far.

Without rhyme or reason, the meme went viral. Incredibly viral. Posted in the evening on April 2, in just five hours the meme had been shared from my personal Facebook profile over 900 times. When it hit the eleven-hour mark, the number had jumped to over 2,300 and was growing exponentially — with a rather embarrassing number of people taking it seriously.

In fact, we were so astonished at its ‘success’ rate, Johnny opted to post the Green Moon on a Facebook page with millions of followers — just to see what would happen. In eight days, the meme had accumulated more than 10,000 shares from my timeline and well over 400,000 from the large page — but even that wasn’t the end of it.

https://www.facebook.com/CHOICEandTRUTH/photos/a.202883853059033.60646.202859009728184/1327259143954826/?type=3&theater

To our mutual bewilderment, the Green Moon meme became the subject of ostensible debunking by the mainstream media. Yahoo News, International Business Times, CNet, Inquisitr, Mic, and others have now all printed articles supposedly hoax-slaying the meme that was never a hoax to begin with. Though some of those outlets appeared to grasp the funny, the fact a joke meme necessitated such articles is a terribly troubling commentary far beyond people’s gullibility. All joking aside, it unintentionally turned the meme into a telling social experiment.

“I can’t believe it. I still can’t believe it,” Johnny told me, laughing, when I interviewed him for this article. When he created the cannabis-themed meme, he hadn’t been aware of an unrelated moon meme arbitrarily claiming the moon will turn green on May 29, which had been posted by a Facebook user on March 25 — though we both learned of that meme when people posted its debunking by Snopes on the cannabis version.

Incidentally, Snopes has since included the April 20 date from Johnny’s meme in its post about Green Moons, but failed in its research by assuming it was simply another derivation of the post with the May 29 date.

“You know, I made the moon meme right in the wake of that whole April Fool’s thing, and The Free Thought Project, Anti-Media, and several outlets put out joke stories — and people were very, very mad. There was a lot of anger in response to the April Fool’s jokes,” he explained. Past experience with a mathematically-inaccurate meme going incredibly viral and satirical April Fool’s Day articles being shared tens of thousands of times appeared to prove, he explained, that people will share anything — without even reading an article or critically considering information presented in a meme.

Asked whether he views this more as a symptom of the so-called dumbing down of our society or just unadulterated laziness, Johnny theorized:

“In my opinion … there’s a part of this that’s just intellectual laziness. A lot of people watch television, and they get information just spoon-fed to them — so they see a meme or they see a headline” that catches their eye, and people will blindly share it “without doing any independent research, whatsoever; and that’s got to change, as a society.”

People, he lamented, seem to have lost the drive to bother with researching information for themselves — and that’s likely due to the education system’s emphasis on regurgitating information and agenda-driven corporate media’s regimented, governmental narrative.

“I made [the Green Moon meme] so it would be blatantly obvious it was a joke,” he continued. “I could not have made it any more obvious it was a joke.” Johnny said he even captioned the meme on the large Facebook page, “Seems legit,” and included three laughing, tear-faced emojis for emphasis — but the top comment, itself garnering over 1,000 likes, was made by someone who had taken the meme seriously.

“I find it incredibly funny that this joke, my little joke — which maybe took me five minutes to throw together — turned into a pretty hilarious social experiment,” Johnny said.

Mic thought itself clever with its theory on the motivation for his meme, saying, “Perhaps out of preemptive excitement, a Weed Day partaker got high and decided to spread an astronomical rumor about the moon turning green on April 20 — as if the cosmos wanted to vicariously celebrate the wonders of marijuana with us.”

When I asked Johnny to comment on this notion, he stated, er, bluntly, “Why does there always have to be some deep-seated reasoning? Don’t people just tell jokes anymore?”

‘Nope,’ the internet apparently replied.


This article (This Viral Green 4/20 Moon Meme Is Everything That’s Wrong with the Internet) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Claire Bernish andtheAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, emailedits@theantimedia.org.

Read more great articles at The Anti Media.




Google To Begin Alerting Users if Gmail Account is Targeted by Government

1984 Google-compressed

By Clarice Palmer | The Anti Media

(ANTIMEDIA) As privacy advocates celebrate the FBI’s decision to stop harassing Apple over the San Bernardino shooter’s encrypted iPhone, other tech giants seem to have finally noticed that what consumers want is privacy. But for privacy to prevail, the government must stop snooping.

With that idea in mind, Google decided to change how the game is played.

In an official Google blog update detailing new security measures for Gmail, the tech giant announced it would begin alerting consumers whenever the firm detects an account is being targeted — or rather, hacked — by government agencies or their proxies. While the company believes less than 0.1 percent of Gmail users will receive this type of warning, the idea that a tech giant is going to these lengths to give users peace of mind and privacy should give advocacy groups across the country reason to continue celebrating.

Google opened its official statement by announcing the company has a “variety of new protections” in store “that will help keep Gmail users even safer.” The idea, Google added, is to “promote email security best practices across the Internet as a whole.” As one of these efforts, Google announced improvements to its “state-sponsored attack warnings,” a system that has been in place since 2012, when Google began warning Gmail users when their accounts were being targeted by attackers tied to the government.

While these “warnings are rare,” Google noted, “we’re launching a new, full-page warning with instructions about how these users can stay safe.”  The blog pointed out that “the users that receive these warnings are often activists, journalists, and policy-makers taking bold stands around the world.”

Enhancing its warning system is not the only thing Google is doing to keep users safe. According to the tech giant, its “safe browsing” notifications will also be expanded to warn users beforehand that a link they are about to open appears suspicious.

Google will also improve its email encryption securities by partnering with Comcast, Yahoo, and Microsoft.

From BGR:

Google wants to further improve email encryption, and the company partnered up with Comcast, Microsoft and Yahoo to submit a draft IETF [Internet Engineering Task Force] specification for ‘SMTP Strict Transport Security.’ Essentially, Google and its partners want to make sure that encrypted email stays encrypted along its entire path from sender to recipient.

This idea was originally explored by Google on Safer Internet Day, the day the California company introduced a new tool giving Gmail users a visual warning whenever they receive a message that hasn’t been delivered using encryption. The warning is also displayed whenever a user is about to send an email to an account whose email service provider doesn’t support TLS encryption.

While this step had a positive effect, as Google reported on its blog announcement, the company decided to go even further by partnering with other companies in order to develop a new IETF specification standard. This is intended to help companies “ensure that mail will only be delivered through encrypted channels, and that any encryption failures should be reported for further analysis, helping shine the spotlight on any malfeasance occurring around the Internet.”

The move was Google’s response to research carried out by its researchers, along with the University of Michigan and University of Illinois. According to researchers’ findings, “misconfigured or malicious parts of the Internet can still tamper with email encryption.” That created the necessity for further action in order to protect Gmail users.


This article (Google To Begin Alerting Users if Gmail Account is Targeted by Government) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Clarice Palmer and theAntiMedia.org Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11 pm Eastern/8 pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, please email the error and name of the article to edits @theantimedia.org.

Read more great articles at The Anti Media.




Careful What You Tweet: Twitter Launches Orwellian “Council” to Curb Dissent

Twitter-Goes-Orwellian-Launches-Trust-Safety-Council

By Claire Bernish | Activist Post

Twitter announced it will be joining in the pro-censorship campaigns currently sweeping social media under the familiar guise defenders of liberty and free speech love to hate: terrorism.

Twitter’s version of the Thought Police, however, sounds somehow even more Orwellian than the original: The Trust & Safety Council — which will, unsurprisingly, “work to develop policies censoring speech on the site,” as the Washington Examiner described.

“To ensure people can continue to express themselves freely and safely on Twitter, we must provide more tools and policies,” the social media’s statement paradoxically begins. “With hundreds of millions of Tweets sent per day, the volume of content on Twitter is massive, which makes it extraordinarily complex to strike the right balance between fighting abuse and speaking truth to power.”

President Obama has called on social media sites to join the fight against terrorism, which essentially translates into a censorship push. And as with any push for censorship, though the premise might be rooted in laudable intent, the reality almost always ends in a clamp down on those who choose to voice less popular opinions — and, if allowed to continue without careful oversight, eventually ensnares almost all dissenting views.

Worse still, the practice of employing the community-at-large as its own watchdog creates a pervasive atmosphere in which individuals self-censor — one of the more insidious ways free speech can be curbed.

While Twitter’s explanation of the Trust & Safety Council appears warm and all-inclusive, its language presents evidence of a seriously slippery slope, stating certain groups maintain an “acute to need prevent abuse, harassment, and bullying” among other issues.

One of the Council’s inaugural members is the Dangerous Speech Project — whose website arguably sounds more frightening to free speech advocates than the subject matter it purports to do battle with.

“Inflammatory public speech rises steadily before outbreaks of mass violence, suggesting that it is a precursor of, or even a prerequisite for violence,” states the uncited and unverifiable homepage. “In many cases, a few influential figures turn their own people against another group, using speech that has a special capacity to inspire violence: Dangerous Speech.” Further, it states, “Violence may be prevented by diminishing such speech …”

Though Twitter certainly has every right to dictate its own policy for speech or anything else it deems necessary, this group Thought Police Council is nonetheless indicative of the disturbing trend toward making censorship acceptable in myriad forms. It’s not as if a single group or person has infallible judgment for determining what is worthy of being removed from a public platform, after all.

Two pertinent quotes from Orwell, himself, come to mind in this situation. First, “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

Second, and more imperatively still, “If large numbers of people believe in freedom of speech, there will be freedom of speech, even if the law forbids it. But if public opinion is sluggish, inconvenient minorities will be persecuted, even if laws exist to protect them.”

As always, we would be wise to heed Orwell’s sharp portent.

Claire Bernish writes for TheFreeThoughtProject.com

Read more great articles at Activist Post.




Facebook Says There Are Only 3.57 Degrees Of Separation – Not 6

facebook_conn_image-compressed

By 

It’s a theory that has been around for almost a century: There are no more than six degrees of separation between any two people on the planet.

But according to a study from Facebook, the world is actually smaller than we think. The social network has found there are on average just three and a half people between any one person and another.

Facebook analysed the hundreds of billions of connections between its users to determine a new figure for the six degrees of separation theory, which was coined by the Hungarian playwright  Frigyes Karinthy in 1929 and has been extensively studied.

While Karinthy speculated that a chain of just six individuals between people can link any two on the planet, Facebook’s study suggests there are in fact just 3.57 intermediaries, or degrees of separation.

Facebook's degrees of separation chart
Facebook’s degrees of separation CREDIT: FACEBOOK

 

The figures only account for Facebook’s membership, which stands at 1.6 billion – roughly one quarter of the world’s population.

The researchers suggested that the degrees of separation are actually shrinking as the world goes online. In 2011, when Facebook had just over a tenth of the world’s population, a study claimed there were 3.74 degrees of separation. In 2008 the number was 4.28.

Facebook users are able to check their own degrees of separation by visiting the research here.

The number of connections between any two people are also far lower in areas where Facebook has a higher density of users, so having more friends will mean fewer degrees of separation. In the US, there are an average of 3.47 degrees of separation.

For some, the figures are much lower: Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg has 3.17 degrees and its chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg has 2.92. The vast majority of people have between 2.9 and 4.2 degrees.

Facebook, which now has more than 1 billion people logging in every day, marks its 12th birthday on Thursday.

For a round-up of technology news and analysis, sign up to our weekly Tech Briefing here.

Read more great articles at The Telegraph.




Here’s What the Internet of the Future Will Look Like (Amazing New Research)

internet-680w

Source: University of Bristol

New research has found, for the first time, a scientific solution that enables future internet infrastructure to become completely open and programmable while carrying internet traffic at the speed of light.

The research by High Performance Networks (HPN) group in the University of Bristol’s Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering is published in the world’s first scientific journalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A.

The current internet infrastructure is not able to support independent development and innovation at physical and network layer functionalities, protocols, and services, while at the same time supporting the increasing bandwidth demands of changing and diverse applications.

The research addresses this problem with a new high performance network infrastructure that is open and programmable and uses light to carry internet traffic.  It introduces new concepts of open source optical internet enabled by optical white box and software defined network technologies

Dr Reza Nejabati, Reader in Optical Networks in the HPN group, said: “Hardware and software technologies reported in this paper can potentially revolutionised optical network infrastructure the same way that Google Android and Apple iOS did for mobile phones. These technologies will hide complexity of optical networks and open them up for traditional programmers and application developers to create new type of internet applications taking advantages of speed of light.”

Dimitra Simeonidou, Professor of High Performance Networks and who leads the HPN group, added: “New internet technologies frequently emerge, but most of them rarely result in new and revolutionary internet applications. The technologies suggested could pave the way for the creation of new internet services and applications not previously possible or disruptive. The technologies could also potentially change the balance of power from vendors and operators that are monopolising the current internet infrastructure to wider users and service providers.”

Paper: Optical network democratization by Reza Nejabati, Shuping Peng and Dimitra Simeonidou is published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A.

Further information

About the High Performance Networks (HPN) group
The High Performance Networks group (HPN) led by Professor Dimitra Simeonidou specialises in the application of advanced hardware and software technologies, targeting the future optical networks for Internet of Things (IoTs), data centres, grid/cloud-based applications and distributed technologies etc.  The group is equipped with world-class laboratories, including state-of-the-art optical transmission testbeds, and software-defined network experimental platform.

The group has been at the forefront of world research and development in the fields of:

  • Next generation optical transmission networks;
  • Optical packet and burst switching;
  • Optical data centre solutions and architecture;
  • Grid and cloud networking;
  • Software-defined networking (SDN) and optical network virtualization;
  • Hybrid-network domains orchestration and service management;
  • Smart City ICT Solutions.

The HPN laboratory has dedicated connectivity to both national and international research network infrastructures and forms part of the UK National Dark Fibre Infrastructure Service (NDFIS). This network infrastructure has enabled the development of close collaborations with leading research institutions and industry across the UK, Europe, USA, Brazil and Japan.

Read more great articles at The University of Bristol.