U.S. Bombs Iraqi Army & Militia, Not ISIL

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In the name of Allah, the Merciful to all, the Compassionate

Kataeb Hezbollah, one of Iraqi Militia fighting ISIL reported on Saturday that for the second time U.S. bombed Militia who are fighting ISIL and Iraqi Army's positions in Al-owaysat north of Babel province. Kataeb claims that U.S. forces had enough intelligence about their positions and it was clear where ISIL positions were, but U.S. jets deliberately bombed them, instead of ISIL.

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Was The Safavid Dynasty the First Shi'a one?

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In the name of Allah, the Merciful to all, the Compassionate

Nowadays, you would hear the word Safavid used extensively in arguments, because Syrian insurgents, ISIL, Al-Qaeda, Wahhabis, and many others attribute whatever they do not like to Safavids. The Safavid dynasty collapsed in 1722 AD, and many other dynasties came to power and fell since that time.

The Safavid policy was to draw a line between their territory and other neighbors like the Ottoman, so they adopted Shi'ism as the official faith. After the Safavids, Nader Shah, the great conqueror who was expanding his territory, espoused the Sunni faith to face less challenges in conquered Sunni-majority lands, and banned certain Shi'a practices which were particularly offensive to Sunnis.

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Lavrov: ISIS a Pretext to Bomb Syrian Government Forces

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Source: RT

If the West bombs Islamic State militants in Syria without consulting Damascus, the anti-ISIS alliance may use the occasion to launch airstrikes against President Bashar Assad’s forces, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

There are reasons to suspect that air strikes on Syrian territory may target not only areas controlled by Islamic State militants, but the government troops may also be attacked on the quiet to weaken the positions of Bashar Assad’s army,” Lavrov said Tuesday.

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Partitioning Russia After World War III?

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Global Research:

The end goal of the US and NATO is to divide (balkanize) and pacify (finlandize) the world’s biggest country, the Russian Federation, and to even establish a blanket of perpetual disorder (somalization) over its vast territory or, at a minimum, over a portion of Russia and the post-Soviet space, similarly to what is being done to the Middle East and North Africa.

The future Russia or the many future Russias, a plurality of weakened and divided states, that Washington and its NATO allies see is/are demographically in decline, de-industrialized, poor, without any defensive capabilities, and hinterlands that will exploited for their resources.

The Plans of the Empire of Chaos for Russia

Breaking the Soviet Union has not been enough for Washington and NATO. The ultimate goal of the US is to prevent any alternatives from emerging in Europe and Eurasia to Euro-Atlantic integration. This is why the destruction of Russia is one of its strategic objectives.

Washington’s goals were alive and at work during the fighting in Chechnya. They were also seen in the crisis that erupted with EuroMaidan in Ukraine. In fact, the first step of the divorce between Ukraine and Russia was a catalyst for the dissolution of the entire Soviet Union and any attempts at reorganizing it.

The Polish-American intellectual Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was US President Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor and an architect behind the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, has actually advocated for the destruction of Russia through gradual disintegration and devolution. He has stipulated that «a more decentralized Russia would be less susceptible to imperial mobilization». [1] In other words, if the US divides Russia up, Moscow would not be able to challenge Washington. In this context, he states the following: «A loosely confederated Russia—composed of a European Russia, a Siberian Republic, and a Far Eastern Republic—would find it easier to cultivate closer economic regulations with Europe, with the new states of Central Asia, and with [East Asia], which would thereby accelerate Russia’s own development». [2]

These views are not merely constrained to some academic’s ivory tower or to detached think-tanks. They have the backing of governments and have even cultivated adherents. One reflection of them is below.

US State-Owned Media Forecasts the Balkanization of Russia

Dmytro Sinchenko published an article on September 8, 2014 about dividing Russia. His article is titled «Waiting for World War III: How the World Will Change». [3] Sinchenko was involved in EuroMaidan and his organization, the Ukrainian Initiative «Statesmen Movement» (Всеукраїнської ініціативи «Рух державотворців»), advocates for an ethnic nationalism, the territorial expansion of Ukraine at the expense of most the bordering countries, reinvigorating the pro-US Georgia-Ukraine-Azerbaijan-Moldova (GUAM) Organization for Democracy and Economic Development, joining NATO, and launching an offensive to defeat Russia as part of its foreign policy goals. [4] As a note, the inclusion of the word democracy in GUAM should not fool anyone; GUAM, as the inclusion of the Republic of Azerbaijan proves, has nothing to do with democracy, but with counter-balancing Russia in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Sinchenko’s article starts by talking about the history of the «Axis of Evil» phrase that the US has used to vilify its enemies. It talks about how George W. Bush Jr. coined the phrase in 2002 by grouping Iraq, Iran, and North Korea together, how John Bolton expanded the Axis of Evil to include Cuba, Libya, and Syria, how Condoleezza Rice included Belarus, Zimbabwe, and Myanmar (Burma), and then finally he proposes that Russia be added to the list as the world’s main pariah state. He even argues that the Kremlin is involved in all the conflicts in the Balkans, Caucasus, Middle East, North Africa, Ukraine, and Southeast Asia. He goes on to accuse Russia of planning to invade the Baltic States, the Caucasus, Moldova, Finland, Poland, and, even more ridiculously, two of its own close military and political allies, Belarus and Kazakhstan. As the article’s title implies, he even claims that Moscow is intentionally pushing for a third world war.

This fiction is not something that has been reported in the US-aligned corporate networks, but is something that has been published directly by US government-owned media. The forecast was published by the Ukrainian service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, which has been a US propaganda tool in Europe and the Middle East that has helped topple governments.

Chillingly, the article tries to sanitize the possibilities of a new world war. Disgustingly ignoring the use of nuclear weapons and the massive destruction that would erupt for Ukraine and the world, the article misleadingly paints a cozy image of a world that will be corrected by a major global war. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the author are essentially saying that «war is good for you» to the Ukrainian people and that some type of utopian paradise will emerge after a war with Russia.

The article also fits very nicely into the contours of Brzezinski’s forecast for Russia, Ukraine, and the Eurasian landmass. It forecasts the division of Russia whereas Ukraine is a part of an expanded European Union, which includes Georgia, Armenia, the Republic of Azerbaijan, Belarus, Israel, Lebanon, and Denmark’s North American dependency of Greenland, and also controls a confederation of states in the Caucasus and the Mediterranean Sea—the latter could be the Union for the Mediterranean, which would encompass Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and the Moroccan-occupied Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic or Western Sahara. Ukraine is presented as an integral component of the European Union. In this regard, Ukraine appears to be situated in a US-aligned Franco-German-Polish-Ukrainian corridor and Paris-Berlin-Warsaw-Kiev axis that Brzezinski advocated for creating in 1997, which Washington would use to challenge the Russian Federation and its allies in the CIS. [5]

Redrawing Eurasia: Washington’s Maps of a Divided Russia

With the division of the Russian Federation, Radio Free Europe’s/Radio Liberty’s article claims that any bipolar rivalry between Moscow and Washington would end after World War III. In a stark contradiction, it claims that only when Russia is destroyed will there be a genuine multipolar world, but also implies that the US will be the most dominant global power even though Washington and the European Union will be weakened from the anticipated major war with the Russians.

Map-of-a-Divided-Russia

Accompanying the article are also two maps that outline the redrawn Eurasian space and the shape of the world after the destruction of Russia. Moreover, neither the author nor his two maps recognize the boundary change in the Crimean Peninsula and depict it as a part of Ukraine and not the Russian Federation. From west to east, the following changes are made to Russia’s geography:

• The Russian oblast of Kaliningrad will be annexed by Lithuania, Poland, or Germany. One way or another it will become a part of an enlarged European Union.

• East Karelia (Russian Karelia) and what is currently the federal subject of the Republic of Karelia inside Russia’s Northwestern Federal District, along with the Federal City of St. Petersburg, Leningrad Oblast, Novgorod Oblast, the northern two-thirds of Pskov Oblast, and Murmansk Oblast are split from Russia to form a Finnish-aligned country. This area could even be absorbed by Finland to create a Greater Finland. Although the oblast of Archangel (Arkhangelsk) is listed as a part of this partitioned area in the article, it is not included in the map (probably due to a mistake in the map).

• The southern administrative districts of Sebezhsky, Pustoshkinsky, Nevelsky, and Usvyatsky in Pskov Oblast from the Northwestern Federal District and the westernmost administrative districts of Demidovsky, Desnogorsk, Dukhovshchinsky, Kardymovsky, Khislavichsky, Krasninsky, Monastyrshchinsky, Pochinkovsky, Roslavlsky, Rudnyansky, Shumyachsky, Smolensky, Velizhsky, Yartsevsky, and Yershichsky, as well as the cities of Smolensk and Roslavl, in Smolensk Oblast from the Central Federal District are joined to Belarus. The Smolensk Oblast’s Dorogobuzhsky, Kholm-Zhirkovsky, Safonovsky, Ugransky, and Yelninsky districts appear to be portioned further in the map as the new border between Belarus and the proposed amputated Russia.

• The North Caucasian Federal District of Russia, which is comprised of the Republic of Dagestan, the Republic of Ingushetia, the Kabardino-Balkar Republic, the Karachay-Cherkess Republic, the Republic of North Ossetia–Alania, Stavropol Krai, and Chechnya, is separated from Russia as a European Union-influenced Caucasian confederation

• The South Federal District of Russia, which is constituted by the Republic of Adygea, Astrakhan Oblast, Volgograd Oblast, Republic of Kalmykia, Krasnodar Krai, and Rostov Oblast, is completely annexed by Ukraine; this leads to a shared border between Ukraine and Kazakhstan and cuts Russia off from the energy-rich Caspian Sea and a direct southern frontier with Iran.

• Ukraine also annexes the oblasts of Belgorod, Bryansk, Kursk, and Voronezh from Russia’s most heavily populated federal district and area, the Central Federal District.

• Siberia and the Russian Far East, specifically the Siberian Federal District and the Far Eastern Federal District, are torn off from Russia.

• The text states that all of the territory in Siberia and most of the territory in the Russian Far East, which are comprised of the Altai Republic, Altai Krai, Amur Oblast, the Republic of Buryatia, Chukotka, the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, Irkutsk Oblast, Kamchatka Krai, Kemerovo Oblast, Khabarovsk Krai, the Republic of Khakassia, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Magadan Oblast, Novosibirsk Oblast, Omsk Oblast, Primorsky Krai, Sakha Republic, Tomsk Oblast, the Tuva Republic, and Zabaykalsky Krai either turn into several Chinese-dominated independent states or, alongside Mongolia, become new territories of the People’s Republic of China. The map categorically draws Siberia, most the Russian Far East, and Mongolia as Chinese territory. The exception to this is Sakhalin Oblast.

• Russia loses Sakhalin Island (called Saharin and Karafuto in Japanese) and the Kurile Islands, which constitute Sakhalin Oblast. These islands are annexed by Japan.

On his own webpage, Sinchenko posted his Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty article days earlier, on September 2, 2014. The same maps, which are accredited to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, are also present. [6] There, however, is an additional picture on Sinchenko’s personal webpage that is worth noting; this is a picture of Russia being cheerfully carved out for consumption as a large meal by all the bordering countries. [7]

Mapping a New World Order: The World After World War III?

The second map is of a post-World War III globe that is divided into several supranational states. Japan is the only exception. The second map and its supranational states can be described as follows:

• As mentioned earlier, the European Union is expanded and has control over its peripheries in the Caucasus, Southwest Asia, and North Africa. This is the realization of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue and Partnership for Peace at the political and military levels and the European Union’s Eastern Partnership and Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (the Union for the Mediterranean) at the political and economic levels.

• The United States forms a North American-based supranational entity that includes Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, the Guianas (Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana), and the entire Caribbean.

• All the countries that are not swallowed by the US in South America will form their own supranational entity in a lesser South America, which will be dominated by Brazil.

• Some type of Southwest Asian bloc or supranational entity will be formed out of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Yemen.

• Some type of a supranational entity will be formed in the Indian sub-continent or South Asia out of India, Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar (Burma), and Thailand.

• There will be a supranational entity in Australasia and Oceania that will include the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, East Timor, Papa New Guinea, New Zealand, and the islands of the Pacific. This entity will include Australia and be dominated by Canberra.

• Aside from North Africa, which will be controlled by the European Union, the rest of Africa will unify under the leadership of South Africa.

• An East Asian supranational entity will include most of the Russian Federation, Indo-China, China, the Korean Peninsula, Mongolia, and post-Soviet Central Asia. This entity will be dominated by the Chinese and dominated from Beijing.

Although Radio Free Europe’s article and two post-World War III maps can be dismissed as fanciful notions, some important questions have to be asked. Firstly, where did the author pick up these ideas? Were they transmitted through any workshops supported by the US and the European Union indirectly? Secondly, what informs the author’s visions of a post-World War III political landscape?

The author has essentially catered to Brzezinski’s outline of a divided Russia. The text and the maps have even included the areas of North Africa, the Middle East, and the Caucasus that the European Union views as a secondary periphery or layer to itself. These areas are even shaded with a lighter blue than the darker blue used to identify the European Union.

Even if Radio Free Europe is dismissed; no one should lose sight of the fact that Japan still lays claim to Sakhalin Oblast and the US, European Union, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia have been supporting separatist movements in both the Federal Southern District and the North Caucasian District of the Russian Federation.

Ukrainianism

The Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty article radiates with traces of Ukrainianism, which is worth briefly mentioning.

Nations are constructed, because they are all dynamic communities that, in one way or another, are constructed and kept together by the collective of individuals that make societies. In this regard they can be called imagined communities.

There are machinations at play to deconstruct and reconstruct nations and groups in the post-Soviet space and Middle East. This can be called the manipulation of tribalism in sociological and anthropological jargon or, in political jargon, the playing out of the Great Game. In this context, Ukrainianism has particularly been supportive of anti-government elements and anti-Russian nationalist feelings in Ukraine for more than one hundred years, firstly under the Austrians and Germans, later through the Poles and British, and now under the US and NATO .

Ukrainianism is an ideology that seeks to reify and enforce a new collective imagining or false historic memory among the Ukrainian people about them always being a separate nation and people, in both ethnic and civic terms, from the Russian people. Ukrainianism is a political projection that seeks to deny the historic unity of the Eastern Slavs and the geographic roots and historic context behind the distinction between Ukrainians and Russians. In other words, Ukrainianism seeks to de-contextual and to forget the process that has led to the distinction of Ukrainians from Russians.

***

Russia has always arisen from the ashes. History can testify to this. Come what may, Russia will be standing. Whenever all the diverse people of Russia are united under one banner for their homeland, they have shattered empires. They have survived catastrophic wars and invasions and have outlived their enemies. Maps and borders may change, but Russia will remain.

NOTES

[1] Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives (NYC: Basic Books, 1997), p.202.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Дмитро Сінченко [Dmytro Sinchenko], «В очікуванні Третьої світової війни. Як зміниться світ,» [«Waiting for World War III: How the World Will Change»], Радіо Вільна Європа/Радіо Свобода [Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty], September 8, 2014.

[4] Всеукраїнської ініціативи «Рух державотворців,» [Ukrainian Initiative «Statesmen Movement»] «Стратегія зовнішньої політики,» [Foreign Policy Strategy] Рух Державотворців: втілимо мрії в життя [Statesman Movement: Chasing Dreams/Visions]. Accessed September 9, 2014.

[5] Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard, op. cit., pp.85-86

[6] Дмитро Сінченко [Dmytro Sinchenko], «В очікуванні Третьої світової війни. Як зміниться світ,» [«Waiting for World War III: How the World Will Change»], Дмитро Сінченко (Блоґ) [Dmytro Sinchenko {blog}], September 2, 2014.

[7] Ibid.

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This Is How Empires Collapse

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Before an empire collapses, it first erodes from within. The collapse may appear sudden, but the processes of internal rot hollowed out the resilience, resolve, purpose and vitality of the empire long before its final implosion. What are these processes of internal rot? Here are a few of the most pervasive and destructive forces of internal corrosion:

1. Each institution within the system loses sight of its original purpose of serving the populace and becomes self-serving. This erosion of common purpose serving the common good is so gradual that participants forget there was a time when the focus wasn't on gaming the system to avoid work and accountability but serving the common good.

2. The corrupt Status Quo corrupts every individual who works within the system.Once an institution loses its original purpose and becomes self-serving, everyone within either seeks to maximize their own personal share of the swag and minimize their accountability, or they are forced out as a potentially dangerous uncorrupted insider.

The justification is always the same: everybody else is getting away with it, why shouldn't I? Empires decline one corruptible individual at a time.

3. Self-serving institutions select sociopathic leaders whose skills are not competency or leadership but conning others into believing the institution is functioning optimally when in reality it is faltering/failing.

The late Roman Empire offers a fine example: entire Army legions in the hinterlands were listed as full-strength on the official rolls in Rome and payroll was issued accordingly, but the legions only existed on paper: corrupt officials pocketed the payroll for phantom legions.

Self-serving institutions reward con-artists in leadership roles because only con-artists can mask the internal rot with happy-story PR and get away with it.

4. The institutional memory rewards conserving the existing Status Quo and punishes innovation. Innovation necessarily entails risk, and those busy feathering their own nests (i.e. accepting money for phantom work, phantom legions, etc.) have no desire to place their share of the swag at risk just to improve sagging output and accountability.

So reforms and innovations that might salvage the institution are shelved or buried.

5. As the sunk costs of the subsystems increase, the institutional resistance to new technologies and processes increases accordingly. Those manufacturing steam locomotives in the early 20th century had an enormous amount of capital and institutional knowledge sunk in their factories. Tossing all of that out to invest in building diesel-electric locomotives that were much more efficient than the old-tech steam locomotives made little sense to those looking at sunk costs. As a result, the steam locomotive manufacturers clung to the old ways and went out of business. The sunk costs of empire are enormous, as is the internal resistance to change. 6. Institutional memory and knowledge support "doing more of what worked in the past" even when it is clearly failing. I refer to this institutional risk-avoidance and lack of imagination as doing more of what has failed spectacularly. Inept leadership keeps doing more of what once worked, even when it is clearly failing, in effect ignoring real-world feedback in favor of magical-thinking. The Federal Reserve is an excellent example.

7. These dynamics of eroding accountability, effectiveness and purpose lead to systemic diminishing returns. Each failing institution now needs more money to sustain its operations, as inefficiencies, corruption and incompetence reduce output while dramatically raising costs (phantom legions still get paid).

8. Incompetence is rewarded and competence punished. The classic example of this was "Good job, Brownie:" cronies and con-artists are elevated to leadership roles to reward loyalty and the ability to mask the rot with good PR. Serving the common good is set aside as sychophancy (obedient flattery) to incompetent leaders is rewarded and real competence is punished as a threat to the self-serving leadership.

9. As returns diminish and costs rise, systemic fragility increases. This can be illustrated as a rising wedge: as output declines and costs rise, the break-even point keeps edging higher, until even a modest reduction of input (revenue, energy, etc.) causes the system to break down:

rising-wedge

A modern-day example is oil-exporting states that have bought the complicity of their citizenry with generous welfare benefits and subsidies. As their populations and welfare benefits keep rising, the revenues they need to keep the system going require an ever-higher price of oil. Should the price of oil decline, these regimes will be unable to fund their welfare. With the social contract broken, there is nothing left to stem the tide of revolt.

10. Economies of scale no longer generate returns. In the good old days, stretching out supply lines to reach lower-cost suppliers and digitizing management reaped huge gains in productivity. Now that the scale of enterprise is global, the gains from economies of scale have faltered and the high overhead costs of maintaining this vast managerial infrastructure have become a drain.

11. Redundancy is sacrificed to preserve a corrupt and failing core. Rather than demand sacrifices of the Roman Elites and the entertainment-addicted bread-and-circus masses to maintain the forces protecting the Imperial borders, late-Roman Empire leaders eliminated defense-in-depth (redundancy). This left the borders thinly defended. With no legions in reserve, an invasion could no longer be stopped without mobilizing the entire border defense, in effect leaving huge swaths of the border undefended to push back the invaders.

Phantom legions line the pockets of insiders and cronies while creating a useful illusion of stability and strength.

12. The feedback from those tasked with doing the real work of the Empire is ignored as Elites and vested interests dominate decision-making. As I noted yesterday in The Political Poison of Vested Interests, when this bottoms-up feedback is tossed out, ignored or marginalized, all decisions are necessarily unwise because they are no longer grounded in the consequences experienced by the 95% doing the real work. This lack of feedback from the bottom 95% is captured by the expression "Let them eat cake." (Though attributed to Marie Antoinette, there is no evidence that she actually said Qu'ils mangent de la brioche.)

The point is that decisions made with no feedback from the real-world of the bottom 95%, that is, decisions made solely in response to the demands of cronies, vested interests and various elites, are intrinsically unsound and doomed to fail catastrophically.

How does an Empire end up with phantom legions? The same way the U.S. ended up with ObamaCare/Affordable Care Act. The payroll is being paid but there is no real-world feedback, no accountability, no purpose other than private profit/gain and no common good being served.

That's how empires collapse: one corrupted, self-serving individual at a time, gaming one corrupted, self-serving institution or another; it no longer matters which one because they're all equally compromised. It's not just the border legions that are phantom; the entire stability and strength of the empire is phantom. The uncorruptible and competent are banished or punished, and the corrupt, self-serving and inept are lavished with treasure.

This is how empires collapse: one complicit participant at a time.

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Everything We Have Been Taught About Our Origins Is A Lie

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This Article was originally published on Maltanow. However, I do not believe in Carbon-14 dating, or any other dating method. Because there is absolutely no way to verify it, and the error margin is 100%, so to speak. By the way, it's another flaw in modern archaeology.

In June 1936 Max Hahn and his wife Emma were on a walk beside a waterfall near to London, Texas, when they noticed a rock with wood protruding from its core. They decided to take the oddity home and later cracked it open with a hammer and a chisel. What they found within shocked the archaeological and scientific community. Embedded in the rock was what appeared to be some type of ancient man made hammer.

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Anonymize Everything You Do Online

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Why Western Civilization is Morally Bankrupt: The Story of James Foley

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In the name of Allah, the Merciful to all, the Compassionate

If you have ever visited social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube over the last year, you have probably seen a lot of beheadings, massacres, burnt bodies, gore, and blood in pictures and videos. A few articles ago, I complained about emails I was receiving from Twitter, reflecting ISIS propaganda.

If someone tortures a cat, films it, and puts it on YouTube; it instantly receives a harsh reaction, and YouTube takes that video down; no matter where that happened. But if a terrorist beheads 100 people in front of camera, none of these social media sites have any problem with it.

Just look at one the Time Magazine Top 10 photos of 2013:

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Are you angry at work? Good

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Few are eager to be the person at the office who points out a problem, for fear of being labeled disruptive or negative. And much has been written on the importance of positive attitudes such as hope and optimism at work. Well, a new study indicates that complaints—and even anger—can actually improve outcomes in the workplace.

A series of studies highlighted in Human Relations journal (pdf) suggest that expressing anger in the workplace can actually lead to more people acknowledging a problem and getting it fixed. One study the authors highlighted found that negative emotional events in the workplace had a positive outcome 70% of the time. This doesn’t mean it’s bad to express positive feelings at work—those led to positive outcomes 94% of the time—it just means that a negative emotion doesn’t always lead to a negative outcome.

When a manager sets a “negative affective tone”—basically, when they convey dissatisfaction—employees in both individual and team settings tended to perform better. The findings aren’t universal; in the study on individual settings, employees who were “agreeable” performed better in response to negative emotions than those who were not as agreeable. (So if you’re a nice person, you’re more likely to respond well to anger.) In teams, the manager’s negative tone encouraged workers not to settle for less, and to delve into deeper problems.

The paper is a response to the feel-good studies that focus on what’s called “symmetrical outcomes”—the idea that positive emotions are mostly good for employees, and negative emotions lead to discontent. The authors, Dirk Lindebaum and Peter Jordan, argue that researchers should also look at the long-term utility of an emotion, and at the effect on the person on the receiving end.

There are similar observations in social situations, going against the idea that positivity is always the best policy. For example, sadness after a loss can lead to more open social connections. And even laudable qualities such as compassion can lead to fatigue and emotional burnout.

It’s worth noting that the researchers don’t instruct employers or employees to be unkind. So when it comes to expressing anger about something at work, you should probably still be polite.

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Lorem Ipsum: How to make a Secret Language With Nonsense Words

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Brian Krebs, "Lorem Ipsum: Of Good & Evil, Google & China", Krebs on Security8/14/2014:

Imagine discovering a secret language spoken only online by a knowledgeable and learned few. Over a period of weeks, as you begin to tease out the meaning of this curious tongue and ponder its purpose, the language appears to shift in subtle but fantastic ways, remaking itself daily before your eyes. And just when you are poised to share your findings with the rest of the world, the entire thing vanishes.

 It all started a few months back when I received a note from Lance James, head of cyber intelligence at Deloitte. James pinged me to share something discovered by FireEye researcher Michael Shoukry and another researcher who wished to be identified only as “Kraeh3n.” They noticed a bizarre pattern in Google Translate: When one typed “lorem ipsum” into Google Translate, the default results (with the system auto-detecting Latin as the language) returned a single word: “China.”

Capitalizing the first letter of each word changed the output to “NATO” — the acronym for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Reversing the words in both lower- and uppercase produced “The Internet” and “The Company” (the “Company” with a capital “C” has long been a code word for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency). Repeating and rearranging the word pair with a mix of capitalization generated even stranger results. For example, “lorem ipsum ipsum ipsum Lorem” generated the phrase “China is very very sexy.”

Variations on the "Lorem ipsum" text produced even more bizarre results.

Krebs reports a wild and wonderful theory about all this:

Kraeh3n said she’s convinced that the lorem ipsum phenomenon is not an accident or chance occurrence.

“Translate [is] designed to be able to evolve and to learn from crowd-sourced input to reflect adaptations in language use over time,” Kraeh3n said. “Someone out there learned to game that ability and use an obscure piece of text no one in their right mind would ever type in to create totally random alternate meanings that could, potentially, be used to transmit messages covertly.”

Meanwhile, Shoukry says he plans to continue his testing for new language patterns that may be hidden in Google Translate.

“The cleverness of hiding something in plain sight has been around for many years,” he said. “However, this is exceptionally brilliant because these templates are so widely used that people are desensitized to them, and because this text is so widely distributed that no one bothers to question why, how and where it might have come from.”

Google's explanation makes more sense to me, though it's not nearly as much fun:

Just before midnight, Aug. 16, Google Translate abruptly stopped translating the word “lorem” into anything but “lorem” from Latin to English. [...] A spokesman for Google said the change was made to fix a bug with the Translate algorithm (aligning ‘lorem ipsum’ Latin boilerplate with unrelated English text) rather than a security vulnerability.

The comments on Brian's post include some other amusing examples, like the fact that not all fragments of the Lorem ipsum passage have been fixed – here's my own screenshot from this morning:

… and the fact that even the original fragments still work going from English to Latin(again a screenshot from a few minutes ago):

As other commenters explain, it's pretty obvious why a statistical MT algorithm would do this kind of thing, given what an unsuspecting automated finder of apparently parallel text is likely to come up with in the way of Latin/English training material. At some point, Google will manage the harder job of purging all instances of Lorem ipsum text from its training data, and then this particular source of amusement will mostly be gone.

For those few who may not know what Lorem ipsum is, Wikipedia explains that

In publishing and graphic design, lorem ipsum is a filler text commonly used to demonstrate the graphic elements of a document or visual presentation. Replacing meaningful content that could be distracting with placeholder text may allow viewers to focus on graphic aspects such as font, typography, and page layout.

The lorem ipsum text is typically a scrambled section of De finibus bonorum et malorum, a 1st-century BC Latin text by Cicero, with words altered, added, and removed such that it is nonsensical, improper Latin.

A variation of the ordinary lorem ipsum text has been used in typesetting since the 1960s or earlier, when it was popularized by advertisements for Letraset transfer sheets. It was introduced to the Information Age in the mid-1980s by Aldus Corporation, which employed it in graphics and word processing templates for its desktop publishing program, PageMaker, for the Apple Macintosh.

The typical Lorem ipsum passage is a munged derivative of a part of I.10.32 of Cicero's work, starting with the last five letters of the accusative form dolorem, and picking up and adding letters (as indicated below until I lost interest):

Sed ut perspiciatis, unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam eaque ipsa, quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt, explicabo. nemo enim ipsam voluptatem, quia voluptas sit, aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni dolores eos, qui ratione voluptatem sequi nesciunt, neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum, quia dolor sit,ametconsectetur, adipisci[ng] velitsed qu[d]ia[m] non num[my]quameius modtempora inciduntut labore et dolore magnaaliquam quaeratvoluptatem. Ut enim ad minima veniam, quis nostrum exercitationem ullam  corporis suscipit120 laboriosam, nisi ut aliquid ex ea commodi consequatur? quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit, qui in ea voluptate velit esse, quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum, qui dolorem eum fugiat, quo voluptas nulla pariatur?  At vero eos et accusamus et iusto odio dignissimos ducimus, qui blanditiis praesentium voluptatum deleniti121 atque corrupti, quos dolores et quas molestias excepturi sint, obcaecati cupiditate non provident, similique sunt in culpa, qui officia deserunt mollitia animi, id est laborum et dolorum fuga. et harum quidem rerum facilis est et expedita distinctio. nam libero tempore, cum soluta nobis est eligendi optio, cumque nihil impedit, quo minus id, quod maxime placeat, facere possimus, omnis voluptas assumenda est, omnis dolor repellendus.

I have no idea why they didn't just use an unmunged chunk of Cicero — but no doubt one of our erudite commentators can enlighten us.

 

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