January 4, 2018 in 5,506 words

A long ugly story

Sometime in the fall of 1979 I got a phone call from a friend of my older brother. He wanted to know if I was interested in making some money. Having no money, no job and nothing else to do, I replied, “Maybe… doing what?”

He said, “Chasing Indians.”

Thirty-eight years ago I was a 21-year-old long-haired peacenik with no particular career aspirations living in a $75-a-month, three-room shack with a band and anybody else who needed a place to flop. The offer to “chase Indians” came on a day with mustard-only sandwiches on the menu so I agreed to meet the guy at his office in downtown Oklahoma City. Turned out he worked for an oil company. And that phone call… nearly four decades later, is still an unfolding story.

Not surprisingly, I would come to learn that “chasing Indians” was a racist term that, like so many other racist terms, was thought to be somehow funny by those who coined it. In the context of the oil biz, it referred to tracking down the heirs of deceased Native American mineral rights owners from very poorly kept records at the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The BIA is an agency within the Department of Interior that, among other things, is charged with managing hundreds of thousands of Individual Indian Money Accounts (IIMs) in trust for Native peoples.

IIMs are a long, ugly story in their own right. For purposes here, just think of them as a black stain on American history that harkens back to efforts of forcibly assimilating Indians into white culture while stealing their lands and money. Make that a black stain on the present day as well. It’s still happening.

But back to “chasing Indians.”

‘Do we all have to die because your penis is small?’: Colbert offers a perfect solution for Trump’s ‘Button Dysfunction’

“Late Show” host Stephen Colbert on Wednesday had a hilarious response to Donald Trump’s unhinged tweet proclaiming he has a “bigger” nuclear button than North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Over twenty-four hours and 30,000 headlines ago, Trump shocked the world by casually firing off a threat to Jong-un, effectively escalating tensions with the notoriously volatile leader.

Noting the president’s fixation on button size and apparent performance anxiety, the “Late Show” host recommended a drug tailored to Trump’s apparent anxiety.
“So guys, it’s just you and your button, and the mood is right for total annihilation,” a woman in the ad says. “But then, Button Dysfunction gets in the way. You know what? Plenty of world leaders have this problem. Thankfully, there’s Viagrageddon.”

“Viagrageddon helps leaders with BD increase the size of their buttons so they can feel big and important,” the woman explains.

A voiceover warns users should not take the drug if they are “sane or cherish life,” adding, “side effects include nuclear winter, subterranean mole people and using human teeth as currency in the afterscape.”

THANKS to CBS and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert for making this program available on YouTube.

Trump’s Bannon outburst removes any shred of presidential decorum

This latest playground brawl must surely mean the end of any new year hopes for a return to sanity or normalcy.

‘As we discovered from Trump’s own statement to the press on Wednesday, Bannon was in fact a braggadocious nobody who failed in life and has now gone insane.’

Ed. Trimp is in fact a braggadocious nobody who failed in life and has now gone insane.

The sight of Donald Trump squabbling with his former strategist Steve Bannon bears a remarkable resemblance to two ferrets negotiating the inside of a sack. It seems the two men who engineered the “populist” takeover of the White House are rather less popular with each other than they used to be one year ago as they prepared to misrule the world.

First, let’s correct the record. You may have been living under the mistaken impression that Bannon was an influential figure in Trumpworld. This is probably because Bannon was chief executive of Trump’s presidential campaign and was considered the most influential political adviser inside the West Wing in the first months of Trump’s presidency.

You probably continued to delude yourself about Bannon’s sway even after he was pushed out of the White House when you heard Trump saying this in the Rose Garden less than three months ago: “Well, I have a very good relationship, as you know, with Steve Bannon. Steve’s been a friend of mine for a long time. I like Steve a lot.”

Like so many things that leave Trump’s mouth and worm their way into your mind, this is plainly fake news.

Because as we discovered from Trump’s own statement to the press on Wednesday (not a tweet, and not the Onion, either), Bannon was in fact a braggadocious nobody who failed in life and has now gone insane.

A new book claiming to be a fly-on-the-wall account of internecine warfare in the White House written by Michael Wolff is about to hit the shelves. The Guardian had access to an early copy of Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House – here are some of the juiciest parts.

There’s No Way Congress Is Going to Fix Entitlements

The GOP’s tax cuts obliterated any hope of bipartisan reform, at least in the near future.

House Speaker Paul Ryan may think otherwise, but it’s likely the tax bill that he helped drive through Congress last month has ruled out any serious effort to address the growing costs of federal entitlement programs for the elderly.

That’s a problem, and not just for Republicans like Ryan looking to shrink the federal government. It’s an issue for Democrats, too: They want to preserve crucial investments in younger generations, but to do so they’ll eventually—and begrudgingly—need to impose some limits on the rising spending for seniors.

The clear message of recent political history is that the only way to implement such constraints is for both parties to link arms behind them. Yet the Republican tax cut, by enlarging the federal deficit by up to $2 trillion on a party-line vote, has made such a bipartisan agreement almost impossible to construct.

“The tax bill has made it more difficult both on the substantive and political side,” said Robert Bixby, the longtime executive director of the Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan group focused on deficit reduction. “In taking a one-sided approach, the Republicans were able to get what they wanted in terms of a tax cut, but they made it much more difficult to get any entitlement reform.”

The most immediate loser in that equation is Ryan. Retrenching federal entitlements has been his north star since he arrived in Congress in 1999. Throughout Ryan’s career, the policy idea most often associated with him is converting Medicare into a “premium support” or voucher system. Under that approach, the federal government would no longer pay directly for seniors’ health care, as it does now, and instead would provide them a fixed sum of money to purchase private insurance. (While premium support would still allow seniors to buy into the existing Medicare system itself, most analysts believe it would quickly grow unaffordable because only those with the greatest health needs would do so.)

Mitt Romney is the latest political target of Russian trolls and bots


“Who’s boss now, Mitt?”

As soon as Utah senator Orrin Hatch announced he would retire this year, speculation mounted (paywall) that Mitt Romney, a longtime critic of president Donald Trump, would vie for his place.

Alongside that speculation came a now familiar force in US politics: Russian bots and trolls. Tweets from Russian accounts with the hashtag #neverromney—echoing the “Never Trump” movement to which Romney was tied during 2016 presidential election—have reportedly exploded since Hatch’s statement.

Russia-linked #neverromney tweets are up 2,500% in the last 48 hours, according to Hamilton 68, a project run by the German Marshall Fund think tank that tracks tweets “tied to Russia-linked influence networks.” Tweets about Mitt Romney, who was the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, have soared by 14,400%.

Russian bots and troll factories are now notorious for backing Trump in the 2016 presidential election—Twitter deactivated 2,752 supposedly Russia-linked accounts at the end of last year. The Russian-backed rise of #neverromney seems another sign that they will continue to support his needs in the House and Senate midterms in 2018.

‘An incredible transformation’: how rehab, not prison, worked for a US ISIS convert

Young Abdullahi Yusuf found his way into extremism, but was put into a unique ‘ideological rehab’ program instead of prison – with successful results.

Members of the Somali community in Minneapolis. ‘Mothers think their kids are safe when they see them on the computer but that’s where they can be most at risk from extremist propaganda.’

Abdullahi Yusuf was having an identity crisis. Culturally marooned between home life with his traditional Somali parents and immersion in his everyday American school life in Minnesota, the Muslim teen gradually found his way to terrorist propaganda online.

In 2014, Yusuf was arrested before he could board a plane at Minneapolis airport, heading off to Syria to join Isis.

He had become part of a rare but not entirely unfamiliar pattern where children of some immigrant families in north America and Europe feel alienated from society and a small but concerning few turn to jihad.

It was almost too late for Yusuf. But his story has had an unusual outcome.

Young extremists like him typically end up dead in the war zone or serving long prison sentences at home. But Yusuf, 21, was released by a judge in November, 2017, and allowed to return to his parents in a suburb of Minneapolis.

In this extraordinary case, he is being integrated back into society after being sentenced to a unique “ideological rehab” program. He has spent the last year in a federal halfway house, reading philosophy, biography and literature, writing essays and poetry and reflecting on his life, his choices and his future. He was encouraged to debate with mentors and Muslim community leaders.

“It was a deradicalization program that was basically invented for Abdullahi as it went along,” said Jean Brandl, one of the lawyers on his defense team.


Some of the most powerful men in Silicon Valley are regulars at exclusive, drug-fueled, sex-laced parties—gatherings they describe not as scandalous, or even secret, but as a bold, unconventional lifestyle choice. Yet, while the guys get laid, the women get screwed. In an adaptation from her new book, Brotopia, Emily Chang exposes the tired and toxic dynamic at play.

Romans of the Decadence (1847), by Thomas Couture, as updated to parody Silicon Valley’s male-dominated sexual and sexist culture.

About once a month, on a Friday or Saturday night, the Silicon Valley Technorati gather for a drug-heavy, sex-heavy party. Sometimes the venue is an epic mansion in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights; sometimes it’s a lavish home in the foothills of Atherton or Hillsborough. On special occasions, the guests will travel north to someone’s château in Napa Valley or to a private beachfront property in Malibu or to a boat off the coast of Ibiza, and the bacchanal will last an entire weekend. The places change, but many of the players and the purpose remain the same.

The stories I’ve been told by nearly two dozen people who have attended these events or have intimate knowledge of them are remarkable in a number of ways. Many participants don’t seem the least bit embarrassed, much less ashamed. On the contrary, they speak proudly about how they’re overturning traditions and paradigms in their private lives, just as they do in the technology world they rule. Like Julian Assange denouncing the nation-state, industry hotshots speak of these activities in a tone that is at once self-congratulatory and dismissive of criticism. Their behavior at these high-end parties is an extension of the progressiveness and open-mindedness—the audacity, if you will—that make founders think they can change the world. And they believe that their entitlement to disrupt doesn’t stop at technology; it extends to society as well. Few participants, however, have been willing to describe these scenes to me without a guarantee of anonymity.

If this were just confined to personal lives it would be one thing. But what happens at these sex parties—and in open relationships—unfortunately, doesn’t stay there. The freewheeling sex lives pursued by men in tech—from the elite down to the rank and file—have consequences for how business gets done in Silicon Valley.

The ecological catastrophe that turned a vast Bolivian lake into a salt desert

What was once the country’s second largest lake is now a salt flat and the vanishing waters are taking an indigenous community’s way of life with them.

A boat lies on its side on the salt flat that used to be Lake Poopó.

The remainder of an ancient sea at the heart of South America is fast becoming a memory: a white expanse of salt stretches for miles, with just a smear of red, brackish water at its southern edge.

Lake Poopó was once Bolivia’s second largest body of water, but when asked how to get to the lake today, locals correct a visitor.

“You mean the ex-lake; the salt flat,” says Arminda Choque, 23, as she waits outside a mobile dental clinic in Llapallapani, a community of crumbling adobe-and-thatch houses inhabited by the indigenous Urus-Muratos, who have lived off the lake’s abundant fish since time immemorial. “I want my children to leave and go to college. There’s no future for them here.”

The high-altitude lake – habitat to some 200 species of birds, mammals and fish – had always fluctuated in size. But in recent years, the droughts became longer.

In November 2014, millions of fish and birds suddenly perished, rotting where they lay. By late 2015, the lake which had once covered 2,400 sq km, dried up completely, seemingly for good. Many blamed the catastrophe on global climate change.

Now, abandoned fishing boats rust and splinter on the burning salt, amid skeins of desiccated fishing nets and grubby flamingo feathers. In the village of Villa Ñeque, stranded inland years ago, Vicente Valero, 48, doubts it’s worth repairing his staved-in canoe.

“The water used to come up to here,” Valero says. He recalls week-long voyages; sleeping under the stars in his skiff; casting sweets into the water as a Lenten offering. “Now we’re raising animals and growing quinoa. The first few harvests have been poor,” he admits.

5 Ways Life Changes When You Suffer Depression As A Child

Can you imagine anything sadder than a clinically depressed eight-year-old? Just sitting in front of the TV with a bowl of Cheerios, watching Power Rangers before school, but unable to lift the spoon because he feels like he has a swirling black vortex in his chest sucking away all joy? Well, that was me.

Only 2 percent of children suffer from depression. Not only was I one of them, but I was also unlucky enough to get a side dish of intense childhood anxiety, which resulted in a series of panic attacks that often made it feel like the world was collapsing in around me and only me. I’m better now, but there is much to be learned from my awful, awful experience.

#5. For A Kid, There’s No Frame Of Reference

A depressed adult at least knows what they’re going through. You’ve spent your entire life hearing about depression or knowing people who have it (even if they’re fictional characters; modern comedy is almost entirely about depression). You’ve seen commercials for antidepressants. Kids don’t have any of that — or at least I didn’t at the time. Muppet Babies and Batman: The Animated Series didn’t take the time to explain how sometimes you’re going to wake up feeling like you’d rather not exist and you won’t know why.

A lot of people suffering depression walk around looking at happy people and wondering how they do it. Now imagine you’re a child who’s looking at everyone else frolicking on the playground, wondering why they don’t want to break down in tears and sleep all day. “Very sad” was as much as my limited vocabulary and frame of reference gave me.

For as confused as I was, the adults around me were even more baffled. My mother and teachers didn’t know whether I was suffering through a traumatic emotional experience (this all occurred after my parents went through a messy divorce), or if I just had overactive tear ducts that exploded every now and then. No one knew what to do with me, so I was treated like any other crying third-grader — either told to shut up or offered a shoulder to cry on that did nothing but give me a golden opportunity to smear snot all over someone’s shirt. For teachers, a problem they couldn’t yell at or tell to go to the principal’s office was a problem they couldn’t solve.

Surprise as DNA reveals new group of Native Americans: the ancient Beringians

Genetic analysis of a baby girl who died at the end of the last ice age shows she belonged to a previously unknown ancient group of Native Americans
What the ancient DNA discovery tells us about Native American ancestry

An illustration of the Upward Sun River camp in what is now Interior Alaska.

A baby girl who lived and died in what is now Alaska at the end of the last ice age belonged to a previously unknown group of ancient Native Americans, according to DNA recovered from her bones.

The child, a mere six weeks old when she died, was found in a burial pit next to the remains of a stillborn baby, perhaps a first cousin, during excavations of an 11,500-year-old residential camp in Tanana River Valley in Central Alaska. The remains were discovered in 2013, but a full genetic analysis has not been possible until now.

Researchers tried to recover ancient DNA from both of the infants but succeeded only in the case of the larger individual. They had expected her genetic material to resemble modern northern or southern lineages of Native Americans, but found instead that she had a distinct genetic makeup that made her a member of a separate population.

The newly-discovered group, named “ancient Beringians”, appears to have split off from the founding population of Native Americans about 20,000 years ago. While the ancestors of other Native Americans pushed south into the continent as the ice caps thawed, the ancient Beringians remained in the north until they eventually died out.

“This is a new population of Native Americans,” said Eske Willerslev, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Copenhagen, whose team recovered the girl’s DNA from a dense part of her skull known as the petrous bone. Details of the work are published in Nature.

Why Is the U.S. So Bad at Protecting Workers From Automation?

The strategies used to help workers displaced by technology and globalization in the 1980s ultimately failed. So why do the country’s policymakers continue to resort to the same tactics?

In a televised speech to the nation in February 1981, then-President Ronald Reagan warned that 7 million Americans were caught up “in the personal indignity and human tragedy of unemployment.” “If they stood in a line, allowing three feet for each person,” he explained, “the line would reach from the coast of Maine to California.” The unemployed were not only former assembly-line workers—they were secretaries, accountants, and cashiers, among other professions, too.

The 1980 recession had bludgeoned the labor market, and the 1981-82 recession was about to bludgeon it even more. Manufacturing plants across the country were shutting down or relocating. IBM was about to introduce the personal computer, rendering skills such as shorthand all but useless. A crack epidemic was ravaging cities. The unemployment rate, which had been hovering around 7 percent from 1980 to 1981, was rising; it would be close to 11 percent by 1982. The federal government’s main source of funding for job training was due to expire a year later.

From one vantage point, today’s workers seem to be facing a vastly different landscape: The U.S. has somewhat recovered from an historic recession, unemployment is low at 4 percent, and the manufacturing sector is growing again, albeit slowly. But many aspects of today’s climate echo that of the 1980s: The global economy is expanding, new technology is entering the workplace at every turn, and an opioid epidemic is ravaging communities. Automation will create new jobs, but analyses show that they’ll require digital skills that only the most educated and experienced people will have. Researchers today are predicting that white- and blue-collar workers will be in predicaments similar to their counterparts in the 1980s and ’90s, as soon as 2020, if they aren’t already there.

As a response to these challenges, many policymakers and business leaders turn to a federal policy solution that has stuck around since before Reagan’s day: job-training programs. These types of policies remain popular—at least in name, if not in investment—despite little evidence that they succeed on a large scale. In 2014, then-President Barack Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. And over the summer, Senator Robert Menendez and Representative Albio Sires, both New Jersey Democrats, introduced the Better Education and Skills Training for America’s Workforce Act.

Court orders dentist to pay his own mother for raising him

Judges uphold Taiwanese divorcee’s contracts with her two sons requiring them to reimburse her for their upbringing and education.

A Taiwanese mother has won reimbursement from her sons for raising them.

Taiwan’s top court has ordered a dentist to pay his mother around £554,000 as reimbursement for the money she spent raising and educating him.

The supreme court upheld a previous ruling that the 41-year-old, identified by his family name, Chu, should honour a contract he signed with his mother 20 years ago promising to repay her.

The plaintiff, surnamed Lo, divorced her husband in 1990 and raised their two sons on her own.

Worried that nobody would look after her when she got old, Lo signed the contracts with her sons after they both turned 20, stipulating that they must pay her 60% of the net profit from their incomes.

The supreme court said the contract was valid as Chu was an adult when he signed it, and that as a dentist he was capable of repaying his mother. It ordered him to pay Tw$22.33m ($744,000).

Lo accused her sons of ignoring her after they both started relationships, saying their girlfriends even sent her letters through their lawyers demanding her not to “bother” her sons, according to local reports.

Solar’s Bright Future Is Further Away Than It Seems

Yes, panels are cheaper, but much more R&D is needed for a true green energy breakthrough.

To be fair, 93 million miles is a long way.

There is now a doctrine of what I call “solar triumphalism”: the price of panels has been falling exponentially, the technology makes good practical sense, and only a few further nudges are needed for solar to become a major energy source. Unfortunately, this view seems to be wrong. Solar energy could be a boon to mankind and the environment, but it’s going to need a lot more support and entrepreneurial and policy dynamism.

Varun Sivaram, in his forthcoming “Taming the Sun: Innovations to Harness Solar Energy and Power the Planet” lays out this case in what may be the first important policy book of 2018. To be clear, Sivaram, who holds a doctorate in physics, is a solar expert and an energy adviser — he’s no enemy of alternative energy sources. He thinks government should increase its support for energy research and development, aiming at diverse pathways, applied at various stages of technology development, and targeting game-changing breakthroughs. In other words, we need to recognize the limitations of today’s solar power if we are going to make it really work.

The first disquieting sign is that solar companies are spending only about 1 percent of their revenue on research and development, well below average for a potentially major industry. You might think that’s because things are going so great, but some major solar users may have already maxed out their technology. According to Sivaram’s estimates, four of the five most significant country users — Italy, Greece, Germany and Spain — have already seen solar energy flatten out in the range of 5 percent to 10 percent of total energy use. The fifth country, Japan, is only at 5 percent.

Germany and the state of California have experienced operational problems as solar has grown as an energy source. Because the sun isn’t continuously available, solar power at large scale doesn’t integrate well with the electric grid, which favor steady sources such as fossil fuels or nuclear. Solar power creates an expense for the whole system, even if the panels themselves are cheaper.

Australia to permit medicinal cannabis exports in bid to capture lucrative market

  • Australia said on Thursday it planned to become the fourth country in the world to legalize medicinal marijuana exports
  • he move is a bid to score a piece of the estimated $55 billion global market.
  • Cannabis cultivation in Australia is still relatively small, as recreational use remains illegal

Australia said on Thursday it planned to become the fourth country in the world to legalize medicinal marijuana exports in a bid to score a piece of the estimated $55 billion global market.

Cannabis cultivation in Australia is still relatively small, as recreational use remains illegal. But the government hopes domestic medicinal use, legalized last year, and exports will rapidly boost production.

“Our goal is very clear: to give farmers and producers the best shot at being the world’s number one exporter of medicinal cannabis,” Health Minister Greg Hunt told reporters in Melbourne.

Shares in the more than a dozen Australian cannabis producers listed on the local exchange soared after the announcement.

Cann Group ended the day up 35 percent; AusCann Group rose nearly 54 percent; and BOD Australia closed up about 39 percent. All were record highs for those companies. Hydroponics Company finished up 30 percent, hitting its highest price in five weeks.

Peter Crock, chief executive of Cann Group, which cultivates cannabis for medicinal and research purposes, said medicinal marijuana production had been stymied by limited demand from Australian patients.

Turkmenistan’s president banned black cars, reportedly because he “prefers white”

New Year’s Resolutions

It’s great being president.

Turkmenistan is the gold standard when it comes to dictatorial stereotypes. The small central Asian country’s previous leader built a giant rotating gold statue of himself in the center of its capital, renamed months of the year after his family members, and changed his own name to Turkmenbashi—”father of all Turkmen.”

After he died in 2006, current president Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov relocated the statue to the city’s edge, and later created a giant monument of himself, astride a horse. He has also enforced various idiosyncratic tastes on citizens, including abolishing black cars in favor of white ones, his favorite color.

In 2015, his administration banned the import of black cars; customs officials at the time reportedly (link in Russian) couldn’t explain why, other than that white “brings good luck.” In Nov. 2017, many officials were ordered to only have white cars. Now, ordinary residents in the capital Ashgabat will have to repaint their black cars in white or silver, or face fines, Radio Free Europe’s Turkmenistan service reports.

Video Goodnesses
and not-so-goodnesses

The United States is in the middle of a deep cold snap, and meteorologists are saying that a “bomb cyclone” — essentially a freezing hurricane — will hit parts of the East Coast tonight. It’s a weather cycle that’s prompted a number of climate change deniers — including President Trump — to crack tired jokes about the concept of global warming.

But beyond the misguided social media jabs lies a serious and ongoing discussion about how scientists can connect individual extreme weather events to underlying climate change — and more importantly, how fast they can make now those connections.

Remember that study from 2004? It looked at a European heat wave that took place in 2003, and took a year and a half to complete. In contrast, just three months after Hurricane Harvey, scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory published a study showing that Harvey dropped 38 percent more rain than it would have without underlying climate change. Another group called World Weather Attribution found that hurricanes that size have become three times more probable

VICE News spoke with Myles Allen, a climate scientist at the University of Oxford and one of the researchers behind the first climate attribution study, who explained why scientists are now able to rapidly figure out if an event like Hurricane Harvey was more devastating than it otherwise would have been because of climate change. (Answer: it was.)

“We are now looking at accelerating that whole process because once you’ve agreed on the method you’re using, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time you do a new study,” Allen told VICE News. “The actual time it takes to actually do the calculations is not that long.”

THANKS to HBO and VICE News for making this program available on YouTube.

“You have to be at peace with the fact that something might happen, and you might not make it through,” says Alexandra de Steiguer, the caretaker for the Oceanic Hotel, in Brian Bolster’s short documentary, “Winter’s Watch.” De Steiguer has spent the past 19 winters tending to the 43-acre grounds of the hotel, on Star Island, which sits 10 miles off the coast of New England. In the long, wintry off-season, she is the island’s sole inhabitant.

In a New Year’s tweetstorm, President Trump compares the size of his nuclear button to Kim Jong-un’s, rails against Palestine, and announces awards for the “dishonest media.”

THANKS to Comedy Central and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah for making this program available on YouTube.

With the threat of thermonuclear war growing each day, Stephen speaks directly to the president who can save us.

President Trump’s recent temper tantrums may have been triggered by the an upcoming book full of unflattering information and Trump’s real motives behind his presidential bid.

Stephen took out space in Times Square to campaign for one of Trump’s ‘Most Dishonest & Corrupt Media Awards.’

THANKS to CBS and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert for making this program available on YouTube.

The full uncut version of ‘The Illuminati Song’ dedicated to the dark lord Baphomet, the round earth and triangle triangle eye eye pyramid…

In the aftermath of a zombie outbreak, zombies are cured and exiled to secluded camps. There has been talk about rehabilitating post-zombies back into society. Steve, the journalist reporting on the case, thinks the zombies still pose a threat to society. He ventures into one of these camps to prove to the world that rehabilitation is out the question.

A mix of several short Max moments.


Astrology isn’t fake—it’s just been ruined by modern psychology

Nope-Us Pocus

Horoscopes vs. horriblescopes.

It’s time to speculate about what 2018 will bring. Condemned by science and denigrated by much of society, you might think that astrological predictions are fluffy woo-woo that won’t help you navigate the year ahead. But that’s not because astrology itself is inaccurate. It’s because astrology has been ruined by modern psychology.

Astrology’s contemporary flavor has a closer relationship with the social science of psychology than the observational science it used to be based upon. If we can set modern judgments aside and learn the language of the ancient astrologers—a language that is now newly available due to the recent revival of classical texts—we may discover lost insights.

Looking to the stars

The ancients looked to the sky for clues about why things happened in the material world around them. Astrology had its heyday in the Mediterranean in the Hellenistic period, an era that took place between the 3rd century BC and the 1st century CE. These ancient astrologers based their interpretations on centuries of observations recorded by the Mesopotamians who came before them. They kept careful records of astronomical phenomenon, looking for correlations between what happened in the sky above them and the material world around them.

Today, modern psychology has cast astrology as a fantastical way that people of the past project the workings of their minds onto the environment around them. This interpretation leaves far too much wiggle room for astrology to simply sound like affirmations of what people want to hear about themselves and think about the world. Even worse, the nurturing approach psychologists take has polluted modern astrology with watered-down interpretations that seek to protect their clients. Even if an astrological configuration spells trouble, the modern astrologer will describe it as an “opportunity for growth,” as if they were a patronizing middle-manger. Where is the trust in that?

Ed. More tomorrow? Probably. Possibly. Maybe. Not?