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Sat, 24 Aug 2019
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Forget this article: Mass amnesia and the internet

forget smartphone
We have entered a new era of mass Historical Amnesia, and oddly enough, we really seem to be enjoying it. To force a metaphor, it's like we're burning the entire library of history so we can toast marshmallows on the flames.

The main reason for this new period of forgetting is the internet. And this is ironic because the internet was supposed to be the great engine of eternal remembering, the infinite library of Jorge Luis Borges brought to life. Once information entered the net it was supposed to remain there, fixed and saved forever, or so the pioneering seers of the internet proclaimed back in the 90s. However, without us realizing it, the internet has unleashed a spate of unintended consequences — as all unmonitored mass psycho-social experiments tend to, and all are connected to different aspects of amnesia; from brain function to historical erasure.

The first form of the New Amnesia is the shrinkage of concentration spans caused by mobile phone usage. A Microsoft Corp study of 2015 revealed that the attention spans decreased from 12 seconds on average in 2000 to just 8.25 seconds in 2015. That's a human attention span which is shorter than that of a goldfish (9 seconds). This is going on while we rewire our brains to skim and flick, with the average phone user picking up their phone 1,500 times per week, or 214 times a day. That's a lot of distraction.

In "The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains," journalist Nicholas Carr claimed that the internet is teaching our brains, through neuroplasticity, to inhabit a distracted mode, more and more of the time. We're fooling ourselves into thinking we're multi-tasking when all we are doing is learning how to skim, forget and move on. This habit prevents people from retaining content because so much information is being presented at the same time. We're overloaded and we're forgetting even as we watch.

In our increasingly tech-dependent society exposure to cell phone radiation may also negatively affect the brains of adolescents, causing potentially harmful effects to their memory performance, according to a research team at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute. We're also becoming dependent on the internet to 'be our memory for us'. Rather than trawl our minds for facts, we jump on Google. How many times have you done this yourself, when stuck for a word or fact while in company with friends? "Wait," you say 'I'll Google it". As a result, we're letting natural personal brain memory atrophy and 'digital dementia' is occurring, according to German neuroscientist Manfred Spitzer.

Comment: See also:

Bad Guys

New York Times stokes race war in deceptive reporting on Antwon Rose shooting

nyt new york times
Even before The New York Times launched its "All Slavery, All the Time" project, no one could accuse that paper of skimping on its race coverage, particularly stories about black males killed by white(ish) police officers.

Here's one you haven't heard about. I happened upon it by sheer accident.

Antwon Rose II was a 17-year-old boy shot by an East Pittsburgh police officer in June 2018 after he bolted from a jitney car that had been stopped by the officer. The Times published about a half-dozen stories on Antwon Rose — or as the Times calls him, "Antwon, who was unarmed."


Trump signs executive order that cancels student loan debt for disabled veterans

trump student loan debt veterans
© NBC News
Donald Trump signs a bill to 'entirely erase' student loan debt for disabled veterans
The order, which Trump signed following a speech at the American Veterans National Convention in Louisville, Ky., also clears those eligible veterans from having to pay any federal income tax on the loans. Trump added that he is pressuring individual states to follow suit.

"The debt of these disabled veterans will be completely erased," Trump said. "That's hundreds of millions of dollars of student loans debt for our disabled veterans that will be completely erased."

The memo Trump signed directs the government to develop an "expedited" process so veterans can have their federal student loan debt discharged "with minimal burdens." Currently, just half of the roughly 50,000 disabled veterans who are qualified to have their federal student loan debt forgiven have received the benefit because of a burdensome application process.

Comment: The relief of a debt burden on those who have served is commendable. Now that reform needs to be extended to Veterans Affairs in its entirety.


Epstein may be entombed with parents at Jewish mausoleum in Florida. Asked to confirm, his brother replies: "It's nobody's f**king business"

Mausoleum wall
© DailMail.com
Mausoleum wall of the exclusive palm-lined cemetery on the fringes of the Florida Everglades.
This unmarked stone crypt at an exclusive Jewish mausoleum is the likely final resting place of Jeffrey Epstein, DailyMail.com can reveal.

Sources believe the pedophile financier's remains were transported to Loxahatchee, Florida so they could be entombed beside his parents, Pauline 'Paula' and Seymour Epstein.

Cemetery staff have refused to say why they mysteriously removed the couple's memorial plate last Wednesday - the day after 66-year-old Epstein's low-key funeral in New York - and replaced it with a blank white slab.

The neighboring crypt has a brand new, unmarked plate but when DailyMail.com contacted Epstein's only sibling Mark to confirm that the sex offender's remains were sealed inside, he raged: 'It's nobody's f**king business.'

Mark, 65 - sole heir to the predator's $577 million fortune - added: 'It's a private family matter, you got that? I'm not going to answer your question.'

Comment: Actually, it's not clear that Mark Epstein gets the money. Not all of it anyway.

Nothing to see here! Epstein created $578M trust two days prior to his death


Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne resigns after 'deep state' admissions, company stock upswings

Patrick Byrne
© Getty Images
Patrick Byrne, former CEO Overstock
Overstock CEO Partick Byrne resigned from the e-commerce company Thursday, 10 days after making comments about his role in the "deep state."

Shares of Overstock popped as much as 17% after being halted for the news. Shares were up 9% later in the afternoon.

Byrne said in a statement:
"In July I came forward to a small set of journalists regarding my involvement in certain government matters. Doing so was not my first choice, but I was reminded of the damage done to our nation for three years and felt my duty as a citizen precluded me from staying silent any longer. Though patriotic Americans are writing me in support, my presence may affect and complicate all manner of business relationships, from insurability to strategic discussions regarding our retail business.

"Thus, while I believe that I did what was necessary for the good of the country, for the good of the firm, I am in the sad position of having to sever ties with Overstock, both as CEO and board member, effective Thursday August 22."

Comment: See also:


Study proves CNN, MSNBC overwhelmingly hosted congressional Democrats over Republicans

© thewrap.com
CNN and MSNBC host Democrat lawmakers seven times more frequently than Republicans, a study finds.

Analysts at the Media Research Center (MRC) found that MSNBC interviewed congressional Democrats 13 times more than their GOP counterparts, and on CNN, the ratio "was a still wildly-imbalanced four to one (136 vs. 29)."

The study said:
MRC analysts examined every broadcast from 6am ET to midnight ET on CNN and MSNBC during three randomly-selected weeks when Congress was in session (January 7-11, March 25-29 and June 10-14), amounting to 540 hours of programming. Each network conducted virtually the same number of interviews with sitting members of Congress: 159 on MSNBC, vs. 165 on CNN.

Despite the current Republican majority in the Senate, Democrats accounted for 90 (87%) out of a total of 103 interviews with Senators, while Republican Senators received just 10 (10%).

The split was virtually identical among members of the House: 199 (87%) were Democrats, while the remaining 30 (13%) were Republicans.
On August 5, President Trump criticized the media on Twitter for its failure to be fair and balanced in their news coverage following two mass shootings which occurred on August 3.


Boy Scouts of America slammed with more sexual abuse lawsuits

Boy Scouts emblem
© abcnews.go.com
It's another bad turn for the Boy Scouts of America.

The "Do a good turn daily" group has been hit with more sexual abuse lawsuits thanks to a state law allowing victims to bring new legal claims on old abuses.

The nine new suits were filed late Monday in both Manhattan Supreme Court and Nassau County Supreme Court by lawyers on behalf of victims who charge that they were sexually abused as children by scout leaders in the late 1950s, '60s, '70s, and '80s.

The suits bring negligence claims made possible by the Child Victims Act, which took effect last week and opened a one-year window allowing victims to bring civil claims regardless of when the alleged abuse occurred. The suits allege:
"Defendants have known for decades that sexual predators had infiltrated scouting, desiring positions around children, due in part to their sexual interest in children.

"Defendants knew or should have known of the danger that pedophiles presented to children participating in scouting before [plaintiffs were] abused."
The suits claim that the existence of the Boy Scouts' internal "perversion files' listing some 7,800 problematic scout leaders
"demonstrate that the Boy Scouts were aware and have been aware that pedophiles are attracted to scouting, the distinctive characteristics of scouting render scouts particularly susceptible to pedophiles who are given authority, and the actual and apparent authority of persons who serve in scoutmaster roles are used by pedophiles to sexually abuse young scouts in and out of scouting."

Comment: See also:


Olympic champion figure skating coach Richard Callaghan banned for life over sexual misconduct claims

Richard Callaghan
© AP
Richard Callaghan, best known for coaching Tara Lipinski to the gold medal at the 1998 Olympics, has been banned for life following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.

The U.S. Center for SafeSport announced the decision on Wednesday, two weeks after Adam Schmidt accused the 73-year-old coach of sexually abusing him while he trained as a teenager from 1999 to 2001.

Schmidt, previously known as Adam Badaani, filed a lawsuit against Callaghan, U.S. Figure Skating and the Onyx Ice Arena where he trained alleging that USFS failed to protect him after skater Craig Maurizi accused Callaghan of abusing him from 1977 to 1986 when he was as young as 13 years old.
"How did this happen?" Schmidt told ABC News after filing his lawsuit. "Why 20 years ago did everyone know and do nothing? Because if they would have done something then ... I never would have been abused."


Damage control: Gillette backflips after $12 billion 'toxic masculinity' backlash

Razor brand Gillette says it is "shifting the spotlight from social issues to local heroes" after an ad delving into "toxic masculinity" caused a customer backlash.

The new ad, which launched last week, stars Australian firefighter and personal trainer Ben Ziekenheiner. "I've been a firefighter for 19 years," Mr Ziekenheiner says in the ad.

"People sometimes ask if it's scary. It can be, but like anyone who has a job to do, you prepare — not just in terms of your equipment but also mentally and physically."

The ad spruiks the brand's SkinGuard range, highlighting the issue of sensitive skin for men who shave every day — including firefighters, who are required to be clean-shaven as it enables a proper seal for their breathing mask.


Missing 5yo girl rescued in Russia after spending NEARLY THREE DAYS alone in a forest

zarina avgonova
© Ruptly
Rescuers used drones, divers, thermal cams, and even recordings of her mother's voice as they looked for a small girl lost in a forest in Russia. She was unharmed, and the first thing she asked for was... some cake!

Five-year-old Zarina Avgonova disappeared around 2pm on Sunday. Reports say she may have wandered off from the village of Stepanovka in Nizhny Novgorod Region, 460km from Moscow, to a forest nearby while looking for relatives who went mushroom picking.

Rescue teams first searched the village. Then more than 800 people, many of whom were volunteers, began searching the woods, as divers examined several lakes and the Sarma River. The forest was hit by a thunderstorm with heavy rain on the first night of the operation, hampering their efforts. The fog was another problem. "The fog makes it hard to search during the night - it doesn't go away until sunrise," one of the volunteers said.