Can We See A Bubble If We’re Inside The Bubble?

by Tyler Durden

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

We want this time to be different so badly, we can almost taste it.

If you visit San Francisco, you will find it difficult to walk more than a few blocks in central S.F. without encountering a major construction project. It seems that every decrepit low-rise building in the city has been razed and is being replaced with a gleaming new residential tower.

Parking lots have been ripped up and are now sprouting condos and luxury rental flats.

This boom is not overly surprising, given the centrality of San Francisco and the S.F. Bay Area in the Hipster-Techie Mental Map which I have sketched here for those who may still suffer from delusions that Washington D.C. and New York matter–(hint: they don’t.)

The influx of mobile/software tech into the S.F. Bay Area has triggered not just a boom in tech but in all the service sectors that cater to well-paid techies. This mass of new people has created traffic jams that last virtually all day and evening, and overloaded the area’s BART transit rail system such that trains at 11 pm are as jammed as any during rush hour.

This phenomenal building boom is truly something to behold, as it has spread from S.F. to the East Bay as workers priced out of S.F. move east across the Bay, driving up rents to near-S.F. levels.

Yes, rents and home prices are starting to soften, but this hasn’t changed the general view that this is only a moderation of a long-term uptrend with no end in sight.

This is of course a modern analog of the Gold Rush in the 1850s, and the previous tech/building boom in the late 1990s: an enormous influx of income drives a building boom and a mass influx of treasure-seekers, entrepreneurs, dreamers and those hoping to land a good-paying job in Boomland.

The same phenomenon has been visible in the Oil Patch states every time oil/gas skyrocket in price.

We know how every boom ends–in an equally violent bust. Yet in the euphoria of the boom, it’s easy to think this one will last longer than the others.

I distinctly recall the mass excitement of COMDEX in 1999, the big computer-tech trade show in Las Vegas. The city was packed, the convention centers were packed, and an enormous banner announcing the then revolutionary slogan “the network is the computer–Sun Microsystems” welcomed the faithful.

I saw Bluetooth demonstrated for the first time in that show (at a Motorola booth), and dozens of other consumer technologies that never quite caught on–kits to turn your PC into a TV, etc.

Now we see the same euphoria in the FAANG stocks, Big Data, A.I., crypto-currency Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and so on.

A year later the bubble had burst, and a decade later Sun Micro had lost its edge and would end its glorious run in the ignominy of being sold to Oracle for pennies on the dollar.

Rents in San Francisco are now so obscene that there is even a parody in which Hitler tries to rent a flat in S.F.

Across the Bay in Oakland, new relatively large 1-bedroom flats with Bay views are asking $3,300 a month. The same flat in S.F. would fetch $4,000 or more per month. Techies working for free on a buddy’s start-up have famously rented the space beside the washing machine in a laundry room for $400 a month.

How many average workers can afford to pay $40,000 a year in rent? After taxes, even techies earning $80,000/year would have little to show for their labor once they paid $40K after $20K in taxes and deductions have been subtracted from their annual wage.

The current Gold Rush will collapse, and as the newly fired marginalized workers pack up and leave, nobody will be renting the flats for $4,000/month. The owners will try reducing the rents to $3,000/month, and with no takers, they will go bust and the gleaming towers will be auctioned off. Eventually rents will decline to what people can actually afford.

This process will take a few years, as owners are reluctant to accept secular declines in rent and the resulting insolvency. Restaurants and other secondary businesses that arose to serve the techies will hang on, paying insane rents, for a few months and then give up losing money and close…

more…

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-16/can-we-see-bubble-if-were-inside-bubble

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Facebook Wants to Determine Users’ Emotions by Taking Secret Photos

Facebook

Facebook has just filed a patent for a system that will allow the network to photograph you without your permission – and according to some experts, they have every legal right to.

Facebook has filed a patent for a system that would allow them to tailor user experience by analyzing users’ emotions. Using the front facing camera on a person’s laptop or smartphone, the platform would take temporary photos of the user to determine their emotional reaction to stories they see on on the social media site and adjust the content accordingly.

The social media platform would increase content that people respond positively to, and reduce the frequency of content they respond negatively to. Even though there is already technology in place to curate a user’s news feed by taking note of what pages are unfollowed and other factors, the new system would assist in automating the process.

A spokesperson for Facebook explained to the Independent that filing a patent doesn’t necessarily mean the technology will be rolled out. “We often seek patents for technology we never implement, and patents should not be taken as an indication of future plans,” they said.

Though innovative, using “passive imaging data” places Facebook in a kind of public relations and ethics grey area. The company has already faced criticism for targeting ads to teenage users based on their comments and for producing ads for certain medical conditions allegedly using users’ search histories.

It was also revealed in 2014 that the site conducted an experiment to see if it could manipulate users’ emotions by adjusting the feed of 700,000 users, later admitting that Facebook “failed to communicate clearly why and how we did it.”

It’s hard to see the public reacting favorably to having their photos taken without their permission.

There has been some speculation about whether Facebook could face legal action because of the technology, but legal experts say the company’s established user regulations may prevent this.

University of Maryland law professor James Grimmelmann told the International Business Times, “I think it would be very difficult for someone to successfully sue Facebook over this … Some class-action lawyers may try in the hopes of negotiating a cash settlement, but the obstacle is the terms of service. Facebook’s terms of service say they can use data for research, and they don’t make any promises about giving you an unbiased news feed.”

In its Data Use Policy, Facebook reserves the right to use data for “for internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research and service improvement.”

https://sputniknews.com/science/201706101054500176-facebook-patent-determines-users-emotions/

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The crisis of expertise

Resultado de imagem para imagens ‘The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing’. Photo by Gallery Stock

image edited by Web Investigator

Experts are either derided or held up as all-seeing gurus. Time to reboot the relationship between expertise and democracy

by Tom Nichols is professor of national security affairs at the US Naval War College, an adjunct professor at the Harvard Extension School, and a former aide in the US Senate. His latest book is The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why It Matters (2017). He lives in Newport, Rhode Island.

In 2002, a distinguished historian wrote that the widely told tales of ‘No Irish Need Apply’ signs in the late 19th-century United States were myths. Richard Jensen at the University of Illinois said that such signs were inventions, ‘myths of victimisation’, passed down from Irish immigrants to their children until they reached the unassailable status of urban legends. For more than a decade, most historians accepted Jensen’s scholarship, while opponents were dismissed – sometimes by Jensen himself – as Irish-American loyalists.

In a 2015 story that seemed to encapsulate the death of expertise, an eighth-grader named Rebecca Fried claimed that Jensen was wrong, not least because of research she did on Google. She was respectful, but determined. ‘He has been doing scholarly work for decades before I was born, and the last thing I want to do was show disrespect for him and his work,’ she said later. It all seemed to be just another case of a precocious child telling an experienced teacher – an emeritus professor of history, no less – that he had not done his homework.

But, as it turns out, she was right and he was wrong. Such signs existed, and they weren’t that hard to find.

For years, other scholars had wrestled with Jensen’s claims, but they fought with his work inside the thicket of professional historiography. Meanwhile, outside the academy, Jensen’s assertion was quickly accepted and trumpeted as a case of an imagined grievance among Irish-Americans.

Young Rebecca, however, did what a sensible person would: she started looking through databases of old newspapers. She found the signs, as the Daily Beast later reported, ‘collecting a handful of examples, then dozens, then more. She went to as many newspaper databases as she could. Then she thought, somebody had to have done this before, right? As it turned out, neither Jensen nor anyone else had apparently bothered to do this basic fact-checking. Miss Fried has now entered high school with a published piece in the Journal of Social History, and she is not alone in overturning the status quo.

In the 1970s, the top nutritional scientists in the US told the government that eggs, among many other foods, might be lethal. There could be no simpler application of Occam’s Razor, with a trail leading from the barnyard to the morgue. Eggs contain a lot of cholesterol, cholesterol clogs arteries, clogged arteries cause heart attacks, and heart attacks kill people. The conclusion was obvious: Americans need to get all that cholesterol out of their diet. And so they did. Then something unexpected happened: Americans gained a lot of weight and started dying of other things.

The egg scare was based on a cascade of flawed studies, some going back almost a half century. People who want to avoid eggs can still do so, of course. In fact, there are now studies that suggest that skipping breakfast entirely – which scientists have also long been warning against – isn’t as bad as anyone thought either.

Experts get things wrong all the time. The effects of such errors range from mild embarrassment to wasted time and money; in rarer cases, they can result in death, and even lead to international catastrophe. And yet experts regularly ask citizens to trust expert judgment and to have confidence not only that mistakes will be rare, but that the experts will identify those mistakes and learn from them.

Day to day, laypeople have no choice but to trust experts. We live our lives embedded in a web of social and governmental institutions meant to ensure that professionals are in fact who they say they are, and can in fact do what they say they do. Universities, accreditation organisations, licensing boards, certification authorities, state inspectors and other institutions exist to maintain those standards.

This daily trust in professionals is a prosaic matter of necessity. It is in much the same way that we trust everyone else in our daily lives, including the bus driver we assume isn’t drunk or the restaurant worker we assume has washed her hands. This is not the same thing as trusting professionals when it comes to matters of public policy: to say that we trust our doctors to write us the correct prescription is not the same thing as saying that we trust all medical professionals about whether the US should have a system of national healthcare. To say that we trust a college professor to teach our sons and daughters the history of the Second World War is not the same as saying that we therefore trust all academic historians to advise the president of the US on matters of war and peace.

For these larger decisions, there are no licences or certificates. There are no fines or suspensions if things go wrong. Indeed, there is very little direct accountability at all, which is why laypeople understandably fear the influence of experts…

more…

https://aeon.co/essays/its-time-to-reboot-the-relationship-between-expertise-and-democracy

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3 QUESTIONS YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO ASK ABOUT LIFE IN A SICK SOCIETY

by Sigmund Fraud, Staff Writer Waking Times

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” ~J. Krishnamurti

Society is directed by a never-ending mainstream narrative which is always evolving, and always reaching new dramatic peaks in sensationalism and hype. They fill your mind with topics they select, they keep your attention on these topics, and they invite and encourage you to argue amongst each other about these topics. In this way our collective attention is permanently commandeered, preventing us from diving too deeply into matters which have more than a superficial impact on day-today life.

Free-thinking is the ability and willingness to explore of ideas and areas of the mind which are yet undiscovered or are off-limits. It is a vanishing art that is deliberately being stamped out by a control system which demands conformity, acquiescence and obedience of body, mind, and spirit.

For your consideration, here are three questions you’re not supposed to ask about life in our profoundly sick society.

1. Who owns the money supply, and the world’s debt?

Pretty much the entire world is in financial debt, an insidious form of slavery which enables the exploitation of human beings and of all things in nature. It’s maddening when you think about it. The United States alone supposedly owes some $20 trillion, while the world at large owes a shocking $215 trillion?

But to whom, precisely?

Money is just a medium of exchange which facilitates transactions between people. In and of itself it has no intrinsic value as we could just as easily use sea shells instead of dollar bills and still be able to get things done. But today’s money is the property of private third-parties who rent it out to national governments, who then use the labor of their citizens as collateral against these loans. This is a highly refined form of slavery, which has already put future unborn generations of human beings in debt.

But who, exactly does the human race owe? Who are our debt-slave masters?

2. Who owns your body?

Ownership means having the explicit right to use, control and dispose of something in the manner of your choosing. The one thing you are born with that you take with you to your death is your own body, but do you own it? If not you, then who does own your body?

If this question were already settled in our society then there wouldn’t be ever-increasing pressure on those who choose to refuse vaccines. Children battling cancer and other serious illnesses wouldn’t be forced to take chemo and radiation under penalty of law and under threat of being taken from their parents. Water wouldn’t be fluoridated without our consent. Natural medicines wouldn’t be outlawed under threat of fines and prison time.

We are rapidly approaching a time when people will be required by law to take psychotropic medications as citizens were in Aldous Huxley’s dystopian classic, Brave New World.

Do you own your body, or does it belong to the state?

3.  Why is the exploration of consciousness restricted and illegal?

The most effective prisons are not material, but are constructed inside the mind. Perception, opinion and understanding are all dynamic concepts, not at all static. These can all change in the blink of an eye just because a new idea or experience resonates with you in a special way. Our evolution depends on our ability to expand the frontiers of what’s possible, and when the mind is held in confinement by an entrenched system and powerful cultural paradigm, progress, even happiness, is stunted.

In this societal trap you are given free rein to debase your consciousness and your spirit with alcohol, dangerous drugs, pharmaceuticals, television, pornography, theatrical violence, and then some, yet many natural medicines which elevate consciousness and provide a window into the soul are illegal.

“This is the way freedom is hijacked—not all at once, out in the open, but stealthily, little by little, behind closed doors, and with our own agreement. How will we be able to resist when so many of us have already willingly handed over the keys to our own consciousness to the state and accepted without protest that it is OK to be told what we may and may not do, what we may and may not explore, even what we may and may not experience, with this most precious, sapient, unique, and individual part of ourselves?

If we are willing to accept that then we can be persuaded to accept anything.” ~Graham Hancock

 

About the Author

Sigmund Fraud is a survivor of modern psychiatry and a dedicated mental activist. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com where he indulges in the possibility of a massive shift towards a more psychologically aware future for humankind. Follow Sigmund on Facebook here.

This article (3 Questions You’re Not Supposed to Ask About Life in a Sick Society) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Sigmund Fraud and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/05/29/3-questions-youre-not-supposed-ask-life-sick-society/

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MANIPULATING THE MASS MIND & ATTENTION

by Fred Dodson, New Dawn ,Waking Times

In my 30 years as a self-improvement coach, the most important insight is that where you put your attention is where your energy goes. If you find that hard to believe, try this: Walk through a crowd. Put your attention on the people. Then walk through the same crowd again and put your attention on the gaps between the people. More of them will now make way. Try it. It never fails. Here’s another experiment: Stand at the corner of any city street and look upwards for a while. You will notice people around you also look upwards. They want to know what you are looking at, and for that brief period you determined the direction of their attention.

If I tell a group of people to think of a red car, there is a great likelihood that all of them will do it. And if I tell them not to think of a red car… they will also think of a red car! They could have chosen to think of a blue mountain instead. From that you realise how easy it is to steer mass attention.

Rarely will anyone form their own thought or choose different than what they are told. In fact, if you do not make decisions and intentions, someone else will do it for you. You know this from your own life: If your spouse asks you where you want to go for dinner and you don’t really have any specific preference, then they will decide where to go. The same applies on a mass-scale.

Due to a general weakness of will and awareness, most people have their reality decided for them, with merely the illusion of choice given – such as being able to choose whether you will pay your taxes by credit card or bank wire.

In school, children do not learn how to think but what to think. They do not learn how to steer attention but instead various things they are supposed to steer attention to.

It is humbling to realise that most people on the planet do not practice focusing, guiding, re-directing, shifting, retrieving and un-sticking their own attention. Thus the life-experience of most of us is determined by external agendas as given by mass media, schools, our parents and countless other sources that have very little to do with our innermost heart’s truth.

We are lucky that at least some of the direction we get from outside is benign. We are lucky if we have parents who say, “You are highly talented, intelligent and beautiful,” thus directing our attention in the right direction. Have you ever heard a newscaster tell you, “You are safe, talented, intelligent, beautiful, empowered and able”? Not hardly. You’ll hear you are the victim of horrible circumstances that you can do nothing about.

Through directing attention, you become a mini-reality-creator. But the mass media is the grand sorcerer of reality manipulation as it directs the attention of millions. It’s not generally understood to what bizarre extent the news media actively participate in the creation of our reality. It is thought they only “report” what is “happening,” but that’s not the case.

The following are different levels of mass-reality-creation by the news media, sorted by the degree of manipulation:

Level 1: Filtering

When I create a movie for my work, I usually choose an outdoor location. I make sure to set up the camera in nature so the scenery looks really good. By choosing what to point the camera at, I am excluding everything I don’t want viewers to see, anything that does not fit my agenda.

I recently filmed breathtaking natural scenery… or at least that’s what it looked like in the final result. I excluded an adjacent parking place, trashcans, roaming dogs, public signs, ugly houses and anything else that disturbed the illusion of me being in paradise. Any filmmaker understands to which extent the filmmaker distorts reality.

From the millions of events that happen every day, the reporter filters which ones to report. This is a normal process. I do it for my own website by presenting only information relevant to its overall topic. People do it on Facebook by presenting themselves in a certain way and excluding pictures that might put them in a bad light.

News media, however, tend to apply several filters. The first one is the filter of negative bias. Why? Because at Earth’s current level of consciousness, fear, drama and hatred still capture more interest than peace, prosperity and harmony. Desperate to sell ad slots on their news program and their declining newspapers, most reports are filtered by how much upheaval and action they contain. In addition, televised news media follows the creed, “if there is no footage (video), it doesn’t matter.” When I was younger I worked for a well-known news station where I was told exactly that. I tried to get the editor to cover important angles of a story, but if there was no footage of it, it was as if it didn’t exist…

more…

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/05/26/manipulating-mass-mind-attention/

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HUMANITY IS SUFFERING FROM A DIVIDE AND CONQUER STRATEGY

by Phillip J. Watt, Contributor, Waking Times 

So much infighting. So much disagreement. So much disharmony. Humanity is dazed and confused like never before.

Given there’s so much intellectual and emotional carnage eating away at the truth, let me try and break down politics, economics and the division it has on all of us:

– The left and right are in total warfare and pretty much have an unprecedented level of hatred towards each other.

– This is fueled by the ‘fake news’ media monopolies and the big money which is secretly funding certain causes, groups and protests.

– The right call the left ‘snowflakes’ because of their misplaced social justice warrior mania, whilst the left call the right ‘racists’ because of their constitutionalist and nationalist preferences.

– The left hate Trump, while many on the right support him.

– Both sides have unfortunately been sucked into the left/right duopoly.

– Therefore, they don’t understand that the two-party system is a two-party tyranny which works for the same banks, multinationals and oligarchs.

– Besides a blatant divide and conquer agenda, the reason these two artificial competitors have been sucked into this war is because they’ve been subject to extremist activity on each end.

– Unfortunately they don’t realise how much they have in common, especially ending the scams and corruption by the political, financial and corporate excrete.

– To those watching on the outside we see them as on the same team, but stupidly fighting each other instead of their common enemy.

– It is such a waste of energy that needs to be refocused towards the real problems, which can be summed by two words: the corporatocracy and the idiocracy.

– One of the reasons the right believe they’re superior is because many of them think that Trump is a genuine patriot who wants to make shit better again.

– Some people say he is the poster boy for the ‘good guys’ which are in the shadows fighting certain layers of the deep state.

– Others say he has sold out to the neocons, which appears to be the case given he’s bombing innocent people, flirting with Saudi Arabia and bending over for Israel.

– Regardless, there is still a very small chance that this is all a game of ‘drain the swamp’ chess, which would make him an exceptional actor.

– In the middle however, are two other opposing camps: those who want an anarcho-capitalist system and those who want to move to a money-less, abundance-based social system.

– Fortunately, both at least agree that smaller government, decentralisation and relocalised decision-making are initial steps forward.

– Meanwhile, a huge percentage of jobs will be automated over the next decade and beyond, bringing the argument for a ‘basic income’ or ‘living wage’ to replace all welfare programs and support into the spotlight.

– This concept has been shown to be at least equally or even more cost-effective than current welfare policies and practices.

– All this amongst a chaotic and highly manipulated global economy which has massive bubbles in debt, stocks, real estate, bonds and derivatives, whilst ‘main street’ continues to deteriorate with high unofficial employment rates, a dissolving middle class, stagnated wages, a retail apocalypse, outrageous student debt, increasing poverty and homelessness, longer ‘live-at-home’ periods, unsustainable private debt to GDP ratios, hyperinflating economies and just the general threat of the end to the current fiat monetary system.

– Cryptocurrencies are soaring as a result.

– Precious metal prices are still highly manipulated and suppressed.

– Some economists are calling for a modern debt jubilee to soften the blow of a collapsing monetary system.

– Then there is of course the threat of WW3, keeping many people locked into fear.

Now don’t get me wrong, we’re all a bit confused here. We might get it more right or wrong than others, but much of it is guesswork. For example, are Russia and China ‘in on the global government’ or are they genuinely standing against the money-makers? Will the economy end in destruction, will it transition to a world reserve currency of some type, or will it do both? Are we going to see massive social unrest or will it be a relatively smooth conversion into the future? Will that future be one that respects sovereignty and natural law, or will it be a totalitarian, technocratic planetary state?

Who knows. It’s such a fucking mess. False flags, false news, false leaders, false hope; it’s enough to make you want to put your head back in the sand, at least every now and again. But then flipping the script, it is a bloody amazing experience we’ve got. Who knew life on earth could be so challenging and entertaining at the same time?

At the end of the day though, this whole creation is just a game of growth, each of us at varied stages of psychological, philosophical, emotional and behavioural development. I wish more people would really get this, because we’d work way better together to cure the insane asylum called humanity in the 21st Century. The ironic aspect is that we all want an end to this shit, but our understanding of the issues are different, and therefore our solutions are too.

Ultimately, put your beliefs down humanity, you’re hurting yourself. Look into the hearts of your fellow-men and see your reflection. It’s the only way we’re going to come out of this in our favour.

About the Author

Phillip J. Watt lives in Australia. His written work deals with topics from ideology to society, as well as self-development. Follow him on Facebook or visit his website.

This article (Humanity is Suffering from a Divide and Conquer Strategy) was originally created by Phillip J. Watt and is re-posted here with permission. 

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/05/25/humanity-suffering-divide-conquer-strategy/

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